Diversions & Digressions | fanfiction by mara

Why Did the Ganders Cross the Road?

Why Did the Ganders Cross the Road?

by Mara

Summary: Scott and Logan are on the road together. It could be going better. (Story #16)

NOTES: This story, part of the Golden Goose Round Robin, takes place at the same
time as Paxnirvana’s “Migration.” Thanks to Min for letting us have fun with her
idea. Thanks also to the Goddess of Evil Cackling for the fear she inspired 🙂
and to David Ellis for the beta and the wonderful suggested line that I kinda
sorta stole.

***********************************

Q: Why did the chicken cross the road?
A: Gee, I don’t know, maybe it seemed like a good idea at the time.

“How did we get here?” Logan asked in disgust, as we tramped through the wilds
of Ontario. I was getting a little tired of wandering around the woods myself,
but there was no way I was going to admit that to *him*.

“Well, first there were a Mama bird and a Papa bird who loved each other very
much,” I said in my best snarky tone.

“Shut up,” he said as we finally approached our target. I ignored him and
hunkered down to check it out.

The squalid cabin looked deserted in the twilight. However, there were small
signs, apparent to the discerning eye, which said someone was hiding out here.
Tracks in the dirt, a partially unfastened shutter, stuff like that.

Logan and I crouched behind a tree a few hundred yards away, watching. There was
no sign of movement. I knew that neither of us particularly wanted to wait all
night, but I wasn’t sure a frontal approach was a good idea.

“The cashier said she saw a pregnant red-head and someone waiting in a car for
her,” I said finally, shrugging. “And that ranger saw ’em somewhere in this
area.”

Logan frowned, looking at the cabin. “Let’s go in,” was all he said. I nodded
and we made our way closer.

We reached the clearing, paused, and I motioned him to go through the back
window while I took the front door. He scowled at my orders, but moved into
position when he couldn’t come up with a better plan. I shook my head, wondering
if he’d ever just take an order from me.

I kicked the door open just as he smashed the window and rolled through. We were
in fighting position, expecting Sabretooth’s attack.

Except that he wasn’t there. And neither was Madelyne.

A young, pregnant red-head sat on the bed, but she wasn’t Madelyne. And the
young man was sure as hell not Sabretooth, not unless he’d lost a foot in
height, dyed his skin and hair blue, and acquired horn-rimmed glasses. Okay, I’d
buy the first two, but never the last.

We all froze in position for a few long moments. The kids looked absolutely
terrified.

“Hell,” I said. Logan growled at me and the couple jumped in fear.

**********************************

“Jesus H. Christ in a sidecar,” I said as we stomped back to our truck later.
“That was a utter waste of time.”

“Yeah,” Logan said. “Not to mention costing us a shitload of money. Did ya have
to give them so much?”

“I felt bad. We scared the shit out of them, and they’re just a couple of mutant
kids who got kicked out of their homes.” I didn’t say that I remembered what
being a mutant kid on the run was like. If Jean hadn’t told him everything about
my background, I wasn’t going to explain now.

“Well, if you go around giving money to every scared mutant kid in the whole
damn province, we’re gonna have to steal more.” Logan lapsed into an annoyed
silence. Probably pissed he didn’t get to hit anyone.

“Not only are you Mr. Congeniality, apparently you’re Mr. Generosity, too.” I
swore under my breath as I snagged my jacket on a blueberry bush.

“Look, you smartass…” Logan said, growling as he turned to face me.

“Better to be a smartass than a dumbass,” I retorted.

“Are you calling me a dumbass?”

Even though I knew he couldn’t see it, I rolled my eyes. “If the shoe fits…”

Logan snarled, dropping into a fighting stance.

I groaned theatrically. “Oh, you want a fight? Is that all you know how to do,
Wolverine? Eat, fuck, fight? I don’t know what Jean sees in you.”

“I dunno, but it’s obviously more than she sees in you,” he said. I refused to
flinch.

We circled each other warily in the dying light.

“You think you’re so tough,” Logan said, “but you’re not much of a leader, are
you? First, you run off and join Magneto, then you get your team caught by
Weapon X.”

“At least *I* wasn’t Magneto’s killer-for-hire.”

“Yeah, but I know how to kill to protect people, you’re all such a bunch of
fucking pacifists I don’t know how you’ve stayed alive this long.”

I could hardly breathe, I felt all the months I’d put up with him smothering me,
all my frustration with our seemingly endless quest building up in my chest.
“You’re just an animal in human form.” I spat the words past the anger.

“But apparently that’s what Jean wants,” Logan said.

I wanted to strangle him, I wanted to take off my glasses, I wanted him to just
*shut up*. Constantly defying my authority, arguing with every damn decision…

“You think you’re such a badass, Wolverine,” I said, “do you realize I could
punch a hole in you *and* the nearest mountain if I took off my glasses? I’m
more dangerous than you in my *sleep*.”

“That make you proud? Oh, I’m so scared. Go ahead and kill me, see if I care.”
He stopped moving and stood with his arms stretched out, his face fierce. I
stared at him for a long moment, shocked. He really didn’t care.

“Thought about it, but you can’t do it, can you?” Logan asked. “You’re weak, you
can’t do what needs to be done.”

I felt my anger drain away. “Yes, I can. I’m just smart enough to know that
there are options other than killing.”

He jumped at me, his fist swinging toward my face. I got the hell out of his
way, grateful he hadn’t popped his claws. Yet.

I aimed a kick at his stomach, trying to keep out of arms reach and think of
some way to stop this.

“C’mon, if you want a fight, let’s do it.” Logan feinted with his left and
nearly clobbered me with his right. The edge of his fist knocked me aside.

“What the hell are we doing?” I nearly bit my lip as Logan grabbed my jacked. He
tossed me up against a tree. “Damn it, we’re supposed to be on the same side!”
My shout startled him enough that he paused.

I leaned against the tree, holding my breath. Logan shook his head slowly, his
fists still clenched. “I don’t get you, Summers. You were ready to kill me a
minute ago, now you want a peace treaty?”

“No, you don’t get me and I don’t get you.” I straightened, watching for another
attack. “You know what? I don’t give a shit. ‘Cause if I’m a leader, I should be
able to work with you anyway. And the team needs you.”

Logan lunged and sank his claws into the tree above my left shoulder. I didn’t
move. He retracted the claws and stalked away.

“Does this mean I get my peace treaty?” I called after him.

“Don’t push your luck, kid,” he said.

I followed him, staggering slightly from the ebb of adrenaline. Apparently, we’d
just cleared the air to *his* satisfaction. I just wasn’t sure what had
happened. I shook my head a few times, hoping it would make things clearer. It
didn’t.

*****************************************

Back in the beat-up truck we’d liberated in Toronto, I drove out of the woods.
Logan just scowled and contemplated the passing pine trees.

“Why *did* you come with me?” I asked.

“Just looking out for our own, remember?”

“Huh.”

“Because I bet I get to kick more ass here than in Arizona. Including yours if
you ask too many dumb questions.”

“That’s more like it.” I tapped my fingers on the steering wheel. “So, where to
next?”

“Keep going east, there’s a town not too far.”

I drove in silence for a while, before deciding to take a chance. “You know,” I
said, “I’ve always felt like I was living in a television show, I just never
knew it was ‘The Odd Couple.'”

He looked at me like I had two heads. “Huh?”

“You know, the show with the two guys who live together and are opposite
personalities?”

“Sounds vaguely familiar, what does it have to do with us?” Logan looked like he
was a little worried about my sanity. Well, so was I, but my sanity had been
debatable for a long time. I mean, just think about my life in the past year and
tell me *you’d* be totally compos mentis.

“Well, the two guys, Felix and Oscar were totally different and they got on each
other’s nerves.”

“Yeah, sounds like us.”

“Oscar was a gambler and he liked to smoke cigars, and was kind of a slob.” Hey,
Logan hadn’t killed me earlier, he probably wouldn’t now.

“Oh yeah, and Felix was the anal-retentive prick who was always going around and
picking up after the other guy.” Logan sounded mildly amused, so I decided to
let “anal-retentive prick” go.

“That’s the show.”

“So, whatever happened to them?”

“I don’t remember. But they probably didn’t get kidnapped and tortured by
government black ops forces.”

******************************

We made it to the next town without killing each other. By this point, we had
the routine down pat and split up immediately to ask around.

I was getting discouraged. Damn it, Madelyne and Sabretooth were pretty
memorable. If they were up here, *somebody* had to have seen them.

We met up at a not-too-grungy diner on the edge of town to grab some dinner. I
sighed inwardly as I pulled some money out of our stash. I wasn’t best pleased
at having rediscovered my thieving skills, but it was better than letting Logan
mug the nearest innocent stranger. At least I’d been able to stock up on money
from less savory people when we were in Toronto. My pride would never survive
stealing from little old ladies, but I could handle stealing from drug dealers
and pimps.

Over a mediocre fried chicken platter, we reported our lack of progress and I
stared glumly at my food.

Suddenly I was hit by a reckless impulse. “What do you know about Madelyne?” I
asked, twirling a straw in my Coke.

Logan stopped eating and frankly stared at me. The tension built and I
concentrated on not fidgeting, wondering if this time I’d gone too far. But I
had a right to ask, didn’t I? It wasn’t just idle curiosity, maybe he knew
something that could help us find…okay, it was idle curiosity.

Can you blame me? I wondered what Madelyne’s life had been like, how many guys
had been with her, how many other babies there were. And who else was I going to
ask?

“What do you want to know?” Logan finally asked. I relaxed, the danger past.

“Did you meet her?”

“You mean, did I fuck her?”

“Well, that too.” I couldn’t look him in the eye. He seemed to be enjoying my
discomfort.

“Yeah, I did. Given a choice of sex or surgery, I went for sex. I felt bad for
the kid, but there wasn’t anything I could do. She didn’t get pregnant, though.”

I had a thought. “Whoa, wait a minute, if you’d seen her, then you *knew* she
was Jean’s clone. Have you told Jean that you slept with her clone?”

Now it was his turn to look uncomfortable. “No, but neither have you.”

He had me there. We looked at each other, and Logan folded first. “Yeah, I’ll
admit I was mighty surprised when I saw Jean the first time. But what was I
going to say? ‘Oh, by the way, I fucked your clone, wanna go to bed with me?’
And afterwards…well, she didn’t exactly take my first confession too well. I
may heal fast, but getting the shit beaten out of me telekinetically isn’t my
idea of a good time.”

He had a good point. I went back to fiddling with my drink and watching the
drunken truck drivers at the counter.

“So why didn’t *you* tell her?” Logan asked. “She knew what you were doing with
Madelyne already.”

I laughed. “Kind of the same problem. How do you start that conversation sitting
in a cell surrounded by your teammates? ‘Jean, you probably haven’t noticed I’ve
been in love with you forever, but hey, I *did* get to have sex with your
clone.'”

The waitress came to take our plates and I shut up. Logan was studying my face,
which felt like it was burning up. Did I have a need to make myself look like an
idiot?

Jesus, I was sitting in a diner in Canada having a heart-to-heart talk with the
Wolverine. I was obviously either having a really bizarre dream or else I’d gone
completely insane. I mean, I hate this guy.

I looked at Logan for a few moments before I realized it wasn’t true anymore. In
some weird way, our fight *had* cleared the air. We didn’t understand each other
very well and we probably never would, but we’d sort of agreed not to kill each
other either. Or something.

And if he was what Jean wanted…

He continued to watch me like a bug under a microscope. “Look, things
are…weird right now,” I said, “Madelyne, the baby, everything.”

“But you’re gonna have to figure stuff out soon.”

“Yeah, I am.” I sighed, trying to figure out the best way to say what I wanted
to say. “Look, about Jean…” I stopped as his shoulders tensed and his face
went cold and unreadable. Well, I was *fairly* sure he wouldn’t kill me. “Whoa,
hang on until I’m done.”

He didn’t relax.

“You and I both know,” I said, “that I didn’t approve of you and Jean when
you…got together.”

He didn’t move. He looked like a predator waiting to spring, and people walking
by were unconsciously moving further away. I refused to feel like prey.

I dropped all the words I’d been preparing, leaned forward and said, “She’s
yours.”

I’d never seen his jaw drop in shock before, and I took an evil pleasure in
watching it do so now. I leaned back in my chair and smothered a twinge of
anxiety. This was the right thing to do. Logan had Jean, and I just had to deal
with it.

“You know, if you hurt Jean I’ll rip your balls off,” I said.

He recovered from his shock and looked amused. “You couldn’t come up with
something a little more original, kid?”

“I mean it.”

“I’m sure you do. I’d like to see you try.”

“I’m not trying to start another fight here, I’m just saying…”

“…I know what you’re saying, and I’m yanking your chain.”

“Oh.” We were back to studying each other. I wanted to ask him how he felt about
Jean, if he loved her, if he would take care of her. But guys don’t *do* that.

“Thanks for coming with me,” I finally said. “I’d probably be totally lost by
now if you hadn’t.”

He shook his head. “No, you wouldn’t. Don’t give me bullshit praise. You think I
haven’t noticed you don’t *get* lost? You wanna say thanks, just say it.”

“Oh. Well, thanks. I *do* appreciate your help.”

The bell on the diner door jingled and we both jumped, remembering we were in
public. We began to eat again, avoiding each other’s eyes.

***************************

The waitress was counting out our change when there was a commotion at the
counter. Logan and I were halfway out of our seats before we realized it didn’t
have to do with us. On edge? Us? Nah.

Everyone was huddled around a small television set watching the news. We were
about to leave when Logan suddenly grabbed my arm and dragged me to the counter.

“What?” I asked.

“Shut up and listen,” he said.

The overly hair-sprayed and predictably blonde reporter stood in front of a dock
by a lake. It looked just like the rest of Canada to me, but Logan and the local
crowd seemed to recognize the area. I heard something about the US-Canada
border.

I finally heard what the reporter was saying. “…the three young men were found
in the nearby woods burned almost beyond recognition. Witnesses a few miles away
say they saw a strange yellow-white light in the sky.”

The scene cut to an old woman standing on her porch. “I thought it was aliens
come to take us away. You know, like in that movie?”

I stared at the television in dismay. Oh. Shit.

The station went back to their reporter on the scene. “Police are uncertain what
caused the unusual pattern of the forest fire or the strange charring on the
ground. However, a truck was seen nearby shortly after the incident, so anyone
sighting a late-model SUV…”

The crowd around us was starting to mutter, in that “Let’s find us some muties
to beat up” kind of way, so Logan and I made as subtle an exit as we could.

“Damn it,” I said through grinding teeth as we stood outside the diner, “I told
you we needed to listen to the news.”

“I don’t mind the news, I just mind your pansy-ass left-wing news,” he ground
back.

“Why the hell did some mutant have to show off his powers now?” I asked.

“You’re sure it’s a mutant?”

I just looked at him, blinking from behind my red-tinted glasses.

“Right. Well, this is just fucking great. We’re up here trying to find a couple
of runaway mutants, and now somebody has thrown up a giant beacon to the
bastards at Weapon X saying ‘Come get me.’ Just fucking great. Well, I don’t
want to be anywhere near there. We’re not the northern branch of the Xavier Home
for Wayward Mutants.”

I couldn’t argue with that. “Well, at least we’re a good 150 miles away.” I took
a deep breath. “Do you want to head back to Arizona?”

Logan didn’t even pause. “No. I told you I’d help you find Madelyne and your
kid, and we’re gonna do it. We’ll just stay away from that border crossing,
’cause that’s where Weapon X will be looking.”

So, wouldn’t you know we got a lead on Madelyne the very next day. A red-head
fitting her description was seen heading north from Niagara. Right near the
border, of course. We weren’t exactly sure why Madelyne would be there rather
than hiding out in the nice empty wilderness we’d been searching, but a lead was
a lead.

As we headed south toward near-certain danger, I had two questions. One, why
couldn’t things be simple for once? Two, why *did* the damn chicken cross the
road?

–end–

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