Jean Grey-Summers couldn't remember how long it had been since she had been this happy. Scott was back. The ordeal with Apocalypse was over. They could start their lives anew and make a better future for themselves. Better than any they had imagined before. It had been a month since his return, and the only now were the X-Men getting around to celebrating his return properly. Gambit had made arrangements for a 'welcome home party' at Harry's Hideaway. Jean smiled as she watched her friends play. Gambit and Rogue were dancing, Warren and Betsy were playing table hockey, Bobby was playing a prank on Hank, and everyone else seemed to be content to just stand around, talk, and drink. Occasionally, the laughter got so loud that Jean couldn't hear herself think.
This is the way it should be, she thought. Friends and family, together, having fun. She laughed as she caught sight of Scott giving Peter a noogie. Even her usually reserved husband knew how to throw down and have a good time. Slowly her smile faded. Someone was missing. Logan was nowhere to be seen. She sighed. She wasn't surprised. He had been unusually quiet since his return from visiting the graves of Silver Fox and Mariko. He had been keeping to himself even more than usual. Actually, it seemed as if he was flat out avoiding everyone else. Plus, he hated Harry's Hideaway. But despite all that, she had hoped he would come out and celebrate Scott's return with all the others. He hadn't. Jean refused to get angry. This was not a night to get angry. She stood up and joined the others.
Hours later, back at the mansion, Jean stood in front of the refrigerator deciding which she wanted more: chocolate pudding or ice cream. She looked at the clock. It was two in the morning. Logan was not back yet. Now she would let herself get angry.
A half hour later Jean walked into the Auger Inn. She spotted Logan at the pool table. She walked over to him.
"So I guess a night of shooting pool with some lowlife bikers is more important to you than spending time with your friends, huh Logan?"
Logan didn't answer. Didn't even acknowledge her presence. Jean grabbed the cue ball from the table and shoved Logan into a position so that she could stare down at him.
"Why weren't you at the party, Logan?"
"Told Cyke 'welcome back' a month ago, Darlin'. Didn't see a need to say it again."
"That wasn't the point! And you know it! What's your problem, anyway?"
"Ain't gotta problem, Red." He grabbed the cue ball. "Now if ya don't mind, I'm playin' pool here, Darlin'." He turned and returned to his game. Jean shook her head.
"I just don't understand you, Logan. I mean, what do you even like about this sleazy hole in the wall?"
"The pretzels ain't soggy, the pool table's level, an' the jukebox's cranked to ten." Jean made a sound, almost as if she were growling, and then turned to leave. Logan set his cue stick down.
"Look, Red, I'm sorry. I got a lot o' things on my mind now. If ya don't go, I'll let ya smack me around a bit, and then I'll crank you up a song." Logan grinned. Jean stopped and turned around. She walked right up to Logan and punched him as hard as she could in the stomach. Anywhere else, and she'd have broken her hand on his adamantium bones. She wanted him to be in pain, not herself. Logan doubled over as the wind was knocked out of him. He had been joking and wasn't expecting to actually get hit. He wasn't expecting the kick to the groin, either. Jean walked over to the jukebox.
"That's for not coming to the party and making me come out here." She studied the songs that the jukebox had to offer.
"Now this is an interesting collection. So, Logan, since you think you know it all, tell me what do Patsy Cline, Otis Redding, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and Ozzy Osbourne have in common?" Logan stood up, grabbed his beer and walked over to Jean.
"If all o' them had waited for the bus, they would've got to where they were goin'."
"When a pilot's fixin' to 'auger in' his plane, means he's 'bout to crash and burn. That's why this place's called 'Auger Inn'. Its where all us lowlifes come to crash and burn. And all them people on the jukebox, they all died in plane crashes."
"Now wait a minute, Logan. I know Ozzy Osbourne's still alive and making records."
"Ain't him that's dead, Darlin'. It's Randy Rhoads. Randy died in a plane crash. He was Ozzy's guitar ace way back when. Look at the juke, Darlin'. Only Oz stuff on there is the Randy stuff. No Sabbath, no Jake E. Lee, and no Zakk Wylde." Jean looked up at him.
"I never had you pegged as being metal head, Logan."
"Music is music, Darlin'. Don't matter to me what kind it is as long as its good." Logan drained the rest of his beer. "If its good, I can chill to anythin', Darlin'. Be it Vivaldi's the "Four Seasons", Marvin Gaye's "Sexual Healing", or the Scorpions' "Aleyah". Its all good to me, Darlin'." Jean looked at him. Somehow, Logan always managed to surprise her.
"You pick something Logan. Apparently, I'm not the music expert that you are." Logan walked over to the jukebox, threw in some change and hit play. He then walked over to the bar and got himself another beer, then proceeded to a table near the jukebox. He pulled out a chair for himself and Jean. Jean joined him and sat down. The jukebox came to life and Jean listened as a guitar began to play a classical melody. Moments later she heard Ozzy's thin voice start to sing.
Why had he picked this song? Jean studied her friend as he stared off into nowhere and drank his beer.
"Logan's what's wrong? Is it because Scott's come back and now you and I..." Jean didn't finish her question. She didn't have to. Logan and put his beer down and looked straight into her eyes.
"Darlin' I know that's what most people think. An' I'd be lyin' to ya if I told ya that I didn't think that with Cyke gone, you an' me might get a shot. But that ain't it. I'm sure Warren's gonna be pissed. Bet he was lookin' to rub my face in another o' my blown chances."
"Then what is it?"
"Been doin' a lot o' thinkin' lately. 'Bout my life, what I've done, and what my obligations are. Been a man blown by the wind my whole life, Jeannie. I've gone where it carries me. An' the wind just changed." Jean looked at her friend. She didn't like the direction this conversation was taking.
"Are you going to leave, Logan?"
"Yeah. I ain't comin' back to the mansion tonight. My stuffs strapped to my scoot outside."
"Logan we need you. You can't leave."
"Uh-huh. Sure. Ya got a guy who can channel the energy of the sun, a telekinetic ninja, a woman who can control the weather, and a dude made out o' steel among others, and ya need me? I don't think so. All I got is claws and a kickin' personality." Logan finished his beer. "Ya know, Red, Kitty told me that when my Skrull doppelganger took the dirt nap and ya'll thought I was dead, she was the only one to shed a tear. So don't even bother to tell me that I'm gonna be missed. Other than Kurt, Kitty and Jubilee, and maybe you, no one's gonna give a damn. Jubes' in GenX now, my being gone won't be that much different to her. Kitty was in Excalibur for all that time, so it won't be new to her. And Kurt's fixin' to be a priest. He don't need a guy like me around, anyway. And you ... ya got Scott now. Ya won't even know I'm gone after a while."
"That's not fair Logan. You know that's not true." Jean studied her companion. She knew that there was no possibility of changing his mind.
"Why are you leaving? You owe me at least that much."
"What are the X-Men for Jeannie?" Jean was taken aback.
"We're trying to make the world a better place, Logan. We're trying to make a world where mutants and non-mutants can live together in peace. A world without hate and prejudice. Where all people are accepted regardless of their differences. You know what we're all about Logan, why did you ask that question?"
"Just makin' sure Darlin'. The X-Men are here to stop the hate, right?"
"Yes, but Logan what does this have to do with your leaving?"
"Ya know Red, back in '44 I jumped out o' a burnin' C-47 into a Normandy sky full o' Nazi flak. Landed in the middle o' the 21st Panzer-Grenadiers. Now that was one helluva knock down drag out to beat the band there, let me tell ya. Point being is that we were there to stop the hate, too. I've fought this fight, before Darlin'. I've fought this fight too many times. Fought for a better world then, and durin' the Cold War too. Each time they told us we won, nothin' really changed. Different names, but it was always the same game. An' its time for me to move on. I've done more than my share o' tour o' duties. I've got more important things to look after now."
"Like my little girl in Japan, Red. Yukio's done a great job o' taken care o' her. But, Amiko needs a dad. An' it ain't fair to make Yukio do all the hard stuff, either. I used to think that I had too much baggage to make a good dad. That my past would catch up with me, and that Amiko'd be the one to get hurt. I'd convinced myself, that by stayin' away I was protectin' her and Yukio. Well, when I was visitin' Mariko's grave I came to the understandin' that I was lyin' to myself. Truth was I was afraid. Afraid I wasn't man enough to be a dad and do the right thing. Still am. But I'm gonna try. Got me a new fight to fight, now. Now, I'm gonna fight for that little girl's future. I'm gonna see to it that I am man enough."
"And if your past does catch up to you?"
"My stayin' away didn't do them much good, Red. The Hand and the Kasheks got to them. An' it won't be long before Creed finds out about 'em. If I'm there I can do my damn best to protect them."
"Why don't you bring Amiko here, Logan? We can all help you raise her and protect her."
"I ain't about to take her from Yukio, Darlin'. She loves that little girl like she was her own. And Amiko loves Yukio like the mother that she is to her. I ain't gonna tear 'em apart, Jeannie."
"So bring Yukio over here too."
"Their home's Japan, Darlin'. Not here. I ain't gonna make 'em leave their roots. An' it's time I stopped lettin' the wind tell me what to do. I've made things right with the Silver Samurai. When I get to Japan, we're gonna move to the Yashida compound. Shingen built that place like a fortress. It ain't the mansion, but it'll keep the likes o' Creed and the Hand out. I already wiped out the Kasheks, and I don't think Magneto'll come knockin' on the door anytime soon."
"What about you, Logan? Do you really think you can live a normal life without adventure and excitement? How long can you go without bashing a few heads in?" Logan laughed.
"Got that covered too, Red. Jimmy Hudson called in a few favors for me. I'm gonna be the liaison officer for Canadian Intelligence at the Canadian Embassy in Tokyo. I'll get to bash plenty o' heads, Darlin'." Jean reached over to Logan. She grabbed him and hugged him as hard as she could. He was leaving for good and she knew that he would not come back. Not ever.
"I don't want you to go," she whispered in his ear. Logan hugged her back and whispered in her ear.
"I gotta go, Jeannie. I gotta do this. I can't stay anyway. Every time I look at you I die inside. You got your happiness, Darlin'. I'm sorry ya didn't find it with me. But now I gotta see if I can find my own bit o' happiness. An' I ain't gonna find it here. Just remember, Darlin', I'll miss you more than you'll ever know."
Logan got up and left. Moments later Jean heard the familiar roar of a Harley. "The Sky is Crying" by Stevie Ray Vaughan began to play on the jukebox. Jean got up and headed home.
"I'll miss you too, Logan. More than you'll ever know."
|« « BACK|