Stormy Weather: The Cold Conscience Remix by Azurine
Date CompletedApril 15, 2003
Logan isn't used to downtime like this, to being stuck in the house
with a bunch of people who don't like him all that much. But it's warm
and comfortable inside, and he likes the way he can see and hear the
snowstorm wailing outside, but not feel it at all. It makes this place
feel more like a home than it ever has.
He follows the sound of laughter and the smell of sugar to the living room. They're all there, in front of the fire. Except him. Just another in the myriad of ways it's obvious that he isn't one of them.
Peter's on the floor in front of the fire, Bobby's slouched in a chair, Hank and Storm are sharing the loveseat. Jean is in the middle of the couch. The space to her left has been claimed by Scott, but the spot on her right is conveniently empty. If Logan had gotten there first, he would have made sure Jeannie was on the end and he was in the middle, so Scott was shut out, but Scott didn't think about it that way. An amateur mistake.
The chill wind outside is nothing compared to the reception he gets in the living room, but Jean welcomes him, even if most of the others don't. He sits down next to her and sends a smug look Scott's way. He can feel Peter's eyes on him, but he pretends not to notice.
He knows he is responsible for the lull in the conversation, and it makes him feel awkward. He hates that his presence has that effect on them.
It is Peter who comes to his rescue, gets the conversation started again by asking when Xavier will be back. It's spooky sometimes, the way the kid seems to be so in tune with what he's feeling. If he didn't know better, he'd think Peter was the telepath. He's grateful for it, though. It's usually Peter who eases the way for him with the others.
He nibbles a cookie and stays out of a small spat that erupts seemingly out of nowhere, but mostly out of Jean's protectiveness when it comes to the Professor. It bothers her, their lingering suspicion that Xavier is playing with their minds. And as another telepath, she takes it personally.
Another lull, and it's not his fault this time, thank God.
It's Bobby who starts the next conversation.
"Will we ever get normal lives?" he asks, and Logan's first impulse is to laugh. What does the kid think this is? A video game? That in a few years it'll all be over and they'll go their separate ways? Move out to the suburbs and spend their Saturdays watering their lawns and preparing the second bedroom for the new baby?
He manages to not laugh, though, and it's a good thing, because that wouldn't win him any points with the room.
Then he notices that no one has answered Bobby's question. So he does.
Everyone looks at him, some shocked, some angry, and he is suddenly reminded of how young they all are. Some of them know that he's right, though, but they don't want to admit it.
"But what about afterwards? When all this is over?" Bobby's bargaining, because he can't give up on the idea so quickly.
Scott clears his throat. "I don't think it'll be over anytime soon, Bobby." He says it gently, because he knows he's delivering unwelcome news.
"But someday…" Bobby says, then trails off.
Logan has to look away, because it hurts too much to look at him, the way his face pales as reality sinks in. He's just now realizing what Logan has known for a long time--they'll probably never see the end of this fight they're in.
Logan himself might, out of all of them, because he could live for another hundred, two hundred years. But the fresh young faces in this room will be dead and gone before there is peace between humans and mutants.
If they didn't realize it before, they're all thinking it now. He can tell by the way they suddenly look everywhere but at him. He can feel the gulf between him and the others widen a little more, can feel himself losing ground. He will always be apart from them, in so many ways, and he has no experience with how to draw people toward him. Only in pushing them away.
The difference now is that it bothers him, just a little.
Peter sits up and looks at Bobby. "Bobby--"
"I don't wanna talk about it anymore, okay?" He stares at his mug and sinks a little lower in his chair.
Over on the other end of the couch, Scott's getting angry. "Any other dreams you'd like to shatter, Logan?"
Logan's head whips around, and he glares at Scott. "You want me to lie to him? Is that your idea of leadership?" Scott's face tells him the words land right where he wants them to.
"No, it's my idea of compassion, which I shouldn't expect you to understand, I guess." Scott's answering volley is on target as well. They've been around each other enough to know right where it hurts.
"If he's old enough to fight for another man's dream, he's old enough to know the fucking truth, *Cyclops*."
"He's just a kid!"
"So are you!"
Jean's hand on his leg brings Logan's temper down a notch, before they can get to their feet and start trading blows. Everyone's watching them, eyes flicking back and forth, wondering who will throw the first punch.
Logan decides it won't be him. He's not going to be the guy who turns their little fireside cocoa chat into a brawl. He's already made it unpleasant enough, without even trying.
Scott's still wound up, though. Maybe he's angry at Logan for smashing Bobby's dreams of a normal life, or maybe he's angry at Logan for smashing his.
"That's your real problem, isn't it, Logan?" he says.
Logan rolls his eyes. Not this again. "Oh, for chrissake--"
"You don't like taking orders from me. Your ego can't handle it."
"My ego can handle that and more, you pompous little shit." He tries to shift on the couch to face Scott, and finds he can't.
He looks at Jean, furious, and she shakes her head, just a bit, warning him off.
Scott's just hitting his stride, though.
"Is that what you think it is? That I'm full of myself because I'm the goddamn team leader? Is that what you guys think?" His angry glance lands on each of them in turn. They can't see his eyes, but that doesn't lessen the impact. "You think I don't know that my decisions could get you killed?"
The others look away, ashamed, because they know what he's said is true.
"Don't keep yourself up at night worrying about me, kid," Logan snarls.
"Don't flatter yourself. No one here worries about you," Scott shoots back.
"That's pretty fucking obvious." Logan didn't know he could sound so bitter. And he still can't move.
"I’m fine," he says to Jean. "Let go of me."
After a second or two, she does. She won't look at him, either.
Scott slumps back into the couch. "Why do you bother to stay, if you hate us so much?"
Logan blinks. Do they really think that? He looks at the others. Only Peter will meet his eyes, but he looks stricken, and like he's afraid what Scott says might be true.
Logan looks down at what's left of his cookie. "I don't hate you guys," he says finally. He gives Scott a sideways glance. "Well, maybe you. . ."
The others snicker, unable to stop themselves, and Logan grins. After a moment, Scott snorts and shakes his head, but the corners of his mouth twitch, just a little. Crisis averted.
Logan finishes his cookie. "Besides, I like it here," he says as he reaches for another.
The silence is abrupt and total, and none of them can hide their surprise. It must be a new concept for them, that Logan might actually like being here, with them. Peter grins and helps himself to a cookie as well.
Jean's hand squeezes Logan's thigh, lightly and briefly, and he knows that hearing that made her happy.
And he does like it here. It feels right, even if they do keep him at arm's length. He is tired of hating and tired of anger and tired of killing everything that gets in his way. He wants cookies and fireplaces and pretty redheads, and to feel like he's fighting the good fight because he wants to, not because he's forced to.
The conversation evolves into idle chatter, and he sits and eats cookies and listens. There are no more spats, no more awkward pauses. For a few minutes, he doesn't feel like the hulking gorilla in the corner everyone's trying their best to ignore.
Peter keeps glancing at him when he thinks he isn't looking. He keeps glancing at Jean when he thinks she isn't looking, and Bobby keeps glancing at Storm when he thinks Hank isn't looking.
It's like a goddamn soap opera.
He really does like it here.
Talk turns to dinner, and Bobby reminds them that the freezer is full of frozen pizzas. They start to gather up the mugs and what's left of the cookies, and one by one they wander off toward the kitchen, until he's alone with Jean.
She stands and stretches. "You coming?" She holds her hand out to him.
He takes it, but doesn't stand up. He sits for a moment, watching the fire, running his thumb over the back of her hand.
"C'moooon," she wheedles, nudging his knee with hers. She's mistaken his enjoyment of the moment for hesitation. But she's right anyway. Part of what's keeping him separate is that he's letting it happen.
He lets her tug him to his feet. A pound of cookie crumbs falls out of his lap and onto the carpet. In the kitchen, Bobby and Peter are laughing. The wind continues to rattle the windows.
And more than ever, Logan feels like he's at home.
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