Title: April Fools
Author: Jordanna Morgan
Authors Email: librarie@...
Archive Rights: Please request the authors consent.
Characters: Logan and Scott.
Summary: A late-night conversation over potato chips, pranks and paperwork.
Disclaimer: Marvel and Fox create the characters that sell. Not me.
Notes: Honorable mention goes to a certain video-store chain for giving me
a couple of their "Wolverines Revenge" window posters. ;)
Format problems? Read it online at http://jordanna.net/librarie/xmen/
The glowing red letters of the clock boldly proclaimed *1:37 a.m.* into the
darkened bedroom. Lying flat on his back with his head lolled to one side,
Logan watched the last digit roll over one more time, then sighed heavily
for no particular reason and got up.
Less than a minute later, dressed in faded jeans and a half-buttoned
flannel shirt, he was stalking silently down the hall
on his way to the
Some people seemed to have the idea that he thought with his stomach. This
was hardly the case. Back in his drifter years, there were times when hed
gone for days without food--okay, maybe not by choice, but it made him an
expert at living on practically nothing. Food had been a matter of survival
then. Now that he lived at a school, of all places, it was something to be
enjoyed, like having a soft bed and a little space to call his own. He
might get bored of it one day--but he was determined to appreciate it until
then. And that included sating any odd cravings that might strike him in
the middle of the night.
Besides, in point of fact, he could never be entirely sure when his next
meal was coming. At any time, his association with the X-Men might hurl him
into some protracted, life-and-death, fate-of-the-world struggle. It seemed
prudent to remain tanked up for that eventuality. Even if he overindulged
on occasion, he could just work it off in the danger room, or with some
manual labor around the school.
Simple, solid physical effort, in exchange for a full belly and a decent
nights sleep--sometimes even free from the nightmares. When you got past
the pedantic adults and chaotic kids, the mutant powers and the high-minded
it was an equitable life.
Logan moved like a shadow down the hall toward the stairs. The mansion was
silent tonight; a rare thing. Too often during these nocturnal prowls, his
acute hearing would detect the small, disquieting noises that brought home
the cold reality of the world outside: a childs quiet sobs behind a closed
door, missing a home and family they had lost--or been rejected from--just
because they were different.
He had no problem admitting that made him angry. That he was mad at the
world in general was hardly a secret. However, it made him feel something
else that was a lot harder to own up to. Deep in his gut and as sharp as
his claws, there were twinges of compassion for the lonely soul behind the
The silence now was a good thing.
Bedrooms aside, most of the common rooms in the mansion remained dimly lit
through the night. Insomnia and wanderlust were not strangers to many of
the residents. The kitchen always seemed to be a little more brightly
illuminated than the rest, the light there reflecting off the sleek silver
surfaces of the professional-grade appliances. Logan shambled in through a
lesser-used door, opposite a doorway that opened onto the dining room. A
light was on in there, too, which he couldnt remember as being normal, but
he heard no sound from that direction. With a mental shrug, he started
rooting around in the cupboards.
Everyone at the school had a certain monthly "allowance" in the food budget
for things they wanted--and staff and students alike had bizarre tastes.
Animal crackers for Kitty
applesauce for Rogue
cream of asparagus soup
a tin of sardines for who-knew-who. The case of caviar tucked
away in a bottom cabinet was Professor Xaviers, saved for entertaining
*Which means people who have some political pull,* Logan thought darkly, as
he turned an interested eye on a shelf lined with bags of chips. Xavier may
not have liked it, but he courted the political beast now and then, if
there was a benefit to gain for his school.
Barbecue-flavored. Ranch-flavored. Pizza-flavored. *Good grief, how can
there not be any--? Ah.* Logan snatched a king-sized bag of ordinary potato
chips from the shelf, and turned to leave the kitchen.
Logan froze instantly. His time here had taught him that in a
school--especially a school for young mutants whose control of their powers
was often questionable at best*oops* was the last word one could possibly
want to hear. And a very intense *oops* had just come from the direction of
the half-lit dining room in the middle of the night.
With the sort of morbid curiosity most often reserved for gawking at a
train wreck (or a new student about to demonstrate some awesomely revolting
or destructive "gift" for the first time), Logan moved toward the doorway.
Still holding the forgotten bag of potato chips by the top edge, he
clenched his fists--equivalent for him to cocking the hammer of a pistol.
One of the earliest painful lessons he had learned about his claws was to
keep his fingers out of their way.
Thus prepared for any sort of mayhem necessary, he peered out into the
larger, table-filled room.
One table near the center of the room was fully taken up by a coffee mug, a
laptop computer, and a mound of paperwork. Scott Summers was seated there,
savagely digging an eraser into a page of said paperwork as he muttered
words that, coming from Cyclops, surprised Logan--and amused him
tremendously. He folded his arms and leaned a shoulder against the edge of
the doorway, observing for a long, enlightening moment before he spoke.
"So whos flunking class this time?"
Summers started upright, and there was a very loud, satisfying *snap* as
his pencil broke in two. He looked up, his face coming pretty close to
matching the color of his ruby-quartz glasses.
"Sorry," Logan replied cavalierly, and unfolding his arms, sauntered toward
the table with his bag of chips. Summers stared at him for a moment,
undoubtedly glaring behind the ubiquitous shades, then produced a new
pencil from his shirt pocket and sank back into his chair.
*Anal twerp just =would= have a spare,* Logan thought with a mental snort,
surveying the photocopied forms that were spread out all over the table.
The logo of the Internal Revenue Service was prominent on several of them.
"Doing taxes, huh?"
Summers let out a long, slow, audibly simmering breath. "Yes."
It didnt surprise Logan that Summers got that assignment. With a facial
shrug, he stepped around the table and headed for the coffeemaker by the
wall--one of those big industrial cafeteria jobs.
"I wouldnt if I were you," he heard muttered darkly behind him. He turned,
and Summers chucked a thumb toward the machine. "The coffee in there is ten
hours old, and it wasnt that good to begin with."
Wordlessly, Logan pointed at Summers half-full cup.
"*Eight* hours old," the younger man grumbled.
Logans eyebrows arched slightly. "Been here that long?"
The reply emerged as a groan. "Longer."
With a wry smile, Logan continued to the coffeemaker and poured a cup. No
sugar, no creamer. He ambled back to the table, sat down across from
Summers, took a swig of the stale brew and then raised the cup in a mock
salute, wishing he could see Summers eyes bulge out.
"Did they line your stomach with adamantium, too?"
"Ive tasted worse." The *worse* being, admittedly, his own coffee-brewing
attempts. Logan set his cup on the one clear spot left on the table, and
purely for show, extruded a claw to slice his bag of chips open. He would
have propped his feet up for good measure, if the paperwork hadnt been in
the way. It was risky, but always tremendously entertaining, to provoke the
look he was getting from Summers now--one of those patented
*you-are-such-an-animal* glares. The kids face was certainly expressive,
even from the nose down.
If Summers didnt like being treated as Logans own personal zoo exhibit,
however, his pride was not about to let him show it. Under his breath he
uttered a feeble little growl that made Logan want to laugh, then with his
pencil clutched in a death grip, he returned his attention to the tax forms
on the table.
With a smirk Logan began to munch on his potato chips, idly attempting to
read the forms which, from his perspective, were upside-down. He was
untroubled by the fact that they made very little sense to him. If he had
to, he could figure out just about anything--but *until* he had to, he saw
no reason to take up space in his already problematic memory.
"So. Taxes," he murmured after several minutes.
Summers sighed and leaned back, staring down rather woefully at the papers
in front of him. "Yeah."
A vague idea occurred to Logan. "But the school is, what--a non-profit
deal, right? Doesnt that help?"
"Oh, it helps financially. But it just makes the paperwork that much worse,
because you have to account for every little thing."
"Uh." Logans lips quirked. "Yeah, I guess you must get a good tax break on
world-saving stealth jets."
Summers jaw tensed. "Okay
so *not* everything. But *you* try explaining
why we had to rebuild half of the second floor--twice--in the last year."
"Termites," Logan replied, perfectly deadpan. "Come on, brainiac. You gotta
be right in your element with all this numbers stuff."
The younger man carefully slid his fingers under his glasses to rub the
bridge of his nose. "One of the laws of the universe, Logan. Somehow this
numbers stuff is a lot harder when there are dollar signs involved." He
sighed. "April Fools Day isnt the first of April--its the fourteenth."
Logan uttered a growl that shook the coffee mugs on the table. "Dont
mention April Fools Day."
Summers responded with an almost sympathetic grunt, and for a moment, they
sat silently commiserating over the previous day: April the first.
"So howd they get you?" Summers asked at length.
Another growl. "You mean besides getting sent out to rent 'Edward
Summers let out a sharp, strangled snort of laughter. Logan had to admit
there was a certain clever subtlety to that particular joke
but he had not
appreciated it, all the same.
"Oh, yeah, it was real funny. Especially after I got *back* from
Blockbuster, and found the note Id had stuck to my back by a magnet the
whole time." Glaring at Summers, who was now doubled over in his seat and
shaking with mirth, Logan ground out, "So what about you?"
Gradually Summers laughter settled down, and he swallowed hard, shaking
his head. "First of all, I woke up to find my glasses blacked out with shoe
polish. Then there was the dead fish
and then there was the whole
thing." He abruptly reached across the table to snatch the bag of potato
Chuckling, Logan watched Summers wolf down a handful of chips. "What about
that scene you had in the hallway with Sally-Rose?"
Summers turned pale and nearly choked on chip crumbs. "Oh, please, not that."
Sally-Rose was one of the newer and more
*interesting* students at the
school. A refugee from a broken home, the girl had suffered no shortage of
trauma in her fifteen years--with the result that, on top of being a
mutant, she was mentally disturbed and had a genuine split personality.
Most of the time, she was just Sally: sullen, withdrawn and practically
mute. However, at any moment she might suddenly become "Rose", whose
outrageous behavior could put Jubilees hyperactivity to shame. And still
more bizarre, those two personalities had completely opposing mutant
Put simply, it was like having Iceman and Pyro in one package.
She, at least when she was Rose, was a student Logan particularly dreaded.
Rose had a crush on him, and she was more of a predator than *he* was. He
had been burned--literally--each time she managed to corner him. Sally, on
the other hand, was terrified of him, judging by her reaction once when her
personalities suddenly switched while Rose was trying to seduce him. The
frostbite hadnt been any more fun than the flash burns.
Now, the look on Summers face and the tone of his voice were making Logan
curious. "Come on, Cyclops, fess up. Rosies hitting on *you* now, isnt
"No," Summers grumbled, shifting uncomfortably in his seat.
Understanding dawned, and Logan gaped. "You mean--the *other* one?" he
and Logan burst out laughing.
"Its not funny," Summers snapped. "That girl needs some serious help."
"If shes after *you*, Id agree!" Logan scoffed. With a wicked grin, he
reached across the table to give the other man an affable thump on the
shoulder. "Welcome to the victims of Sally-Rose club."
Summers grumbled something and shoveled a handful of chips into his mouth.
"Sorry, I didnt catch that," Logan remarked glibly. Summers waved a
dismissive hand at him, and with a shrug, Logan took back the bag of chips.
Between them, the two men finished off the entire bag. Logan stepped into
the kitchen to throw it away and to empty his coffee cup into the sink,
then came back into the dining room and stood for a moment with his arms
crossed, watching Summers for a few moments more.
"Im gonna go back to bed," he said at last.
"Mmm," Summers acknowledged vaguely, engrossed in numbers once more.
Summers looked up. With a wolfish smile Logan stepped forward, leaned over
the math teachers shoulder, and placed a finger on the tax form in front
"You forgot to carry the two."
He wished he had a camera to capture that sublime moment when Summers
realized he was right.
Chuckling, Logan left Summers to pass through the entire spectrum of shades
of red, and breezed out of the room with one parting *coup de grace*:
© 2003 Jordanna Morgan - http://www.jordanna.net