Fic: Traumas, RR #51 (Warren, Logan, Betsy)
- Title: Traumas
Author: Shaz (aericura@...)
Series: RR #51
Timeline: Concurrent with Min's "Seven Blue Stones" and post Jenn's
Codes: Logan, Betsy, Warren. Oh, yeah, and some death and angst. I'm
nothing if not predictable.
Summary: A drink, two conversations and a big boom.
Author Notes: So, I'm watching Ally MacBeal again. Wanna guess why? *g*
Aaanyways, thanks to Min, who not only supplied the last few lines, but also
a better way to handle S/J than I was coming up with. :)
Archiving: RRindex, Muse's Fool, WRFA, XMMFC
The hand digging into his own hand was seriously eating at his nerves.
"Betts, you have three seconds to let me go."
Betsy Braddock set her jaw, used her free hand to finish off the last of her
shot and winced through the bitter swallow of alcohol. "I don't bloody
think so. Sit down and behave or I'll set you down."
Logan growled and shook his head. "I'm still stronger than you."
"And eternally less intellectual. Sit fucking down."
Watching Warren cross over to the bar with an uneasy step, his face curving
into a mask of worry as he ordered his own shot of amber fluid, Logan ground
Betsy cocked her head to the side, caught up in her observation of the boy
billionaire. God, how he moved... carefully but elegantly. He could cut a
swath through the room without even trying. "Oy, Logan, he's..."
His voice was low, the tension in the hand she'd not yet released radiating
up her arm. "What?"
"Is that weaponry under his coat?"
The urge to laugh struck him. Oh, if only it was a gun toting thug wrapping
Jean around his finger. "No, they're wings. Like giant sized KFC style."
"Yeah, it does make him an odd duck, and an interesting target... Betts...?"
Her study of the blonde almost monumental, Betsy subconsciously licked her
lips and sighed. Chemistry, instant chemistry, and she hadn't been noticed
by Warren yet.
Damned unprofessional of her. With a snort, Logan ripped free his captive
hand and lashed it out towards her neck, nodding in approval as her own
slimmer hand shot out, snatched it by the wrist inches away from her cheek
as the dark Japanese eyes promptly leveled with his. "You have something to
"Eyes off the spoiled brat."
"He's rich and lovely and you're not my father. You're, as a point of fact,
the burke who stiffed me for solo work for... hmm, how long was it again,
"Long enough to knock me off your Yule card list."
She nodded firmly, tucking back the loose strand of hair. "Damn right. Now
finish your story about the red haired bird before I get noticed for
"I'm supposed to-- heavy on the supposed-- be picking her up and taking her
away from these idiots. I never shoulda brought her here, I should've just
taken a chance with our own kind and hoped they could make her more like...
well, like you. They could always use another psychic."
"Like the Jedi, pet, we like them younger," she murmured, mourning the lack
of drink in her shot glass. "She a late or early manifest?"
"Late," he shrugged. Honestly, he hadn't gotten the -whole- story from
Jean, even after all the time they had spent in both Canada and on the road.
"Traumatic, like a guy finding out he's Mohammed Ali after a cheap left hook
in a bar. I swear to God, Betts, if that ass Warren's done anything more,
I'll ground him for good."
Betsy sighed and offered a long look into her eyes as one of her hands
patted his, utterly unafraid of the claws that easily protruded from the
skin on his whim. "Relax, Logan. Order another round if you need to, my
treat. But, and here's a novel thought, why don't you ask -him- about your
Jean rather than corking it up for a Pretty Woman story? Hmm?"
"Voice of reason?"
"Now and then," she shrugged. Standing and smoothing the shirt, she regarded
her colleague with a distant eye. Did he even know who he was falling for
and who was taking him for a ride? One had him up in arms like a knight
protecting the maiden, one had him curled into a knot like Eve and the
And there she was, none of those and seriously eyeing the current focus of
the Wolverine's ire like a fine side of beef. "I'm off, but first I want a
promise. Don't hurt anyone-- do you hear me? Knock that thick clot out of
your head and actually listen to me for once... I'll bail you from a holding
cell for assaulting an abuser, I'll seduce a SHEILD guard to slip keys into
a brig for you, but if you beat a future Time's Man of the Year to a pulp
out of jealousy, I'll let you rot in the clutches of the very bloke I'm
about to solicit for old time jakes with my father. Clear?"
"As a bell, Betts. Now get out before I take it back."
Patting his back a little roughly, reaching into a pocket and plucking free
a twenty to drop on the table in front of him, Betsy Braddock stole another
glance at the back of Warren, chuckled to herself and shrugged at the glare
she was getting. "Good luck, luv."
He growled quietly. "I'll need it."
"Need a refresher?"
Glancing up with a startled jump, Warren Worthington rued his earlier,
ignored instinct to drink at one of his private, rich-only-need-apply
nightclubs and snorted. "At this point, I could use a firehose to keep it
flowing. To what do I owe this sudden bout of generosity?"
Logan, the frown unmovable from his face, settled onto the barstool next to
the winged mutant, flagged down the bartender with the wave of his empty
bottle and set down the twenty Betsy had just thrown at him. "A promise to
a lady friend. What is it with you, Worthington? Is it the money?"
Warren laughed and shook his head. "Sometimes it's the fact that I'm just
that charming a guy."
"And," the remnant of the laugh faded into hollow bitterness, "it's the
money. Get your picture taken often enough, and you get letters from women
begging for you to be their sugar daddies. Hell, one was from a guy, if you
can believe that."
"People are desperate enough to come to a prick like you?"
"Or conniving enough. It's not all sob story, ya know. Some people, they
walk into your life with a pout on their lips and moisture in their eyes,
and the second you turn your back, they're drugging you and thieving the
silver while you're out. I do charity work, I just don't do it
Logan snorted and stared at the beer set in front of him. "And which is
Warren sighed loudly and turned his head to regard the bulkier man with
sharp blue eyes. "You're Logan, aren't you?"
"In the flesh, bub."
"Ah," there was another sigh. "Well, what can I say? In another time I'd
already have wined and dined her into a happy bliss with my boyish charms
and refined tastes. I'm not trading kindness for sex, if that's what you're
asking, and no one is cheating on anybody... yet. Scott's melodrama is
exactly that-- a melodrama. I won't fall into it, and I won't seduce the
"So you'd let her come on to you?"
Warren didn't bother to hide the surprise in his expression. "You're saying
you'd say 'no' to a lovely creature like Miss Grey? Hmm, maybe you really
are just her knight errant, and not the protective lover everyone suspects
you to be. I've turned her down once-- at the shelter, in case you were
about to accuse me of something else-- but I'll not do it again."
Logan lowered his eyes, staring darkly at the beer bottle. What a fucked up
night. Stuck in a bar talking to two people that were a tad too fond of
hammering points-- ones he'd much rather ignore-- home.
No wonder Betsy's eye had been drawn by the winged, arrogant bastard.
Birds-- literally for Warren-- of a feather. Christ. "So do something
"Make your move or don't, bub."
There was a pause as Warren tipped back the shot glass, emptying it. "And
your move, Logan?"
"Taking her away from you assholes."
"That's why she's at my place, dammit. She ran from them, and I found her.
Not Scott-- me. Taking her back-- back to them-- wasn't the right thing to
do." Fisting his hands tightly around the empty glass, Warren fought the
distaste in his voice. "Don't lump me in with the rest of them. I don't
care what my ties are, past or present, but I am NOT one of them, not
"Then what are you?"
Warren chuckled darkly. Irony was biting them all on the ass. "A
businessman ignoring a night's worth of work because his friends are giving
him moral migraines. I should be at my warehouse here in Brooklyn catching
up on invoices; but instead I'm here, drinking at a bar you just happen to
be at and engaging in a conversation I didn't really need."
"Not alone in that." Finishing off the beer and sitting back, taking a
really good look at the other man, Logan forced himself to ease up. Maybe
he didn't have to fend off this one like he originally thought. Warren was,
despite his assurances otherwise, still wrapped up in the soap opera back at
that mansion, but at least he had the common sense to have a distaste for
And, were he left to his own whims, was sure to bed Jean eventually.
Betsy's look, the way the she stared so openly at the trim but muscular
frame hidden underneath an expensive suit, told him as much.
He never should have taken Jean out of Canada.
A tap on the top of the bar broke Logan's reverie. "Whuh?"
"Care to go with me to the warehouse, and then I'll give you a ride back to
"You're helping me take Jeannie outta this place?"
The gesture was martyr like. "If she's not happy, there's nothing more I
can do. Besides, a noble act now and then balances out the karma, not that
I've got a murderer's list to make up for."
"Just a thief's."
Warren smiled cryptically. "Like all businessmen."
The smoke curling into the dark Brooklyn sky should have been the first
tip-off that something was wrong. But, with enough alcohol to deaden the
senses of a pair of men setting out for to fulfill their unwilling duties,
it was understandable that it took the scream of a fire truck zipping past
for them to realise there was an actual problem.
"We're heading the same way they just went."
Warren nodded slightly, pulling the car away from the curb, looking for the
potential second truck. "I noticed that. Hmm. This is the warehouse
district; not many homes to safeguard. Not a lot of pyromaniacs around
either, at least that I know of."
"They like attention, not empty streets." Logan muttered, his arms crossed
over his chest.
Sniffing the air lightly, rolling down the window just a bit more, Logan
suppressed the disgusted growl. "Paper and petroleum. Sometimes I really
hate the innovations of the human race."
"Motion seconded, but for different reasons. Ah... here we... oh...
Glancing forward, his jaw falling a little slack, Logan leaned up in the
seat, swallowed the rush of dread and pointed. "Let me guess. The one that
the firemen are currently hosing down is yours."
Warren nodded mutely, managing to park and turn off the car before he broke
into further vulgarity about the situation.
Before them was a scene that would likely etch itself in their memories for
a while... or at least Warren's. Hidden behind the spray of pressurized
hoses was the warehouse, once neatly organised and bearing a rather large
amount of paperwork for Worthington Enterprises, crumbling at its
foundation. The framing of the building jutting out amongst the mass of
smoking rubble like ribs, Warren swallowed down the bile in his throat as he
tried to break his stare away. "What the hell happened here?"
Undoing his seatbelt and sliding out of the passenger seat with a snarl
curling up his mouth, Logan snorted. "Looks like you're unpopular,
Warren turned his head sharply. "Can the humour for a half-second, would
Logan shrugged and stood, stepping far enough away from the posh car to slam
the door and walk towards the nearest edge of decimated building. Not
bothering to turn his head as he heard Warren do the same, he listened idly
to the distinct footfalls of a man obscuring wings under a woolen coat
echoed on pavement.
A hand was suddenly thrust out in front of Logan's face. "Sir, you need to
Regarding the fireman with an arched eyebrow, Logan shrugged and hooked a
hand back towards the blonde man. "Not me ya should worry about. Anyways,
Eyes darting to Warren as the mutant stopped as if in a fugue state, the
fireman shook his head darkly. "Gonna let the Marshall make the final call
on it, but this was a bomb. Incendiary at the very least. I'd lay money on
it." Pointing a grimy, gloved finger behind Logan, he frowned. "So who's
Logan snorted. Apparently Warren clung to his Manhattan side of New York
mentality well, to not be recognised. "The owner of the building."
"Yeah, though I don't think He was listening tonight."
And then, like a beacon of bad timing, Warren was brought out of his morbid
Bearing in his arms a limp and charred figure, the remains of a once
well-tailored suit clinging to her frame like mummy rags, a wide shouldered
fireman walked past the line of his fellow city workers, staggered slightly
under the unmoving weight and then kneeled, releasing the woman from his
arms to delicately lay her out for the EMS that had seemingly come from
Warren ran for the scene in a heartbeat, Logan blinking before instinctively
reaching out a hand to slow up the other man with a iron grip on his arm.
"Logan, let me go! Dammit!"
"Nope," setting his feet down, impressed by the surprising amount of
strength hidden beneath the rich man's suit, Logan set his jaw. "You'll
stay back and let the guys do their job."
Spotting the camera crew across the scene from them, he growled. Vultures,
all of them. "No, you'll stay here, outta danger and outta reaction shot of
Blinking, his breath in short huffs as he tried to wrest free his arm,
Warren fought the second wave of vertigo for the night. His voice dropping
into a hoarse whisper, he pulled at the grip still restraining him. "Oh,
please God, don't tell me that's her... oh please..."
Watching as the paramedic summoned his partner, the two setting into an
alarming flurry of action, the fireman that had brought the woman out
watching with a grim hope etched into the line of his mouth, Warren took a
shuddering breath. "Logan, I'll not warn you again. Let me go!"
Walking to the struggling pair, the human that had stopped Logan crossed his
arms and regarded them carefully. "Is there a problem here?"
Warren pointed towards the scene on the pavement. "This is my building, and
that... I think that's someone I know! Please let me see if she's all
There was a pause giving way to a small nod. Extending a hand, the man drew
in a slow breath. "Only if I escort you. You interfere, though, and we'll
remove you from the scene."
Glancing to the blonde man as he seemed to think about it, Logan narrowed
his eyes, cast a concerned glance at the EMS' and their patient, suppressing
the smell of blood tainting his nostrils. "What's your name?"
The human seemed surprised. "Jeremy."
"Well, Jeremy, I'm gonna let go of my friend here and send him with ya.
Don't be too rough on the guy, he can't help it right now."
Jeremy nodded. "I know the feeling. Come on, sir."
Warren's step was cautious. Even though he couldn't catch the smell of
charred building and body, he was still all too aware of the near monumental
destruction. Waiting for the human to take the first step, the once X-Man
crossed delicately into the mass of debris and fought the shiver coursing
down his spine, silently mouthing a prayer skywards.
What he saw before him, though, took it all away. Watching one of the
paramedics almost apologetically step aside though hazed over eyes, Warren
knelt down, buried the shocked reaction deeply behind a blank mask and
reached a hand out towards the slim female one.
Her eyes cracked open despite the pain overriding her ability to hold onto
solid consciousness. Touching shaky fingers to the strong male hand that
sought her so desperately out, she flinched as she shifted a patch of burned
flesh on her arm. The EMS next to her jumped when she hissed.
Warren's eyes were wide. "Just hang on Candy, baby. Just hang on."
Despite the pain, despite the medical paraphernalia all around and on her,
Candace Southern nodded. "I'm sorry... so sorry."
"No, don't try to apologise for something I did, just--"
Being nudged back by a firm hand at his shoulder, Warren flicked a startled
gaze at Jeremy. "What?"
"Let them take her, okay, sir?"
Warren drew in a tight breath and held it. "I-- where?"
"St Mary's over on Atlantic. You know the place?"
The entrepreneur nodded numbly. Stumbling back as he was pushed away by the
paramedics, he missed when Logan came up beside him, observing the scene
with a snarl. "Let's go."
"And apparently I'm driving; you're too much of a wreck to handle a car.
Got anyone we need to call?"
"We?" There was a pause. "God, I don't know. She doesn't have family, not
here. But... Scott. This was a bomb, and I know it's not just... oh,
"Cell phone. Dial. Call Summers already."
Nodding, fumbling inside his jacket for the compact device, Warren drew out
the antenna with a quaking hand, dialed the number to another cell phone and
laughed as he tried to clear his throat. Shaky, he was so damn shaky.
"This is Scott Summers."
Logan was pulling him back towards the car by the time he finally responded
to the familiar voice. "Scott-- Scott, where are you?"
"Warren? I'm in the coffee shop near your apartment. Why?"
A bitter laugh escaped him, dissolving into a nearly failed attempt to
suppress the choke of emotion lacing his voice. "Can you-- Um... I need
"To touch is to heal
To hurt is to steal
If you want to kiss the sky
Better learn how to kneel" --"Mysterious Ways," U2