Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

SHADOW MAN--CH5: FAWN 5/15

Expand Messages
  • mainsmel
    Chapter 5-Fawn Magneto strode in without knocking, but then, Logan reasoned, there was nothing to knock on. Get on the bed. Wha . . . for? Even though
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 8, 2002
    • 0 Attachment
      Chapter 5-Fawn

      Magneto strode in without knocking, but then, Logan reasoned, there
      was nothing to knock on. "Get on the bed."

      "Wha . . . for?" Even though Logan sat carefully hunched over in the
      rickety wooden chair it was still difficult for him to get a full
      breath.

      "I'm going to examine you, of course. Toad told me what happened. He
      rather enjoyed telling me, as a matter of fact. Now, lie down."

      Logan grimaced, sucked in air. "'M . . . fin'."

      "I'll be the judge of that. Lie down."

      "Lissen, bub, . . . I don' . . . need—" A whirlwind picked him up and
      threw him on the bed. The impact knocked out the little breath he had
      hoarded and he panicked, writhing and twisting as he tried to snatch
      air.

      "Relax." Magneto stood over him. "You're wasting your oxygen by
      struggling."

      Relax? The guy's nuts! Logan rolled his eyes around the room
      searching for he didn't know what, gulping down every little swallow
      of air he could grab. The next moment he went rigid, head and legs
      pulled straight out from their curl, arms stretched crosswise.

      "I said 'relax'", Magneto repeated, lips quirking a little at Logan's
      startled expression.

      Relax! He felt like a sacrificial victim! How could he relax
      when . . . But the air was finally trickling in now that he'd stopped
      thrashing about. He took a shaky breath, a second.

      "Okay. 'M . . . okay. Lemme . . . go."

      Magneto smiled, amused. "Yes, I can hear how 'okay' you are. But I
      believe I'll just make my examination now, while you're so docile."

      "Why you sneaky bas—"

      "I can clamp your jaw shut just as easily! I suggest you exhibit
      patience and restraint for once in your life."

      After a wild look for non-existent help, Logan scowled at the
      ceiling, mouthing obscenities, but uttering none. He gritted his
      teeth as the man's fingers probed the tender ribs and stomach muscles
      which had not yet absorbed the injury and healed.

      "Does this hurt? This?"

      It all hurts, dammit! "Unh! Yeah. Yeah, that's the worst. "

      "Hmm. Yes, here's the problem." A cool hand passed over the lower
      part of his rib cage and the pain stopped.

      The sudden, unexpected relief took Logan's breath away for a
      moment. "Wha—what did you do?" He stared in awe at Magneto, who with
      a wave of hand now released his patient from the induced paralysis.

      "One of your floating ribs was . . . floating, to use a layman's
      term. I've anchored it for now. I'll repair any damage later."

      Logan had swung his feet to the floor and was on the point of
      thanking the man when the 'later' brought home that the man was
      Magneto, and that the 'later' would be a time of more pain. Hell! He
      wouldn't even have been hurt if Magneto hadn't caught him and kept
      him prisoner. Was he supposed to thank the bastard for that too? He
      looked away, found his bare feet of absorbing, visual interest, and
      concentrated on nursing his midsection.

      "I did warn you about Toad," came the man's voice.

      There was a long silence, then Logan heard retreating footsteps cross
      the room and echo down the hall.

      "Thanks," he muttered to his toes.

      *******


      Logan had thrown the mattress on the floor and was studying the army
      cot's metal frame and springs, an idea shaping in his mind, when a
      timid "Hello?" caused him to spin around, claws at the ready—only
      they weren't.

      "Hel-LO!" He relaxed from his defensive, spread-legged stance and
      switched on his smile as he strolled over to the girl standing in the
      doorway. She was young, just a kid, but he was bored, and she was a
      damn sight prettier than Toad—which wasn't much of a compliment when
      he came to think of it.

      But her pale, straw hair and her skin just a shade lighter made her
      dark brown eyes look enormous in her heart-shaped face, and her
      clean, fresh scent of crushed grass laced with pine made her smell
      like she'd just come in from the woods. He puffed out his bare chest
      and hiked up the wattage of the smile. "You lost, darlin'?"

      She looked alarmed, unsure, and embarrassed all at once. A blush
      colored her pale cheeks as her forehead creased. "Uh, you are
      Wolverine, aren't you?"

      Used to be. He scowled. "Yeah. So?"

      She retreated a step from his glower. "I—I'm Fawn. I brought your
      lunch."

      For the first time he noticed the tray she held. "Thanks. Lunch time,
      eh?" Damn windowless room! With the lights always on he didn't know
      if it was night or day.

      "What are you doing here, kid?" He took the tray from her and set it
      on the table that once held the pills.

      "Dr. Lehnsherr thought I ought to bring your food instead of
      Mortimer."

      Dr. Lehnsherr? Logan frowned. Where had he heard that name?
      Lehnsherr . . . That was it, Chuck's old buddy who became—Magneto!
      But who the hell was Mortimer? "Who the hell is Mortimer?"

      "You know, the little man with the glasses?"

      Logan's eyebrows shot up. "Mortimer! His name's Mortimer?" he
      demanded when his howl of laughter had dwindled to a snigger. "No
      wonder the little creep calls himself Toad!"

      "That's a terrible thing to say! He can't help what he looks like."
      Fawn lifted her chin and turned to go.

      "Wait! I'm sorry. Can you stay awhile, kid?" He put on the mournful
      look that he'd had considerable success with in the past. "It's awful
      lonely here."

      She hesitated. "Well, just a little while. I have to get back to work
      soon."

      Chalk up another one for the mournful look, he thought cynically,
      ushering her to the chair before tossing the mattress back on the bed
      springs for himself.

      "You hungry?" he invited, waving a hand at the tray on the table
      between them.

      "Thank you, I've already eaten. But, please go ahead," she said
      politely.

      "Okay." He attacked the food, had downed several mouthfuls before he
      noticed that it was stew and that it didn't taste particularly good.
      It had that same faint bitterness as everything else he'd eaten here
      as if it had been burnt. Considering that Toad was the cook he wasn't
      surprised.

      But the taste hardly mattered. He was ravenous. His metabolism had
      finally revved up. Gone was the tenderness of his ribs, gone the pink
      streaks outlining his bones and the queasiness he had first awakened
      with—when? Yesterday? The day before? He'd wake, eat, then a yawn
      would catch him unawares and he was out of it, for how long he didn't
      know, and then he'd wake up again, starving. Time was all skewed. How
      many days had he been in this cell? More important, how much longer
      did he have before Magneto judged him sufficiently 'recuperated'?

      He forced himself to put down the spoon and push back the
      bowl. "Gee . . . Guess I'm not as hungry as I thought."

      "Oh, aren't you feeling well?"

      "The old tum-tum's acting up a bit." He patted his washboard stomach.

      "I have some pills—"

      "No, no. I'll just take a nap and it should be fine. Probably." He
      yawned.

      "I'd better go."

      He saw that he'd overplayed it. "I'm not that tired just yet." He
      caught her hand. "Talk to me awhile. It'll help me go to sleep," he
      wheedled, seeing her vacillate.

      "Alright." She settled back in the chair.

      He lounged on the mattress Roman style, dipped a finger in the stew
      bowl and licked off the gravy. "You say you work here, kid? What do
      you do—besides lunch? Your dad a caretaker for this place or
      something?" He hadn't seen a caretaker's house, but that didn't mean
      there wasn't one. There must be another gate somewhere. After all,
      Magneto had gotten in. Or maybe the bastard just waved his hand and
      the fence parted for him like the Red Sea did for Moses. He snagged a
      chunk of meat with his fingers and suddenly realized she was frowning
      at him.

      "What? My table manners?"

      "You keep calling me 'kid'! I'm not a kid. I'm seventeen!"

      Logan lowered his eyes to hide the smile in them. "Sorry. My mistake."

      "And I'm not living with my father anymore. I'm—I'm on my own now."

      He heard the tremor in her voice and looked at her sharply, but she
      took a deep breath and continued.

      "I've got a full time job here with Dr. Lehnsherr, taking care of the
      lab animals. He's working on an experiment that helps injured animals
      heal quickly. Isn't that wonderful?"

      "Terrific," Logan returned sourly. Using my bone marrow, the bastard!

      "You know," she said hesitantly. "That night, that first night you
      came here I heard you call. You wanted to help me. That was sweet.
      Thank you."

      His forehead wrinkled as he tried to understand what she meant, fit
      her words into some sensible shape or form. Form. A still form on a
      table . . . He struggled to remember and it was like wading in hip-
      deep mud. Abruptly, a picture snapped into place.

      The girl. The runaway. Fawn was that runaway? He hadn't seen her
      since that night. And he hadn't actually seen her even then, just a
      shape under a sheet. And the next morning she was gone and Magneto
      began . . . began the work. He felt himself go hot with shame. He'd
      forgotten all about her.

      "I'm sorry I . . . couldn't."

      "I know." She blushed and her smile was timid, bashful. "But I think,
      maybe, I helped you."

      "Huh?"

      "It works better if you close your eyes."

      And suddenly he was exhausted. But he had to tell her something, warn
      her about . . . His eyelids slammed down as if they were lead garage
      doors. He sighed in relief as the peaceful dark shrouded him, and
      mingled with that sigh, woven around and through it was a tuneless
      crooning thread that drew him down deeper and deeper until he was
      safe and snug and warm in the den with his littermates. And he was
      home.
    Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.