Title: Persona Non Grata
Author: Jordanna Morgan
Authors Email: librarie@...
Archive Rights: Please request the authors consent.
Characters: Logan, an original X-kid, and two special guests.
Setting: General for X-Men; decades after the series end for "Dark Shadows".
Summary: An X-Men/Dark Shadows crossover. Logan tracks a mutant runaway to
Disclaimer: Marvel, Fox, and Dan Curtis Productions create the characters
that sell. Not me.
Notes: X-fans should understand this story without particular knowledge of
"Dark Shadows", but Im not as sure of the reverse. I may be wrong in the
geographical details of Collinsport, and if so, I apologize.
HTML Version: http://www.jordanna.net/librarie/xmen/fiction/persona.htm
Persona Non Grata
All things considered, Ive got a good life at Xaviers mutant school.
Sure, its noisy, its crazy, and theres no hazard pay for all that
"extracurricular" work--but when it comes down to it, I like what Ive
gotten in return. I dont just mean the room and board, either; its nice
to feel like what Im doing is the right thing.
Well, most of the time, at least.
Sometimes doing the right thing aint easy, though. Thats why, of all the
chores I get saddled with, playing truant officer is at the very bottom of
Tommy "Crash" Krieger crashed into our lives as a moody sixteen-year-old
with a taste for hard liquor and a chip on his shoulder the size of
Montana. Of course, any schoolyard runt who suddenly pops out with
telekinetic powers is bound to have an attitude, but you gotta draw the
line somewhere. Like, say, when he tries to choke the neighborhood bully
from half a block away.
It was after that little incident that Professor Xavier, playing Big
Brother again, tagged the kid as a high-risk case and sent Storm and
Cyclops to meet him. Tommy liked the idea of a school where he could learn
more about his nifty new powers, and he was as happy to play along as his
single mother was to get him off her hands. (Thanks, Ma. Real supportive.)
So Tommy came to live at the school, and things were just peachy--until he
started getting the drift of the house rules. No booze. No cigarettes. *No*
making out with the co-eds. Things went downhill pretty fast from there
and a week later, the kid lammed it during the night.
Dont get me wrong; nobody would ever be forced to stay at Xaviers. We had
to do *something* about him, though, just for the sake of public safety.
Theres a lot less dangerous mutations than the ability to throw things
around just by thinking about it.
The Professor wired into Cerebro and tracked Tommy to a spot on the coast
of Maine. We figured he got lost or ran out of money on the way to the
Canadian border--and I started to regret the stories Id told him about my
old stomping grounds.
Oh yeah, thats a part I havent mentioned: Tommy *liked* me. And why not?
We shared a lot of bad habits. I wasnt exactly proud of that, but I tried
to take advantage of it. When he hung around me, Id let him have a cigar
on the sly while I talked about playing by the rules. It was a mixed
message, but I hoped the things I said would stick if I let him have a
They didnt, and the only result was that I got pegged as Tommys best friend.
Naturally, that made me the number-one choice to go find the little twerp
and bring him back. Xavier told me I wouldnt be "threatening" to Tommy. He
might not have thought so if hed been tuned into my thoughts just then.
I was still thinking black thoughts that evening, when I followed the
Professors directions to a moldering little seaside town called Collinsport.
It wasnt the first time Id hit town and made a beeline for the local bar,
but it *was* the first time I wasnt after a drink
not immediately, at
least. Underage or not, Tommy could already swill with the best of them,
and I had a hunch he was feeling pretty dry after a week at the school.
Collinsport was a strange, gloomy place where everything looked old, even
the newer buildings crowded in between Colonial relics. The main business
was a fish cannery that ran a fleet of boats from the rocky coast. Employer
number two, I figured, was the sanitarium on the cliffs overlooking the
sea. After half an hour in that town, I had a feeling Id go crazy too if I
had to live there.
The one redeeming spot was the Blue Whale, a nice rickety dive on the
waterfront that smelled like beer and fish and dry-rotting wood. *That*
place I understood. I walked in and headed for the nearest end of the bar,
ignoring the working joes who looked up at me suspiciously. Id already
noticed that strangers got a lot of stares in Collinsport.
Then again, maybe it was just me.
The bartender was an unhappy-looking old man with gray hair and a red face.
He turned to me, nervous and impatient, as I reached the bar.
"Im looking for a missing boy," I began. "Sixteen, kinda messy brown hair,
gold stud in his left ear
My spiel trailed off as the wide-eyed bartender turned and pointed down the
bar. I looked--and there at the other end sat Tommy Krieger, his chin
hanging down over a glass of something that definitely wasnt soda. When he
saw me staring at him, he smiled drowsily and raised the glass in a tipsy
I turned on the bartender. "Whatd you give him booze for?"
"Hey, *you* just try saying no to that kid!" the man shot back in a scared
Tommy had obviously been throwing around his weight, and probably a few
more things for good measure. I growled in my throat and stalked toward him.
"Dont worry, bub
thats exactly what I plan to do."
As I reached him, Tommy tried to sit up straighter on his barstool--and
nearly fell right off. "Hello, Pfesser Logan." He righted himself slowly
and carefully. "You come t have a drink with me?"
I sat down on the barstool next to him. "No. And *no*, you cant have a
cigar," I snapped, as he reached over and groped for the pocket of my
jacket. I pushed him back onto his own stool and pried the glass out of his
hand. "Im here to take you back to the school."
His pale face got a little darker. "Not goin back. Sno fun there."
"Life aint all fun, kid." I leaned closer, lowering my voice. "Especially
He looked at me as if Id just told him the sky was orange. "Why shouldnt
it be fun? I can have anythin I want. All I hafta do is just reach out an
With that Tommy stretched out a hand, and someone elses whiskey glass slid
down the bar into his grasp. The owner of the drink jumped up with an angry
Groaning inwardly, I stood up and raised my hands. "Sorry, bub, just a
" I snatched the glass, slid it down the bar to its
rightful owner, then took the kid by the arm and hauled him out of his
seat. "Cmon, well talk about this outside."
"No!" Tommy wrenched his arm away from me, his glazed eyes taking on an
unhealthy sort of brightness. "I wanna stay right here an finish my drink."
I sighed and put my hands together, cracking my knuckles with a metallic
*pop*. "Look, I really dont wanna carry you out of here, kid."
Tommys eyes narrowed, and on the shelf behind the bar, liquor bottles
began to rattle.
The bartender must have gotten a taste of Tommys powers before I arrived,
because he was smart enough to duck before the bottles went flying. The
booze-numbed patrons were slower to hit the deck, but they all managed to
avoid a direct impact, crawling under tables as glass smashed against the
walls and floor.
Now I understood why the kid was nicknamed *Crash*.
I was less lucky than the barflies; I took a stray bottle of scotch upside
the head. It couldnt do me any real damage, but it hurt
and it was annoying.
With a snarl, I popped the claws.
Tommy had never seen me do *that* before, and it was enough to get through
to his pickled brain. With a high-pitched squawk of terror, he bolted, a
covering fire of bottles and glasses raining down on the floor in his wake.
In the dead silence that followed the last crash, I pulled back the claws
and looked around. The shelves behind the bar were wiped out, and the floor
was coated with spilled liquor and broken glass. Loose shards clinked and
crunched as the shell-shocked bystanders started to move, crawling out of
their hiding places. I wasnt sure how much any of them had seen.
Terrific--ousted for life from yet another bar.
Chewing over the numbers for the anonymous "gift" Professor Xavier would be
paying out in restitution, I casually breezed out the door. I heard the
bartender yell something behind me, but I didnt exactly feel like stopping
to exchange pleasantries.
Outside in the darkness and bracing sea air, my luck started to change. I
caught a whiff of Tommys scent, laced with a shot of Johnnie Walker that
must have doused him during his tantrum. Now, *that* was a trail I would
have no trouble following.
With one last glance over my shoulder to check for angry villagers carrying
pitchforks and torches, I set off in search of the walking bar brawl named
Tommys sense of direction was about as clear as the rest of his thinking
just then, and for the next hour, I followed the scent trail of his drunken
meanderings. It wound through alleys, over fences, and into yards, finally
leading to a crop of woods on private property. That was good with me; in
the forest at night, the kid wouldnt have a chance of losing me. I
expected to find him before long, bundled up in his denim jacket and
shivering in the October chill.
What I was going to do when I *did* find him was another story.
In the time Id spent with Tommy at the school, I was too busy playing nice
to try to explain my hardware. Now that hed gotten a good look at the
claws, I might have to convince him he wasnt a prime candidate for a
disemboweling--even if the idea *did* have a certain appeal just then.
I got distracted from that little problem when I realized there was a new
smell in the air, aside from Tommys alcoholic trail and the natural scents
of the forest. It was subtle, but it was there; human, but
not right. I
couldnt pin down its direction, and I wasnt even sure how recent it was.
"You are intruding on my property."
Not many things can take me by surprise, but *that* did. I spun sideways
and almost popped the claws, but held back before I could put a hole in the
phantom that had just stepped out of the shadows. Sneaking up on me without
my smelling or hearing him was a cute trick, however he did it.
He was tall, middle-aged, a little cadaverous-looking in a graceful
way--pale and dark at the same time, with cold eyes under heavy brows. His
clothes were mostly hidden under the coat or cape or whatever it was he was
wearing, but I caught a glimpse of a suit-jacket cuff above the hand that
rested on a cane. Pretty formal for a guy wandering around in the woods at
night, but not as interesting as the fact that he didnt have a flashlight.
Or apparently need one, for that matter.
I also realized he was the source of that off scent Id picked up. Now that
he was standing there, I could tell, but I wasnt any closer to figuring
out what was so strange about it.
While I was sizing him up, he took a step closer
and then he posed,
unconsciously, like a stalking cat. His hand slid further down the cane,
exposing its gold wolfs-head in a way that was almost ironic. The whole
shift of his body was one single, elegant movement--the defensive posture
of a perfect animal instinct that resonated with my own.
My pulse rate picked up, and I tensed, everything in me reacting to the
presence of a fellow predator.
Something in his eyes told me he appreciated the unspoken signals, but he
didnt back down. Instead he went even further.
"Your kind is unwelcome here. You must leave Collinsport."
Surprised and annoyed, I deliberately relaxed, sending the message that I
wasnt going anywhere until I was good and ready. "My *kind*?"
"You know very well what I mean." He had quite a voice, deep and strong; it
stayed hard, but the tension in his own muscles loosened up a little,
following my lead. It looked like we were going to talk instead of fight,
after all--and I had a sudden feeling that was a *very* good thing.
I decided to tip my hand, acknowledging what he knew about me, and what I
sensed about him. "Mutants? And just what does that make *you*, bub?"
I didnt think he *was* a mutant
not exactly, anyway
and somehow his
reaction convinced me I was right. All at the same time, there was
something angry and sad and even a little frightened in his eyes. He looked
away from me, but it was too late to hide it.
"I am the protector of this town." His voice was quieter now, with a kind
of broken dignity, and the predator in him was gone when he looked at me
again. "Many years ago, I took it upon myself to protect Collinsport and
its people from any threat that may come
and that includes mutants."
All the ingrained tolerance-philosophy lectures Id ever wallowed in at the
school came to the surface, and I gave the man a hard look. "We dont want
to hurt anyone. We just want to live normal lives
" I went out a little
further on the limb of morbid curiosity, and added, "like you."
He smiled at that, a sad, bitter smile.
"Believe me, I understand that wish better than anyone. I have every
sympathy for your kind." He sighed and shook his head. "Still, you bring
about violence--even if it comes only from those who hate and fear you. It
isnt your fault, but it cannot be escaped
and I will not allow it here."
Part of me wanted to be angry at that kind of attitude, but something about
him blunted the feeling. Maybe it was the genuine regret in his voice;
maybe it was the sense that he was also an outsider. Or maybe it was
because, even if I didnt like to admit it
I understood what it felt like
to want to protect others.
To protect them from things like me.
"Look, its not like Im planning to move into the neighborhood," I said
gruffly. "Im just looking for a kid who ran away. Once I find him, well
both be out of here."
"Another like you?" he asked, sounding surprised, but not alarmed.
The way he phrased it put me off, and I frowned. God help the whole world
if any more like *me* ever showed up again--but I kept that thought to
myself, and answered with a shrug. "Hes a mutant, if thats what you mean."
I wasnt sure what kind of reaction I expected, but it wasnt what I got.
The mans expression went stiff, and he folded his long pale hands over the
top of his cane.
"In that case, I will find him for you."
It wasnt an offer, and it wasnt a threat. It was a statement; a straight
fact, without a doubt in the world. I gave him a skeptical look. "Simple as
"I found *you*, didnt I?"
I couldnt argue that point--but unlike me, a drunk, telekinetic teenager
probably wasnt going to give him much chance for polite conversation.
"Look, you dont know what the kid can do."
He ignored the warning as if I hadnt said a word. "Come up to my house in
the morning, and I promise you, your young friend will be safely returned
to you there. For now, I would suggest you stay the night at the
Collinsport Inn. Give the clerk my name, and you will be well provided for."
He turned to walk away.
"Wait," I said, taking a step after him. "What *is* your name?"
He looked back at me, and I saw something of the predator in his face again
as he smiled.
"I am Barnabas Collins."
Whatever he was or wasnt, Barnabas Collins had just as good a disappearing
act as Nightcrawler. I tried to track him after he stalked off into the
woods, but I couldnt even pin down a scent trail.
I wasnt about to take his advice and call it a night. For one thing, after
that little party at the Blue Whale, I was none too eager to show my face
back in town. For another, no matter what Collins said, I had a feeling
Tommy would be a lot better off if I found him first. So I just kept
There were times that night when I was sure Collins was somewhere nearby,
By sunrise, I was pretty well resigned to the fact that Tommy had shaken me
off in my own best element. I figured hed be hungry by then, and decided
my best bet to find him would be somewhere back in town, looking for a meal.
Even so, I decided to check at Collins house first.
In the distance there was a huge, rambling old house that rivaled the
Xavier mansion for size and grandeur, but I had a feeling the relic I came
to first was more Collins style. It was the most ancient place Id seen
anywhere in that moth-eaten town. Even in the morning light, it looked cold
and dark, the whole face of it lost in the shadows of its giant crumbling
At the front door I reached for a pompous-looking doorknocker, but I felt
too silly about it and thumped on the old wood with my knuckles instead.
Nothing happened for a long moment, but as I was reaching up to knock
again, the door opened.
The man who stood there was tall and dark-haired--but other than that, he
was about as different from Barnabas Collins as he could be. He was young
and looked like a movie star, with blue eyes that would grab anybodys
attention. I knew he wasnt a servant; his clothes were sharp, and he was
wearing too much of some expensive cologne that threatened to make me sneeze.
He didnt smile, but his expression was a lot warmer than the other mans
had ever been.
"Barnabas Collins asked me to pay him a visit," I began.
He nodded once. "Im afraid my cousin Barnabas couldnt be here, so he
asked me to meet you instead. Im Quentin Collins. Please, come in."
The house he led me into was something out of a museum, all antiques and
history and portraits of dead ancestors. Over the reek of his cologne, I
caught the scent of burning lamp oil, and realized there wasnt a single
electrical light to be seen. It was like stepping into the past--and for
just a moment, it made me wonder again about how old I really was. Maybe
the time Barnabas Collins chose to live in was a part of my own forgotten
And then I saw Tommy.
In the living room or sitting room or whatever it was, he was curled up in
a chair by the fireplace. There was another chair facing him where I
guessed Quentin had been sitting, because all the fixings for a card game
were set up on a table between them--along with, of all things, a tray of
milk and cookies. I couldnt believe it, but my nose didnt lie.
When he saw me, Tommy bounced out of his seat, smiling like a kid whod
spent the day being baby-sat by a favorite uncle. "Hi, Logan!"
After everything hed seen and done the night before, he was greeting me
like an old pal, and without even that Professor moniker he loved to bug
me with. Either they found a shapeshifter to stand in for him, or somehow
theyd seriously messed with his head--and since the scent was definitely
Tommy, I knew it had to be the latter.
I lowered my eyebrows and gave Quentin Collins my best glare. "Okay. Whatd
you do to him?"
"What do you mean? I didnt do anything." He smiled at Tommy, then at me.
"When Barnabas asked me to stay with him until you came, I just sat here
and taught him to play whist."
whist. It would be fun explaining that one to Xavier. I frowned and
looked at Tommy. "So what did the *other* one do to you, kid?"
I knew Id nailed it when he looked at me blankly and asked, "What other one?"
Before I could quiz him any more, Quentin cut in. "Look, Barnabas found
Tommy for you, safe and sound, just as he promised. Now Im afraid I have
to repeat his request, and ask you to leave Collinsport." Then his tone
softened and he shook his head, with a small, apologetic smile. "I may not
particularly agree with my cousins views, but I do respect them. Im sorry."
It was clear wed worn out our welcome
again. I wasnt satisfied, but
Tommy seemed healthy, and I could hardly complain about the agreeable mood
he was in. I picked up his jacket from an end table and tossed it to him.
"Come on, kid. Were going back to the school."
He grabbed one last cookie and toddled after me like a puppy. Quentin
Collins saw us out, wished us a safe trip home, and shut the door behind
us--leaving me standing there on the steps and wondering what had *really*
happened in the last twelve hours.
I looked over at Tommy, who was shrugging into his jacket with his cookie
between his teeth, and a part of me couldnt help but feel a devious little
hope that his attitude adjustment was permanent. I had a feeling it wasnt,
though. It occurred to me that they might have drugged him, and I leaned
down slightly to sniff for any traces of chemicals.
Instead, under the chocolate chips and last nights booze, I caught a faint
whiff of blood.
Tommy let out a little yelp as I clamped a hand on his shoulder and turned
him to face me. I looked him over from the scalp down, tilting up his chin,
pulling back the edges of his jacket
And I found two small red marks on his throat.
Confused and oblivious, the kid blinked up at me. "Whats wrong?"
I wasnt going to say what I was thinking. In fact, I wasnt even going to
*think* what I was thinking about Barnabas Collins.
I shook my head, took Tommy by the wrist, and started to walk without
"Lets get out of here."
© 2004 Jordanna Morgan