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FIC: Big Bad Wolf (1/1, G; Jean, Logan)

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  • jordi@mpinet.net
    Title: Big Bad Wolf Author: Jordanna Morgan Author s Email: librarie@jordanna.net Website: http://www.jordanna.net/librarie/xmen Archive Rights: Please request
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 13, 2004
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      Title: Big Bad Wolf
      Author: Jordanna Morgan
      Author's Email: librarie@...
      Website: http://www.jordanna.net/librarie/xmen
      Archive Rights: Please request the author's consent.
      Rating/Warnings: Well, it *was* G-rated before the paper towel
      business...
      Characters: Primarily Jean and Logan.
      Setting: General.
      Summary: Sometimes all that huffing and puffing is really just hot
      air, after all.
      Disclaimer: Marvel and Fox own everybody here except for Kristen, who
      is my creation.
      Notes: Gotta love the Muse of Very Sharp Things (aka Logan). Even
      though I've mercilessly heaped angst upon him, he still gave me this
      cute little bunny to cheer me up when I caught a cold.

      June had arrived warm and sunny, and at Xavier's School, the academic
      season was winding down into its welcome summer lull of fun projects
      and outdoor activities. Almost everyone was in a good mood. In the
      next three months or so, there was a lot to look forward to--starting
      with a picnic and swimming at a nearby lake.

      Then little Kristen Mayhew came down with a cold.

      One of the youngest students at the school, Kristen was small even
      for a seven-year-old, and illnesses as an infant left her prone to
      catching any sniffle or fever within a ten-mile radius. She had
      already spent much of the winter in bed, being nursed by Jean and
      Ororo, while the other kids enjoyed snowball wars outside. Now it
      looked as though she would miss out on the start of summer's fun as
      well. Jean felt terrible about it, and would have rescheduled the
      trip if she possibly could have, but it had already been planned for
      weeks. Although she promised Kristen they would go again when she was
      well, the sad, wistful look on the child's face still made her heart
      ache.

      The morning of the outing dawned bright and hot, and as the students
      wolfed down their breakfast, Jean went into the kitchen to load the
      picnic baskets. Stepping into the room, she immediately noticed the
      empty paper towel holder--and after her years of living with Scott's
      fastidiousness, it was something she just couldn't ignore, no matter
      how much of a hurry she was in. With an irritated sigh, she bent over
      to search for a new roll in the cabinet under the sink.

      If she hadn't been busy mentally grumbling about people who used the
      last paper towel and didn't replace the roll, she might have sensed
      Logan in the doorway behind her. As it was, her first clue to his
      presence was a long, low wolf whistle.

      Jean straightened and spun around, planting her hands on her hips--
      which happened to be clad in a *very* short pair of cutoff denim
      shorts. Of course, Logan now had a view of the bikini top under her
      unbuttoned blue silk shirt, so the odds were good he found the front
      angle as appealing as the back.

      "Need some help?" he asked innocently, scratching his chin.

      His eyebrows were hiked up in amusement, but the question was sincere
      enough, and it saved him from a sharp scolding. In spite of herself,
      Jean felt her moment of temper subside. Logan always had that effect
      on her. In fact, he always had *both* of those effects on her: making
      her angry, and then making her forget her anger completely.

      "Yeah, you can fill up that cooler with sodas from the fridge," she
      sighed, pointing to a cooler on the table, which Bobby had already
      helpfully lined with ice.

      Shrugging, Logan ambled forward and did as he was told. Jean watched
      him--telling herself that she just wanted to make sure he was
      throwing in a proper balance of Coca-Cola and Mountain Dew. In spite
      of the warm weather, she noticed he was dressed as usual in well-worn
      jeans and at least two layers of shirts. She wondered if he ever
      wore... *less*.

      Okay, so maybe that was not a good direction for her thoughts.

      "You're not going to wear that to the lake, are you?" she asked
      abruptly, wrenching her mind away from the gutter--at least, for the
      most part.

      Logan shouldered the refrigerator door shut and glanced up at her,
      his arms laden with cold soda cans. "I'm not going."

      This was news to Jean, and she frowned. "Why not? I thought you'd
      like a chance to get out of the house and enjoy the outdoors."

      As he piled the drinks into the cooler, he shrugged, and there was
      something evasive about the gesture. "A glorified retention pond full
      of squealing, splashing kids ain't exactly my idea of the *outdoors*.
      Got things to do, anyway."

      "Oh," Jean said simply. Had she said anything more complex than that,
      he would have been sure to hear the disappointment in her voice.

      He looked up at her again, opening his mouth to say something.
      However, at that moment Ororo stepped into the kitchen, wearing a
      dark red wraparound skirt over her white one-piece bathing suit. With
      a quick, knowing smile at both of them, she took a carafe of cold
      water from the refrigerator and proceeded to fill a glass.

      "I'm going to give Kristen her medicine now," she informed
      Jean. "Think she'll be alright for the day?"

      Reminded unhappily of their sick student, Jean sighed. "Yeah, I think
      so. Anyway, I was planning to come back in a few hours and check on
      her. It won't take me long."

      Ororo nodded and breezed out of the room, leaving Jean alone once
      more with Logan. He put the lid on the cooler and leaned his elbows
      on it, looking at her earnestly.

      "Need any help taking all this stuff out to the garage?"

      "No, Scott and Kurt are going to help with that. Thanks."

      "Well... have fun." Logan straightened, gave her a very slight smile,
      and went out of the kitchen.

      Jean stood blankly for a moment, then frowned. *What was I doing
      again?*

      Oh, yeah. Paper towels.

      Right.



      At the lake, Jean went for a brief swim with Scott, but she preferred
      to spend most of the time sunbathing with Ororo. She laid on her
      beach towel with her eyes closed, listening to the happy sounds of
      the students splashing and shrieking in the water--yet the thought of
      lonely little Kristen at home continued to weigh on her mind.
      Finally, after lunch, she asked Scott for the keys, and set out to
      drive the few miles back to the school and check on her patient.

      With Professor Xavier in Washington, and everyone else away except
      Kristen and Logan, the mansion was almost morbidly quiet. Jean slowly
      climbed the stairs, enjoying the air conditioning on skin that was
      still hot from her bask in the midday sun. She reached the landing
      and turned to the left, headed for the private room where Kristen was
      convalescing.

      Then a deep, snarling, altogether fearsome voice rang loudly down the
      hall.

      *"I'll huff, and I'll puff, and I'll blow your house in!"*

      ...Which threat was followed by the delighted giggles of a little
      girl.

      Thunderstruck, Jean silently crept to the door of Kristen's room. A
      very different voice continued to speak, and this time she recognized
      it as Logan's--but it was nothing at all like the low, terse tones
      she knew. She had never heard or even imagined such gentleness and
      warmth in his voice.

      Very, very slowly, she peeked around the doorjamb.

      The bed was empty, but a wingback chair had been turned toward the
      window opposite the door. She could see Logan's elbow leaning on the
      armrest. There was an open book in his outstretched hand, and a head
      of soft blonde hair lay in the crook of his arm, while a little
      girl's bare feet and nightgown ruffles hung lazily over the other
      side of the chair.

      Jean would have given anything for a full view of that priceless
      picture. The big bad Wolverine, holding a sick child on his lap and
      reading her "The Three Little Pigs"--complete with voices.

      Logan suddenly paused in his narrative, and Jean heard him sniff the
      air. Her heart skipped a beat, and she ducked out of the doorway,
      retreating down the hall as quietly as she could.

      After a moment, the reading continued.

      For a long while, Jean just stood there and listened, treasuring that
      precious secret in her heart. She always knew there were incredible
      depths of tenderness beneath Logan's gruff fa├žade... but to actually
      see it made manifest was a privilege that moved her to the core of
      her being.

      When it hid such grace in such unlikely places, the world was really
      quite wonderful.

      Wrapping her arms around herself, Jean smiled and slowly moved toward
      the staircase. She would never betray that moment to another living
      soul.

      And she would never hear "The Three Little Pigs" in quite the same
      way again.


      (c) 2004 Jordanna Morgan - feedback welcome
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