Title: Big Bad Wolf
Author: Jordanna Morgan
Author's Email: librarie@...
Archive Rights: Please request the author's consent.
Rating/Warnings: Well, it *was* G-rated before the paper towel
Characters: Primarily Jean and Logan.
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
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
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
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
Oh, yeah. Paper towels.
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
Then a deep, snarling, altogether fearsome voice rang loudly down the
*"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
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 façade... but to actually
see it made manifest was a privilege that moved her to the core of
When it hid such grace in such unlikely places, the world was really
Wrapping her arms around herself, Jean smiled and slowly moved toward
the staircase. She would never betray that moment to another living
And she would never hear "The Three Little Pigs" in quite the same
(c) 2004 Jordanna Morgan - feedback welcome