When I Am Consumed in the Fire (Returning Spring
Logan had something on his mind, that much Scott could
tell. Scott had spent enough time with him to know
the signs. At the faculty meeting after dinner, Logan
spoke even less than usual, but kept shooting Scott
intense yet impenetrable glances. When the meeting
was over, the two of them had worked on revising
simulations in the Danger Room. Alone together, Scott
thought he�d hear what was bothering Logan, but Logan
had been all business. Now, back in Scott�s room,
Logan had repeatedly begun to say something and then
changed his mind. �Is there something you want to
talk about?� Scott had asked, after the third time
Logan had opened his mouth to speak and then said
�Not now.� Shaking his head, hand reaching to stroke
Scott through his jeans. �After,� he added, unzipping
Scott�s fly and lowering his head. But the phone had
rung right at that moment and there hadn�t been any
sex to talk after. The conversation with Jean-Paul
had led to a brief meeting with Charles Xavier and no
time for talk.
Charles had told Cyclops and Wolverine to fly directly
to Vermont and to come back with the woman who claimed
to be Jean that night. Scott had anticipated her
reluctance to return with them. Charles impressed upon
the two X-Men that it was essential that she be
brought back to Xavier�s right away, where her
movements and her actions could be more closely
monitored. The two X-Men promised that they would do
whatever was necessary to bring her back, using force
if they had to.
Alone in the Blackbird, sitting next to Scott, Logan
seemed ready to speak. Scott�s hands on the controls
and his eyes on the instrument panel, perhaps not
looking at each other made it easier for him.
�There�s something I think I should tell you,� he
�When me and you weren�t talking... or fucking or
doing anything else, well, I didn�t like it.�
�I was thinking about you all the time. Some of what
I was thinking was being real mad, although I�m not
even sure why anymore. Or at least I�m not sure I
know who I was mad at. I don�t know how much was
about what happened between you and me, and how much
was about how she was messing with us both, but I was
�But I wasn�t just mad. Something else was happening
to me then. A lot of the time I was just thinking
about when you and me had been together. About sex.
And talking. And working together � on missions, at
the school. And about working out and just hanging
out together.� He faltered, as if he didn�t know what
to say next.
�I�m glad we got back on track, Logan,� Scott said.
�I missed you,� he added.
�Yeah, me too. And I�m glad, too. It wouldn�t have
happened � us being friends again � if you hadn�t kept
calling me in Vermont, if you hadn�t said the things
you did. Then and later, after I came back.�
�I said some things I shouldn�t have said.�
�I know, but you owned up to that. I like how you�re
willing to say when you make a mistake. That�s an
important thing to do. I�m not so good at that myself.
But I�m gonna try more... I made a mistake about her,
I know that now. A mistake believing her. Doing it
with her and letting her into my brain. I don�t know
if she�s somebody else like you think or if she�s Jean
but she�s just changed into somebody else, a different
kind of person than she used to be. I know she�s no
good, though. No good for you, no good for me, for
the project, the team. She�s planning something,
something bad. I don�t know if we can stop her.�
�We�ll stop her.�
�I don�t know if we can stop her without killing her.�
Scott took a deep breath. �That would be okay with
me, I think. Charles might not like it.� Scott�s
voice was grimly determined. �It�s not just that
she�s impersonating Jean. It�s not just that she�s
been trying to pit you and me against each other.
There�s a kind of radiating malevolence about her.
It�s there, Logan. I can feel it when she�s in my
brain. She�s not the woman I knew and loved. She�s �
well, I hate to sound melodramatic, but the only word
I have for it is evil, as foolish as that sounds.�
�It doesn�t sound foolish. Evil is right.�
�We can handle evil. We�re the good guys.�
Logan laughed, then turned serious. �That�s not what I
wanted to tell you.�
�Sorry. I got us off on a tangent. What were you
�I was telling you about how I was thinking about you
all the time, when I was in Vermont and me and you
�But we made up before you came back. And then got
pissed off at each other again,� Scott added with a
wry grin. �The course of true love never did run
smooth.� When Logan didn�t answer he said, �It was a
�No it wasn�t.� Scott shrugged, and Logan continued.
�It�s what I want to talk to you about, that love
�I haven�t exactly been dwelling on it, have I? I
don�t want to make you uncomfortable. I just wanted
you to know how I feel.�
�I�m not complaining.� Neither of them said anything
for a minute. �So, like I said,� Logan went on, �I
was thinking about you all the time when I was up
there. At first I thought it was just �cause things
were bad between me and you, you know? Some of the
time I was mad at you, some of the time wishing you�d
call and say you�re sorry, some of the time thinking I
probably should be the one to apologize. And I was
real happy when we did make up, but... well, it didn�t
change nothing. So then I knew different.�
�What do you mean?�
�I mean, I wasn�t mad anymore, but you were still on
my mind all the time. When something was bugging me
you were the guy I wanted to tell about it. When
something good happened, well... same thing. When I
was horny, I didn�t just want to fuck, I wanted it to
be with you. When you told me you were jealous of
Jean and me, that you didn�t want me doing it with
her? Well, I get that. I don�t want you doing it
with anybody else, either. Just me. I�d be real mad
if you did. And, not only that. I don�t wanna do it
with anybody else. That part�s new for me. I don�t
ever remember feeling like that, not for more than a
week or so.� Scott chuckled at that. �I guess it is
kind of funny, but it�s true. It�s just not how I am.
I�m just not built like that, to stay with one
person. To feel like that about one person. Or, I
wasn�t, anyway. But that�s how I�ve been feeling with
you. It�s still like that for me. I think about you
all the time. I�m feeling like I never felt before,
that I can remember. Wanting stuff I never wanted
before. That�s how it�s been for a long time now.
Only one thing has changed.�
�At first it bothered me. I just wanted to stop
feeling like this, and now I mostly think I like it.
It feels good thinking about you, being with you. I
want to keep going on like we have been.� Logan took
a deep breath. �So, I guess what I�m saying is that
I�m in love with you, too.�
Scott�s smile seemed to light up his face, even in the
darkness in the jet. �You don�t know how happy I am
to hear that.�
�Now that we�ve both said it, we don�t have to talk
about it anymore, do we?�
Scott laughed. �Not a lot, anyway. I might mention
it once in a while, but I�ll try not to be a bore
They found the FBI agents in the mud room. Sprawled
on the floor, arms stretched out, face up. Dead.
There was no doubt that they were dead, although the
scene was confusing enough that Scott and Logan
weren�t able to tell right away how they died. There
was a lot of blood - on the men and all over. They
didn�t stop to examine the bodies at first except to
verify that they were indeed dead. No pulse, and they
were cold enough that it was clear they hadn�t just
been killed. The X-Men went looking for the rest of
the house�s occupants, wary of one of them. Scott
would have missed the two bloody lumps on the hall
table if Logan hadn�t pointed them out. It took them
a moment to realize that they were the dead men�s
�She cut out their hearts?� Logan sounded like he was
trying to verify that this wasn�t another of his
�I don�t know if she cut them. I don�t see any
knives. Not that that means anything. But� her
telekinetic powers � they were much stronger than
Jean�s were, and they�ve been getting stronger all the
�You think she... lifted them out? With her brain?�
�Death by telekinesis? Maybe. Let�s see if there are
any knives missing from the kitchen.�
The knife block was full, but someone was in the
kitchen. Sasquatch was unconscious but alive, lying
on the floor of the kitchen, arms and legs spread to
the side, just like the dead G-Men, but his heart
still where it belonged and still beating. Northstar
and Cassandra were nowhere to be found.
Logan cocked his head to one side, listening. �What
do you hear?� Scott asked.
�Something that way. In the garage.�
�The panic room?� They looked at each other. The
noise was getting louder now � Scott could hear it,
too. A banging sound.
�She�s trying to break in,� Logan said. �Angela must
be in there.�
�Okay,� Scott answered, moving into Field Leader mode.
�She�s stronger than she was, maybe stronger than we
know. Remember the G-Men. But there are two of us and
� more importantly � we know she�s here and she
doesn�t know we are. We need to surprise her and
immobilize her. That means at least knocking her out
� her brain can find weapons if she�s conscious, even
if we can imprison her body.�
They entered the barn as quietly as they could. A
shovel was embedded half an inch into the fortified
steel door to the panic room. As Scott watched, an axe
rose and hit the door with crashing impact. More
tools flew through the air, a deafening sound as they
connected with the hard metal, but the door stood. The
woman whose brain was throwing them seemed to have no
idea anyone else was there, her eyes and her brain
focused on the door, and on the one she was trying to
reach, behind the door.
Logan jumped her from behind, claws extended. Before
he could use them on her, though, the adamantium
extending from his hands began bending. �Retract
them!� Scott yelled and he did, immediately, before
they bent too far to go back in, realizing that was
the only way he could use his fists.
And use them he did, attempting to knock the adversary
unconscious. His hand stopped just before it
connected, and he couldn�t break through the
telekinetic barrier. Scott ran to join in the fray,
grabbing another axe stored on a rack on the wall, to
use as a weapon. As he did, his visor floated up and
off of him. Eyes snapping shut, he managed to avoid
any unintentional damage and tried his best to fight
blind. He realized how ineffective he was when,
swinging for Jean, he connected with Logan�s shoulder
instead. He could feel bones in his hand breaking
from the impact with the metal inside. Jean�s voice
in his ears, he turned towards her and considered
opening his eyes, but only for a split second.
Cyclops had no qualms about killing her, but was
disoriented without vision, and too worried that he�d
accidentally hit Logan again, this time with deadly
force. Or that the optic blasts would pass through
the door or wall and hit Cassandra.
And then someone else was in the barn there with them.
Scott was still blind and Logan couldn�t see him
either, as the newcomer was moving too quickly for
even his superhuman vision to detect. The first Logan
knew that someone was there was when he saw their
adversary fall to the ground, unconscious. Then the
blur that had hit her slowed down enough to be visibly
Jean-Paul Beaubier. Scott felt his visor being placed
in his hand. Opening his eyes he saw Northstar for
the first time.
�Where�s Walter?� Jean-Paul asked. �Did she do to
him what she did to the others?�
�No, he�s okay,� Scott replied. �She left him alive.
I don�t know why.� Northstar�s sigh of relief was
loud in the now quiet barn.
The three men looked down at the woman lying there,
unconscious. �What do we do with her now?� Jean-Paul
�We�ve got to keep her like this until we get back to
Westchester. Charles can decide then.�
�I say she stays unconscious permanently,� said Logan,
extending his claws, verifying that they hadn�t been
damaged, prepared to use them.
Before either of his companions could answer,
something began to emerge from the unconscious body on
the floor. Something not quite solid, yet not quite
gaseous. Translucent, flickering, in hues of gold and
red and orange. It looked like the figure of a human,
yet also looked like a bird, and like a flame all at
once. It emitted a light so intense as to be blinding
to all but Scott, who saw the shape but not the colors
or its flickering brightness. It hovered there in the
air above Jean�s body, and then rose in a flickering,
shimmering path to the ceiling of the barn. And
It was gone.
�What the fuck was that?� Logan asked. No one knew.
He turned back to the woman on the floor, claws still
�No!� Scott yelled, stopping Logan before he attacked.
�It�s Jean,� he added. �I can feel her. It�s really
�That...thing? It was in her body? Merde!�
Jean-Paul shook his head.
Scott knelt before Jean�s body and watched as she
opened her eyes. �It�s okay,� he said. �You�re safe
She sat up, looked confused for a minute, and then
threw her arms around him, crying. �I thought I�d
never see you again.� She tried to say more but
appeared overcome with emotion. �I could hear you
sometimes,� she added, and then couldn�t say any more.
�It�s okay,� Scott said again, holding her now,
one-armed, his useless right hand hanging by his side.
�It�s gone, whatever it was. You�re back, that�s the
important thing. You�re safe. Do you know what it
was?� She shook her head. �We�ll talk to Charles,
figure out what happened. It�ll be okay, somehow.
Jean was shaking hard. It took a minute for her to
compose herself. �I�m okay,� she said, echoing
Scott�s words. �As long as I�m with you, I�ll be
fine.� Scott looked at Logan, over Jean�s shoulder.
The expression he saw on Logan�s face was one he
doubted anyone but him had seen before, one Scott had
only seen when Logan was in the middle of a nightmare.
Scott wanted to say something to him, but didn�t know
what. He didn�t get a chance to decide what to say.
Logan turned around without a word and left the barn.
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