Chapter 1: choosing sides
It'd been a hell of a night. He may not have all his memories intact for comparison, but he's pretty sure he's never had to deal with astral projections speaking to him in his head, or bucketheaded war-freaks descending ominously from the sky. Or women with mile-long legs floating down on an off-season breeze...
He'd been on the run from some feds who somehow caught and sedated him after his claws aroused suspicion during his last cage match. How and why they brought him across the border and clear across the US was beyond him; all he knew was government feds were bad news, no matter what the country.
He'd just lost them when a vision in a purple turtleneck and faded grey jeans came floating down to him on a breeze so fresh, it had no business in the backstreets of New York. The claws came out in an instant, but she didn't seem alarmed. In fact, she'd been the one to ask him not to be afraid when she offered help, her lightly accented voice a smooth and calming alto.
What happened next was a bit of a blur. A voice in his head was speaking about evolution and genetics and mutations, when a man in a metal helmet and yet another leggy beauty with a dangerous smile and gleaming blue skin appeared as well, both talking about a coming war...
In the end, he'd been offered two options: Join one to fight on the "right" side of a coming war, or join the other to help keep the peace.
(- it doesn't have to be a case of us versus them.)
Even without the strange astral projection's voice in his head, it wasn't much of a decision. He may not remember much, but even from the little he could recall? War was ugly, and somehow he knew that he'd seen enough of it to last several lifetimes.
Once the freak in the bucket had flown off in disgust, the oddly comforting voice in his head began explaining things in more detail. He was a mutant, the next step in evolution. More importantly, he wasn't alone. And despite the words thrown around in the altercation in the alley, he was being given another chance to make a choice. Charles Xavier wasn't about to force him into joining his cause. He was, however, prepared to offer him a place to stay for the night - a safe place, no strings attached, until he could decide for himself what he would do, where he would go.
Logan couldn't remember the last time he'd been offered that. Not even Fury was so generous.
The lady with beautiful white hair was looking at him expectantly.
"Charles Xavier is a good man, Mr. Logan," she began, her startlingly blue eyes warm and sincere in the light of a flickering street lamp. "I know it's quite a lot to take in, and I am not asking you to put your trust in him right at this moment... All I ask is that you give him a chance, and listen to what he has to say."
With that, she'd offered a hand for him to take. Had anyone else ever done that for him? Not in recent memory - not that he had very many memories, to begin with.
He grasps her hand; both his eyebrows go up at how firm her grip is. She smiles at his surprise, and her blue, blue eyes seem to gleam with the promise of tomorrow.
Chapter 2: tempest in a teapot
(See the end of the chapter for notes.)
It was eight hours now since his back-alley encounter with the beautiful white-haired woman and the strange, calming voice in his head that claimed to want to help him. Six hours since he'd first stepped foot into this small but elegant one-story townhouse along Fifth and Main. Five, since he'd taken the first hot shower he'd had in months, and promptly passed out onto the clean sheets of a soft bed. Talk would have to wait; his healing factor could fix up everything from scrapes to broken bones, but it couldn't heal exhaustion.
Early dawn light streaming through clear, glass windowpanes woke him up with a start. A quick glance around the small guestroom told him no, he wasn't being chased, or on a mission (favor) for Fury or in some rundown cheap motel. Weird.
There was a change of clothes thoughtfully folded on the chair by window. He pulled the white tank on - running around shirtless around urban New York got old really quickly - but quickly shucked on his own jeans, contemplating the situation he'd found himself in.
He wasn't normally one to trust so easily, but there was something about the bald man in the wheelchair that didn't have his hackles rising. At least enough to take him up on his offer to explain things in further detail. He was, after all, the first person to claim to have some sort of explanation for the blades that rested between his knuckles. Mutant, he'd said, with no amount of suspicion or malice, but instead with a measure of understanding and kindness. Logan's head was telling him he was making a rookie mistake, shacking up with people he barely knew, but gut instinct was telling him to hear them out, listen to what they had to say. And, in his (short) experience, instinct was always right.
Dressed now, he made for the door. He'd barely taken a step out the room when the wheel-chair bound man he recongized from last night turned from the nearest corner. He smelled like old books and aftershave.
"Good morning, Logan." He said, smiling. "I was just on my way to see if you would join us for breakfast."
The rumble of his stomach answered that question for him, and he shrugged. "S'long as the food comes with some answers, sure."
Xavier gave him an answering smile and maneuvered his chair around to face the way he came. "Of course. This way, then, if you please."
"You'll have to excuse the crampedness," the bald man was saying smilingly. Except it wasn't cramped at all, with hallways wide enough to allow the berth of his chair to make smooth U-turns with relative ease. "This house rarely sees activity outside of myself and a bi-weekly housekeeper. It's only in use for when I have a string of lectures to give at the universities in the area."
Oh, so he was that kind of professor. Explained the funny smell of books and old leather that clung to him. Charles gave him an amused sort of grin.
"And the lady, the flying one - 'Roro, or something? - What's her deal?"
"Miss Ororo Munroe," he clarified with a smile. "a graduate student that I met by chance at her university. A fine young woman, if I ever met one. She was using her own mutant powers to save a student trapped in the flaming wreckage of a car when I first met her..."
"Yeah?" He wondered what she could do; apparently there was more to her than flying and looking damn fine.
Charles arched an eyebrow at him. "There is indeed much more to her than that. Miss Munroe can manipulate the weather at will."
Logan blinked, the statement so absurd that he barely registered that Xavier was answering his questions as he thought them. "She can control the weather?"
"Indeed." The telepath's smile was as subdued as ever, but the light in his eyes was excited. "And it seems that her control is so great, she can quite literally create a tempest in a teapot."
A soft, throaty chuckle came from inside of the next doorway. His nose told him it was a kitchen, if the fresh scent of eggs and bacon was any indication. Two purposeful steps brought him within view of the small kitchenette, where Flying Lady was setting a table for three.
"You flatter me, Professor." She remarked, bowing her head modestly.
"But it's true," Xavier had turned to Logan then, leaning forward on his elbows, hands clasped together before him. "You've seen her floating on winds of her own making. It would be a fair assumption to say she could conjure them on a smaller scale."
Ororo gave him a faintly amused smile before she turned to address Logan. "You will have to excuse Professor Xavier. I've only just met him myself, but already I've noticed how excited he gets over the prospect of learning about new powers..."
"Yeah, it isn't obvious or nothin'," He would've rolled his eyes, but he found he couldn't look away from hers. Her eyes were a beautiful ocean blue.
She arched an eyebrow at him curiously. "... Yes?"
Had he been staring stupidly at her? "... Was just wonderin' if you could." He said, gruffly tearing his eyes away and looking somewhere, anywhere else. "Uh, do that tempest in a teacup shit."
Her brow rose ever higher. "Is that a challenge?"
"I dunno, darlin'." He swung his eyes back to her and raised an eyebrow right back. "S'only a challenge if you can't do it."
She paused and gave him a long look; she was tall, taller than him and the Prof on his chair, so it gave an effect of her looking down on them both, like a queen surveying her subjects from a high pedestal. Were he a lesser man, he would have fidgeted in his place.
But then she turned to the nearest cup - she had filled it with coffee only moments prior - and gestured with one hand, thumb and first two fingers up. With a slight tilt to her wrist, the air before her began to swirl into a tiny cyclone, about five inches in height. Her dark lips parted and she blew a gentle gust to help it move along towards the cup where it made a neat water landing. In seconds, she had a miniature water spout forming within the confines of the delicate piece of china, not even a single drop of coffee landing on the table.
Beside him, Charles brought his hands together in a slow clap, smiling appreciatively. Logan glanced once at him, then at the woman who was calming the tiny tempest down with a graceful wave of her hands. It was only then he noticed the eerie, electric white glow of her formerly blue eyes. Damn.
"Amazing," Charles said, beaming. "Was that not amazing, Logan? The level of control over that kind of ability, truly astounding."
"Yeah," He echoed faintly, blinking in awe. "Great stuff."
Ororo smiled blushingly. "Thank you," she remarked. "Though I must note, it took many years before I could even achieve that kind of control. If anyone is deserving of praise, it would be those who have helped me harness this power."
At this, Charles clasped his hands back together. His smile was sincere, eyes bright.
"Yes, which is exactly what I mean to discuss with the two of you, today..."
Charles' tiny townhouse is completely made up. For some reason, I don't like the idea of him living all alone in a large ancestral mansion, all day everyday until he would find the first of his X-Men.
Chapter 3: breakfast at xavier's
The clock in the kitchen read five-to-seven, Ororo noted as she pushed a stray lock of damp hair behind an ear. She finished early, today. Her daily morning jogs had yet to fall into a consistent routine as she was still determining a good route to follow around the mansion's grounds. Running on uneven terrain was something she needed to reacquaint herself with, she mused as she leaned on the doorjamb to rub the soles of her feet. Charles had vague plans of adding a levelled track in the massive backyard, but like most everything in the opulent mansion, it was a work in progress. Still, running made for good endurance training, and it was something practically anyone could do… Perhaps they could move it up on their list of things to do.
"Mornin', 'Ro." Logan ambled in, morning paper in hand. He dropped it onto the table where he knew the Professor would find it.
"Good morning to you too, Logan." She smiled broadly, pleasantly surprised at his presence. It wasn't often that he was around the kitchen, at this time. She learned early on that the mysterious Logan was not exactly the most personable of people. He kept to himself, and Ororo gave him space.
"Charles should be down in a few moments. Would you like to join us for breakfast?" She moved around the island counter, taking a loaf of bread and a bag of bagels down from the pantry.
He paused, and Ororo saw him glance towards the garage door.
"Unless you're busy, of course," she amended as she took an apron from a rack.
Obviously he noted the tone of challenge in her voice. He raised one eyebrow at her and shrugged. "S'long as you don' make me wear one'a those sissy aprons, darlin', sure."
Soon, the fresh scent of Arabica coffee filtered through the kitchen, and Ororo had some eggs poaching in a pot of water over the stove. "Charles likes his eggs poached," she said conversationally. "I prefer mine sunny side up. You?"
When he didn't answer, she turned from the stove and found him busily going through the fridge's contents.
"Whatever are you looking for, Logan?"
"Meat. Tell me we have actual meat in here."
She smiled. "I believe we have some bacon in the freezer. Pass them over to me, I will toss them into the pan with our eggs." She broke one into the Teflon. "You didn't answer me, Logan. How do you take yours?"
His voice was muffled. "Scrambled… aha." He emerged from within the fridge holding a packet of bacon. "I like 'em scrambled, hard." he repeated, grinning. The slight inflection on his last word did not go unmissed by Ororo, but she hid away her own smile. Now was not the time.
He set the packet down on the counter to thaw. Ororo tsk'ed and waved the hand that wasn't minding her frying pan over its general direction. A pocket of warm air formed around the bacon, and the ice started to melt in seconds.
That was the scene that greeted Charles as he entered the kitchen. He paused just inside the doorway, watching as toast popped out of the toaster. Logan caught them easily, in a waiting plate without even sparing it a glance, his eyes making sure he didn't spill the eggs he was expertly whisking with a fork, one-handed, in a small bowl. Meanwhile, Ororo was sliding a sunny side up into a plate and promptly laying out several strips of bacon to sizzle in its place. They greeted him in tandem, without looking up from what they were doing.
"Good morning, Charles."
Charles would have been slightly offended, if the scene weren't so amusing, quaint and borderline domestic.
He smiled openly. "Good morning, Ororo. Logan. Breakfast smells wonderful." He wheeled himself to his place at the kitchen table, skillfully maneuvering around the two. Logan had passed off his bowl of egg to Ororo, who poured it into the pan that his bacon had just vacated. She instinctively moved aside so her partner could reach where the coffee had finished brewing. He took the carafe as well as three cups and moved to join Charles at the table.
"Cream or sugar, darlin'?"
Charles couldn't help it, he laughed quietly. Logan and Ororo finally paused and turned to him as one, quirking one eyebrow each.
"What's so funny, Chuck?"
"Nothing." His eyes twinkled. "I suppose I shouldn't be surprised that you two seem to work just as well in the kitchen as you do on the field."
Chapter 4: better than Bond
(See the end of the chapter for notes.)
Logan whistled. "Nice plane, Chuck."
The sleek, black jet gleamed under the harsh florescent lights of the hangar that the Professor had brought both Storm and Wolverine to visit. He chuckled. "Magneto's exploits have been getting more and more ambitious as of late." he said, as he followed his two companions at a more sedate pace as they approached the plane. "I felt that we may need certain resources if we want to keep up with him."
"So you step up the game and got us an honest-to-god SR-77." Logan smirked and shook his head. Must be nice to be able to afford military planes at the drop of a penny...
Even Ororo was in awe; it was her first time to see such a thing up close. "And who will be piloting the jet, Charles? If you do not mind my asking."
The Professor cleared his throat. "I may not look like it, but-"
"Woah, woah woah." Logan interrupted, and turned to stare at the Professor. "You know how to pilot one of these planes, Charles?"
He smiled. "As it happens, I do. We flew a few of these in Vietnam..."
Both gave him equally surprised looks. "... Although I suppose this Blackbird here is in a class of its own, when compared to the earlier model..."
"It's amazing, Charles. But wherever are we going to keep this?" God bless her little heart, Logan thought, but sometimes 'Ro sounded just like a mother.
"I've already spoken to our engineers and contacted the contruction company about a hangar for the Institute, my dear Ororo."
Understanding flashed in her eyes. "Then I am to guess that the construction in your mansion is more than just simply expanding the basement..."
"An underground hangar, eh, Chuck?" Logan was clearly impressed. Damn. "Damn."
"Yes; there will be an exit for take offs that opens in the waterfall behind the grounds. I am thinking of installing another on the lawn for vertical take-offs, as well..."
"Shit, Chuck. James Bond's got nothing on us!" (Ororo swatted his arm. "Logan, language!")
Charles chuckled. "I'm hoping to relocate the latest Cerebro prototype into the sublevels some time in the future. There are also blueprints for a fully stocked infirmary in the works."
Ororo nodded. With Magneto's recent burst of activity, they would definitely be needing the latter.
"In any case, I am thinking of enrolling the both of you in aviation classes. What do you think? It would be best if you two are licensed pilots, I feel."
"Nah." Wolverine smirked. "I may not remember everything, but I do know for a fact I can probably pilot this baby," He had S.H.I.E.L.D. to thank for that knowledge. "As for why I can, though, I ain't rightly sure."
The Professor nodded. "I expected as much, but I hadn't been certain." He turned to Ororo, but she had taken a few steps forward to have a closer look at the plane. "And you, my dear? How do you feel about learning how to fly a jet?"
Logan watched her lift off from the ground in a smooth arc. "You really gotta ask that, Charles? Can't imagine it'll hold a candle to literally flying."
Charles chuckled. "Of course. Even still..."
Ororo had floated up to the nose of the jet and laid one careful hand on the gleaming metal. "I can't say I've ever in my wildest dreams thought I would learn how to fly a plane, Charles." She turned to look back down at the two on the ground. "But it would be a helpful skill to learn..."
Charles clasped his hands together, smiling brightly. "I'm glad to hear that. I shall sign you up for lessons as soon as possible, then."
"Can Logan not teach me?" She tilted her head his way curiously.
Logan blinked. "M'not much of a teacher, 'Ro."
She chose that moment to start her descent towards them. "Lessons cost money. Why spend when we have two experienced pilots right here?"
Charles glanced between them thoughtfully. "You know that money is not an issue, Ororo. Though you do make a fair point..."
She had her head bowed slightly as her feet touched the ground. "And although I hate to mention it, I'm not certain I would be comfortable with anyone else..." She'd made mention of her struggle with small, enclosed spaces to them before. He felt like there was more to it than what little she told them; looks like he was right. A Blackbird's cockpit was far from tiny, but it was probably the thought of prolonged periods of time in flight with recycled air and not much room to move with a stranger... Logan shook his head at himself, how did that slip his mind?
"Not much of a teacher," he repeated, shrugging, "But between the two of us I figure we could make it work somehow. Not that I'm complainin'; can't say I'm opposed to having private lessons with you, darlin'. It'll be fun." He grinned.
She playfully rolled her eyes at him before speaking to Charles again about how the dynamics of this would now work. Logan tuned them out; he was just happy to note that not only did her cheeks color the faintest bit at his choice of words, she hadn't denied anything.
He hadn't signed up for this when he agreed to stay with the Professor, but this was all turning out to be a lot more fun than he'd expected it to be.
Haven't you ever wondered the how and why behind the mansion's elaborate structure and architecture? Seriously, what did Charles Xavier have to do to convince various engineers and construction companies to build him an underground hangar complete with secret hidden waterfall entrance/exit...
Also, I realized I Didn't Do The Research after I wrote this, oops. I have no idea how acquiring a license for flying a plane would work. Do you need special classes from a licensed teacher? Can you show up at flight school already knowing how and just take a test to qualify for a license? I have no idea. Let's say the Prof pulled some (mental) strings and got them licenses in a jiffy or something.
And please don't lynch me if I got my facts wrong for what I did end up doing research for; SR-71's were indeed used in recon missions over North Vietnam in the late sixties to early seventies. I know 616!Xavier was drafted into the Korean War, but Evo is set in the early 2000's. I figured it make more sense if he was born a little later, and thus drafted into the Vietnam War instead.