"Kid." Logan just won't quit with that, will he? Quentin is twenty now. He's an adult. Not to mention he's been the avatar for the Phoenix for just over two years now - and successfully. He's had no issues with it since his first couple of months. He's in complete control. He is in no way a kid now... Even if he hasn't grown out of his signature tacky haircut and colour, and only altered his clothing style by adding a few flame motifs to some key clothing items.
"Kid, follow." Still, Logan gestures with a slight flick of his hand as he passes the class Quentin has just finished up teaching. Frowning, Quentin reluctantly obeys the command trailing up the corridor after the older man.
"Alright, big guy. What's with the ominous orders?" He sighs with an eye roll that hasn't changed since he was sixteen.
"Just shut up and pay attention for once, Quire." Logan attempts to cover the growl in his words, though he barely succeeds. He cares about Quentin - that's obvious to anyone who knows them - but that doesn't mean the telepath isn't still one of the most infuriating assholes Wolverine has ever met. "I need to talk to you. Important stuff." He grumbles with a flippant hand gesture as he leads Quentin up the stairs towards the exit to the roof.
"Is it about the Phoenix? Because you really don't need to-" Quentin abandons his protests when they pass Evan (AKA brand new secret boyfriend after Quentin had finally gathered the balls to make a move on him last week) on their current staircase. He instead chooses to flick his eyes over his boyfriend's figure and offer him a flirty smirk. Evan, of course, blushes and hurries past them.
'Looking good today, Sabahnur.' Quentin projects, looking back to see Evan turning the corner out of sight at the base of the stairwell.
'Out of my head, Quentin.' Evan's thoughts sing back immediately, causing Quentin's smirk to grow, before he returns his attention to the headmaster still climbing the stairs in front of him.
"It ain't." Logan states gruffly and suddenly.
"Huh?" Quentin prompts, taking a few steps two at a time in an attempt to catch up.
"I ain't bringing you up here to talk about that damn bird." Quentin can almost hear the eye roll in the words - Logan's history with the Phoenix isn't great. Quentin knows that.
"So... Talk." Quentin pushes as Logan shoves the metal door and they exit out onto the roof. The sun is hot and bright, but low in the sky. It's calming. Peaceful.
He drops to sit on the roof with a sigh, causing Quentin to raise an eyebrow.
"Si' down, kid." He commands gently, and Quentin actually surprises himself by obeying. But he just gets the feeling from Logan's straying thoughts and feelings that he's anxious about this. And, despite never admitting it to anyone ever, when they're alone, Quentin doesn't mind showing that he doesn't 100% hate Wolverine.
"What's up?" He asks semi-politely, shifting on the hard roof to get comfortable.
"We ain't got time to beat around this, so I'll just come out and say it." Logan begins firmly, looking out over the grounds of his school, and now Quentin is inwardly worried. What's wrong? Is he okay? "I want you to take over as headmaster when I can't do it myself."
Quentin blinks across at him in silence, his expression blank. He doesn't know what to say. It's weird. He always knows what to say usually. Not now, though.
"I know it's big, kid. And I know you'll say like you don't care about keeping this school alive. But we both know that's a lie. If you really hated this place, you woulda left after you graduated. There's no way you woulda got to teaching seven classes a week for these kids."
Quentin wants to argue but he doesn't know how. It's all true, of course. This school is the most important thing in his life. Which is why Logan's proposition hits him so hard.
"But-" he starts, soon having to take a breath and re-evaluate his chosen words in his mind. "But Daken is-"
"Daken is my son, yeah. And maybe he'd do better in the spot than you. Yes, he's more experienced than you. And yes, he's been so good for us the past three years. But he struggles to understand the kids. And his past still comes back to bite him in the ass. We can't get the kids caught up in that."
Daken came to the school three years ago, seeking rehabilitation and safety, or so he said. But he causes little trouble, really. And with the untimely Mist-related deaths of so many X-Men in the recent years, he's been a brilliant and much needed asset to the dwindling team. And he's on the border of being trusted now. He's practically the leader of the X-Men alongside Quentin himself. But still, the way he fights, the way he disappears for a few days here and there, and the strange way he watches Quentin, give so many of the senior X-Men enough reason not to trust him entirely...
"Quentin, you're ready for this." Logan reassures the younger mutant carefully, using his first name as he only does so rarely. "These past two years, the Phoenix has really helped you grow the hell up. You can really help these kids."
Quentin is still close to speechless. He doesn't think he's ready. He's not. He can't be. He'd be responsible for so many kids. And with the Mists claiming so many mutants... It's a frightening task.
He sighs and turns his face away, looking down at the vines that have twisted their way up to and across the roof to weave carefully beside them. Krakoa always strives for Quentin's attention. The telepath trails fingertips over the plantation at the thought. It makes sense for him to be headmaster, he supposes, even the school grounds want him to be.
"Don't worry, Quire. You got Evan to help you. And Laura and Keller. Daken can cover strategies for the X-Men until you settle into the position." Logan seems to really have planned this all out. It's strange. But it makes Quentin feel a slight bit less nauseous about the possible pressure in his future.
"Thanks." He murmurs, looking down at his feet. "Really. Thank you."
"It's weird when you're not being a pain in my ass, y'know, kid." Logan smirks pushing up to stand. "It's nice."
"Logan, wait!" Quentin stumbles clumsily to his feet and takes the other mutant's shoulder. His voice drops as he carefully asks, "You really think I can do this?"
"I know you can." Logan promises, offering the telepath a small, confident smile. "You'll be fine."
Quentin nods slightly, flames lining his eyes, showing his heightened emotions. They're harmless, of course. Just as his blue aura would show when he was emotional before, the Phoenix flames naturally took its place when he acquired the Force.
"C'mon, kid. Keller's phys-ed class is about to begin and I sure as hell ain't trusting him after last week's 'Mutant Lacrosse' incident."
Bet you thought I'd forgotten about this fic, but AHA NOPE HERE IT IS! I actually use a quote directly from The Lion King in this, cuz I'm the opposite of subtle.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
"Logan..." Quentin yawns, sat on the headmaster's desk, leaning back on his hands and focusing on the door.
"Get off my desk." Logan immediately responds, narrowing his eyes at the back of Quentin's head.
"Seriously..." Quentin starts, not actually continuing past that, but very much too far in his own thoughts to hear Logan's command.
"Ain't talking 'til your ass is off my desk, kid." Logan growls, leaning back in his chair slightly.
"Do you think they'll hate me for this?" Quentin allows a small hint of vulnerability into the words. It causes Logan to furrow his brow, a little surprised Quentin would expose his worry for what his teammates think.
"No, Quire. They won't. They can't. It ain't your decision." Logan replies professionally now, all the respectable, supportive headmaster.
"Are you sure? 'Cause most of them don't particularly like me already." Quentin sighs and drops his head, watching how his legs swing as they dangle off the desk.
"They respect you, kid. You'll be fine." Logan promises kindly, before adding another "Now, get the hell off my desk" to lighten the mood.
It works. Because Quentin immediately turns back with a small smirk, obviously forcing his insecurities away.
"Soon to be my desk," he points out matter-of-factly.
"If you don't stop being such a pain in my ass, I might change my mind." Logan smirks, although of course it's not true. Quentin's infuriating, irritating manner is one of the main reasons that he's like a son to the headmaster.
There's a series of light, polite knocks on the door that Quentin would recognize the pattern of even without immediately sensing the telepathic signature that accompanies them.
"Come in, Evan." Wolverine summons, recognizing the shyness in the knocks as easily as Quentin.
Evan enters quietly, easing the door shut behind him. "Hi, Headmaster. You said you wanted to see me?"
He looks perfect, Quentin notes. Distractingly perfect. Loose t-shirt, track pants that hang low on his hips, still slightly sweaty from his usual early morning run that he'd left Quentin in bed to go on a couple of hours back. Quentin bites his lip at the thought. He loves waking up in Evan's bed.
"Yeah, well, you and the team. Where the hell are they?" Logan grumbles lowly, as Evan moves over to stand behind his secret-boyfriend, resisting pressing a kiss to his cheek.
"Daken was styling his hair when I passed his room." Evan informs politely, still obviously not entirely comfortable with having Daken on their team.
As if on cue, Daken's yells echo up the corridor outside. Logan has his head in his hands almost immediately. Sighing, he mumbles something about 'damn kids' before looking up just as the door smashes open, and a very mussed looking Julian Keller stumbles in wearing no more than his boxers.
"Can you put your kid on a leash?!" He hisses, before Daken is in the room, on him, and shoving him up against the wall.
Megan teleports in in that moments, excitably squealing something about "-have to help! Daken found Jules and Laura- Oh. They're already here. Cool. Never mind." She grins and takes a seat to watch the show.
"I will tear you apart, pretty boy! Don't you think I won't!" Daken is growling, forearm pressed across Julian's neck.
Suddenly, he is being nudged backward, away from the telekinetic as Mercury forms between them.
"Please don't kill my best friend." Cessily sighs, her expression empathetic. "We all want to sometimes, but please. Restraint."
"Yes, brother." Laura speaks up with a smirk from where she leans against the doorframe in no more than her underwear and Julian's old Xavier Institute shirt. "If you 'tear Hellion apart' who am I supposed to continue my exploration into sexual activities and coitus with?" She's teasing, obviously. But it still makes everyone cringe, and provokes an audible 'ew' from Megan.
The slightly awkward silence breaks with an 'oof!' and a pained groaned from Julian that follows Daken's punch to the gut.
"Okay, he deserved that." Cessily deems this fair from where she now stands, shrugging beside them.
Logan has to suppress a moan at the sight. This is his team. This is what he managed to scrape together. And they're a mess. When they're not secretly screwing, they're beating the shit out of each other. They're immature, inexperienced and not ready for this in the slightest. But, he supposes, when they do work together, they really work. And their powers do make them a formidable unit. Good-guy Apocalypse, an Omega-Level Phoenix host, demon magic teleporter, two baby Wolverines (one with pheromone manipulation), an extremely skilled shapeshifter, and one of the most powerful telekinetics to ever live. They're good... When they get along... Which is rarely.
He looks up at Quentin, who's already rolling his eyes and sighing a very Logan-esque sigh.
"Good morning, Satan- I mean Daken." Quentin teases with a sarcastic smile, provoking a low growl from the other male. "Still as happy as ever, I see."
"Stop talking, Quire." Daken snarls, dropping into one of the seats in front of the desk like an overly smooth but hilariously stroppy teenager.
Quentin is vaguely aware of Evan stepping closer to him. He never quite knows if this is a protective thing, or if it's a safety thing. It happens a lot when Daken's around - Evan being as close to Quentin as possible. Quentin originally assumed it was due to Evan past with the older man, that he was frightened. But now... Now Quentin thinks maybe it's Quentin's safety Evan's concerned for instead.
"Nice o' you all to turn up. Finally." Logan grumbles sarcastically, eyes flitting across the oh-so-very tedious paperwork scattered over his desk that he just knows he'll have to deal with once this meeting is over. He misses Ororo - she was always better at this stuff.
"Can you get on with whatever you need to say so I can - oh, I dunno - put some clothes on?!" Julian snaps from the back of the room, arms crossed firmly over his bare chest, lower lip pushed out to communicate just how done he was with this morning.
Logan shoots him a quick look, developed purely for him. "You kids all know my days are pretty numbered now. I ain't gon' live forever, you all know that." He starts. It's almost ironic, really. That the one person they'd all grown up viewing as totally immortal is discussing his death with them. "And there aren't many senior X-Men left to take on the school when I'm done. You kids are my team. You're the best the X-Men have, you know that?"
There's an odd air of guilt around the room as everyone feels a little bad about the chaos caused just minutes ago. They are the best the X-Men have. Why can't they act like it?
"I gotta get one of you ready to look after this place - my students - when I'm done." He pauses for a moment for no particular reason. "And - I'm pretty sure it's 'cause I'm losing my mind - but I chose Quire."
The room is filled with mixed reactions. Megan claps quickly with an excitable 'ooooh'; Cessily offers a fond smile; Julian rolls his eyes and forces a sigh; Laura simply nods professionally; Daken narrows his eyes in a slightly unsettling manner, and Evan grins as bright as Quentin has ever seen him before. Quentin can feel the excitable, giddy energy radiating from him, and it almost causes the telepath to laugh out loud.
"Daken, you'll be taking over strategy and planning, initially, alongside Laura, when she ain't on her solo work." Logan continues, meeting his son’s eyes.
"Of course, daddy." Daken hisses with a sarcastic smile.
Everyone is a little unsettled until Logan speaks up again, "I just wanted you kids to know before it might happen. But ya all have classes to teach now, so get outta my office and I'll see ya in training later."
Each team member filters out with mumbled goodbyes and careless throw away comments about the last ten minutes. Quentin is last to leave, following Daken from the room.
"Daken! Wait!" He calls, resisting taking the other mutant's arm. Daken turns back in an instant, expression impatient.
"What do you want, pinkie pie?"
Quentin clears his throat. "I just wanted to check you were okay with this. That you were happy to let me have this...?"
There's a pause when Daken blinks at Quentin silently. "Yes, well. Forgive me for not jumping for joy - bad back, you know."
Quentin rolls his eyes at the snarky, immature response. "D, c'mon! You know it's just because he sees how you're more valuable in the field."
"Thanks, Quire. I will bear that in mind." Daken repeats Quentin's eye roll back to him, before turning away. "See you in training, kid."
And Quentin is left in the corridor blinking blankly in complete and utter bemusement.
People are weird.
lol the next chapter is the death one lol
lol i got inspiration for this fic outta nowhere
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Fire licks at his brain... As it does every night. The heat surrounding him from every angle, clutching at his breath. But no. No, this is different. Because this isn't the smouldering, suffocating burning he's used to, pushing down on his chest. This is sharp, yet seemingly distant, stabs of heat and danger all over his body.
And that's what makes him realize.
It's not just the Phoenix this time.
His room is on fire.
His eyes are open and he's upright in a second, the protective bubble the Phoenix surrounds him in slipping for a moment, allowing the ashy air into his mouth. He coughs and splutters away that mouthful of smoke, and wades through the flames, his mind slowly coming to.
But now he can hear it, the screaming, the panic. Oh god, the kids. The team. Evan.
He doesn't know how long he's been asleep, or how he managed to sleep through the chaos, because the fire isn't just in the teachers' quarters. As he runs desperately down the corridor, he's hit with more and more of the students' terrified thoughts.
He reaches out to the team, and sends the message that they confirm their safety as soon as possible, and flies up the stairs towards the nearest cluster of mental terror he hears. He kicks open the first door he comes to and is met with a startled squeal from a group of students hiding inside. They're pressed against the window of the room, obviously considering the jump or trying to get the attention of someone outside to avoid that option. Their eyes are wide and terrified, and it's only in that moment that Quentin remembers that oh yeah, he's the Phoenix. He's covered in fire. The thing these kids are trying to avoid. He resolves not to concentrate himself on suppressing the Phoenix flames, as he usually would, because he needs all his focus on protecting his students.
"Hey guys, it's okay, it's just me." He calls out to them over the concerning creaks of the warping building. He telekinetically smashes the window outwards. "I'm gonna get you down, don't worry."
The young mutants relax a little in Quentin's prescience and he works on telekinetically guiding them safely out of the window and down to the ground. He can only manage one at a time with his limited TK, but he does it.
He takes a breather when he watches Laura emerge from the building below him, shepherding the kids away from the school.
'Krakoa...' He reaches out telepathically, and cringes when he feels the pain rush back to him in response. 'I know, buddy. I'm sorry. Just, please, keep the kids safe?'
He watches through the empty window frame as the ground ripples and a small embankment forms between his location and the cluster of panic he sees and feels in the distance.
'Q! Where are you?!' Evan's panicked thoughts push into his head, so forcefully that it almost hurts, but it only makes him smile.
'I'm in dorm F. I was just making sure everyone was out. I can't sense anybody else - have you got everybody with you?' He projects back, probably too calmly, and heads back towards the stairwell to see what he can do about these flames. He's the fucking Phoenix. He must be able to absorb a little fire.
'The students are all accounted for, and the team are all here looking after them,' Evan rushes his thoughts, and the wave of worry he projects stops Quentin in his tracks. 'But Logan's not come out yet!'
'What?' In a second, Quentin is jumping the banister and landing heavily in the flames of the ground floor.
'Daken's gone back in to find him, but- I-' Evan's thoughts are frantic and stressed, 'Quentin, I can't sense him telepathically.'
"No." Quentin whispers aloud, because Evan is right; Logan's telepathic signature is nowhere. He can't feel anything, but he knows he's running. He can't even tell if his feet are touching the floor with every step but he's moving faster through the fire than he ever thought he could move.
And then he's at Logan's room, the door almost entirely destroyed by the flames. He darts past it and struggles to see the other man through the smoke, but he's there. In bed still.
Quentin's heart skips a beat.
He still can't find a signature.
He screams and throws out his arms - commanding the flames, the heat, the smoke to all come to him. It does. It feels like it could tear him apart as each tendril of fire seeps through his fingertips.
He feels Daken push past him and take his father's side, and feels mildly comforted, making the task slightly easier.
He yells out once more, as he claws the farthest flames to him. Taking ever searing, slicing sensation. And then everything it too cold, and too dark, and much too quiet.
He forces his heavy eyes open to the sight of the blackened, charred interior of the room, lit only by the permanent halo of flames the Phoenix affords him.
"Quentin..." Daken's intense, blue eyes break through the dullness from where he kneels beside the bed. "What did you do?"
"I- I- This wasn't me, I-" Quentin tries to respond, but he can't speak. Because Logan's not moving. Or breathing. Or thinking. "No... No, no, no. Please..."
"He's gone." Daken snarls grimly, head bowed, causing Quentin to fall down beside him and clutch desperately at Logan's hand.
"No... Please... You can't go..." He cries weakly, quietly. Barely more than a whisper.
"You killed him." The words hit Quentin a second after Daken says them and he draws back, panicked and hurt.
"This wasn't me!" He yells, the tears heating on his cheeks. "I didn't start this! I swear! This wasn't me, Daken! It wasn't!"
Daken pushes back to stand over him, shadows casting terrifying shapes in his expression. "How else would it spread so quickly? And why else would your mind be so unreachable? Evan tried to connect with you and it was blank! We needed your help!"
"No! There has to be another explanation! I can't- I didn't do this to him! Please!" Quentin slouches even lower where he kneels.
"It started in the teachers' quarters, Phoenix! How else would you explain it?!" Daken yells. And then there's silence. And it all seems to make sense.
Quentin's gaze drops a little and he stares forwards, at nothing, attempting to catch his breath. He chokes on a silent sob. This was all his fault. He killed the closest thing he had to a father.
He looks up to Daken with pleading eyes, submissive and small and so flicking hurt. "What do I do?"
"Go." Daken orders, fast and harsh. "Leave before you can hurt anyone else."
Quentin's pulls back, as if he thought he had any other choice. "I didn't want this! It was an accident! I swear..."
"Of course, Phoenix." Daken's tone is still curt and strong, but now with an odd air of comparison. Sickly sweet and painful. "You would never want this to happen..." His eyes connect sharply with Quentin'a again. "But you are the Phoenix. And you have killed my father. And none of us really know what you'll do next..."
Quentin opens his mouth to argue? Apologize? Cry? Scream? He glances at Logan's body again, before screwing his eyes shut in excruciating pain. And all he can think about is Evan. And the students. And whoever else might come next if he fucks up again.
"Leave, Quentin." Daken repeats lowly. "Leave, and never come back here."
Quentin takes a breath and stands. "I'm sorry," he gasps, "tell them all, I'm so sorry."
And then he flies from the room in a flash of flame.
Daken pauses for a moment, watching the door, before spinning back to look over his father's body. He lifts a leg to nudge Logan's lump hand with his boot slightly, and takes out his cell. Lifting it to his ear, he clears his throat of the raspiness still left behind by the smoke.
"He's all yours." He announces proudly into the phone, looking over the body beside him.
sorry about it