As Logan steered his motor up the long driveway his acute eyesight pinpointed Scott Summers standing on the front steps seemingly waiting for him. Scott was leaning against the brick wall with his arms folded across his chest apparently deep in thought. He looked up when the sound of the engine reached his ears then put his feet under him to push away from the wall. Logan brought the motorcycle to a stop just past the stairs and cut the engine.
Scott watched him silently, stuffing his hands into his front pockets as he waited.
Logan dismounted the Harley and popped the helmet off his head. He looked up at Summers who simply stared back at him. It was always difficult to tell what that dead-ass expression meant went you couldn't see his eyes.
"Summers," Logan greeted as he placed the helmet on the bike seat and walked toward him. He fished the remnants of a cigar out of his shirt pocket and jammed it between his teeth.
"Logan," Scott returned in way of a greeting. "Nice trip?"
"Pretty good, yeah," Wolverine answered and climbed the steps. Instead of lighting the stogie he removed it again to speak to the team's leader. "Got Charlie's message to return immediately. What's up?"
Scott shifted his weight and turned toward his shorter teammate. He paused a moment then his mouth twisted into a grin which made Logan's head cock to the side slightly. Scott pulled a hand from his pocket and, slapping it down on Wolverine's shoulder, steered him into the building, saying "You're gonna love this."
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
In the professor's office, Charles welcomed him home and handed him a note. "We had an unexpected visitor arrive two days ago. She had this with her and said she was told to give it to you. Yesterday, two more visitors arrived."
"Visitors?" Logan asked, taking the folded paper from the professor's fingers.
"Yes," Charles replied, watching Logan evenly.
"Who are they? Did they say?" he asked as he unfolded the paper.
"They claim to be... your children."
Logan paused before reading the note, raising his eyes to Xavier. "Excuse me?"
"They claim to be the children of Wolverine... of James Logan... of Weapon X."
"This a joke?" he asked and when Charles didn't offer an answer Logan looked down at the note in his hand.
Prepare for incoming.
Keep them safe, they're all yours... mine... ours.
I’ll come to get them when it’s safe.
- Logan ~
Scott and Charles escorted Logan to the library where the children waited in the company of Jean and Ororo. The children were sitting quietly in the large room when the men entered. Logan took a moment to look at each youngster, his discriminating eye taking in the details of each one; a young girl with long dark hair and a boy a bit older than her and shared the same features were both coloring in books with Jean. She looked up as they entered and smiled at Logan, a good sign he hoped.
Another young lady, a teenager of oriental descent, sat separate from the younger two sharing a cup of tea with Ororo. The two women appeared to be engaged in pleasant and familiar conversation when Ororo, like Jean, looked over at him and smiled as he stepped into the room.
The young lady sitting with Storm simply regarded him evenly and carefully placed her tea cup on the saucer she held. Logan stared into those eyes and thought he’d gone mad to see Mariko reflected in those black orbs.
His reverie broken by the call, Logan turned from Ororo’s guest to see the young boy jump up from the table and run toward him.
“Pa!” he called again and stopped abruptly in front of his father, looking at him intently.
“Daddy!” the youngest girl called out and ran into Logan’s legs like a bulldozer, hugging his waist tightly.
Logan looked from the children with an askance expression and Scott simply gave him a bemused look.
“Logan,” Charles interjected to make introductions, “this is Jade and Scotty… and the young lady over there is Kirika. Your son and daughters.”
Logan wasn’t entirely sure how to proceed, but his confusion gave way to pride as he looked upon the faces of his children. He smiled and crouched down to look at his youngest daughter at her level. “Hi,” he said with a grin.
“Hi, Daddy. You look… different. But you look the same too,” she said, letting her fingers play in his thick whiskers.
Jade reached up to run her hair through Logan’s thick black hair. “Your hair… it’s not white… and you don’t have a ponytail either.”
“Yeah,” Scotty remarked. “Not like the other “you” who came to find us. He had black hair like you but he had a big scar across this eye,” the boy pressed his finger to Logan’s right eyebrow. “But we could tell it was still you… but not you at the same time. I think… even you aren’t our real Pa. Are you.”
“It’s okay,” Logan assured him. “The universe is a crazy place, kid. There’s a lot I’ve seen and done, crossing into other planes of existence isn’t so far-fetched. Just remember, in any universe you are my son an’ I’m still your pa… and you’re safe here.”
“I know,” Scotty said then added proudly. “I promised you I’d always look after Jade and Ma and I have.”
Logan grinned. “You’re a good boy… Scotty, right?”
Scotty nodded with a smile and then looked to his baby sister as his father turned to her.
“You behaving yourself for your brother?” Logan asked Jade and she smiled and nodded. “Good girl.” He stood up and felt eyes on him. He turned to see Scott regarding him seriously through his rose-colored goggles before grinning.
“You named your son, Scotty?” Summers asked with a smug grin.
“I’m sure it was his mother’s idea… and I’m positive I argued the point,” Logan replied under his breath so the children wouldn’t hear, but Charles smiled as Logan stepped carefully past the two younger siblings toward the fourteen year old girl sitting with Storm.
Kirika stood up gracefully as her father came toward her. She bowed as he stopped before her, a sign of respect in her mother’s culture. “Chichi.” She greeted him with a single word, Father.
“Mariko?” Logan asked. It was difficult for him to find words. The thought that he and his one true love had actually had a family together in another parallel universe rocked Wolverine. Kirika bowed again in acknowledgement.
“Hai,” she acknowledged his question with a nod. She wore a beautiful green kimono and her jet black hair, as fine and straight as M’iko’s ever was, was pulled back away from her face. Like her mother, she looked like a porcelain doll, with almond shaped eyes so black they looked like pools of melted dark chocolate.
“Anata wa kireida,” Logan told her she was beautiful, just like her mother. “Anata no okasan no yona.”
Kirika bowed again in thanks and Logan took a moment to revel in her, seeing her mother so clearly in her china doll face. Then he broke his attention away from her to regard the other two youngsters.
“Who’s your mother?” he asked.
“Daddy,” Jade admonished with a look of fear. Her brother rested his hands on her shoulders to reassure her.
“Our mother’s name is Maureen. You sometimes call her Mo, for short,” Scotty informed him.
Logan couldn’t think of any woman he knew with the name Maureen. He finally shrugged it off with the belief that he didn’t necessarily meet all the same people in each life in every alternate reality. He was sure though that she must be a grand woman though if their children were any indication.
“You a farmer, Scotty?” Logan asked, having picked up the scent of rich soil hovering around the boy even after two days of clean living inside the mansion.
“We are, Pa,” Scotty nodded, indicating both he and his father.
“Oh, that I’d like to see,” Scott remarked. “The farmer in the dell… Old Man Logan,” Scott teased.
“Well the farm isn’t doing too well right now,” Scotty told Scott, “but Pa tries. He tries real hard. Ma says that he was a great man a long time ago… a super hero… but he gave up that life.”
“To be with us!” Jade crowed happily and hugged Logan’s leg again.
Scotty looked at her with a sorrowful expression that seemed older than his years. “Sort of… Ma don’t tell us the whole story, but from what I gather somethin’ really bad happened… an’ Pa walked away from being a superhero. He tries hard to get the farm up an’ runnin’ but the Hulk Gang won’t leave us alone, they keep ruinin’ everything.” The boy turned away from Summers and looked his father in the eye. “Ma says you could fight ‘em off if ya’ wanted to, but she says you refuse to hurt anyone like that ever again. Not sure what that means…”
Logan listened, as did the others, until Scotty stopped talking. Logan simply regarded his son with a serious expression until Jean came over and gently guided the children away from the three men. “Who wants lunch?”
“Meeee!” Jade cheered as she was led out of the library.
With a gentle urging by Ororo, Kirika followed them out, giving her father a slow nod as she passed by him.
The three men watched until the children were out of sight.
“Wow,” Logan commented.
“Yeah,” Summers agreed with a grin.
Ororo smiled and took Logan’s arm as she escorted him out of the room. “Come on, “Daddy”, it is time for lunch.”
“Sorry to interrupt everybody’s fun time, but we have incoming,” Kitty reported over their comm. links.
Logan finished the last bite of his sandwich and picked Jade’s napkin up off the floor to hand it back to her for the third time during the meal. “Where is Kitty?” he asked the others.
“She’s been keeping watch for others in the Danger Room. That’s where the rift opened to let these three through,” Charles told him. “We didn’t know if we should expect anymore so I have the X-Men taking turns sitting watch.”
“And apparently we have another child inbound…” Ororo added with an elegant smile.
Logan pushed away from the table and the others did the same. Dr. McCoy caught up to him and slapped him on the back of his shoulders with one big blue paw and smiled.
“You certainly are prolific, aren’t you?” Hank mentioned with amusement.
“I’m the best at what I do…” Logan returned with equal good-humor.
And so it was. On the second day, three more were sent to the mansion. In the first trip was a young brother and sister, Brian and Marie. Most notable when Logan and the others entered the room to greet them was that they too were obviously of oriental descent. Upon careful questioning it was revealed that they were the children of Logan and Mariko from yet another destiny. This made Logan grin, despite the odd situation he found himself in.
Later that same afternoon, the call came over their comm-links; it was Rogue this time on watch duty. Logan, Scott and Jean greeted a teenage boy named Daken who resembled his father in an eerie likeness. Logan scowled at the name given to his son, only he knew what it meant in a foreign language. The boy was rough and brash and lively and Jean smiled as she realized he was going to make things quite interesting for Logan.
The following day, two more were sent to their father’s custodial guardianship. One was an eight year old boy named Erista, who identified himself as the son of Gahck who is born of the Tribe of Fire in a place called the Savage Land. That information piqued Wolverine’s concern and he mumbled to Xavier that he’d be taking a trip when this was all over to have a heart to heart with Gahck in his own timeline. Just to be sure.
The other arrival on the third day was a beautiful 16 year old girl who called herself Wild Thing. Daughter of Wolverine and… Elektra! Her name was Rina and she boasted her father’s mutant powers, healing factor and heightened senses. Being the daughter of two of the best martial art masters in any universe also meant that Rina Logan was a force to be reckoned with; her parents made sure of that and taught her the arts well.
To everyone’s pleasant surprise Wolverine took to parenthood much like one would expect of an alpha male; especially one that harbored so many of the fine attributes of the majestic wolf. Logan and his pack of offspring seemed to fit together like perfect puzzle pieces, which astounded the professor who kept an eye on the brood and their father to offer assistance if needed.
The rest of the X-Men were also more than willing to help out; often taking one or two children for a few hours while Logan focused on one or two at a time; to get to know them better and to keep his frustration level to a minimum. For anyone to go from a single lifestyle to instant fatherhood overnight would overwhelm anyone, but to become father to so many instantly… well, the X-Men had no idea how Wolverine would handle it all.
The two teenage boys did well keeping each other company; that’s certainly not to say that they kept each other out of trouble. They were, after all, the sons of Wolverine.
Erista and Marie were of the same age and both were quiet, calm individuals. They enjoyed each other’s company in the gardens while Marie read books to Erista and tried to teach him how to read.
Brian was strangely a lot more like Scott Summers than Logan was inclined to be polite about. To Logan’s chagrin, Brian was extremely calm in all things, methodical and studious. He followed Scott around, always engaging him in conversation and Summers obliged happily – to Jean’s grins and giggles. It didn’t pass without Logan’s notice that Jean seemed to be watching Scott’s responses to the children as if making future parenting plans. Whatever.
Today was Logan’s day to have lunch with the adults since Kitty and Rogue had a field day planned. Laura aka X-23 was now 19 and had taken Logan’s bike to the airport to pick up Amiko Kobayashi. His adopted daughter had traveled from her home in Japan in order to take the opportunity to meet her siblings and half siblings. It wasn’t every day you got to meet family from other parallel realities.
So the four young ladies had kept most of the children occupied for most of the day and Logan was enjoying a quiet lunch with Ororo, Hank, Jean and Scott.
“How are you holding up, Logan?” Henry asked.
“Fine,” Logan replied as he took another bite of the homemade beef stew Jeannie had made the night before.
“I must admit that I’m rather impressed with your handling of the situation. I never envisioned you so willing… accommodating, if you will… to be a single parent of such a large brood.”
“Why not?” Logan asked. “I practically raised Rogue and Kitty and Jubilee…”
“That is true,” Hank nodded with the memories.
“And Laura… well I didn’t really raise her, but sort of helped to re-train her… de-program her…”
“I don’t think she, like you, can ever truly be de-programmed, Logan. You are made of the same cloth.”
“Literally,” Logan murmured. “But most of them are nearly grown so it’s not that difficult, Hank.”
“True, I suppose,” McCoy agreed. “They are all very well behaved too.”
“That surprise you?” Logan looked at him over his fork, paused before taking the bite.
“Oh… not at all.”
Jean, Scott and Ororo shared a grin at that last when the door to the kitchen opened and two boys entered in a noisy and excited manner. Logan’s nose immediately picked up their scents and identities.
Daken and Scotty came into the kitchen, dirty and smelling like forest, they'd been outside most of the morning having adventures in the nearby woods. No surprise to anyone on that one. They scrambled past the other tables and chairs, Daken caught his hip on one of the chairs and it spun around behind him as he raced by.
“Sorry,” he offered as Logan looked up with a scowl. He watched as the older boy paused long enough to right the chair and push it back under the table haphazardly before catching up with his partner.
Scotty was trying to catch his breath and talk at the same time, they'd obviously run back to the mansion to share their exciting discovery.
“Take it easy, Scotty… catch your breath first,” Hank instructed, ever the concerned physician.
Scotty gulped a couple of breaths as his half-brother came up alongside him.
"Pa! Pa, guess what? We found a possum in the woods!"
Logan took another bite from his fork and replied matter-of-factly, "That's where possums live, boy, so it's only natural to find them there."
"Yeah, but this one is dead, Pa!" Scotty exclaimed.
Logan took a sip of his coffee and offered casually, "Possums play dead, Scott."
“Well I know that Pa, but -- this one is really dead."
"Oh yeah?” Logan asked looking up at the dirt smudged faces of his sons. “How do you know this one is really dead?"
Daken smiled, white teeth gleaming as he answered. "Cuz he pissed in its ear and it didn't move or nothin'!"
Taken aback by the youngster’s brash language the adults look up in shock. Hank immediately frowned at him. "Pardon me??"
To that Scotty nodded and explained."Yeah you know, I went 'pssst' in its ear and it didn't move."
Ororo nearly barked a laugh but caught herself behind a napkin. Jean turned back around with a bemused grin and shared it with Scott who was openly smiling. Hank took a deep breath and turned his eyes to Logan who didn’t seem to think anything untoward about his son’s accounting of the story.
When Logan looked up to the silence at the table and, noting McCoy’s stern expression, he did a double take and then glanced at the others at the table who were all looking at him with varying degrees of amusement.
Logan cleared his throat and shifted in his seat. “Watch your language, Daken,” he told the boy, looking at Hank for approval. He received it with a nod from McCoy.
“Huh? What the hell did I say?” Daken asked innocently.
“Oh boy,” Hank muttered.
Daken shrugged when nobody chose to enlighten him and he smacked Scotty on the arm, gesturing toward the patio.
Logan just grinned and finished his lunch as the two boys turned and ran back outside.
The following day there were two more rifts opened in the Danger Room. Scott and Jean were on duty together when the first one came through. They both sat up and blinked as a glowing anomaly appeared in the room below them and a small child was deposited in the room before the rift winked out of existence. She couldn’t have been more than three or four years old, with brown skin, blue eyes and stark white hair.
“You’ve got to be kidding me,” Scott uttered.
Jean rose from her seat to go to the youngster who now stood alone in a giant cold room crying and scared as Scott activated the communications link.
“Logan… you and Storm might want to get to the Danger Room… right now.”
“What is it, Scott?” Ororo’s voice came across the speaker.
“I believe it’s your daughter, Ro.”
Wolverine and Storm entered the room to see Jean standing there holding a tiny version of the Weather Witch.
“Oh my,” Ororo remarked, her eyes alight with wonder at the small child.
Logan, however, had stopped dead in his tracks at the first inkling of what the existence of that child meant.
Scott came over to him and regarded him closely. “Seriously?” he asked as if accusing.
“What.” Logan returned defensively.
“What do you mean, ‘what’? That’s your daughter.”
“And?” Logan replied, still overly-defensive.
“And?” Scott said incredulously. “Who do you think her mother might be?”
Logan glanced at Storm who was now cooing and taking her babe from Jean’s arms.
“Mommy!” the little girl squealed and hugged Ororo tight around the neck.
“Hello, baby,” Storm greeted her daughter from another reality. She then turned toward Logan with her sculpted eyebrows raised high and Wolverine swallowed heavily. His mouth remained slightly ajar, his eyebrows knitted together severely. Ororo smiled at his stumped expression.
“I… I don’t… I don’t get it,” Logan stammered.
“All evidence to the contrary, Logan, it would appear you get it a lot,” Scott mentioned, folding his arms across his chest and scowling at Wolverine before looking at Storm.
“Do not look at me in that tone,” Ororo admonished him. “Obviously, Logan and I are much closer in her reality.” Storm grinned at the two men while Jean beamed as if she couldn’t wait to tell everyone about this one.
“What’s this?” Jean asked, pointing to a note pinned to the child’s shirt.
Ororo turned it over and read it aloud. “This is Kendall Logan, daughter of Storm. She’s nicknamed Torrent because her mutant powers are showing already. Take care of her, Logan, she’s priceless.” That is where the note ended and Ororo hitched her babe up higher and turned to walk out. “She is that,” she stated. “Thank you, Logan,” Ororo chimed as she disappeared out the door.
Jean smiled at Wolverine as she passed by him on her way out. “You dog,” she said.
Logan grinned. Seeing Summers still eyeballing him coldly, Logan just shrugged. “When you got it, you got it,” he said and followed the women out of the room.