TITLE: Broody Afternoon
AUTHOR: Scorpio
PAIRING: None; Iceman, Wolverine
NOTES: This vignette takes place after the story "Four Angry Mutants" by Andy Lane & Rebecca Levene published in the 1996 Anthology "The Ultimate X-Men."
DISCLAIMER: All things X-Men belong to the incomparable Stan Lee, God of the Marvel Universe. I am unworthy.
SUMMARY: Bobby broods over the events that occurred during the trial of Arthur Streck, the mechanisms of the FoH and his reactions to Rachel Mostel's mutant pheromones.

Broody Afternoon
by Scorpio

Squinting up into the oily and grease coated underbelly of the huge engine of his car, Logan stretched out one hand to grasp around for his socket wrench. His fingers found a light dusting of chilly snow. He frowned. It was far too warm for snow to form naturally so that could only mean one thing. Robert Drake, practical joker of the X-Men, was nearby.

Cautiously, Logan pulled himself out from under his big black car and peered around, looking for Bobby before the other mutant could get the chance to catch Logan upside the head with a snowball. Another light dusting of snowflakes shifted out of the sky. Glancing up, he found the Iceman.

Sitting forlornly on the roof, a sad and brooding expression on his face that would have looked more at home on Scott Summers. On Bobby, it seemed out of place. Logan scowled up at the younger man.

"Hey, bub. What's wit the personal cloud of gloom and doom?"

Logan pointed skyward and Bobby glanced down at him with a jerk of surprise, obviously yanked from his inner thoughts. Then, he glanced upwards as well. A small stationary dark cloud hovered directly above Bobby, gently showering him with snowflakes. As if just realizing that he had conjured the mini-snowstorm, Bobby flushed a bright red and waved one hand absently at it. It gave a tiny hiccup and dissolved away into nothingness. Bobby's personal snowstorm ended, but his broody expression stayed etched on his face.

"Sorry about that. Just ... uh, thinking about stuff. I didn't ... um, bury any of your tools in a snow drift or a hunk of ice, did I?"

Involuntarily, Logan glanced over at his toolbox. He knew that he would have noticed it if they were covered in snow, but he couldn't help looking once Bobby said something.

"Naw, they're fine. Just wondered why it was snowing on a warm day."

Bobby blushed a little, an expression of embarrassment flooding his features. Logan was torn between teasing the younger man and getting back to work on his car. After a brief hesitation, he was about to turn back to his repair work when a crackling sound rushed passed him and the ambient temperature plunged. Swinging around, he saw a solid pole of shimmering ice rise up out of the ground and head towards the sky. Or at least, the roof.

Bobby stepped off the edge of the roof, grabbed onto the pole of ice and slid down it like a fireman. A bright smile lit up his face as he descended, but then it faded away again. He tilted his head down and shuffled his feet momentarily, but then he looked up again and gazed at Logan with a mildly haunted darkness in his normally cheerful eyes.

"I, uh ... wanted to thank you. For, you know ... stopping me from going after Rachel. It gives me the heebie-jeebies to think how close I came to being completely under the spell of her mutant pheromones. I've done the whole mind-control thing before and I don't ever want to be in that place again."

Logan watched as Bobby seemed to almost curl in on himself with that admission. His sensitive nose picked up the stark stench of despair and hopelessness. He was shocked, Bobby was taking this a lot harder than he should be.

"Don't worry about it. I've got the healing factor, don't forget. I was under her spell until it kicked in, so it's not like I'm any better. Just ... different."

Bobby flashed him a halfhearted grin that was more reflex than truly felt.

"Yeah ... but it would have been nice if it had been real and not some strange mutant power to warp people's feelings and desires."

Logan frowned again. He didn't get what Bobby meant by that last statement. After all, Rachel was a beautiful and attractive woman, even when you weren't close enough to be effected by her powers. Or did he mean the way she used them?

"Well, ya know why she was doin' it. I mean, ya can't hold her to too much fault. The Friends of Humanity was holdin' her daughter as a captive to force her to do their dirty work and muck up the trial."

Bobby nodded his head.

"I know. I don't blame her. Hell, I sort of wonder what I would have done in her place, you know? I mean, we've been trained to fight our way out of situations like that and as me, I would have done the same thing that we did when we found out. Attack the FoH, get Sophie back, and put their plans to ashes. But as her, with no training, no back-up and no idea how to protect myself or Sophie? I'd have probably done the same thing she did."

Logan considered this. He and Bobby had attacked an FoH stronghold filled with rabid defenders at the end of a "prayer meeting" all by themselves. They had rescued Rachel's daughter Sophie so that Rachel would no longer be forced to tamper with Arthur Streck's trial with her mutant abilities. That wasn't such a big deal, but Bobby had been under the influence of Rachel's pheromones at the time and had rushed headlong into danger, dragging Wolverine right behind him. Oh ... Oh!

"Ya mean how ya jumped into the middle of the FoH with no plan, no idea what ya were doing and just started workin' on freein' Sophie because of Rachel's pheromones?"

Bobby blushed and looked down and around, away from Logan. His heart began to race faster in his chest and Logan could smell the embarressment and ... fear?

"Yeah. Uh ... that's ... um, that's part of it."

Bobby coughed and looked extremely uncomfortable. Logan knew that something had really got stuck in Bobby's craw about this, but he wasn't sure if was because of the recklessness ... or something else.

"Don't feel too bad about that. Could'a been worse. If it had been old One Eye with ya, then ya would've got lectured and if it'd been one a the younger kids wit ya then ya would've most likely had ta bail their butt outta there. But me, I can take care of myself in the middle of a group of freaked out flatscans."

Bobby scowled.

"Yeah, I know. And I'm glad it was you with me. Honestly. But I shouldn't have jumped off of the ledge into the middle of the crowd without warning you at the very least. I should have made sure we had a plan of action or something. I could have gotten us killed, or even worse, Sophie killed. I didn't think though. I was just ... reacting. To Rachel's pheromones."

Logan flinched internally. He could sympathize with the younger man in a strange way. He didn't like to loose control either, and with him it was a continuous battle to keep his humanity pulled around him and not to lose himself to his more animal nature.

"That's true, kid. But I think you're being hard on yourself. I mean, it's not like you were on a rampage or nothin'. Ya kept your cool and didn't hurt no one more than necessary ta get us outta there alive. The things that ya did were creative and inventive, not the work of a mindless animal."

Bobby nodded his head, his face screwed up in thought as he peered at Logan and considered his words.

"Yeah. I guess you're right. It could have been way worse, but I still don't like the idea that her pheromones effected me so deeply. And that wasn't the only time."

Logan patted Bobby awkwardly on the shoulder, wanting to comfort the younger man, but unsure how.

"It was a bad situation and we both did the only things that we could. If you wanna blame anyone, blame the Friends of Humanity. They're the ones who set that whole mess in motion in the first place."

Bobby grimaced. Logan wondered if it was supposed to have been a smile. If it was, it didn't work out that way. Still, Bobby sighed deeply and nodded.

"Trust me, I do blame them. Part of me wants to try to explain to them how ... wrong they are. That, yes, there are some mutants to be feared, but that there are also a lot of wonderful beautiful people out there that are also mutants. That they totally miss out on the good if they refuse to see it. You know? Then there's the other part of me that just wants to bury them all under a sheet of ice and forget they were ever there at all."

Logan had the flash of a mental image and chuckled loudly.

"Can ya just imagine 'em tryin' ta play hockey in a rink that had the shocked faces of the FoH leaders starin' up at 'em from under the ice?"

Bobby glanced up at him sharply for a second and then broke out into quiet giggles.

"Thanks. Now I'm gonna think of that everytime I see a hockey game. Everyone's gonna think I'm nuts when I start laughing like a fool."

Logan's smile stretched into a smirk. It was good to see that Bobby's sense of humor was returning.

"No extra charge. Glad ta be of service."

Bobby grinned for a minute, but then he sobered up again. At least he wasn't brooding and looking haunted, so Logan didn't worry too much.

"Well, I'll let you get back to working on your car. I didn't mean to disturb you, but I'm glad I got to thank you."

Logan shrugged and waved it aside as no big deal.

"Don't worry about it. Just remember the two most important things. Sophie is safe and the FoH's plans were ruined."

Bobby nodded his head. For a second it seemed that he would say more, but then he just flashed a small smile, turned and walked away.

Logan watched him go for a second and then he turned back to his car. He grabbed his wrench, flopped onto his back on the ground and pulled himself under his car. It wasn't until a full five minutes later that Bobby had said that the incident with the FoH was only part of what was bothering him about Rachel's mutant pheromones, but that he didn't say what the other part was. Logan had the sneaking suspicion that the part that was left unsaid was the part that was truly bothering Bobby. He wondered what it was...

continued in "Contemplative Morning" >>

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