All was not well at the Xavier Mansion.
Logan first noticed it on New Year’s Eve. During the party that night, Jean looked somewhat restless, and excused herself well before midnight. On her way out, Logan overheard her ask Scott if he was coming to bed soon, and he said he would—but for once he became absorbed in the students’ fun, and stayed up late into the night, watching Dick Clark and playing silly games with the kids.
A week later, Logan heard Jean talking to Scott about having lunch together. Scott murmured his agreement as he rifled through his class notes for the day… and that afternoon, Logan found Jean sitting in the dining room, alone. He joined her, and tried to coax a smile from her. He did not succeed.
The mood stayed with her in the following weeks. She would become lost in thought during staff meetings, often while gazing vacantly toward Scott. She began to wear more makeup and dress more elaborately than usual—and if she put on one more layer of perfume, Logan felt sure that his ensuing sneeze would register as a seismic disturbance.
Scott remained preoccupied with work, and never noticed a thing.
Logan decided that he knew what to do about the problem. The only trouble was that it would require him to endure a little torture—as in volunteering to go grocery shopping with Scott.
On February the twelfth, Logan made his move. He bided his time through the uncomfortable silence of the drive to the grocery store, and the onerous task of shopping. Only later, when the bags were all loaded into the SUV and Scott was pulling out of the parking lot, did Logan finally pop the question.
"So what are you and Jeannie doing on Valentine’s Day?"
Scott glanced over, his face stony beneath his ruby-quartz glasses. "If it’s any of your business, there’s a big science test that day. We’ll probably be grading papers half the night."
Mildly amazed, Logan shook his head and gazed out the window at the passing traffic. "You know, Cyke, you really are a piece of work."
The younger man’s grip on the steering wheel tightened. "What?"
"Oh, come on. I’ve been watching you two—and it looks to me like you haven’t been watching Jean at all." Logan waved a hand. "Earth to Mister Spock! Don’t you think it’s about time for that every-seven-years thing to kick in?"
The response was a spasmic flinch that nearly caused Scott to swerve into the next lane. That alone was enough to please Logan, who was always irritated to no end by the driver’s-ed exactitude Scott practiced behind the wheel.
"That was a ‘Star Trek’ joke," Scott murmured, with a note of wonder. His astonishment at the reference apparently outweighed any indignation over the insult.
Logan shrugged lopsidedly. "So I watch TV. Besides, Doctor Crusher is kinda hot."
Judging by the sudden jerk in Scott’s shoulder, he was prevented from slapping his forehead only by his determination to keep both hands on the wheel at all times. "Geez, Logan, what is it with you and redheaded doctors?"
"Maybe I like being doctored," Logan replied smugly.
"Uh-huh." Scott’s lips twisted. "I guess it’s too bad you’re all but impervious to injury."
Score one for the walking hand phaser. Logan rolled his eyes and folded his arms over his chest. "Okay, fine—you don’t want my help, I’ll just keep my mouth shut."
Scott dared to glance away from the road for all of half a second. "Your help?"
"Yeah." Logan gazed out the window, assuming an attitude of perfect aplomb. "I was going to tell you how to stir things up a little with Jean, but if you’re not interested—"
"Logan, the last thing I need—heck, the last thing anybody needs—is romantic advice from a Canadian sasquatch." Scott grimaced, and his voice dropped to a somewhat self-addressing tone. "Jean and I have just been… busy. Things will settle down soon."
Watching Scott wallow in insecurity was well worth the earlier trudge through the grocery store. However, Logan had a goal to accomplish, and he decided to lay into it in earnest.
He fixed his darkest glower on the younger man. "She ain’t happy right now, Cyke—and she deserves to be happy. That’s why, one way or the other, I’m gonna make sure you fix that little problem." Then his fierce expression relaxed into a smirk. "Of course, if you really don’t wanna know the trick to what she finds so fascinating about me…"
"No," Scott ground out between his teeth.
Logan made a small throwing-away gesture and leaned his head back, closing his eyes. A full two minutes passed before he heard Scott’s exasperated voice.
"What on earth does she find so fascinating about you?"
Turning his head, Logan looked at Scott, and a slow, predatory smile crossed his face.
On February the fifteenth, Logan cruised through the hallways of the school, looking for Rogue during the students’ lunch break. As he passed by one of the classrooms, his sensitive ears caught the sound of Jean humming cheerfully behind the closed door. Cracking a smile, he stopped, and quietly stepped closer to listen.
A moment later, Ororo’s voice intruded on Jean’s humming and the shuffling of papers. "Okay, Jean, spill it. You’ve been smiling for two days. What is it that’s made you so happy lately?"
Logan put a hand over his mouth to stifle a chuckle.
"Oh." Jean sounded slightly chagrined. "Well… Scott’s just been in a very… interesting mood for the last few days."
A long pause. And then, somewhat mischievously: "Interesting like how?"
Logan counted to three, and right on cue, heard a long-suffering sigh from the other side of the door. When Jean answered Ororo’s question, her voice was raised to be clearly heard.
"I’ll tell you later, while we’re grading papers. Logan is listening in the hall."
Barely containing a laugh, Logan opened the door and poked in his head to grin broadly at the two ladies. He lingered just long enough to catch their perfectly synchronized eye rolls before ducking out of the room and continuing on his way.
He had expected Jean to make a telepathic sweep for eavesdroppers, and frankly, he didn’t want to hear any more. Details would involve Scott, and that was a mental image he did not need. It was enough for him to know that Jean was getting her due—and that her quest for Scott’s attention would no longer leave him in danger of asphyxiation by perfume.
Of course, if Jean ever read Scott’s mind and found out who had been giving him ideas, her reaction would probably make asphyxia seem quick and painless…
Maybe Logan’s scheme had not been such a good idea, after all.
© 2004 Jordanna Morgan -send feedback