Everything Old is New Again

Authors listed in alphabetical order:

Khaki, Lateo, Loki

Logan growled as he tugged on his shirt collar, trying to loosen it for the fifth time that night. The bow tie kept getting in the way. How had he gotten wrangled into this thing?

He remembered back to the day before. Jean had told him that Scooter was too sick, and they needed more adults at the mutant rights fund raiser to help prevent the mutant registration act from getting passed. She'd said he could wear Cyke's tux, since his uniform had fit reasonably well on the mission last month. She had tried to convince him, using the argument that it was in every mutant's best interest to prevent that law from being passed.

"No way, no how," had been his answer to all of her arguments. He wasn't getting in a penguin suit and traipsing around with the upper crust, not even for a night, not even for Jean.

It wasn't until Marie and her friends came up to his room that he changed his mind.

"C'mon, Logan, it'll be fun."

"No it won't, Marie."

"You'll get to go and drink champagne and eat expensive food."

"Never cared for that stuff, Kitty."

"You'll get to ogle all the rich ladies in their expensive low cut dresses."

"You might have a point there, Jubes, but still..."

"Please, Logan," Marie asked, using that puppy-dog expression he was learning to be wary of. "I don't wanna be in that big group of people alone. What if someone touches me?"

"No one's gonna touch you... Awww, all right, I'll do it."

And now, here he was, stuck in the thick of high society, trying his best to stay out of the more convoluted political discussions that seemed to be going on all around him.

There was a fat general off to his right, talking about how mutants should be well-treated by America and not discriminated against. How they'd make wonderful soldiers in the military, since they had built in weapons.

It was suddenly much hotter in the room to Logan. Weapons... military... soldiers... It was getting harder to breathe. The room took on a greenish tint. It was like he was looking through liquid. He started gasping for oxygen, but all he could get was thick, metallic tasting air. He could smell and feel rubber on his face, covering his mouth and nose.

He looked to his left. A waiter was moving through the crowd with a tray of champagne glasses. People were laughing, clapping, congratulating themselves, slapping each other on the back.

Turning back to his right, a general, military men in full dress uniforms, watching him. Watching what they were doing to him. He whirled around to the h'oers doevers table. People with knives, cutting into the X-shaped patte. Only they weren't knifes, they were scalpels and they were cutting into him, not food. And he couldn't move. He was trapped, like an animal.

"NO!!!!" Logan shouted in the midst of the crowd, unsheathing his claws and breathing deeply, ready to attack the first person who threatened him. The party guests around him quickly backed away, giving him about a five-foot radius buffer zone.



Soon enough, the commotion caused by Logan got the other X-Men's attention. Jean walked to Logan, trying to read anything from him. She stopped short of the security perimeter he had built around him by unsheating his claws.

The girls ・ Jubes, Kitty and Rogue ・ were by Jean Grey when the telepath tried once again to reach his mind, to no avail.

"Logan, what's wrong?" she questioned.

He stared at her, breathing heavily, but said no words.

Rogue made a movement forward to try and calm him, but he stepped back, snarling at her.

"Rogue, step back," ordered Jean.

"He's freaking out everyone," noted Jubilee.

"We have to get him out of here, and fast," added Kitty.

"Yeah right. No good for a fund raising party..."

While Kitty and Jubes talked, Rogue looked around. For once, she was glad she had Logan's memory. She sure couldn't say what had happened, or triggered what was happening, but one thing she knew: he had to get out quickly. By himself. Otherwise, it could get messy in there.

She finally spotted the nearest emergency exit.

"There," she showed the others. "Let him get out," she kinda ordered.

"Maybe we could try and calm him..."

By that time, Logan was whirling around like a caged animal and he was obviously not in a state of mind to calm down and listen.

"All right. Let's clear a path to the door. Jubes?" Rogue had taken the matter in hands and none of the other X-folks argued. After all, she knew the man better than anyone.

Jubes circled around Logan in front of the frightened crowd to "clear a path" behind Logan to the security exit. Extending her hands, she let go a stream of fireworks which sure enough clear the path of any living soul.

Logan watched as the young person he didn't know sent sparks into the military staff. He couldn't tell if she was with or against him. The path. He had to get out. There was a door. But why did she showed him the way? It was a trap!

She would pay for it if it was a trap.

In a split second, before she could realize what was happening and the other X-Men could react, Jubilee found herself in a vice-grip arm and manhandled away.

With his hostage, Wolverine felt more secure. The bastards might want to try and stop him, or kill him, but at least one of them would go down with him.

He ran to the door and with a push of his shoulder, he crashed it open.

Freedom. For now. He looked around at the dark street. Hide. He had to hide.

The person in his grip stuggled to get free, and it bugged him. Nothing a nasty punch in the back of the head couldn't fix. Now he could run away undetected, carrying his docile hostage with him.



She had showed him the way to escape, so maybe she was a friend, but he couldn・ trust her yet.



Making his way down a side alley, Logan found a place to hole up behind a pile of boxes. He'd carefully stayed away from the dumpsters, so he could track the occasional passersby by smell as well as sound. It didn't sound like anyone was on his trail, but it was too soon to let down his guard.

He turned his attention to his hostage. She was young, probably still a teenager, and dressed in a blue formal gown, that was torn and slightly sullied in his escape.

If she was dressed up, she had to be one of the observers; one of the people watching them experiment on him. But then, why had she helped him? She was a mutant. She had done some sort of light show to help him escape. Maybe she felt sorry for him. Maybe she thought they would hurt her next. Maybe she was trying to trick him, bring him back to them when he was on the verge of escape.

His thoughts were diverted by the commotion down the street.

"The doorman said he ran this way," a young feminine voice called.

The sounds of running feet on concrete, the deep breaths of exertion from several young bodies. The soldiers. They were coming to take him back.

"You guys keep going. We'll look around here."

That's when his hostage started to moan as she woke. He snatched her up, pulling her against his body and roughly pushing a hand against her mouth.

The moans were replaced by startled squeaks.

Logan growled deep and low, releasing a single claw on his left hand and putting it up to her throat as he tightened his right hand against her mouth.

She stopped struggling immediately.

"Rogue!" an older woman's voice approached. "Any sign of them?"

"Not yet, Jean. Logan's fast. He could be long gone by now."

"Maybe if he was alone, but not with Jubilee."

His captive stirred under his grasp and then froze again, as if something had startled her.

"They aren't here. Let's go back to the party."

"But Jean, they have to..."

"Rogue," the woman's voice took on a hard tone, but no words followed it. Just silence, then...

"Ok, Jean. Let's head back."


Jean caught up with the younger students a few blocks from the assembly hall. She knew Logan was close. She could feel the rage emanating from him, but she couldn't get through to his rational mind. Then, she picked up on Jubilee.

~Jubilee?~ she asked psychically.

~Dr. Grey. You've gotta get away. You're seriously freaking him out right now.~

~Are you in danger.~

~... No.~

~Jubilee,~ she started, filling her mental voice with doubt.

~It's ok. I can handle it if you guys back off.~

~Ok, but we won't go far. Just out of range of his hearing. Tell me when he calms down and we'll stop.~


"They aren't here. Let's go back to the party."

"But Jean," Rogue protested, "they have to..."

"Rogue," Jean said, with a warning tone, then deciding it'd be easier, opened up a mental connection. ~Rogue, Logan's close-by, but he's not stable. Our presence is making the situation worse. We're not leaving them, but we have to give him some breathing room.~

The teenager thought for a moment and then replied, "Ok, Jean. Let's head back."



Logan stood still for a long time, holding tight to his hostage. Good for her, she had stopped struggling and making noise. She didn't know it, but one more sound and she was dead cold. He would stop for no one. And the bastards would not take him alive.

The soldiers had gone away. Looking carefully around, Wolverine couldn't see anyone. He needed a way to get out of there, and fast. Luckily, the soldiers had carelessly parked their jeeps all around. He only had to pick one, which he did.

Carrying Jubilee as if she was a sack of potatoes, he ran to the closest car. Unsheathing a claw, he easily picked the lock on the driver's door, yanked it open, shoved his hostage into the passenger's seat and got in. All that took 3 seconds. It took him even less time to hot wire the jeep. He stepped on the gas, and they drove away into the dark.

Wolverine had driven for 30 minutes when he noticed the gas tank was almost empty. He snarled, slicing the dashboard in an enraged fit.

Jubilee sat silently, only glancing at him sometimes. How she wished Jean Grey would *talk* to her. Could the distance have cut the psychic link? Gee, she was so lucky: get kidnapped by a psycho, nonetheless a known psycho no one wanted to hurt, and now... what? Why had the car slowed down?

The car came to a stop. Jubilee dared a glance at the outside. All she could see were trees, trees and trees.

A hand grabbed her and pulled her out of the car. She tried to not resist ・ it would just make him angrier ・ but he was hurting her. A little bit more pressure on her arm, and she was sure it would break.

He dragged her towards the trunk. That lock didn't resist an adamantium claw, either. Holding her by the arm, he looked inside for anything useful. Gee, not even a weapon in this jeep. He only found a woolen blanket. Nothing else deserved to be carried away.

"Logan?" carefully tried Jubilee.

"One flamin' word and yer dead. SHUT UP!!!" He yanked Jubilee behind him, into the woods. Yeah, in the forest, no one would find him. It was HIS territory.



"I've lost them." Jean said, sorrow in her voice.

"What?" Rogue demanded, filled with rage at having left them alone earlier.

"They're too far away. Logan must've stolen a car. That's the only way they could've gotten out of my range so quickly."

"Well, let's get a car of our own and go find them."

"Hang on, Rogue," Jean said. "The Professor's calling me."

Rogue paced around her friends as the woman carried on a silent conversation. She was worried sick about Logan and Jubilee. What was going on with him? At the party, he had acted like he was under attack or something. She could understand the feeling better than most people, since she still occasionally had his dreams, and she worried what he would do in that state. He hadn't seemed to recognize any of them. What would happen to Jubilee?

"The Professor's ended the party early. He's going to go back to the school and use Cerebro to find them."

"But what if..."

"Rogue, it's our best chance. As soon as he finds them, we'll take the Blackbird."


Jubilee was finding it harder and harder to keep her teeth from chattering. She was out in the middle of the freaking woods in a spaghetti strapped evening gown and six-inch stiletto heels, which made it almost impossible to walk in the foot deep snow. Not only that, but the guy she was with was definitely a few fries short of a happy meal.

Logan was prowling around the perimeter of their makeshift camp, sniffing the air and stopping every once in a while to listen carefully to, well, something.

Whenever her shivering got away from her and her teeth began to chatter, he froze, glared at her, and growled. At least he'd finally given her the woolen blanket. It wasn't doing much for her feet, but at least her shoulders weren't turning blue anymore.

"Logan?" she whispered. Making a lot of noise seemed to make him mad.


'Ok,' Jubes corrected herself. 'making any noise makes him mad. Well, at least he didn't waved his claws around again. That's a good sign, right?'

"I'm not gonna hurt ya," she whispered back. "Just tell me what's going on."

*GROWL* "You know," he answered and went back to circling the camp.

"No, I don't."

"Yes, you do."

"No, I..."

Logan roared and charged her, stopping barely a foot away. He hadn't attacked though. He just stood there, breathing heavily and staring at her. Jubes decided to take her chances.

"You can smell when someone's lying, right? Am I lying?"

Logan paused, caught off guard for a second by her question, and then sniffed deeply. She was telling the truth.

"Yer tryin' ta trick me," he said, but he didn't sound convinced.



He stood facing her, raging. Damnit, she was saying the truth. Now it turned out that his hostage wasn't one after all. He couldn't use her against them, unless she had very high value to them, in which case...

"Who t'hell are you?" he spat in her face.

"Jubilee," she quietly replied.

"Why did they catch you?" he asked, interested in knowing her real value.

"Catch me? No one caught me..."


Damnit, damnit, damnit. She was saying the truth again. Then realization hit him. They had messed with her mind! They had brainwashed her!

Wolverine relaxed just a bit. But if they had brainswashed her, who said she wasn't being manipulated?

"I'm like... freezing to death, you know," she whispered, startling him from his mental rambling.

He looked down at her. Indeed, the blanket wasn't enough to protect her from the cold. And right now, hostage or manipulated kid, he needed her alive.

"I know a place..." she continued.

"We ain't goin' anywhere," stated Logan.

That did it. Okay, Logan was Rogue's friend, and Rogue was her friend, but Jubilee wasn't ready to die. Not for a minute. She knew that if she stayed standing in the snow, in the forest, at night, she didn't have a chance to make it. And Wolverine obviously didn't give a s--- if she died, and who knew how long it would take the X-folks to find them?

Jubilee grasped at her last ounce of vitality and courage.

"All right!" she yelled. "So why don't you, like, kill me right now? C'mon, use them claws! What, lost yer guts? Damnit, DO IT! Cuz if you don't, you'll have killed me anyway!!! So DO IT!!!" she spat in his face.



*SNIKT* Logan released his claws and stalked towards her.

'Ok, J, that was so not a good idea.'

She pulled her freezing hands out from under the blanket and got ready to paff him and run. Of course, running in stilettos through snow when your pursuer has a healing factor was probably not the best plan. She could see her death, running and tripping in her tight dress and high heels like a blonde bimbo from a B movie before the Creature from the Black Lagoon caught her. Still, it was better than sitting and waiting to die.

He was close, and she steeled herself to shoot, when he sheathed his claws and grabbed her around the waist, flinging her across one shoulder like an economy bag of dog food.

"Hey," she protested.

He growled and held her tighter. "Don't talk."

About 15 minutes later, he put her down again. They were in front of a cave entrance, about four feet high and 3 feet wide.

Trying to see into the black depths, Jubilee muttered, "You have *got* to be kidding me."



Jubilee crawled inside, tugging the blanket as best as she could around her. That hole didn't even deserve to be named a cave. A rabbit hole, yeah, that was it. Jubilee winced at that thought. She hoped there was no animal in there... But of course, if there had been any, Logan would have dealt with it already. She tried to relax in the hole, watching Wolverine outside.

Logan sat by the hole's entrance, his eyes darting at the dark surroundings. The slighest sound made him tense and clench his fists. Hopefully, it wasn't cold enough for him to suffer from it. The girl was OK for now. He could wait a long time.

So the time passed.


"I have localized Jubilee. She is all right, for now," announced the Professor as he exited the Cerebro room.

Jean, Storm, Rogue and an ill Scott had waited outside for the professor. They all had changed in their uniforms. Even Rogue had one, after she had insisted on it, using some of Logan's charming character traits to convince the X-Men.

"What about Logan?" asked Rogue with concern.

"I indeed sensed a presence nearby Jubilee, but I'm not sure it was Logan," he explained.

"How come, professor?" asked Jean.

"You see, the mind has many facets. The one I know from Logan, is the one he was acting upon when we first met him. I never really got further in his mind, which, after all he went through, was less than perfectly whole and stable," he explained.

"Logan is not crazy!" shouted Rogue.

"No, Rogue, he is not. What I mean is, right now, one part of his mind, the one he forgot or was taken away from him years ago, is back. And Logan ・ more precisely ・ Wolverine is back as well. I guess he is acting the way he had years ago. That he is back to the time he escaped from the place where they experimented on him would not surprise me," he concluded.

"And he thinks he's being chased?" wondered Storm.

"By soldiers and all?" asked Scott, concern growing on his face.

"By those sick bastards, yeah," added Rogue.

"How can we neutralize him?" asked Scott, already planning how to rescue Jubilee.

"And how will he react if we try to approach him?" asked Jean Grey.

"I cannot be certain, Jean," answered Xavier.

The professor turned to her. "Rogue, since you shared a part of Logan's memories, maybe I could try and access..."

"Do it, Chuck," she simply replied.



The professor entered Rogue・ mind and found himself in a room with four doors, on each door was a name: Rogue, Cody, Logan, Magneto. He chose the one that said Logan and felt himself on a steel table, his eyes where closed, but he could smell the room. His senses where stronger like Logan's.

'How interesting," the professor thought. 'So this is how Logans experience things.'

He could smell a multitude of things: dried blood, urine, cotton, champagne... He opened his eyes just in time to see a "doctor" lift a scalpel. Then the nightmare began.

Jean and Scott looked at the Professor, as he came to gasping for air. He was pale and shaking and trying to focus his eyes. "PROFESSOR!!! What happened are you all right?" they said.



"I understand now why Logan has nightmares," the Professor said, rubbing his forehead. "This is more serious than I thought. Now that I have the experiences to compare it to, the person with Jubilee is definitely Logan. He's experiencing a flashback of the most traumatic experiences of his remembered life."

"How do we bring him back to the present?" Rogue asked, recovering too from the flashes of memories the Professor had released.

"I don't know, Rogue. I'm a psychic, not a psychiatrist. But, I do know someone who should be able to help."


Jubilee was entertaining herself by thinking up ways to describe the man crouching at the cave entrance.

'He's one beer short of a six-pack, a couple of gunmen short of a posse, a few cards short of a full deck... This is boring, and I'm still cold.'

"Hey, what's the plan?" Jubilee asked the gruff man before her. She must've surprised him, because he didn't growl at her.


"Yeah. We're not gonna sit here for the rest of our lives, are we? I mean, I'm sure you'd make a nice Tarzan and all, but I really don't feel like playing Jane. I need warmth and malls and indoor plumbing."

"Don't know if we lost them, yet."

Well, at least he was finally talking to her. "Who?"

"The soldiers."

Just then, a sound caught Logan's attention, and he sprang up, sniffing at the air. After only a few seconds, he sat back down again.

"Deer," he said by way of explanation.

'Soldiers?' Jubilee asked herself. Then she remembered the nightmares Rogue had for two weeks after Logan'd left. She was always yelling about solidiers and scapels and scientists when she woke up.

'He must be having a flashback, like those Vietnam solidiers I saw on 20/20,' Jubilee thought.


"Charles, I don't know what to tell you," Dr. Claire Richards said in a tinny voice through the speaker phone. "Usually, I'd prescribe a tranquilizer, calm him down, talk to him, but from what you describe of the trauma, he would see any outside interference as an attack. Is there anyone with him?"

"Yes, he took one of our female students as a hostage."

"Oh, then I guess you can't just wait him out. These post traumatic stress flashbacks are temporary at best. I'm surprised it's lasted this long. I'm afraid your only chance is the girl. He's let her close to him. If you had a way to talk to her, tell her what to say..."

"And if I did?" the professor asked, a secret smile on his face.

"Well, then she might be able to talk him back to reality."



Once he had finished his communication with Dr. Claire Richards, Charles Xavier headed back to Cerebro. If he could establish a link with Jubilee, he could help her deal with Logan.

It wasn't difficult to get a link to her, since she hadn't moved since he had localized her in the forest about 50 miles away.

~ Jubilee, it's Charles Xavier ~

Jubes jumped in the rabbit's hole she was stuck in. Logan looked at her, wondering what had gotten into her.

"You ok, kid?" he asked.

"Yes... just a bad dream," she lied.

~Gee, professor. You startled me, and startling me right now is startling the Wolverine, and startling the...~ she ranted.

~I apologize, Jubilee. How are you?~

~I'm actually fine, number uno. I'm stuck in a freezing rabbit's hole, in a party dress...~

~Jubilee, please try to focus. This is not a situation to waste time joking.~

~Ok, ok. Now tell me how you're going to get me out of this nightmare?~

~I contacted a friend of mine. She told me that you must talk to him.~

~Yeah, what about? First time I tried, he almost killed me.~


~Then. Then what? Now he's a bit more calm, or whatever, he doesn't seem to think I'm a threat. He barely talks, y'know.~

~You have to talk to him. Try something that would bring him back to the present. We think he's lost in some past event of his life, when he was.... experimented on.~

~Present? Kay. Lemme try somethin'...~

Jubilee raised her head slightly and look at Logan. "Hey," she whispered.

"What?" he growled.

"I hope Rogue isn't to worried about you," she tried.

He looked down at her. "Who's the flamin' hell is Rogue?"

"You know, Rogue as in... Marie. Remember, Laughlin City?" she supplied, hopeful that his memory would get back in gear.

Hey, she got an answer, just not the one she hoped for. Logan yanked her out of the hole and pushed her against the cold stone wall behind her.

"Marie?" he shouted to her face. "What did ye do to her? Where's she?!"

Before Jubilee could answer, he let go of her and stepped back. Dropping on his knees, he clenched his fists against his head. Pain crawled into his head.

Past, soldiers and doctors. Present, snow and... Marie. That kid there, who was she? Why was she wearing a party dress in the forest?

The pain. They stuck needles in his limbs. Oh, the pain. They were laughing at him. No, not the water tank!!! No!!!!!

Logan's body arched and he fell back in the snow, still clenching at his head. The pain. No. Please, stop it.


~Yes, Jubilee?~

~Think I got him back... dunno... but he's acting weird...~

~What happened?~

~He's howling... seems to be in pain or somethin'. Dunno, but the word 'seizure' comes to mind~



~Jubilee? What's happening? Should we come?~

~I don't think he's gonna be fighting anymore. He's just thrashing around and clutching his head. He looks like someone's torturing him. Yeah, I think we need Dr. Grey.~

~I'm sending them now.~


The Professor rolled out of Cerebro to the expectant faces of his X-Men. He saw the worry lines deepen on their faces when they saw his expression.

"They're still in the same place. It's safe to go after them now."

"Professor," Rogue asked in a small voice, "what happened?"

He just continued with his orders. "Scott, their location is already in the Blackbird computer. Jean, you'll need your medical bag."

Rogue's fear turned into downright terror. She grabbed the handles of the professor's wheelchair and leaned threateningly over him. The remnants of the Logan in her growled out, "What happened?"

"Rogue, calm down. Jubilee says he's remembering and that it seems to be painful. We're going to help him, right now."

"You bet your ass, we're going to help." Rogue said, striding away, leaving the other X-Men to hurry behind her.


Jubilee was worried. Sure he'd been scary, he'd ruined her dress, and he'd dragged her out to the middle of nowhere to freeze to death, but now he was bad off, and she didn't know how to help.

The writhing and clutching at his head had given way to a full blown seizure, complete with foaming at the mouth and uncontrolled muscle spasms. She wanted to touch him, try and comfort him, but as he shook, his claws would come out and go back in again. She didn't dare get close.



The Blackbird flew overhead, landing at the nearest clear spot in the forest.

The X-Men had an easy time finding Jubilee and Logan. They, nonetheless, kept at a secure distance before they had an update on the situation.

~Professor?~ Jean Grey asked telepathically.

~Hold on, Jean.~


~Jubilee, what is the situation now? The X-Men are a few feet away from you, ready to move.~

~I dunno... he's like, strugglin'. It's weird... lemme try somethin?~

~Be careful, Jubilee.~


Jubilee crawled to the struggling Wolverine, her hands spread to counteract any hostile move from him.


No answer, but his thrashing around.

"Logan!" she kinda yelled. "Calm down!"

No effect.

"Logan!!!! Marie is nearby, and she's worried abou you!!"

Logan seemed to finally calm down a bit.

'Marie. Oh, Marie. I have to protect you,' screamed his mind. He visciously tugged at his hair in a desperate move or struggle to get back to his Marie.

"Marie..." he tried.

"Yes, Marie is nearby. Do you want to see her?" asked Jubilee, full of hope.

Logan's mind fell into a hell of memories. This Magneto guy, trying to use Marie for his evil scheme. Poor Marie... He had to help her.....

Logan struggled. "Marie?" he asked, out of despair.

Jubes froze. Ok. Now he thought SHE was Marie. 'Get a grip, Jubes.'

"I'm here, Logan. Everything's gonna be all right. Lemme help you."

"Oh... Marie.... Since the day I met you..." His mind rambled. "Protect you.... love you..."

Jubilee couldn't go down that road. Wow, the guy really had a crush on Rogue. Who'd believe it? 'Save it for blackmail later,' she thought.

"Logan? Listen to me..." she begged.


"People are coming to help us. You trust me, right?" she asked.


"They will help us out of here. Hold on to me."

Jubilee did hold on to him. She didn't really need to, though. Logan was holding her so tight, she was barely able to breathe.

"I'm tired," complained Logan.

~Move it, prof.!!~ she mentally yelled. ~NOW!!!!!!!!~



~Now, Jean.~

"The professor says it's ok," Jean said to her teammates. "But let's take it slow."

As they moved closer, they saw an exhausted Logan clutching a tattered Jubilee. The fear and confusion in his eyes broke Marie's heart.

"Logan," she said calmly, crouching down beside them.

Logan looked up at her, then at Jubilee, then back at her. Reaching out a hand to her, he asked, "Marie?"

"Yeah, sugar, it's me."


"He's gone, Logan," Jubilee jumped in. "You stopped him, remember?"

"You saved my life," Marie added.

"So tired," he mumbled. "Don't wanna fight anymore."

"It's ok, Logan," Jean said, kneeling by her patient. "It's over. No one's going to hurt you. We're taking you home."


It'd been a struggle to get him to the clearing where the jet rested. The adrenaline, anger, and fear that had kept him going was gone now, and it was hard for him just to put one foot in front of the other. Jean and Rogue, on either side, helped him along, but the metal skeleton he had lived with for so long, weighed heavily on their shoulders, slowing them down.

Scott, sniffling from his cold as well as the weather, carried Jubilee. She had tried to walk out on her own, but every few steps, her heels caused her to stumble. She finally conceded to being carried after Jean warned her that she was bound to twist an ankle if she insisted on walking.

As soon as they entered the jet, Rogue, Jean, Logan, and Jubilee headed to the small medical area in the back. Jubilee instantly grabbed one of the extra Xavier sweat suits, peeling off her wet and ruined dress, and pulling on the warm cotton outfit. She'd wrapped a few thick blankets around herself and settled in for the ride home, swearing that as soon as they got back, she was taking a hot bath for hours.

Rogue and Jean laid Logan down on the small cot and he instantly fell asleep.



It'd been more than 24 hours since they got back at the Mansion. But no matter how hard they asked, pleaded, even begged ・ threatening was out of question ・ Logan refused to eat or talk. Not a bite, not a word since they came back.

He stayed curled in his bed. They kept coming in and talking to him. Rogue sat for long hours by his bed, talking to him, trying to get him to eat something. She was the one who begged the most. She cried, too.

Those were the most painful moments for him, when she cried. But it would only be a few moments, a few days. Then, he would be free.

Yeah, free at last. Free from these nightmares, these dreaful memories. *A few days*, he kept chanting in his confused mind. They say you could die of thirst after 2 days. Even with his healing factor, it would go fast.


"I'll have him sedated, and put him on I.V. nutrients," planned Jean Grey, readying the necessary items in the med lab.

Jean, Scott, and the professor were indeed planning on helping Logan against his will. Xavier would not intrude in Logan's mind without his consent, and he hadn't succeeded in getting it from him. Under sedation, Xavier felt more at ease to probe his mental state.

"Jubilee, did he say something out there that could help us?" asked Jean, visibly concerned.

Jubes was sitting on a medical bed for a 24 hour check-up. She hadn't suffered from hypotermia ・ a miracle given the ordeal. She didn't seem to have to deal with any trauma either. She came out of the events relatively well, both physically and emotionally. She really was strong for her age.

Jubilee pondered. "Y'know, he didn't say much. But when he came back... I mean... Anyway, he sure looked lost to me."

"I must find out what the problem is," said Xavier. "Jean, when you're ready."

"Hey! Are you, like, goin' to..."

"Sedate him? Yes, Jubes. You shouldn't be concerned," answered Jean, holding the necessary items for the delicate procedure. Delicate indeed! Sedate Logan against his will. But will was the problem right now: he seemed to have lost it all.

"Guys!!!!!! Wake up!!!!" cried out Jubilee.

"Jubilation, calm down," ordered Scott. "It's for the best."

"Let her speak, Scott," cut in the professor.

"Yeah, it's about time someone listens to me! Ok. Look, the guy's screwed up in his head. You want to sedate him, wow. Then what? Get a little joy ride in his brain, like a mental roller coaster, and when he wakes up, then what?"

"Your point, Jubilee?" asked Jean, growing impatient.

"I think what Jubilee is trying to explain is that we must deal with him, not with his subconscience," explained the professor.

"But we tried everything else already, Professor," pointed out Jean.

"No, you didn't! Lemme talk to him. Hey, I'm sure I'll get to him," proposed a petulant Jubes.

"Rogue tried. I fear that if he doesn't even talk to her..." said Scott, shaking his head.

"Yeah, like, he's gonna talk to HER! Gee, guys, you weren't there when he said..." Jubilee blushed. OOPS!

"Said what, Jubilee?" pressed on Jean, frowning.

"Huh... nothin' really..."

"Jubilee. Tell us," gently asked the professor.

"Well, not much... Somethin' about protecting.... and loving..." she stumbled on the words. 'Hey Jubes, get a grip.' "Anyway, he has a reason to act this way. Gee, I know for me, if I acted like a loony in the woods, OK, like a total psycho even, I wouldn't like to share it with anybody. He sure didn't like it a bit. Maybe he's afraid it can happen again..."

"And you think you can talk him out of it?" asked Scott.

"Yeah, I can try. That's better than sedating the guy, y'know."



Jubilee walked into Logan's bedroom.

"Hey," she said as she sat in the chair next to the bedside. The lump under the covers didn't move.

"It's Jubilee, one of Rogue's, well Marie's, friends. Ya know, one of the chattering horde you try to avoid? Well, I heard that you weren't talking, and I'm a champion talker, not that you could tell in the woods, but it's rare that I get a chance to talk without someone telling me to shut up. I mean, I could go on for hours and hours about school, boys, movies・"

Jubilee proceeded to prove to Logan that she could do just that, chatting for hours about nothing. She loved a captive audience for her musings. Kitty and Rogue would never put up with her for this long, but Logan was stubborn. Of course, Jubilee was stubborn, too.

"I used to like Leonardo DiCaprio, ah Titanic, but he hasn't been in anything good recently, and now I'm kinda leaning towards Ioan Gruffudd. Ya know, from 102 Dalmations? Did you see Horatio Hornblower on A&E? He was in that. Anyway,・"

"Shut up."

"What?" Jubilee had been so used to talking that his gruff, low voice surprised her. She looked at the lump on the bed. The comforter had been pulled down a bit, so now she could see an eye peeking out. It's gaze looked sharp and a little angry, but focused. More focused than she'd seen him in days. She quickly switched the subject, "You ready to talk about what's bothering ya?"

A negative grunt came from the blob.

"I know what you're doing, ya know. I think I know why you're doing it, too."

A doubtful grunt answered her statement.

"If you think they're gonna just sit around and let you kill yourself, you don't know them. They're do-gooders, goodie-two-shoes, they know what's right for you whether you agree or not, and they're gonna do something about it."

"Like to see 'em try."

Ah, that was sounding more like the gruff Logan she'd seen stalking down the halls of her school.

"Ya didn't hurt me, ya know. Ya scared me, maybe bumped me around a bit, but even when you were completely out of it, and you coulda killed me easy, you didn't."

"Luck," he grunted.

"Nah, I think it's more than that. You're a better person than you give yourself credit for."

The comforter flew off and now she could see an angry Logan, claws unsheathed, growling at her.

"Would a better person have these? Would he use them the way I do?"

He was trying to scare her, but she could see in his eyes that he was still there, still with her. "It's not your fault that they gave you those. It's not your fault that they hurt you. You used those claws to save Rogue's life. I'd say that's putting them to good use. You don't have to be what they were trying to turn you into."

The claws resheathed and he held his head in his hands. "What if it happens again?" he whispered. "What if I hurt Mar・ someone?"

"If it does, we'll deal with it, and I told ya, you didn't hurt me. It'll be ok." Jubilee said in a confident voice. Then, lower, "It doesn't have to happen, ya know. The professor can get ya help・"

"I'm NOT crazy!"

"Woah, didn't say you were. It's just sometimes ya need to talk. I did after I came here. Had ta deal with some pretty heavy stuff, but it's ok, ya know. It can help."

Logan nodded. "I'll think about it."

"Good enough." Jubilee paused, then asked. "Ya hungry?"

"・ Maybe."

"Feel like going downstairs?"

"No!" he replied quickly.

"Ok, no prob. I'll bring ya something. Any requests?"

He shook his head, with a touch of sadness.

"Hey," Jubes said, catching his face and pulling his chin up to look in his eyes. "It'll be ok. Trust me."

He nodded and then looked back down.

"Hey, do me a favor?"

"What?" he asked, quietly.

"Take a shower while I'm gone. You're beyond ripe."

He smiled, a real smile, and threw a pillow at her as she slipped through the door.



The End