by Miko

This story was inspired--over a period of about an hour, and why can't I maintain speed like that?--by "Taking Care of Our Own" by Benway, and "The Queen and the Hunter" by Alara. I recommend both, but only if you have a strong stomach.

"Taking Care" is a nasty little story in which Logan does some very nasty things. I rather like Logan, so it disturbed me, but the idea behind it and the nifty format Benway used got into my head and, well, the Muse is a harsh mistress. The connection to "The Queen and the Hunter" should be obvious to anyone who's read both stories.

These are not my characters; I'm not making any money. I don't think that the canon versions would behave this way--but stress makes people do funny things, and the X-Men have more stress than average.

There isn't a lot in the way of continuity going on here. Scott's been dead and come back, but Jubilee is still around. Go figure.

Archive OK--it does great things for my ego. Also feedback. Feedback is of the Strong.

Rated R for bad language and disturbing imagery. --Miko

Blue. Hey, Blue, wake up.

You mean, do I remember what I did. Yeah. I know.

Well if I'd /been/ out I wouldn't, but I wasn't, so I do.

That's exactly what I mean. No, don't call! Just hear me out, then you can call, OK?

Because I want to tell you what happened, but the rest of 'em can't know about it.

You're one of their oldest friends, and the kid likes you.

I'm not surprised. She ain't big on male authority figures right now. Hell, you saw her-she almost paffed /me/ when I picked her up to take her upstairs. Looks like she didn't getcha too bad, though.

An authority figure did it to her, that's why.

Yeah I /do/ mean it was him. I don't care what story he told. There ain't no other smells on her, Blue.

I didn't until they came in last night. When she woke up and didn't want him to touch her, and I couldn't smell anyone else on her, that was when I knew.

This is the first time, I think. First time for this, anyway. Now that I think about it, though, she's been fallin' down on her rollerblades a lot lately. I was kiddin' her about it the other day, but she wasn't laughin'.


I'm sure. Christ, do you think I woulda done it if I wasn't sure? Maybe we didn't always get along, but I respected the guy. Some things about him anyway.

I guess I coulda. Who would've believed me, though? Think I don't know what you guys think about my feelins for his wife?

Don't laugh it off, Blue. This ain't a laughin' matter.

Gimme some credit. I tried talkin to him about it.

Said what went on between a man and his wife wasn't any of my business, and since that's what she said too there wasn't anythin' I could do. If anyone'd asked her she woulda lied like a trooper.

Yeah. Ain't it usually the wife who gets it first and worst?

Think about it. You got the great memory, sure as hell better than mine. How many times since he got back you seen her in a long-sleeve shirt on a warm day, or maybe wearin' makeup just sittin' around the house?

Thought so.

Blue, put the fucking phone down. I am askin' you this as the guy who saved your life, OK? Someone has to know, but the rest of them don't. So put it down.

Thank you.

Anyway I first figured it out not long after Madelyne died.

What? No, it ain't just been since he got back. We can't put this on Ol' Bluelips, no matter how much I'd like to.

First few times I saw her walkin' funny, I thought they were just gettin' frisky in bed. Sometimes he had bruises too. I think she was still fightin' back then. One day she showed up with a shiner, though, and it takes some serious stretching to get one of those in the sack. So I went and asked her about it.

She said they had a fight and he grabbed for her and she ducked into his hand.

I believed her. I'm goin' to Hell anyway, one more stupid mistake won't hurt me. It went on like that for a while, but she didn't get any more black eyes and I figured they'd worked it out. So you remember right after the wedding?

Yeah, that time. They come in one night from tryin' to find some mutant kid, and she's lookin' like she was put through a wringer. He says they got jumped by some gang of bashers and she's noddin' and backin' him up.

But it was just like tonight, Blue. Not another scent on her but her lovin' husband, and everyone was so worried about her they never asked him how come she got beaten to a pulp and he got off with some bruises on his arms.

When she was feelin' a little better I got her alone and told her to tell me the truth.

Lots of shit, lots of shit. He needed the release, she said. The team needed him to be effective and he couldn't be if he was so tense all the time. The brain damage from when he was a kid was a big thing, I remember. She really said, he doesn't mean to hurt me, and I could tell she believed it. And there was nothin' I could do.

Yeah, I coulda. Except she woulda lied to protect him and since Mariko was gone by then you were all expecting me to make some move on her. So I settled for gettin' a little too rough in some Danger Room sessions and took my lectures for it and that was that. I told her to get away from him for a while-not to go with me, just away from him-and she flat-out refused. Said she loved him and he'd fall apart without her.

Yeah. She said that was how it started. Said he and Maddie had a fight one night and he hit her for not being /her/.

Kinda makes you think about why Maddie was so pissed at him, huh?

Toldja I'm goin' to Hell. I didn't know what to do about it, Blue. I coulda talked to Baldy, I guess, but both of them would have denied it and she coulda made it stick. All I could do was make sure he got bruises to match hers, every time I saw them. So she started makin' sure I didn't see them, and you know it actually fooled me? Guess I ain't as good as I say I am, huh?

She's a grown woman, she can make her own decisions even if they were hurting her, but Jubes is fifteen. She ain't his wife and she ain't old enough to fight and if he was branchin' out ain't no woman in this house who was safe. If he'd just beeen hittin' her I mighta settled for beatin' him bloody-but what he did means he was startin' to escalate. You know what that means probably better than I do.

What do you think we're gonna do? You can ask her, you can talk to the kid when she wakes up again, and now that he's dead I think you'll get the truth from both of them.

What /about/ me, Blue? Fact that he was beating his wife and raping little girls don't make me less guilty. I killed him, and I took a good long time about it. I'm gonna sit right here and you're not gonna tell anyone that I ain't gone berserk for good. They'll lock me up and that'll be that. And whatever you do, don't let her know that I was sane when I did it.

She'll blame herself.

No, not even a little! She loved him.


Cause I knew what was happening and I didn't stop it, that's why. It's my fault that kid ain't never gonna be able to think of him without cryin'. It's my fault. I didn't protect her. I didn't protect either of them. I let myself think that she could make her own decisions, that he was a good leader and we needed him, and because of that the kid is gonna be scarred for life.

Mentally if not physically.

Put the keys down, idiot. You know as well as I do that I couldn't escape from this place crazy.

You better take a minute to get yourself together before you call 'em. I need the time anyway.

I'm gonna let myself go. It's easier than holding on, really.

I have to. Baldy'd see through it and so will she, when she comes to see me.

You know she will. She'll want to make herself forgive me. It'll be better for everyone if they think I went crazy, just like they always thought I would. I wouldn'ta told you, but like I said, someone needs to know. Someone needs to protect her.

Don't argue, Blue. If she asks, tell her you did a DNA analysis on what you got out of the kid and it didn't match him. She'll buy that-she loves him. But don't say anything unless she asks.

Tell Jubes I love her. You can tell her the whole story, she can take it.

Tell you what. Every few minutes, ask me my name. When I don't answer, then you can call.

Goodbye, Blue.







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