Between the Darkness and Light

by Talya Firedancer

Part Ten

"Logan!" came the squeal, a lot happy and maybe a little desperate, and before he had time to brace himself Logan found himself fielding an armful of flushed and grinning girl. "Where've you been all this time? When we heard ya brought Cyclops, I mean, Mr. Summers -- well, Scott --'s been crazy, the whole school's buzzing!"

He tipped his head. "Around," he said, hardly about to admit he was the type for a bedside vigil or two. He looked over her shoulder and, yeah, true to form there was the Iceman, giving Logan one of those glares that made him vaguely surprised his own testicles hadn't frozen off yet. He disentangled himself from Rogue with an edgy grin and she kept smiling up at him.

"Why didn't ya tell me?" she demanded, bouncing on her toes. "You think I can't keep a secret, or somethin'?"

"Was afraid you'd think I was crazy," he admitted in a rare moment of candor. "Come on, kid. We all thought he was dead, I mean, Jean pretty much said it herself and she would know, right?"

She shrugged and smoothed the white lock over one shoulder. "You gonna stay for awhile?"

Logan mirrored her shrug. "Dunno. We'll see, yeah?"

She widened her dark eyes at him and there was fear there, in the part of her that held the pieces of him and recognized the instinct that kept him moving, running, but never quite safe; but there was hope there, too, hanging on to the possibility. And the truth was he'd already packed his duffel twice and sat there on his bed looking at it, head in hands, then gone down to sit by Slim, still unconscious in the infirmary, before coming upstairs and unpacking everything.

There wasn't any place in particular he had to be right now, it seemed.

"Hey," said Bobby Drake, drifting onto the end of their conversation with his blue eyes piercing, in spite of the so-casual stance and thumbs hooked in his belt-loops. "We've got History, Rogue."

"Sorry," Rogue apologized to him with a smile, tucking hair behind her ear as she slipped her hand in Bobby's and let him drag her down the hall.

Logan managed not to roll his eyes until they were out of sight, then pivoted on a straight line for the kitchen and collided with something soft, yielding. A stack of papers plumed into the air before scattering like leaves.

"Shit," he cussed before he remembered, damn it, school, and he was no good at this crap, sugarcoating it for the young even though plenty of them had probably seen more than harsh language. "I mean, damn. Darn. Whatever." He bent and started picking up the papers he'd helped to drop.

"Don't worry, I don't think there are any kids in earshot," a woman's voice assured him, low and throaty, and Logan looked up and came eye to eye with the new lady teacher-cum-X-Man. He'd never met her, but who could fail to recognize a woman who stood almost six feet tall and had bright green hair?

"Hi," he said, shuffling those papers into a sketchy stack and getting to his feet as she did, handing the pile back. "We haven't met. I'm--"

"Logan?" she hazarded a guess, shifting the papers to the crook of one arm and extending a hand. "Also known as Wolverine, which is what most of the kids call you. I'm Lorna Dane." Her hand met his and there was a twitch of pressure then she squeezed, as if trying for the bonecrusher.

"Nice grip," he complimented her, raising a brow. She was beautiful, but from the way she carried herself she didn't appear to know it. Her big hips curved up into a sleek but firm-fleshed waist, and she had a big but not oversized chest; the kind of figure that one wouldn't see in any of those pencil-model magazines so maybe that was why, but damn if she wasn't a sight for sore eyes.

Lorna frowned in response. Her clear eyes were almost as bright a jade green as her fall of thick, wavy hair. "Nice adamantium," she commented. She eyed his upper arms as if she could see through the skin and muscle to the metal below.

His head reared back and he narrowed his eyes at her. "What's your deal?" he demanded, not caring how undiplomatic a response it was.

She let go of his hand as if it were an effort to peel it away from his flesh and shook her head, not breaking eye contact. "I also go by Polaris. I have a strong affinity for the electro-magnetic spectrum."

"Magnetic, like Magneto?" he guessed.

Lorna puckered up her full mouth as if he'd shoved a lemon between those lips. "I don't appreciate the comparison, but I can do things with magnetism and metal, yes."

Now he leaned toward her just because he wanted to see those clear, bright eyes widen. "Oh yeah? Like what?"

Her lips twitched, though if it was intrigue or an effort not to laugh, hard to say. He was getting body language off her, tense but not unhappy, not enough for him to tell if she was interested or hell, if it was the metal on his bones that caused the intrigue. "You want a demonstration, you'll have to show up at a Danger Room session, just like everyone else who uses their powers on the grounds."

"Tell that to the kids in the basketball court," he muttered, flicking a glance over his shoulder. There was never a bell, not like a traditional school, and he hadn't quite figured out the concept of the school's period-lengths so as far as he was concerned the halls could get flooded with rugrats any moment. "How 'bout a private session?" The words that came out of his mouth surprised even himself. He wasn't interested, not really, but she was hot and here and he was bothered so if it wasn't quite in that way maybe he could make it go that direction.

She didnít quite step back but her body angled away, she sure was inclined for it. "No, I..." She stretched her neck, looking over his shoulder. "Alex--"

"Oh," he interrupted, shaking his head. What the hell was it with him and Summers' women? "You and Alex, huh?"

Lorna leveled a cool stare on him. She was a tall woman, only a few inches below his own height - probably around Slim's height, tilt the head a bit and it was the right angle. "Me and Alex, what?"

He rolled one shoulder, almost unnerved by the lack of reaction in her forthright stare. It was as if she honestly didn't know what he was asking. "You and Alex are together?" he said, turning the assumption into a question.

Now her eyes slid away. "When he wants us to be," she replied evasively.

"What's that supposed to mean?" he challenged. "What a load of bull. So, you with him right now?"

He wondered just for an instant what she would say, and it stung.

"I..." Lorna faltered, and that bit of uncertainty told him what he needed to, he had the scent of victory and knew if he just kept pushing he'd have the win.

But did he even really want it?

He was saved from the choice by a "hey, Lorna!" from up the hallway that made the tall, curvaceous woman turn her head. He didn't recognize the voice of the man hailing her; there were too many damned people in the mansion these days, not that there hadn't always been so far as he was concerned.

Logan made a point of being elsewhere by the time she would be turning back around.