Disclaimer: The X-men and their world belong to Marvel/Fox. No profit or copyright infringement is intended

Note: This story is directly related to the plots and storylines in progress at Left Turn at Westchester

 

Impressions

By Tarchannon and X-Tricks

 

 

Logan, recently returned after events of X1, takes a late night smoking break on the balcony at Xaviers...

He’d been outside for about two minutes when he heard a window above him open. He glanced up and caught a flash of gold and white, then something *flew* out the window. Correction, some*one* flew out the window.

Mouth agape he watched huge white wings unfurl, catching the air with a soft sound, propelling the man up and out away from the Mansion. Logan watched as the blond man soared and banked over the grounds, the sliver of the moon turning white to silver in the sky.

He’d always wanted to be one with the sky; he truly envied Ororo for that. Logan had always wanted to fly. But the Canadian was one with the earth, its very substance grafted to his bones. He was so dense, he could barely swim, let alone fly. His feet had been firmly planed on the ground for him.

He watched with wonder until the man vanished around the building, then he turned to lean against the cold stone railing. He blew blue-grey smoke rings into the air.

That must be Warren.

Glancing back at the building, his eyes widened as he connected the bedroom with the scent from the hall.

He smells like the wind.


Lazy and relaxed now, Warren swooped in great figure eights down towards the dark bulk of the mansion. The single red point of a cigarette - no, a cigar - caught his attention during one pass and he glanced down to realize that someone was watching him. It was someone he'd never seen, dark and shirtless with smoke drifting away from him on the wind. Warren's brows quirked in mild irritation. Just how many newcomers were there?

He'd spoken to almost no one since his arrival here - to his frustration. Impulsively Warren banked to spill some of the air from under his wings. He took the far corner of the mansion sharply, dropping down to the second level then landed lightly a little away from the stranger. He crouched a moment, slate cold under his bare feet, staring at the stranger - still a little caught up in the wildness of the air.

Then he furled his wings, shaking the cold out along with a scattering of rainwater, and stood.

"I see the smokers are still exiled out to the balcony - or the rooftops, if you're feeling gloomy." He said, padding over.


Logan could hear the wings approach, even though the sound was faint. The blond man came from around the corner of the building and dropped sharply down to land a few feet from him.

Crouched low, the man looked up at him in the moonlight, blond hair frosted silver, wings glistening with water and silver. He was almost nude, just a thin pair of damp, clinging pajama bottoms barely distracting from the image of an elemental djinni — a prince of the air.

With sapphire eyes wild, the man held him motionless - his gaze powerful and challenging. It created an electric shiver down his back, and the spark ignited a fire in his belly.

Smoothly, he stood, wings folding with a whisper, compacting to lie neatly against his back, tops just above his head, tips curving just behind the ankles of his bare feet. Tall and incredibly handsome, the man was sleekly powerful; trim, but with a powerfully built chest and back. The man had well-muscled arms and neat, long fingered hands. Tanned, flawless skin covered rippled abs, and his ample sex was plain through the damp cotton.

It caught him completely off guard. Logan’s mouth watered.

"I see the smokers are still exiled out to the balcony - or the rooftops, if you're feeling gloomy."

Logan simply watched him approach, the burning cigar held in his right hand. He wasn’t sure if he could have walked away if he wanted to. He glanced away from that penetrating gaze, and making an attempt to cover his reaction he nodded in the affirmative and took another puff of his cigar.


The other man didn't say anything though he nodded, pulling on his cigar and watching as he walked over. Warren was a little startled by the intensity of his attention - though everything about the stranger was intense.

Dark hair and archaic sideburns, dark and wary eyes - full of a wildness very different from the solitary freedom of the wind. He looked to be in his thirties but something about that estimation seemed off somehow. Wearing nothing more than a pair of jeans, he didn't seem troubled by the cold and there was a stunning depth and breadth of power in those shoulders and chest. Warren's eyes were caught a moment by the glitter of moonlight on the big maple leaf belt buckle before he redirected his attention elsewhere. Warren rested a hand on the stone balustrade, glancing briefly to the open window nearby, then back to meet the stranger's eyes.

"Are you one of the new teachers here?" He asked. The second floor was traditionally for staff and students.


 

Logan snorted softly. "Not exactly."

The question seemed to shock him back to reality somewhat. He stood, and then extended his hand to the other man. "My name is Logan."


 

Warren shook hands, eyes narrowing slightly in interest. Logan had accompanied Ororo and Kurt out to meet Mystique. "Well, they must be taking you into the fold if you're on the second floor. Third floor is for guests. I'm Warren."


 

Logan shook the man’s hand firmly. He was cool to the touch, and the wind ruffled the feathers just slightly. The unusual scent was from the feathers - musky and sweet.

The slight increase in heartbeat and the narrowing of the eyes meant the other man recognized his name.

"Well, they must be taking you into the fold if you're on the second floor. Third floor is for guests. I'm Warren."

"Pleased to meet ya, Warren," he said as he released the smooth, tanned hand. He had a good grip. Definitely not a laborer, but strong.

Warren was a friend of Scott and Jean, and he’d been here since before the meeting. They probably told the blond about him. He winced inwardly. It hadn’t been a good day for a recommendation from either of them.

Not knowing exactly what Warren knew, Logan was vague. "I was here earlier the summer for a few weeks, and I just got back. Scott and Jeanni… Jean moved me down here when I got back." He looked at the cigar, then out at the lawn. "It makes some things easier."

Logan glanced up to meet Warren’s eyes simply to gauge his reaction. The eyes were the windows to the soul, and Logan could see the intelligence and the power reflected there, as well as the pain and the loneliness. He lost himself for a second.

"How do you know them?" he asked in a low voice, tearing his eyes away. "I mean, Scott and… Jean."


Jeannie. Warren was finally able to place the accent as eastern Canadian and the tone in the rough voice as a mixture of resentment, frustration and unhappiness. It seemed that no one at the mansion was happy tonight. Warren unconsciously rubbed his fingers together briefly at the memory of Logan's solid grip.

"How do you know them?" he asked, tearing his eyes away. "I mean, Scott and… Jean."

Warren's eyes flicked up briefly to the dark windows of Jean and Scott's suite. It looked like, despite the Tylenol 3 and it's predictable reaction, that Jean had gotten Scott to sleep after all.

Warren grinned easily. "One night, I discovered that adrenaline and enthusiasm don't make up for decent planning and backup. Luckily Scott and Jean and Hank happened to be out adventuring themselves - a little luck, a broken arm and here I was."

"That was years ago. I stayed here a few years - but returned to the city when my mother finally died. Jean invited me for dinner tonight - " Warren hesitated but he knew very well that Logan was involved in what was going on at the school right now. If he wanted to get anywhere it looked like he'd have to give first. "Scott had called me earlier and asked me to find out what I could about Jason."

"By the time I got here - things were rather in an uproar." Warren cast a speculative glance at Logan. "Scott asked me to come up with something for the kids to do tomorrow. He's cancelled classes - I gather no one is going to be up for teaching."


 

The instant flick of the eyes to the third floor bedroom window was telling, but Logan had no idea why. He wondered just why that glance seemed so… practiced. The glace had been accompanied by a change in his scent, very subtle, but there. He couldn't really sort it out.

Warren grinned easily. "One night, I discovered that adrenaline and enthusiasm don't make up for decent planning and backup. Luckily Scott and Jean and Hank happened to be out adventuring themselves - a little luck, a broken arm and here I was."

Logan hadn’t been sure that Hank had been around that early, and now he knew Warren was added to the mix. Eric, Raven, Hank, Warren. He wondered how many others would pop up.

He had never really thought about Scott and Jean as kids, and the idea of a young, blue Hank bounding around made him smile. He knew how much trouble they got in now, and he could easily see that the group was probably more trouble than the Hell’s Angels. Logan chuckled, relaxed and a little intrigued by the second electric jolt that Warren's genuine grin produced.

"That was years ago. I stayed here a few years - but returned to the city when my mother finally died. Jean invited me for dinner tonight - " Warren hesitated. "Scott had called me earlier and asked me to find out what I could about Jason."

Ah, so he's an X-Man, or was seriously involved. Though he still wasn’t positive exactly what Warren was doing here, it made him feel more at ease. He could scent Warren was telling him the truth.

"By the time I got here - things were rather in an uproar."

Logan snorted. That’s an understatement.

Logan saw the gleam in Warren’s eye and knew he was about to be roped into something, and when that happened, it was nearly always something he didn’t like.

"Scott asked me to come up with something for the kids to do tomorrow. He's cancelled classes - I gather no one is going to be up for teaching."

"Things haven’t gone down very well. Kurt and Scooter are down for the count. Ro isn’t much better than Kurt. I don’t know about Jean, and Charles has too much shit to do. I haven’t seen Hank. I’ll be fine after a snooze, so I can help out, but I have to talk to Charles tomorrow for a while. That leaves the new woman, Betsy, and a couple of guests that might help out again — KuanYin and LeBeau. The staff will be back, so meals and messes are covered." He really wasn't thrilled about babysitting, but he'd never been one not to pull his weight.

Logan ground out the cigar on the stone railing, flicked the butt into the yard, and then made a mental note to get a container for the patio. He turned away from Warren to lean on the railing and looked out over the lawn. Logan took a deep breath and released it slowly.


 

"Scooter." Warren echoed with a brief, almost startled grin. Scooter was definatly something to keep in mind. "We always called him Fearless. Well, Remy is already hard at work planning a scavenger hunt last I heard. Perhaps Karoke as well. I believe the professor has earned a little Karoke."

He leaned on the balustrade and yawned, turning his face politely aside for a moment. "I wasn't able to find Ms. Braddock or KuanYin though Xian mentioned them. I'm hoping that Scott and Jean will remain blissfully unaware of what mischief I'm encouraging in the children until sometime in the afternoon. I'll track down Ms. Braddock and KaunYin tomorrow morning."

"Even with their help, and the staff, we may still be shorthanded. Especially as this is the second day without classes, the kids must have exhausted all of the things they could do on their own. Any help you'd be willing to provide would be welcome."

Warren shuffled his wings, feathers rucking briefly. He ran a hand along the edge of on wing, settling rumpled feathers with his fingertips, they were dry now.

"I would like to know what happened tonight, when you went with your friend to meet Mystique." Warren said softly. "Scott has told me what he could - but I know every person's eyes see the world a little differently."

Warren turned to look at Logan with a rueful smile. "I despise acting without adequate information but - this seems to be my year for that. I'm not asking you to break confidences - but I would like to know what you thought of the evening.

Think about it - and the kids. We can talk further in the morning, if you like."


"Scooter." Warren repeated with amusement.

He didn’t even realize it slipped out. Logan knew he made a habit of nicknaming people, but only the people that mattered - his friends and his enemies. Apparently Scott earned a nickname tonight, despite everything.

Or maybe because of it.

"We always called him Fearless."

Logan wanted to snort, but he held back. Well, Fearless flipped out tonight, Wings.

Logan almost choked as the last word penetrated. Wings. He didn’t know a damn thing about Warren, but he couldn’t deny it seemed right. It was still a little disturbing.

To be honest, Logan thought that flipping out was underrated. At least he hoped it was, since he flipped out more than most. But then again, he wasn’t the leader.

Well, Remy is already hard at work planning a scavenger hunt last I heard. Perhaps Karoke as well. I believe the professor has earned a little Karoke."

Logan winced. Pain, thy name is Karyoke. God, find me the earplugs now.

"Even with their help, and the staff, we may still be shorthanded. Especially as this is the second day without classes, the kids must have exhausted all of the things they could do on their own. Any help you'd be willing to provide would be welcome."

"Some of the older kids will help. They’ve been pretty good the last two days. I’ll do… whatever."

Logan had caught the man’s yawn, and now he watched him preen. He wondered of the feathers felt as soft as the looked. They had a faint powdery sweet smell up close when he ruffled them.

"I would like to know what happened tonight, when you went with your friend to meet Mystique." Warren said softly. "Scott has told me what he could - but I know every person's eyes see the world a little differently."

Logan was surprised at the question and turned partially to face him.

Warren turned to look at Logan with a rueful smile. "I despise acting without adequate information but - this seems to be my year for that. I'm not asking you to break confidences - but I would like to know what you thought of the evening."

Logan knew Warren was an oldster at Xavier’s and that he was called to help. Scott had obviously called in backup. He was a safe bet. Hell, with Scott and Jean not speaking to Charles, it could hardly be worse.

"Charles made a choice to conceal the identity of Kurt’s mother, a choice he thought was the best option at the time. Though it probably was the best choice, Kurt doesn’t see it that way, and he has a point. Apparently Mystique saw Kurt when she was here and flipped out. She killed a kid, probably for spite and revenge, and then she took off."

Logan unconsciously rubbed his knuckles.

"She then got a hold of Kurt anonymously and convinced him to meet her tonight at twenty-hundred hours. Meanwhile, we were trying to identify and track the murderer, and it became clear it was Mystique. Betsy found one of Mystique’s scales, and Jean decided to analyze it to provide proof beyond my nose that she was here. She discovered that Kurt was her son. Jean told Scott. They were furious with Charles, and when he got home, they confronted him and forced him to tell Kurt. Kurt freaked — almost complete hysteria."

Logan paused. "All of this I got from the meeting, or from Kurt."

"Kurt decided he was going to meet with Raven come hell or high water, and he was out in the garage, desperate to flee, afraid that Charles, Scott and Jean were going to stop him from going. I guess he walked in on the two of them earlier when they were discussing making Charles tell Kurt the truth. After he found out, he put two and two together and then he didn’t trust Scott or Jean either."

Logan began to pace a bit.

"Ro got paged when she and I were walking. I followed her to the garage and we found Kurt. He’d promised Ororo earlier in the day that he’d tell he before he went. I didn’t know anything about this at all, and Ororo thought it was just some woman. Kurt was completely freaked out and demanded we leave immediately or he would go alone. At that moment, Jean piped into my head and told me Kurt might be walking into one of Mystique’s ambushes. Kurt wouldn't be delayed, not for a second, and we tried. Kurt’s a teleporter and there was almost no way to stop him, so faced with the choice of sending him to Mystique alone or with backup, there was no choice. So we went along. The kid was nearly out of his mind and it took both of us and our full attention to calm him down enough to listen to some reason. We stopped at Kurt’s church — he wanted to pray - and we agreed that Ororo would be the advance scout for meeting location and take watch on the back entrance. I stayed with Kurt to make sure he didn’t do anything stupid. We continued to talk, and I got him to agree to some basic safety limits."

"At the diner, Kurt went in on time, and I contacted Ro and Jean at the first opportunity. I thought it might make things worse for Kurt if I tried earlier. Ro was set up, and Jean warned me that Scooter was pissed. I told Jean that if there was going to be a problem, it would be at twenty-thirty, the agreed meeting end time. I figured she’d have gotten Scott up at that point, but apparently he was up already, and he was freaking out. Now before we left, I told Jean to trust us to handle it, and I thought she was ‘pathing Ro. Apparently, she didn't."

"At 20:30, Kurt came out, I collected him, cleared the area, checked in, collected Ro, and we returned to base."


 

Warren watched Logan pace and all the emotion bleed out of his voice as he talked. The speech pattern and jargon was military. Interesting and Warren found it slightly disturbing as well. Ex-military in the X-men, it would be interesting to see how Scott managed.

"The murdered child was a random victim." Warren said. "I was able to trace his identity sufficiently to allow us to contact his family. When we figure out how to explain what happened."

"Raven left before I arrived at the mansion. I'm not torn in a personal sense over her and what she's doing." Warren yawned again. "You, Ororo and I are the ones who may have to be - steady - while our friends deal with this. Which can be very unpleasant when people are lashing out at any nearby target because they can't yet solve the actual problem."

"I think that - " Warren said slowly, looking down at his laced hands and balancing his own confidences with the need to do what damage repair he could. "this issue is going to be painfully emotional for almost everyone involved. As you must have gathered. I don' t like to see anyone's loyalties split like Kurt's will be. And I have no doubts that Mystique will use him to hurt - everyone at the mansion. It's dangerously foolish to think otherwise. In some ways, it's a pity that Erik is in prison, he'd be able to control her."

Warren glanced over at Logan. "You know that Charles and Erik were once close friends with very similar goals. Erik is being charged with terrorism against the United States, among other things. He may face the death penalty. Every time Charles leaves Erik behind in that prison, he carries that knowledge with him. I understand he'd just returned from such a visit to face the rest of the events at the mansion."

Logan's face was hard to read, shadowed, and Warren didn't know him. He couldn't tell what he was thinking. He wanted to gather what resources he could for the school, for the people who lived here and the people he loved. At the same time he couldn't pretend that there had been a great deal of overreacting - from all quarters.

"I don't think that anyone did anything wrong." He finished. "But the way it was communicated - or not communicated - seems to be a great deal of the problem. I wasn't there - so I must try to limit my speculations but what help you're willing to give is valued - and needed."

Warren straightened up and moved towards the door. He was tired and he had some information to work with. He gave Logan a brief smile, turning over what he knew of the man. There was complexity hidden under that roughneck accent.

"I have to go to sleep." Warren said, slightly apologetically. There were all kinds of mutations that created all kinds of metabolic oddities. He had no idea if Logan slept at all and - he'd always felt it was rude to ask what someone's mutation was. "I'll hope to see you tomorrow, helping everyone wrangle the children. Though, you may be caught up in the whole Mystique issue, since you were one of the ones at the scene."


 

"The murdered child was a random victim." Warren said. "I was able to trace his identity sufficiently to allow us to contact his family. When we figure out how to explain what happened."

Logan nodded. The kid was random; the message was not. If she tried to infiltrate the Mansion again, Kurt or no, he was going to be sure she had a quick trip to Hell.

"Raven left before I arrived at the mansion. I'm not torn in a personal sense over her and what she's doing." Warren yawned again. "You, Ororo and I are the ones who may have to be - steady - while our friends deal with this. Which can be very unpleasant when people are lashing out at any nearby target because they can't yet solve the actual problem."

Inwardly, he sighed. They needed the head case with the ‘anger management problem’ to be the calm one. It was kind of an ironic twist. But, really, Logan knew he could do it. He would have never returned if he hadn’t wanted to try.

"I think that this issue is going to be painfully emotional for almost everyone involved. As you must have gathered. I don’t like to see anyone's loyalties split like Kurt's will be. And I have no doubts that Mystique will use him to hurt - everyone at the mansion. It's dangerously foolish to think otherwise. In some ways, it's a pity that Erik is in prison, he'd be able to control her."

Warren spoke slowly and looked at his own hands. Logan looked as well, seeing that the long, strong fingers had just the lightest dusting of golden blond hairs on the knuckles and on the back of the hand near the wrist. Interesting the things you notice. He was deliberately not looking anywhere but the man’s face and hands.

Logan was worried for his friend. Mystique would use him, he had no doubt. But destroying her to save him might destroy him anyway. It was a bitch of a situation. Logan thought mirthlessly, Go figure.

Warren met his eyes. "You know that Charles and Erik were once close friends with very similar goals. Erik is being charged with terrorism against the United States, among other things. He may face the death penalty. Every time Charles leaves Erik behind in that prison, he carries that knowledge with him. I understand he'd just returned from such a visit to face the rest of the events at the mansion."

He hadn’t known the details, though he knew that they wanted to string Magneto up by the balls. If he hadn’t been occupied, he would have made sure that the only thing Magneto would have needed was a body bag. For hurting Marie, he would have tossed the old man’s ass off the Statue without a second thought — white hat or no.

"I don't think that anyone did anything wrong." He finished. "But the way it was communicated - or not communicated - seems to be a great deal of the problem. I wasn't there - so I must try to limit my speculations but what help you're willing to give is valued - and needed."

He nodded his agreement with the other man’s observations. Warren seemed to be a natural leader. He was calm, organized, and most of all he listened and asked the right questions. He didn’t know Warren at all, and he probably shouldn't have been so forward with handing out information, but there was something about him that put Logan at ease. Scott needed to learn that skill.

Warren straightened up and moved towards the door, and after a second, he gave Logan a brief smile that lit up his face. He was almost surreal — a movie star in person, a statue of an Aryan angel come to life.

"I have to go to sleep." Warren said, slightly apologetically. "I'll hope to see you tomorrow, helping everyone wrangle the children. Though, you may be caught up in the whole Mystique issue, since you were one of the ones at the scene."

Logan had stiffened a bit from the cold, so he stretched up and outward before replying. He wasn’t very good in social situations, and Warren was clearly a somewhat formal man, so he fell back on the traditional standby to avoid making a fool of himself.

"Goodnight, Warren. It was nice to meet you."

Logan watched the other man walk back into the Mansion, his magnificient wings glimmering in the moonlight. Warren might very well be the most beautiful man he'd ever seen. But there was more - a certain bearing. He felt like he just met a Rockafeller.

After Warren was gone, the Candian sighed a deep, long sigh and tried to clear his head. He should sleep, or at least try to sleep.

He drew a couple more deep cleansing breaths of the crisp autumn air, then went in to go to bed.

TBC