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Cold

{Remy is not always kind and forgiving}

 

"I think a cat's gotten into the house," Jean said into the morning silence. It was usually silent now, but for the clink of dishes and the sounds of eating. The cooking at the mansion hadn't changed but the food was like wood in everyone's mouth. Whenever Remy moved, everyone's eyes would dart to him - or away.

"Ain't no cats here," Logan muttered. But he wondered. There was something in the house. Something that crept around late at night, he never caught sight of it, barely caught the cold scent of it. Maybe it was just all the fucking guilt crawling around from room to room.

"Well something's been in my room," she insisted. "Everything on m dresser was all over the floor this morning."

"Oh, yes," Ororo broke in, though she rarely spoke at all anymore. "That must be it. My plants -"

"Perhaps our thief has gotten clumsy," Warren's waspish comment crashed down among them and the silence rose up like one of Bobby's ice walls. Remy, who'd been sitting in huddled misery, slipped from the room like a ghost at his words.

"Good going birdbrain," Logan said sarcastically as Scott slammed his coffee cup down.

"For god's sake Warren - what the hell is wrong with you?" Scott yelled, jaw like iron and shades like fresh blood in the sunny winter morning. "You're more of a bitch than Rogue these days."

"Screw you too!" Rogue yelled and stormed off.

"Dammit Scott, can't you see it? I swear I didn't know you really were blind. It's the damn traitor!"

"Yeah, and who's the traitor really?" Scott leaned forward and hissed at Warren. "Someone who leaves a teammate to die maybe? Something like that?"

Warren flinched, big wings collapsing in shame and retreated, golden head low. Logan threw down his napkin and stalked out. The stink of the place was making him sick. Maybe he'd go hunting cats.

He started at the top, in Ororo's room. Her plants were dead, or dying. Logan rocked to a halt at the sight, chest tightening. Ororo's room had always been a refuge; open to anyone who needed a quite moment, a cup of tea and to do nothing more than listen to the soft wind and the rustle of plants. That refuge was gone.

Another dead leaf drifted to the floor, hitting the wood with an insect sound. Logan slunk forward, sniffing at the air looking for something that could explain this. Most of the pots were nothing more than earth and a few sad, stripped looking twigs. Some still had leaves, of a sort. Logan rubbed one in his fingers, feeling the withered edges, it came off in his hand and he dropped it with a flinch of misery. He hadn't meant to harm it. Many of the plants had withered, crumpled leaves. Logan could even see how budding leaves were pale and sickly looking. There were no blooms.

Lip lifted, Logan sniffed around the room, scenting Ororo, scenting earth and plants and the cold, cold winter air that had crept around the closed windows. No cats. And, not cats, no rats, no dog no nothing would leave the kinds of mean little marks on the edges of some of the leaves. Razor fine cuts Logan could just barely feel under his hypersensitive fingertips. Plant torture. Logan shuddered and turned to the sound of Ororo's soft footsteps.

"What happened to 'em?"

"I am not sure," Ororo said softly, stroking the rumpled curve of a brown blossom as tenderly as if it was a prize-winning beauty. "One night I came up and - some of them had been shredded, others uprooted. It seemed an animal thing."

"Any tracks?" Logan asked, thinking about dirt, thinking about animals, thinking about clues.

Ororo frowned thoughtfully. "I did not think to look, Logan. I do not recall noticing anything."

A pause then, "Plants are innocent."

Looking at her face, Logan guessed that maybe she'd been too upset to notice much. "Yeah, guess so."

Logan sniffed and skulked his way around the mansion; the pile of bloody bird feathers in an empty room made him think cat (or maybe a big rat), except they were Warren's shed feathers.

"You been hiding these things around?"

"Good god, no!" Warren looked at the broken feathers in his hand with revolted worry. "And I don't bleed all over them like that!"

Learned some things; like Bobby and Jubilee had better be using condoms. Like running across Remy chain smoking and silent in odd corners; his scent was stronger in the empty rooms and quiet hallways then in the rest of the mansion. Logan skirted him, nose wrinkling at the Russian smokes the kid had come back with. He'd gotten tired of the knife-edge to the Cajun's words. Like, there was something in the house but it wasn't no cat. And it didn't leave a smell, at least, not one for Logan's nose.

TBC