I'd Rather Be Stabbed

December 17, 2018:

Illyana and Logan talk about guilt and what to do about it. Logan's solution is much more painful than facing his claws.

The Garage - Xavier's Institute - New York City

The garage of Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters is no small affair.
This section of the mansion is capable of storing a large number of vehicles
each inside of their own 'berth'. The berth's have wooden walls that contain
cabinets and drawers, each with tools and parts for their designated
vehicles.

The floors of the garage are a polished granite with in-laid designs that
are their own artistic displays… intricately placed wild patterns of muted
color tones. This, clearly expensive, floor stretches the many yards of the
whole garage.

The ceilings of the garage are a good thirty feet off of the ground and
contain dark cherry wood support beams. There are tall windows along the
walls that stretch up to these high ceilings and some more smaller windows
up there as well. There are also silver chandeliers that hang from the
wooden rafters that supply soft warm lighting.

Multiple large wooden doors can be raised and lowered to allow for the
vehicles entrance into the garage and there are a few large workstations set
aside for cars to be parked at for service.

On one end of the garage is the doorways up into the west wing of the
mansion itself and the far other end of the garage are the wooden doorways
that lead into the horse stables.

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions: X-Man, Prestige

Plot:

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

A faint dusting of snow falls upon the grounds of Xavier's Mansion. Not enough to draw out the children or to be celebrated beyond a smile at a passing glance, but enough to make one feel all the colder still. The school itself is out of session, some of the students having left for the holidays and others hunkering down inside to gird themselves against the chill without. Inside there's cocoa, marshmallows, and a crackling fire along with faint Christmas Carols being played upon the sound system nearby.

But outside, here in the cold air, it's bissfully quiet. Enough to leave a man alone with his thoughts. Very little noise comes from the garage. Just the occasional clink or clank that the muffle of snow helps to carry across the grounds. It's solitary, a little harsh. And just the way Logan seems to like it.

Inside the garage there's a space-heater going. Likely not from any personal desire for comfort, perhaps more to keep some of the water from freezing up when he wipes down the chrome of the motorcycle he's working on. An old 70s Norton that had been something of a project of his for the last year and some. Today the current project seems to be cleaning a salvaged gear that might work.

Then again it might well not.


Since her return to the mansion, Illyana Rasputin hasn't exactly been sociable. She escaped the infirmary as soon as she could manage and since then she's been something of a ghost, appearing here and there just enough to prove that she hasn't slunk off back to Limbo as she so often does.

Today's the first time that she seems to be actually seeking out company, as her sneakers crunch through the thin snow on her way to the garage. She's not really dressed for the weather, in a slightly oversized Xavier Institute hoodie, leggings and the aforementioned sneakers. It's a very dressed down look for her, even if everything she's wearing is, inevitably, black. Her only concession to the season is stuffing her hands into the pockets of the hoodie. But then, the cold's never seemed to bother her anyway.

Illyana doesn't knock, just steps through the people-sized door inset in the main vehicle door, and halts on the edge of the circle of warmth thrown out by the space heater. She looks a fair bit healthier than she did before, even though she's even paler from the cold, but the cuts on her face seem healed, and her blue eyes are clear as they run over the interior of the garage before settling on Logan.

"Hiding from the students?" She asks. She doesn't believe it, but she might as well break the silence.


Motorcycle part in hand and oily rag in the other, Logan turns to the side to affix her with a quirked eyebrow and a wary glance. But then the other eyebrow joins is counterpart as he heaves a small shrug with a wave to the side. "You know how it is this timea year."

Even without seeing him for this long she could've probably guessed what he was wearing and likely won if she put money down on it. Ragged if a bit baggy jeans, brown boots, brown leather belt with a white t-shirt tucked in. Where the touch of fashion comes from the man is what he chooses for a jacket. Would it be the leather? Nope. Red flannel. One of his three usual options though.

He scrunches up one eye as he looks past her towards the mansion, "Spend time in there then there are… 'expectations'." But he lets that train of thought derail as he looks more closely at her.

He grunts once ten asks, "N'you? Yer lookin' better."


Illyana takes Logan deigning to reply as an invitation to move further inside the garage. Finding one of the support pillars to her liking, the blonde Russian leans against it and takes her hands out of her pockets, rubbing them together and then blowing on them, without taking her eyes off Logan. She's probably just going through the motions.

"I know." She confirms, pulling a face. "The season of goodwill. Or at least the season of students on a permanent sugar high who think you want to join in the festivities." She folds her arms. "I helped Ray do some decorating last Christmas. I've given." She's injected just the right amount of sourness into her tone, but there's a slight movement of her lips that might be the very edge of a smile as she says it.

If it was a smile, it vanishes when she snorts and shakes her head. "I'm fine." That's stretching the truth a little, but she does look better than she probably should. "Besides, I heard Nate was trying to send people down to the med-bay to cheer me up. Getting out of there was self-preservation."


A small 'heh' slips from him at the mention of the various and sundry Summerses and their ilk. He shakes his head and turns away, walking over towards the tool cart against the wall, setting down the rag and the motorcycle part. He turns back and then murmurs, "I reckon he was."

He moves back towards the motorcycle, walking past her with that easy gait of his and says as he passes by, "I go inside, everyone tries ta cheer me up." He flares his hands slightly as he shoots her a glance as if he were crazy, "Do I look like I need cheerin' up?"

But his smile is a little wry as if he knows that he sort of does have that look. Kneeling down beside the motorcycle's fuel tank and reaching across the radiator, he starts to undo several connections and pull on it slowly. "So how'd the thing with Ray go?"

Before she can answer there's a sharp /clank/ as the radiator pulls away from the frame of the motorcycle and he inspects it, blowing a puff of air into one end of it. "Heard you got the all clear, but figure there's more to it."


"He should know better." This time, the sourness in Illyana's tone is unfeigned. She kicks a foot up behind her, bracing herself against the pillar, and slouches against it a little more. She'd seem comfortable and relaxed, except that her head turns to keep Logan in her eye-line with every move that he makes.

Despite her watchfulness, Illyana tilts her head to one side, making a great play of considering her answer before she speaks. "You aren't exactly the picture of 'jolly', Logan." She points out dryly, knowing that she hardly fits that word much better even on those rare occasions she makes the effort to fake it.

Illyana opens her mouth to give Logan a one-word answer, then frowns when she's cut off by the noise of his tinkering. Still, it gives her a moment to come up with something more considered than a short, sardonic 'great'. "You think I can let a telepath in and still lie to them?" Illyana asks, not even half-serious. "I wish." That's added quietly, before she continues at a more normal volume, carefully conversational in her tone. "No. Ray got a front row seat to watch me trade my soul for the world. Turns out I've had better ideas."

Illyana still hasn't looked away from Logan. "That's not really enough, is it?"


"Ehn," Logan says, dismissive assuredly but perhaps that's what's needed here. To be fair, however, he doesn't entirely abadon that line of the conversation. Instead he turns it slightly. "I figure you had most any conversation I could have with you already in your own head. In some form or another at least."

He eyeballs the radiator a bit more and then straightens back up, carrying it over towards one of the work tables and tossing it on there with another clank. For now the work is forgotten. He turns around, arms crossing over his broad chest as he affixes her gaze with his own blue eyes. "At least if yer the person I took you for. Then again I'm usually fairly good at readin' people." He looks to the side, then back to her.

"I think what might still be hangin' is the guilt of it. How much responsibility is there to be put down on yer doorstep." He lifts his chin slightly and adds, "Ultiately though, that guilt ya feel." But he stops for a moment, perhaps at a facial expression, or a subtle change in the scent on the wind…

"Well, it doesn't matter. It's what yer gonna do about it, that matters."


Illyana's eyes narrow and her breath is a quiet hiss as it's drawn in through suddenly gritted teeth. Guilt. She was more than happy to talk around what happened, even attempt a little levity at her own expense, all the while pretending that she's enjoying a friendly conversation out of the cold… but she expected Logan to make a stab for the heart of the matter, sooner or later.

She's only surprised that it cuts her so deeply. She doesn't like this vulnerability. This feeling that she's not in control, that her life is dependent on the goodwill of others.

That she can no longer pretend there's nothing to lose if she walks away.

Naturally, she doesn't breathe a word about what she really feels. She drops her foot to the floor and pushes away from her apparently comfortable pillar, moodily following Logan to the workbench while still keeping a short, but defined distance from him. "I'm going to take back every inch of Limbo from those minions of the Elder Gods that still live." She says, the words clipped. "I'm going to make sure the Elder Gods themselves never get so close to your world again." Her voice remains flat. "And I'm going to hunt down anything that slipped between the dimensions in the chaos and put it to the sword." Her current outfit doesn't exactly back up her words, but her eyes are stony. She might say more, but instead catches herself and takes a careful breath. Then smiles. "It'll make me feel better, anyway."

She finally looks away, a quick, almost furtive glance toward the door. "And I am… me… again. For a while, I wasn't. If you ever think I'm not?" She grins, suddenly. "There was a version of this conversation that involved your claws. Keep it in mind, just in case."


Another heh is given as he looks away then back at her, but only just sidelong. "Yah." That's all he offers in response to the idea of a quick snikt being a possibility. It might've been, but things for now are at the least somewhat in a better place. "S'good you're you."

But when she spoke of the storming into Limbo, taking it over, making sure she had it under her control again… well he rubbed at the ridge of his brow and seemed to consider the ground for an instant. Again he looked at her, but more directly as he says. "To be fair though. Might not be a good idea ta saunter back inta Limbo."

He refolds his arms and keeps at his place leaning against the table, one boot crossing over the other. "I mean, I don't know the situation. Mebbe you do. But I figure you first off need some time. Get to a point where I can't push ya over with a finger." There's a small smirk there, the first touch of humor shared.

But then he looks away and shifts his weight slightly on the table, "Thing is, most of the people that were effected by all the craziness. They're not in Limbo." He looks her up and down as if gauging her all over again, then he adds. "And I'm bettin' they could use some help."


There's the flicker of something dangerous in Illyana's eyes when Logan questions her judgment when it comes to Limbo. It's her home, her own private kingdom, and it's been sullied… as far as a hell dimension can be sullied… and more to the point, the Elder Gods' minions want to take it from her. They won't succeed, but it's an affront.

Not to mention, fighting a civil war against demons is both cathartic and a more pleasant way to work out her guilt than the option Logan is shoving at her. He gets a glare for his trouble.

"I offer to let you stab me to death." Illyana says, in a flat tone, but she just might be trying not to smile. "But no, that's too quick and too clean for you. Instead, you want me to help people. And probably be nice to them as well." She's losing the battle against the smile - or at least smirk. "You're cruel, Logan. I hope you're pleased with yourself."


The haggard man's smile is sardonic but amused as he replies to her, "Usually am, darlin'." But he reaches over and closes the distance between them for the first time by resting a rough hand on her shoulder, and giving a gentle squeeze. Nothing more. Nothing less. Then there's a nod as he pushes off of the table and starts to walk back across the way towards his motorcycle.

"And if after that ya need a hand, you know you got family 'round here that'll help." He waves a hand to the side, his back to her now as he kneels in front of the motorcycle, though he just pokes at it, checks some of the wiring. "I mean, hell. When things were at their worst I was doin' more than my fair share of huntin' demons."

He stands up and turns back to look at her, "Figure this'd be just more of the same." If before was the carrot, maybe this was the stick? But a sort of weird violent stick.

"C'mon, let's head on inside. We can be growly at people in solidarity and handle the holidays that way. Mebbe some cocoa." Alright maybe that's the carrot.

He starts to the outer door.


There's a different kind of wariness in Illyana's eyes now, as Logan approaches her. He's no longer a physical threat, at least today. He's something far worse, which he only proves when he reaches out for her shoulder. She glances at his hand, but doesn't complain or pull away, much as she doesn't usually like to be touched. This is something else to endure as part of her penance.

"It's keeping some of them from helping that's the hard part." Illyana comments as noncommittally as possible. She knows Logan will pick up a 'no way in hell' from her words, however she phrases it. Allies didn't help against the dragon, and there are… things in Limbo that she doesn't want Logan to see.

Like the adamantium skeleton of another him, for a start.

"You make it sound so tempting." Illyana replies, in a pained tone. But she falls in beside him all the same. After a moment of almost companionable silence she shoots a glance at him.

"And if it gets that bad, we can go down to the Danger Room and you can try to push me over with a finger."

Yes, she's guilty. Yes, she hates it. No, she's not going to forget that crack any time soon.

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