This novel is limited to 100 free copies due to its part in Inkitt’s Novel Contest.
They were in Cerebro. Logan was in 1973 at the X-Mansion, familiar though he wasn’t supposed to know this place yet, and he was once more standing in Cerebro with Hank, one of his future best friends, and Charles, one of the most powerful telepaths he knew besides his future lover Darcy. Cerebro had been one of the first places taken by the Sentinels when they took power. Sentinels raided Xavier’s Institute for Gifted Youngsters to cull the next generation of mutants and find the most powerful Level 5 mutants as well. It was a slaughter, Logan knew. He remembered losing Hank, and he lost Jimmy, too, his son. Darcy had been devastated when they lost their son, and Logan fared no better. It was why he had volunteered for this. Logan would do anything to have his son again in a better world, a happier one, where mutants were not hunted to extinction.
“These are muscles I haven’t stretched in a long time.” Charles, young Charles with hair and drug addictions, tears Logan out of his nostalgic thoughts as he blows the dust of his helmet and carefully places it on his head. As Cerebro activates, Logan is reminded of how this Charles is very much like his future counterpart in the fact that he is overwhelmed by loss and despondency. Watching Charles struggle to narrow his focus on Cerebro as the voices of the mutants in pain cry out, Logan is also inexplicably reminded of Jimmy. His son had been a mutant with empathic abilities, something he must have gotten from his mother Darcy who was a telepath. While he could manipulate people’s emotions, their feelings affect him and made him confused on how he felt. The large crowds in the school of hormonal moody teenagers overwhelmed Jimmy, who was too young to control it all. Now observing how Charles sucked in his breath and held it as he watched the red holograms spin around so fast it made one dizzy, Logan saw his struggle and sought to stop it.
“Charles!” He shouts to the man and the man only screams as Cerebro short-circuits and glitches out. At least the spinning and the screaming stopped as the machine stopped working, too. Charles tears the helmet off his head, breathing heavily and obviously disturbed. He doesn’t through the helmet down but instead sets it down heavily on the control board, the motion as heavy as the burden on the man’s shoulders that also weighs heavy on his heart.
Hank awkwardly offers him help the only way he knows how, through gestures. “Charles, it’s alright. I’ll just go check the generators.” He then quickly turns to leave and runs out of Cerebro. Time is short.
With Hank gone that left Logan alone with Charles. He stared at the young man in the wheelchair, his brown hair lank and greasy hanging in his face and his blue eyes red from tears. Charles was still shaking and Logan’s heart went out for him. The former-father (future father? Possibly) could remember how Jimmy would get in these kinds of situations. Jimmy had died young, barely four-years-old, and he would cry and isolate himself in his room when emotions ran too high. Tentatively, Logan started to ease Charles’ mind with a knowing question, “It’s not the machinery, is it?”
The young man in the wheelchair stutters his excuses, “I can’t do this, my mind.” He trails off, voice quavering.
“Yes, you can.” Logan’s voice is easygoing and confident. In order to assuage his fears, Logan had to let him know that he wasn’t afraid. Jimmy could literally smell fear, and it scared the boy to know that his father – his hero – could be afraid, too. It was harder to lie to a telepath, though, as Charles had proved to him earlier when he started to lose his legs and therefore gained his powers. However, Logan was confident that Charles could do this. He has seen him do this millions of times in the future. There is no reason he couldn’t start doing it now.
Belligerently, Charles argues back, “It can’t take it.” He is still panicking, deeply unsettled by what he heard and saw in Cerebro.
In response Logan steadfastly assures him, “You’re just a little rusty.”
Charles’ voice brooks no argument. “You don’t understand.” It’s true. Logan is only a feral mutant. He has no first-hand experience with how telepathy works or affects mutants. However, he did have a lover for over fifteen years who was a telepath. Darcy had shared a little of how she felt, and they had been intimate enough that he understood how it could get stressful. It wasn’t until they had a child together, though, and Logan watched his son grow into his powers that he truly understood how difficult it could be to a new mutant. After all, Darcy had had years of experience controlling her powers.
Now Charles was relearning his powers and his skills as a telepath were growing exponentially. Charles explained, “It’s not a question of being rusty. I can flip the switches, I can turn the knobs. But my power comes from here, it comes from…” Once again the man trailed off as his hand moved from touching his fingers to his temple to tapping his sternum. “And it’s broken.” On the word his voice broke. “I feel like one of my students. Helpless.” He sounded as much. “It was a mistake coming down here. It was a mistake freeing Erik. This whole thing has been one bloody mistake!” Directing his chair, he turned around and started to roll down the aisle to leave Cerebro. Charles is giving up and he can’t stand the sight of the machinery around him, mocking him, or Logan’s pity. “I’m sorry, Logan, but they sent back the wrong man.” He didn’t mean that as a slight to Logan. He meant that they should have sent him back so that he could actually be useful.
Thankfully, Logan understood what he meant. His eyes followed Charles as he moved away, dejected, and he called after the man, “You’re right. I am.”
For some reason, the words made Charles stop in his tracks. This gave Logan the opportunity he needed to continue, to try and talk some sense into Charles and boost his morale. “Actually,” Logan starts as he catches up to Charles and faces him, tilting his face down to stare at the broken man, “it was supposed to be you. But I was the only one who could physically make the trip.” Logan thought of Darcy, how she had not only her telepathy but her healing factor that was very similar to his. But like Charles was now, she was broken. The only difference was that her heart was hard whereas all Charles’ heart could do was bleed at the injustice of the world on his soul. Darcy was strong in the future, but not strong enough to make this trip. It had to be someone compassionate, and Darcy had lost that and her patience with the death of their son.
Quickly moving on from those bleak thoughts, Logan stumbled his way through the rest of his words, “And, uh, I don’t know how long I’ve got here, but I do know that I long time ago – actually.” He stopped himself as he realized the trickiness of time travel. “A long time from now,” he amended his statement and bent over to be at eye-level with Charles, “I was your most helpless student.” His voice was soft, gentle, tender – all of these things that Darcy taught him to be with Jimmy and that he learned for Jimmy and he was using them now and a grown man who was as helpless as Jimmy was when the Sentinels came for him. Pushing all of that aside, Logan kept his thoughts peaceful as he continued, “And you unlocked my mind. You should me who I was. You showed me who I could be.”
Sitting in his wheelchair, helpless to escape, Charles stared hard at Logan’s kindly face, searching for truth. The man was so patient, and Charles’ restlessness had simmered down and faded away, calmed by Logan’s serenity.
Logan was still talking. “I don’t know how to do that for you. You’re right. I don’t.” Logan didn’t know how to do that for Jimmy either, but he had found someone who could; and he knew that is who Charles needed right now. “But I know someone who might.”
At Charles’ confusement by the wrinkling of his brow and the small noise he made, Logan had a flashback of Jimmy’s young face. Jimmy had his mother’s dark skin, his father’s brown hair with thankfully only one of his cowlicks. Jimmy’s blue eyes must have come from Darcy’s Irish side of the family, and now similar blue eyes were looking at Logan that way. In Logan’s memory, the eyes were crying, and now he was looking into eyes that were barely holding back tears. “Look into my mind,” Logan invited Charles. God, he couldn’t continue to look at the man without thinking about little Jimmy, his son.
Immediately, Charles starts shaking his head side to side, the movement so fast that his hair whips in his face and in his tearful blue eyes. “No, no, you saw what I did to Cerebro. You don’t want me inside your head.”
In that moment he is so childish that Logan is so reminded of Jimmy again that it is painful. Ignoring it, Logan makes an attempt at humor as he informs him, “There’s no damage that you can do that hasn’t already been done, trust me.” His attempt at humor falls flat given the situation, but besides the trauma he had endured Logan was thinking of Darcy and how she would play around with his mind. It hadn’t bothered him, per se, but it had been an experience usually reserved for when they were both in one of their more playful moods. Thinking of Darcy was no better than thinking of Jimmy, though, so Logan had to push those thoughts aside as well, especially if Charles was going to enter his mind.
And Charles did enter his mind. With a careful touch of his fingertips on either side of Logan’s head on his temples, he gently enters his mind. As soon as he does he is bombarded by images of Darcy and Jimmy, and they are not happy memories. Darcy is cold, heartless, a murderer, the woman she is in the future when she has to live in a world where she is treated like a diseased animal and she does not have her son. Jimmy is a screaming child, hiding under the dining room table and his bed to get away from the angry people, the sad people, the people who were so mean. Logan had not pushed his memories back fast enough. More memories assaulted Charles, Logan’s memories of being a part of Stryker’s experiments where he got the adamantium on his bones. These memories are worse for Charles to witness. To Logan he shakes his head and pities him, tears spilling down his cheeks, “You poor, poor man.”
Logan doesn’t look away from Charles’ eyes no matter how much he wants to, no matter how much he pictures Jimmy’s face instead and how the tear tracks stood out against his dark skin. Logan always wiped those tears away and whenever he did there were more in their place. “Look past me.” His voice was hard as he tried to direct Charles to help.
“No, I don’t want you’re suffering, I DON’T WANT YOUR FUTURE!” Charles was crying fully now, yelling directly in Logan’s face as he was immersed in the man’s tortured mind.
The few years he had with his son Jimmy prepared Logan enough so that he wasn’t angered by Charles’ yelling. “Look past my future,” he instructed in a soothing tone of voice, “look for you future.” His voice is still calm and gentle as he encourages Charles, “That’s it. That’s it.”
While his body was being used as a vessel for Charles to travel through to the future to talk to his future self, Logan’s mind wandered once again to thoughts of his son. Jimmy had had lessons with Charles about controlling his powers and ignoring the emotions of other people. The lessons were successful, but only by so much since Jimmy was a compassionate child with a very big heart and a penchant to be kind to strangers. The Professor had instructed both of Jimmy’s parents on how to help him, and for Logan that meant controlling his temper so that he was slow to anger and not letting things bother him so much. For Jimmy, Logan learned to mellow and it was why after the Sentinels took over that Logan could keep himself from going completely berserk as he had often done in the past. So in truth it was Jimmy that was saving the future since Logan was doing all of this for his son, for the son that taught him how to help Charles now.
He was distracted from his thoughts when Charles pulled away from him and out of him mind, sitting back in his wheelchair heavily. His face was pensive, and Logan saw traces of Jimmy on his face again, too, like when he would concentrate on his powers. “Find what you were looking for?” Logan rhetorically asked. Then the power flickered back on and he stood to his full height again, giving Charles his space.
This time when Charles tried Cerebro again, he was successful.
When Logan woke up again to Roberta Flack, he was in the future. Wandering through the familiar halls of the X-Mansion, he saw it bustling with the activity of a normal school day. Rogue was there, happy with Bobby. He saw Hank, alive and well and in his Beast form in a plaid suit. He saw Storm dressed all in white and talking to her students amiably. He even saw Jean dressed all in red and Scott in a sweater and special sunglasses. Everything seemed so normal. Then he heard it.
“Logan, why aren’t you in your classroom yet? You know the children can leave after fifteen minutes if you don’t show up.” When Logan turned around he saw his lover, Darcy, black hair tumbling gracefully over her shoulders and amber-orange eyes framed by golden glasses and tanned skin glowing with happiness and –
“You’re pregnant?” Logan was shocked. She wasn’t pregnant in the other future. That was something they didn’t have time for. Jimmy was a miracle child as it was.
“Just past the three month mark, as you know. You helped make it.” She placed her hand over the slight bump she had, something Logan had never thought he’d see again on her. “Is it really that noticeable?”
“No.” And it wasn’t. Her blue dress didn’t emphasize the curve, nor mask it. Logan was just so familiar with her body that it surprised him. That and when she was pregnant with Jimmy her dark skin glowed like sun-kissed gold. Pregnancy made her even more beautiful than she already was. He swooped in and kissed her in that moment, long and passionate. When he breathlessly broke the kiss he looked around, “Does Jimmy know?”
“Jimmy?” She looked confused although that could have been from the kiss. Darcy licked her lips. “I like that name. Maybe if this is a boy, we’ll use that.”
Realization flooded Logan and he fell to his knees, pressing his forehead against the baby bump, his hands resting on her hips. Relief was the second emotion he felt. His son wasn’t born yet but that was fine. He’d be willing to re-experience fatherhood again. It was better this way because this way he wouldn’t miss a thing. The only regret he had was that he could seduce Darcy again, but having her already his was a great comfort in itself. The tip of his nose brushed against the swollen curve as Darcy’s hands came down to rest on his shoulders. “Trust me, it’s definitely a boy.”
“Don’t be too cocky, my love.” Her hands ran through his hair and her claws scratched his scalp the way he liked. He was on the verge of tears as it was and muffled the soft sobs he had by pressing his lips to her stomach repeatedly, chanting Jimmy’s and Darcy’s name as if in prayer. “Logan,” Darcy was deeply concerned and she tilted his face up to look at her, thumbing his tears away, “are you okay?”
“Yes,” his reply was without hesitancy. The way she caressed his face and wiped away the tears was exactly what she had done – what she will do – with Jimmy. “Yes, everything will be okay with you here and now, Darcy.”
Precisely six months later, Logan had the pleasure of holding his newborn son in his arms. James Gerald Jack Granger-Howlett was born weighing in at exactly 9 pounds as was 21 inches long. Little Jimmy had his mother’s dark tanned skin and was a brunette with only one of his father’s cowlicks, blessedly. When he opened his eyes for the first time, he saw his father, and his father saw that his eyes were a beautiful clear blue. Jimmy cried and Logan’s tears were much softer as he passed his son to his mother. As he watched his son burrow into his mother’s chest and latch a hold of her breast to feed, Logan chuckled at him. “Find what you were looking for?”
Clare Cormack: Fantastic read! I was gripped from the beginning. The plot twist and change of gear stops you from putting it down. I enjoyed the way the individual characters had their own chapters, reading from their own point of view - believable and identifiable. Im really excited to read the sequel and have...
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