Rating: T for profanity, snarking
Characters: Scott, Logan, Jean
Summary: A Wolverine. A beagle. "Just watch the damn dog, Logan."
All standard disclaimers apply. Don't own them, am making no money off them, blah, blah, blah.
Gratitude,praise and puppies(!) to Rachel for the beta.
" . . . and this," Summers said, "is his squeaky snowman toy -- he likes it when you throw that – and this is his blanket – don't let him play tug-of-war with it, Jean says it'll make him aggressive – and here are some age-appropriate chew toys. Now, he gets his lunch at noon. The best thing to do is to . . . "
Logan tuned out as Summers nattered on about purines and puppy chow. He wondered, for the tenth time, just why he'd agreed to baby-sit – dog-sit – Jean's mutt. He thought it would be fun? Nah. He wanted to help out the Boy Wonder? Never. He'd wrangled the keys to Scooter's latest car for an entire month in exchange? Yeah, that was it.
Darwin the beagle was the latest addition to the mansion. Scott's birthday gift to Jean had been a $600 beagle pup with a pedigree more elaborate and impressive than Warren Worthington's, though in Logan's opinion, anyone who had spent more than 10 minutes with Worthington should have been well aware of the hazards of high-class inbreeding.
At four months, Darwin had liquid brown eyes, a tail that was in perpetual motion and the approximate IQ of bait. The game of fetch confounded him, loud noises unnerved him and the concept of bladder control had yet to penetrate his expensive little head. As far as Logan was concerned, Jeannie could just as easily practice her parenting skills on some poor mutt from the pound , but it wasn't, he thought with a dark look at Summers, the first time she'd gone for a pretty face over actual brains.
The dog spent a lot of time with Jean in the lab, barricaded in a corner, staring at her adoringly and becoming incontinent with joy whenever she smiled at him. Cyclops in a fur suit, Logan thought contemptuously. The mutt also spent a lot of time chewing anything and everything that came his way, to the point where "the dog ate my homework" had become a popular and valid excuse among the students.
Jean, however, loved the pup and had subjected everyone to endless explanations of why Darwin was the perfect name for a beagle – "Darwin's voyage on the HMS Beagle was the foundation of 'The Origin of Species,' Logan!" – and just how thoughtful and wonderful and utterly perfect Scooter was to have figured this out on his own. Logan wasn't sure which lecture was more irritating. For the past two weeks, Jean had been in Spain at some geneticists' conference, and Summers had spent his time pressing hapless students and staffers into pet-sitting duty. Now, as he headed off the airport to pick up Jean and bring her home, he was down to Logan.
" . . . and do NOT growl at him. It frightens him, and we don't want him getting a complex," Summers told Logan.
"With you raising him, getting a complex is the least of his worries," Logan said. "Just how much longer is it going to take you to housebreak him? Did it take Jeannie this long to potty-train you?"
"All you have to do is watch him for a couple of hours while I go to JFK and back," Summers said between his teeth. "Even you should be capable of that. Think how much it'll mean to Jean."
"Think how much you'll enjoy running my car into the ground for the next month."
"Just watch the damn dog, Logan," Summers said. "Go into the horse pasture with him and roll in manure together. Chase squirrels together. Swim in the lake and stink up the house together. Consider this bonding time. Just don't let him chew anything – he's already eaten $3,000 worth of Jean's shoes since she's been gone."
"Jean owns $3,000 worth of shoes?" Logan asked, temporarily startled out of surliness.
"Oh, more than that," Summers said bitterly. "Those are just the ones he got to. Some expensive designer whatsis – I don't know. If he doesn't outgrow this urge to chew leather, we're going to end up going on our next mission in gnawed uniforms. Imagine how that'll look."
"Gee," Logan said, "we might look stupid or something. That'll be a big switch."
Summers glared at him.
"She know about the shoes?" Logan asked.
Logan grinned wolfishly. "Can I be there when you tell her?"
Summers snorted. "It won't make a difference." He looked down at the dog, who panted up at him worshipfully. "Darwin can do no wrong as far as she's concerned. He can puke on the bed and it's art. He can trash our room and it's adorable. It's disgusting."
"Give him a visor and it's you," Logan said. "Right down to the yapping."
"Go to hell," Summers responded, then bent down and gave the beagle a final pat. "Behave yourself and there's a chew toy in it for you. Maybe even a rawhide one if you're really good."
Logan snorted. "Damn dog doesn't need any more toys. He's spoiled rotten."
Summers smirked and turned to leave the room. "Oh, I wasn't talking to the dog, Logan." He grabbed his keys and headed for the front door, calling over his shoulder, "And don't worry about his fleas! If you get any, Hank said he'll whip something up to take care of it!"
"Fleas!" Logan yelled after him. "You never said he had fucking fleas!"
"I wasn't talking to you, Logan," Summers said. "Have fun, boys." He shut the door behind him.
"Bastard," Logan muttered.
Darwin nosed his squeaky toy, looked up at Logan and whined hopefully.
"I'm not throwing it," Logan told the dog. "But if you chew any of my stuff, I might just throw you in the lake. And hold you under. I'll just tell Jeannie it was natural selection that got you."
Darwin collapsed at Logan's feet, apparently drained from the effort of remembering how to sit.
Three hours later, Cyclops and Jean rolled up to the mansion and were greeted a muddy, supremely irritated Wolverine holding an equally muddy, supremely happy beagle pup.
Logan stalked up to the pair and shoved the dog at Jean.
"Jeannie, take your goddamn mutt before I drown him. And welcome back."
"Logan's been working on his people skills," Summers told Jean, who cradled Darwin as the dog wriggled in her arms, muddying her suit and joyfully slobbering on any part of her he could reach. "That's where the 'welcome back' comes from."
"Fuck you, One-Eye," Logan growled. "And I'm never baby-sitting the hound of hell again, you hear me?"
"Oh, please, Logan," Summers said in exasperation. "All you had to do was watch the dog. Was it the complexity of the directions that threw you? Was a puppy really too much for you to handle?"
"He wasn't 'too much for me to handle,'" Logan snapped. "He was just a fucking pain in the ass. He chewed up my favorite boots. He shit in my closet. It ain't funny, Jean. He went in the bathroom and ate a roll of toilet paper and started puking everywhere. He got ahold of my best belt and– "
"The one with the dinner-plate-sized buckle?" Summers interrupted. "The one you can use to signal ships from land? I'm surprised he could lift it."
"Fuck you, Scooter," Logan retorted. "At least I'm not so whipped I let a girl pick out my clothes. It's not funny, Jean. Your fucking mutt started chewing my belt and wouldn't let it go – "
"You're not supposed to play tug-of-war with him," Summers reminded him. "Didn't I tell you that? Jean says – "
"Jean's too busy laughing her ass off to say anything," Logan retorted, getting progressively more agitated as he spoke. "Cut it out, Jean. It's not fucking funny. I tried to take the little SOB outside, and he ate grasshoppers and puked on the back steps. He dug up all kinds of shit in Ro's garden. I think he took a shit in Ro's garden, too. It's not fucking funny, Jean! There's mud all over the place, my room is a wreck and I still don't know what the fuck he did with my belt."
He turned to Summers, wild-eyed. "Do you have any fucking idea what it's like to have some damn animal wreck your home, steal your stuff and ignore you when you yell at him?"
"Heavens, no," Scott said dryly. "Do tell. Did he hit on your fiancee, too?"
Logan growled. "Summers, I'm gonna take that fucking snowman and shove it up your fucking – "
"Logan!" Jean interrupted, recovering from her giggles to speak. "Logan, it was really very nice of you to watch Darwin for Scott, and we're BOTH very grateful, aren't we, Scott?" she said, with a meaningful look at her lover.
"Very grateful," Summers echoed with the smirk Logan had come to think of his "oh-please-gut-me-NOW" expression. "And we're SO sorry about your belt – "
"You fucking well oughta be sorry," Logan snarled. "I got that one in Canada, so it's irreplaceable."
"Oh, please," Scott said impatiently. "It won't be that hard. We'll use the Internet. You know it as the place where porn lives, but it does have other uses. I'll just Google 'transvestite lumberjack' and you'll have a duplicate belt buckle in no time."
"Yeah?" responded Logan. "Why don't you Google 'gutted like a fish' while you're at it, you skinny little . . . "
"Are you two going to fight about clothes all day?" Jean interrupted. "Or is someone going to get my suitcase out of the car?"
"Yes, dear," Summers muttered, unlocking the trunk.
"Atta girl, Jeannie," Logan said. "At least you taught one of them to fetch."
Jean ignored him and nuzzled the dog, who wagged ecstatically. "And how is my little boy?" she cooed. "Were you a bad boy for Uncle Logan? Did my baby boy miss me?"
Logan snorted contemptuously. "You bet he did," he said. "For two weeks, we've had to put up with him wandering around in circles, whining and humping the furniture. Oh, and I think the mutt missed you, too."
"Go to hell, Logan," Summers said, lugging a suitcase. "I leave you alone with the dog for what? Three hours? And I get back and you've taught him that his name is an obscenity. We'll have to spend the next month teaching him that his name is not 'Goddamn it.' Or worse." He turned to Jean. "He is NEVER baby-sitting our children."
"If that damn dog is any indication, your kid'll need an exorcist, not a baby sitter," Logan retorted.
Summers' reply was drowned out by a cry of rage coming from the direction of Ororo's garden. The skies darkened ominously and thunder rumbled as the weather witch took in the results of Darwin's digging.
"Boy, are you going to get it," Summers said. "Ro is going to kick your adamantium ass for letting him trash her garden."
"Don't think so, college boy," Wolverine replied with a wholly unnatural, deeply unnerving and downright diabolical grin. "I told the kids – who are now telling Ro – that YOU told me to turn the mutt loose in the garden. She ain't coming after ME, she's coming after US."
"Just think of this as survival of the fittest, kid."