Author's Note: This Marvelverse/TMNT crossover takes place between my other two stories in the same category. It's just after the events in "A Thing for Redheads" and takes place sometime before "The Boogeyman." This is meant to be more of a short side story than a fully fleshed-out arc (think of it as a "filler" episode of a television series). Also, for those readers who are used to my frequent updates, I should warn you that my updates won't be on a daily basis, since my schedule is still a little out-of-whack.
Other than those minor details, enjoy the story!
"Good evening, my friend."
"Hey Splinter," replied a low voice. "Not much surprises ya, does it?" When the meditating rat refused to even open his eyes, the new arrival took a wary step into the lair, sniffing at the air. "Don't suppose you guys were expectin' visitors, huh?"
"If it is the turtles you seek," Splinter told him, "then I am afraid that you have come at an inopportune time. They are off investigating a disturbance in midtown. Is there anything I can do while you have managed to find your way here?"
"Actually, I was hopin' to talk to Raphael."
At this, Splinter opened his eyes. "Raphael?" He looked up at the short, brusque man standing in front of him. "I do hope that he has not managed to get himself into more trouble. He seems to have a natural talent for it."
"Exactly," came the response. "And that's just why I wanna talk with him. I'm gonna be gone for a few days, and I'd like me some back-up. And call me crazy, but I think the little runt might just be able to help me out."
Splinter observed the visitor quietly, his dark eyes searching for a hidden meaning. When he could find none, he asked, "What precisely is the nature of this journey that would make you believe that Raphael could prove to be of assistance?"
The man gave his broad shoulders a single shrug. "Call it a hunch. Or call it my debut at reasonable thinkin'. Whatever pet name ya wanna give it, let's just settle on it bein' because I like the twerp's company. If I'm breakin' some secret ninja code about disruptin' the clan or something, then I can turn around and go solo. It's just a short gig, anyway."
Splinter said nothing once again. Deciding it to be a lost cause, the man gave him a halfhearted wave and turned to leave. "Mr. Logan," Splinter called, influencing him to stop. "I do not know what it is you seek. All I ask is that, when you find it, you will allow yourself to be glad for it and not disturb the past anymore. Allow it to rest in peace, and honor it the way you would honor the memory of a loved one."
It was Logan's turn to remain quiet. At length, he finally shot Splinter a glance over his shoulder. "You don't know what my life's been like, bub. I got enough years on ya to give ya the Japanese honorific for a kid. The sad part is, I only just remembered most of it recently. And the memories I've got aren't of things that I 'honor.' So don't go tellin' me about lettin' the past rest in peace. The only things that I've ever seen rest in peace have been my enemies, and that's only after a good period of strife right before I let 'em go. And right now, I've got an enemy out there that knows too much about my past, 'n I know too little about him. With Raphael's help, I'm gonna aim to change that."
Splinter said nothing else as the enigmatic X-Man known as Wolverine left the lair just as quietly as he had entered.
As he left the bar several hours later, Logan picked up on a familiar scent coming from a nearby alley.
His hands deep in his pockets, he walked slowly towards the mouth of the alleyway, already knowing who was waiting for him. "Thought I smelled raw sewage nearby," he told the oddly-shaped shadow at the end of the alley.
Raphael was sitting atop a garbage can, lazily twirling one of his sai. "It coulda just been the fact that ya haven't washed your hair out since the Carter administration," the sarcastic turtle replied. "Now that the small talk's over 'n done with, I heard you was lookin' for me."
"I just dropped by to see if I can't pump ya for information," Logan said, removing a cigar from his pocket. "After our last little adventure with spiders and demons, I was wonderin' if you weren't cravin' somethin' a little more down to Earth."
"What ya got in mind?" Raphael asked.
Logan responded, "A little secret agent by the name of Bishop."
Raphael stopped twirling his sai as Logan lit his cigar. "Bishop?" Raphael sputtered. "What, ya mean he's back again? Causin' trouble so soon after ya killed a bunch 'a his men and he nearly got his essence eaten by a Savanti demon?"
"Nobody said he was back," Logan corrected. "But that don't mean I ain't lookin'." He puffed his cigar a few times, waiting for Raphael to say something. When he didn't, he explained, "Tony Stark and Emma Frost did some poking around to see what they can find out about this boy. Turns out, there's more to him than meets the eye. As in, he might even be older than me. Because someone who looks a whole lot like him was workin' on the Weapon X program way back around World War II, which is when I was given my very own built-in sai."
"World War II?" Raphael asked, confused. He knew that Agent Bishop was probably around since the Civil War and managed to keep himself looking relatively young with the aid of his stolen alien technology, but Logan…? "But… that was over 65 years ago! Jeez, how old were ya when they put that stuff in ya? I mean, they couldn't have done that to a little kid… could they?"
"You'd be surprised what people can do to ya once they find out you ain't nuthin' but a mutant," Logan answered bitterly. "Still, don't gotta worry about that stuff happenin' to a rugrat, bub. I was well into my thirties by the time they got their grubby paws on me."
"Thirties? But that must mean that you're-"
"Don't hurt your brain with the math, kid," Logan quickly told him. "I didn't go lookin' for ya so we could discuss algebra, okay? I'm goin' to look for Bishop. Tonight. Already got a full gas tank on my jeep and a few changes of clothes in the back. Ya wanna come, then you come. Otherwise, I'm gonna figure out his weaknesses on my own and see where that gets me."
"Good luck with that," Raphael snapped. "If we could figure out Bishop's weaknesses in one go, he wouldn't be such a problem! We saw him walk away after being impaled on a hook! How many other guys can you say the same about?"
"For starters," Logan replied, "me." Raphael stopped, apparently never having realized the full extent of Logan's healing abilities. "Yeah, so he's tough. Durable. And he probably thinks he's fightin' on the right side, just like the rest of these stupid anti-mutant pukes. The main difference between him and the vigilantes is that he actually gets government funding. But let's get somethin' straight: he's the bad guy. He's the one that's supposed to die while fallin' off a cliff or somethin'. And if he don't know that, I better make sure he learns before he goes and does anything stupid with all of that information he's managed to learn about me, you, and any other person who was born different from the rest of the world. You want in, you better tell me quick. Otherwise, I'm goin' on my own."
Raphael listened quietly to everything Logan said. It was foolish, he knew. It was crazy, reckless, and completely unreasonable to go out and search for a dangerous enemy when he hasn't made an antagonistic move towards you first. And yet, Raphael couldn't deny that this would be exactly the way he would operate if only he didn't have to worry about what his brothers and sensei would think. Maybe Logan would prove to be the very mentor he had always wished for… and that his family had always feared he would find.
"Yeah," Raphael finally answered. "Yeah, I want in. If we're gonna be gone for days, though, gimme a chance to let the others know. I won't tell 'em where we're goin', but it's only fair that they don't gotta worry." Logan nodded, and Raphael headed towards a manhole cover just across the street. Before he left the alley, he glanced back at Logan. "Meet ya back here in ten minutes. Anything I should bring back?"
"A winter coat and a blanket, junior," Logan remarked. "We're headed up north."