Disclaimer: Marvel owns them, I'll sic someone on you if you sue. Of course, if you want to send me money, you're a dork.

Notes: This has been sitting on my hard drive for weeks. Um, I just sort of forgot to post it. (Ask Lynx, she was bapping me about it a week or two ago).

Dedication: To two people who gave me the germ of the idea. First, to Trisha Sebastian, who made a comment about how Sue Storm never gets out. And, second, to Jim Smith, who first noted that Logan's first name could be just... Jim.

Rating: PG13, for a bit of wacked imagery. And language. I'm sure I used it, somewhere.

Tiny Shattered Dreams
by Ana Lyssie Cotton

Name's Jim Logan. I'm the best there is at what I do, and as the pundits like to say, what I do ain't pretty. That auburn-haired girl over there? She's my partner. Goes by the handle of Rogue. Tryin' ta get away from her given name, I think.

I would if I was Lurlene Smith.

The girl is good, even if she is a mite young for the job. Lord knows we all were young, once. Ahhh, here she comes now, bringing that wonderful aroma with her.

Roasted beans, oil and pure coffee. There ain't nothin' like the smell of that first cup of the day. It brings good things with it. Usually.

Today, from the look on my partner's face, it was gonna be bad.

"Mornin' Rogue."

"Mornin' Logan." She handed me my cup and leaned against the desk.

"Somethin' up?" I leaned into my cup, one of those styrofoam affairs that melt after thirty cups of coffee.

"We've been deputised ta throw the Chief's birthday party." She replied, her southern drawl becoming more pronounced. "Said he'd like ta be surprised."

I shuddered and gulped a bit of the steaming hot coffee. My tongue protested by burnin'. I didn't worry, knew my healing factor'd take care of the burn in a moment. But the idea of throwing the Chief a surprise party was not a good one. "Why us?"

"We're not assigned to anything--no murders for this little major case squad to deal with." She grimaced and stood up. "I'll get mah things t'gether and we can go... shopping."

I shuddered again at that word as my partner began sorting the files on her desk into a semblance of order. My own desk would take years to look orderly. I knew where everything was, though.

"Maybe we should make a list." Rogue stood in front of my desk again, clipboard in hand.

"A list." I growled, unimpressed.

"Well, um, yeah, y'know, so we get exactly what we need and all that?" She tentatively perched on the edge of my desk.

I didn't tell her to remove her cute little butt from my desk. I was supposed to be in sensitivity training. "Rogue, could ya please stand?"

She blinked hazel eyes at me innocently. "Okay...."

"Thank you." Another thing I was having to do. Please and thank you and yes ma'am... Gah. Stupid beaurocrats. Wouldn't know real civility if it came up and bit them on the ass. 'Course, that wouldn't be real civil-like then, would it?

"So, ya'll're ready ta go?" She asked chirpily, standing there with that damned list already filled. I decided not to ask why she was suddenly so happy about the assignment from hell.

I shuddered and downed the last of my coffee, then stood. "Let's go and get this over with."

---

The store we found our sorry asses in, was very bright and chirpy. I hate chirpy. My partner was explaining to the clerk exactly what we needed. I'd say it was a gene that made women always know, but I knew Rogue had asked Betty Sue, the office clerk.

As my partner explained, I wandered over to a display and shivered at it. There were lots of hearts. And pink. I hate pink. Most of the women I know hate it, too.

The clerk came over then, looking happy and cheerful. "Well, sir, your partner has explained what you need, if I could just show you a few things, then y'all can make a decision."

"Uh..."

"Now, don't you worry none, it won't take long." She wrinkled her nose perkily at me. "Just you follow me."

I looked helplessly at Rogue, who looked back sheepishly. "Sorry, Jim."

Saved by the bell would have been nice. I wasn't, though, and the clerk continued to drag me further into party hell.

"Right, sure, if you could just--"

She was cut off by my office-issued 'these are dandy' cell phone ringing. "Logan."

"Sir, we've got a situation at Washington and Park."

"Well, I'm about two blocks from there. Be there in a moment."

"Thanks, sir." The young man on the other end sounded relieved. Rookie.

"Rogue!" I called, striding back to the front. "We've got a situation about two blocks from here."

"Right."

We got there about ten minutes later. When we pulled up, there were three other cars already, one of which I was glad to see, belonged to Ororo Munroe. The tall, black woman was a wonderful lady and very good at her job. She was also gorgeous as hell, but taken, currently.

"'Ro, what's the status?"

She turned and flashed me a slight smile. "Hello, Logan, Rogue. Currently, there's a woman barricaded in the building across the way. The few witnesses say she came driving down, pulled over, and ran into the building, then began firing on anyone who walked close to the building."

I studied the building. "How's she staying out of sniper range?"

"They're not here, yet. The office wants us to talk her down first."

"Anyone dead yet?"

"No. She's only injured them."

I nodded and looked at Rogue. "Stay here."

"Ah'm your partner, Ah'm comin' with you."

"Not this time, you're not, girl. Stay. Here."

She glared at me, eyes promising retribution. I turned to 'Ro. "Keep her here until I give the signal. If you don't hear from me for ten minutes, get the snipers on the roof across the way."

"Right." She snorted. "And what colour should we wear to your funeral?"

"Black." I replied promptly. "Don't follow me."

I turned and sauntered across the street before either could object again. As I approached the building, I studied it. One of those old, factory types where the floors were all one section, rather than apartments. It had been due for renovation into lofts, soon. The fron facade was falling off, the brickwork dull and stained. There was a flash of movement in one of the third floor windows, and I froze.

She sounded scared, and sad as she called down to me. "Don't come any closer!"

"Why not?" I yelled back. Even from this distance, I could tell she was a looker. Blonde hair. And I was betting gorgeous blue eyes, too. The white frilly apron I could see looked out of place, but I wasn't sure why.

"Because."

"Look, I just want to talk, lady. Not gonna do anything, not gonna make you give up. Just me and you, inside."

"Why?"

"No reason."

She seemed to be confused by this. Not that I was surprised. Then she nodded slowly, and pulled the rifle back in the window. "Okay. But no funny business."

"I promise, ma'am."

The interior was about as I'd expected. I found the stairs quickly and took them slowly. "Ma'am? I'm coming up."

As I cleared the second-floor landing, I saw her above me. Frightened, her stance was of someone who is very, very afraid. I stopped where I was and nodded up to her. "Hallo, ma'am. May I come up?"

"I... I guess so." She stepped back as I carefully stepped up the stairs, my hands to my side.

"Ma'am, you can relax, I'm not gonna do anything but come and sit on the floor and talk to you."

"Oh..." She turned away and looked at the factory floor. "I guess that's okay."

I'd stopped as soon as she turned. Stepping closer would be a bad idea while she was this jumpy.

As she whirled back, rifle up, expecting me to be right behind her, I was glad I'd followed that instinct. "Ma'am? I'm Jim."

"Sue. Sue Storm." She shivered and let the rifle down again, slowly backing further as I continued up the stairs.

I'd been right about the eyes, I realised, stepping onto the landing. They were a deep sapphire blue. "Well, Ms. Storm. My last name is Logan."

"So, you're Jim Logan. A-and it's Mrs. I'm... married." She giggled, then. It was high and sharp, and worried me.

"Yep. So tell me, ma'am. Why are you here?"

"I..." She shook her head, "No, let's talk about something else. Why are you here?"

"To talk to you."

"Oh. Did you know I have two kids? I don't get to see them much. He saw to that." She said musingly.

"Did he?"

"Yeah." She snorted. "As if that would stop me. They're my children, too."

"Nice kids?"

"Angels." She giggled, "I know all mothers say that, but mine ARE angels."

"Really?"

"I made sure of that, last night," She continued, her voice dipping into a sort of singsong. "Last night, they cried for me, and I came. And now they're free."

A horrible suspicion was growing on me. "Are they?"

"Yes." She nodded happily, her eyes meeting mine.

The glint of madness on them was something I'd missed the first time I'd looked at them. "Where are your children now, Sue?"

"Sitting in bed, as I left them. They'll never move until the fire catches." She smiled.

My radio chose that moment to crackle. "Jim, are you there?"

The rifle came back up, pointing at me. "Who is that?"

"My partner, Rogue." I stepped towards her carefully. "Sue, why don't you give me the gun and we can go get your kids."

"No. I have to let the fire take them. It's right." But she lowered the gun and looked at me thoughtfully.

"Please."

"How polite. I've always liked a man who's polite. HE never was." Her face twisted into a bitter mask. "And then he stole them from me. Well, they're mine now. They always will be."

I stepped up to her and laid a hand on her arm. "It..." I couldn't lie, I suddenly realised. "It won't be okay. But I'll try."

She looked at me, suddenly weary. "Thank you."

The rifle slipped into my hand and I carefully uncocked it and pulled the clip off, stowing it on my belt. The gun I set to the side. I turned back to her and reached for my radio.

"Wait." She stepped up to me and hugged me. I blinked. "Thank you."

"Sue, I don't--" I froze. My pistol was in her hand, cocked, the safety drawn back. I'd heard the sound as she hugged me and discounted it. "Sue, don't."

"Goodbye, Jim. If you hurry, you can stop the fire." Sanity stared at me for a moment, then was gone.

"Sue, no!" I dove forward, reaching for the gun, and everything slowed down. It slipped between her lips, and I saw her fingers tighten, pulling the trigger.

I didn't want to hear the sound of the gun firing. So I didn't. I heard the report, though. And then Rogue was on the radio again, demanding to know what had happened.

Slowly, I pulled the mic to my mouth and depressed the button. "Logan, here. Send an ambulance. And run a trace on a Sue Storm. She has kids, and they're about to be burned in a fire if what she said was true at all."

--

It was a few days later. The Chief's surprise party had gone... well. And Rogue and I were told we'd never have to plan it again. Thank God.

"Logan, Ah got a report on that Storm woman."

"Oh?"

"Says here, she and her hubby split about four years ago, him claiming she was mentally ill. She fought, but lost a suit to have custody of their two children."

I shook my head. "What about what she's been doing in the last few months?"

"There's rumours she was an assassin for hire."

"Which explains the C4 and the rifle." I looked at my mug.

"She was insane, Logan. It wasn't your fault."

"I should have left my gun downstairs."

"Yah couldn't'a known she'd do that."

I took a sip of the vile concoction.

"Besides, we saved the kids. That's what matters, right?"

"Right." I replied woodenly. "Right."

-=finis=-



Sue Storm, housewife turned assassin. "I just... needed to let go." "*sob* He wouldn't stop, I couldn't, I couldn't do it. And then... He won't DIE."
Credit Sue to Trisha Lynn
Jim Logan to Jim Smith