Crystal Clear

By Jean-the Guardian

Warning: Spoilers for end of season 1

Disclaimer: Yeah, yeah, I don't own anything because I'm poor. So, if you sue me, you're a jackass.

Summary: What if Emma went with Logan during his adventure fighting the Hulk? Just a little Emma/Logan fic with our favorite Unjolly Green Giant as a guest star. Enjoy!

They kept coming. They were everywhere.

The battle on the streets was relentless as the X-Men members Emma Frost and the man known as Logan, a.k.a. Wolverine, fought for their freedom, and their lives against the swarm of Mutant Response Division (MRD) troopers in a small town near the Connecticut border.

Wolverine had received a tip that the MRD was going to pick up a young eight-year old girl with the mutant power to bring immobile objects to life. Emma had managed to track the girl's location via Cerebro, but with the rest of the team away on another rescue mission, that left Wolverine with the unfortunate (in his view) option of taking Emma with him.

It wasn't that he didn't like her…well, actually, yes that was exactly the case. The two had never seen eye-to-eye on anything and had been constantly arguing about every little thing since the day the blonde beauty first graced the steps of the Xavier Institute for Gifted Youngsters. Despite Logan's mistrust and dislike of the woman, Emma had proven herself to be a valuable member of the team. A fact that Emma, never one to be shy about praise, had often reminded the new leader of the X-Men of constantly whenever they fought.

They were just so different. Emma was cool, calm and collected while Logan was a notorious hothead with a short fuse and a bad temper. Emma enjoyed the team dynamic, while Logan, despite his newfound role as leader of the X-Men, often looked at times as if he would be more comfortable going at it alone. It was even evident in their styles of fighting. While Emma's moves were calculated, every move deliberate, every action precise, Logan was all berserker rage, wild and unpredictable, a firestorm of fury and claws.

Yet despite the obvious differences, they seemed to mesh perfectly on the battlefield.

"Frost! Back to back!," he called out between slicing through two gun barrels and heaving two MRD troopers backwards as more reinforcements arrived.

Delivering a full-force psychic blast that rendered five troopers unconscious, Emma called back. "Got it!"

Within moments, the two X-Men were fighting back-to-back against a sea of MRD troopers that had arrived on the scene. Knowing that she couldn't risk a full-psychic blast without the possibility of rendering Logan unconscious by accident, Emma sighed with frustration as she materialized into her diamond-hard shell.

True, her attacks were more physically effective, as the MRD trooper to her right discovered when he was knocked out by a solid right cross from the former school headmistress. But her telepathy was prevented from use, robbing her of her greatest weapon, one that she had used not only to render opponents unconscious, but to read her opponents moves and intentions before they could act, making her a deadly combatant to face.

Still, she sighed inwardly as she kicked another MRD trooper in the face, breaking his jaw, the form did have some advantages.

Meanwhile, as she briefly glanced over her shoulder to Wolverine, howling in primitive fury as he relentlessly hacked, sliced, kicked, punched and generally mauled through the increasing numbers of troops, the wild loner was making it clear to the rest of the MRD troopers that he was the best there was at what he did: and what he did, wasn't pretty.

Yet they kept coming, like waves crashing against the shore. At last, they were completely surrounded.

"It's over, mutants," Haskett, the smug, white-haired MRD agent leader declared in a voice filled with pompous self-righteousness. "Make this easy on yourselves. Surrender."

Still back-to-back, Emma, in her hard-diamond form, gave him an icy glare, not even bothering to dignify that order with a response.

Wolverine, on the other hand, was more than happy to give the arrogant, mutant-hunting zealot some lip service. Cracking his adamantium-laced neck to loosen the joints, he smirked.

"That's funny, I was just about to tell you the same thing, bub," he snarled, as he and Emma set themselves back into battle position, ready for Round 2.

Suddenly, the wind began to roar around them as a brilliant floodlight shined down on their position.

Within moments, a large military helicopter touched down roughly 15 feet away from them. The bottom bay hatch of the helicopter gave an audible grinding sound as the platform lowered to the ground, carrying dozens of blue, armored soldiers.

"It would appear that the party's just gotten larger," Emma said warily, looking over her shoulder to Logan.

"Looks like," he curtly answered, keeping his eyes on the new arrivals.

"Logan," Emma started, "If I lower my diamond form, I could create a telepathic blast large enough to disable--"

"No," he cut her off. "That diamond form's the only thing keeping those MRD stun-rounds from zapping you unconscious."

"It's also keeping me from using my telepathy," Emma protested. "Logan, be reasonable! We're outnumbered, and we can't keep fighting them at this pace, or they'll capture us both."

"I said, 'No'," he retorted, as a smirk slowly spread on his face. "Besides…I know these guys."

A puzzled Emma threw the new leader of the X-Men a startled glance. "What?"

As the blue-clad soldiers quickly surrounded the MRD troops, a tall, African-American man in a brown trench coat stepped down from the helicopter, a small smile on his face as he approached, with his lone eye surveying the situation. The other eye was covered in an eye-patch.

Emma admitted to herself that this new man's presence was...disconcerting. And now she found herself wishing even more that she could have used her telepathy to find out who this man was, and more importantly, what it was that he wanted.

To her surprise, as she peeked over her shoulder, she found Logan with that same damn smirk on his face.

"I fail to see the humor in our predicament. Care to explain?," she said, sarcastically.

"In a minute, Frost. In a minute," he replied with a chuckle.

"What is this? Who are you people?" an outraged Haskett demanded as he pointed his gun at Logan.

In a smooth, calm voice, the one-eyed man replied. "Your operation is over, mutant-hunter," he said dismissively. "Pack up your gear and get out of here."

"What?" the MRD leader yelped indignantly. "Look, I don't know who you think you are, but we're the Mutant Response Di--"

Haskett's ear-piece suddenly cut him off with audible radio-cackling. Emma had no doubt that those were his superiors on the line, based on how the agent's tone changed almost instantaneously from an authoritative tone to a negotiative one.

But what caught her curiosity more than what she heard was what she saw. And what she saw was how the one-eyed man exchanged stares with Logan.

While the one-eyed man maintained that small smile, his lone eye held a stare of confidence, of authority. Logan, on the other hand, merely met the man's myopic stare with one of those glances that Emma had grown accustomed to over the last several months with the X-Men. That cold, feral mistrusting stare of his that seemed almost omnipresent with the wild mutant.

"What? But we've got…but I have orders--" Haskett's voice suddenly dropped down to a defeated whisper, but one loud enough for both Logan and Emma to hear.


The mention, and the meaning, of that word were not lost on Emma as she raised her diamond eyebrows in surprise.

Suddenly, Haskett snapped to attention with a salute. "Sir! Director Fury, sir! MRD! We're pulling out! Now!"

Logan glanced back over his shoulder at Emma and stifled a chuckled at her surprise as the MRD agents suddenly marched back into their armored Humvees and roared away almost as quickly as they arrived.

Clearly frustrated, Emma turned a questioning gaze to her fellow teammate. "Logan?"

But Logan continued to focus on the one-eyed man, before folding his arms.

"Hi, Nick," he greeted that man cautiously. "Long time, no see."

Instead, he looked past Logan and rested his stare on Emma.

"Emma Frost. Former headmistress at the Massachusetts Academy of Tomorrow, right?"

Her eyes widened. "Who are you?"

Off her wary glance, he chucked. "Sorry, I forgot my manners. Colonel Nick Fury, director of S.H.I.E.L.D. At your service."

Emma knew who this man was. His reputation was known far and wide. In fact, TIME magazine had recently done a cover-story on him last month, although his photo was withheld from the story. When one had the task of running the world's largest peace-keeping task force, one had the propensity for gaining some level of attention.

He extended his hand, which Emma, suspicious by nature, but refined to the core, hesitantly accepted.

"There's no need to worry, Ms. Frost," he assured her with a polite tone. "Logan and I go way back. Don't we, old-timer?"

Emma could hear an audible growl in the back of Logan's throat. "Yeah. Good times, Fury."

Though she was still not aware of whether that was just Logan being Logan, or a sign of more trouble to come, Emma, tired of maintaining her diamond form, opted to take a chance and slowly dematerialize the shiny coat of armor around her body, returning her to her normal, blond-haired, blue-eyed state.

Motioning towards the helicopter, Fury continued to talk as he walked. "Let me buy you a cup of coffee, Logan. Ms. Frost."

Emma smirked, slightly more relieved. "I'd prefer an Earl Grey, actually."

As Logan and Emma started to walk towards the chopper, she began to feel her fears gradually subside. That is, until she heard Logan sarcastically mutter, "We should've taken our chances with the MRD."

Emma whipped around, staring wide-eyed at him. "Somehow, I'd have to disagree with your assessment," she sardonically replied. "He doesn't seem so bad, this Nick Fury."

Logan's eyes narrowed as he turned to the blonde. "Make no mistake, Frost," he said with a stark foreboding in his voice. "I've known Nick Fury long enough to know this: when Nick Fury does you a favor, it never comes for free."

The diner was quaint, but comfortable. Or at least, it would have been if not for the twenty some-odd armed S.H.I.E.L.D. agents lined up and down the inside and outside of the diner.

"You know, Ms. Frost, there is something I've just been dying to ask," Fury said as his lone eye studied the blonde beauty to his opposite left. "Two years ago, you were running the Mass. Academy of Tomorrow. Very successful, if not somewhat secretive, little operation. Now, what would a wealthy, powerful woman like yourself possibly have to gain by shacking up with the X-Men, of all people?"

Logan eyed Emma, suddenly very curious. "A question I'd like to know myself."

After scowling at Logan, she returned a more curious stare towards the S.H.I.E.L.D. director. "Mr. Fury, do you understand the words quid pro quo?"

"Quid pro quo. Latinate. Meaning 'this for that'," he replied, sipping his coffee. "What's your point?"

Emma sighed as she neatly placed the cup of tea onto the table, neatly folding her white-gloved hands. "My point is, Mr. Fury, if you answer one of my questions, then perhaps I'll answer yours."

"You want to know why you can't read my mind," he replied, knowingly.

She smirked in response. "Smart man."

"Thank you." Fury tapped a small device in his ear. "This ain't a Bluetooth, Ms. Frost. It's called a neural dampener. Anti-psionic device. Nullifies any telepathic wavelengths that attempt to reach its wearer. Which would explain why the only thing that powerful mutant mind of yours can read from me at the moment is static."

Is that true?, Logan projected his thoughts to her.

Emma turned to Logan, rolling her eyes. I'm afraid so. I can't get a proper reading on his thoughts. It's like picking up those horrid AM radio waves.

Logan frowned. If Fury went through these lengths to protect his thoughts from Emma's telepathy, then that meant he had something to hide. And in Logan's experience dealing with Nick Fury, whenever the S.H.I.E.L.D. director had something to hide, it usually meant a lot more physical harm for him than he and his mutant healing factor cared to deal with.

"Come on, Ms. Frost, I've read your files," he smiled. "Surely, you didn't think I'd have a sit-down with two X-Men, one of whom happens to be one of the most powerful telepaths in the world, and not be prepared somehow. I wasn't born yesterday, and I sure didn't get this job based on my handsome profile."

Logan growled, growing ever more impatient. "Okay, Fury, let's cut the chit-chat and get down to business."

Diplomatic as ever, eh, Logan?, Emma snarked telepathically.

Can it, Frost, I'm working, Logan mentally retorted.

Emma's smirk came back. On what, might I ask? Getting us shot at by twenty armed S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, perhaps?

Logan gritted his teeth, shooting her a glare. Just CAN it, would ya?

Granted, Emma knew that cracking jokes and snide comments at Logan was probably not the best idea, especially considering the present situation, but she couldn't help it. He was so easy to rile up, it was amusing.

"So, what's the deal, Fury? Why get in the middle of our little tussle with the MRD?" he continued, suspiciously. "Don't tell me S.H.I.E.L.D. is finally getting into the mutant game."

"Nope. That's politics," he replied, casually leaning across the table. "And trust me, if we ever do get involved, you'll know."

Logan snorted. "That's comforting."

Emma groaned inwardly. At the rate Logan was going, they were going to be used as target practice, for sure.

"But for right now, I've got something you might be able to help me with," Fury said as he leaned back in his chair.

Emma's curiosity was piqued. "And that would be…?"

Fury kept his gaze on Logan. "An old sparring partner of yours, actually, Logan. The Hulk."

Emma noticed it immediately. The way the feral X-Man's eyes suddenly widened, the way his hands suddenly froze halfway through drinking his coffee.

And then she saw it.

Through his mind's eye, she saw the frightening image of a jade giant, a green gargantuan creature, neither man nor beast, but a monster through and through.

His angry roar…it was the most terrifying thing she had ever heard.

Emma couldn't stifle a gasp of surprise that escaped her lips. Logan's eyes turned to her, and he knew without question that the telepath had seen the image that just flashed through his mind.

"He's been spotted in the Canadian Rockies. Two towns have been destroyed already, and he's heading for a third," Fury said, looking stern as he delivered the bombshell. "It won't be long now before he reaches the states."

Emma cautiously eyed Logan, studying his face. She wished she could pick up on what he was thinking, but his mind seemed to have grown quiet. Yet, Emma had no doubt that the leader of the X-Men was deep in thought.

His next words, however, stunned her.

Logan let out a sarcastic chuckle. "Have fun with that."

As he stood up, he reached over and grabbed Emma's smooth arm. "Come on, Frost. We're leaving."

To say that Emma was surprised was an understatement. Wolverine never backed away from a fight. "What? Logan…"

You saw him, didn't you? Logan raised an eyebrow.

The Hulk? Yes, Emma replied telepathically. He practically jumped out of the top of your brain. Though I admit, I thought he was just a myth. Or at least, I hoped…

He's real, alright, Logan frowned. And I'm damn sure not going to waste any time picking a fight with the likes of him when we've got our own problems back home.

Now it was Emma's turn to frown. But you heard what Fury said, Logan. If that thing crosses the State lines, countless lives would be lost. Possibly mutant lives.

Then we'll deal with it when the time comes. As a team, in full force, he replied as he leaned closer to a scowling Emma. But not here, and not now. And definitely not with HIM. So get moving!

Take. Your. Hand. Off. My. Arm. Her icy blue eyes were shooting daggers at him. NOW.

Logan glowered at her before reluctantly releasing his cast-like grip on her arm. Emma rubbed the grabbed area gingerly, swearing to herself that if Logan left so much as a blotch on her flawless skin, she'd turn his brain inside out, assuming he had one to start with.

He turned back to Fury. "Good seeing you, Nick. Thanks for the coffee."

With that, he and Emma began to walk out of the coffee shop when Fury's next words stopped them dead in their tracks.

"Katherine Pryde. Robert Drake. Scott Summers. Ororo Munroe. Henry McCoy. Kurt Wagner." He turned to casually look over his shoulder. "Do you need me to keep going?"

Emma's eyes widened in shock, her heart suddenly freezing in her chest. She turned to Logan, whose eyes were suddenly stony.

Fury's voice was almost a purr as he twisted the knife even further. "Nice school you rebuilt there in Westchester, by the way."

Emma's eyes immediately noticed how Logan's hand balled up into a tight fist. And instinctively, she knew what he was thinking about doing.

She quickly projected her thoughts into his. Logan. No.

I know, Frost. I know, he sighed. But it sure is tempting.

Yes. I know, she frowned, looking down before turning angry blue eyes back towards Fury, wondering if that damn neural dampener of his would protect him from a full-powered psychic blast that would render him little more than a living vegetable.

The pair quickly stalked back to the one-eyed colonel. "Information is S.H.I.E.L.D.'s business, Logan. But sometimes, information falls into the wrong hands." His lone eye was so damn smug as he gauged the reaction of the two X-Men. "The hands of certain mutant-hating senators, for instance?"

Emma could see the images flashing in Logan's mind—

MRD agents crashing through the walls of the school, frightened teenagers and children fleeing everywhere as menacing agents covered the school grounds like ants at a picnic. Their friends, teammates suffering at the hands of the agents. Cyclops, valiantly fighting, but brought down, riddled by gunfire. Beast, howling in agony as a high-voltage electrical net was thrown around him. Kurt, Kitty, Warren, Forge, and Bobby, all being led away in manacles towards the MRD convoys. Storm, laying lifeless on the school's lawn with a smoking hole in her chest, and finally, Charles Xavier, their beloved professor, lying helplessly comatose as the concrete ceiling above him came crashing down on him…

Emma quickly shut off her telepathy, struggling not to wince at the horrible images she just saw.

Fury continued to calmly sip his coffee. "And just think, that you doing a small favor for me could prevent that."

Emma's eyes belied her outrage. "You…you would willingly barter our identities and the school's true nature to Senator Kelly's office? Knowing what he would do with that information? Knowing what would become of the students, all of those children?"

Fury chuckled. "Ms. Frost. Surely you of all people know the phrase, 'Whatever it takes,' don't you?"

Emma was not amused, glowering at the man seated before them. "You do know, Mr. Fury, that if I wanted to, I could make you forget we ever had this conversation? I could reach into your mind and erase the knowledge that you've gathered on the Xavier Institute and the students there; I could even dive right into your frontal lobe and reduce your brain functions to the equivalent of that of an 18-month old toddler. Your device can block out my telepathy, but only at low range. I wonder if it could withstand a full-fledged blast from a Level 10 telepath, like say, myself?"

The cold look in her eyes told both men that she was not making idle threats. And despite himself, Logan couldn't help but to smile.

Normally, a threat like that would have sent most people into a stammering, apologetic frenzy, knowing who Emma Frost was and what she was capable of. But Nick Fury only smirked.

"I'd advise against it, Ms. Frost," he replied as he calmly sipped his coffee before casually pointing towards his ear device. "This little baby also has remote capabilities. If you so much as project a thought at my person, it's designed to automatically initiate a warning sequence to our friends over here," he motioned at the S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, "at which point, they are authorized to set their weapons from 'stun' to 'kill.'"

At that, the two S.H.I.E.L.D. agents at the door cocked their rifles, menacingly.

Logan growled, his claws itching to pop out. Good try, Frost. But drop it. The bastard's got us right where he wants us.

Emma sighed, resigned to defeat, but glared at the S.H.I.E.L.D. director as she and Logan resumed their seats at the booth opposite Fury.

Smiling contently, Fury proceeded to debrief them. "S.H.I.E.L.D. wants you - both of you - to deal with the Hulk. Permanently. If you do this, then the names and the location of the X-Men stay secret. That's the deal."

Emma was puzzled. "But why me?"

"Exactly," Logan growled. "I've taken the Hulk on myself, before. And that's no joke. I can heal. She can't. You're not putting her out there to face the friggin' Hulk."

How sweet. I didn't know you cared, Emma smirked.

I don't. But I don't need you slowing me down, either, Logan shot back as he tried to stare her down.

Emma folded her arms, unconvinced. Right, because you were in such a hurry to deal with your big, green friend when you were scampering out of here like you'd seen the devil himself.

The sound of Logan's annoyed growl made her smile grow even wider.

"She is also a powerful telepath, Logan," Fury replied. "Never tried that on the Hulk before. Who knows? Maybe it'll save your healing factor the work of piecing you together after the Hulk rips you in half. Again."

Emma turned to Logan with a curious stare. Again?

I don't wanna talk about it, he all but growled in his head.

Her eyes widened. He…the Hulk actually ripped you in half?

Drop it, Frost, his thoughts angrily thundered.

Her amused chuckle did nothing to sooth his growing anger. He stared back at the S.H.I.E.L.D. director with furious blue eyes.

"You know, one day, Fury, you and I are gonna have some serious words."

Fury gave them a smirk that made Logan want to peel it slowly off his face. With his claws. "Looking forward to it. What happened to you, Logan? This kind of think used to be your idea of fun."

Logan scowled. "Things change."

Fury nodded in a way that seemed condescending. "Being the leader takes its toll, doesn't it? How is the Professor, by the way?"

"Comatose. Thanks for asking," Logan replied, bitterly, before narrowing his eyes at Fury. "You wouldn't happen to know anything about that, now, would you?"

"You're getting paranoid in your old age, Logan," Fury chuckled. "Now, why would S.H.I.E.L.D. want to go out of its way to harm Professor Xavier? What could we gain from that?"

Logan didn't bother to notice the sad, and somewhat guilty look in Emma's sapphire eyes at the topic of their conversation.

"What, indeed," Logan replied, his eyes narrowing.

"Believe me, Logan, if S.H.I.E.L.D. wanted Charles Xavier out of the way, we wouldn't have stopped to just leave him in a coma. Surely, you believe that."

Logan could barely take it anymore. "Just take us to the drop-off point, already. This little reunion's starting to make me sick."

To be continued…