Victor Creed was waiting in the hangar bay when the Blackbird landed. He stood, snarling at the X-Men as they filed off. His sneer faded however, when he saw Vicky finally come out—talking to Addie. "My daughter and the Logan brat?" Creed muttered.
Vicky's eyes grew wide when she saw her father. Addie just turned around and walked back onto the plane. Vicky walked as calmly as she could over to Creed. "Daddy, what are you doing here?" she asked.
Creed didn't say anything. He just grabbed her and hugged her tightly. After a moment, he moved away, holding Vicky by her collar. "You scared the hell outta me, girl! Don't do that to me! They called me from your boarding school, and told me you'd been expelled, and then I couldn't find you! I called all your friends, none of them had heard anything. I was frantic worryin' about you, and you were off on some joyride with the goddam X-Men! You had Larry all worried, too."
Creed dropped Vicky and she rubbed her throat. "Sorry, Dad. I…I didn't want to have to face you angry. I knew how much it meant to you that I go to that school and get the best education I could, but I just couldn't stay there."
Victor sighed. "Why didn't you say anything? When you just took off, I thought…"
"I'm sorry, Dad. I didn't want you upset with me."
Creed pushed down his anger, not wanting to lose it on his own daughter. "It'll be all right now," he said. "You don't have to go back there if you don't want to. We'll just go back to Seattle and…"
"What? No? What the hell are you talking about?"
"I'm not going back to Seattle. I'm part of the X-Men now."
"The X-Men? Victoria, I told you about the X-Men. They gave me a lobotomy and locked me in the basement!"
"This aren't even the same X-Men, Dad. And I'm…part of the team."
"Victoria, no. You're coming home and that's final."
"I told you I'm not and that's final. I like it here. Daddy, I love you, but I'm not going back home."
"They'll tell you lies about me, Vicky. They'll make you think I'm something I'm not."
"I know what you are. I'm not naïve. But I love you anyway, and nothing they tell me will change my mind."
"I'm not leaving unless you go with me."
"I'm not going anywhere."
"I'm not having this conversation anymore." Vicky walked out of the hangar bay.
Victor started to go after her when he stopped, slowly turning around. He frowned. "You aren't gonna run like a scared little mouse, frail?"
Logan shook her head. "I heard your conversation with Vicky. And I also know exactly what you're afraid someone's going to tell her. She's knows about your past, about everything you did before she was born. But she doesn't know what you did, oh, about three or four years ago."
Victor glared. "Don't you dare tell her, frail. That girl doesn't need to know that about her father. She thinks…she thinks I don't do anything like that anymore."
"I won't tell her, Victor. If you get out of here and don't come back."
"You can't expect me to just walk out of here and leave my daughter."
"She's not going with you. And you stay here, I don't know what'll pop out of my mouth." Victor growled, raising his hand to swipe at Logan. She ducked. "Wanna have to explain to Vicky why I'm in pieces?"
Victor sighed, stepping back. "Don't disillusion her."
"What? By letting her know what her father does to little thirteen year old girls?"
"Stop it!" Victor bellowed. "I don't want to think about that!"
"You don't want to think about it? What about me? What you did to me? You…"
"Dad? Logan? What's going on in here?"
Creed turned around, startled. "Vicky! How long have you been there?"
"Just a minute. When I noticed you and Addie were both still in the hangar bay, I came to make sure nothing was going on back here…"
Victor looked back at Addie, caught the look in her eyes. "I was just telling the little Logan that I'm leaving. Walk me out, Vicky."
Vicky looked skeptical, but she walked back out with her father. She decided it was better not to ask any questions. She might not want to know the answers.
*** *** ***
Logan blocked out everything around her, concentrating on taking her aggressions out on the punching bag. She hit it hard, wishing she could let herself go and release her anger on the person who had caused much of it.
Victor had already gone back to Washington, but seeing him had brought so much back to the surface. When she'd thought he was dead, she'd been able to handle it better, put that part of her life behind her. But now, he was alive—and seeing him had brought everything rushing to the surface.
As if she needed that now, with the way things were going in her life.
Logan's claws shot out, and she shredded the chain that held up the punching bag, making it fall to the ground.
"You know, someone has to pay to keep replacing those things."
Logan spun around, her claws still extended. She sighed and pulled them in when she saw who it was. "Ric. Don't sneak up on me like that."
"There used to be a time when you could tell I was coming from a mile away."
"There were a lot of things that used to be different between us, Ric."
"They could be that way again."
"No, they couldn't."
Ric reached out, holding her by her arms. "Addie, I love you. I made a mistake leaving you. I thought I was doing what would be better for both of us, but I wasn't. I've been working on my shield. Look, my hands are touching your bare skin and nothing's happening. I can be with you and not hurt you now. No more magnetic pulses. We can be together."
Logan moved out of his arms. "There's only one problem. I'm with Tristan."
"Forget about him. He doesn't love you. I do."
"I can't be with you."
"Because things are too complicated for me right now."
"What do you mean how? Dammit, Ric, we had all that crap happen in Texas, Victor Creed is alive, and well, my love life is complicated enough without throwing you into the mix."
"Things would be better for both of us if we were together. We belong together, Logan."
"We don't. You were right to end it."
"No, I wasn't. I thought I could live without you. I can't. Please, give me another chance."
"Why? So I can wait for you to leave me as soon as things get difficult again? I crumbled when you left me Ric. I can't go through that again. With Rebecca gone, I'm the leader of the X-Men. I can't allow myself a weakness."
"That's why I am to you? A weakness?"
"You're something that will hurt me."
"Addie, I'm sorry, all right? I was scared, and I made a mistake. I know now what life without you is like, and I can't take it. I won't leave again. I love you, you love me. Everything will work out."
"I love Tristan."
"Don't, Logan. I know you well enough to spot a lie."
"Ric, we are meant to be. We'll only end up hurting each other again."
"It's a risk I want to take."
Ric grabbed Addie again, this time pulling her all the way against him and kissing her hard. Logan only froze for a minute before melting against him sighing into his mouth. She tangled her fingers in Ric's hair and he dipped her down, pressing himself harder against her.
Slowly, reluctantly, Ric let her go. Addie looked into his eyes, her pulse and breath speeding up. She wanted him, wanted him more than she'd ever wanted Tristan. But she remembered how before she'd let herself become so wrapped up in her feelings for him that she'd forgotten where she ended and he began. She'd even run away from the X-Men when he'd left her. She couldn't do that again. She had to be more responsible this time. Loving Ric would be giving too much of herself, and she couldn't afford to do that.
"I can't," she said, backing away from Ric. "I can't."
"You can't what?"
"Love you." Addie ran away and Ric watched her go.
*** *** ***
Ric knew that a bottle of whiskey wasn't going to make him get over Logan's rejection, but it sure was making him care a little less about it. He'd seen her go off with Tristan after dinner, and it was more than he could take.
"Ric?" The voice was soft, accented with Russian. Ric took another drink.
"I came to find you," she said, sitting beside him. "I saw you go off by yourself, and I was worried about you. Are you all right?"
"The woman I love rejected me. How do you think I feel?"
Illyana looked hurt by Ric's sharp tone, but quickly tried to hide it. "Logan rejected you? I am sorry, Ric. I know she must mean a lot to you."
"I need her by my side."
"I know." Illyana slipped her arm though Ric's then leaned over to whisper in his ear, "I could make you forget, if just for a little while."
"What…what do you mean?" Ric asked, although the look in her eyes said it all.
"Take me to your bed, Ric. I may not be Logan, but I can please you."
"I shouldn't, Yana," Ric said, moving away.
"Tristan and Logan have been in their bedroom for hours. Why should you pine for her when she has scorned you and found comfort in another man's arms? You let her walk all over you, keep you on a string even though she will never take you back. You are more of a man than that, Ric. Much more." She emphasized her words by reaching down and cupping him with her hand.
Ric swallowed hard. The logical, rational part of him was saying to just tell Illyana good night and get the hell out of there, but his body and the alcohol were telling him something else entirely. He thought about Tristan and Logan and closed his eyes, as if he could block out the thought. He loved her, but she'd made it clear that she couldn't—wouldn't—love him.
He took Illyana's hand and led her to his bedroom.
*** *** ***
"What do you mean you're leaving?"
Tristan finished buttoning his shirt. "The Dark One has had more than enough time to regroup. I need to be back with my people."
"Just like that you're leaving me?" Logan wrapped a sheet tighter around herself. She suddenly felt so cold and alone.
Tristan sighed. "Logan, I won't be gone forever. Just…a while."
"How long will that be? And why do you have to leave tonight, without as much as a word beforehand?"
"Don't question me, woman."
Logan's eyes grew wide. "What?"
"I said not to question me. It isn't your place."
Logan's eyes were like blue fire. "Then what is my place?" she asked, fighting to keep her tone calm, steady.
"I have to leave. I'll be back. Wait for me."
"Like hell I will. I'm not sitting around waiting for you to come back to port, sailor. You leave now, and I won't be here when you get back."
Tristan spun around, grabbing her wrists. "You'll be here, Logan. And you'll be waiting for me. I mean that. I don't want to find you with another man—especially not Renegade."
Logan jerked away from him. "I'll be with whoever I want to be with. I'm not your property."
"You are my lover, and as such, you'll do as I say in matters such as this."
Logan glared. "Did you treat Maritheza this way?"
Tristan's jaw tightened. "Don't you speak her name," he snapped.
"What, am I not good enough?" Logan got out of the bed, hurriedly redressing. "Am I not as pure and wonderful as the great Maritheza?"
"She is dead, Logan. Have respect for her."
"Don't even do that right now, Tristan. Don't tell me you're leaving, but I have to wait around like some faithful puppy dog, and then tell me to be reverent of your dead wife. I'm sick of you treating me like this."
"Like I'm just a diversion. That you don't even love me."
"I do love you."
"You sure don't act like it."
"I tell you all the time!"
"If you loved me, you wouldn't be leaving me now!"
"Logan, I have to! My people, they…"
"You don't even want me to come with you!"
"You wouldn't come! You're too dedicated to the X-Men."
"I get the feeling you wouldn't have asked regardless."
"I'm going somewhere you can't be."
"Of course not. It would mean you'd have to let me be a real part of your life."
"Logan, you are a part of most of my life. There are just some things…"
Logan turned around. "Just go."
Logan turned around. She grabbed a glass from the nightstand and threw it, smashing it against the wall right by Tristan's head. "If you're gonna go, then just go!" she screamed.
"I don't want it to end like this."
"Too fucking bad."
"I want to know you'll still be here when I return."
"Don't bother returning, Tristan. You said back in Texas that you aren't here for the X-Men, and if you leave now, there's no point in returning for me."
"I don't understand why you're being so unreasonable! I'm not leaving to hurt you. I have people who depend on me." He walked over slowly, taking Logan's hand. "I love you so much, Logan, but I can't let my wants come before the well-being of my people. I'd much rather stay here with you, but I've been gone long enough. I didn't ask you to come because I didn't want to pull you away from the X-Men. You need to be there for them the same way I need to be there for my people. We both have priorities in other places. I'll come back to you as soon as I can, I promise. Don't tell me I'm going to lose you."
Logan's lip trembled. "I don't want you to go."
Tristan pulled her to him. "Tell me you'll be waiting when I get back. Please. Tell me you won't go to Renegade."
All Logan could manage was a nod.
Tristan kissed her softly, and Logan could taste the good-bye. She forced a smile. "Don't make me wait too long."
"We'll be together again soon."
Logan sat back down on the bed until she saw a flash of light on the lawn and knew Tristan was gone. She buried her face in her hands and cried.
*** *** ***
Vicky was on her way back to her room when she heard soft sobs coming from Logan's room. The door was opened part-way, and she peeked in. "Everything okay in here?"
Logan looked up sharply. "Vicky."
"Yeah. Is everything all right?" Vicky glanced around the room. "Where's Tristan?"
Logan sniffed. "He's gone."
Vicky raised an eyebrow. "Gone? What, did the Mother Ship call?"
Logan gave her a dirty look. "No. He just had to go back."
"He said he'll come back to me later."
"Then why are you crying? Don't believe him?"
"Of course I believe him!" Logan snapped. "Look, could you just leave me alone. The last thing I want to deal with right now is a Creed."
Vicky's mouth fell open a little. "Well, fine. I was going to try to be nice, but since you apparently can't get over the fact our fathers don't get along, why bother."
"Wolverine has nothing to do with why I don't like your father. Victor Creed has done enough to me personally to make me hate him."
"Oh? Like what? We've already established that wasn't him that formed that 'New Brotherhood,' or whatever."
Logan almost told him the truth then, but she couldn't. As much as she hated Sabretooth, she could tell how much he meant to Vicky. She didn't deserve knowing that about her father. "Nothing. It's not important. Look, I'm sorry. I'm just in a bad mood, and I was taking it out on you. I'm sorry. I don't blame you for what your father's done. It's just…hard for me."
Vicky managed a nod. "Fair enough."
"I need to be alone for a little while."
Vicky shut Logan's door behind her, making her way down the hall to her own room. She hadn't planned to stay with the X-Men when she'd made her impromptu trip to New York, but it seemed like she was there for the long haul.
Even with all their problems, Victoria Creed figured the X-Men wasn't a bad team to be a part of.
*** *** ***
Well, I know it wasn't the best ending in the world, but it's an ending. ;) I have an outline written for book four, so let me know if you're interested in reading it. And for all the Ric/Logan fans, sorry about how their relationship end up in this one, but don't give up hope yet! Everyone send me feedback and tell me what you thought!!! (firstname.lastname@example.org)