A STRANGER IN THE WOODS
Chapter 3: Muggles are Scary Creatures
"What are you doing here?" Snape asked, dumbfounded at seeing this individual again.
"I might ask you the same question there, Sev," Logan drawled, regaining some of his aplomb.
"I..." Snape began but was interrupted by a powerful mind sweeping the room.
Drawing his wand and searching frantically for the unknown presence, Snape felt cornered and afraid. However, he soon registered both Dumbledore and Logan weren't acting worried.
Puzzled, he lowered his wand and was about to ask what was going on when he saw Logan go still and take a listening attitude. Obviously, the presence was speaking to him.
Huffing in annoyance, he put away his wand and resigned himself to waiting for the 'conversation' to end as Dumbledore was doing.
"Logan! You're alright." The mind voice held relief and puzzlement. "How the devil did you get to Hogwarts?"
"From that damn portal Jumper created. Everything okay there? You don't sound concerned Charlie, so I'm assuming everyone is well?" Logan answered, speaking back the same way.
"Yes, you needn't worry, Logan...except for a few minor injuries, everyone is well and safe. Magneto escaped but we did capture his minions. At least his current plot has been foiled."
"Until next time," Logan growled, annoyed the big shot had given them the slip again.
"Do you wish to come home? I can send the Blackbird for you ..."
Logan eyed Severus a long moment before answering. "Well, I did but someone I hadn't seen in a very long time has shown up and if I'm welcome, I'd like to stay and see what he's been up to. That's if you no longer need me?"
"No, we're good here and thank you for coming to our aid. I'll speak with Professor Dumbledore and see what he says."
"Thanks. By the way, how is it you know about this place? I'm sure its not on anyone's map."
The man's mind voice chuckled. "No it's not. As for knowing about it...let's just say Professor Dumbledore and I have crossed paths before." Logan snorted. Obviously Charles wasn't going to enlighten him ... what else was new. The man had endless secrets but then, so did he.
Logan...if Dumbledore allows you to stay, I suggest you have him help you dig more memories out. They have other ways of recovering memories that are vastly more successful than mine."
Logan grimaced. Turning his head, he stared at the old man eyeing him with avid curiosity a moment before returning to his conversation. "I'll think about it, Charlie. You know I'm not too keen at having someone rummage around in my head," Logan said, less than enthused.
"It was merely a suggestion, Logan. I only want to help. I will leave you now and ask if you can stay. Be safe my friend," Xavier said, understanding in his tone.
"You do the same and thanks." Logan said, then felt the powerful telepath leave him.
He hoped he could stay and was relieved he wouldn't have to return to New York. He'd only gone there because the Professor had pleaded for his aid when the New Mutants found themselves overwhelmed by Magneto's army but he normally had very little to do with them any longer. His goals were discovering his past so he was grateful his duty to friendship was over for now.
Glancing at Snape again, he thought about the last time he'd seen the man. The lean, bean pole of a man had been only a gawky kid at the time and in trouble up to his neck. To find him here as a teacher...well there had to be an interesting story behind that and he was of a mind to listen. Then, there was that war Harry had mentioned. Though he had no desire to get involved in someone else's conflict, he did admit to being curious about it. Time to reminisce.
Having said his farewell to Logan, the telepath let his mind glide to the other significant and powerful mind in the room. "My apologizes for dropping in this way, Albus."
"The reason was sufficient, Charles. I trust things at your end are safely concluded? No one seriously hurt?"
"It is and there were some injuries but it could have been far worse. I only wish we could have captured Magneto but he managed to slip our grasp. We did get eight of his minions so his plans will have suffered greatly and that is all we could have hoped for this time around." Charles sighed. "Wolverine whose name is Logan, by the way, wishes to remain with you. Seems he knows someone there?"
"Yes, a young professor of mine," Dumbledore confirmed.
"I know things are precarious for you right now. Any improvement in your situation?"
"Unfortunately, no. Voldemort has managed to acquire a body and is now raising an army that could over run us."
"That is indeed grave news. Then perhaps the fates have deemed you need a hand. Wolverine is an excellent soldier, strategist, and a good teacher despite his gruff ways. He might be of assistance to you."
"Really? Hmm...normally we don't like to involve outsiders but we are losing badly and I fear we may lose this conflict."
"Which doesn't bode well for the rest of us if you fall. I strongly urge you to accept Logan's help. Sometimes wars are won when the unexpected is dropped into the equation. If his help isn't enough, I would be willing to give you aid. Our methods are certainly unknown enough that it might turn the tide for you."
"That is very true, Charles, but even mutants are no match for magic. However, thank you for your offer. If the battle begins to turn against us, I will see if your unique abilities might still win it for us," Dumbledore conceded only a little. He could not risk turning away any kind of help at this juncture.
"As for Wolverine, though unexpected, he is not unwelcome and may stay if that is his wish. I admit to a overburdening curiosity as to how he and Snape had met considering their differing ages. I am correct in sensing Logan is considerably older than he appears?"
"Yes. Logan can heal any injury done to his body. Using our science, we were able to guess he was more than a century old, though how much older our instrument couldn't determine and he can't tell us because his mind had been damaged."
"Oh. What happened to him?"
"As near as we can determine, he was conned into allowing an experiment to be done on him by a secret military unit led by a rabid mutant hater. He had a mad plan to use a super mutant to kill all the others. We destroyed that plan and in the process learned how Logan had been altered. Those bastards had brutally enhanced his bones in the most painful manner possible by bonding a metal alloy, called adamantium, to them making him extremely hard to harm or kill. He had been born with bone claws that he can extrude through the backs of his hands and those were altered by the bonding into metal knives that can carve through steel and stone like butter. His reflexes and senses are beyond a normal humans too. That bonding, however, also damaged his mind enough to cost him a great many of his memories. Though reluctant, he allowed me to do a deep probe and I was able to restore some of what he lost but only the most recent. Anything older is lost to deep for me to retrieve. Perhaps you might have more success? I suggested it to him but he has trust issues from past mistreatment," Charles explained.
"What a terrible thing to have happen. That alone could have made him a harsh and unforgiving man but that doesn't seem to be the case. Perhaps, our methods could help him, if he'll let us. We'll see. Since he'll be around children, what kind of man is he?"
He can be very intimidating but the children of my school love him. He has a heart of gold and will defend to the death anyone who tries to harm those he protects. He is a skilled and hardened soldier with the instincts of an animal which is what has kept him alive all these years. His only flaw is a berserker rage that only comes on him when those he has chosen to protect are threatened or he, himself, has been pushed past his limits. He is formidable but other than that he is cool under fire and very intelligent. I think you might end up liking him...I do."
"Sounds like a truly interesting individual."
Charles chuckled. "He is.." his thought stream broke off for a moment then returned, "...sorry, I must leave now ... a minor crisis seems to have erupted here that needs my attention ... good fortune to you my old friend ... send for me if you have need or if Logan wishes a lift somewhere else."
"Children will be children whether mutant or wizard," Dumbledore commiserated with Charles as he sensed what was transpiring at the mutant's compound. "I will contact you if it becomes necessary and thank you. I hope it won't be necessary. Farewell, Charles."
"Goodbye old friend." With that their mental connection dissolved.
Dumbledore took a deep breath and let it go to settle himself before opening his eyes and seeing what the pair of men were doing while he had been 'away'.
Snape remained tense and uneasy by the powerful presence that was now speaking to the headmaster. His eyes flicked to Logan who merely smirked at him without saying anything while apparently waiting for the conversation across the room to end.
A sigh and Dumbledore's relaxed posture indicated he was back with them again, the powerful presence was no longer there.
"Who the devil was that?" Snape asked of both men. "I felt this mind brush against mine as if my shields weren't there. Who could be that powerful besides the Dark Lord?"
"I don't know who this Dark Lord is but that was the leader of the X-Men, Professor Charles Xavier. He and I have worked together for years and are friends. He was just checking to see what had happened to me and insure I was safe," Logan told his friend, soothingly.
"X-Men? What or who are they and how did he do what he did? Is he an American wizard?"
"No. He's a powerful mutant with telepathic skills beyond anyone living."
Snape frowned in confusion. When he'd met Logan all those years ago, he knew the man was different but had never learned just what he was but hearing he was a mutant still didn't answer the question for him since he'd not heard the term before. Seeing this, Dumbledore stepped in.
"There are other things in this world besides wizards and magical creatures, Severus. The Dark Lord has failed to take into account just how dangerous the muggle world truly is and that will prove to be his downfall if continues his sneak attacks against the local muggles as he's been doing of late. Sooner or later the defenders of muggle kind will notice and take action," he said gravely.
"I have seen no sign of such beings in my various trips through the muggle world. How is it you know of them?" Snape, his voice thick with disbelief and annoyance.
Dumbledore sighed. "I've spent far more time in the muggle world than you, Severus and I doubt you spent time reading their news or watching their tellie. During my travels I've met some of these unusual people. They know of magic but are unaware, fortunately, that there exists a whole world made up of us magic users and magical creatures they think are mere fairytales. Those few that do know about us, keep the secret as a favor to me."
"I wasn't aware you had that much influence in the muggle world, headmaster."
"I don't, not really! My contacts don't hold positions of power within the governments nor military but they are leaders of their own super powered groups whose only mission in life is to protect the world's people from the enemies they know not of. These special and powerful individuals are all that stand against the true danger that could rend our world apart. Innocent muggles barely tolerate their existence except for mutants who serve as an unfortunate scapegoat for their fears. Much like what the common wizard does, burying their collective heads in the sand while we in the Order of the Phoenix do our best to protect them from the threats they refuse to acknowledge."
"Then perhaps, headmaster, we should be asking these powerful creatures for their assistance in ending the threat to our kind before the Dark Lord, in his blind ambition, brings down unwanted attention by the threat you say is out there," Snape demanded, becoming unnerved by all he was hearing.
"We dare not!" Dumbledore said sharply, surprising Snape with his vehemence but before he could demand a reason, Logan cut in.
"He's right, Sev. Out there beyond your hidden world are things that would love to harness your abilities for their own purposes or destroy you because you'll interfere with their grand plans against humanity. Some of those things are mutants who wish to enslave mankind because they're tired of being feared, while there are humans who have super powers gained through experiments or accidents that could wipe you out, and then there's the alien races that keep trying to either enslave or rob our planet of its resources. For all those enemies and threats to planet Earth there are forces arrayed against them fighting to keep the ordinary people of the world safe and ignorant of the dangers surrounding them. I'm sure this is what you and your army is trying to do with your people too, right?"
"Exactly. Thank you for putting that so succinctly, Logan." Dumbledore was surprised and pleased by the mutant's support. The man saw in an instant the broad threat to them but then he lived with that threat everyday.
"You're welcome, sir. So, Sev, this bad guy you're fighting will have to be defeated by your own people because you don't want to come under the notice of all those other things out there even if they could wipe out this threat without breaking a sweat. Your lives would never be the same and it's entirely possible your world would be destroyed in the process," Logan finished grimly.
Snape felt overwhelmed. He would have called Logan a liar after spouting such nonsense if Dumbledore hadn't already stated it was true. He felt rather ill at the moment. Shaking his head, he gave the headmaster a look of fear and anxiety. "So if what you say is true, we have to defeat the Dark Lord quickly before he destroys us all by bringing unwanted attention from these ... beings?"
"But Harry Potter is not old enough to do what needs to be done!"
Dumbledore sighed, looking older than his one hundred and fifty years. "Yes, I know Severus."
Logan looked from one to the other wizard in angry confusion. "Wait a minute... how does that kid come into this?"
"That is a long tale, Logan. One I'm sure Severus may be willing to tell. Meanwhile, you are welcome to remain at Hogwarts for as long as you feel the need. Severus will be your guide. I would, however, appreciate a private conversation with you tomorrow sometime, eh?"
"Be happy to, sir and thank you for allowing me to stay. Perhaps during our conversation you might be tell me how you came to know Professor Xavier?"
"Perhaps," Dumbledore smiled secretively then turned to his potion's teacher. "Severus, please see that Logan has somewhere to sleep, provide him with appropriate clothing, and any personal care items he might need. I will bid you two a good evening and see you at breakfast tomorrow. I'm sure you have a lot of catching up to do."
"Yes sir but what about access to the castle and students?"
"I see no problem with the students seeing Logan. If he doesn't wish to divulge who he is or why he's here, that is his prerogative but please give him the appropriate warnings about wandering the castle and grounds for his safety."
"As you wish, Headmaster," Snape obeyed, reluctantly.
"Good night to you both." With that farewell, Dumbledore vanished.
Logan blinked and shook his head. "Handy trick that is. Can you do that?" He asked Snape as the two of them headed for the door.
"Yes. It's called apparating."
"Oh yeah...Harry mentioned that."
Snape's brows rose in a puzzled question.
"Oh, I met him when I arrived. I'll tell you about it when we get to your place," Logan promised.
"That should be an interesting tale," Snape said archly.