On Bended Knee

Disclaimer: I don't own the X-men, I just really like writing about them. You can sue me but since I don't have any money, it won't do you any good. Enjoy the story.

Seven months had passed since Ororo decided to adopt Tasha and keep her at the mansion.

As Ororo helped her get over the loss of her parents, the bond between them quickly developed into a strong mother-daughter relationship.

But Tasha wasn't the only one that benefited from this relationship; Logan watched as that 10-year-old little girl seemed to fill a hole in Ororo's life. Although she was happy before, parenthood seemed to bring out a new level of happiness -- a sense of belonging. . . a sense that everything Ororo had fought so long and hard for was finally justified.

The inspiration behind her fight for mutant equality had been renewed.

Because of his relationship with Ororo, Logan also took an active role in Tasha's life -- much like a father figure. It wasn't something he openly welcomed or was admittedly ready for; but as with any serious relationship, things change and evolve. As so, he still had a lot of adapting to do to all the events that went along with fatherhood.

Some of the changes in his life seemed harder than the mutant battles he was so famous for.

"Here lies Wolverine. . . " he said on more than one occasion, "Defender of mutant rights, fearless in the eyes of Magneto, Apocalypse, and countless other bucket-head wannabees; done in by a 10 year old kid!"

"Will you miss me PapaLo?" Tasha innocently asked as she climbed onto the minijet steps with Storm.

"I told ya kid -- don't call me that! You can call me Wolverine or Logan. . . but NOT that!"

"Logan let her call you PapaLo" Ororo said as she looked at the disapproving expression on his face. "She only does it because she loves you."

"I know, I know. . . but fer cryin' out loud -- why does it have ta be THAT name?"

"Because you LOOK like a PapaLo." Tasha said with a smile. "Will you miss me?"

"Yeah kid I will" he said as he started thinking about all the stogies he would smoke and all the beers he'd drink over the next 2 weeks while they were in Africa.

Storm "requested" that he not smoke cigars or drink beer around Tasha, which significantly cut down on his "recreational activities." This would be a chance for him to catch up. Deep down inside he knew he'd miss them both; but in the back of his mind he couldn't help but think of Kipling's line "A woman is merely a woman, but a good cigar is a smoke."

Tasha climbed out of the minijet and hugged him once more before they left.

The sight of Logan squatting to give her hug prompted Ororo to quickly pull her camera out and take a picture.

"What'd ya do that fer?" he asked as he stood up -- Tasha still clinging to his neck.

The sight of her hanging from his neck prompted another picture.

"Ain't it about flamin' time you two took off?" he said -- looking quite menacingly at the camera.

"We're going. . . " Storm said as she walked up to give him a goodbye kiss.

"Will you miss me PapaLo?" she giggled in a childlike voice.

"How can I miss ya if ya don't go anywhere Darlin'?" he replied with a smirk.

They kissed and finished saying goodbye; a few minutes later the minijet was just a speck in the New York skyline. Ororo happily looked forward to introducing Tasha to her family in Africa and showing her the many wonderful sights. Though she would miss Logan, she really wanted to take this trip. It had been quite awhile since she'd been back and she really missed Mijnari -- her foster son.

Logan IMMEDIATELY pulled out a cigar and lit it as he headed for his scoot.

Tasha's presence at the mansion significantly brightened the spirits of the X-Men. Ever since Jubilee was reassigned to the academy things took on a much more serious tone. Having Tasha around made the mansion feel more like a home again and everyone treated her like she was part of the family -- of course, in their eyes she was. Logan would never admit it, but deep down inside he didn't mind her calling him PapaLo; and now that she was gone, he was already starting to miss her. He finished off his cigar right around the time he finished giving his bike a quick tune-up; and with the rumble of his Harley echoing deep in the mansion, he took off -- headed for the academy to visit the other youth in his life.


"What say Cassidy?

This place keepin' ya busy?" Logan asked as he walked through the Massachusetts academy front doors.

"Wolverine, I'm a bit surprised to see you, though I cannae say I'm too surprised. I heard that blasted motorcycle a couple miles back. What brings ya 'ere lad?"

"I came ta get Jubilee. . . ta take her back to the mansion for awhile. She's been askin' ta come for a visit and I figured now's as good a time as any since it's the middle o' July and you guys ain't doin much but trainin'."

"And you're not worried about 'er missing 'er training, I take it lad?"

"She ain't missin' anything. I'll see ta that."

"Just how long will ya be keepin' 'er this time?"

"Dunno, 3 or 4 weeks maybe longer -- depends on her. Why ya wanna know?"

"Just curious Logan."

"Where is she anyway?"

"The last time I saw her she was in the Rec. room with the. . . "

"WOLVIEEE!!!!!!!" a slightly high-pitched and very eager voice yelled as Jubilee came running down the hall and gave Logan a huge hug. "I heard you pull up on your scoot. Are we going back to Salem Center on it? I can't wait! I'm all packed! Let's go! Where's my helmet? How is everybody back there? Did they miss me as much as I missed them? Well? What are you waiting for? She anxiously said as she pulled Logan out the door.

"Goodbye Mr. Cassidy -- I'll see you in awhile."

"Hold on Darlin' -- Salem Center ain't goin' anywhere. . . can't I get sumpn' ta eat before we hit the road?"

"We'll get something on the way, let's go!"

"Alright already -- cripes! Later Cassidy."

A few minutes later, they were on the road, southbound -- headed back to Salem Center.

An hour into the trip, they stopped at a Mom-and-Pop and had lunch. The "down-home" cuisine was so tasty that by the time their second helping of apple pie came, they had completely lost track of time and were deeply immersed into getting caught up on all the details of each other's lives.

Jubilee told Logan about how the Academy had changed since the death of Synch, and how she tried to help M get through it using the lessons he taught her about dealing with death.

Logan told Jubilee about all the things that had happened around Salem Center -- including his run-in with the FOH after their failed attempt at taking out Storm, Gambit and Rogue. Although Logan had already told Storm about his Michigan excursion, nobody else knew except Gambit.

Gambit and Wolverine kept their little adventure between themselves, and since it had been reported as an explosion due to an unsafe ammo dump and the identities of the bodies were described as "unknown militia," nobody saw fit to question Wolverine about it -- though some eyebrows were raised by the untimely coincidence.

Jubilee was the first X-Man to ever hear the full story; and though some of the details made her cringe, she relished in the fact that her relationship with Logan was so close that he could share some of his inner thoughts. It reminded her a lot of the times they spent together globetrotting. Telling the rest of the team about the Michigan excursion was out of the question, and Gambit and Logan had already drank a couple cases of beer over it. Besides that, talking with Jubilee gave him a fresh perspective; and there were several things he had on his mind that perhaps she could help him with.

"I tell ya kid, something like that really wakes ya up and shows ya what's important."

"What do you mean?"

"When Storm was hurt and I didn't know what was going on; I thought I'd lost her. The trip back to Salem Center was the longest I'd ever taken -- especially with Cike takin' so damn long - and seeing her lying there with those burns all over her back was almost too much to handle. . . I felt the rage building inside o' me bad."

"Yeah, I heard about that -- AND how you surprised everybody. You stayed by her side until she woke up -- that was so sweet."

"Ain't nuttin' sweet about ME kid!"

"You say that, but I've seen you do some pretty nice things. I heard the medlab was filled with flowers."

"That was different -- thought it might help Storm. That's all. . . "

"Yah -- whatever. . . you and Storm are gettin' pretty serious huh?"

"Yah, we're pretty serious."

The tone in his voice and expression on his face told her there was more to it than that.

"Serious enough to propose maybe?"

He hated to admit it, but she hit the nail right on the head.

"I was thinkin' about it.

I was thinkin' it was about time the ol' canucklehead settled down. . . maybe had some little ones. . . "

"Really Wolvie?!?! You're going to propose to her? When?"

"Soon -- she's in Africa right now -- be back in a couple weeks. . . thought I'd ask her then."

"Did you get a ring yet?"

"No! I thought we'd do that when she got back -- isn't that what they do nowadays?"

"Wolvie! Thank God I'm here -- what would you ever do without me?"

"I ain't got a flamin' clue what yer talkin' about Jubes?"

"Storm's a TRADITIONAL woman -- she doesn't go for all this new stuff. You have to SURPRISE here with the ring."

"But what if she doesn't like it? I ain't payin' fer somethin' she ain't gonna like."

"She'll like it Wolvie if it comes from your heart!"

"You think? I mean, I ain't too good at picking out jewelry and stuff like that; and Ro is more on the classy side when it comes to the stuff she wears."

"Trust me Wolvie -- if it comes from you, she'll love it. Just in case, let's go shopping together!"

"Hah! That's yer angle! Anything ta get me to take you to a mall eh? You ready to hit the road?"

A few minutes later they were back on the road headed for Salem Center.

They pulled in a couple hours later to what quickly became a warm reception of veteran X-Men all anxious to see the return of the little firecracker. Gambit was the first to approach. He overheard Logan on the phone before he left for the academy and knew Jubilee would return with him.

"Petite -- You've grown. . . Gambit tink maybe you not so petite anymore?"

"Gambit!!" she yelled as she jumped off Logan's scoot and gave him a huge hug. "Did you miss me? I've missed you so much."

"Oui Petite, Dis place jez ain't been de same without you."

"I hear you've been a bad boy." She whispered in his ear.

Gambit drew back with a look of surprise on his face. He looked to Wolverine for confirmation only to see him shrug his shoulders.

"So I told her. . . it ain't like she doesn't know about yer badboy crap anyway." he said in response to Gambit's expression.

"Don't worry Gambit. . . " she whispered "your secret is safe with me. I won't tell anybody."

Remy's smile quickly returned as he hugged her again and escorted her into the mansion.

After an evening of getting reacquainted with the Salem Center veterans, Jubilee settled into her room and went looking for Logan. She found him sitting in the rose garden -- sipping on a couple beers and smoking a cigar.

"Jubes! Have a sitdown" he said as she approached.

"Isn't this a Kodak moment? The Wolvster sitting on a bench in the middle of a rose garden sipping beer and smoking a cigar. You really miss her don't ya?"

"Cripes -- can't a fella have a beer and a cigar without people accusin' him o' gettin' all sappy?"

"Sure, but I've NEVER seen you sit in the rose garden. I've seen Storm here a lot -- but you? Never!"

"I just needed a place ta think -- that's all."

"Yeah but you usually go up to the roof or to the danger room. Just what are you thinking about may I ask?"

"About askin' her ta marry me."

"You gettin' cold feet?"

"No -- not at all. Me and Ro -- we're a team. . . we work well together."

"So what's got you out here smoking cigars and sitting with the roses?"

"I was just wondering if it would be fair to Ro to ask her to marry me."

"Fair? What do you mean?"

"Well, this year alone I've had 3 attempts on my life. . . not to mention that mangy hairbag Sabretooth! He's an ongoing pain in the ass! That's fine fer me, but if Ro marries me; it'll be HER problem as well. I don't know if it's fair to ask her to accept that."

"Wolvie -- don't you think SHE should be the judge of that?"

"Normally I'd agree with ya, and I'm the first to admit that Ro can take care of herself. She's one of the best fighters I know - she's kicked my butt around the danger room plenty o' times. But this is different -- there's more at stake here. There's Tasha; there are other future children. . . What about them? Ro wants to have 'em some day -- what if THEY become targets?"

"Omigosh -- I can't wait to meet Tasha? I've heard so much about her!"

"She's with Storm in Africa. . . you'll see her in a couple weeks."


She said in a very serious voice followed by a slight pause.

"Logan - don't you think you should let HER worry about her future? I mean, you're the one that taught me life isn't guaranteed and that you have to live it to the fullest while you can. Aren't you supposed to cherish the people you love while they are here?"

"Heh -- throwin' my own lesson back at me huh? Yeah, Ro helped me see that after Mariko died. She was right there for me -- like she always is. I guess I'm thinkin' too much about this eh? We love each other and that's what counts. Nothin' is promised to any of us, we have to take it where we can get it, and Ro's as good as it gets!"

"That's the spirit, so are we going' shopping tomorrow?

"Yeah -- mall opens at 10. . . we'll leave at 9:45."

"Why so early?"

"You know me and malls -- we don't get along. I wanna get in and out AS SOON AS FLAMIN' POSSIBLE!"

"Well I haven't been shopping in months and I want to stick around for awhile."

"You can stick around all ya like. . . but you'll be 2-steppin' it back!"


Jubilee left Logan in the rose garden and returned to talking with the X-Men she hadn't seen in so long. Logan remained there for a couple more hours -- pondering his relationship with Storm and the proposal he was about to give her.

Six o'clock the next morning, the distinct sound of him pounding on Jubilee's door could be heard throughout the mansion. "Get up Jubes. . . we gotta get goin."

"Wha. . . whozzat? Wolverine?! It's six o'clock in the friggin morning - on a SATURDAY! I thought you said we weren't leaving til 9:45!"

"We are, but I know how you get when you don't eat yer bowl of Cocoa Puffs. . . besides, I need a runnin' partner, and since Storm's outta town, you're it."

"Hrmph! Go away! Come back in a couple hours!" she yelled as she threw her pillow at the door.

Ten minutes later, she was up and eating Cocoa Puffs in preparation for her run with Logan. She knew if she didn't join him, he'd come in and get her. When he had his mind set to something, no one changed it. Though she hated getting up that early, the run did her a lot of good. It also reminded her of the days when she lived at the mansion and trained with the other X-Men -- although an 8 mile run on her first day back was a little out of the ordinary. After about 5 miles she convinced Logan to stop. He grumbled something about Cassidy and Frost not getting the students physically fit, but gave her a break anyway -- with the promise that he'd get her up to 8 miles before she went back to the academy.

After their jog, an hour of sparring in the danger room, a hot shower and another bowl of Cocoa Puffs, they were one their way to the mall. They arrived at 5 minutes after 10 and reached the first jewelry store at 12:45.

"I'm sorry Wolvie -- but I HAD to get some new clothes! Miss Frost is so tight with her credit card that we hardly EVER get to go shopping! We'll find a nice ring for Storm -- I promise!"

"I don't know how I let you talk me into this every time Jubes. Whenever we go to the mall, you always spend HOURS trying on clothes and I end up sittin' there waitin' fer ya."

"You know you love it. . . "

"Cripes. . . "

"Okay -- we're here. . . let's see what they have. Oh Wolvie, I'm so excited for you and Storm."

As they walked in the store, several clerks gave them unusual looks -- nothing they weren't used to. Eventually, one nicely dressed gentleman properly greeted them.

"Greetings sir, ma'am. My name is Jonathon. Welcome to Madrigal's Jewelers. How are you doing today?" the sales rep. said as he walked from behind a jewelry counter and approached them.

"Five by five." Logan responded. "I need ta get a ring for a very special lady."

"What type of ring are you looking for? Something for her birthday? An engagement ring? A wedding ring?"

"That's it -- an engagement ring! What ya got fer me ta see?"

"Something nice and classy!" Jubilee interrupted.

The look on Jonathon's face as he looked at Jubilee told Wolverine everything he needed to know about what was on his mind. "It's not fer HER Bub! It's fer my girlfriend!" he said as he pulled a picture of Storm out of his wallet. The tone in his voice suggested Jonathon should clear his mind of any unusual thoughts about Logan pretty quick.

"Of course sir..." Jonathon said as he quickly gave Logan a reassuring look. "She's a very attractive lady."

"You better believe it, and I want ta get her ring that matches her beauty; so show me what ya got."

"Right this way Mr.. . . "


"Yes, right this way Mr. Logan. Were you thinking of getting the entire set today or just the engagement ring?"

"Entire set?"

"Yes, the Engagement ring and the two wedding bands. . . you can purchase them all together as a matching set or you can buy them separately."

"I don't know -- I hadn't thought that much about it."

"Allow me to show you some of your options sir. . . "

"Shoot. . . "

"Well, this ring here is an 'Irish' wedding band -- a cladaugh. Do you see the hands around the heart and crown? The crown stands for loyalty, the hands stand for friendship and the heart stands for love. The band can be worn three ways. On the right hand with the heart facing out means that the wearer's heart is still searching. On the left hand facing out means the wearer is considering. On the left hand facing in means the wearer's heart is taken forever."

"Well ain't that grand." Logan responded. "That sounds nice and all, but we're not Irish -- I was looking for something more. . . traditional."

"Of course sir. . . a traditional engagement ring typically has a solitaire in it. What size solitaire were you looking for?"

"Well, let's see what they look like."

"This is a 50 point diamond or .5 carat." Jonathon said as he pointed to one of many solitaires.

"That's a little too small."

"I see sir, perhaps it would help more if I knew what price range you were expecting."

"I never cared much for price -- I just want to get her a nice ring."

"Of course, let me show you some of our other solitaires. This is a .9 carat diamond with an "E" rating for color. It's quite exquisite. Is this more to your liking?"

"Now you're talkin' my language -- how much does that one cost?"

"In this setting, $4,850."

"Five thousand dollars?!?!?"

"Well sir, this is an exquisite diamond -- you're paying for the quality."

"What do you think Jubes?"

"It's beautiful Wolvie -- but the band is kinda plain."

"Yah -- you're right. Let's say I DID like that diamond. Can I get it in a different ring?"

"Of course sir, what were you thinking of?"

"Something with a little more pizzazz. . . something with spunk."

"I see, why don't you take a look at some of our bands and see if anything strikes your fancy. Nearly everything in the store is customizable."

Nothing really stood out to Wolverine until he came across the platinum series rings.

He saw one that had gold X's interlaced throughout the top of the band. The width was a solid 2mm thick, which was more than thick enough for him to have something engraved on it, and the solitaire setting was beveled and looked very sturdy.

"That one right there looks nice, can I take a closer look at it?"

"Yes sir."

As Logan and Jubilee looked at it, it became very clear that this was the one he wanted. It seemed perfect for Storm, and reminded him of her favorite earrings -- the ones with lightening bolts. To be on the safe side, he went to 3 other stores, but never saw anything quite like the platinum/gold hybrid at Madrigal's. Jubilee agreed that it would be perfect for her, and though she was somewhat surprised Logan would shell out so much money for a ring, it didn't surprise her too much. He always paid top dollar when it came to Storm and beer.

He had the jeweler customize it by placing a row of small onyx crystals on each side of the solitaire -- Storm's birthstone.

Inside, he had the words "RoLo Combo" engraved. The total bill came to $5,700 with the alterations.

"When can I pick it up?"

"You can pick it up next Thursday evening Mr. Logan."

"That's perfect, she gets back from Africa Friday, and we plan to go out that Saturday."

"What about the wedding bands?" Jonathon asked.

"Those you can get later Wolvie -- WITH Storm." Jubilee interrupted.

"The engagement ring is the important thing."

"I thought you said she would appreciate a more traditional approach?"

"For the ENGAGEMENT ring -- of course, but both of you will wear the wedding bands -- it should be something BOTH of you choose."

"I got it. You ready to go?"

"Can we stop by ONE more clothing shop on the way out?"

"I spent damn near $6,000 on a ring, plus 4 or 5 hundred on YOU earlier. . . and you want me to spend MORE???"

"I'm sorry Wolvie, I just want to get a new dress for when I meet Tasha. . . that's all; but I guess I can wear some old jeans and a T-shirt."

"You guessed right kid!"


"Alright already -- ONE more dress. . . but that's it; and it better be a CHEAP one!"

"I need shoes to match!"

"You want matchin' shoes? You pay for 'em!"

"Fine -- it just so happens I saw a really nice pair at Payless -- and they were on sale!"

"Sure -- when YOU pay for it, you shop at Payless. . . when I pay for it, you shop at Nordstrom's! Ain't THAT a flamin' coincidence!"

"C'mon Wolvie!"

Jubilee was very lucky. Despite what he said, Logan was in such a good mood after buying the ring, she could have gotten away with a lot more. Working for Xavier definitely had its benefits -- free room and board, and a hefty salary to match. . . shopping was one of the few luxuries that naturally came with the job -- not a bad life for an adventurer. It may not have been Beverly Hills, but it definitely came close.

Jubilee convinced Logan to let her drive his HMMWV back to the mansion; seeing as how it was such a tough truck, he didn't see the harm in it. Of course, he forgot about the damage to his NERVES a teenaged driver could cause. They raced back to the mansion in just under the amount of time it would have taken the Blackbird to make the same trip. The smile on Jubilee's face, coupled with the truck full of packages and bags told everyone in the mansion that it was a VERY successful mall trip. But the unusual smile (more like a smirk) on Logan's face told them that something else was about to happen -- what, they had no idea.

The next week was tough for Jubilee. Patience was a virtue. . . that Wolverine lacked; and in Storm's absence, he kept plenty busy -- which also meant keeping Jubilee plenty busy; mostly with hand-to-hand combat training and physical conditioning. By Wednesday, she was quite sore. It appeared her little vacation from the academy was turning out to be more like basic training.

That afternoon as Logan went looking her for more training, he ran into Rogue.

"Hey Sugah, whereya headed off to?"

"The danger room -- thought I'd get in some trainin' with Jubilee -- that is, If I ever find her. Why ya askin'? Ya wanna join us?"

"That's okay -- Ah'm headed into town with Remy in a little bit. . . gonna do some shoppin'. Ah couldn't help but notice you've been keepin; plenty busy lately."

"Yah -- what's it to ya Cornpone?"

"Nothin' just an observation. Seems like you're tryin' ta fill your time. Could it be you really miss Storm?"

"What? A fella can't get a little trainin' in without people accusin' him o' missin' his girlfriend? Scott does it all the time. . . "

"Yeah; but as you're usually so quick to point out, Scott's got trainin' on the BRAIN. . . like somebody took the discipline paddle and shoved it up his ass. Is his influence finally rubbin' off on ya?"

"Alright already -- maybe I miss her a little. . . big deal. . . no reason ta flamin' INSULT me like that. So while she's gone, I'll whip Jubilee into shape. It's not like she doesn't need it -- Cassidy and Frost are pretty soft on them at the academy. They gotta be ready for whatever comes down the pike. . . from Sabertooth to Apocalypse."

"Yeah, but she's supposed ta be taking a break. . . give her one. By the way -- you had a message from Madrigal Jewelers. They said you could pick up your package anytime you wanted."

"Huh? Oh. . . yeah, that's good. . . thanks fer tellin' me."

"So Sugah, what sort of "package" are you pickin' up?"

"Uhhh. . . nuttin. Just somethin' for Storm, that's all."

"What is it?"

"That's none o' yer bleedin' business!"

"Oooh -- it must be somethin' good -- what is it? A necklace?"

"Ain't you got someplace ta go?"


"I ain't sayin' nuttin -- isn't Gumbo waitin' fer you?"

"A ring?"

". . . "

"That's it -- you got her a ring didn't you?!" Rogue yelled with a very excited voice.

"Cripes Cornpone -- willya shuttup!! The whole damn mansion doesn't haveta hear this!"

"Are you gonna propose to her Logan? Is that what this is all about? Is that why you've been keepin' Jubilee so busy because you're so impatient about Storm comin' back so you can ask her to marry you?"

Logan quickly grabbed Rogue by the arm and pulled her into the closest non-occupied room he could find -- the bathroom. "Can't you keep quiet? I don't want everybody knowin' my business!"

"This is so sweet Logan, when are you gonna ask her?"

"Saturday night. . . we're goin' out. Ya happy now?"

"Ah can't wait -- Ah'm so happy for you two Logan. Ah was beginning to wonder if you two were ever gonna get married. What are you gonna do? What are you gonna say?"

"I don't know. . . how about 'WILL YOU MARRY ME?' It seems to have worked for others. . . "

"Well, yeah -- if you want to take the direct approach, but it's not very romantic."

"It's short, and to the point. . . just like me! What's wrong with that?"


You only get married ONCE in lifetime -- if you're lucky. . . why not make the most of it."

"So by sayin' a bunch o' mumbo jumbo and doin' a lot o' fancy things, she'll get more out of it? It's a marriage proposal -- plain and simple."

"Yeah, but Logan, you gotta understand women! We'll talk about the day a guy proposed to us for the rest of our lives! Do you REALLY want her to say 'It was short and to the point' or do you want her to really brag about it? It's YOUR image!"

"Uh. . . maybe you got a point; and judgin' by that look on yer face, you probably got a few suggestions. . . "

"Yeah, Ah have a few. . . "

They talked for about an hour and Rogue gave him a quite a few suggestions as to what most women looked for in marriage proposals (more so what they talked about after getting them) and what would make it a very special night for Storm. She gave him some pretty good ideas and promised not to share his little secret with anyone else. Just as they were wrapping up, they heard Gambit walking through the halls looking for Rogue.

"Chere, where are you?"

"Just a minute Remy, Ah'm finishin' up in here?"

"Remember Rogue" Logan interjected. "You promised ta keep yer trap shut about this -- especially with Gumbo. . . you know how big his mouth is!"

"Is dat Wolverine's voice Gambit hear in dare with you Chere? What you two doin' in de bathroom together?"

"None o' yer business Remy, ah told you ah'd be there in a minute didn't ah?"


All I need is the nosey cajun pokin' around in my business. . . "

"Don't worry Logan, I won't tell him anythin'"

"Chere, what business de two o' you conductin' in de bathroom dat you can't conduct out here?"

"Listen here swamprat" she said in an annoyed voice. "Ah said ah'd be out in a minute so go away!"

"But Chere. . . ?"


Rogue spun around and looked at Logan who by now had a mischievous grin on his face.

"Logan, what'd ya do that fer?"

"It'll give Gumbo somethin' ta think about." He said with a smirk.

He then opened the door and walked out past Gambit, stopping to check his zipper.

"Hey Cajun, what say we go have a beer later. . . "

"Logan, what you two doin' in dare?"

"We were just havin' a little conversation -- that's all. . . about women, and what it takes ta please 'em." Logan said as he walked down the hall.

"Is dat a fact? And just what does it take?"

"Well. . . it ain't short and to the point. . . that's fer damn sure! But don't worry Gumbo, yer secret's safe with me." he snickered as he walked down the stairs.

"Logan, what de. . . ?!"

"You ready ta go Sugah?" Rogue interrupted as she walked out.

The look on Remy's face was definitely not one of pleasure.


Storm flew in Friday evening. Everyone was happy to see her and Tasha, but none happier than Wolverine. He and Jubilee met them on the landing pad as they touched down.

"Storm!" Jubilee yelled as she exited the jet.

"By the goddess child! It is so good to see you!" Storm replied as they hugged each other. "You have grown so much; and you grew your hair out -- it looks wonderful!"

"It's soooo good to see you again Storm! I have so many things to tell you!"

"What about me?" Logan interjected. "Don't I at least get a hug?"

"Of course you do!" Storm smiled as she gave him a hug and a long passionate kiss. "I've missed you so much Logan."

"Izzatso? Well, I didn't miss you too much. . . business as usual actually." He said with a smirk before kissing her again and giving her a hug that told her exactly how much he missed her.

"PapaLo!" a young yet energetic voice yelled from the other side of the jet.

"Tasha!" Logan yelled as he squatted down and gave the little girl running up to him a hug.

"Papa Lo???" Jubilee asked Wolverine.

"That's what she calls me, ya got a problem with that?!"

"Um, no -- not at all. . . PapaLo!"

"So, what did you think of Africa Tasha?" Logan asked.

"It was hot! But I liked it -- and I really like MamaRo's son Mijnari. He's really cool and he runs so fast! But I'm glad to be back -- I really missed you PapaLo."

"I gotta get used to you being called "PapaLo" Wolvie!"

"Wolvie???" Tasha asked.

"Just never you mind!" Logan said as he grabbed one of Storm's bags and headed into the mansion.

Logan and Jubilee helped Storm and Tasha with their bags and headed for their bedroom. Storm was quite tired, and after giving them a quick overview of her trip, she promptly fell asleep. Logan stayed up with Tasha and Jubilee for a couple hours but left them alone when he realized they would get to know each other a lot better if he wasn't around. Tasha and Jubilee hit it off from the get-go; much to Wolverine's satisfaction. Both had become a pretty big part of his life and he really wanted them to become close. Jubilee was naturally friendly -- especially with children -- but she also knew how important it was to Logan and Storm. . . even though he never mentioned it to her. They'd known each other long enough to sense what was important and what wasn't, and this was pretty high on the scale.

All in all, it was pretty easy -- both youths were very friendly to each other and Tasha had heard so much about Jubilee that meeting her was like having a big sister come home from college. Later on that night, Jubilee fell asleep relishing the fact that she could now sleep in past 6am without someone waking her up to go jogging. Now that Wolverine's running mate was back in town, she could finally relax.


"Jubilation Lee, we are waiting for you. . . hurry up!" Storm yelled through Jubilee's bedroom door.

"Wha? Whuzzat? It's six o'clock in the morning Storm -- what are you doing?"

"We are going jogging -- Logan is already downstairs. . . we are waiting for you."

"But I thought. . . I mean. . . now that you're back. . . Hrmph! Nevermind -- I'll be there in a minute!" she said as she clumsily climbed out of bed and headed for the bathroom.

"Good -- we'll be in the kitchen and a bowl of Cocoa Puffs will be waiting for you."

The rest of the day went relatively smoothly. Logan asked Jubilee to watch Tasha for her while he and Storm went out. She was more than happy to oblige -- especially knowing what he had planned for the evening. Logan couldn't think of a more perfect place to propose to her than the place where it all started -- Paganini's on the waterfront. The evening started off with flowers being delivered to the mansion -- all Storm's favorites.

They then drove to Paganini's and had a very pleasant dinner. Throughout the evening, Storm sensed some sort of anticipation building in Logan, but couldn't figure out quite what it was. She knew he missed her during the 2 weeks she was in Africa, but she'd gone away before for that amount of time. . . sometimes longer. What was the source of his anticipation?

Later on that night, they took a horse carriage ride around the waterfront. Logan could tell she was really enjoying herself and felt the moment had come to ask her. He asked the carriage driver to pull over in front of one of the piers and give them a moment. The rather hefty amount of money Logan gave the driver before the ride began told him that more than the average ride was expected for the evening.

The driver was more than willing to oblige.

"We've never gone on a horse carriage ride before Logan. Why now?"

"I just thought you might like it. . . it's not the same as riding on wind, but it's pretty nice; and there's nothin' quite like a couple o' Clydesdales."

"This is true -- they are such magnificent animals."

They walked out onto the pier and looked at the nearly full moon as it lit up the waterfront. The atmosphere was perfect; there were only a few people in sight, which gave Logan plenty of room to prepare for his proposal.

"Ro, I didn't bring you out here ta talk about horses; there's somethin' else?"

"Oh? And what would that be?"

By now she had a pretty good idea of the reason he brought her out there and was beginning to feel the anticipation she saw in Logan's face.

"We've been dating for quite awhile now. . . " he said in a calm yet slightly nervous voice. She could tell he'd been thinking about what he would say to her for quite some time. "and I've never met a woman like you. The way I feel when I'm around you is. . . it's pretty amazing. I've been around for awhile, and being as old as I am; I never expected to see fireworks again; but you changed all that -- literally!"

"I make you see fireworks?"

"That and more."


"We make a great team Ro -- there's never been anything like the RoLo Combo; but more important than that. . . I know that you're my soul mate.."

"Logan, what are you saying?"

"What I'm sayin' is this. . . " he said as he got down on one knee.

"Ororo Munroe, will you. . . "

"GET HIM!" a distinct voice yelled in the background.


Both Storm and Wolverine took a defensive posture as they turned to see what the commotion was. In the distance, near the corner of one of the buildings that sat on the waterfront was a small yet increasingly violent mob chasing a lone person. . . a mutant.

"Cripes!" Logan yelled. "One flamin' evening without mutant hating rhetoric! That's all I ask for. . . one flamin' evenin'!"

"That mutant needs our help Logan."

"I know, I know - let's go. . . I just hope that mob doesn't mess up my suit."

The mutant was running full force down the waterfront in the direction of Logan and Storm; the mob was right behind him -- and gaining. The crowd quickly caught up to him and was just about to grab him when Logan jumped in front; placing his own body between them and the unknown mutant.

"Get outta the way Shrimp!" one fella yelled as he shook a large stick at Logan. "We want that lousy freak mutant!"

"You want 'em? You gotta go through me Bub!"

"That ain't gonna be a problem if ya don't get outta our way!"

It was obvious that the one doing all the talking was the ringleader. The rest of the mob stood behind him as if they were awaiting his orders.

"I gotta warn ya bub -- I'm a lot tougher than I look; and if ya keep swingin' that stick around, um gonna take it from ya, turn it sideways and shove it up yer sorry ass!"

"You and what army shrimp?"


"Me and my little friends!" he yelled as he donned the claws on his left hand.

"You're one of them freak mutants! Get him boys, get that lousy. . . "


With lightening quick speed, Logan gave the ringleader a bone-crushing uppercut that knocked him unconscious before he even hit the ground.

"You other 'boys' want some o' this?" he yelled as he popped out his other 3 claws. "Cuz I'm tellin' ya right now, you just stepped inta MY world - a world o' hurt!"

"He knocked out Joe!" One of the guys behind the ringleader yelled as he picked up Joe's stick. "Get him!"

Before they could do anything else, a lightening bolt came out of nowhere and struck literally inches in front of them. They looked up and saw Storm standing their with a very pissed look on her face and a ball of energy surrounding her right hand.

"I wouldn't recommend that boys." She yelled. "Less you want to feel the wrath of my storm!" The tornado forming behind her told the mob she meant business.

Without so much as another word, they grabbed Joe and what was left of his jaw and hightailed it out of there. The storm behind Storm subsided and she quickly focused her attention on the unknown mutant; who by his completely fur-covered body was easily identifiable.

"You are safe now, they will not harm you." She said to him as she extended her hand to help him climb to his feet.

"Thank. . . thank you very much" he said as he stood up. It was clear he needed medical attention; he got away from the crowd; but not before they got their licks in. "My name is Ron, Ron Teague. I don't know what I woulda done if you two hadn't come along."

"Don't worry about it bub -- it's what we do. Hey -- your arm looks pretty banged up; what say we get you some medical attention."

"Medical attention? Looking like this? Do you know how I get treated when I go to hospitals?"

"Not a prob; we know a place that could care less what ya look like; in fact, wait til you see the DOCTOR. . . you two have a LOT in common."

"Where. . . where is this place? I've never heard of such a place that welcomes mutants so freely."

"It's only a horse carriage ride away" Logan said as he pointed to the waiting carriage.

Needless to say, the evening didn't end the way Logan expected. His chance to propose to Ororo had been ruined, and he could have done without the trip to the medlab or the rip in the sleeve of his new coat that he got when he decked Joe. After he left Ron in the medlab, Storm caught up to him.

"Logan" she said with a great deal of anticipation. "Back before all the excitement began, you were going to ask me something. What was it?"

"Huh? Oh. . . um, it was nothing. I was just. . . um. . . I was going to ask you how you liked the food at Paganini's. . . their lasagna seemed a little off tonight. That was it."

"What? You got down on one knee just to ask me that?"

"Well uh. . . yeah, it hit my stomach kinda hard."

"I see" she said as she walked off. "Perhaps YOU should be the one in medlab instead of Ron. Maybe Beast should check you for head injuries."

"Damn!" Logan grumbled under his voice. "I need a beer. . . and a cigar!" he thought to himself as he headed for the kitchen. He grabbed a beer and was headed outside when he ran into Rogue.

"Logan! Just the man Ah'm lookin' for. How'd it go?"

"It didn't!"

"What? What happened? She didn't' say "no" did she?"

"Never asked her. . . just as I was about to, a mutant-hating mob interrupted us!"

"Oh no -- did anyone get hurt?"

"Some bloke named Joe will be sippin' his meals through a straw for the next couple months. . . that's about it. There's a guy named Ron in the medlab but he ain't to badly banged up."

"So why didn't you ask her afterward?"

"Because o' what you said!"


"I didn't want her to remember this night as the night I broke some jerk's jaw then asked her to friggin marry me! I'll do it another time -- when we have a fresh start."

"Ah understand. Does she know?"

"She ain't no idiot. . . I'm sure she figured it out."

"Ah see, well you better do it soon."

"Yah, I know."

That night as Wolverine headed off to bed, he knew he would have to explain his actions again to Storm. The expression he saw on her face as he finished brushing his teeth and walked out the bathroom told him that the hour of conversation was upon them.

"What's the word Ro? You look a little disgruntled."

"I was just thinking about this evening's events."

"Yeah -- how about that. . . nothin' ruin's a romantic evening like a bunch o' mutant-hatin' gutter trash."

"Well, what I was thinking about was where the evening was HEADED. I mean, how often do YOU wear a nice suit and get down on one knee to ask me how the FOOD was at Paganini's?"

"Yeah. . . that lasagna did a number on my stomach; if it weren't for my mutant healing factor, I'd probably be in medlab right now."

"Are you sure it was the food you were going to ask me about?"

"Yep, if it weren't for that, it would have been a night to remember. . . for all times. But tomorrow's another day; and who knows what memories it'll bring."

The mood for the evening changed quite favorably after that -- much to Logan's relief.

The next morning started off rather nicely -- with Logan attempting to make it up to Storm for the previous night's incident. He opted not to run his usual eight miles; choosing instead to surprise Storm with a continental breakfast: croissants, juice, and fresh fruit.

"What's this? She said as she woke to the tray of food.

"Oh -- nothing. . . just a little grub."

"What a nice surprise; but this is a little out of character for you isn't it? I mean, Breakfast in bed?"

"What? A fella can't bring his lady some grub on a Sunday morning??? Ya know, Cike and the Cajun ain't the only ones that can dish out the mush around here. Besides -- no one saw me. . . it's too friggin early!"

Storm laughed -- half because of his response and half because of what the other X-Men would have said if they saw him walking down the hall with a tray of food and flowers.

"How sweet." She commented.

"Ya gotta eat right? What's wrong with eatin' in bed?"

"Nothing -- nothing at all; especially when I'm sharing breakfast with my man."

"Lemme cut your croissant for you." He said with a mischievous grin.


"That's more like my man!" she said as she watched him cut and butter a croissant with the skill of a high level assassin. Only a man like Wolverine could make something like serving his girlfriend breakfast in bed look "manly."

Later on that afternoon Storm, Wolverine, Tasha and Jubilee met at the lake for a nice little outing and a late afternoon lunch. After a couple hours of recreation, Logan gave Jubilee the cue to take Tasha back to the mansion and give him and Storm some private time. It was so subtle Storm didn't even see it. Before she knew it, the two of them were alone and taking a romantic walk around the lake. They ended up sitting on the dock holding hands each other.

"Ro, there's something I wanna tell you."

"I'm listening."

"Well, it's about my past. With all these false memories, I have no idea what my life was like before. Who knows - I might have been a husband, a father, perhaps even a brother. With my mutant ability, I might have great grandkids runnin' around our there somewhere."

"I can't imagine the questions that must sometimes go through your mind Logan."

"The point is, I could have been married in the past. . . I could have had a completely separate and happy life. Those thoughts have always been in the back of my head. . . that is, until you came along."

"What do you mean?"

"You ever get a feeling of de ja vu?"

"Yes, sometimes."

"I get that all the time -- I see someone and it seems like I should know them. Then I wonder if I knew them in the past, and if so; how. What did we share? What was it like? But none o' that matters anymore. Since we've been dating, my past has become insignificant. The only thing that matters is the here-and-now -- with you."

"Logan, that's so nice of you to say."

"Even if I somehow get my memory back; I know it couldn't possibly be any better than this -- than you. I love you Ro."

"And I, you Logan."

"Yah well, now to get down ta business." Logan said as he took her hand and looked in her eyes.

"Ro we both know that we ain't got much time and we gotta make the most of what we have. . . I wanna spend what time I do have with you and I hope you feel the same way.

Ro, will. . . "

*STORM, LOGAN -- COME IN! I NEED YOU* The psionic call startled both Logan and Storm -- nearly knocking Logan into the water.

*What is it Professor? What's going on?* both responded.

*It's Jean, Psylocke and Cyclops, they need help. They're in New York City.

They ran into Pestilence and a few other mutants and need assistance.*

*Pestilence!* Logan said with a bit of surprise. *Haven't heard a peep outta her in ages! She's givin' Cike problems?*

*Apparently she is Wolverine. I don't know the full scope of it, but they were caught by surprise.*

"It figures!" Wolverine said -- obviously disappointed at the poor timing. "We gotta go save Cike's ass again! Every friggin time he goes there, we end up rescuin' him!" *Professor, isn't anyone else available?*

*No Wolverine, you and Storm are the closest*

*Fine. . . guess we gotta go save his bacon*

*Gambit and Rogue were headed to New Orleans for a couple days. They're about 3 hours away -- I can recall them if you need assistance.*

*Why bother ruining their flamin' weekend! At least ONE couple should have some fun!*

They arrived on scene and upon a quick reconnaissance of the situation, found that Pestilence had already taken out Jean and Psylocke with her psychic plague. Apparently she and her band of unsavory-type mutants were hanging out in New York City when they came across the trio of X-Men shopping. The sight of them -- more specifically, Scott and Jean -- brought back memories of when she was with the Morlocks. Having been one of Apocalypse's horsemen for awhile, she needed not much more than a bad memory to goad her into action.

Taking out Jean and Psylocke proved to be easy for her. All that was required was walking around a corner and accidentally bumping into the two psychic X-Women. Before they knew what hit them, they were on the ground suffering from what felt to them to be some sort of severe fever. Because the X-Men weren't in uniform, Cyclops didn't have his visor. He did his best though and had incapacitated one of the attacking mutants, but another managed to knock his sunglasses off -- rendering him useless except for the occasional lucky punch.

The three remaining mutants were having fun with him -- using their unique abilities to taunt and annoy him as he blindly tried to protect Jean and Psylocke. Pestilence knew he wouldn't unleash his untapped solar energy on an unsuspecting New York City, and as soon as the other 2 mutants figured that out, their taunting increased significantly. Police had arrived on scene but because of the nature of the situation, chose not to get involved. The only weapon they had at their disposal was lethal force, and they didn't want to take the chance of taking out one mutant and having 3 more come at them with the anger and resentment of a lost comrade.

Storm, Logan and Jubilee landed and immediately went to work on the attacking mutants. Because they had the element of surprise, it wasn't much of a battle. Storm took Pestilence out with a blast of wind; which when used in conjunction with the steel girder of a building under construction can render someone unconscious quite quickly. Pestilence didn't know if it was because of her history with Storm or if she was just in a bad mood; but whatever it was, Storm's "get down to business" instead of "let's talk about this" attitude proved to be quite a painful and surprising lesson for her.

"You saw the "reminder" I gave Callisto. . . and yet you still attack my friends Pestilence. Head my warning -- my patience grows thin. If we meet again under these circumstances, I shall "remind" you as well!" Storm said shortly before unleashing her vicious and incapacitating windstorm.

Logan went after one of the 2 remaining unknown mutants -- one who's mutant power seemed to center around being able to blow a large amount of air out his mouth with pinpoint accuracy. He hit Logan with a blast of air and knocked him through the window of a coffee shop but Logan was quick to recover.

"Bub! You need ta chomp a tic tac -- and I mean like NOW! When's the last time you saw a toothbrush?" he yelled as he jumped through the window and tackled the unknown mutant.

They rolled on the ground a couple times before Logan jumped up in a prowling position. The unknown mutant was just about to deliver another blast of wind when Wolverine gave him a roundhouse kick to the stomach. The resulting belch knocked Wolverine off his feet. Luckily for him, the kick also temporarily incapacitated the attacking mutant.

"Whoa -- I shoulda learned the first time -- that breath could stop traffic!" he said as he waved his hands in front of his nose in a meager attempt to clear the air. "Let's see if we can let the air outta you without lettin' the air outta you!" he yelled as he recovered and gave the unknown mutant an uppercut followed by a left cross to the nose -- rendering him VERY unconscious.

Jubilee faired equally as well as she found herself battling a mutant whose powers centered around his strength. He came after her -- demolishing everything in sight: mailboxes, streetlights, even cars. As he approached Jubilee, she paffed him -- giving him a very unique view of New York City filled with colorful, blinding spots. She then paffed him into a parked full-sized pick-up. He did a mid-air flip off the bumper and landed squarely face down in the bed of the truck. By then, Wolverine had reached her and in an attempt to make sure the unknown mutant didn't wake up, knocked him over the head with a mailbox.

All in all, things went rather smoothly. The X-Men gathered up their fallen comrades and the authorities quickly dealt with the unruly - yet very unconscious - mutants. Jubilee flew back to the mansion with Cike and the others, leaving Logan and Storm to themselves for a while. Both jets landed about 30 minutes later.

By then the effects of Pestilence's psionic plague had worn off Jean and Psylocke - who were slowly but surely recovering. A good night's sleep would probably get them back to full strength. It was a good thing both of them were such powerful psychics. . . Pestilence's psionic plague usually lasted a couple weeks before subsiding. Needless to say, Wolverine was not in a good mood. He could almost feel the rage crawling up his spine -- especially after having to save Cyclops' ass from what he termed "minor league" players. As he and Storm exited the minijet, Scott approached to thank them for their assistance.

"Storm, Wolverine!" Scott said in a very appreciative voice. "I want to thank you for. . . "

"Can-it One-eye! I don't wanna hear it!" Logan barked as he brushed Scott's shoulder and walked into the mansion. He was so angry he didn't even look at Cyclops as he walked by.

"Wha. . . ? Storm, what did I say to make him so. . . "

"Can-it One-eye!" she snapped as she followed Logan into the mansion. The sudden and disturbing crack of thunder that shook the walls and the angry look on the 6'3 weather goddess' face told Scott that it would not be a good idea to inquire. Clearly the duo was upset, and clearly he was the source of their anger. He was very surprised at Storm's actions though. Even when she was angry, she never really showed it. Being in love allowed her to express herself more freely though.

And just as she had a calming effect on Logan, he had an energetic effect on her. Venting frustration was something he was quite good at, and something Ororo needed and picked up on very quickly. Twice Logan had gone out of his way to make his proposal special and romantic, and twice they had been interrupted. It was beginning to drive her crazy, and telling Scott off -- though out of character -- seemed to make her feel better.

"What the hell is bothering them???" he said as he scratched his head and went to check on Jean and Psylocke.

"Let's just say you interrupted a VERY important afternoon for them." Jubilee told him as she walked into the mansion.

"Apparently I did. . . "

On the lighter side of things, with his superb sense of hearing, Logan overheard Storm's interaction with Scott and let out a relieving yet angry laugh.

"That's my girl!" he said as he capped a cigar and started planning his next move.


"Pack your bags Ro -- we're gettin' the hell outta here!"

"Where are we going?"

"Some place far -- where no one can bother us!"

"Teehee -- and just where is that?"


"Cebu? The Philippines???"

"Yah -- and if any trouble pops up here, we WON'T be around ta help!"

"I see -- what an interesting choice." she said with a giggle. "But isn't it the rainy season in the Philippines right now?"

"I have a feeling it won't be for long. . . " he said with a wink.

Four hours later, Logan, Storm, Tasha and Jubilee were packed and headed for Cebu. Because of the spontaneity of their plans, they decided to take one of the minijets. That way they could skip the airline hassles, customs, and more importantly -- those damn metal detectors that always gave Logan problems. With the X-Jet's stealth mode, international travel was made quite easy. With the time differential, they arrived a little after 3am.

Their final destination was the Tambuli Beach Resort in Mactan, Cebu. Storm wasn't very familiar with it, but it was obvious Logan had been there before. It being 3am at a beach resort, hiding the minijet was easy -- especially since it's stealth mode included underwater capabilities.

"Kumusta Ka Bub -- how's it goin'?!" Logan asked as the four of them walked up to the reception desk.

"Kumusta Ka -- may I help you sir?"

"Yeah, I called ahead ta get one o' yer junior suites -- the name's Logan."

"Yes sir Mr. Logan -- I have your reservation right here. Will you be paying with cash or credit card?"

Logan slid the desk clerk a credit card and quickly checked in. The clerk was a little curious as to how they managed to get past the security guard at the main gate before approaching the reservation desk but upon seeing Logan's "it's 3am and I don't want any problems-Bub" expression, opted not to question him about it. Everyone checked into the 2-bedroom junior suite and the 2 adults almost immediately fell asleep.

Tasha and Jubilee stayed awake for a while. Being asleep on the flight over, they were fully awake now. Luckily for them, room service ran 24 hours a day and the beach resort had cable. The time differential proved too much for Storm and Logan as they slept throughout the noon hour. Jubilee took advantage of the beach and worked on her tan. She also took the opportunity to spend more time with Tasha. THIS was the kind of vacation away from the academy she pictured. Sitting on a beach, room service at her beckon call, nobody she knew to bother her in 9,000 miles - and all free of charge!

Things were definitely looking up.

Logan was the first to wake up. He quietly left the bungalow and went looking for Jubilee and Tasha. Seeing as how the beach was a mere 100 feet away from their bungalow, it wasn't too hard to figure out where they where -- his mutant senses weren't even necessary for that.

"PapaLo!" Tasha yelled as he approached.

"Hey Tasha -- how'd ya sleep?"

"I took a nap but didn't sleep long -- I'm not tired."

"Figures. . . howsabout you Jubes?"

"Fine Wolvie -- but I gotta get used to you being called "PapaLo" -- it's kinda. . . weird ya know?"

"Yeah -- it took me awhile ta get used to -- but I wasn't ready ta be called "Dad" - PapaLo was good enough"

"Where's Storm?"

"She's still sleeping."

"How'd you find this place?"


"No -- Cebu. It's beautiful here!"

"Oh -- the US government used to have an air force base not too far from here on Luzon, in Pampanga -- that was, until Mount Pinatubo blew its top and closed it. The navy still has a base here in Subic Bay. Cebu was and still is a pretty popular tourist spot for the military. It only costs a couple bucks ta get here, and the price for a nice vacation is a lot better than in Manila -- or most other places for that matter. That makes it real popular among the enlisted men. It also makes a nice place ta hide when I need ta get away from the mansion."

"Wolvie, if you ever quit the X-Men, you'd make an EXCELLENT travel agent!"

"Hah -- that'll be the day!" he said as he pulled out a stogey and bit the top off. "I like LIVIN' life -- not tellin' others where ta go ta live it!"

"PapaLo, I thought MamaRo didn't want you to smoke Cigars anymore."

"Yeah -- and this is gonna be our li'l secret ain't it?" he said as he winked at her.

"It will be if you give me a piggyback ride!"

"Cripes! I'm being blackmailed by a 10-year-old!" he grunted as he picked her up and put her on his back.

Jubilee couldn't help but laugh at the site of Logan giving Tasha a piggyback ride around the beach wearing Bermuda shorts and a Hawaiian shirt with a cigar sticking out of his mouth. She took a few pictures to take back to the academy and show the rest of Generation X the lighter, friendlier side of him. From everything they heard and saw, Wolverine was just a bad-ass mutant with an attitude -- no matter how much she told them otherwise. She tried to tell them that every now and then when things were just right, he relaxed and had a good time. . . even smiled a bit -- but they remained unconvinced.

Jubilee and Tasha stayed on the beach for a while while Logan headed back to the bungalow to get something to eat.


"Room service, may I help you?" a very pleasant voice on the other end of the phone kindly said.

"Yah, I got a bad case o' the munchies -- what ya got ta eat there?"

"We have everything on the regular menu sir, what would you like?"

"Let's start off with a couple o' big fat cheeseburgers. Wait -- scratch that, since I'm in the Philippines, I might as well enjoy the grub. Give me some Kilawin -- make that 2 orders; a big mess o' lumpia, 2 orders of sinigang na baboy and a pile o' rice. Throw in a pitcher o' orange juice and a couple o' MGD's and that'll satisfy me fer a couple hours."

"Yes sir, coming right up."

"Mrmph" Storm groaned as she woke up and stretched. "What time is it Logan?"

"A little after 1."

"I slept that long?"

"Yeah -- you were snorin' so loud ya woke up half o' Cebu!"

"I did not!" she yelled as she smiled and threw her pillow at him.

"I just ordered some lunch."

"Oh -- what did you order?"

"Some Filipino grub -- you'll like it."

"I'm sure I will."


"Hmmm, they musta ran outta MGD's or somethin'." Logan said as he picked the phone up. "Logan here -- speak!"

"Logan! It's about time! Do you know how long I've been looking for you?"

"Scott? How the hell did you find me?"

"It wasn't easy! Especially considering you told me you'd be in MANILA!"

"That's cuz I didn't wanna hear yer flappin' gums until we got back ta Salem Center! How'd you find us?"

"There are 9 beach resorts in close vicinity to the minijet. This was number 7."

"You mean number zero!" Logan yelled as he slammed the phone down.

"Was that Scott?"


"What did he want?"


"Why did you hang up on him?"

"Because he didn't say anything I wanted ta hear."

"But it could have been important."

"It wasn't. If it was, Charlie woulda called us."

"Logan! You're the worst" she said as she turned on the television.

The channel that came up was a Filipino news station. Storm couldn't understand it, but it looked like they were talking about some trouble that had recently occurred on one of the islands. She was just about to change it when she noticed the newscast had peaked Logan's attention.

"Logan? What is it? Do you understand what they are saying?"

"Yeah, some tourists were kidnapped just off the coast of Palawan."

"By the goddess -- do they know who took them?"

"Rebels -- they've been causin' problems in the southern areas lately."

"Are we in danger here?"

"No -- rebels couldn't make it this far north -- they'd be spotted within a minute o' settin' foot on Cebu or Luzon."

"You think that's what Scott was calling about?"

"Probably -- they're having problems tracking the rebels. He probably thinks I can lend 'em a hand with my tracking skills."


"Damn -- can't One-Eye take a hint?" Logan yelled as he picked the phone up.

"Logan -- don't hang up!" Cyclops yelled into the phone.

"Whaddya want Cike -- and make it fast! I got some relaxin' ta do."

"I'm sure you've seen the news and know what happened in Palawan yesterday evening."

"Yah -- what about it?"

"The US was asked to help track the rebels and free the hostages. I figured since you were already there and you claim to be such an excellent tracker, you could help out."

"The Philippine President seems to have everything under control. . . she doesn't need me pokin' my nose in her business."

"No -- but you and Storm can speed things up. The sooner they're released, the sooner you can 'relax.'"

"Or I can hang the flamin' phone up and start relaxin' right now!" Logan growled.

"Or I can speak to Storm and you know what'll happen next." Cyclops countered.

"Damn you Cike!"

"I'll tell the Philippine military to expect a call from one of our Government's best trackers." Scott said with a slightly smug voice.


"I take it we're headed to Palawan?"

"Yeah" he grumbled. "With any luck we'll be back by sundown."

"You think it'll be that easy?"

"Yeah -- the rebels only have about 7,000 islands they can hide out on. . . shouldn't be THAT difficult to find!"

After a quick lunch, Logan and Ororo called Jubilee in and explained what had happened and where they were headed. Logan then gave Jubilee his credit card.

"Wow -- license to spend!"

"License ta keep yer can parked at this resort and stay outta trouble!" he countered. "This is for use ONLY if you need it."

He winked at her and silently gave her permission to do a LITTLE shopping. Fortunately for him, the economies of scale tipped heavily in his favor; even if she bought a mansion full of stuff, it wouldn't amount to too much in the Philippines. It was a comforting thought to know that Tasha was with someone they trusted. Jubilee may have only been 17, but she was still a very responsible person -- one that both Storm and Logan had trusted with their lives on more than one occasion.

As they headed out to retrieve the submerged minijet, Storm provided a little cover rain to clear the beach of suntanners and other sorts. She hated ruining their day, but knew she'd make it up to them as soon as the minijet was out of sight. They reached Palawan about a half-hour later and quickly established contact with the Philippine military. The Col. in charge was not very happy to see them as he figured their services were not necessary -- which was completely understandable by Storm and Logan. After all, they were poking their noses into other people's business.

But seeing as how President Arroyo herself asked for the US' assistance, he was obliged to "entertain" Storm and Logan. He provided a sergeant -- Sgt. Cortes - to act as a liaison between them and the rest of the military. Ororo and Logan both knew that Cortes' primary role as liaison was to keep them out of Col. Meparanum's hair -- which was fine with them. . . they preferred to work alone anyway. Cortes showed them the beach resort where the rebel kidnapping occurred and told them they could look around all they wanted. Storm took to the air to reconnoiter while Logan investigated the site.

"Ya see anything worth reportin' Storm?"

"I see nothing Wolverine."

"There's plenty down here. . . I'm pickin' up all kinds o' scents."

"What have you discovered?" she asked as she descended to his location.

"It was a small army -- 9 of em'. . . hadn't showered in awhile either. They're all heavily armed -- probably AK-47's. They stormed right here and caught the beach dwellers by surprised -- musta been in a tourist boat or somethin'. They took 14 hostages in all -- including a couple a' kids."

"Did you pick up anything else Wolverine?"

"Yeah -- danger and fear -- these guys ain't playin' around. I don't think they were carryin', but I smell traces of C-4."

"Do you know where they went?"

"Haven't got a flamin' clue!" he said as he looked at Cortes.

The look on his face told Storm there was more to it than that.

"They raided the individual bungalows, did they not?" she asked. "I'd like to take a look inside." She said to Wolverine as she motioned for him to join her.

They headed off to one of the bungalows that had been broken into and started talking.

"What is it you aren't telling Logan?"

"I got a pretty good idea o' where they are?"

"How is this possible?"

"Through the almighty cigar."


"A couple o' the kidnappers were smokin' cigars."

"Yes. . . and?"

"It's a unique type o' tobacco they used -- only grows in a couple places. . . most of which border this island."

"Are you sure Logan?"

"Two things I know -- fightin' and cigars. The scent I'm pickin' up is some o' the best smokin' tobacco in the world. . . Cuba ain't got nuttin on it. It grows here because o' the tropical humidity and the soil content."

"So why didn't you want to tell Cortes?"

"Because the last time there was a kidnappin' like this, the military went in shootin'. It worked once, but it won't again."

"Because of the C-4?"

"Yeah -- one stray bullet and it's BBQ hostages."

"Where would you look for them?"

"The Islands south of Maragat."

"Why there?"

"They grow tobacco there and it's pretty remote. . . not much there at all -- makes it easy ta hide out. Plus, they got a lot o' inlets where they can hide their boats."

"Okay Logan -- you take the lead."

Twenty minutes later they landed just outside the southern most island or Maragat. Since the element of surprise was a pretty large priority, they both donned BDU's over their traditional uniforms and started looking for signs of the rebel landing. It took a couple hours but Logan finally picked up a scent. By then, dusk had set in and with each passing minute, daylight diminished.

The scent lead to an inlet which seemed perfect for hiding the rebel boat from being seen by passing military aircraft. About 3 clicks in, Logan spotted the first signs of the rebel camp -- a two-man patrol walking the outskirts of the inlet. They were both armed with AK-47s and flash grenades and one of them had a radio. They watched the rebels closely for about an hour and a half -- tracking them carefully as they patrolled. The rebels reported in every 40 minutes -- which gave Storm and Logan a good window to get in and rescue the hostages.

"So, what's the plan Darlin'? Do ya want one or can I have em both?" Logan asked Storm with a pretty smug smile.

"I'm here on vacation" she responded. "You take them both."

"Fine by me. . . I was getting' bored anyway. . . this li'l set-to oughta be good for a warm-up."

Storm stayed hidden and watched Logan do what he did best -- stalk an enemy. She hated to admit it, but sometimes watching him in action was almost entertaining -- often to the point of being comical. This as it seemed was no exception. She couldn't help but giggle as he interrupted his cat-like stalking prowl of the rebels long enough relieve himself before effortlessly continuing his trek. She was amazed at how close he was able to get to the rebels. He stopped his prowl less than 5 feet from them. Both of the rebels had stopped to enjoy a good cigar and were conversing among themselves just after reporting in when Logan sprung into action.

"Them some mighty fine smellin' cigars." He said as he revealed himself and walked up.

"Mind if I have one?"


The two stunned rebels turned around just in time to see Logan deliver a tremendous left hook to one followed by a clean slice through the AK-47 of the one left. Before they knew what was happening, one had been knocked out and the other was unarmed and staring at the business end of a set of very sharp, metal claws.

"What's the matter bub? Cat got yer tongue? The Wolverine's gonna have it in a second iffin ya don't get busy and tell me what I wanna hear?"

Though he was nervous, the rebel didn't divulge any information -- much to Wolverine's satisfaction.

"We can do this the easy way. . . " Logan said as he gave the rebel a mischievous smile. "Or we can do this the hard way. I gotta tell ya -- you won't like the hard way at all!" he said as he popped out his 3 remaining claws and started sharpening them in front of the rebel. Whatever loyalty he had to his cause flew out the window when he heard Wolverine's adamantium claws being sharpened against each other. Before Logan was done with him, he had the camp's location and all vital statistics.

"Thanks Bub, now I gotta kill ya!" he said as he pulled his hand back in a motion to strike the rebel in his face. Just before he hit him, he retracted his claws and merely knocked the guy unconscious. Though not as entertaining to Storm, his little joke gave Logan an immense source of pleasure as he watched the rebel piss all over the front of his pants before falling to the ground unconscious.

"Really Logan -- you are so awful sometimes. . . "

"What? It was only a flamin' joke!"

After properly securing the 2 rebels, They found themselves hot on the trail of the camp. They found it another 2 clicks inside the inlet -- with a camouflaged net over the boat making it nearly impossible to see from the air. They reconned the camp and found a total of 21 rebels left -- which was exactly what the rebel patrolman said. The hostages were in a hut near the rear of the camp perimeter. It wasn't the best location from the rebel standpoint, but it was the largest building there.

"Looks like we're in luck Logan?"


"It's just as you expected, the building where the hostages are located is laced with C-4 -- making it very difficult to attack the rebel camp without jeopardizing their lives."

"And that's yer idea o' lucky Ro?

I'd hate ta see what you consider unlucky."

"Well, these guys aren't very high-tech. The C-4 is hard-wired to a control panel." She said as she stared at the building through her binoculars. "There isn't even a feedback loop on it."

"Gotcha - cut the cable, cut the threat. . . that is unless one o' them rebels decides ta put a few rounds into that building."

"Well, we'll just have to be careful now won't we dear?"

"Well, not TOO careful. . . a fella's gotta have SOME fun ya know."

Cutting the cable proved very easy for the duo. Storm provided the cover in the form of a sudden yet not out-of-season torrential downpour and Logan slipped in unnoticed. Crawling through mud was second nature to him, which really relieved Storm as he was the natural choice for disarming the C-4. She shuddered at the thought of how long it would take to get the mud out of her hair had they switched roles. The plan was simple -- cut the cable and get the hostages out before engaging the rebels. Actually, they just wanted to get the hostages out. Once they were free, the Philippine army could do the rest.

With the downpour in full swing, Storm flew unnoticed over the camp, keeping a close eye on Logan and any rebel activity. After cutting the cable to the C-4, he listened for activity around the hut. The scent of the rebels was pretty heavy around the entrance to the building and Logan couldn't tell if anyone rebels were inside. He knew the likelihood of any rebels inside was pretty low because of the C-4 but wanted to be certain.

After a couple minutes of listening, he was pretty certain -- he was also running out of time. The next scheduled report from the patrol was in 18 minutes. Considering the entire building was made of aging wood, it was pretty easy for Logan to crawl under and cut his way in. With a little assistance from his thunderous companion, the rebels didn't suspect a thing. Most of the rebels that were outside before the rain started sought shelter in the other buildings and since their escape from Palawan had been flawless they knew the likelihood of being discovered so soon was pretty low. The only ones that remained outside were two guards walking the perimeter of the camp and one rebel sitting at the now-unarmed control panel in an observation deck.

After a few well-placed slices, Logan climbed into the hut. He found the 14 hostages tied by their hands and feet and roped together to make mobility difficult. He quickly explained to them that he was there to free them and that once everyone was cut loose, they would one by one climb through the hole and head for the camp perimeter. They would then head to the boat they came in on and once all were accounted for, they'd head back to Palawan. If they remained together, there would be a better chance of everybody escaping.

He quickly cut them loose; with his unique attributes it didn't take long at all. He was also the first one out of the hut with the first of the hostages following him. It made it easier to choreograph their escape as he had better communication with Storm on rebel activity and could coach each hostage through the patch of grass and mud between the hut and the camp perimeter. One by one they scampered across the compound and disappeared into the jungle foliage.

Logan pointed them in the direction of the boat and told them to head for it then hide out in the foliage around the inlet. If anything happened, he told them he'd meet them there in one hour. One of the hostages asked how he would find them if they were hiding.

"Don't worry" he responded. "I have a nose for these things."

"Eleven. . . twelve. . . two more and we're home free." Logan said to himself as he watched the freed hostages escape from the hut.

"Logan, come in" his communicator chimed as it came alive.

"Yeah Ro, what ya got?"

"Activity. You have company headed toward the hut. Is everybody out?"

He looked at his watch and saw that he had 6 more minutes before the scheduled radio report.

"Damn" he yelled to himself. "The rebels here musta gotten worried about the rain and started reporting earlier. The last two are comin' out now."

"There are 4 armed men heading your way."

"Cripes! Try to slow them down will ya?"

"I'll give you as much time as possible." She said as she beefed up the level of the storm. The wind started howling at the rebels as their approach slowed. Unfortunately, that only brought more rebels out. Before she knew it, they were approaching the hut from 3 different directions. She couldn't increase the intensity of the storm in all 3 directions because it would hinder their rescue efforts.

"How many more Logan?"

"One more Ro -- he's almost out."

"Good because the rebels are at the door."

No sooner than she said that did a rebel enter the hut and discover the missing hostages and the hole in the floor. He ran out yelling and immediately circled the building looking for any sign of the missing hostages. Just as he came around the corner he spotted the 14th hostage crawling through the mud.

"Stop or I'll shoot!" the rebel yelled as he pointed his gun at the last hostage.

"Not if I have anything ta say about it bub!" Logan yelled as he pounced on the rebel from behind. He grabbed the freed hostage and pulled him into the foliage. After telling him where to go, Logan pushed the freed hostage in the direction of the boat and turned around to face 7 approaching and very angry rebels. They managed to get off a few shots -- which put him in a piss-poor mood as he realized he'd have to fix the bullet holes in his uniform again. He dove at them and with pinpoint accuracy, sliced through all their weapons, rendering them useless.

Upon seeing Logan's situation, Storm engaged the other approaching rebels. Flying over the camp, it was easy to pick off the first four. They never saw what was coming until it was too late as four of her well placed energy blasts put them down for the count. Three more got off a few shots but because of the weather, and her aerbatics; they never came close to hitting her.

She on the other hand was a bit more accurate with her blasts. She joined Logan on the ground as he continued his battle with the 7 that went after the hostages. He had engaged all 7 at one time and was giving each a run for their money. Two were already down for the count and a third was in the process of joining them.

"Need any help Sweetie?" Storm said in a somewhat childish voice as she watched Logan knock the third rebel unconscious.

"Nah. . . " He responded. "Check yer six."

She blindly fired an energy blast behind her, knocking out another rebel as Logan went to work on 4 and 5. As she turned to check on the rebel she just knocked out, she saw another approaching. He quickly met the same fate as his predecessor.

"You know Logan, I was thinking. . . " she yelled as she looked back at him.

"What's that. . . Darlin'?" he asked just as number 4 hit the ground. Both 5 and 6 were yelling something that neither Storm nor Wolverine understood; which made it difficult for the two of them to communicate and aggravated Wolverine to no end. "Pipe down ya egg-suckin' low-life gutter-trash before I REALLY give ya somethin' ta yell about! Can't ya see my girlfriend's talkin' ta me?" he yelled.

Two more rebels came around the corner and Storm dispatched them as quickly as she did the others. They barely had their weapons raised before she hit them with energy blasts. Sometimes Logan envied her for her ability to take out enemy soldiers (or whatever) from a distance; but then, sometimes he himself really enjoyed scrapping it up in a good set-to. This was definitely one of those occasions.

Neither Storm nor Wolverine were concerned with the C-4 going off at this point. There were so many rebels lying around the building that had anyone taken a shot at the explosives, they would have taken out at least half of the rebel force.

"Logan" Storm continued in a very lovable yet loud voice. "Will you marry me?"

"What???" Logan asked -- almost stopping the fight to make sure he heard what he thought he heard. "My mutant sense o' hearin' must be on the fritz -- what did you just say?"

"I said -- Will you marry me?"

"Ain't I supposed ta be askin' you that Darlin'?" he said as he continued his bru-ha with rebel number 5.

"Well if I waited for YOU to ask me, I'd probably be here when I was a senior citizen!"

"That's not true!" He said as number 5 hit the ground and he focused on 6 and 7. "I just wanted ta make sure it was a proposal you'd remember..."

"You don't think I'll remember this?" she said as she looked around at the rebel camp and all the unconscious people lying on the ground.

"Ya got a point there Darlin' but I wanted to make it special!"

"Logan, you've done so much! First the carriage ride, then the dock and now the Philippines. . . how much more special can it get?"

"Well, we coulda done without the rebels, but I see yer point." He said as 6 and 7 were simultaneously knocked unconscious by a dropkick/right hook combo that only someone like Logan could pull off. "Is that all of em'?" he asked.

"Yes -- unless you were wrong on the count."

"Nope -- 21. . . bout flamin' time too!" he sighed. "It's Miller time!"

They laughed a little as they started securing the rebels.

"Good, now about you askin' me ta marry ya. . . " he said as he approached her and stole a quick kiss.

"Is that a yes?" she asked.

"That's a HELL YEAH!" he said as he pulled her closer and gave her a kiss more suitable of a couple recently engaged. "Mi Nahal Kita."

"Mi namahal din kita" she responded.

"Storm!" he said as he stepped back. "I didn't know you spoke Tagalog."

"Very little...mostly popular expressions like 'I love you.' You'd be surprised at some of the things I've picked up over the years."

"When it comes to the stuff you got in yer head Darlin' nothin' surprises me anymore!"

After securing all 21 rebels, they quickly rounded up the freed hostages and took them back to Palawan. All 14 were in pretty good shape considering their ordeal. They were a little hungry and slightly dehydrated but beside that, they were fine.

Upon arriving at Palawan, they informed Col. Meparanum of where the rebels could be located and headed back to Cebu. Meparanum was quite surprised when he saw the boat sail up and was of course a little disgruntled that Wolverine and Storm didn't notify him of their findings before going to Maragat.

When Storm told him she wanted the X-Men's involvement kept out of the rescue and that he could take all the credit for himself, he quickly changed his tone -- he didn't even ask why. He just thanked them and sent them on their way. They didn't make it back to Cebu by dinner, but they weren't too far off - pulling in a little after 1am. Tasha was asleep and Jubilee was munching on some Filipino snacks and watching music videos.

"So, what's the damage Jubes?" Logan asked as he walked in.

"Wolvie! You're back -- I saw on the news that all the hostages were rescued but they didn't mention you at all."

"What'd ya expect? A flamin' ticker-tape parade? So -- what was the damage to my credit card?"

"It wasn't too bad Wolvie - 11,633 pesos."

"That ain't too bad; but cripes Jubes -- it looks like ya bought out half the mall!."

"With prices like that -- what did you expect? And the exchange rate was excellent. . . on account of all the problems they've been having over here lately -- it was nearly 60 pesos to the dollar! Can we come shopping here again sometime?"

"Hah -- you got nerve!"

"How is Tasha?" Storm asked.

"She's fine -- she had a blast today. We hung out at the beach for the longest time, then went to the mall for awhile then came back here and watched TV. She went to sleep at 9. She was exhausted!"

"Why aren't you asleep Jubilation?" Storm inquired.

"I wanted to wait for you two to get back -- I figured it would be soon. So what happened?"

"Nothin' much ta talk about Jubes. . . " Logan said very non-chalantly. "Rescued a few hostages, smashed a few heads, got a marriage proposal. . . all in all, an average day."

"What? What did you say?"

"I said we rescued. . . "

"No no NO! About the marriage proposal. . . what did you say?"

"Oh, Ro asked me to marry her. . . "

"What???" she said as she turned to look at Storm.

"I got tired of waiting" she said with a mischievous smile.

"This is so wonderful!" Jubilee yelled as she hugged Storm then Wolverine. "I can't wait to tell everybody -- give me all the details."

"In a minute Jubes -- I got somethin' ta do first." Logan said as he walked over to one of his bags and pulled out a small package.

"What?" Jubilee asked.

"This?" he responded as he tossed a small box to Storm.

"What is this Logan?" Storm asked.

"Well, seeing as how we're engaged now, shouldn't you be wearin' a ring?"

"By the Goddess!!!" Storm yelled as she opened the case and saw the ring Logan had given her. "It's BEAUTIFUL!"

"Ya like it?" he asked as he grabbed the camera and snuck a few shots of her looking at the ring.

"Logan! It's so BEAUTIFUL!"

"It had ta match the woman wearin' it. . . "

"Come put it on my finger" she said as she pulled it out the case and gave it to him.

"Sure thing." He said."Ro, it probably wasn't the most traditional proposal, but it's damn sure a memorable one. I don't know what the future will bring -- but whatever it is, we'll face it together. What we got between us -- that's stronger than adamantium. No one's gonna break us apart."

They stayed at the beach resort for another 2 weeks -- all without incident; and much to Jubilee's surprise, the only exercise she did was lifting her drinks as she sat on the beach. Logan shuttered at the thought of the final bill as he asked them to tally it up.

"It's all been paid for Mr. Logan." The desk clerk informed him.

"Wha. . . ? What the. . . ?"

"Your entire visit was paid for courtesy by the Philippine Government. President Arroyo sent her personal regards -- as well as this." She said as she handed him a very official looking envelope with the Philippine seal on it.

"What is it Logan?" Ororo asked.

"It's an invitation." He said as he opened the envelope and read the letter. "For us ta go to Manila to receive an official citation for bringing back the hostages so quickly."

"How pleasant." She said.

"Says here it'll be discrete. . . our secret is safe with her but she wants to reward us anyway."

"I get to meet the President of the Philippines?" Jubilee asked excitedly.

"Apparently so Jubes. . . apparently so."


Storm, Logan, Jubilee and Tasha returned to Salem Center late in the evening a little more than 2 weeks later. As they landed the minijet, they noticed the mansion was unusually quiet.

"Where is everyone?" Storm asked.

"Dunno -- maybe they all took the night off and went to sleep early." Logan said as he pulled some of the bags out of the jet.

"This is weird." Jubilee said with a little bit of apprehension in her voice.

"It's probably nothing Jubes -- but just in case, Storm and I'll check it out. You stay here with Tasha."

As they walked through the halls of the mansion, they found nothing -- not in the kitchen, not in the rec-room, not in any of the bedrooms.

"Logan, aren't you picking up anything?"

"Yeah -- lots. . . so many X-Men have passed through here that I can't get a bead on any of 'em."

"What about foreign scents?"

"Nothin'. . . Let's head for the command center -- see if anyone left a message."

As they headed for the command center, Logan caught the scent of something that perplexed him.

"What is it Logan?"

"Dunno. . . smells like. . . " He finally figured out what it was, and what was going on in the command center. "Think you better take the lead on this one." He said as he pointed down the hall.

"Why -- what do you detect?"

"Lots of activity. . . more than I can handle one-on-one. I'm good at hand-ta-hand, but nobody clears a room better'n you!" He said in a very serious tone.

Storm took a defensive position with Logan right behind her and prepared to enter the command center. She opened the door and stood to the side, looking for any signs of trouble. The entire room was dark -- not even the monitors were on; prompting curiosity from her.

"LIGHTENING, DELIVER US FROM. . . " she started to yell as she illuminated the room with the glow from the energy surrounding her hands.

"SURPRISE!" the entire room yelled as the lights came on and she saw all the X-Men standing around a decorated room and a table full of cake and other party favors.

"What?!" Storm yelled as she walked in -- still a little confused by the surprise. She turned to Logan only to see him leaning against the frame of the door with his arms crossed a grin on his face.

"You knew! And you didn't tell me?" she said as she shot him a glare.

"Smelled the cake. . . didn't wanna ruin the surprise!"

Thanks to Jubilee, most of the X-Men already knew of their adventure with the rebels, the presidential citation and their recent engagement. That gave Rogue and Remy enough time organize a party. As Storm and Logan walked in, each took a bow and pleasantly smiled. A few minutes later, Jubilee and Tasha caught up and joined the festivities.

"Cut the cake!" Rogue yelled, trying to draw attention to Storm's hand.


"No problem" Logan said as he popped out one of his claws.

"Not you Logan -- let Storm cut it."

"Sure." Storm said as she picked up on the reason she was singled out and gave Rogue an endearing wink. She purposely hid her left hand and started cutting the cake with only her right hand showing -- just to torment Rogue.

"Storm -- ah thought you were a southpaw?" Rogue countered.

"No -- but I am quite ambidextrous."

"Prove it!" Rogue said

By now, the rest of the X-Men had picked up on what was going on. Rogue's continued attempts to see Storm's left hand and Storm's obvious attempt to hide it goaded them into heckling her.

"C'mon?" said Jean. "Stop hiding it. . . we wanna see the ring!"

"Hiding?" Storm replied. "Whatever do you mean?" she asked curiously as she pulled her left hand out and placed it on the side of her face.

"Oh my god!!!" The room gasped! "Is THAT the engagement ring?!"

"Wow! Look at that rock!" Jean yelled as Ororo modeled it for her. "It's so beautiful -- isn't it Scott" she said admiringly. Scott agreed and congratulated Storm and Logan -- taking note of Jean's reaction to Ororo's engagement ring.

"That musta cost a grip o' money Logan. Ah didn't know ya had it in ya!" Rogue said.

"I had a little help." He responded as he winked at Jubilee.

"So, have you set a date yet?" Scott asked as he looked at Logan.

"Not yet Cike -- we still have a lot of plannin' to do."

"Well here's to you and Storm" he said as he raised his glass. The rest of the X-Men joined in and raised a toast to the happy couple.

"Gimme the details!" Rogue yelled. "How'd he propose to ya?"

Logan and Ororo looked at each other and started laughing.

"What? Rogue said inquisitively. What's so funny?

"Nothing Marie, it's just that he never got around to asking me."

"What?!" Rogue said.

"Scott called us before he had another chance and before I knew it, we were headed to Palawan. I was so tired of waiting that I asked HIM!"

The entire room gasped then started laughing.

"Are you serious?" Jean asked.

"Yeah." Logan responded. "Right in the middle of a set-to. . . while I was knockin' heads with some rebels. She just asked me. . . short and to the point."

"How romantic!" Rogue said as she gave him a wink.

"Is DAT what y'all were doin' in de bathroom Wolverine?" Gambit asked -- finally clued in as to what happened earlier.

"Yeah -- what'd ya think Gumbo?" he said in a very smug voice.

The party lasted another couple hours before people relaxed and started heading their separate ways. All the women surrounded Ororo to get the nitty-gritty details of everything that happened, and the men. . . well; they drank beer.

Later on that night after the smell of beer and cigars had worn off, Professor Xavier asked Logan to join him in his office. He knew this conversation would come at some point but wasn't too worried about it.

"Logan, have a seat." Xavier said rather non-chalantly.

"Sure Charlie -- what's on yer mind."

"I just wanted to talk to you about Ororo."

"Yeah. . . "

"Don't worry Logan, this will be a short conversation."

"Good, cuz I ain't up for the "Pop and son-in-law" talk. . . "

"Well, now that you mentioned it. . . " Xavier said with a smile.

"Cripes. . . "

"Logan, we've known each other for a very long time, and I know we haven't always seen eye to eye; but some of the things I've always admired in you were your bravery and sense of honor and integrity. You've always followed your heart and done what you thought was right; and I can't count the number of times you put your own life on the line for the team and other innocent people."

"I haven't done anything y'all haven't done. . . "

"Yes, but I've seen you face challenges that would have driven others crazy -- and yet you've always persevered. . . "

"Is there a reason for this trip down memory lane Charlie?"

"Yes. . . When I first recruited you so many years ago to help me free my X-Men from the island of Krakoa, I knew you had issues. You were wild, rash, impatient and uncivilized. You were quick to act and had little concept of teamwork. You behaved like an animal and worst of all, your hair was atrocious! Well, with the exception of your hair, you have become such a valued and integral part of this team that I don't know how we ever survived without you."

"Well thankya Char. . . "

"That's not all I wanted to say."


"You know I raised Ororo like my own daughter."

"Uh huh."

"And you know her happiness is of the utmost importance to me. . . " he said as he glanced at her conversing with the other X-Women through the slightly open door of his office.

"Yeah. . . " Logan gestured.

"She's been the greatest source of my happiness for so many years. . . " he said with a smile. "She's grown up to be the greatest daughter a father could ever have. She's smart, beautiful, strong, and a born leader -- everything I hoped she'd be."

"Yeah Charlie, I know. . . but. . . "

"I always pictured her marrying a man of similar characteristics: educated with class and decorum. . . and somehow she chose you."

"Now hold on Bub. . . "

"And I couldn't be happier for her!"


"God only knows how much we disagree Logan, but one thing I can't dispute is how happy you've made my little girl. I can't think of a better man for her to marry. I've seen you do things for her I never thought possible. I've also seen her bring out the best, and sometimes the worst in you. . . and don't think I don't know about Michigan!" For the first time in his life, Xavier said something that absolutely shocked Logan. How did he know about Michigan? Why hadn't he said anything? "Don't worry, I know why you did what you did; and part of me is glad that you did it. When I saw her lying there helpless and burned in the medlab, I wanted to kill them myself. But I couldn't."

"Yeah, I know."

"I know how much you love and care about her Logan. I'm really glad you're there to do the things I can't; and I know there's nothing in the world you wouldn't do to make her happy."

"Well thankya Charlie. . . " Logan said with a slight smile. "You ain't expectin' a hug or anythin' from me right?"

"No Wolverine, I just wanted to tell you that I don't think she could have made a better choice in you and that I'd be proud to have you as my "son-in-law" so to speak. Now, why don't you go and rejoin Storm?"

"Thanks. . . Pops!"

Logan walked back into the command center and found Storm talking with Rogue and Jean. As he did, he caught her eye and winked at her. Somehow she knew what had just transpired and started to smile.

"Mi nahal kita." He said as he walked up.

"Mi namahal din kita." She responded.

"What?" Both Jean and Rogue inquired.

"We love each other." Storm replied.

"How sweet!" The two other X-Women said in unison.

"Mind if I steel her away from you guys for awhile?" Logan asked.

"Not at all." Jean said as she winked at Logan. "Y'all have fun!"

After tucking Tasha in, they walked outside and headed for the lake. . . That was the last anybody saw of them that night.

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