The Day After - Storm Strikes Back
Disclaimer: All references to characters belonging to the X-Men Universe are © and TM the Marvel Comics Group, 20th Century Fox and all related entities. All rights reserved.
Author's Note: Leatherman Supertool is an "all in one" device that contains several quality, compact tools (similar to a Swiss Army Knife) yet fits comfortably on a belt.
BDU stands for Battle Dress Uniform ‚ often called "cammies" or camouflage gear. Recon hat refers to those worn by US Marine Recon Team ‚ Special Forces.
February 15th ‚ the day after Logan surprised Storm for their first Valentine's Day.
As the 2 o'clock hour passed, Logan finished his last set of bench presses and threw his workout towel over his shoulder. With the thought of the previous night's activities still fresh in his mind, he cut his workout short and walked back to the bedroom. His entire schedule was off that day by about 2 hours because he woke up so much later than he was accustomed to. But then he really needed the rest, and judging by how tired he was when Storm finally let him go to sleep, he also needed to bump up his cardiovascular exercises.
The winks and approving (yet disbelieving) stares he received from the X-Women he passed in the hall told him that they had already conversed with Storm about her Valentine's Day adventure. Although his outward appearance was as stern and undaunted as ever, inside he couldn't help but laugh hysterically. His well-earned reputation of being an undisciplined and barely civilized hard-ass was deeply entrenched in the minds of all the X-Men and no one would have believed Logan had such a romantic side; nobody except for Storm that is ‚ the one that knew him best. Had it been anyone but Storm telling of Logan's romantic exploits, their claims would have been questioned ‚ and laughed at.
"What the heck are you two gigglin' about?!" He snapped as he passed Psylocke and Rogue in the hallway. "Has everyone gone crazy or sumpn'? Everywhere I go, people are gigglin' and carryin' on. . . what the heck fer?!"
"C'mon Sugah. . . you know why we're gigglin'."
"Izzatso? Why don't you enlighten me?"
"If what Storm claims you did is true, then we have a new King of Romance around here." Psylocke said as she patted Logan on the side of his cheek. "So how about it? Did you really do all that stuff?"
"I ain't the type ta kiss and tell Betts. . . let's just say that I'm the best at what I do and leave it at that. You two seen Storm?"
"Yeah Logan ‚ ah just saw her a minute ago headed for the lake. She said she was lookin' for ya."
"Thanks Darlin'" he said as he quickly changed his direction and headed out the front door toward the lake."
"No problem. . . your highness" Rogue said as he walked away. He could hear them giggling.
He made a quick scan of the lake and saw no one, but something on the dock caught his eye. He couldn't tell what it was from that distance, but it looked like a 6-pack with a note attached to it. As he made his way closer to the dock, he could make out the very distinctive logo of "Molson's" ‚ his favorite Canadian beer.
"She must be around here somewhere." he said as he approached the waiting beer. Who else would leave a 6-pack of my favorite ale sitting out here?"
**POP POP POP**
Just as he bent over to pick up the note and one of the beers, 3 well-placed paintballs hit him, sending him head over heels into the water. "YOWWWW!!!" he yelled as he went diving into the lake. The 3 shots hit him dead on - center of mass (though center of ass would be a more appropriate description), catching him completely by surprise.
"What the Flamin'?!" he yelled as he climbed onto the dock looking for his next victim. He could hear Storm laughing in the distance, but couldn't tell where she was. He knew she was in the woods, but had no idea how far away she was. Remembering that Storm was a master at small-arms fire, the only limiting factor to her position was the range of the paint gun ‚ which unfortunately for Logan had been altered by Forge and Cyclops to make it an effective training tool.
"Alright Darlin'! Whereya at and what's this about?" He yelled, trying to figure out what was going on. The only reply he received was more laughter.
As he bent over the second time to pick up the note, he remained on guard ‚ looking for the cunning and skillful sniper. He crouched low and grabbed the note, reading it quickly while keeping an eye out for movement.
The hunt is on but you're the prey
Less you turn the tables and make the play
Come get me Love, if you dare
But I've prepared and you should beware
At that point he knew he was in for an evening of fun ‚ his kind of fun. He reached for a beer to start the hunt off properly ‚ only to find that all 6 cans were empty. . . drilled from the bottom.
"Cripes!" he yelled with a laugh, "A shot in the ass ain't worth a flamin' beer?!"
"You didn't think it would be that easy did you? You'll get your beer and your just desserts once the hunt is over" she yelled back, using a wind draft to hide her location ". . . if you win, that is."
With that said, he was up and headed toward the woods. "So that's the Storm o' this game huh? This hunt'll be over in a matter of minutes" he said with complete confidence as he headed toward the woods.
He was in the woods only a few minutes when he picked up her scent. As he closed in on her, he started laughing ‚ wondering what his reward would be. That's when he spotted her. He could see her hair through a bush lying close to a large tree. He ran like a rampaging beast straight at the bush ‚ doing an impressive hurdle at the last second and clearing it easily with about 3 feet to spare while landing approximately 4 feet behind her.
Much to his surprise, as quickly as he landed he was jerked into the air by a trapper's net ‚ caught tightly in its grip.
"What the. . . ?!" he yelled as he twisted and turned in the net trying to figure out how he was so easily trapped. He looked to Storm for an answer only to see a long white wig on top of a very familiar shirt ‚ the one she wore the previous day. He laughed at how easily he was tricked. It seemed that in his thirst to hunt the hunter, he seriously underestimated his prey.
**POP POP POP**
Insult was added to injury when she tagged him 3 more times on his ass with paintballs.
"Yeowww!" he yelled.
"Would you like me to go easy on you Logan? Or are you going to give me a challenge today?" she yelled from her hidden position.
"This ain't over! I'm just getting' warmed up Darlin'" he said while trying to reposition himself to catch a glimpse of the beautiful assassin. "Just you wait! I'll have the last laugh!"
"If you say so Love!" she said as she popped him again and faded off into the woods. "But I'm the one laughing now. . . "
As he regained his composure, he saw a small package dangling next to him with a note attached to it. He snatched both items and read the note.
Underestimate me? I don't think so.
Silent and Deadly, this assassin Stormd Ro
I'll leave you with this ‚ hang tight and stay cool
To get the job done, you need the right tool
He opened the box and pulled out a Leatherman Supertool** ‚ something she saw him looking at in a catalog once. It was a very nice gift, and perfect for a famed outdoorsman like Logan. She even had it engraved: To Lo, From Ro.
"Thanks Darlin', this'll come in real handy on missions when I need ta MacGyver somethin'. Musta set ya back a pretty penny!" he yelled as he pulled out one of its blades and cut himself free. He could have easily used his claws, but she had gone through the trouble of buying such a nice tool for him and it would have been a shame not to use it. Besides that, it was a new toy for him to play with. He quickly cut himself down and reassessed his situation.
"My man's worth it!" she yelled back without giving up her position.
He grabbed her shirt and wig and laughed again, not believing how easily he was tricked. He would have to be smarter next time. Unless she forgot to wear pants the previous day, there would be other things out there with her scent on it.
He took off through the woods in the direction she was headed, hot on the trail of her perfume. He ran like a wild animal; tearing through vines and stray limbs and leaping over whole bushes. Her scent was deep inside him now and was guiding him right to her. With his animal senses keen to her movements, it was only a matter of time before he caught his prey and celebrated his overdue victory. It wasn't until her scent became vibrantly strong in his nose that he slowed down and started carefully scanning the area.
There she was, about 50 yards ahead on a small slope crouching in the underbrush. He knew it was her this time, he could see her moving. In front of the brush lay a clearance that was just wide enough to hide another trap. Keen to her plan of following the expected path, he encircled her location and came up on her right side planning to outflank her. Because she lay so low, he couldn't make out her physical details; but that wouldn't matter in a few seconds. As he closed in on her, he saw the trap she laid out for him ‚ another net that laid in the clearing with the hidden ropes attached to the closest tree waiting to snag him. What was his plan now? He came closer and saw a large rock ‚ large enough to set the trap off in his place. Picking the rock up, he hurled it at the trap and sprang into motion. As the trap sprung, Logan jumped out, landing in the spot previously held by the net.
"Lookin' for me Darlin?" he yelled as he landed on cue.
That was the sound he made as he slipped on a thick patch of ice hidden beneath the leaves ‚ the trap underneath the trap. He tried to catch his grip as he slid down the small slope toward a tree. He could barely make out the ropes attached to the tree but he knew it was something bad. It wasn't until he slid into it and the net snagged him and flung him in the air that he realized the full scope of the situation ‚ caught again; Storm 2, Wolverine 0.
He sliced through the net almost as fast as it snagged him and quickly regrouped on the ground ‚ awaiting the impending paint gun shots. He saw nothing as he carefully reconned the area. *How could I have been tricked again?* he thought to himself. His last maneuver was completed with all the grace and style of a Bugs Bunny cartoon. "What am I? Freakin' Wiley Coyote?!" he said as he laughed at himself.
Realizing nobody was around, he relaxed a little and took another look at the trap. It was definitely a Storm creation ‚ nobody could have created ice so cold and transparent that the leaves and dirt couldn't have stuck to it. He walked over to her ‚ or rather, what he thought was her and looked down. What he thought was her was really a well-made scarecrow with the jacket and pants she wore from the previous day. What caused the movements? A piece of fishing line attached to the trees swaying with the breeze. That was the second time he underestimated her; and it reminded him that he was dealing with a genius ‚ someone who's IQ almost matched Xavier's. Not only was he dealing with a tactical master; HE trained her. Though she was a master at small-arms fire before they met, he taught her all his tracking and fighting skills - and was starting to regret it.
Located next to the well-made doppelganger was a box ‚ a present, nicely wrapped and addressed to him.
"What's this?! A complimentary door prize?!" he yelled as he bent over to pick the box up.
**POP POP POP** Three more paintballs to the ass.
"OWWW! Damn! When am I gonna learn?!"
"Thank you for providing such a fine target Logan! Not only is it nice to look at, it's also nice to shoot!" Storm yelled as she watched Logan rub the pain (and paint) out of his backside. "Aww, you got a little boo boo on your bum bum? Want me to kiss it and make it better?" she taunted.
He could hear her giggling ‚ laughing at his bruised posterior as she made an effortless escape through the underbrush of the woods.
"I'll give ya somethin' ta kiss all right!" he yelled as he mooned her, not knowing where she was but still willing to give her an eye full. "Kiss this ya. . . "
"YEOWW!!! SHIT!!! That hurt!" He said as he tumbled over, pulling his pants up and diving for cover. But could he blame her? If you give someone a target, they're going to shoot at it; and if they're as good as Storm, they're going to hit it. He laughed at himself for providing her with such an inviting target ‚ and at her for having the gumption to take the shot.
Convinced she was finally gone, he opened the box she left for him and found a very nice Akubra outdoor hat. He was very familiar with the brand ‚ having bought it before. The style and fit was perfect like no other cover. Underneath it lay 2 bottles of Molson and a note.
After all that, you deserve a beer
Something to quench your thirst and raise your spirits dear
The sparkle in your eye, the quest to find your prey
Are you having fun? And are you going to make me pay
He downed the two beers quickly and put the hat back in the box. It was much too nice to wear while tromping around in the woods getting shot up by paintballs. Armed with his Leatherman, wit, and a renewed enthusiasm for the hunt, he started once again ‚ this time with caution on his side and a much-heightened respect for his hunter/prey. With vigilant patience he silently and masterfully crept through the woods. He quickly found the location of her last sniper attack. It wasn't very hard; the spot was covered with the scent of her perfume ‚ Elizabeth Arden 5th Avenue. *That'll be her downfall* he said to himself as he became familiar with the scent. *There's no way I'll confuse this with something else she wore.*
He silently crept further into the woods, looking for the slightest movement or downdraft that might give away her position. With panther like precision, he slowly followed her trail.
*Where is he?* she thought to herself. *He should've been here by now.* From her perch high in the tree she could see a good amount of the forest ground ‚ perfect for her next trap; now all she needed was him. She knew she wouldn't be able to trick him much longer and was actually surprised she had gotten this far. Had he really been after her, her traps wouldn't have held him very long; but then there wouldn't have been much fun in that. After all the things he did for her on Valentine's day, she had to think of a way to thank him. She knew how much effort he put into her adventure, and it came off absolutely perfect. It was now her turn to return the favor and give him a Valentine's day adventure HE would never forget ‚ an adventure Wolverine style. So far it had worked ‚ he was loving ever minute of it and she knew it ‚ right down to her accurately placed paintballs. It may have been a pain in the ass for him, but at least he knew what was on her mind. As for the hunt; to him, anything using his animal senses was an aphrodisiac and naturally had to be included if she was going to give him a day to remember.
She sat in her tree anxiously awaiting him; quietly and patiently looking - knowing that any movement she made could give away her position.
As he crawled through the forest, he drew ever so closely to her ‚ the 5th avenue growing stronger in his nose. He spotted a clearing up ahead ‚ one that Storm's scent seemed to run right through. *Obviously a trap* he thought to himself *not fallin' fer that!* he said as he slowly encircled the clearing, hoping to pick her scent up on the other side. Just as he expected, he picked it up leaving the clearing at about a 45 degree angle ‚ a good ploy of misdirection, but not good enough. Hot on her trail, he again slowly and masterfully followed the scent.
*It's gettin' stronger, she's gotta be close.* he thought as he stalked through a thick layer of trees in his cat like prowl.
*Sumpn's wrong though, her scent's too strong ‚ like she's all around me. What could be causin' that? Unless. . . !* he looked up just as the net fell from the trees and trapped him underneath it.
"Not again!" he yelled as he stood up with the net hanging over his head like a ghost costume. "Go ahead, take your shots ‚ I deserve it!"
**POP POP POP**
"You know Logan, I'm really glad you have such a good healing factor. I'd hate to think I was damaging that cute ass of yours." she said as she walked up to him, revealing herself for the first time. There she stood draped from head to toe in assassin's gear ‚ from her BDU's*** and combat boots to her black and green painted face and Recon hat. She even dawned a few twigs to give her a more camouflaged look.
"Get a load a' you Darlin'. . . all dressed up like a little soldier girl."
"The last time I checked, it was "Little Soldier Girl" ‚ 3, Logan ‚ 0." she said as she kissed him through the net.
"That was damn smart ‚ confusin' me by sprayin' yer perfume everywhere."
"I've got a few tricks up my sleeve. Hey - I left a little something for you over by the tree." She said, pointing to another gift. "Catch me if you can Love." she taunted as she trotted off ‚ thankful that he hadn't tried to escape from the net before she got a good head start.
After she disappeared, he popped his claws out and sliced through the net. He then located the box she left for him ‚ a rather large clothing box bearing the Macy's insignia. Inside lay 2 matching leather "Bomber" jackets ‚ one for him and one for her. The letters R & L were subtly embroidered into them in black stitching.
"These are some mighty nice skins ya got here Ro!" he yelled as he examined his jacket. "Can't wait ta give 'em a try!"
The complimentary note was hidden in the pocket of the second jacket. As he pulled it out and read it, he started laughing.
"Not feeling very confident anymore eh Ro?! Hiding the note in your jacket pocket so you can pull it out later ‚ whatsa matter? Thought I woulda caught ya by now? Well don't you worry Darlin' ‚ I'll catch ya soon enough!"
He read the note:
Jeans and a jacket ‚ a very nice suit
Something to wear when we're on your scoot
You still haven't caught me? What's the problem Love?
Surprised I could strike with a net from above?
He put the jackets back in the box and started hot on her trail again. He knew she was headed for the lake; the path she took from him headed right for it, and he would have smelled her if she circled back in the other direction. As he neared the lake, he stopped.
*Wait a minute* he thought to himself. *The reason she's been so good at poppin' me in the ass is because I've been behavin' like myself. She's the best there is at analyzing behavior. I gotta do somethin' she wouldn't expect. Hmmm.* he said, scratching his chin and wondering what to do next.
*Got it!* he thought to himself as he popped his claws out and started climbing the nearest tree. He was a good 75 feet up before he started hopping from tree to tree. From where he was, he could see nearly everything. As he made his way to the edge of the lake, he closely studied it.
*Where is she? Her trail lead right to the lake. She's gotta be around here somewhere.*
The lake wasn't as serene as it normally was; the light breeze caused rhythmic ripples in it as soft waves made their way to the shore. *Hmmm* he thought. *The wind has picked up ‚ Due to Storm I bet. She must be up ta something, but what? She's gotta be hiding in the lake ‚ behind the ripples. Clever girl.*
He scanned the lake tediously, looking for anything that could hide the beautiful assassin. There were several branches floating around ‚ strategically placed no doubt ‚ all of them were large enough to hide her. *Which one is she hidin' behind? Probably the least likely one ‚ which means none of 'em. She's too smart for that. So where could she be hiding?*
He scanned the lake again looking for anything that might give him a clue. That's when he spotted something out of the ordinary ‚ something that looked a lot like a wave but was solid. It was a piece of plastic with a slight elliptical shape and a color that matched the water perfectly. Had he not been in the tree, he never would have spotted it. He probably would have swam out under one of the branches he thought she was hiding behind and gotten nailed by her in her fake wave. *So that's where she's hidin' huh? Must have SCUBA gear or sumpn, - damn good hidin' place! Now how am I gonna get out there without raisin' suspicion?*
As he pondered his plan of attack, he thought about the different angles he could vector in on her, then he realized ‚ hiding inside the lake wouldn't have given her the shot she wanted. It would however have been the perfect trap had he actually swam out to investigate. Once in the water, all she had to do was wait until he swam back, no matter where he went he would have been trapped.
*Very clever ‚ but not clever enough. Let's see, she had about 10 minutes on me when I got outta that last trap, and I know she headed for the lake cuz her trail leads right up to it. She had ta go in or I woulda picked up her scent on the shore. If she ain't in the lake, then she had ta come out somewhere ‚ but where? She woulda needed a couple minutes ta get in place, which if she swam, woulda put her about 100 to 150 feet offshore ‚ give or take a couple feet. . . Probably 150 knowing her, she's pretty good at swimming. Which direction would she have gone? If she went east, she woulda been heading back toward the mansion and I woulda picked up her scent. She ain't that careless so she musta gone west.*
He scaled the tree a little higher and tracked westward. When he had gone about 150 feet, he stopped and started scanning the shoreline. Sure enough, he saw a trail leading out of the water about 30 feet from his location. *Gotta give her props fer that ‚ swimmin' damn near 200 feet in that short o' time ‚ definitely a fast mover. Let's see ‚ where would a sniper hang out if they wanted ta get off a couple a' good shots?*
*Where is he now? I should've seen something! I thought he would've been in the water swimming after one of the decoys by now. He couldn't have given up could he? No, he wouldn't do that ‚ he's out there somewhere. I just have to wait for him.* Her heart was pounding. She toyed with him all afternoon, but if she could get him in this last trap, she could truly claim King of the Jungle ‚ or in her case, Queen. . . either way, beating him at his own game. She sat there motionless, looking for any signs of him ‚ any movement at all.
*What's that by the tree-line over there?* she asked as she peered through the scope of her paint gun. *Range - 100 feet, it looks like a piece of cloth. It's the same color as Logan's shirt, it has to be him.*
"Damn! He didn't go for my trap. That's okay, I can still hit him from here, and if I do. . . I win! Range ‚ 100 feet, height ‚ 3 feet, crosswind. . . zero (after a slight pause to stop the breeze), a 10 degree angle of arch should hit him perfectly; now if he would just move away from that bush long enough for me to nail him in the ass, I can. . . "
"Lookin' for me Darlin'?" he asked as a shirtless Logan dropped down right in front of her and grabbed the barrel of her gun, taking it away from her.
"ACK!!" she yelled as she jumped back. The shocked expression on her face was exactly what he was looking for. "But. . . ?"
"That look on yer face is a Kodak moment if I ever saw one Ro. If I had a camera, I'd take a few shots. But seein' as how I don't, this here PAINT GUN will have ta do the trick.
"You wouldn't!" she yelled as she turned and started running through the woods. "You're much too nice of a. . . "
**POP POP POP**
"YOW!" she yelled as she tried to distance herself from him, knowing the attempt was futile. Inside two minutes, her posterior was completely covered with yellow paint. With his extensive military history, Logan was an even better marksman than Storm and he proved it with every shot effortlessly hitting the mark ‚ her ass.
The chase ended back at the lakeshore with both of the participants admiring each other for their accomplishments.
"Thanks a lot Ro ‚ I couldn't think of a better way to spend the day."
"You are very welcome Logan ‚ after what you did last night, it was my pleasure. I wanted to thank you and this seemed like the most fun. By the way, here's your last present."
She reached inside her jacket pocket, pulled out a small silk bag and handed it to him. He winked at her as he opened the bag and pulled out a very nice brushed silver chronograph watch with gold trim, made by Seiko.
"My God Ro, this is really nice ‚ it musta set ya back a real pretty penny!"
"Like I said, my man is worth it. Read the back."
"'To Logan, my true love ‚ Ro' I. . . I don't know what ta say."
"Just tell me you love me."
"Darlin', nobody has EVER made me feel the way you do. Tellin' ya that I love you just isn't enough. You're my whole world ‚ my universe. Jerry Maguire may be "complete," but you've helped me become an entirely new person; a better person ‚ A BETTER MAN. I love you Ro, more than I'll ever be able say or show. I love you."
"And I, you Logan."
He kissed her then gave her a huge hug ‚ one that only he could give; one that made her feel loved, safe, desired and thanked. . . all rolled together.
"Yuck!" she said with a laugh.
"You're all sweaty!"
"What'd ya expect, I been chasin' ya through the woods fer damn near 3 hours! What say we head back to the mansion and give each other a scrub down?"
"I have a better idea. . . "
"Well, the lake is right here. . . nobody else is around. . . why don't we give each other a "scrub down" here?" she said as she started unbuttoning her BDU's and walking toward the lake.
"A woman after my own heart" he said as he quickly followed.
All references to characters belonging to the X-Men Universe are (c) and TM the Marvel Comics Group, 20th Century Fox and all related entities. All rights reserved. Any reproduction, duplication or distribution of these materials in any form is expressly prohibited. No money is being made from this archive. All images are also (c) and TM the Marvel Comics Group, 20th Century Fox and all related entities; they are not mine. This website, its operators and any content used on this site relating to the X-Men are not authorized by Marvel, Fox, etc. I am not, nor do I claim to be affiliated with any of these entities in any way.