Logan was hungover. Very hungover.
He groaned weakly as he opened his eyes, then he snapped them shut again with a whine as bright light assailed him. He felt like a gremlin was clog dancing along his optic nerve, with the throbbing pulse in his ear providing the beat.
After a minute or so the gremlin began to run out of breath slightly. Feeling a bit less like he was on the brink of death, he again risked peeping out at the big wide world.
He was in the huge lobby of the Xavier Mansion. For some unfathomable reason he hadn't fallen asleep on one of the comfy chairs that were dotted around the room. Instead it seemed he had tried to fall asleep on one of the little tables. To judge by the nagging pain in his jaw as well as his current position, he guessed that at some point during the night he had half-fallen off the table and decided that getting back onto it again was too much like hard work. Wincing, he reached underneath himself and retrieved an empty vodka bottle that had been digging into his spine.
He heard a faint sleepy cough. The quiet sound hit his ear drums like a rampaging rhino. Turning towards the sound he flinched as his gritty eyes were confronted with a fuzzy blue shape hanging from the light fitting on the ceiling.
After the haze cleared slightly he saw that it was in fact Kurt. He had done one better than Logan and had in fact slept draped across several arms of the chandelier. Kurt looked as bad as Logan felt. His fur was sticking up the wrong way, his hair looked like he'd spray starched it and then stood behind a jet engine and bizarrely he was covered in splodges of paint.
Kurt peered at him blearily. "Logan?"
"Mmm?" Was the best reply Logan could muster.
"Vhy are you on the ceiling?"
"I'm not." Logan murmured, hating Kurt for making him speak. It was bringing back the clog-dancing gremlin. "You're on the . . . light bowl thingy."
Kurt stared at Logan in confusion before looking muzzily at the lightbulb next to his head like it was some kind of uncrackable enigma.
"Bloody hell . . ." He said, slurring very slightly. "So I am." He disappeared with a bamf before reappearing inelegantly next to Logan, landing sprawled on his back.
A hand reached out and grabbed him by the throat.
"If you value your life, Elf." Logan said, his voice dripping with quiet venom. "You will not bamf for a couple of hours . . . or at least until this sodding gremlin goes away."
"K-Kein problemen." Kurt whimpered, clutching his skull. Teleporting hadn't helped his hangover. "I feel like mein brains are about to come out of mein ears."
"Will the two of you please shut up?" A third voice pleaded, desperately.
Kurt and Logan froze, eyes darting around nervously. The room appeared to be empty. The look of terror on their faces would have been comical had their brains been capable of noticing it.
"Who's there?" Kurt asked, hesitantly.
There was no reply.
A hand grabbed Logan's arm and he catapaulted off the table with a shriek of shock.
Even as the scream left his vocal chords he regretted it. The clog dancing gremlin suddenly acquired a saw and began hacking away at his brain stem. Black spots danced in front of his eyes, making him sway.
His scream elicited a whine from Kurt and a groan from the invisible third party.
The hand that had grabbed Logan was joined by another hand and a person began to awkwardly extricate themselves from under the table Logan had been sleeping on.
Scott clawed his way out, his visor on upside down, looking at Logan with pure hatred.
"What did you have to go and make that God awful racket for?" He growled, dragging himself out and slumping in a heap next to Kurt.
Logan couldn't respond, he was still too dizzy.
"Vhat in Gott's name did ve do last night?" Kurt asked, looking around desperately for something to drink. The roof of his mouth felt like shrunken leather. In the absence of anything better he dumped some flowers out of a vase and drunk the water from that.
"I have a vague memory . . ." Scott admitted. " . . . Did we play Magneto shots?"
The X-Men had invented a drinking game. They had tapes of the news from when Magneto had taken over the planet briefly. Everytime he said 'mutants', 'master race', 'Asteroid M' or 'Brotherhood', they had to down a shot. Those words appeared at an average of about ten per minute. If you could get to the end of the three and a half minute interview without passing out then you got to chose the punishment for the person who dropped out first. Generally they had to scrub the danger room clean with a toothbrush.
Beast, Colossus, Rogue and Logan were the current champions, Iceman, Gambit, Scott and Kurt were the runners up. Jean sucked at it. Last time she played she ended up lying in the fountain in the grounds singing songs from Oklahoma very loudly and very badly.
By general consensus she had been forbidden from playing since.
They sat and thought for a moment, trying to corrall stray memories.
"Well, we know we got bladdered here." Logan said, nudging an empty vodka bottle with his foot, wincing at the clinking noise it made. "But I swear we did something beforehand."
"I've got it." Kurt realised. "Ve vent paintballing." He gestured at his bruised and paint splattered body. "Und then ve came back here und got bladdered."
Scott and Logan checked themselves and, sure enough, they too were covered in splodges of day-glo paint. The small movements required to look at themselves triggered a surge of nausea. "I'm never drinking again." Logan vowed.
There was a sudden whirr (they all whimpered and clutched at their skulls at the unwelcome noise) and Professor X. suddenly appeared beside them. He sat there for a moment, taking in their dishevelled state, the leaf stuck to Kurt's cheek from the vase and the many assorted bottles on the floor. His face was like thunder, well as much as they could see of it through their stinging eyes.
"I want to see you all in my office in five minutes." He said, angrily. "Is that understood?" The sound of his voice made them cringe.
Logan put his hands together as though praying. "Could you speak a bit more softly please Prof'? He asked, pleadingly.
In response the Professor revved his wheelchair loudly. "I SAID IS THAT UNDERSTOOD?!" He yelled, taking a vindictive pleasure in the following howls of pain.
Five minutes later the three men sat outside Professor X's office, on the bench reserved for the naughty kids. They were seated next to a little boy with dark hair, not older than about nine. It looked bizarre, the kid sat neatly next to the three huge men who looked like they had slept in a skip.
Logan recognised the kid. He had been in his under-sevens CQC class a few years before. He was a good kid, quick to pick up the movements but with a mischevious streak a mile wide. In a strange way he reminded him of Kurt, extremely likeable in a faintly irritating kind of way.
Logan nudged their morose little companion. "What you in for Bub'?" He asked.
"I let off a stink bomb in the third floor boys loos." The boy said glumly.
"Deny everything." Logan recommended.
The boy looked surprised at this subversive advice from a teacher. "Professor X's a mind reader, Sir. There's no point in lying."
"Nah, he doesn't read minds without permission, you're safe. Blame it on someone else."
The boy paused, digesting this information. "What are you in for?" He asked.
" . . . I'm not sure, but I'm sure the Professor's going to tell me." Logan admitted, rubbing his aching eyes.
" . . . Whut?"
"You'll understand the morning after the first time someone introduces you to a wonderful little game called Magneto Shots."
"Are you going to blame . . . whatever it was, on someone else?"
"Him." Logan gestured at Scott.
Kurt leaned around from where he was sat on the other side of Scott. "Toby?"
"Sir." The boy raised a hand in greeting, with a half smile.
"Vhat did you do?"
"Stinkbomb, third floor toilet." Logan replied for him.
"Vay to go." Kurt leaned around to high five Toby. "Vhen Professor X calls you in-"
"Deny everything?" Toby guessed.
"He already told me." He pointed to Logan.
The door opened and Professor X called from within. He still sounded majorly annoyed. "Kurt, Scott, Logan, get in here."
It transpired that what Professor X chiefly objected to the three of them being drunk and disorderly in a place where the kids could see them. The words 'what kind of example are you setting' and 'I'm very disappointed in you' were said more than once.
The three men stood there, heads bowed and hands clasped behind their backs, in what was meant to look like contrition but in reality was just them trying to limit the amount of light entering their painful eyes.
The Professor looked at them, cynically. "You're not listening to a word I'm saying, are you?"
"Yes, we are." Scott protested, fighting the urge to throw up.
"What did I just say then?" The Professor challenged.
There was a long sheepish pause.
" . . . Alright, you got me. Look we really are sorry Professor." Scott said, sounding exhausted. "I think we were probably out of view of the students for most of the night, I think we just tried to go to bed and got . . . lost. Although I have absolutely no recollection of it so I may be wrong. Either way, we really do apologise."
Kurt and Logan raised their heads very slightly, looking at the Professor with bloodshot eyes.
The Professor relented a little bit, they seemed to be suffering enough. "Look we'll talk about this later when you guys are capable of, you know, coherent thought. Go and have showers the lot of you. You're filthy, and it'll wake you up."
They trooped out, with a muttered reply of 'Thanks Professor.'
Professor X sat there, still quietly seething. They really had annoyed him, they were three of his most senior teachers and they caused him more trouble collectively than all of the other students and teachers put together!
Then he thought of a novel way of getting some revenge. An evil little grin spread over his face. Closing his eyes he visualised the boiler room in the bowels of the X-Mansion, where the controls for the hot water tanks were. Summoning his telepathy he carefully selected the controls for the hot water tank for the male staff shower room.
And switched it off.
See how you like THAT, boys. He thought, wickedly.
The three men traipsed dutifully up to the teacher's shower rooms in the very roof of the X-Mansion.
As showers go they were quite odd, instead of the traditional shower heads at intervals on the walls, it was essentially a pipe running along the middle of the ceiling with holes in it, with a partition dividing it from the changing area.
They had had a proper shower room once but one day there had been a leak and Logan had decided to try his hand at plumbing. He had promptly exploded the staff bathrooms and flooded the entire X-Mansion, including the Danger Room (nearly electrocuting Colossus, Beast and Kurt who were going through training exercises), despite the fact that it was twenty feet underground and completely encased in a foot of steel.
Logan had been forbidden from doing DIY in any form, anywhere in the X-Mansion after that. Proper repairs on the bathrooms had never really occured so they made do with the pipe.
Scott turned the wheel on the wall by the door to start the water going and adjusted the hot and cold taps as the three men undressed.
It was not a pretty sight. They were muddy, covered in paint and sweat and their dizziness meant that when they extracted themselves from awkward items of clothing, such as socks and boxers, they had a tendency to fall over. I'm DEFINITELY never drinking again Logan thought miserably.
Towels wrapped around their hips, they traipsed over to the partition and Logan stuck a hand around to test the temperature of the water.
"Jeez, it's still cold." He noted, shaking droplets of water from his skin.
Kurt checked the controls. "The cold tap ist barely on."
"Let's leave it another minute to warm through." Scott suggested.
A minute later and Logan reported that it was still cold.
They looked at each other.
"Could we use the student's ones? Or the women's ones" Scott suggested.
"Nein. Das ist verboten und you know it." Kurt pointed out. "Besides, you really vant a student or somevun like Emma Frost or Rogue valking in on you haffing a shower?"
"Could we skip the showers?" Logan said, hopefully. He had a slightly dog-like dislike of showers and baths. He made sure he got clean regularly, he just preferred to do it by swimming in the lake with a bar of soap.
"No. The Professor ordered us to and do you really want him more pissed at us than he already is? Could we take a deep breath and just run it?" Scott suggested.
"Not unless you want your 'nads to retract so far into your body that they end up on the top of your skull." Logan said, gloomily.
"Is it really that cold?" Kurt asked, scratching the of the tattoos carved into his stomach.
Logan and Scott exchanged a look.
Kurt looked at them nervously. "Vhat?"
"One way to find out." Scott said, grinning wickedly.
Kurt's eyes widened as he realised what they were going to do. "No!" He protested, attempting to back away but Logan's strong hands on his shoulders prevented him.
In a single fluid movement Scott whipped Kurt's towel off and Logan kicked him hard in the back, sending him flying behind the partition and into the jets of water.
There followed a blood-curdling shriek of "OH MEIN GOTT!!"
"Oh yeah, that sounds cold." Scott said, grinning at the sound of Kurt slipping and sliding on the wet floor, cursing loudly.
"Let's get out of here." Logan advised, smiling widely. "He won't be best pleased when he gets out."
They quickly began to tug their clothes on, listening for the sound of Kurt's approach. They had just started pulling on their socks when they heard two bamfs in quick succession.
A hand landed on their shoulders and Kurt's face appeared between them, his dark hair slick and black with moisture that dripped down onto his livid features.
"Oh nein, du nichts!" He growled.
"Ku-!" Logan and Sott began to yell but he had already teleported them, fully clothed into the icy water.
After all, revenge is best served cold.
Twenty minutes later and they were still only marginally cleaner. They had sprinted, yowling, out of the cold water, only to discover that most of the paint still remained. The plus side was that it had had a kill-or-cure effect on their hangovers. They now felt practically normal, if a little chilly.
They sat, dripping, on the front steps of the Xavier Institution. They had met Colossus on the way down and had explained their situation to him. When he eventually stopped laughing he took pity on them and made them coffee. They held their mugs clasped in their hands, staring out at the grounds.
Logan suddenly had an idea. "We could do what I generally do." He suggested. "The lake, a pair of swim shorts and a bar of soap on a string?"
Scott and Kurt exchanged a look.
"Can't hurt." Kurt shrugged, downing the dregs of his coffee.
Five minutes later they were back, dressed in bermuda shorts and bearing towels. As they walked, barefoot, over the sun-drenched grass Logan noticed that Scott was holding back slightly and looked troubled.
He slowed his pace a bit to walk with him. "You okay Bub'?"
Scott chewed on his bottom lip, uneasily. "I can't swim." He admitted, finally.
Logan considered taking the mick, but somehow couldn't bring himself to. Scott looked so dejected, it wouldn't be fair. It would be like kicking a puppy.
"Because of getting chucked out of the plane when you were a kid?"
"Yeah, I came this close to drowning, now whenever I'm in water deeper than my chest I freak out." Scott said, glumly.
Kurt was listening in up ahead. "Ve've got that rubber ring thing up in our dorm, I could 'port up und get it for you, if you think that vould help?" He offered.
"Tell you what Bub'." Logan said. "You hang on to my back while I do the swimming, if you get freaked out I swim back to land."
"Thanks." Scott said, glad that the guys weren't teasing him.
Kurt reached the lake before them and, despositing his towel on the ground, dived in neatly. The other two men waded in up to their waists.
Scott looked at the water nervously as Kurt resurfaced about twelve metres away.
"It's only about two und a half metres deep here." He said, pushing his hair out of his eyes. "Providing you don't go out further than this you should be fine."
"You ready?" Logan asked, bending down slightly to make it easier for Scott to hold on.
Fighting the frightened lurching of his stomach Scott reached out and wrapped his arms around Logan's shoulders, noting that the skin on Logan's back was surprisingly soft, wondering if him noticing that was odd. Logan gave him a moment to get comfortable before he moved forward into deeper waters. After two metres Logan stopped walking and started swimming.
Scott buried his face in the back of Logan's neck, fighting the urge to start crying hysterically. The glassy water flowing smoothly past him was evoking memories of being chucked out of the plane into the ocean. Something tickled his feet and it made the hairs on the back of his neck stand up. He tightened his grip on Logan's shoulders and whimpered.
Logan paused and trod water for a moment, twisting his head around to attempt to see Scott. He could feel him beginning to shake.
"Look, Scott, I think this is too much too early." He suggested. "How about I swim back?"
Scott's grip redoubled and Logan heard another scared little sound.
"Kurt?" Logan called.
The shaggy blue head broke the surface of the water a metre or so away. "Ja?"
"Can you bamf Scott back to land? I don't want him in the water any longer than necessary, he's getting twitchy."
"Sure." Kurt neatly swam the distance between them. "C'mon Scott. Grab onto me."
Scott hesitated briefly before latching onto Kurt. The two of them disappeared and Kurt reappeared a moment later, alone.
"I 'ported him back up to our dorm." Kurt said, diving under water for a second before resurfacing. "I figured he vould vant a few moments alone to get his breath back."
They floated on their backs, staring up at the bright blue skies.
"You were very nice about Scott's phobia." Logan observed.
"So vere you."
"You got any phobias?"
"Spinneren." Kurt said, with a slight shudder, making the water ripple.
Kurt rolled his head sideways to look at Logan. "Really?"
"Yup. Can't stand the buggers, it's the sound of the wings, gives me the willies."
The two of them had drifted into deeper waters. "Race you to the bottom?"
"Ja. Am drei?"
"Eins." Logan grinned.
"Drei!" They both plunged downwards, sweeping arm movements and kicks propelling them swiftly to the gritty lake bed.
Kurt's hand touched bottom first and he grinned at Logan under the water, giving him a thumbs up, hair swirling around his scalp.
Logan gave him a slightly less genial hand gesture in reply.
With a mock-sulky face Kurt began to ascend. As he looked back he noticed something strange.
Logan was gone.
He turned his head, sharply, looking this way and back, twisting and turning, his hair and tail smoothly following his movements in the water. Logan was officially gone.
His lungs were straining so he hurtled up to the surface to heave in a chestful of air before clawing his way back down again.
He swam along the dark lake bed, weaving in and out of tendrils of weeds, searching for any sign of his friend, trying to ignore his heart's frightened lurching. He was starting to get worried. Logan was a strong swimmer but you don't disappear in the water unless there's something wrong.
Teeth fastened on his tail. His body bucked forward and he couldn't stop air streaming out of his mouth in a cry of pain. What was worse was the water flowing back into his throat. He clutched at his neck, thrashing desperately towards the surface, fighting the reflexive gagging of his lungs.
He was too far from the surface. He would never make it.
His arm and leg movements became slower, weaker.
Strong arms grabbed him around the abdomen and he surged much faster towards the surface.
Air hit him like a slap in the face then a fist landed hard between his shoulder blades. The water exploded out of his mouth and he hauled in huge, bubbling gasps. Gentle as it was, the breeze felt freezing on his burning, air-starved cheeks. The unbearable relief of knowing you have cheated death swelled his heart painfully.
He was pulled through the water and dragged onto dry land where he lay, concentrating on breathing for several long moments.
Logan's worried face came into view. "Jesus Elf!" He said, raising Kurt's torso off the ground to help him breath. "You scared the crap out of me!"
"Vh-Vhat bit me?" Kurt gurgled.
Logan said nothing but his ears started to turn red, guiltily.
Kurt stared at him. "You?!"
"I wanted to scare you." Logan admitted sheepishly.
A fist hit him square in the face, sending him reeling back. Kurt was on him in a heartbeat, scratching and punching him. "Du Scheisskopf!" He yelled. "You could haff killed me!"
"Why'd you open your mouth, you moron?!" Logan protested, attempting to block Kurt's blows.
"That is vhat happens vhen you bite someone!" Kurt roared. "It hurts, they scream. Cause und effect, it's a fairly basic concept!"
Hands grabbed Kurt by the ribs and manhandled him off Logan.
Sitting up, nose bleeding, Logan realised that it was Beast and Colossus who were restraining the livid Kurt.
"What in hell are you two doing?" Beast asked, bewildered, attempting to stop Kurt from thrashing around.
"Don't ask." Logan said, wiping blood from his face.
"He vas trying to kill me!" Kurt shrieked.
"Really?" Colossus asked, curiously, pinioning Kurt's arms behind his back.
"No . . . although God only knows why not." Logan muttered.
Kurt immediately began to struggle against Colossus' grip again, shouting unintelligble insults in German.
Colossus and Beast dragged the livid Nightcrawler away, leaving Logan alone by the lake. In an attempt to wash the blood from his face he dived back into the lake and started swimming again.
Scott was just coming back out of the X-Mansion as Colossus and Beast deposited Kurt on the steps.
"What's going on?" He asked. "And why have you got bite marks on your tail?"
"I vill tell you later." Kurt, rubbed his sore tail, massaging the half-moon of tooth indentations.
"You guys are lucky to be alive." Beast said, darkly. "Didn't you get the notice that was sent round?"
"My pirhanas escaped into the lake."
Kurt dropped his tail and stared at Beast, utterly aghast. "VAS?!"
Scott looked queasy, this wasn't helping his phobia.
"How the hell-" Kurt began but Beast cut him off.
"Shit! Where's Logan?"
Right on cue screaming began behind them.
"Don't talk to me." Logan growled.
"I vas just saying-"
"They're stuck on good and proper." Colossus noted.
"YOOOW! Colossus stop pulling!" Logan yelped.
"How are we going to get them off?" Beast wondered aloud.
"Karma." Kurt said smugly. "This ist vhat you get for biting me."
"I said SHUT UP!"
Logan lay on the operating table of the X-Mansion's medical room, covered from head to toe in pirhanas, their sharp little teeth firmly embedded in his flesh. Literally all they could see of the man beneath the fish was a flash of blue swim shorts, just visible between the silvery mass.
After Logan had been bamfed back to land he had run around screaming in a manner reminiscent of a headless chicken. When he finally stood still the fish had long since died, however their teeth were still fastened onto Logan.
"Okay Colossus, that's not working, stop it before you tear his skin off." Scott pointed out.
"I managed to get five off." Colossus said, sheepishly.
"And loads of me with them." Logan snarled.
"Good work Colossus, now we've got to get the other a hundred and seventeen off." Beast said, scratching his head.
"Would running an electric current through them cause them to let go?" Scott suggested.
"Yeah, possibly, but Logan's wet from the lake, we'll get the fish off him but we'll kill him in the process." Beast pointed out.
"I know, I haff an idea!" Kurt bounded away.
The other men looked at each other nervously.
"What's he gonna do to me?" Logan asked, unease beginning to settle in his stomach.
"Knowing Kurt, something truly insane." Scott admitted.
"Stun guns!" Kurt returned, beaming from ear to ear, with an armful of stun guns. "Ve attack each individual fish."
"WHAT?!" Logan shrieked.
"That's better." Beast admitted reluctantly. "There shouldn't be as much current passing through to Logan. It may make him twitch a bit but we probably won't kill him."
"PROBABLY?!" Came a bellow from beneath the mound of fish.
Kurt reached out and pressed a stun gun to a fish. Logan yelped and the fish flipped off him to skitter wetly across the tiled floor.
"It worked!" Scott said, more than a little bit surprised.
"Yeah! But it hurt!" Logan protested.
"Oh grow a pair." Colossus said. "Kurt, hand 'em out."
They immediately set to stunning the dead fish. It was surprisingly therapeutic, pressing the button and watching the fish spark and fall. None of them paid much attention to Logan's cursing and yelping, he pissed them off too much, too regularly for them to feel totally guilty.
The automatic door whooshed open and Professor X entered, just as Logan let out a particularly loud yowl.
"Good God! What are you doing?" He demanded.
"Oh thank God! Professor, please save me from these loo-" Logan squeaked, shuddered and fell silent.
"Beast!" Scott cried. "You missed your fish!"
"Oh no, I was just getting fed up of him whining." Beast admitted.
Professor X just sat there, looking at the scene in front of him with mounting confusion.
"Do you want to help us Sir?" Beast asked, offering him a stun gun.
"Depends. What are you actually doing?"
"Trying to get the pirhanas off Logan." Kurt explained what had happened at the lake.
Professor X felt a twinge of guilt at the chain of events he had caused.
But it soon went away again.
"Give me one of those." He grinned, holding out his hand.
Logan woke with a groan, a headache, and a faint sense of having deja vu.
Painfully, inching himself into a sitting position, he sat up and peeled his crusty eyes open.
He was in the dorm. Kurt was sat cross-legged on the end of his bed and Scott was leaning against his wardrobe.
"It moves!" Scott said, happily.
"No no no, that's Frankenstein." Kurt corrected him, beaming from ear to ear.
"I thought that was 'It lives!'"
"You may be right."
"What in hell are you two talking about?" Logan said, hoarsely.
They just laughed.
They laughed harder.
They were doubled over, chests heaving, tears flowing down their face. They kept trying to speak but failed every time, dissolving into shallow gasps.
Logan, fighting his natural impatience, waited for them to calm down.
"Now, and if you laugh again I swear I will tear your heads off, what are you laughing at?!"
Scott opened Logan's wardrobe so he could see himself in the mirror on the back of the door.
He howled in horror.
Due to his multiple pirhana induced injuries he was wrapped from head to toe in bandages. He suddenly understood the horror film references, he looked exactly like a mummy. But that wasn't the worst bit. The worst bit was peeping out the top of his bandaged head.
"HOW THE HELL DID MY HAIR TURN CURLY?!" He shrieked.
"I-I think ve gave you a few too many volts vith the stun guns!" Kurt said, dissolving into laughter again.
Logan fell back into a horizontal position again and covered the place where his face would've been without the bandages with his hands. He let out a small whimper of despair.
"I'm never drinking again!" He wailed.
"Keep telling yourself that kid." Scott said, patting him on the head.