|James "Logan" Howlett (snikt) wrote in thedisplaced,|
@ 2017-09-12 14:48:00
Late nights at the gym were Logan’s favorite time. There were a few people there, pounding away on the heavy bags to get their daily workout in. Others were sparring or working on weapons. Still it wasn’t nearly as hectic as it could be in the daytime. He liked that people in the town found a haven in the gym, a place where they could gather without any sort of judgment or segregation just because they were from a different universe. None of that mattered here, and he was glad for it.
That being said he still wasn’t sure what to make of the version of Emma that showed up in town. They worked together, sure, and were civil with one another. But Logan held a healthy bit of distrust for the telepath considering the past that they shared. That didn’t mean he was going to hold it against her; it just meant that he was wary and ready to act should something happen that would turn her against them. Plus, she was actually trying to do good here and that meant something to the Wolverine.
He held his padded hands, palms out toward Emma so she could work on her aim. He was immovable against her hits — there were only a handful of people in town that could move him with a punch — but that didn’t mean she wasn’t getting stronger.
“Focus, Em,” he said. “You’re getting sloppy.”
Thursday evenings were becoming more and more essential for Emma’s mental health. The outlet that came with fighting someone who couldn't be hurt, to blow off the steam she collected all week, kept her going through the nonsense and unending X-Men drama.
Sometimes she spent the hour they had together in diamond form, attacking in a way that could actually get Logan smarting, but Emma also knew the virtue of a good workout. She could sweat more while flesh and blood, and this form lent itself to actually improving her skill instead of just physical venting.
“I'm never sloppy,” Emma said coolly, brows knitting together. She felt annoyance, but not at Logan. Her mind was wandering and she was losing herself to thoughts of the things that troubled her. Sighing, she straightened before throwing a rough punch.
Logan let out an amused “heh” at Emma’s words, and arched a brow. “First time for everything,” he replied. He, too, enjoyed the workouts they had while she was in diamond form. He could push her harder then, land every hit without having to hold back his strength. It was good when they were doing a combat sim; but this wasn’t that. They had to work on form, and technique, and then they could do a scenario. That is if Emma would quit letting her mind wander.
Right before Emma threw her punch Logan sidestepped out of the way. He removed the pads from his hands quickly, and then reached out to grab a hold of Emma’s wrist and looked her in the eye.
“Your mind ain’t here right now,” he said to her. “So get whatever’s on your chest off. Ain’t no one here that’s gonna judge you.”
Emma could feel her cheeks color. She was better than this, normally. Logan wasn’t wrong; she had things on her mind. But the concept of whining about her problems to Logan seemed distasteful, even though she’d done it in the past. In spite of every single thing that made them very different people, Emma quite liked Logan. He was steady and honest and about as close to a friend as she got among the X-Men. Or anyone, really.
“It's the same nonsense, as it ever is.” It always was; in the middle of Nowhere, Texas, it was hard to find problems outside of what came up with family.
Logan grunted, and nodded his head in agreement. He had frustrations with the team when he first arrived in town, but he learned to get over them. It was why he built the gym in the first place to get away from the drama. But Emma was smack dab in the middle of it all, and what was worse was the love triangle that was now complete thanks to her arrival. That couldn’t have been easy.
“Spit it out, and when you do,” he started to say as he bent to pick up the pads. “Aim for the middle of these, will ya?” He put them back on his hands and held them up to Emma.
For a long moment, Emma stared at the pads and chewed at the inside of her cheek, slightly concerned that if she started, she might never stop talking. Feeling gratitude for Logan, even if he was annoying in the ways he could push, she inhaled and exhaled loudly and then landed a punch at the center of one. “Do you know how exhausting it is to be the villain of every story?” she asked, pausing in the middle to throw another punch. “You would think I eat children, the way some of them behave.”
Kitty and Jean were the worst culprits, but certainly not the only ones who made her feel as though she weren't really a part of the team. “It actually makes me want to do violent things,” she admitted, grunting as she sparred.
“I hear they’re delicious,” Logan joked despite the deadpan tone in his voice. He looked at Emma as she punched the pads, watching her movements and feeling the weight behind the punches. They were getting stronger as she continued to vent, and Logan knew that with each throw she was release more and more frustration.
Logan replied with a guttural sound this time. He was always pro-violence when it came to solving problems. His fists did the talking, and usually it worked out (kind of), but that wouldn’t be the case for Emma. He locked eyes with her, and arched a brow yet again. “That probably ain’t the smartest thing to do.”
“I know,” Emma snapped, only mildly tempted to hit him in the face. “I'm not going to hurt anyone. I only want to.” Nothing was as powerful a motivator in Emma’s life than spite. And the way everyone acted, she sometimes thought of all the grand and evil plans she could make to make them all suffer. But that would mean that they were right about her and that wasn’t an acceptable outcome. The people who thought ill of her weren’t allowed to win.
Perhaps it should have bothered her more that she was less motivated to behave out of a sense of honor or goodness than out of the need to be more right than everyone else. It didn’t. Emma knew herself well enough to concede that she wasn’t always great in every situation. She typically was more right than most, though.
“The line between wanting to do something and doing it is pretty thin,” he said. “You’re a smart woman, but I know you ain’t looking to prove anyone right.” He took a step back from her to give more space. “Let work on your kicks,” he said as he steadied himself against what would be a lot stronger attacks.
“Best thing is to prove everyone wrong, and let your frustrations out here with me.” He smirked. “Now kick!”
She did as instructed, exhaling sharply as her leg went up. Logan was right, mostly; she wasn't looking to prove them right yet. Maybe in the future, perhaps, if she found herself in different circumstances or felt she had less to lose. The truth of it was that Emma had always ridden the fine line between good and evil. She liked to think she was more good than bad most of the time and would continue to work toward that end.
“I need to move,” she admitted suddenly after another kick. “I shouldn't have let Scott take me to the mansion in the first place.” It had been weakness on her part, putting sentiment before practicality.
He grunted again when she said she needed to move, and nodded in agreement. “Moving’s good.” He braced against her kicks as they landed squarely on the pads. “I moved. Best thing I did other than the gym.” And that was the truth of it. Logan valued his privacy and solitude more than anything, even if he had Laura (and for a short time Violet) living with him. The ranch was a haven, and far enough outside of time to be secluded from the noises of the booming city.
Logan could have said a plethora of things when it came to Scott, but he kept his mouth shut. The last thing he needed was to get in the middle of that love triangle especially since Emma knew of the feelings that Logan once had (and would always have) for Jean. “Scott likes to have everyone close,” was what he settled on saying. “Don’t make it right, though.”
“Scott likes living in the past where everything is simple and nothing is genuine,” Emma said, the words dripping with a quiet resentment she'd been burying since she'd arrived. If she was honest, she'd admit she was still fairly mad at him just for having the gall to die and to do so in the fashion he had. She thought she’d done her best hiding this from Scott most of the time, but it came out in odd moments when she allowed herself the indulgence of wallowing in her feelings.
“I don't think he's going to like it,” she said, softer, like she didn't look forward to the conversation. “Some of the kids might not be pleased with me either. But Kitty and Jean will throw a small party,” she joked, managing to scoff.
“I learned a long time ago that you can’t live in the past if you want to move forward.” For Logan it was a hard lesson considering that his past held so many secrets that were lost to him for much of his life. “I wouldn’t say it wasn’t genuine back then. Definitely a lot simpler. Can’t blame the guy for wanting simplicity.”
Logan rolled his eyes at the comment about Kitty and Jean. He had a soft spot for both women, but he knew there was no love lost between all of them. “A party with plenty of booze,” he teased in return.
“I know,” Emma said with a little sigh. If there was anyone in their group that knew the realities of moving forward, it was the pair of them. They were realists in a way the others weren't. “It's... frustrating,” she admitted, “to watch them try to revive something that's been over for a long time.” She was talking about Scott and Jean in specific, but she was also talking about the X-Men in general. Trying to ignore it or pretending away all the horrid things that had happened between people seemed a waste of time. That people could share a home with Charles after everything he'd done seemed gauche. That they tried to be the team they'd been years ago instead of evolving into something new seemed an exercise in futility.
Emma fell silent, landing a few solid kicks. She felt tired in a bone deep sort of way that had nothing to do with physical exertion. “I don't blame them,” she said eventually. “They're only doing what they know. They weren't prepared well by their instructors. Scott and Jean and Kitty and all the rest, they're products of their environment.” Just like Emma was a product of hers. It made her feel like the odd woman out a lot of the time, but she was grateful for her ability to see the world differently from the rest.
“I don’t either,” he said to her. What they X-Men were trying to do — the revival of the team — it seemed like a waste of time. Logan wanted to evolve into something different, that meant working with what you had instead of isolating themselves from the rest of the world. Maybe they thought they could revive the ways of old in this completely new universe, one that thought they were fictional, and they could try again. Rewrite history.
He shrugged it off and braced against Emma’s kicks. “You need to not think about that shit,” Logan said finally. “All we got is this world and everything it’s gonna throw at us. X-Men or not we gotta stick together.”
“I need to think about myself,” Emma countered. Selfish, sure, but it wasn't wrong. At least not in Emma’s eyes. Since arriving, she'd been working on the team and helping and supporting and she was growing tired of such work when most didn't appreciate it and people still likened her to a monster. “The world isn't ending, nothing’s currently on fire. I want to actually live my life and not worry about trainings or team dynamics.” She couldn't help but roll her eyes a little. “All I've wanted for the past year was to be at peace and teaching at a school.” And now that hung in the air as a possibility. Focusing on her needs for once was more than a little tempting. “Time for me to actually do that while I have the chance.” Unpleasantness was waiting for her back home, so it seemed wise to enjoy the time she had here.
Logan couldn’t disagree with what Emma said. He had an actual chance to have a real life, the kind he wanted. A family, maybe. He dared not to dream of such a thing before but here it was a possibility. He had started to have feelings for Kaylee, but she was taken from this universe along with all of her people. At the rate of people leaving it was probably easier to not get attached to anyone at all.
“Live your life, Em. No one’s stopping you from doing that.” He took a step back from her, and grinned. “This is yer best chance to do it. Now…” he started to take the pads off his hands. “Get cleaned up if you want.” He nodded his head in the general direction of the locker room. “We’re gonna go out drinking.”
“It's always alcohol and punching with you,” Emma said with a smirk. She couldn't begrudge him; add diamonds to the list and it might have been used to describe Emma’s bad habits. She tugged her hair loose, letting it fall around her face and then stretched a little to avoid at least some soreness she'd feel the next day.
Logan was right and considering her was the closest thing to a neutral party that knew her, she took his words to heart. She needed to live her life. “This one better be nicer than the last,” she warned in a friendly way over her shoulder as she headed toward the showers.