Lair of the Stealth Bunnies
History Chapter Two
Jubilee plunked her elbows on the table and rested her chin in the palms of her hands. She drummed her heels restlessly against the legs of her chair. “I still don’t know what’s goin’ on,” she grumbled.
Eve had gone through two plates of food and handed another to the dog. Jubilee had a mental spasm when she thought of the Professor’s reaction to a dog eating off of one of their dishes, but she rather enjoyed the image, so she didn’t say anything. Eve was hovering over another plate, but her eyes were glazing over and she had slowed tremendously. The dog had licked her own plate to a shine and was now stretched out on the floor at Eve’s feet with her chin resting on the two of Logan’s boot. “When was the last time you ate, anyway?” Jubilee asked.
“Too long ago.” She pushed her plate away with the reluctance of someone who was no longer hungry, but also was used to wondering when, or if, her next meal would come. “You tell the story,” she said to Logan. “I’m sick of it.”
“She got some people angry at her, and they’ve been after her ever since.”
Jubilee waited for more, but Logan didn’t seem to want to give it. “That’s it? I mean, we’ve _all_ got people angry at us.”
“These are more persistent than most. But my view of the story’s a bit outdated.” Logan gazed at Eve expectantly.
Eve had her eyes closed, but she sighed as if she could feel his eyes on her. Then the door to the dining room burst open and Jean ran in. “Evie!” she cried and pulled her into a hug. “oh, it’s been years! I would have come over sooner, but I could tell how hungry you were, and so I made us wait until you felt a little more yourself.” She bent and picked up the plate from the floor. “And yes,” she said to Jubilee, “he would have a fit.”
Scott had been only a few steps behind Jean and also collected a hug from Eve. “So what happened?” he asked, pulling a chair up to the table in his usual no-nonsense manner.
Eve sighed with an I-can’t-beat-them-all air. “Five months ago, my house burned to the ground.”
“Sounds real familiar,” Logan growled.
Eve grinned, without amusement. “Gets better. It was on the anniversary. They wanted me to know it was them.”
“Hello! Confused again!” Jubilee waved her hand.
“Once upon a time,” Eve said in a gentle voice, her eyes closed again, “there was a very naively stupid girl --”
“Naive, maybe. Stupid, never,” Logan interrupted.
Eve lifted one shoulder in a weary shrug. “Anyway, she fell in love with a guy who was openly anti-mutant. At first, it was just talk. But the talk got louder, and more people joined in. And mutants started getting beaten up. The girl was so much in love that she didn’t make the connections. _Couldn’t_ see it. And then, when it was too obvious _not_ to see, she was too scared, because hating mutants had taken over his whole life, and people who hate that much don’t give up anything that they think they own easily. And he was so sure of himself and his group of friends that he stopped being careful about what he said in front of her. They started planning to bomb a clinic. Its clientele was almost entirely mutant, especially young ones, just discovering their powers. It was one of the first places set up to diagnose, get the kids in for counseling, place them in training classes, if needed. It was a band-aid-type set-up -- they weren’t really ready or equipped for what they were trying to do, but they were _willing_, which was a lot more than most of the rest of the world was, at that time. And the guy and his friends had it all psyched out. Had it studied down to figuring out the day and time the clinic would be most crowded. ‘Cept someone panicked out and called it in. The police were waiting for them when they went to plant the bombs. Someone started shooting, and when it was all over, there were a couple of cops hurt real bad. and a few of the friends were caught and looking at really long prison sentences. And this girl’s guy was dead. Which probably wasn’t an overall bad thing. ‘Cept his friends got it in their minds that his girl had been the one who phoned in the tip and they’ve been after her ever since.”
Logan had been quietly puttering with the coffee maker while she had been talking, more to give his hands something to do, and now put a mug of it in front of her. “Oh, God, _thank_ you,’ she said fervently and blew on the steaming liquid.
“Why’d they think she did it?” Jubilee asked.
Eve shrugged with a wry smile. “’Cause I did.”
“Ha!” Logan said under his breath. “Thought so.”
Eve looked at him in surprise, and he echoed her shrug. “You never did tell me for certain.”
“You never asked.” She took a deep drink of the coffee, and her shoulders sagged. “God, thank you,” she murmured again.
“Anyway,” Logan picked up the story, letting her drink the coffee almost euphorically, “I met her about five years ago when her horse tried to kill me.”
Eve’s eyebrow arched. “He did _not_.”
“Only because I’m too hard to kill.” Logan poured a cup of coffee for himself. “Killed my bike, though.”
“You were going way too fast for that road, and you know it.”
“And I came around that corner just fine. Would have been all fine ‘n dandy, too, if you and that horse hadn’t been in the middle of the road.”
“We were _not_.”
“No, you weren’t,” he agreed with a smile. “And maybe I was goin’ just a bit too fast.”
Eve muttered something into her mug that sounded like “Damn straight.”
Logan put the coffee pot on the table and slid mugs to Jean and Scott. “Don’t I get one?” Jubilee protested.
“There’s milk in the fridge for you, darlin’,” he told her.
“Never mind,” she grumbled.
“A few days after I met Eve, her cabin burnt down. We got ourselves out in time, and spent a couple of weeks dodging other attempts until I brought her back here, to keep her safe.”
“So why’dja leave?” Jubilee demanded.
There was a long uncomfortable silence, when Logan and Eve very carefully did not look at each other.
“Anyway,” Eve said softly, “I’ve been making my way here since the second fire, a few months ago. It wasn’t bad going for a while. Then I ran out of money. I didn’t dare use credit cards and leave a paper trail, and they froze my bank account. All I had was what had been in my emergency bag under my bed. Then I ran out of food, then fell down a goddamned mountain and sprained my ankle. I hitched the rest of the way.” She touched the back of Logan’s hand. “That’s when I was the most scared, you know. I was sure they would guess I was heading this way, and there aren’t many women traveling alone with a strange-looking dog. I didn’t know who was going to pull over.”
“Why didn’t you call, dear?” Jean asked. “We would have come to get you.”
Eve let out a pained breath. “Because of the guy you had tailing me, Logan.”
Logan suddenly found his coffee mug intensely interesting. “Ya knew about that, huh?”
“Oh, not for a couple of years.”
“Ya angry at me, darlin’?”
“Yeah, at first. Then I decided it was kinda cute.”
“But if ya knew about him, that should’ve made it easy, Evie. He could have brought ya here safe.”
“He sold out to a higher bidder, Logan.”
Logan’s mug snapped in his hands. “That’s how they found you?” he asked in a deadly cold voice. He batted Jean’s hands away as she tried to move the spilled liquid.
“Yeah. Where’d you come up with him, anyway? Usually your contacts are of much better quality.” Then she smiled smugly into her cup. “Was pretty good in bed, though.”
Scott choked on his coffee. Jean abandoned mopping to pat him on the back.
“I didn’t need to hear that,” Logan said, keeping his voice even, through a great effort. “He’d a dead man.”
“Yes. He is.” All amusement had vanished from Eve’s voice. She met Logan’s gaze. “He was the one who set the fire, you see. And after that, I was just too scared to try and call. I thought it was better just to come. But I suppose I wasn’t really thinking very clearly by that point.” She pushed her empty cup away. “I need that bath, now. Then sleep. Badly.”
“I’d like Hank to take a look at your ankle,” Jean said.
Eve shook her head. “Tomorrow. It’s not going to get any worse between now and then.”
“You might have a fracture.”
“And I’ve spent the last day and a half walking on it. If I’ve damaged it, it’s already done.” He brow creased in that sudden impatient anger Jubilee had seen on the porch.
Logan touched Jean’s arm. “I’ll take a look at it, Red. If I think it’s bad enough, I’ll call Hank.”
“Please, Jean,” Eve said. “I need sleep more than anything else right now.” She stood up, and the dog leapt to her feet. “Logan, you still in the cabin out back.”
“Mansion’s still too crowded for my taste. You go on ahead. I’ll get your bag.”
She smiled faintly and limped out.
“Logan?” Scott asked.
Logan stopped at the door. “Yeah, Cyke? Ya got problems with her stayin’ with me?”
Scott’s mouth curved in a smile. “Would it matter if I did?”
“Didn’t think so. I just need to know if you’re planning on going after this guy.”
Logan shook his head. “Don’t have to. She already took care of it.”
“How do you know?” Jubilee demanded.
“She said he was a dead man, didn’t she?”
“No. _You_ did.”
Logan grinned. “And she agreed. Trust me, darlin’. She took care of it.”