Amelia let out a soft silent sigh, before rolling off her bed, and padding over to the wide-open window of her bedroom. She was hoping there would be even a slight shifting of air there but, sadly, there was not the briefest movement. Not that it probably would have made much difference, as it was the same temperature both inside and out.
It was the middle of summer, and bang smack in the middle of a heatwave that even the air-conditioning hadn’t been able to crack – before it finally died. She didn't like summer at the best of times but when it was a hundred million degrees, in the middle of the night, she particularly loathed it.
With another deeper sigh she decided to head for the kitchen, to get a cold drink... maybe hop inside the industrial size refrigerator for a while, she thought with a giggle. She wasn't worried about getting caught breaking curfew, the adults, the X-Men, had all left several hours before for some mission, so she was confident she wouldn't be discovered.
For around an hour Amelia amused herself in the kitchen. She was onto her second soda – which she was enjoying poured over a bowl of vanilla ice-cream – when she heard the elevator door, down the hallway, swish open nearly silently. Followed by voices in the hall.
"Logan... Logan, wait, you have to stop, just take a few days that's all I'm asking," she heard her Aunt Jean’s stressed and exasperated voice.
"She might not have a few days," a gruff male voice snapped back. A voice that sounded strangely familiar but simultaneously foreign to Amelia. Her curiosity piqued, she padded to the kitchen door and peered into the hallway.
"Logan, it's been seven years-- I know you don't want to hear this but it's time someone said it," Aunt Jean hissed; Amelia knew she would be shouting if not for the fact it was the middle of the night. "After seven years a couple of days for you to recover isn't going to make any damn difference," she stated vehemently.
"Aw hell Jeannie, I didn't know you'd suddenly sprouted some pre-cog powers, here's an idea, tell me where the hell she is so I can go get her, and then I'll take the rest of my life off from looking for her," the man snarled back at her. Amelia felt her heart rate kick up a notch when he even bared his teeth and all, a furious expression on his face.
Aunt Jean sighed, and appeared to wipe away a tear. "Logan, I wish I had, I wish I could tell you, I wish we could go and pick her up right now but we can't, but, assuming she's still alive, you and I both know she would forgive you a few days to recuperate... not to mention put some effort into your other obligations that you've been ignoring this whole time," her aunt replied softly.
"Don't start on that again Jean," the grumpy man snapped, resuming his trek toward the mansion’s front door.
"It's her birthday soon Logan, do you even know how old she’ll be?" Aunt Jean asked, as she resumed following the strange man.
"It doesn't matter," the man named Logan replied gruffly, shrugging in indifference.
"Not to you obviously, but it matters to her, it would matter to R--"
"Don't you dare, don't you dare Jean," the man stopped again, turning to furiously hold a warning finger up to her red-haired Aunts face as he growled at her.
"Don't I dare what?" Aunt Jean responded, hands on her hips, clearly not taking any threat from this rough looking man seriously. "Point out to you you've effectively orphaned that child, abandoned Rogue's flesh and blood, all for some exercise in vengeance!"
The man stopped, his face falling for just a split second before his features hardened again. "You would never understand, you've never even tried to understand--" he began to say.
"Then explain it to me," Jean demanded.
For a moment there was silence, and Amelia was sure the man was going to turn around and walk away again. Instead, he spoke, so softly Amelia had to strain to hear him.
"... I don't deserve her... I don't deserve to get to be there, not when I let her down so badly... Jeannie, of the two of us Marie was the better-- I have to find her, I can't do this, I can't let them both down... I can't stop looking," he murmured, a pain in his voice that felt like it came from deep in the most tortured soul. Amelia wanted to cry just hearing it.
Aunt Jean sighed again, this time definitely wiping away tears. "At least have something to eat before you leave again?" she suggested hopefully.
"... Yeah, sure," Logan acquiesced after a pause, abruptly turning toward the kitchen as he said it.
He froze not even a step later, as his eyes fell on Amelia where her head was poking around the kitchen doorway, his sudden silence and stillness immediately drawing Aunt Jean's attention. And... she was busted, here came another week of dish duty, Amelia resigned herself to her fate, as she tentatively stepped out of her hiding spot to accept the scolding that was to come.
"Amelia, it is well past curfew, what are you doing up?" Aunt Jean asked, sounding oddly nervous for a telling off.
"It was too hot to sleep, I came down for a drink and a snack," Amelia replied with a shrug.
"Back to bed, we'll talk about this in the morning," Aunt Jean directed, casting a worried glance at the gruff man, Logan, who still hadn't moved or spoken since he saw her, until...
"No, she's right, too hot to sleep, let her finish her snack," he suddenly rasped, his voice now rough to the point he was forced to clear his throat before he spoke again. Adding as he resumed his path to the kitchen, "Does the Boy Scout allow booze in here yet?"
He ushered Amelia back into the kitchen, a direction she nervously followed. Climbing back onto her stool, in front of her bowl of mostly melted ice-cream and soda, she watched the man warily, comforted by the fact that Aunt Jean followed them into the kitchen too. Logan took one look at her bowl and chuckled.
"Marie generally preferred her spiders in a glass but I guess a bowl works too," he mumbled, a faraway look in his eye as he said it, even as he watched Amelia intently. Not watching so much as studying her, his eyes never leaving her for a second, as if he was trying to memorize all her features with an intensity that was almost scary.
"What's a 'spider'?" Amelia asked nervously, trying to distract this strange man's attention.
"Uh, ice-cream and soda mixed together," the man replied with a chuckle.
"... Who's Marie?" Amelia tentatively posed her next query.
She wasn't prepared for the sudden change in the man in front of her. The smile that had softened his face suddenly disappeared, his brow furrowed as a scowl settled in its place instead. She could have sworn he loosed the barest hint of a growl, before he suddenly sprang into motion.
"I can't do this," he muttered to Aunt Jean, as he brushed past her and out the kitchen door. Jean sighed as the front door slammed shut a moment later.
"Di-did I say something wrong?" Amelia whispered, feeling sorry for Aunt Jean, and just a little bit guilty for messing up whatever she had been trying to achieve with the man. He hadn't even gotten to eat before he left.
"No, no sweetheart you didn't do or say anything wrong," Aunt Jean replied, approaching her and giving her a hug where she sat. "Come on, drink that up and let's get you back to bed," she added, absently cleaning up the mess Amelia had made fixing her snack.
"Who was that man?" Amelia asked later, as Aunt Jean lead her back upstairs to bed.
"Never you mind," Aunt Jean told her, a sad smile touching her lips, before she bid her goodnight, and headed off down the hall to hug Uncle Scott who was just stepping out of the elevator to head to bed too.
Amelia wracked her brains for what felt like hours, trying to figure out why the strange gruff man had seemed so familiar. She was no closer to figuring it out when she finally managed to fall into a restless sleep.