Tara frowned at the email on her screen. "But… Wolverine's not a villain."
Kirsten sighed, her fingers drumming the top of the monitor. "Yes, but this isn't the first time we've had a request come in for him. The last time we were even able to get in contact with him, he told us to– and I quote– 'go fuck yourselves.'"
Tara snorted. "Yeah, sounds on par with what I've heard."
"So you don't mind giving it a shot?"
She shrugged. "I'll need to take a car."
Kirsten gave her a thumbs up. "It's all yours! Thanks again, Tara."
Tara's first greeting as she stepped out of her company car at Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters was in the form of a screeching Amelia Powers barreling into her side.
"Miss Tara! You finally came to visit!"
She returned the girl's hug, privately relieved to see her. Amelia had always been at the back of her mind, especially when she was working. She hadn't heard from Magneto since their visit to the hospital, but Professor Xavier had told her that Amelia was transitioning well to her new home.
"Amelia! Next time, tell me before you run off like that." Both of them turned at the sound of a slightly exasperated voice, and Tara was excited to see the white-haired beauty.
"Sorry, Miss Storm," Amelia said, looking suitably chastised. And yet, she still didn't let go of Tara's leg.
"Hey, Ororo," Tara waved cheekily.
Despite her polished appearance, Ororo Monroe rolled her eyes dramatically. Every time Tara saw her, it was as if she'd stepped off the pages of Vogue. It was befitting the Queen of Wakanda, in Tara's humble opinion.
"Tara," she said sternly. "How kind of you to call ahead and warn us of your coming visit."
"Oops?" Tara shrugged.
A small smile slipped onto Ororo's face. "It is lovely to see you. I assume you're here to ask something of one of us?"
"Yeah– did you know Logan's attitude has made him an honorary villain?"
"Why am I not surprised?" Ororo sighed. "Well… I am sure Logan's U.S. History class would appreciate the early dismissal," she offered sweetly. "Logan, not so much."
Tara surveyed Ororo with approval. "Well, aren't you full of surprises?"
Ororo winks. "He's on the second floor, third room to the left."
"Wait!" Amelia ran up to Tara, clinging to her leg. "I wanna go with Miss Tara."
Tara looks up at Ororo in a silent plea for help.
"You can go along with Ms. Tara, but only if you agree to follow her instructions," Ororo allowed.
"Thanks, Miss Storm!"
Tara shot the regal woman a half-hearted glare, but both of them knew that she wouldn't have denied the girl anyways.
"Yes! Let's go, Miss Tara," Amelia said, tugging on her hand incessantly. Tara allowed herself to be pulled along easily as they headed up into the sprawling mansion. She tried to focus on Amelia's mile-a-minute talking as she did.
"It's really great here, Miss Tara! I get to video chat with Kenny whenever I want, and he even gets to come and visit! And the X-Men are all so nice, Miss Storm made it sunny one day when it was raining, and Mr Warren-Wings took me flying! Even Mr. Magnet-sir, he gave me this necklace!" She proudly held up the necklace hanging around her neck, which appeared to be a set of dog tags. "He says if I'm in trou-ble, that I just gotta steal a phone and call him! Or you, see?"
Tara leaned in to better see the small engraved print and had to keep herself from swearing. The first tag did list Magneto and his contact information, while the second tag read: "If found, please return to Tara Knight" along with her number.
"That's wonderful, sweetie!" She instead said with the correct amount of enthusiasm to make Amelia's grin grow wider.
"Yeah! Now come on, Mr. Wolf-er-ine is this way!"
Logan took one look at Amelia and Tara after they burst into the room before simply ignoring them and carrying on with his lecture.
This didn't seem to dissuade Amelia, who took the opportunity to run up to his side and hug his large thigh, which was as high as she could reach. Logan let out a long, suffering sigh as his class snickered quietly, while Tara settled for waving cheerfully and moving to take an empty seat towards the back of the class. The period was almost over anyways, and she was sure this was one of the least intrusive interruptions that had happened during one of their classes.
She had to admit, Logan was a pretty good teacher. He had a way of avoiding using complicated terms when first introducing ideas and instead focused on the basic facts, letting the kids first draw their own conclusions and then either agreeing and continuing to build them up, or helping them all see where the flaws in the logic were. Tara even found herself learning from the lesson.
The bell finally rang, and Logan set his papers down on the table in front of him and removed his glasses. Tara smirked as he rubbed the bridge of his nose while the class filed out, all of them glancing at her curiously but not hanging around. Despite that, she knew there'd be at least one attempted eavesdropper. Good thing Amelia had tagged along.
"Wearing glasses already, old man?"
Logan glared at her. "Keep talkin' like that and I won't be doing shi–"
"Logan!" Tara snapped, gesturing at Amelia.
"-anything for you," he finished lamely.
"Mr. Wolf-er-ine almost said a bad word!" Amelia loudly whispered towards Tara, despite the distance between them.
"Nice save," she said dryly.
"Hmph." Logan reached down and lifted Amelia up and onto his hip. "Whatdya want, Tara?"
"For you to come in for us without cussing anyone out. So far it looks like my secret weapon is working." Tara lifted her hand up for Amelia to give her a high-five.
"Traitor," Logan grumbled.
"Miss Tara is my favorite," Amelia primly replied. "She found Mr. Magnet-sir."
"Magnet head, more like."
"Are you sure Amelia is the child here?" Tara rolled her eyes at Logan.
"Amelia dear, do you think you can practice your force field for a moment? Mr. Logan and I need to talk without the kids in the hallway overhearing."
"Yeah! Wait, wait: look how big it gets!" Amelia clapped her hands together and then spread them outwards, and Tara watched in a mix of awe and pride as the shimmering purple force field emerged from her palms and surrounded them entirely.
"Amelia, that's amazing!"
"Good job kiddo," Logan rumbled and ruffled her hair. "We'll go make some root beer floats in a bit."
"Yay! Talk quickly with Miss Tara then," she sternly ordered.
The two adults shared an amused look before sobering.
"You can't tell me you won't do it because you 'aren't good with kids' after this," Tara scolded him. "Clearly, you know what you're doing."
"I'm not going to a fu– freakin' hospital, Tara, not even for a sick kid," he nearly growled.
"You don't have to meet him at a hospital!" Tara hissed. "Are you really this thick-headed?"
"I have an adamantium coated skull."
"I'll get you a pack of Cubans if you agree to meet him at a safe location I've arranged."
"Great!" She perked up back to her normal self and turned towards Amelia, who was watching them with confusion. "Thank you very much for your help, sweetie."
"I'd do anything for a root beer float," she proclaimed with an innocent smile.
Logan sighed. "Oh boy."
"It's okay, Mr. Wolf-er-ine. You're my favorite for now," she chirped cheerfully as her force field fizzled into the surrounding air. "Root beer float!"
"Is this going to be a new routine?" Tara asked as she was met with the sight of Missy standing by the elevators of her apartments.
Missy just smiled at her, although Tara swore her eyes flashed yellow in amusement. "The doorman let me in this time. He thinks we're dating."
"Then I guess it'd be suspicious if I didn't let you up," Tara joked as she swiped them into the lift and pressed the button for her floor.
"You're onto my secret plan," Missy laughed.
When the doors opened, Tara prepared to simply stride over to her apartment and unlock the door as always. Instead, they were met with the sight of a man in a suit standing casually in front of her door, scrolling through his phone. He looked up at them and smiled genially. Tara was immediately put on edge and had her pepper spray pulled out in a flash, but Missy held up a hand.
"Wait," she muttered.
Tara looked at her incredulously. "There's a fed in front of my door!"
"And trust me, you do not want to pepper spray Nick Fury's right hand man."
Tara turned her wide eyed stare onto the stranger. "...Everything I read said he was dead."
Phil Coulson tilted his head in amusement. "I got better."
"I mean, obviously!"
"If you don't mind, Ms. Knight and… friend," Coulson added wryly, "perhaps we should take this inside?"
Tara scoffed. "I'm not about to invite a fed into my home without a warrant."
Coulson shrugged. "Fair enough. We just wanted to make contact with you after being informed of your recent actions. As you probably know, the individuals you've been meeting with are classified as extremely dangerous."
"Maybe. They've been nothing but polite to me and the sick children they've been meeting though." Tara wasn't about to back down from this. "This is the type of talk that leads to movements like the anti-mutant party."
Coulson's gaze flickered to Missy so quickly that Tara almost missed it. "I believe you misunderstand me. We aren't going to shut you down." The unspoken yet was as clear as day. "But we're here if backup is ever needed." He reached into a pocket in the inside of his jacket, pulling out a crisp white business card and handing it out for Tara to take. She hesitated for a moment before accepting it, turning it over to read the stamped name.
[Phil Coulson, SHIELD.]
"I'll… be in touch," she said firmly, leaving no room for further discussion. "Thanks for stopping by. Next time, call ahead."
She and Missy waited until the elevator doors closed on his smiling form before they headed into the apartment.
"So I take it that this is why you've been stopping by lately?" Tara asked.
"Guilty as charged," Mystique shot her a sharp grin. "Glad there wasn't a fight. I would've been heartbroken if my wine had broken in the crossfire." She reached into her shoulder bag and pulled out a large bottle.
Tara let out a happy moan. "You're my favorite person in the world right now."
"You're welcome, of course."
Coulson sighed. "Pretty sure she was with Mystique, Director."
"Do you have evidence of that?"
"Then we'll be keeping an eye on her. Double the watch, and set Barton on her tail."
"Does he still work for us, sir?" The last time Coulson checked, Barton had gone 'rogue' after Stark had given him a paycheck double of what he made at shield.
Hmph. "He owes me a favor."