The Hard Way: Part 5

by Perri Smith



The big thug howled in pain when his swing connected with the barstool instead of with the woman's face. At the same time, his partner lunged at Jack. Big Thug took another swing at the woman, but she was already sliding across the bar to drop behind it and he missed as everyone in the place took their cue to restart the earlier brawl.

Big Thug saw Logan stand up and started to turn on him. The 'snikt' of popping claws was audible even above the fight; faced with them and Logan's lethal smile, Big Thug turned pale and chose the better part of valor, running for the door so fast he almost left skid marks.

Logan shook his head and let the claws snick back in, pulling out a cigar. "So much for that partnership."

A match flared in front of him. He looked up to see the woman leaning over the bar, holding a pack. "You know what they say about good help. Y'know, you might want to check on the kid."

"I'm gettin' there." He lit the cigar and took a drag.

"So's Christmas."

He tossed her a dirty look and turned back the fight just as Thug Jr. grabbed Jack's arm -- and pulled it back with a howl of pain, his skin giving off smoke. The kid's jacket had a matching burn mark on it. It looked like whoever had briefed the two forgot to mention their target was a mutant.

"'Sides," he finished his earlier sentence, taking another puff, "the kid can handle it."

She acknowledged the point with a sardonic grin, which turned smug as she directed him back to the dance floor/boxing ring. "But can he handle that?"

Logan turned in time to see Thug Jr. pull a knife out of nowhere and take a swing at Jack. "Dammit." He threw the cigar to one side and waded into the brawl. Two swings and a 'snikt' later Thug Jr. was down for the count and Logan waded back out, hauling Jack with him by the back of his jacket.

The woman applauded, still perched on top of the bar. "Nice catch. A little undersized, though; you might want to throw him back." Still high on adrenaline and fear Jack started to go for her throat.

Logan kept his hold on the kid's jacket, pulling him back. "Settle down," Logan told him, before looking up at the brunette. "You know you ain't exactly helpin'."

She shrugged. "Hey, I didn't start it. He's the one who stiffed. . . ." She stopped suddenly, swinging her head towards the door, the teasing grin draining from her face. Logan followed her eyes, but didn't see anything. Before he could ask, her voice rang out above the crowd. "Wade, get out here -- we got company!"

In answer, a body clad in red and black came plummeting over the second floor railing, destroying a table and two chairs when he hit. In an impressive feet of athletic prowess, he still managed to land in a roll a few yards from the bar. Two shuriken thunked into the floor next to him; a third skimmed overhead, barely missing Jack. Two more thumped into the bar where the woman had been, but she must have seen then coming, because she moved an instant before they reached her. Logan cursed and flipped a table over, pulling the kid under cover before turning to slam into an idiot with a bar stool. The idiot dropped.

The flying newcomer flipped over a table of his own. "Thanks for the warning, sis. Next time, how about 24 hours notice? Better yet, two weeks, keep the union happy."

"Hey, you rush a miracle man, you get rotten miracles," she shot back, sliding off the bar and staying low. Her voice was as emotionless as her face, her eyes moving constantly. A gun had appeared in her hands, even though there was no way she had been wearing it under that dress, and she used the table for cover, taking two shots at the two men with the throwing stars. Both dropped, but three more took their place. "Can't do it the easy way, can you, Wade?"

"Come on, where's the fun in that?" He finally noticed the other two. "Ah, jeez, Jordie, I leave you alone for five minutes and look what you're picking up! I mean, come on, your taste in men really stinks."

Logan growled low in his throat. "Deadpool. I shoulda known you were in on this."

Deadpool did his damndest to look innocent -- no easy trick considering his face was entirely hidden behind a mask and he was wearing enough ammunition to supply the U.N. for a year. "Hey, I didn't start it! And who invited you anyway? I thought this was a private brawl."

"I invited myself when the kid got involved," Logan growled.

"Hey!" Jack objected. "All I did was mention. . ."

"Save it." Wolverine looked back at Deadpool. "You got a way outta here?"

"How about the front door?"

Jordie looked out into space, then shook her head. "No, they have people waitin' for us to make a run for it. Try again."

"How the hell do you know that?" Logan demanded. The brawl swung in close behind him, sending someone stumbling back into Jack, who brained the man with a bottle he had appropriated from the bar. The fighter hit the deck, not even causing a ripple in the chaos.

"Told you, I'm clairvoyant." She popped up long enough to snap off two more shots. "Follow me if you want to live." It was all the warning she gave before she jumped to her feet, almost getting lost in the crowd before the men caught up. She jumped over the bar again and crashed through the storage room in back. There was no back door, so she jumped up and shimmied through the open window. Deadpool followed hot on her heels.

Logan watched them go with disgust, knowing there was no way he was fitting thorough that window. "Thanks a lot, Jordie."

A head popped back through the window. "You're welcome, my name is Jordan and the front door will be unguarded in less than a minute. I suggest you move it." Then she was gone.

Clairvoyant. Right. Logan grabbed Jack and headed back out.


"She wasn't lyin'; there was nothin' waitin' at the door that night but bodies, most of 'em belongin' to the Hand. Me and Jack just walked away before the cops showed up."

"What happened to Jack?" Siryn asked curiously.

Logan snorted. "Kid still can't show his face in Madripoor or Japan; still claims he didn't started it, that the game he managed t' run up a hundred grand in IOU's at had been rigged." He leaned his head back against the wall. "Probably was; doesn't make much difference now."

"And Delphi?"

"Found out later her real name's Jordan Raines. Still don't know what she and Deadpool were doin' that night, but I heard she started gettin' pickier 'bout her jobs afterwards. Looks like the Tornado's still pickin' up after her brother, though. Thought she knew better than that."

The last words were quiet, almost inaudible.There didn't seem to be anything to say, so Siryn didn't say anything, just stared up at the ceiling, and wondered.

Part 6

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