Witchy Woman OR Save a Broom - Ride a Witch

BY : WolverMean
Category: X-men Comics > AU - Alternate Universe
Dragon prints: 890
Disclaimer: I don't own X-Men or any of the characters from the Marvel universe. I'm making no money from the publication of this story--it's strictly for fun.

Logan had his hands shoved deep into the pockets of his wool-lined leather jacket. It was starting to get cold in New York, the chill sweeping down through the streets from on high, swirling dead leaves and garbage up and down the sidewalks. The fact that night was falling didn’t help any; the indigo colour of the sky and the grey clouds stamped upon it promised snow.

Grumbling to himself, Logan wondered why he was such a fucking nice guy. Not that long ago, he would have balked at doing a favour for a friend—but then again, he was considering more and more people to be ‘a friend’, so maybe it was his own damn fault he was becoming so nice.

Remy LeBeau, sometimes known as Gambit or as one of the FBI’s ten most wanted, was in desperate need of a spell book for some kind of voodoo hoodoo shit that he was involved in that could end the world and blah blah blah needed someone to get the book from a small specialized shop somewhere in the city.

Logan, being the nice goddamn guy he was, had offered to get it. A trip into the city had been long overdue and getting away from hoards of screaming and hormonal teenagers for a while was optimal. He had a safe house—more of an apartment, really—so he packed a few clothes, hopped on his bike and got the fuck out of shit town.

It turned out the shop wasn’t that far of a walk from his temporary place and it was open late, so he figured what the hell. Grab the book, get back to his place, drink a brew, eat some wings, and watch the hockey game—in peace for once.

Logan found himself in front of a nondescript shop with an old-fashioned storefront painted dark green. There was no display in the window—in fact, a blind had been pulled down, obscuring any view of the shop from the street. On the glass, in delicate black on gold handwritten script, was the word SpellBound.

Logan pulled his cell from his pocket and double-checked the address against the text Remy sent; it was the right place. He felt another grumble coming on.

Witchy woo woo places like this always burned a shit ton of incense that scalded the insides of his sensitive nose and made his eyes sting, but he girded his loins, took a deep breath, and pulled the door open.

He was pleasantly surprised when he wasn’t assaulted by sandalwood, jasmine, lavender, or some other hippie associated scent that made his senses crazy. Once he stopped and looked around, it seemed the whole place was intent on pleasantly surprising him.

Logan had expected all sorts of whimsical witchery in the vein of crystals, ancient runes, scrying balls, velvet cloaks, tarot cards and things of that nature. Instead, a cosy shop lined with bookshelves that were absolutely stuffed with tomes—some ancient looking, some more modern—along with a few scarred wood tables, and comfortably worn armchairs, greeted him.

Framed vintage posters decorated the walls. Three boasted of the amazing skills of Harry Houdini along with dates and times listing upcoming shows; one was a framed invitation to a 1928 séance led by a famous occultist; a few more proclaimed other, lesser known illusionists and magicians plying their trade at theatres that no longer existed.

The ads were all vintage and Logan whistled softly in appreciation. As he did, a black cat jumped down from one of the bookcases and sat in front of him, seemingly studying Logan with judgemental yellow eyes. The nametag of its collar read Monday.

He scented the cat, a bit taken aback by the fact that it didn’t smell like a cat should, all wild and gamey, by the was suddenly distracted by a voice coming from the counter.

Logan stepped around the cat, whose eyes followed him closely, and walked towards the voice. A woman was on the phone, her back to him. She was buxom with a nicely rounded ass that was currently tucked into a pair of worn blue jeans. An olive green cardigan brushed just below the belt loops and pair of black ankle high motorcycle boots clad her feet.

He could see the edge of a book that was clearly open in front of her.

“No, Mr. Dmitri, it clearly says lemon not demon. I’m looking directly at the text. It’s written in cursive … I know that can be confusing,” she was saying. “Well, possibly because someone might not be able to get to the grocery and needs it for a nice piece of fish?”

Her reply obviously did not go over well; Logan could hear the upset man yelling. “Don’t you dare talk to me like that, Anatoly Dmitri,” Her response was cold, yet firm. “You know you shouldn’t be summoning demons anyway; I could turn you into the council ... Yes, that’s what I thought. Yes, you too. No refunds, Mr. Dmitri. Enjoy your lemon!” She hung up the phone and tilted her head back with a sigh, running a hand through her short brown hair. “Fucking wizards are so goddamn temperamental.”

Logan, amused, cleared his throat. Her hand leapt to her chest as she whirled around, startled. She was pretty but not beautiful. Her eyes were green behind black rectangular glasses, her nose was slightly tipped up at the end, and a few freckles marched across the bridge of her nose. Her round cheeks were slightly red from the jolt.

“Didn’t mean to scare you.” Logan said, trying to keep the gruffness from his voice.

She flapped her hands at her face, breaking into a smile. “I’m sorry,” she said with a hint of laughter. “You probably heard my phone call; I assure you I’m much more professional than that.”

“Except for when dealing with temperamental wizards?” Logan smiled back.

She gave him a wink and a finger gun. “You got me,” she said. “Luckily, you don’t look like a wizard, so what can I do for you?”

He pulled a piece of paper from his jacket pocket and held it out to her. “I’m picking this book up for a friend.”

She took the paper from him, her eyes scanning the writing. “Ah, yes,” she said. “You’re here for Remy?”

“Yeah,” he replied. “I’m Logan.”

Her green eyes looked up from the paper and flicked over him. “He told me he’d be sending you,” she said. “I’m August Moon, proprietor of the place. I’ll need you to follow me. The book’s in an … odd place.”

Logan shrugged and August pressed a shiny bell on the counter, next to the register. A tall, thin man seemed to appear out of nowhere in a puff of smoke. He was dressed in pinstriped trousers, a black vest and a crimson shirt. His dark hair was slicked away from his angular face.

“You rang?” he intoned in an imitation of Lurch from The Addams Family.

“I need you to watch the store,” August said. “I have to go to the basement.”

Louis leaned heavily on the counter, studying his black painted nails. “How long?” he asked with a put-upon sigh.

“Lock up in a bit,” she replied. “I need to get a book for Remy.”

Louis straightened suddenly, smoothing his hands down his vest. “Is he here?” he practically squealed, his dark eyes darting around the store. When Louis noticed the store was practically empty, save for Logan, he deflated, his long, lean body seemingly only being held up by the counter. “Enjoy yourself and if you see Addanc, he owes me fifty dollars.”

August lifted a partition and motioned Logan through. He nodded at Louis as he went past but the man ignored him, more intent on smoothing out a wrinkle in his pants.

“Ignore Louis,” August whispered as she led him into a back room. “He’s self-absorbed. Typical cat.”

“I can hear you!” Louis’ voice rang out.

“Good!” she yelled back.

Her arm suddenly snapped out, like a crossing guard stopping a child from running into traffic. She’d actually stopped Logan from stepping on another cat that was black, except for the white stripe down the centre of its back.

It pressed itself against Logan’s leg, tail high, purring loudly. Its large green eyes were looking coquettishly up at him and if he didn’t know any better, he would’ve sworn the cat was hitting on him.

“This is Penelope,” August said, bending down to pick it up. As she lifted the cat into her arms, it winked at him, its little pink tongue peeking out between its teeth. “Named after Penelope Pussycat—Pepé Le Pew’s girl. She’s a huge flirt. Go on; go keep Louis company.”

She released the cat and it twitched its tail haughtily, giving one more look at Logan over its shoulder before trotting off through the curtain. He watched it go, subtly trying to scent the air again.

“They don’t smell like cats,” Logan remarked. In fact, they smelled a bit like brimstone and smoke.

August laughed and Logan found himself liking the sound if it. “Technically, Louis, Penelope and Monday aren’t cats,” she said, stopping at a rickety, old, white washed wooden door. “How can I put this? They’re daemons, a sort-of guardian spirit of a person or a place. They like to present as cats; I have no idea why.”

She grabbed the rusted metal ring that hung on the door and gave it a firm pull. It didn’t budge. She muttered a curse and Logan stifled a chuckle, not used to such a filthy word coming from a woman. August took the ring in both hands and jerked it back, putting her whole body into it, a growl coming from her lips.

Again, it refused to move.

The ring clanked loudly against the wood as she let go and stared at the door, obviously frustrated. Her cheeks were red and her lips pursed.

“Need help?” Logan offered.

August’s green eyes turned towards him and he could swear he saw a flash of gold ring her irises before quickly fading away. “No,” she said. “The keeper’s being a bit of a dick.”

“Ah.” Logan said with a nod as if he understood completely.

She waved her hand nonchalantly. “Don’t worry; I know another way in.”

August stood back from the door, studying it for a moment. She placed her hands on the ring and turned it ninety degrees; the accompanying screech made Logan flinch. She dropped her hands, then curled one into a fist before hitting it dead centre and in each corner before moving away.

The door made a clanking sound, dropped down an inch with a hiss, steam shooting out from every crack. Slowly, it started to swing open a bit at a time and Logan was surprised that it practically made no sound, not even a squeak or squeal.

When it finally wheezed to a stop, it opened into complete darkness. Suddenly, there was a flickering of light, like a blub blinking into wakefulness. A figure appeared, flashing closer and closer and the light wavered.

When the bulb sputtered to life, it revealed a man dressed in jeans, a Rolling Stones t-shirt and a smart looking blazer. He had a mop of brown curls and round John Lennon style glasses. He wasn’t very tall, maybe a few inches taller than Logan’s five foot three inch frame, and his thin lips were parted in a knowing smile as his coal dark eyes landed on August.

“There are better ways to get my attention, Gus,” he said, crossing his arms over his lean muscled chest.

“Stop locking the door.” August said firmly.

“Then go out with me,” the man said, reaching out to caress her arm.

She stepped back, avoiding his touch, and gestured to Logan. “Not in front of the customers.” she said quietly.

The man let his arm fall back to his side and flicked his eyes to Logan. He tilted his head, letting his eyes roam over the shorter man, then moved aside to let them go past.

“Hand on my shoulder please, Logan,” August said. “Don’t let go until I say it’s safe.”

He placed his hand on the woman’s right shoulder, his grip strong. While they walked by the curly-haired man, Logan saw how hungry his dark eyes were as August moved by.

Logan knew that look.

“I’m Addanc,” the man said as Logan passed him, his eyes still on August. “Welsh lake monster, sometimes demon,”

He relayed this information in a voice that Logan assumed was supposed to frighten him, but the smaller man was unimpressed. “Logan,” he replied. “Sometimes X-Man, sometimes Avenger.”

Addanc nodded and Logan tightened his grip on August’s shoulder as they began to descend a crumbling stone staircase. Torches lit the way down, casting dim light on the curving steps. The bad lighting emphasized the fact that the stone walkway was disintegrating; it was pitted at the edges and had almost been walked smooth by the millions of pairs of feet that had walked up and down them for as long as it had existed.

The trio walked in silence and once they reached the twentieth step, August reached up and placed her hand atop Logan’s. Her palm was cool and dry, her fingers resolute as they closed around his. It felt nice.

Addanc made a sound behind them, like a cough, but August ignored him and he fell quiet once again.

They came to the edge of the stairwell, the space before them nothing but blackness, empty and void of any light. Logan wasn’t sure what the hell was going to happen next; where the fuck could they possibly go?

August obviously felt Logan’s uncertainty – she squeezed his hand gently. “Hold your breath on the count of three, okay?” she said.

Logan made an affirmative grunt. He was out of his element and he hadn’t survived this long by not listening to someone who knew what the hell he or she was doing. She counted, and once she hit three, Logan did as she asked.

He almost let it out to yell as August took a step forward into the nothingness, but he was sucked along behind her into the blackness. Logan felt he was flipped upside down, shaken ever so slightly like a James Bond martini, then flipped right side up.

His feet touched solid ground hard enough to knock the air from his lungs and he felt August’s fingernails dig into his hand.

Fuck, did he hate magic woo woo shit.

Discombobulated by the sudden light, the sudden feeling of otherness that pressed around him, it was almost if a wall of concrete was compressing Logan. He shook his head to clear it and then focused his eyes on the head in front of him.

August dropped her hand from his. “You can release my shoulder; it’s safe,” she said.

Logan hesitated briefly; he didn’t really want to stop touching her. He liked the feel of her soft flesh under his hand.

“She said you could let her go.” Addanc said haughtily from behind Logan.

He removed his hand from August’s shoulder, not liking the vibe he was getting from the lake monster/demon. It was if the other man felt he had some sort of claim on her; he was obviously jealous of having another man touch August.

In a way, Logan could relate to that feeling but it didn’t mean he liked it when he felt it from someone else.

August turned to face Logan with a smile. “Not much further, I promise.”

“Is there an easier way to get out?” he muttered.

August chuckled as she turned away and began leading them down a dank hallway. “We’ll see,” she replied cryptically.

Addanc remained behind Logan, radiating dislike. It was beginning to make Logan uneasy; he was okay in small spaces, but the other man was starting to feel like a threat and it set his teeth on edge. His claws began to itch and he flexed his fists carefully, not wanting to release them.

As they continued to walk, the place started to smell… fishier was the only way Logan could describe it. It became more dank and damp; walls began weeping small rivulets of water and it became harder to avoid puddles. He grumbled as his boots sloshed through what seemed to be small ponds.

“I apologize if my lair is not to your liking, Logan.” Addanc said, his voice tinged with sarcasm.

Logan ignored the other man, focusing instead on August, who was plodding forward intently. He noticed her feet weren’t wet at all – in fact, she seemed to be walking barely a half an inch above water, her gait making no ripples on the surface whatsoever.

He was about to mention it when it suddenly began to dry out and warm up. Huge stone walls erupted on either side of them and they began passing arched rooms, some with only one being inside, some crammed with people and other creatures.

The trio walked by Doctor Strange in the hallway. He and Logan made eye contact and Strange raised his eyebrows, his eyes flicking to August. The doctor gave a brief nod, which was returned.

“Doctor,” the water monster behind him said.

“Addanc,” Strange replied.

They kept moving, Logan spying some pretty odd things as they walked. Honestly, though, who was he to judge? Hell, he’d done some pretty odd things over the course of his long life, so he—Holy shit. Is that Tony Stark?

He stopped, Addanc bumping into him, but Logan barely noticed. It was Tony Stark, standing inside one of these peculiar rooms and he stank of fear. The man was sweating, his dark hair damp, and he kept nervously pushing it out of his face every few seconds. He was practically vibrating.

“Stark?” Logan said incredulously.

Tony turned to him, his dark eyes widening. “Wolverine?”

“What the hell are you doin’ here?”

“I could ask the same of you, Logan,” responded the billionaire, trying to play it cool. “I mean, I didn’t think this was your scene—“

August had noticed he’d halted and came back to see what had grabbed his attention. “Mr. Stark,” she exclaimed. “Back again?”

Tony was suddenly embarrassed and began to fidget. “Uh, yeah. Well, you know –“

“You a regular here?” Logan asked.

Tony didn’t answer as August stepped into the room he was occupying and looked around. “Where’s Kilda?”

The taller man gave her a half-shrug. “She—uh—might be a bit mad at me,” he replied. “Um, may have cursed me just a little.”

August shook her head, a small smile coming over her face. Logan found himself charmed by the action, which made him hesitate. Charmed? Like I’m some sort of Victorian lady? Been reading too much Austen lately.

“Give me your hand,” August held one of hers out and Tony immediately did what she asked, palm up. She leaned closer and made a noise of concern. “Oh my. This is a bad one.”

Logan didn’t think it was possible, but Stark started to sweat more. “Aw geez,” he stuttered. “Is there something—“

“Don’t worry,” August said. “I can take care if this. However, Mr. Stark, I want your word that you’ll stop sleeping with the magic counsellors supplied to you.”

“Oh god,” Tony cried. “Anything! Please just get rid of this—thing!”

August gave Stark another smile before she lifted her free hand and began to trace symbols in the air over his palm. They flared silver before fading away and once she was done, she stepped away with a cough. Tony shook the hand August had been holding and quickly snagged the waistband of his jeans. He peeked inside and, happy with what he saw, leaned back with a sigh of relief.

“You’re the best,” he said, moving forward to embrace August. Addanc let out a muted growl and Tony stepped back, dropping his arms. “Well, thanks for the …

you know.”

“No problem,” she said, pressing her hand against the stone wall. “Just remember our deal.”

“Cross my heart,” Tony said, etching an X over his reactor. “Toodles.”

He stepped through the glowing white portal that August had conjured for him and was gone. She tapped the portal twice and Louis’s face appeared, looking both bored and upset at the same time.

“Lou, add an addendum to Tony Stark’s file that the counsellors supplied to him going forward will be male,” August said. She hesitated, then added: “Unattractive males.”

Louis released another put-upon sigh and his eyes flicked over her shoulder. “Ugh, is that Addanc with you?” he asked, seemingly appalled.

“Hello to you too,” the lake monster said sarcastically.

“You owe me fifty bucks, you soggy freak!” Louis shouted. “I know where you li -“

August snapped her fingers and the man’s face disappeared suddenly. She stepped out of the room and it vanished behind her as if there hadn’t been anything there in the first place.

“I’m sorry, Logan,” she said, brushing away a piece of hair that had fallen across her face. “Mr. Stark can be a … special case.”

Logan snorted. “You’re preachin’ to the choir.”

She smiled at him and he found himself returning it.

August started walked again and Logan fell in step close behind her, Addanc bringing up the rear. They walked in silence for a few more minutes, the mutant turning over what he’d witnessed in his mind. Gambit would love to hear about Tony.

 Finally, she came to a stop in front of an alcove that was lit by a single torch.

Underneath the light, coated in dust and the webs of a thousand spiders, sat a yellowed and weathered skeleton, a grimy party hat placed at a jaunty angle on his head. A bright purple party blower rested between his cracked and rust-coloured teeth.

“Mervin,” August greeted, crouching down so was face-level with the skeleton. “I need the book.”

The bones rattled, the party hat bouncing with the movement, the party blower tipping precariously.

“I’m sorry to hear that, but it’s not my problem,” she replied gently, placing a hand on Mervin’s shoulder.

The skeleton clattered again, harder this time, and the party blower fell from its mouth and wedged itself between the third and fourth rib.

“What the hell is going on?” Logan whispered to Addanc.

The lake monster leaned forward. “Mervin is Merlin’s lesser known, less magical brother. He’s upset Merl didn’t invite him to the last family reunion.”

“What’s with the get-up?”

“Leftover from New Years, 2013. Never got undressed. Hasn’t been invited to a party since,” Addanc replied. “The guy’s a freakin’ animal when he gets a few in him.”

“Bit of a drinker?” Logan asked.

“If we’re going to be nice about it, yes.”

August stood, brushing the knees of her jeans and a small compartment to the right of Mervin popped open, revealing a thin, bright red cloth bound book. She plucked it from the hole and shut the door, tucking the book into the waistband of her pants. She then turned to the men with a brighter than normal smile.

“All right, all done,” she trilled. “Mervin’s agreed to boost us home, so grab hands please.”

August’s hand was still as cool and dry as earlier and Logan was surprised that Addanc’s hand wasn’t as damp as his lair. Once each hand was clasped, she bid a farewell to the skeleton and it felt like Logan’s eyes stopped working for a brief second.

When they started working again, the trio was standing outside Addanc’s door. He started to reach for it, but was suddenly unable to move. “Fine,” he gritted through his teeth. “Give me a second, huh?”

The spell released and Addanc reached into his back pocket fro his wallet. He pulled out a fifty and slipped in into August’s waiting hand.

“What did you promise Mervin in order to get him to open the door?” Addanc asked as he placed a hand on the rusted ring of his own.

August sighed and placed a hand on her forehead. “He’s coming to this year’s New Year’s party.”

The lake monster whistled. “Christ,” he said, shaking his head. “Well, it’s been a slice. Call me, Gus.”

He vanished with a wink at her and she and Logan began making their way back to the store proper. When they were back behind the counter, August grabbed a plastic bag from the stack and placed the book in it before handing it to Logan.

“Before you go,” August said, lifting the partition. “There are a few things I have to tell you.”

“Yeah?” He leaned towards her, hoping one of them would be her number.

She gestured to the book in his hands. “Firstly, keep it refrigerated until Remy picks it up. Not the freezer—the fridge. That’s very important, okay?”

Logan nodded, not bothering to ask why.

“Secondly, it’s tomorrow.”

Logan wasn’t sure he heard her correctly. He tilted his head. “What?”

“When you came in here, it was yesterday,” she said. “It’s the next day now. Time passes differently in the magic realm than it does here.”

“Shit,” Logan hissed.

“I assumed Remy told you,” August’s eyes widened, “and I realise I shouldn’t have. I’m desperately sorry. You didn’t miss any big plans, did you? A date?”

“Don’t worry—just a hockey game I was lookin’ forward to,” Logan replied. “No big deal.”

She fidgeted for a moment before speaking. “Wouldn’t be the Oilers versus the Flames game, would it?”

Logan nodded slowly. “Yes.”

August slapped the counter and beamed at him. “I PVRed it,” she said. “If you’re so inclined, come by my place tonight and we can watch it.”

Logan admired a woman who liked hockey. “I’ll bring some beer.”

She came through the open partition, a grin on her face. “Don’t eat,” she said. “I’ll make some wings and nachos. Puck drops at six, so be there or be square!”

 August waved at Logan as she locked up behind him and he returned her farewell with a curt nod but he turned away from her with a smile on his face.

He was going to be there—maybe because he turning into such a nice fucking guy.

 


 

August had been right—it was the next day. Mid-morning light was peeking through the dark grey clouds pregnant with snow that hadn’t yet fallen.

Logan’s walk home was quick and uneventful and he prided himself on not stopping to pick up a paper to check the hockey scores from the night before. It’d be a shame to ruin an upcoming evening with a lovely lady.

The first thing he did was grab a beer from the fridge. The second thing he did was place Remy’s book on the top shelf where it would be easily spotted. Not like he’d forget a book in the fridge, but whatever.

Logan sat at the kitchen table and rubbed a hand over his face. He knew he should catch up on some sleep, but the events of last night had him wired.  He popped the cap from the bottle and took a few healthy gulps. As he lowered it, he chuckled at the thought of Mervin, the skeletal party animal.

Remy’d get a kick out of that one, as well as the Tony Stark story. He should text the Cajun; let him know his book was safe and ready for pick up.

Logan reached into his jacket pocket to grab his cell when his hand brushed something unfamiliar. Furrowing his brows, he pulled it out and held it up so he could get a good look at it.

It was a bright purple party blower.


 



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