Salem Center – approximately forty minutes outside Manhattan. This quiet, cloistered campus is home to a rather unique group of young people. Outcasts all, they have come there to learn about the incredible gifts that fate has bestowed upon them and how, as the X-Men, to use those gifts for mankind’s betterment. Unfortunately, the human race at large fears mutants – and so the Xavier Institute for Higher Learning must appear to be no more than an elite academy for blue bloods. Not all its inhabitants, however, fit this illusion.
As Logan exits the cab, the driver tells him that maybe it ain’t his business, but he doesn’t look like a student or a teacher. Logan says he’s right, it ain’t his business. Speeding off, the driver tells him to have a nice day anyway, jerk! Walking up to the mansion with his bag and sword in tow, he thinks to himself that Thomas Wolfe said “you can’t go back home again.” But every time, he traipse backs to this little patch o’ Salem Center, he puts the lie to that statement. There’s more than mere memories to this place. This is where he saw the first glimmer of his true worth. Ain’t no treasure in the world can hold a candle to a glimpse o’ truth.
As he walks up to the mansion, he senses that somethin’ ain’t right. The whole wing was in ruins when he left. Walking through the “wall,” he is greeted by Jean Grey, Bishop, Scott Summers and Hank McCoy. Rushing over towards him, Jean gives him a hug and welcomes him home. She asks him how his trip was to Japan and how his visit with his ward Amiko was. Logan tells her it was interestin’ but it sure is good to be back. He then asks what’s with the part o’ the mansion that exists but not really. Beast points up to a holographic projector and says that it’s taking longer for repairs than they thought and they have to keep up appearances. You never know when interested parties are watching.
Scott asks Logan if he can give them a hand moving the table. Grabbing an end of it, Logan asks where it’s going. Scott informs him into the library, they’re having a little going-away thing for Bobby. Entering the library, Beast announces to Storm and Cannonball to look what the cat dragged in. Ororo exclaims that Logan found his way home again. Hugging her, Logan replies that he’s only been gone a couple o’ weeks, this ain’t exactly the prodigal son returning. Ororo tells him that he was never the wayward son. Hard-headed and brash perhaps, but his heart is always true.
Shaking Sam’s hand, Logan asks him how it’s going and if he’s been takin’ good care o’ his scoot. Sam tells him that he’s been startin’ her up every mornin’, like he said. Logan then asks Jean that Iceman’s really takin’ a leave o’ absence. Jean asks can he blame him. After his experiences undercover in Graydon Creed’s presidential campaign and after what Creed did to his father, he wants to be there for both of his parents in their time of need.
Upstairs, Bobby Drake is packing up his stuff. Recently, his father was gravely injured when he spoke out for mutant rights and it’s caused him to reconsider his relationship with a man he barely knows. Logan arrives at Bobby’s room and asks him if he’s leavin’ the nest. Putting a framed picture of his mom and dad in a box, Bobby replies that it’s funny he should put it that way. Most of them grew up in this place, or at least spent more of their formative years there. He had a whole other life before he even heard of Salem Center.
Looking at a picture of the first X-Men, Logan says to him that he was one o’ the first and that he was already doin’ other things by the time he got there and when he came back, he Logan wasn’t around much. He guesses they never got to really know each other and now he’s leavin’. Bobby takes the picture from him and says that it’s kind of late to start being pals. Logan responds that he guesses so but for what it’s worth, he wanted him to know that he respects him and if there’s ever anythin’ he can do for him and his, he’s there for him. With that, he takes his leave.
Down at the party, Logan stands alone and sips on his beverage. His encounter with Bobby kinda put the damper on the festivities for him. Never was one for partyin’ anyway but that comes with not bein’ properly socialized. Just then, Jean comes up to him with a FedEx package and tells him it just arrived for him from Landau, Luckman and Lake. She adds that he’s never thoroughly explained his relationship with them and, from her experience with them, she doesn’t think they’re overly concerned with his best interests. Logan replies no doubt about it; it’s an outfit you don’t exactly want to know too much about.
Pulling a device out of the package, he mentions that it looks like his contact there, Zoe Culloden, sent along a holographic recordin’ with the papers. When he pushes a button, a holographic version of Zoe appears before him. She apologizes for the holo-image, but they’ve got other concerns at the moment that demand her personal attention. She tells him she’ll be brief and asks that he remove the other object from the package. She is entrusting him with the artifact. Its nature and origin are not necessary for him to know at the present time but she knows it will be safe with him. Zoe then warns him that a dark time is coming. Evil forces are at work and all the continuums are in danger. She tells him that he must have a care. The strings are converging toward him, and he may soon be the nexus of malevolent energies. Zoe then tells him that it is imperative that the object be kept safe, and be kept from falling into the wrong hands.
Opening the tiny box and looking into it, Logan sees a bright light emanating from it. Jean asks him what is in the box, to which Logan replies he’s not sure.
Just then, Ororo interrupts and invites Logan to join Robert and her in the green-house. Once there, Ororo hands Bobby a flower and tells him that she gave one of them to Logan once and, now, she is giving one to him to remember her by. It is a very special hybrid, a mutation actually. Bobby thanks her and says it’s not like he could ever forget her. And he’s not going away forever. If they ever need Iceman, he’ll come running. Ororo tells him that the flower is a hothouse flower and as such, it cannot survive for long outside the special environment. Some would say it’s a bit like them. Well, a bit like some of them. As Storm speaks, she looks over in Logan’s direction.
Later, the X-Men decide to head to Harry’s Hideaway, a local bar. As the male X-Men pile into a car, Logan tells them that Sam can catch a ride with him on his bike. Before he gets on, Sam tells Logan that he’s had a problem gettin’ it to kick over the last few mornin’s. He figured it was the cold. Logan tells him let’s see what she does. When it starts up, Logan points out all of the black smoke and says that’s carbon buildup. A Harley don’t take to bein’ driven like it was goin’ to a Sunday meeting. Ya gotta take it out and let it scream once in a while. With that, Logan and Sam take off in a cloud of dust.
Harry’s Hideaway is a nice enough place if ya like bad pub food served in a place where the “quaintness” is mostly made of plastic. It’s been a Xavier school hangout forever, but it begins to grate on Logan after about ten minutes. Seems like these days, he has too much to say to the more experienced X-Men and not enough to say to the younger ones. Good ol’ Logan. Nice to have him back but he’s still the odd man out. It’s times like these that he misses Kitty, Kurt and Jubilee. Finishing his beer, Logan starts to walk out the door. As he does, he tells Sam that he’s gonna have to find another ride back. He has to talk to some ghosts.
Eventually, Logan makes his way over to the Auger Inn. He likes it there. It may be a ratty ol’ biker bar, but it’s got a good jukebox with what ya might call an eclectic selection. Otis Redding, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Patsy Cline, Glenn Miller, Buddy Holly, Big Bopper, Richie Valens, Lynard Skynard, and Ricky Nelson. They might still be around if they’d taken the bus instead of the plane. A whole lot o’ folks he knows never made it to the bus stop. They might still be around too if they hadn’t crossed path’s with the ol’ canucklehead.
Looking into the mirror behind the bar, he sees Rosie, Archie Corrigan, O’Donnell, and Silver Fox looking back at him, toasting him. Logan replies in kind until the bartender tells him that it’s four a.m. and time to go home. Logan finishes his drink and replies home, oh yeah, that place where he hangs his hat.
Back at the mansion, Logan sits in Professor Charles Xavier’s office. It’s empty these days, bein’ that he turned himself over to the United States government a few weeks back but he still feels like he can talk to him when he’s in there. Talking to himself, Logan asks Charlie what he’s gonna do. He never even knew he needed help until he met him. He thought he could handle anything. He thought he didn’t need nothin’ from nobody. He thought he belonged up in Alpha Flight but he couldn’t cut it there. Then, he came there and, somehow, he fit in and he was understood. The place ain’t the same without him. He was always the guy who had the answers. Answer him this, what do you do when you look down the corridor and all you see is dark. After some time, the sunlight begins to shine through the window. Seeing it, Logan says that Charlie would tell him that the sun comes up every mornin’, and it sure does.
Decked out in his yellow and blue uniform, Logan thinks to himself that it’s funny how they always forget that the demons o’ the wee hours fade away in the light o’ the new day. It’s a new day, time to go to work. Or should he say workout. The Danger Room computer is preset to call him up some battle-bots for a round or two o’ slash and bash just to keep him sharp. After pressing the control button, the backdrop of the room changes to ruins. Logan is surprised; he’s never seen this environment before. Maybe McCoy has been tinkerin’ with the program.
Just then, a voice tells him that the computer is no longer in control there, he is. Logan turns to see a demonic like man, dressed in all red with a cape and wielding an energy sword. Upon seeing him, Logan pops his claws and asks him that he’s the head honcho o’ this nightmare. Too bad for him, he has a problem with authority. Logan then leaps towards him and slashes off one of the demon’s horns and cracks through his armor. The demon falls back slightly and tells him that he would do better to submit to him and that he shall have him in the end, if not in the plane of the living, then in the realm of shadows. Just as he possesses one who was dear to him in the material world.
At that moment, a body arises out of the ground and grabs hold of Logan’s leg. Logan looks down and notices it to be Mariko, much to his dismay. The demon informs Logan that he can bring her back for him. The one person he loved most, long since departed from this world. Full-fleshed with the flush of life on her cheeks and the old fire in her eyes. There is a new power arising, wonders and glories beyond imagining. There are rewards that reach past the grave for those who will be a part of the new order of things. All this, he promises him and all he asks in return is one insignificant favor. Logan tells him that the only favor he’ll get from him is a dose o’ his claws and his own sword in his guts.
Simultaneously, Logan grabs the demon’s sword, and jams his claws into the demon’s arm. After then stabbing the demon in the chest, the demon tells him that he is ever the master of the unpredictable parry and the inexorable thrust. He, more than any other, knows this. As the demon stumbles away it informs Logan that his victory is but a shallow thing and will avail him naught as the skein of his destiny unravels. Even now, she who loves him from beyond the veil of tears reaches out for his embrace. She is possessed of the desperation the dead have for the living. Will he deny her, will he?
With the demon gone, Logan looks down at Mariko and starts to talk to her. Before he can, Stick appears, grabs Mariko’s arm and tells her to let him go. He’s one o’ the live ones, he ain’t fer the likes o’ her, let him go. Pushing her down into the ground with his staff, Stick tells her that she’s tired and her grave’s waitin’ patient for her. Lie quiet. Eternity’s fer sleepin’, fer peach, let it go. Stick then turns his attention to Logan and informs him that the one with the sword is a bad one. He means ta draw him from the path, but he can’t let him do it. There’s too much at stake. He’s the reason he had Elektra pull him back from the brink. Logan asks who he is and what he meant that there is a new power rising. What does he want from him? Stick replies that he’s the enemy. He knows him from a long time ago and his destiny is all tangled up in his. He has to be thinkin’ about what all this means but whatever he decides, he has to stay on the patch. An’ sometimes, that path leads him away from those places that protect him an’ those people who love him. But the alternative is worse. Far worse, does he hear him? As Stick disappears, Logan responds that he hears him.
Later that day, Logan and Sam go for a ride on the motorcycle. As they do, Sam asks why they’re goin’ into Salem Center. Logan replies that they’re goin’ to buy a new scoot. Sam says that he guesses he didn’t take care of his bike good enough. Logan tells him that he did just fine. He was just bein’ too careful and sometimes that can be a fault. At the motorcycle shop, the owner wheels the new soft tail bike out. Logan adds to Sam that the truth is his old scoot is comin’ close to retirement. Just when they get all worn in and comfortable, they get worn out. Trouble is, it takes a good long time to break in a new one. Handing the new keys over to Sam, Logan tells him that he’s gotta promise him he’s gonna ride it hard and get out all the kinks.
Sam is shocked and asks Logan why he can’t do it. Just then, the shop owner tosses Logan his bag and sword. Logan informs Sam that he can’t do it himself because he ain’t gonna be around the mansion fer a while. As he revs up the bike he tells Sam to tell Jean that he’ll call her as soon as he has a number where he can be reached an’ that he’ll be good and ready for their little trip to the fare east. One more thing, tell Storm that the ol’ canucklehead ain’t no hothouse flower for sure.