Miles to Go~ by Crunch
*Shrug* Another day, another one-shot. Feedback, please?

Disclaimer: I don't own the x-men. You knew that.

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Pain: pain screaming through every part of his body, running through every vein and every tendon, pounding in his brain like a jackhammer. His legs, his chest, his neck- God, even his blood vessels hurt. Pain so intense that the moment Scott Summers awoke, he wished with all of his heart that he could slip back into the black oasis of unconsciousness once more.

After toying with the idea for a second or two, he shook his head, regretting the movement afterwards. But now was not the time to sleep.

*The woods are lovely dark and deep. but I have promises to keep. . .*

Right. Miles to go, and all that. Amused at the thought, or as amused as he could be in the iron grips of pain, Scott set about the task of waking up, flexing his muscles and slowly prying himself from the concrete rubble beneath him. Taking the rip-the-band aid-off approach, he gave sitting up a go.


He collapsed to the floor, chest heaving and muscles screaming. Bad plan.

With the back of one muscled hand, blackened with the ashes of God knows what, he paused to wipe the beads of exertion from his forehead, starting at the blood inked onto his fingers when he drew the hand away. Still foggy from the blow, he brought his fingertips as close to his face as the pain in his arm would allow, to be sure that he wasn't mistaken. Because the ruby quartz turned the whole world a nice shade of bloody red, the sticky fluid was tinted a chocolate syrup color, like the special effects from an old black and white film reel- but he'd seen enough of the stuff since his mutation was triggered to identify it on sight.

Alright, so he was bleeding. No big deal. No one ever died of a little blood.

Unless they bled to death.

Scott shook the thought from his still fuzzy brain. He doubted that blood was his biggest problem at the moment, and with that thought, he turned his attention to more important matters, assessing his injuries as he'd done so many times in the past.

He flexed his fingers, wiggled his toes, arched his back, despite the screams of protest that oozed from every joint. No paralysis here. For once, fortune smiled. Time to try standing.

*. . . and miles to go before I sleep. . .*

As Scott clamored stiffly to his feet, moving first one throbbing arm beneath him, then inching a foot onto flat ground, then peeling his aching back from the dust, every muscle begged for him to lie down, to give in, to give up. But he staggered upwards still, because that's what he did, what he always did- stood up, when all he wanted to do was lie back down.

"Back for more, Cyclops?" Blinking the cobwebs of head trauma from his eyes, Scott stared down the figure in front of him, standing lethal among the ruins. Dusty black leather and spiked boots, a wildly bearded face beneath sneering hazel eyes and a jagged, unkempt mane of hair, the flash of metal skewers in the dim lighting of electrical fires. . . all in all, the man looked none the worse for the devastation they'd caused between them. He looked very much like his old self, the man he'd been when he left the school in search of his past six months ago. . . he looked like Logan.

"Ready when you are." Logan smiled a wolfish smile and popped his claws, sharpening them against each other with a sound like fingernails on a blackboard.

"You sure about that, Boy? From where I stand, you aint lookin' so good."

It was true- after all, Logan's body was packing twenty pounds of stainless steel and an inhuman strength, while Scott's mutation had left him with an uncanny head for numbers and a pare of lovely crimson eyes- no super strength there. And each time he made a move to blast Logan into Kingdom Come, something held his fingers from the dial. . . something in the face of the man he still considered his friend. He wasn't ready. So, unwilling to use his optic blasts just yet, he'd gotten his ass somewhat effectively kicked.

Even now, as Logan stood grinning and unscathed, he swayed unsteadily on his feet. "Fight's over, Scotty. You've been very brave, but now- it's over. You can't shoot me. You don't want to. So why don't you just admit defeat? Just lay back down. I promise- I'll make it quick."

*. . . but I have promises to keep. . .*

Scott shook his head groggily at the offer. "I think I'll take my chances, thanks."

"Oh, Cyclops." Logan held out his clawed hands pleadingly, almost sympathetic. "I was like you, ya know. I know how you feel. But you're just a child. This aint your fight, and you can't win it, you can't beat me. You can't run anymore."

"Neither can you." Logan cocked his head, confused, and then he understood. In the midst of the rubble of the abandoned warehouse, with a good forty feet between him and the unsteady young man, and all cover destroyed in the battle, he'd been caught in open country.

Scott could sense Wolverine trying to gage the distance between them, the wheels in his head turning as he guessed at whether or not he could clear the forty or so feet between them before his opponent got a shot off. Scott had already worked it out- Logan couldn't. With no pillars to dash behind, and no fallen comrades near enough to use as hostages, Wolverine was a sitting duck.

His jaw tightened in concentration, Scott's fingers flitted to the dial in his visor. Logan blanched visibly, feral eyes widening with fear for the first time. "Now- now I know you, Cyclops. I know you're a good guy- you're THE good guy. You're better than this. . . that's why I- I like you, Scott. I never told you, but I really do. You're like my brother. You ARE my brother." The look on his face was enough to break your heart and soul. "Please. . . please, just gimme a chance? You. . . you wouldn' hurt me, would you? You wouldn' kill your friend?"

Scott let his mouth stray into a bitter smile. "You're not my friend. You're no one." The visor opened and the laser beam streamed out in a crackling blast of blood red before Logan could protest.

He staggered backwards as Logan grimaced, his familiar face a mask of pain and betrayal, his eyes already clouding over in death. Then, with an unearthly growl and a high pitched scream, hands clutching at the smoldering wound in his stomach, Wolverine sank towards the concrete as he melted into a puddle of midnight blue scales. By the time the figure hit the ground, Mystique's treacherous yellow eyes were sealed shut in death.

"My friend Logan hates my guts. Your mistake." Sighing deeply, Scott picked his way through the rubble and trudged out of the collapsing warehouse, ignoring the ache from his toes to his head to his heart ( because that's the kind of guy he was), as all traces of Logan faded into the shape shifter's own scaly corpse behind him.

*And miles to go before I sleep*

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