Rating:R (probably more PG-13, but I'm being cautious)
Disclaimer:X-Men and its characters belong to Marvel Comics, 20th Century Fox, and probably a bunch of other people I'm not aware of. No copyright infringement intended.
Classification:Drama, m/m slash, pre-X2, Scott/Logan
Feedback:Always appreciated. Please send to email@example.com.
Notes:For Rhysenn. Hey, lookie, this one isn't 6 months (and counting) late! *g* Hope you like. Oh, and I wrote 90% of this before seeing X2, so anything that doesn't jive with the sequel is because of that. This takes place a couple months after the end of X-Men.
Scott braced his palms against the sleek side of the car and leaned forward, peering under the hood of the silver BMW Z3 that stood open before him. It was quiet. Blissfully quiet.
His eyes fluttered shut behind his ever-present glasses, and he inhaled slowly, his lungs savoring every ounce of oxygen that he ingested. Thank god it was finally quiet.
For whatever reason (the impending midterms, an adolescent predisposition to anarchy, or perhaps even the full moon in the sky), the students had been particularly raucous that night, and Scott was just thankful that they'd all stopped fidgeting and gone to sleep. And the select few who weren't asleep either because they couldn't (poor Ryan, nine years old and already a fount of information when it came to late night television) or wouldn't (John, always the consummate rebel) had been generous enough to let him and the other "teachers" off the hook by feigning sleep.
He enjoyed the company of the youngsters -- thrived on it, even -- but, Jesus, there was only so much he could take. Sometimes, like today, it felt like all he heard were cries that sounded of "Mr. Summers, will ya show Jimmy (or Kyle or Dave or whoever the latest new male student happened to be) how you can blast that tree over there? Puh-leeeease? It's so cool!" No, he didn't want to show Jimmy (or Kyle or Dave or whoever) how he could blast through the tree, and he didn't care how cool his power appeared to be to others, but he usually relented and did so because their needling and whining were more overpowering than any mutant power he'd encountered thus far.
His deep, cleansing breaths now turning into loud sighs of exasperation, Scott dropped his head and attempted to roll the knots out of his shoulders by rotating his head in counter-clockwise circles. It wasn't doing any good.
Truth be told, he was wound up tight, and it had absolutely nothing to do with the students. He knew Jean and the Professor had sensed this, and was grateful that neither had attempted to usher him into a chair for a "talk." Instead they'd allowed him to escape to his beloved garage once all the children had settled down for the night. He'd thought the peace and quiet would soothe his nerves, but he was still on edge, his gaze darting around the brightly lit room as if he were a caged animal.
"God, what the hell is wrong with me?" he mumbled under his breath, his words bouncing off the various vehicles. From the moment he'd woken that morning with that niggling feeling of unease in the back of his mind, he'd done everything he could think of: examined every square inch of the mansion, surveyed the forest that established the perimeter of the campus. But he just couldn't shake the feeling despite how nothing had been remiss. Why did he keep feeling like someone was watching the school, watching him?
And just as he was about to slam the hood down in frustration, a distinct odor wafted through the side door he'd opened earlier for fresh air. Tilting his head to one side, Scott paused, inhaled, and then stepped away from the car, his lips pressed into a tight, displeased line. "Logan."
Scott heard Logan -- his loud, overly amused laughter announcing his arrival -- long before he saw him, but Logan soon materialized in the open doorway, a smoldering cigar resting between his lips as he leaned against the doorjamb. "Miss me, Cyclops?" Logan asked, a corner of his mouth twisting upwards.
Rolling his eyes, Scott turned to face Logan and crossed his arms over his chest. "So, you were the one who was spying on the school all day."
"Spying?" Logan plucked the cigar from his mouth and grinned. "Nah. More like ... observing. And I must say, what I observed doesn't make you look very good. All that running around and you never spotted me once." Clucking his tongue with mock disapproval, he stubbed out the cigar and tossed it onto the floor; it rolled a bit before coming to a halt against the toe of Scott's left shoe. "Looks like Professor Xavier's going to need to find himself another guard dog 'cause the current one's getting kind of ... old."
"Old?" Scott scoffed, an eyebrow arching. "Speak for yourself. Between the two of us, you're the one who looks like he could use a nap." And he did.
Adorned in what appeared to be the same clothes he'd been wearing when he'd departed from the school months earlier (they hadn't been torn or wrinkled or stained then, though), Logan bristled at the insult and ran a hand through his hair. Hair, Scott was almost giddy to notice, was so overgrown that it was ridiculously close to being a full-blown pompadour.
"I've been on the road," Logan stated through gritted teeth as he moved his right foot forward and took a step towards Scott.
"But now you're back. Why?" Scott challenged, taking a step forward himself.
"I came to return your bike." One more step.
"The bike you stole from me?" Another step.
"The bike I borrowed," Logan corrected as he came to a stop a foot away from Scott. "Didn't you catch the part where I said I was returning it? Thieves don't usually return what they steal."
Firmly holding his gaze on Logan, Scott chuckled and deadpanned, "They would if they're not very smart."
A tense second passed between them as Scott watched Logan's jaw muscles clench and unclench several times. He could just imagine Logan picturing him skewered on those claws of his. Then, suddenly, Logan erupted in laughter. "I see you've been working on those comebacks while I was gone, kid," he said as he reached out to slap Scott on the back. "Not bad. Almost had me going there."
With the hostility now more or less gone, Scott relaxed his arms down to his sides and offered a half-smile in response to Logan's comments. "So, seriously, what are you doing here?"
"Told you. Returning your bike." He gestured towards the open door with his head.
"And ... nothing." Shoving his hands into the side pockets of his jeans, Logan looked down at the floor and began scuffing at a grease mark with his right foot. "Let's not make this a bigger deal than it is, okay?"
Scott hesitated, a taunt about how maternal Logan was becoming in his old age burning his tongue. He knew Logan had returned because he'd wanted to check up on Rogue, make sure she was okay, and he wanted to do nothing more than rib the man mercilessly for this. But, feeling charitable -- and, really, how could you fault a guy for worrying about a friend? -- Scott relented and allowed the subject to drop unresolved. "How did things go at Alkali Lake?" he instead chose to ask.
"It was cold."
When it became apparent that Scott wasn't going to allow this subject to pass until he'd heard more, Logan sighed and continued, "It was lots of snow on top of even more snow, and absolutely no answers. If anyone there knew anything about covert experiments being conducted on mutants fifteen years ago, they were keeping their mouths shut. Happy now?"
The two men once again faced off against each other in silence until Scott chose to break the stillness. "Rogue's fine, in case you're wondering. She's doing well in her classes, has made lots of friends, and her nightmares have pretty much gone away. Both Jean and the Professor have been working with her to make sure she's ... adjusting."
Logan nodded appreciatively. "Good." Pulling his hands out of his pockets to adjust the fit of his jacket, he suddenly became full of nervous energy as he tugged on the hem of his shirt, ruffled his hair some more, and shuffled the position of his feet on the floor. "Good," he repeated, this time with more conviction and less concern. "The kid deserves a break."
Another bout of silence stretched out between them, this one more awkward than any of the others had been.
"Yeah, so, um ..." Logan looked around the room, as if he might discover a script for what he should say next hidden under a car or behind a toolbox, and did a quick about-face. "Your bike's outside, tell everyone I said hi, and I'll see ya around." He lifted his left arm in what may have been a half-wave and began to exit out the door he'd just walked through a few minutes earlier.
"Wait, you're--" Without even bothering to finish his sentence, Scott charged after Logan's departing figure and grabbed onto the collar of his jacket. "What the hell do you think you're doing?" he demanded as he pulled Logan back into the garage and slammed him up against one of the walls adjacent to the door.
"What the--" Logan wrestled himself out of Scott's grasp and roughly pushed him aside. "Jesus Christ, have you completely lost it?"
Livid, Scott balled his hands into fists and contemplated removing his glasses just to see how sarcastic and belligerent Logan could be when fried to a crisp. "You're such a bastard," he managed to say without shouting.
Logan smoothed out the front of his shirt and glared at Scott, a derisive smile plastered across his face. "Has the old ball and chain been playing a little hard to get lately? Made you a little frustrated so that you're looking for a fight?"
Before he even had a chance to laugh at his own remarks, Scott's hand lashed out and wrapped itself around his neck. "You. Little. Piece. Of. Shit," Scott seethed, his fingers compressing more and more with each word that left his mouth.
Logan had anticipated Scott becoming pissed off -- that had been his goal, after all, when he'd said what he did -- but he hadn't anticipated how quickly or harshly Scott would react, and now found himself unable to extract himself from the younger man's ironclad grip. He knew he could easily turn the tables by releasing his claws and attacking Scott outright, but he honestly didn't want to injure him fatally. Plus, Scott was effectively cutting off his air supply and he could feel his consciousness slowly slip away.
Leaning in until his face was mere inches from Logan's, Scott hissed, "One, don't ever" -- his fingers squeezed a bit more and Logan was unable to stop the wince that overtook his face -- "mention Jean again. And two, how could you even think about leaving without saying hi to Rogue, letting her know you're okay? Do you have any idea how worried that girl's been about you since you left? Every day for the past two months, she's made sure to ask me or the Professor or Jean or Ororo whether we've heard from you, whether it'd be good idea to send someone out to make sure you were all right. She's been worried sick and you can't even bother to wait four fucking hours until she wakes up so you can let her know in person that you're fine? You don't deserve to have someone like her worry about you." Now that he'd said his piece, Scott released his hold on Logan's neck and shoved him backwards.
Rubbing his abused neck, Logan narrowed his eyes and retorted, "What the hell do you care who worries about me? Or are you thinking of trading in your 'girl' for a younger model?"
This time Logan was prepared for Scott's attack and easily blocked the right hook that Scott aimed at his chin. He wasn't quite as lucky with blocking Scott's left cross, however, and was momentarily dazed when it connected with his cheek. But he recovered quickly by grabbing handfuls of Scott's shirt, pulling him close, and then head butting him. This sent Scott reeling backwards into the car he'd been inspecting earlier.
Both men glowered at each other as they attempted to catch their breaths, their heavy pants filling the room. "You're a sanctimonious prick, you know that, Summers?" Logan goaded between gulps of air.
"Yeah? Well, I'd rather be that than a heartless ass. Would it kill you to spend five minutes with Rogue?"
"God, will you give that a rest already?" Logan exhaled loudly and swiped at the air in annoyance. "You think I don't want to see the girl? I do! But I know how hard it was for her to see me go the first time, and I ... I'm not like you guys. I can't just sit around here waiting for something -- anything -- to happen. I will leave again, and I don't want to hurt her when I do. Things are just easier this way."
"For who? Her or you?"
Narrowing his eyes in anger, Logan looked hard at Scott and immediately hated how cool and unaffected the younger man seemed. He wasn't even out of breath anymore. "You think you know everything, don't you? Well, guess what? You don't. You don't know a thing about me." Scott continued to stare at him stoically and appeared unmoved by his words, which enraged Logan even more. The blades within his arms were now itching to become unsheathed. "I was done with Alkali two weeks after I got there. Wanna know what I've been doing for the past six? I've been out there" -- he stabbed his thumb in the direction of the door behind him -- "protecting Rogue."
"She doesn't need any protection when she's here."
"God, are you serious? Have you forgotten about that whole battle we fought with Magneto and his lackeys? Well, I haven't, and I've spent the past six weeks making sure none of them decide they'd like to promote themselves into his vacant position." He stalked over to Scott and sneered, "You can thank me later."
Scott held him with a measured gaze before drawing his face even closer to Logan's. "I think you're scared."
Matching Scott's intensity, Logan closed the distance between them even more. His reflection was so clear in Scott's lenses that he almost felt like he was arguing with himself. "I'm not scared of anything."
"No, you're scared of being here, staying here, forging real relationships, and finding out what it's like to have someone care about you as much as you care about them. You're scared of all that. And the truth is," Scott murmured, his lips now centimeters from Logan's, "none of that's anything to be scared of at all." And then his lips were on top of Logan's, his right hand behind Logan's head, pulling him closer, holding him tight.
It was a fierce kiss, one meant to convey a message rather than an emotion, and a thousand thoughts flooded Logan's mind as he felt Scott's heat, inhaled his scent. He knew he should fight -- fight and then run, to be more precise -- and he even lifted an arm to ram against Scott's head, but Scott pulled away, his lips swollen and a lush red. The rest of his face, however, was unflustered and bore no evidence of their kiss.
Crossing his arms, Scott surveyed Logan and couldn't stop from smiling when he saw the mixture of anger and unabated pleasure that filled Logan's face. "Feels good, doesn't it?" Scott asked, forcing his voice to remain nonchalant. "To be so close to someone?"
Logan glared and a snarl escaped from his mouth. Who the fuck did Cyclops think he was? Lecturing him about love, of all things? He cracked his neck and prepared to charge, no holds barred this time, when a more effective mode of retaliation occurred to him. "What would Jean say if she'd seen you just now? Her precious Scotty making out with another man? Oh, I think I can hear her poor heart breaking already."
The mention of Jean's name produced the exact effect Logan had wanted. Scott was back in his face in a matter of a seconds, his mouth set into a grim frown. "I thought I'd told you never to mention her name again," he snapped, the words full of vile.
And as Logan coolly stared at Scott's enraged face, he realized what it was he wanted.
Scott's lips were parted, an insult moments away from being unleashed, when Logan slammed their mouths together, his hands gripping the sides of Scott's head, his fingers digging into Scott's skin. His tongue pushed past Scott's lips, striking hard enamel before Scott tilted his head so that their mouths would have better access to each other.
Soon, Scott's hands were in Logan's hair, and Logan's hands were clutching Scott's back as both men nipped and sucked, pulled and pushed. They fought each other for dominance, with neither fully seizing it as Scott tangled his legs with Logan's and propelled him towards the nearest wall just before Logan flipped Scott around so that Scott would be the one with his back pressed against the concrete.
Logan lazily traced Scott's lower lip with his tongue before drawing it into his mouth, savoring the appreciative gasp that escaped from the back of the younger man's throat. And then, just as his hand burned a fiery trail down Scott's torso, the lights flickered off and Logan froze.
He sniffed at the darkness that surrounded him, his senses in overdrive. Who'd turned off the lights?
But then his anxieties dissolved as he felt Scott slide a hand under his T-shirt. "Welcome back, Wolverine," Scott mumbled slyly, the vibrations of his words against Logan's skin sending shivers of ecstasy up and down his body. Logan could feel the upward curve of Scott's lips as he folded himself back into their embrace. Maybe sticking around the school wouldn't be such a bad idea after all.