Comfort in Silence
by DebC

If anyone questioned the first time Scott walked over to the table in the back of the crowded dining room and sat down next to a surly Logan, they didn't do so loudly. At least, not with their voices. Eyes, however, followed Scott across the room and watched with curiosity as he sat and started eating.

Logan's dark, narrowing eyes were among their numbers. Then, after a few seconds of glaring suspiciously at him, Logan snorted and turned back to his own meal. They ate in silence, neither man speaking and only occasionally looking at each other. Scott's eyes were thoughtful; Logan's wary.

The process repeated the next evening, and the next. And the next.

"You don't have to keep doing this, you know," Logan told him after their fifth straight dinner together. It was the first time they'd actually spoken to each other.

Scott stopped eating and set down his fork. "No, I don't have to," he said quietly. "I need to."

He needed to because, of all the others here at the school or on the team, Logan was the only one who knew the pain he still felt so sharply. The pain of losing Jean. The irony of this--Logan was the only one who hadn't tried to comfort him. Professor Xavier had offered them both counseling, Storm a friendly shoulder to cry on, and most of the students had offered condolences.

Logan had steered clear after that that first initial shock and the awkward, clinging hug they'd shared. But it was Logan whom Scott sought out, and strangely, when he said that he needed to, Logan understood. Logan shrugged, dismissing his earlier comments to Scott, and finished his meal in silence.

***
A few nights after they'd cleared the air at dinner, Logan found Scott in the common room, sitting alone in the dark.

"Don't sleep much, do you?"

Scott's head turned in the direct of his voice. "Not anymore. It's not the same without..."

Without Jean beside him in the bed. Logan stiffened a little, his jaw tightening with the remnants of jealousy he couldn't help. Shoving the thoughts aside, he left the shadows by the door and came into the room.

"Same here." He hadn't ever slept well, but since the stand off at Alkali Lake, real sleep was non-existent. He'd killed the only person who could possibly have ever understood him, and then watched helplessly as Jean sacrificed herself to save the rest of them.

Logan didn't like being helpless. He suspected Scott disliked it just as much, especially when it came to his girl. His girl. Their girl, in some ways. They'd both loved her. They'd clung to each other--watching her be swept away--each holding on to the last bastion between himself and losing her.

Logan didn't want to need Scott. He didn't *need* anyone. Never had. Yet, somehow this last scrimmage between right and wrong had changed that.

Not bothering to elaborate, Logan chose a chair across the room from Scott and sat down.

***

Scott shoved the test papers aside, spilling them off the bed. He remembered a time when he could do this--grading papers on their bed, Jean's presence next to him as comforting and familiar as an old, loved blanket. She was gone, though, and the simplest thing like grading tests late at night was more of a frustration than before.

They used to do this together, for their respective classes--she'd stop to rub his shoulders, he'd go to the kitchen to fix her tea. Chamomile, with honey and a drop of lemon.

The chamomile reminded him of Jean, and he's down stairs and the kitchen is door half-opened before he realized he doesn't particularly like chamomile.

Logan sat at the table, peeling the label off a beer bottle when Scott entered. "Want one?" he asked gruffly.

"Those are--"

"Against the rules, I know." Logan didn't look like he cared. "I think he--" (obviously meaning Professor Xavier) "--knows anyway."

Scott nodded.

"Sure you don't want one?"

It's wasn't chamomile, and the bitter taste of cheap alcohol stung his throat on the first swallow. He coughed, and Logan chuckled.

"She chose you," he said, reiterating something he'd told Scott once before. This time, he didn't sound as jealous or as angry.

"She chose us all," Scott whispered around another choking swallow of beer.

Logan nodded, patting his shoulder and raised his bottle in a silent salute to their girl. Scott mimicked him, the cheap brown glass of their bottles clinking together.