Disclaimer: I do not own X-Men, and I am receiving no monetary compensation for the writing of this story.
Note: This is the sequel to "Chains" though you don't need to have read the first one to understand this story.
"Everyone hears what you say. Friends listen to what you say. Best friends listen to what you don't say." -- Unknown
There were days when it just didn't pay to turn on your brain. Scott sighed deeply and ran his fingers through his hair. He was glad class was over for the day; and for the week for that matter. He couldn't remember ever needing a Friday afternoon more. Jean wouldn't be here this weekend- she was off scouting for the Professor- and if there was one thing he needed more than a day off it was her supportive presence.
Ducking into their room, he lay down on the bed just relaxing for a moment. He massaged his aching temples, and in a sudden fit of anger threw his glasses across the room. Even as he heard the satisfying smashing of the lenses, he automatically got up and walked over to the dresser and slid his visor on. Other people had powers that had practical and positive attributes; all he did was blow things up. He got so tired sometimes- tired of the control it required. Tired of being the leader and of making sure everything and everybody was all right.
Scott? He could hear the Professor in the back of his mind.
He sighed; he didn't want to deal with anything right now. Yes Professor? he thought.
You're needed in the garage, came the response.
Scott took a deep breath to compose himself and headed toward the garage at a brisk pace. Just outside the door darkness fell over him suddenly. He reached up and felt the sheet draped over his head. "Guess who." Logan's gruff voice was laced with humor.
"Not now, Logan."
"Actually- yes now. You and me are goin' on a little trip."
Scott attempted to pull the sheet off, but Logan stayed his hands. "No peaking. Where we're headed is a surprise."
" Logan, please. You know I enjoy your unique sense of humor as much as the next person, but now's not a good time..."
"Say one more word pretty boy, and I'll make you eat it," came Logan's good-natured reply. "Now are you coming peacefully, or do I get to subdue you?"
Scott pulled away from him, anger getting the better of him. "Look..."
The smooth rumbling of the motorcycle was the first thing Scott heard as he woke. As he slowly pulled himself toward consciousness he became aware of the wind whistling around him, his head against Logan's back, and his hands tied in front of Logan's waist to keep him from falling off. He started to protest, even through the sheet still pulled over his head.
"Just one more word," Logan replied, and then smiled in response to the sudden silence behind him as he gunned the bike faster. "We're almost there."
Scott dozed until he felt the incessant humming of the motor cease. The freeing of his hands followed the familiar sound of Logan's claws sliding out. The sheet was pulled from his eyes, and he shivered from the cool wind as he looked around their destination. A small forest glade was on one side, flanked by large rock formations which extended around behind them to the open mouth of a cave. "Very nice." Scott threw a leg over the bike. "Tell me what are we doing here again?"
Logan grinned at him wildly. "Follow me." He turned and vanished into the cave. Shaking his head, Scott followed.
It was pitch black inside. A few steps in, Scott had already lost Logan. He was about to call him when he felt someone step beside him. Hands reached up and snatched away his visor.
"Hey!" Scott whirled away and covered his eyes; he didn't want to bring the whole cave down around their ears. A hand took him by the arm.
"This way." It was Logan.
" Logan, what is going on?" He allowed the anger and frustration he was feeling to creep into his voice.
"Shhh. This way." Logan guided him deeper into the cave. After awhile their footsteps began echoing strangely, and he knew they were in a large cavern.
" Logan..." His voice bounced off numerous faceted walls and reflected back at him.
"Shhh!" He heard Logan's voice right in his ear as the other man placed his hands on his shoulders. "Now- open your eyes." Scott sighed. What was with Logan today?
Logan whispered in his ear and squeezed his shoulders gently. "Trust me."
One last good sigh of frustration and Scott complied. What he saw took his breath away.
The cave had been eroded out of some sort of white crystalline substance which twisted and hung from the vaulted ceiling, pushed up from the uneven floor, and lay in scattered chucks across the ground. Red light filtered through and refracted about the room, filling it with glowing shadows and brilliant rainbows in every shade of red imaginable. It took Scott a few moments to realize that the light was coming from him.
The crystal absorbed and reflected the beam from his eyes in a way that removed its destructiveness and turned it into... something beautiful. He just stood there drinking it in, like a man suddenly released from a desert to fall into an ocean. Eventually, he reached his hand up and, placing it over Logan's, squeezed his gently. "Thanks," was all that he could manage.
Silently, Logan squeezed his hand back and slipped out from the chamber. Alone, Scott felt fuller than he had in a long time. He had rediscovered an old companion- one that he had forgotten existed, and more recently had come to hate- himself.
When he emerged from the cave it was dark outside and the sky was filled with stars. Logan, sitting with his back against the rocks, looked up at him.
Scott breathed deeply, tasting the wintry air. He grinned at Logan. "My turn to drive."
Scott lay on his bed, unable to sleep yet content to just stare into darkness. The doorknob turned and he sat up wondering who would be coming to his room at this time of night. He moved toward the door as Jean slipped in and shut it quietly behind her. She must have returned early- she wasn't supposed to be back for two more days. Smiling, he came up beside her and wrapped his arms around her waist. She tensed slightly but relaxed when she recognized him. Her hand reached up and stroked his cheek.
"I'm sorry if I woke you."
"No. I just got back, too, and I couldn't sleep."
"Where were you?"
"Mmmm, out with Logan."
She laughed softly, "Well, there's definitely something different about you."
"You're not the gloomy, sullen, little boy I left yesterday. I almost didn't want to come back early if I had to see him, but now I'm glad I did."
He smiled. Feeling her warmth and breathing in the scent of her hair, he whispered, "I'm glad you did, too. I have something I want to show you."