Title: Two Moments
Author: Avaera
Rating: K+
Summary: Two moments with Scott, one that Logan regrets and one he doesn't. Spoilers for X3. Friendship, not slash.
Author's Notes: The first scene has dialogue lifted directly from the X3 script. I don't own that. I also do not own the characters, though I'd certainly like to yoink them from the X-Men universe and take them home with me.

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The word regret comes from Old French. Regret itself has been around from the beginning of humankind and it, perhaps it alone, will transcend the ages.

01. End

These are the last words they will ever speak to one another, but neither of them knows it.

It is early morning, ridiculously early in fact, and Logan is in a foul mood.

As he sees Scott approach, he finds that he can scarcely contain his irritation. It is thanks to this man that he missed out on a morning meal and was forced to spend a good hour of his life watching some kids try to bite off more than they could chew. So as Scott comes by, a backpack slung over his shoulder, his chin showing several days' worth of stubble, Logan knows he can do one of two things: drop the matter or confront.

He chooses, of course, the latter. "Hey Scott," he begins, almost conversationally, knowing from experience that it's best to lure the quarry into a false sense of security. Then his tone shifts, becomes more biting, "They were looking for you downstairs. You didn't show."

"What do you care?"

"Well for starters, I had to cover your ass."

Scott turns, and looks at him – and Logan is suddenly struck by the depth of the pain etched in the other man's features. He finds his irritation dissolving, as swiftly as one of Bobby's ice sculptures might melt in the Sahara Desert.

"I didn't ask you to."

Logan moves forward so he can meet Scott. He can almost see Scott's hackles rising; Scott's always been the type to favor meeting his opponent from a distance. However Logan is not in the mood for a fight; rather he finds his words oddly lacking in any real irritation. "No, you didn't. The professor did. I was just passing through."

"So pass through, Logan."

In the old days, that curt order, that sarcastic inflection, might have boiled Logan's blood. Today it does nothing. "Hey, look," he says, and reaches out a hand to touch the edge of Scott's frayed leather jacket. When has the other man started wearing that? Where are the clean polo tees, the meticulously ironed collared shirts? Despite himself, Logan is more disconcerted than he would like at the change.

Scott looks at where Logan's grabbed him, then rakes his eyes upward. His features are expressionless, and Logan finds this emptiness more disturbing than the new wardrobe. Subconsciously, his tone softens. "I know how you feel."

Feelings are not a topic Logan is familiar or comfortable with, and he's sure it reflects in his voice, but neither can he let Scott walk by without saying anything. Logan would never hesitate to slit the throat of a vicious wolf, but he would never kick a puppy.

The lines of Scott's mouth tighten ever so surreptitiously. "Don't."

"When Jean died – " and here, Logan has to swallow hard. Even now, the words are still difficult to say because to say them is to acknowledge and relive the sheer cruelty of reality.

The words affect Scott, too. The man's jaw clenches and he fairly hisses, "I said, 'don't.'" However rather than pull away, his entire body stiffens and he seizes Logan's arm with his free hand, his grip hard enough to leave bruises.

For an achingly long moment, Logan doesn't know what to say and his eyes simply flicker over Scott's face, trying to find something in there that might be recognizable. This is a Scott that is a stranger; this is a shell of a man. "Maybe it's time for us to move on," he finally says, his tone weary. He does not have the heart to quibble with the man, not when both of them have lost a piece of themselves.

His face like a mask, Scott holds the stare only long enough to break it. "Not everybody heals as fast as you, Logan," he says, and then there is only the sound of fading footsteps.

Logan stands there, unmoving, disbelieving. See, this is what nobody has ever understood about his power. He heals, yes, but it still hurts, and even he has wounds that have scarred him forever. Scott may think he's healed, but Logan knows the truth. He feels the agony beat in his heart every morning when he wakes, the vast emptiness that nothing – no amount of slashing, screaming, or sobbing – has ever been able to fill.

He thinks, perhaps, that he should run after Scott. That he should grab him by the shoulder and drag him to Charles, lock him in his room, hit some sense into him – anything! Wolverine knows that grief is not a friend. Or at the very least, he thinks he should have followed him, made him listen.

But he can't. He stays, rooted in place, because Scott's words have struck him deeper than anyone would ever realize. Because he knows the dangers of succumbing to grief, and he knows that he himself is enveloped, still, in her bittersweet caress.

02. Charades

This is how Logan will remember Scott.

It's a rainy Saturday afternoon, the fifteenth consecutive day of rain. The students are ready to riot and the teachers are running low on patience. However somehow, somewhere Scott has procured forth a game. That is a mystery in itself – nobody thought the austere Scott Summers would ever indulge in any activity without an educational or worldly purpose – but somehow he has one:

"Charades," Bobby says, his eyes bright with anticipation. "We split into two teams, with one person on the team drawing a card and having to act out the word without sound. Their teammates have thirty seconds to guess what the word is – "

"Geez, Bobby, everyone knows how to play!" says John, snagging the box of cards from Bobby's hand. "Let's get a move on."

From his position in the doorway, Logan mutters something under his breath that sounds like 'waste of time', and Jean overhears him. She leans over and whispers into his ear: "Humor the kids, won't you?"

"We humor them all the fuckin' time. They're spoiled rotten, Jean."

Her smile is discreet. "You might find you like Charades."

"But do us all a favor, Logan," Scott interrupts, "and try to quell your feral urges to stab any moving object within your immediate vicinity."

Logan swears that Scott somehow managed to smirk while saying those words. With a soft growl, he pulls himself from the door and in two quick strides, finds himself towering over Cyclops. Scott doesn't deign to rise from the couch; he simply smiles that infuriating little smile.

"The Capture the Flag thing was over three months ago," Logan says defensively.

"And since that incident, we've learned not to invite you in such games."

"Watch it, One-Eye - "

"Come on!" Bobby protests. "Let's just play already!"

"If you insist, Bobby," Scott says genially, and as Bobby beams proudly, Logan rolls his eyes at how deceived everyone else is, how none of them fail to grasp the sheer annoyance that is Cyclops.

"You bet, Mr. Summers!" Bobby springs up. "Okay. So Ms. Grey and Mr. Summers are on my team against John, Rogue, and uh – Logan."

"Unfair," John says, "You guys have a telepath and two teachers!"

"When did I volunteer to play?" Logan demands in the same breath.

"Well we only have three teachers," Bobby says, choosing to answer John's concerns.

"No, kid, learn to count. You have two." That comes from Logan.

Bobby throws his hands up in exasperation. "We can't play with five people!"

"Get that kid with the fucking clones in here. Then you'll have as many as you need."

"Don't swear around the students, Logan."

Logan wheels around, and with a soft snikt, pops out his middle claw. "I'll swear as much as I fucking like, Cyclops. Unless you want to lose your one remaining eye."

"No, kid, learn to count. I have two."

At that, Logan snarls something and advances, but as he's trying to decide whether he'd rather take off Cyclops' head or simply run him through a couple of times, Bobby interrupts:

"Come on, guys," he pleads. "Let's just do it."

John giggles, and Rogue rolls her eyes and mutters, "Boys."

"Of whom are the teams composed?" says Scott.

"Mr. Summers, Logan, and myself against Ms. Grey, John, and Rogue," Bobby says. "That cool with everyone?"

"Maybe you, but it burns me up!" John cackles, and Rogue throws a pillow at him. "What? I thought it was hilarious! Burns, get it?"

"Sugah, ya ain't got a good sense of humor."

Scott smiles tolerantly and says, "All right, folks, let's focus. I think Bobby might transmute us into ice sculptures if we don't begin."

"Sounds like you're our first volunteer, dear," Jean says, and the words aren't a suggestion. This Scott recognizes immediately. Flashing Logan a smile that shows all of his teeth but no humor, he stands up, steps neatly around Wolverine (who still has claw out), and takes his place in the center of the room.

"Who will be monitoring the time?"

Logan scoffs. "They call it a timekeeper. What the fuck is with this 'time-monitor' word?"

"Logan…"

"I will keep the time," Jean interrupts, shooting Scott a look that on the surface alone is sweet. It is another sign that Scott recognizes and responds to. He reaches for the box of cards.

"You can start…" Jean begins, looking intently at her watch, "Wait. Hold on. The minute hand isn't quite at the – now!"

Scott holds up two fingers. Two words. Then he points skyward and pretends to be observing something very intently.

"Watching! Birdwatching! Birds! Planes! Birdwatching!" Bobby starts his guessing. "Geez, Mr. Summers, do something more!"

As if he hasn't heard, Scott simply points more intently at the ceiling.

"Ceiling?" Logan offers.

More pointing.

Meanwhile Bobby's mantra of guesses hasn't ceased: "Balloons! Blue! Clouds! Jets! Airplanes! The sky! The roof! The stars!"

At the last word, Scott breaks out into an unnaturally wide grin and nods. Then he abruptly shifts and crouches, his hands held out in front of him as if he were…holding a gun.

"War," Logan says.

Bobby is faster to string the words together. "Star Wars!"

Scott nods and grabs another card. This one he stares at intensely for a moment, his expressions contorting into a bewildered frown.

"HURRY UP!" Bobby says. "Do whatever it is!"

If Logan is reading the other man's expression right, he can almost swear that Scott looks embarrassed.

Scott holds his hands together in front of him, palms out, and then separates them as though he's opening some invisible elevator door. He repeats the motion twice, but even Bobby has absolutely no idea what words he could possibly guess.

"Ten seconds," Jean says.

Scott grimaces. He then stands with his feet shoulder-length apart and begins to sway back and forth with his hips, gyrating furiously.

So of course Logan guesses the only thing that he can think of.

"Humping!"

"NO!" Scott bursts out, his face now undeniably a trace redder than usual. "MERMAID!"

"Mermaid!" Bobby sputters incredulously, Rogue breaks out into an embarrassed giggle, and John rolls on the floor laughing. Eventually even Scott breaks out into an exasperated sort of smile.

And this is how Logan wishes to remember Scott: as a man who is not always perfect, who is infuriating and aggravating, but a man who can stare at his claws unflinchingly, with that little smirk on his face, with that real, almost tentative smile that blooms when least expected – a man unbroken.

This is the moment he will never regret.

The End