TITLE: Green

AUTHOR: Sharkbait

RATING: PG-13

CHARACTER: Logan

SUMMARY: Memories, dreams, reality - they're all the same color.

DISCLAIMER: Everything belongs to Marvel. And 20th Century Fox. Or is it 21st Century Fox now? Hm. The song snippet is "Mairzy Doats" and it was written by Milton Drake, Al Hoffman, and Jerry Livingston. I'm guessing it belongs to them, too? It's hard to tell.

WARNING: Disturbing content


It's cold and wet and dark where he is, but that's okay. Cold and wet makes him think of that-place-where-he-used-to-live, that he liked a lot. They give him a feeling in that thing that's not his head and not his stomach, and it's kind of a sad hurting wanting feeling, but it feels kind of good, too.

He used to be afraid of the dark, a long time ago when he was small and didn't have fur. No, hair, it was hair, and he couldn't forget that, or who knows what else he might forget. Like his favorite shirt or Mississippi or that song he heard one time before he was Here.

Or his name. His name. His name...his name was...was...

M-I-S-S-I-S-S-I-P-P-I

The dark doesn't scare him anymore. At least, he likes to think it doesn't. Sometimes when he isn't trying so hard, he's small and doesn't have hair again in his mind, and then he knows that there's things in the dark that can get him.

Things that buzz, with sharp, shiny, spinning teeth -

There used to be other things, that made it go away. Back when he really was little and hairless, there were things (lanterns) that he lit with little sticks (matches) to keep the dark out. But Pa said oil costs too much, so he could only light it when it was really bad, when Pa was gone out trapping furs and meat to tide them through the winter and he was all alone in the cabin. There were things in the dark then too, but they were different, men with brown skin and black eyes who maybe would be nice and maybe wouldn't be, you just never knew sometimes.

It's not as dark as it was when the lantern was cold, though. There's a little bit of light, but it's a green sick kind of light that makes it worse somehow, not better, and he can never decide whether he wishes it would stay or go and let it be as dark as before.

His eyes are burning, stinging, like he got soap in them again, shampoo maybe, which hurts like a sonuva' bitch and would leave a red spot, if he ever got red spots.

So hard to breathe, even if they gave him the black-thing-that-goes-over-his-face that keeps him from drowning, like last time. Or was it the time before that? Or maybe the time before that? It was sort of fuzzy in his head, after all this time (and he thinks it's been at least an 'all this time' since they did it last).

Speaking of, they'd changed again, learned from their mistakes. The ink had washed away last time, so now they had put it under his skin, to keep it there.

The tattoos itch like crazy, like little bugs crawling through the hair he used to have, but was gone now. It would be back soon, but until then, he'd be like when he was small. Only he wasn't small anymore. And if he wasn't small anymore, he had to be brave, couldn't be scared of the dark, of the shiny things in the dark that buzzed and whirled.

What was his name? If he could just remember his name, he'd be okay, he'd be okay...

Mairzy doats and dozy doats and liddle lamzy divey, a kiddley divey too, wouldn't you?

A kiddley divey too, wouldn't you?

There it is. They've started, he can feel the buzzing in his bones. Nonononononono, not again! They're all around the cabin, and Pa shoulda' been back by now, and he's supposed to protect the cabin, but he can't protect his bones.

He begins to struggle, thrashing against the straps that hold him in place as best he can. Bubbles roil and churn, and crowd into his face 'til bubbles are almost all he can see.

But they aren't everything he can see, and he's glad for it, but scared too, like with the light and just as bad.

Bubbles everywhere, like the champagne in the men's glasses, and he doesn't know if their skin is brown, but their eyes look black, black, black.

Oh God, Oh God, the spinning, shining things in the dark are out, and they're biting him, sinking into him, and they killed Pa, and the lantern is burning, but he can't remember his name-

He sits up, claws twitching in his arms, but not quite unsheathing. He's learned his lesson about that.

He squeezes his eyes shut, and clutches his sheets, fighting the shakes. It's not real, I'm not really there, it's not real... he thinks, trying to ground himself in the Now like the Professor taught him. I'm in my bed, in my room at the mansion. I'm not there anymore, I'm here, and I'm safe.

It's not enough though, he has to see to believe it. He forces his eyelids apart, despite the voice of his instincts which howls NO, and then sighs in relief, laying back against his pillow. He's in his room, in his bed, not in Canada, not in the tank.

He's in his room. His green room, with green carpet, green walls, green furniture, green linens...

Then the buzzing is there, fills his ears. He screams as the things in the dark with shiny, sharp, spinning teeth cut into his tattooed body.

And the world is GREEN -

Logan jerked awake, mouth dry as an old rag, and grabbed a handful of sheets, staring at them desperately.

White, just as they had been when he'd gone to bed. He ran an unsteady hand through his hair, and tried to get his wild panting under control. Deep breaths now.

Inhale. Exhale. Inhale.

Dark brown ceiling, great slats of antique wood.

Exhale.

White walls.

Inhale.

Futon made of pine, with a clear, glistening lacquer finish. No other furniture.

Exhale.

Oak floor, red throw rug, no carpet.

There. He was firmly planted in the present. Logan pinched himself, just to make sure, and finally let himself relax a little, though tension still practically hummed through his body.

Hell of a dream tonight. The ending was particularly ugly. It never got any easier, even if he'd had it too many times to count using both hands, both feet, and all his teeth. The visceral horror of being back There and that cruel final trick always caught him straight in the gut. Each time, he never saw it coming, no matter how often he'd already gone through it.

Hadn't had that dream for a while, though.

Logan knew exactly what had stirred it up. Earlier that night had been Scott and Jean's engagement party (more of a we-finally-set-a-date celebration, since they'd been engaged for months), and as part of the festivities, the adults had partaken in a little bubbly. Save for him, that is.

Champagne (the real stuff, too - the Professor had certainly spared no expense for his 'kids'). Even now, just the smell of it turned his stomach, made him break out into a cold sweat.

Needless to say, once the cork had been popped, he'd split, retreating to the nearest balcony for a bit of fresh air.

Everybody had thought it was because of him getting jealous over Jeannie, and that he'd gracefully left before there was a scene. Except maybe Charles. Yeah, old Chuck was a pretty keen observer, even without all the mental mumbo jumbo.

Good grief. Who would have guessed a bottle of French carbonated wine could turn him, Mr. Man, into such a wreck?

None of the X-Men, that was for sure.

But he would have. Oh yes, he would have. Especially the small part of him that didn't have hair, who knew about lanterns, cabins, and the cold, wet, and dark.

A glance over at the clock told him it was 3:47 AM. Great, four and a half more hours to either a) lie awake and brood over his nightmare, or b) go to sleep and have new nightmares to brood about.

Might as well get comfortable, if he was going to spend the next few hours suffering (which sounded strange even to him, when he thought about it for a second).

Pulling his - white - sheets up to his neck, Logan curled up on his side, tucking all of his limbs in close to his body protectively. Most anyone who knew him would have been shocked by how vulnerable and young it made him seem.

There were a lot of things about him that would shock them.

It was no matter, though. All he had to think about now was not giving in, not falling asleep...

He was so busy trying not to sleep, in fact, that he hardly felt the gentle touch on his mind, that lulled him into a deep, mercifully dreamless slumber.

In his own room, Charles turned off his bedside lamp, then thought again, and flipped it back on. There were far too many echoes of blades and darkness to make him eager to put the lights out quite yet.

Sleeping peacefully for the first time in...a very, very long while, Logan drifted in soft, pearly mists, where everything was white.

But just on the fringes lurked champagne and sharp shining, because no matter what, no matter how soothing or gentle the telepathic suggestion, no matter how brave he was, somewhere there would always be darkness in his mind.

And green.