Four hours later found Logan in the kitchen, clothes torn from a brutal session in the Danger Room, drinking cold beer and trying not to think of anything. All he wanted to do was get drunk, but for him, that took a lot of work and concentration. Eyes closed, he leaned back in the chair he had crashed in, and tried to think drunk thoughts. All he wanted was to get away from this, somehow, some way.

So this is how you plan to help my sister? By killing off every brain cell you have? The fact that you barely seem to have a brain would make me think you would be more careful about how you treated it.

Raphie. Vicious bedside manner that gal had. Hospital of hers must be hard-up for nurses, to keep someone as nasty as her on staff.

Ain't you a breath of fresh air, he muttered sarcastically, not bothering to open his eyes. Fact was, she did smell good, almost as good as Sera. He missed that smell, how it seemed to come alive on her skin. She never needed anything like perfume, all she needed was herself. The medlab had taken even that little pleasure away from him. Now she just smelled like antiseptic and the faint, copper tang of blood from the holes that the I.V.s left in her.

You're a drunk, Logan, and a stupid one at that. I never thought Sera's taste was so bad. That Charm man she brought home, he was about a million times the man you are.

You got such a high opinion of me, darlin', maybe you better stick with calling me Wolverine. You ain't exactly what I would call a friend.

She kicked his feet off the table, making his chair crash back down on all four of its legs, and causing him to lurch forward. Muttering under his breath, he opened his eyes to see Raphie. She had unbraided her hair. The long stuff was silky and wild, screaming to be touched, to be tangled in. So that was what Sera would look like with long hair. Pretty sexy, really. Wonder if he could talk her into when she got better? It was still damn well creepy, looking at Raphie. She was enough like Sera to be her twin. At least there was a big enough age difference with the others, that it wasn't this hard to look at them. She was glaring at him, and that made it worse, cause it reminded him of when he and Sera were still at each other's throats. Fun times, those. Sure, he hadn't been getting any, but there was a certain thrill in not knowing whether she was going to jump his bones or try to rip them out of his body. Wild ride with that girl, it always was. He stared meditatively at Raphie, feeling the booze swirl though his blood.

You know, girl, if you were your sister, I'd have you on the floor right now.

Raphie looked at him, purely disgusted, and dropped into one of the empty chairs. Oh, yeah, I wanted to know that.

Hey, you're the one always saying you don't know how she sees in me. Ever think that might be it? He smirked at her, tipping the chair back. Damn, why wasn't she Sera, why did she have to be so much like Sera? It messed him up, the way she looked, the way she moved, the way she smelled...

No one's that good, snorted Raphie.

Nah, you ain't that different from your sister. Right now, you're wishing you were her.

God, could you have more of an ego? Get your mind out of your pants, already. Why the hell are you drinking? Mama said you promised you were going to help, not that I think that you're going to be that much help, and here you are, pickling your brain. Good one.

Have you know, I'm drinking cause I'm letting your witch of a mother crawl through my brain. Ain't the kind of thing that lets a man sleep easy, you know what I mean?

So you're a coward.

Just not pleased. I don't get scared. Not of anything. Give it up, I don't give a rat's ass about what you think of me. Sera thinks enough of me to make up for all you witches.

She gave up her whole life for sex with a guy who has claws? Her disgust had sounded almost friendly before; now it was pure antipathy. He coulda sworn he felt the temperature drop in the room.

Well, darlin', I'd say you never know until you try, but I think bits of me would freeze and fall off. Maybe you can just ask Sera, once she gets better.

The word was spit out like a bullet. Had to give her courage; no one else would ever talk to him like that. At least not more than once. It never even crosses that pathetic excuse for a mind, does it? The fact that she may never get better doesn't spent one half a second in there. You really are scum. I came here trying to like you, wanting to like you, because Sera's so bloody crazy about you, and the only damn time I hear you even talk about her, all you can talk about is sex. You don't deserve her, you don't deserve to be in the same world as her. You're detestable.

The Jannhanson women weren't into violence, or else Logan figured she'd be directing some at him right about now. She sounded mad enough to kill. Feeling pretty damn ready for a good fight, he stood up, and grabbed at her shoulder. His claws were fighting to come out and damned if he didn't want them to. She could fix any hurt that he caused. He wanted to shred her, destroy her and then looking at her, seeing Sera's eyes staring at him, he wanted something else. Even thinking that for a second, thinking he could want this not-Sera, was enough to make him see red. The buzz it had taken him so long to get, and the brief moment of peace it had given him, were long gone. All her fault.

He snarled down at her, trying to picture her with someone else's face, someone's else body, so he could hurt her and not give a rip. So he could look at her without imaging what he would be doing if this were Sera. You ever think that maybe I don't say one word to you cause you happen to be a judgmental bitch? You ever think maybe I don't think the details of what Sera and I got are any of your freakin' business? You ever think that maybe I just don't want to think about it for one minute? You think this doesn't touch me? Then all your empathy's a waste, cause you don't see one damn thing you don't want to see. Must be an ugly little world you live in. Guess I know why Sera wanted away from you guys so bad. She's better than the lot of you put together, damned if she isn't. Now get he hell away from me. I had a good drunk going and you ain't going to be the one to ruin it. He squeezed her arm roughly, before letting her go.

She stood up carefully, looking at him like dirt under her feet, looking at him like she would vote for every one of those anti-mutant laws, if it meant getting rid of things like him. Her face was cold. Yeah, I'd hate to think of you sober and actually caring about my sister. By all means, go crawl back into your bottle. Just know that if tomorrow doesn't work, I'm going to hold you responsible. Since it's clear that Sera doesn't mean anything more to you than a warm body, I'm amazed you even bothered to call us. She stalked out of the room and it was all Logan could do, not to throw the table after her.


What the fuck!? That you, Jean?

You were expecting maybe somebody else? A pause then, Jean giving him a chance to calm down. I heard some of that. Rough time with the in-laws?

Who knew that would be such cast-iron bitches?

You did the right thing calling them, though, Logan. You know you did. Come on, isn't it worth it to put up with them a little while if it means getting Sera back?

What, you ain't like Raphie there, thinking I only want Sera for her body?

You remember, I saw you two from the begining. I know it's more than that. He could feel her thoughts take on a soft tinge of concern. And I'm awful for not asking sooner, Logan. Who are you holding up through all of this?

He steeled his mind, willing it not to leak any of the pain or confusion he felt. Not anyone's business but his own, how he felt. But even saying nothing seemed to say a lot to Jeannie.

You ought to go to her, Logan. It will make both of you feel better.

Terry's got a better right.

She's with Kat, up in Sera's room. They're sleeping there tonight. Go on down to Medlab. It'll help.

Night, Jeannie.

I can take a hint with the best of them. Go get some rest.

Logan thought about the Medlab, about the machines that kept Sera linked to the world of the living, about the way she smelled like a hospital now. Seeing her there... he felt helpless. He never felt helpless, never felt weak like this. But standing by her bed, staring down at her, he felt huge and clumsy, sure there was no way that we could touch her without causing her pain. He couldn't go there, he couldn't. The sight of her hurting drove him near crazy.

Then he remembered what it was like to fall asleep next to her body, they way they fit together, the warmth of her smooth skin against his own, rougher body. He missed that, and he never thought he would. He couldn't belive how addicted to this woman he had gotten so fast. How hard it was to be without her. Maybe Jeannie was right, maybe he ought to go there. He figured he'd get used to the smell eventually, get past the fear. He'd never been afraid before.

Stumbling some, he made his way to the Medlab and the bed of machines that held Sera. He tried to ignore everything but her, tried to just see her face and act like she was just sleeping, that this was any other night, but it wan't going to happen. It was hard to deal with the tubes and the needles and the cords. There were things on her hands, things on her legs, bottles hooked to tubes going into her arm. Everything beeped, or hummed, or pulsed and wheezed. How on earth did Terry manage to fit with all that stuff and never dislodge any of it? She was a freaking Houdeini, is what. He was just glad that for once, it didn't smell like Hank was here. It didn't think he could stand to see what sort of look the doc would get on his face, if he were to see Logan show up here, trying to fit into Sera's bed. This was private stuff, the fact that he had come here.

The bed was a mystery-maze of the best advances in modern medicine. Working it out like a puzzle, he finally decided to slide Sera just a little over, moving her closer to the I.V.s and the bottles, leaving some tube-free room for him on the left. Carefully, he crawled into what was left of the bed and put his arms around her. It wasn't the same, there was a lack of resitance to her skin that reminded him horribly of dead people, but it was still better than nothing. Her body was still warm, and this close to her, he could smell the faintest tang of cinnamon lingering in her hair, almost buried under hospital-smell. Letting out a deep breath he hadn't realized that he had been holding, he closed his eyes. Yeah, this was better than booze, Jeannie was right. This was what he needed to sleep. His eyes drifted slowly shut and he feel asleep counting the breaths that her respirator took for her, and listening to the slow and steady beat of her heart.

Whipping through the halls of the lab complex, staying fast without actually running, a trick he knew he hadn't taught her, Sera spared Logan a fast glance.

What's with the frown, Wolfman? I tought this was your cup of tea? There was laughter in her eyes, and in her voice.

Not a game, Sera. You oughta know that.

I thought getting to beat the ever living crap out of people was your idea of fun, was her only response.

Look, you oughta be letting me handle this stuff. You ain't a fighter, yer her for the kids.

And I gotta be a fighter for the kids. And if I do it, I don't know,. it makes it easier, cause I know they're gonna wake up again. They're evil, but I ca't kill them, can't let them die.

No one's asking you to, darlin' girl. You know that we ain't into killing.

He made a point of not reading the look that she shoot him after that line. There were times he didn't wanna know what she was feeling, some times when he appreciated the busy hum of her thoughts that kept her feelings from leaking onto him. They oughta be poison to each other, they oughta be the bane of each other's existance, the way their emotions bleed onto each other, the way they flared when they were together. This would be bad time to forget himself and lose himself in her.

A noise to the side, and he had struck out, hitting before Sera could react, leaving a guard motionless on the floor. She turned, made an aborted gesture towards the guard before she caught the warning in Wolverine's eyes: we don't fix these guys. That guard was gonna stay down. The lab's own medics, if they had any, could handle their man. And hey, if they didn't have medics, well, no skin off Logan's nose.

Easy, girl, he growled as gently as possible, when he saw she was mad that he hadn't het her deal with the guard. You ain't superhero of the month. You don't gotta take out all of them. Leave a few for the rest of us.

Logan saw her eyes briefly then, felt her emotions flood over him like a wave, pulling back into herself so fast, he couldn't be sure what she felt.

He thought it was fear.

Of him.

Logan woke with a suddenly, jerking only a little as he came back awake, working hard not to jolt Sera, although he suspected very little else could hurt her at this point.
For one blearly half-second, he forgot what woke him, then the memories came spilling back. Awww, hell, he figured it out, he'd figured out why Sera had run for that last guard, why she had been willing to get hurt.

She didn't trust Wolverine. She didn't trust him not to kill, to pull his blows when he could. She thought he was a killer.

The hell of it was, he figured she was right on all those counts.

Even with her body against his, and her scent in his lungs, he lay on the bed and wondered if her opinion of him was any better than her family's opinion of him. Maybe he was the warm body.

In a voice so quiet, he could barely hear it himself, he muttered aloud. Hell, darlin', what are you doing with me? But even lost in doubt, he couldn't bring himself to leave the dim and shaded light of the medlab. She would get better, and they would, god forbid, talk about this. He had to know the words somewhere.

Sleep took it's own sweet time coming back.