Title: Somewhere On The Outside (This Close To Hell)

Summary: Before Logan breaks down his door and opens up one back in to the Mansion, Scott isn't doing so well.

Rating: K+

Warnings: Language, self-flagellation, and typical angst fare.

Disclaimer: It's not my sandbox. I just like playing in it.

Author's Notes:This was originally written a long while back for an off-season fic off for the LJ community andthexmen. The prompt was 'there is no peace', and I just kind of ran with it. It won first place (a huge honour - thank you to those members of andthexmen who voted!), and I'm rather proud of it. Hopefully you all enjoy it too, if only in some small way.

You wake up to the smell of stale beer.

It's a familiar smell by now; one accompanied by the stench of loneliness and self-loathing that you've grown used to ever since moving in to this shithole of an apartment. You no longer mind it, as it's been your only real friend over the time you've been here. It's not like anyone else is visiting anyways.

As you choke down something food-like that tastes vaguely of cardboard, you come to the conclusion that the worst part of this all is you can't hate Jean for any of it. Not the Logan thing (because even though you liked to play dumb, you know that there was a Logan thing), not the leaving you behind thing, not even the dying thing. Or seeming to die. Whatever. Those kind of distinctions don't seem to make a difference when you're left without the woman you love and without a body to burry.

You don't see her everywhere, like the bad songs she used to listen to say you ought to be. You're not haunted. Just lost. Numb. A man in dire need of a map out of wherever the hell it is he's managed to end up, since you really don't know where that is anymore. If you ever did is a whole other question.

It's not just Jean though. It might even be easier if it was, though it's not something you'd want to put money on. It's losing the Mansion and everyone that went with it in one aching moment. As the bricks fell, your world scattered. Rogue ran off to who-knows-where, Storm headed for Africa, Logan decided to hit the road, Bobby's parents came and collected him, while Piotr, Hank, Kitty and Kurt all went their separate ways for what they said was 'the time being'. The qualification was hollow. You were still left without Jean, without your mentor, without your teammates, and with the only real home you've ever known nothing but rubble at your feet. Small wonder then that you find yourself here in this dirty little downtown apartment with nothing but cheap booze, bad food, and worse TV to keep yourself occupied.

Of course, however much you might want to claim that everyone else left you behind, you ran away too. Once you realized the extent of all the loss, you got in your car and just drove until you stopped thinking about it. Though there was no-one left to call you on it, you know what they'd say. You chickened out and tried to escape your problems by leaving them behind.

So much for the Fearless Leader.

When the door eventually gets kicked down, you will feel some of that old anger rise up again. At first it will be at being found, but once Logan opens his mouth and spouts the hard-assed version of the rah-rah-team crap you ought to be saying, it will be because his words are calling to something in you that you thought you'd left behind in the remains of the Mansion. You will feel that old fire in your belly and you will tell your uninvited guest exactly what you think without even saying a word. After some time spent thinking about it without the aid of alcohol or any of your other favourite diversions, the spine you've been missing for this past while will finally make its grand reappearance with a vengeance. You will shower, you will shave, you will grab your coat, and as you walk out the door of this apartment for the last time you will be steel-hard and battle-ready. It will be time to make all of this right.

For now though, you are slumped down in an armchair and unsure if you're eating pizza or the box it came in. You look like shit, feel like shit, and probably smell like it too. You feel like nothing more than a disappointment to every person and every ideal that has ever mattered to you, and right now, you can't bring yourself to do anything about it.