Aite, I understand this is actually a week over due... but I hope that it satisfies you enough to allow me back on your good side again! :3
I would like to thank Guest reviewer M.L for that extra-long review that gave me the last burst of motivation to finish this chapter (: This chapter shall be dedicated to youuu.
Also thankyou to LittleMoonlightLover for giving most the chapter a look-through for me!
Ok I know most of you cbf reading this in favor of getting on with the story so i shall continue at the end! Enjoy!
"Ah, Harry," the pleased voice of the Professor reached his ears not a second after his entrance into the large office. "Good to see that you could join us," he joked lightly.
Harry nodded at him in acknowledgement, a small smile gracing his lips, before his eyes skimmed over the room and its occupants. Seeing Logan turn towards a wall in his peripheral vision, he decided to follow suite and ended up leaning against the wall beside Logan – to the Professor's left.
Logan exchanged a lopsided smirk with the man beside him when Harry turned minutely to throw him a smile. As they were both already aware of the 'situation', they settled themselves in comfortably against the stretch of hard concrete. Both were only listening to the Professor's words as not much more of a background noise as he reiterated their recent concerns regarding Mystique and Magneto's movements.
Harry, whilst still managing to maintain a look of seriousness as if he were actually listening to the Professor's words, was actually attempting to formulate a way in which he could ask the Professor for leave to return to London. It was a rather absurd thought, really - considering the fact that he wasn't really the Professor's responsibility or anything. Still, he thought that it would be the polite and courteous thing to do nonetheless. He didn't think it would sit very well for anyone if he were to just go and vanish again.
Also, he wondered idly about the possibility of bringing someone from the Mansion along as well - if not to reassure the Professor then to also have some form of proof for those back home that he'd not gone off just to become a hermit somewhere. The majority of his thoughts strayed to making swift and efficient plans on what he will need to do once he arrived there; so as to make the trip as short as possible, but still long enough to do all that was needed to be done and seen to.
Next to him, Logan, having just recently had his 'revelation', was ironically more than hyper-aware of the man by his side. As his attention repeatedly strayed to said man, it was no help whatsoever that his sharp senses were cataloguing new things about Harry that he'd never before needed to really take notice of.
Even from the corner of his eye, he caught himself admiring the easy, relaxed posture that Harry had adopted - his body was close to the wall; shoulders and head leaning against it. His arms were crossed in front of his torso for a lack of anything else to do with his hands. His feet were alternating between standing firm, shoulder-length apart, and crossed loosely at the ankles, weight supported by a single leg. Every time he shifted, his body would push off the wall before settling back against it once more. And each time he did so, he would return to leaning against the wall with his hips stuck out lazily.
Logan found himself naughtily trailing his gaze along the curved stance of Harry each time. He could smell the slightly distasteful scent of the fireplace in which he'd found Harry earlier - practically tasting the acrid ash on his tongue as the smell clung to Harry's clothing. Beneath it, however, was the surprisingly pleasant scent of nature and sweat, sweets and - oddly enough - milk. Logan's chest vibrated and rumbled as he silently chuckled to himself as a thought struck his mind; milk and honey - the promised lands.
Lastly, his fingers twitched with the urge to graze the faint buzzing that enveloped Harry. Logan had no doubts that it was Harry's magic that seemed to be rolling off his form in soft waves. Soothing in presence, yet a clear warning of the power it hid beneath. Logan shuddered with the feeling of it. It brought forth from him the sense of excitement he often experienced when facing off a particularly formidable opponent.
Finally, it seemed that the Professor had finished his briefing - if the solemn faces around the room were anything to go by with. Xavier turned his head and with a smile, he beckoned Harry over to him. Harry conceded easily, moving to stand beside the Professor, before giving a few of his own words to the gathered group. He revealed his nature as a wizard to them breezily, smiling softly at the shocked gazes - even though they'd already had prior warning from the Professor - and continued on as if he'd merely paused to comment on intriguing weather patterns. Logan chuckled lowly from where he stood and earned himself some glares and looks of surprise at the fact that he wasn't surprised by the news.
Having said his piece on what he had already planned, Harry immediately turned his attention to the Professor next. "Prof- Charles," he corrected shyly after receiving an unimpressed look from Xavier. Nodding for Harry to continue, pleased, Harry licked his dry lips before starting again. "I would like to ask if it was alright with you if I were to take a quick trip back to London?"
Xavier raised his brows, but not in a confused manner. Instead, he merely guessed "you wish to handle things over there yourself?" Harry nodded. Xavier leaned back against his wheelchair, weaving his fingers together across his lap contemplatively. "Well, I don't see why not," he began to say. "I don't expect Erik to be making his move anytime soon; especially considering the fact that he would never have anticipated us stumbling upon this plan of his."
Xavier clearly meant that Erik must've assumed his plan infallible as what were the chances that Xavier would have had to come in contact with someone magical? Not to mention one that would reveal to him the existence of a magical community either.
Harry was nodded in agreement and continued, "I also hoped to bring someone with me. I thought that it might be good to have one of your own see for themselves just what they… what they might need to be prepared for."
Before Xavier could ask who Harry had in mind, the man had rushed on to add; "I understand that you've all got commitments here, and, um, I don't have to bring anyone. It was just a suggestion really," he finished, mumbling. His eyes flickered upwards in surprise when his ears caught the soft laughter escaping the Professor's lips.
"Oh Harry," he said, shaking his head slightly in amusement. "I think that's a great idea. Do go ahead and ask anyone you want. I'm sure they'll be thrilled to accompany you."
"Oh, um," Harry was surprised at the easy acceptance from the Professor. "Alright. But I wouldn't want to make them feel obligated abo-"
"I'll go with ya," a painfully familiar voice caught their attention; both head turning to see Logan striding up to them with that damned smile on his face again - the one that warmed Harry from the inside out. Seeing that the Professor was not about to object anytime soon and that Harry seemed to be at a loss of words, he continued "I'm pretty interested to see for myself just why Mystique seems to be so interested in you guys," he said simply, obviously meaning the magical community as whole.
Just as Harry opened his mouth to say something, they both tensed up instinctively when a familiar blaring, ringing sound rang throughout the Mansion.
The Professor, unfazed, tilted his head up and noted, "ah. It looks like you will be getting a taste of it right now, Logan."
Logan's small quirk of the lips morphed into a positively savage grin as he turned to meet Harry's gaze head on. The two watched each other, neither backing down, before their chins were tilted up at the same time; a silent acquiescence from both parties to concede in a fair draw.
Harry leaned down and spoke softly into the Professor's ear, mumbling about plans and politely excusing himself, before he straightened his back and his green gaze caught Logan's once more. Silently, he nodded once at Logan before striding out of the office, brushing past Logan breezily.
Pulling his sleeve down over his forearm after having removed the wand holster that usually stayed firmly in place there, Harry leaned forward on his arms, locked over the closed trunk he'd pulled out from under his bed. He inhaled and exhaled with deep, slow breaths. It was ridiculous, he thought, chuckling to himself. He was getting nervous as if it was his first duel against Malfoy all over again. He shook his head and smiled at the thought of that event so many years ago.
Heaving himself up, he gave a great sigh before setting his shoulders and making his way out into the open garden behind the Mansion. Harry wasn't surprised to see that the whole school had more or less shown up to watch his 'duel' with Logan. His eyes wandered over the area and locked onto Ororo's figure; her back facing him and Logan standing lazily by her side.
He strode up to her determinedly and as he neared, Logan turned to see him, his lips immediately curling in anticipation. Ororo noticed his attention was drawn elsewhere and turned as well, her face brightening at Harry's arrival.
Harry nodded at her in acknowledgement. "Ororo, Logan." He attempted to ignore the obvious look-over that Logan was giving him, suppressing a shudder at the feeling of Logan's intense gaze upon him.
Logan's gaze travelled up and down Harry's form, silently appreciating the wizard's change of clothes. It was nothing spectacular, really.
Harry had had to get used to fighting in normal, everyday clothing during the War so he'd found no reason why he would really need to change to more 'fancier' battle clothing. Of course, he still had to obey the Ministry's dress code when he was on official Auror business and such. Other than that, he enjoyed keeping it simple.
He wore loose black trousers tucked into plain combat boots to avoid the chance of the material snagging; distracting or slowing him down. A simple fitting long-sleeved shirt clung to his torso, the material not too tight but snug enough to not hinder his movements either. Logan eyed the slim form almost hungrily, enjoying the build of one so unlike him and yet formidable in its own right.
Where Logan was distinctively muscled, tanned from consistently harsh trainings and large in build, Harry was slim, muscles a faint ripple behind graceful limbs, a smaller target. It was clear that it was strength and power against speed and precision. Across from him, Logan was aware of Harry doing the same thing; an assessing yet appreciative gaze sized him up.
Harry had his eyebrows raised in a slightly incredulous way as he took in Logan's usual dressing. He donned a simple white tank top that hugged his well-defined chest, tucked into a familiar pair of worn-down jeans running down to cover modest black boots. Eyes drifting back up, Harry faced a smirking Logan, eyeing him with a knowing look that had him colouring regardless of the fact that he hadn't been looking at Logan like that.
Between them, Ororo cleared her throat, drawing the men's attention to the bemused woman. "Sometime today, gentlemen."
Logan rolled his eyes and moved to stand into the wide clearing before her, Harry following meekly behind him. The crowd of teachers, students and various others of the Mansion's inhabitants had formed a circle around them as if there had been a silent agreement amongst them regarding the boundaries that the duel would adopt. Both men turned to Ororo silently.
She watched both of them appraisingly, a small smile of her lips. "There is no time limit," she began, "but I would like it if you could finish this in an hour. There are no restrictions; you may use anything and everything you want. However, there will be no underhanded tricks tolerated." At this, she eyed the two critically until they both nodded solemnly once more. Satisfied, she turned to the Professor who had turned up beside her.
"What would you like the winning conditions to be, Professor?"
"You should let them decide," the Professor said indulgingly. Acquiescing, Ororo turned to the two.
"First blood?" Harry suggested uncertainly.
Logan huffed. "A good ol' fashioned duel should always be to the death," he said in convincingly in a serious tone. Harry would have been rather alarmed if not for the mischievous spark in Logan's eyes as they locked gazes. Understanding the crude joke at their 'immortality', he settled for rolling his eyes at the man.
"First to concede then," Harry said.
Seeing as Logan did not seem to have any objections, Ororo nodded, accepting the terms. "Alright. But I will still have final say in case I think either of you two may be taking it too far," at this, she was pointedly looking at Logan more than Harry.
With a final nod, the two men stepped back and began retreating in opposite directions. Once satisfied, they turned and locked eyes with one another determinedly. To their side, they heard Ororo say "ready? Begin!"
The crowd sucked in their breath in anticipation for a few long seconds, before the students released it in disappointment. They frowned at the two men in the circle merely standing there, still watching one another. Scott and Jean had sidled up next to the Professor and Ororo, by the edge of the crowd.
"You sure about letting Logan do this, Professor?" he asked.
"Oh you have nothing to be worried about for Harry's sakes, Scott. As you can see, he seems to be holding himself perfectly fine," the Professor remarked airily. To his side, Ororo hummed in agreement. Even she could see the minor adjustments the two men were making each time the other moved. It was interesting to see up-close someone that could possibly match Logan's abilities.
With a grin, Logan dashed forward; clearing the distance between them in two seconds, coming up right in front of Harry, still with that manic grin on his face - a test. Unwavering and unsurprised, Harry shifted his weight onto one leg; twisting his upper body away from the lunge Logan made to his side.
Making use of Logan's propelled momentum, Harry twisted away from Logan in the opposite direction, his arms bent as he allowed his body to fluidly turn almost a full circle before thrusting his leg closest to Logan down and, adding in some of his own force, struck Logan a blow on the back on his neck.
As the force of the blow reverberated back to him, Harry leapt back, giving himself a small extra magical push backwards - not enough to cause suspicion. Remaining in a crouch, he watched as Logan stumbled once before his body fell like a doll into the grounds - paralysed from the blow to his spinal cord.
Harry knew that it wouldn't stop the man, however. 'In the name of research', he'd gathered more information about Logan's abilities over the days he'd prepared for the duel. He had heard alarming tales of Logan's healing capabilities. At first, he had dismissed some as exaggeration. But soon, he began to doubt and prepared himself for the possibility of it being true. He knew, however, that the man could not be killed in any way so far.
Sure enough, Logan's body twitched once before it stirred. Distantly, Harry heard the sounds of cheering, whistles, shouts of encouragement as the students were heartily expressing their enthusiasm in the fight.
Logan's body jerked in a show of the nerves repairing itself from the damage, before in a show of agility, he pulled himself upright and spun round to face Harry. Spine curled, arms bent at his side, Logan let loose a low growl – his face menacing, a cruel twist of his lips betraying his excitement at the challenge that Harry brought.
This time, they circled one another slowly; eyes locked on each other – maintaining a fine balance between them. Once more, Logan threw himself forward. But Harry was unfazed; knowing that Logan would not have simply repeated a mistake so easily.
Watching closely as Logan neared him, he took advantage of the tensing of Logan's muscles which alerted him to which direction Logan would strike from. Harry weaved, before his eyes widened in alarm as Logan changed his course in the last second; whirling around to attack Harry's side.
Bracing himself for an impact, Harry didn't just let himself take the blow. Instead, he daringly brought up his hands before him to curl around Logan's approaching arm. In uninterrupted split-seconds, he let his legs fold up from under him as he grasped Logan's arm – swinging under it.
Quick as a serpent, he struck Logan's kneecap with the heel of his foot; infusing a sharp burst of power into the blow that would shatter Logan's kneecap.
Unsteady from the motion of his own strike and yelping as his left leg crumpled under him, Logan fell into a crouch; forced to allow Harry to skid away from him once more.
Breathing steadily to keep himself under control, Harry decided to take a risk by flicking his wrist and casting a non-verbal stunner that distracted Logan long enough for him to send a well-aimed cutting curse at him. The amount of power he put into the curse made it faintly visible to the eye as it made a clean journey through Logan's unharmed thigh. This caused Logan to fall completely onto his knees; the vital tendons having been severed.
It took an even shorter time, though, before Logan was recovered and heading towards him quickly and warily. Harry began to bring his arms forward to once again make use of the man's strength against him before he caught the sight of metal claws emerging from between Logan's knuckles.
Alarmed and with not enough time to neither retreat nor safely defend from the attack, Harry hastily spun on his heel and disapparated to a considerable distance behind Logan.
Snarling in frustration, Logan whipped around in time to see Harry drop himself into a more defensive crouch – eyes assessing the new added element to the fight. He breathed in, eyes slipping closed slowly as he steeled himself for this part.
This time, they both dashed forward towards the other at the same time. Quickly eating up the distance between them, Harry threw his left hand palm faced-down before him, casting a light bombarda that hit the ground; blasting off chunks of the soil and heaving up a considerable cloud of dust, providing him with a suitable cover as he ran straight into it. Using his magic to guide him, he narrowly avoided a strike from Logan - who was in turn using his own enhanced hearing and sense of smell to guide him.
Twisting his body nimbly, Harry fired a strong cutting hex in Logan's direction. The other man snarled and simply raised his hands to swipe at the incoming beam of light; effectively negating the spell as if waving away smoke. Surprised, Harry was only able to defend himself from Logan's advancing attack before disapparating once more outside the boundaries of the cloud of smoke.
Frowning at a random thought and wondering if it could really hold on someone like Logan, Harry extended an arm in preparation and waited until he caught a glimpse of Logan's figure emerging from the dust before casting a quick petrificus totalus.
Eyes widening in a comical show of surprise, Logan's arms and legs slammed close to his body and he tipped forwards face-first into the ground. There was a stunned silence following this as quite a few people turned to stare open-mouthed in Harry's direction.
Harry belatedly realized - and cursed silently - that he was already beginning to get slightly out of breath. He truly had been out of practice. Still, he wasn't so bad that he would think it was so easy to defeat Logan. He kept himself in a defensive crouch, watching Logan's prone form with wary eyes whilst his mind worked to formulate some form of a strategy.
The tell-tale signs of twitching muscles first alerted Harry to Logan's stirrings and he quickly went into motion; dashing forward. In his mind's eye; he'd already doubted his ability to win this duel based on what he'd gathered so far regarding Logan's 'mutation' of not only the deadly claws, but also his advanced healing. In that case; the best he could hope for would be to end the duel as fast as possible.
Ducking low just as Logan was pulling himself up, Harry used his momentum to deliver a harsh kick to Logan's belly. The other man grunted as he rolled over once, before his own hands shot up to grasp tightly at the offending leg. He pulled his arms to his side, causing Harry to lose his balance and fall backwards with a yelp.
Hoping to not be caught unguarded, Harry rammed his elbow under Logan's chin, causing Logan's head to snap back with a painful crack and they proceeded to roll on the ground, wrestling one another in a tangle of limbs.
Here, Logan had the advantage of his strength to forcefully gain the upper hand. Mindful of his strength, Logan struck a blow to the side of Harry's head that left the man reeling with bursts of white appearing in his vision.
With Harry temporarily stunned, Logan took the opening to roll himself above his opponent; manhandling Harry's limbs under him, trapping Harry's legs with his own knees digging painfully into Harry's thighs and Logan's arms pinning Harry's hands to the ground effectively.
By the time Harry had regained his wits, he found himself trapped under Logan's immovable body. He gave an effort to struggle out of his bonds, but failed miserably. His head was still throbbing and he wondered dully if he was bleeding from the wound.
During the scuffle, Logan's claws had managed a close swipe at Harry's belly - slicing easily through the fabric of his shirt and one of the claws had manage to carve a clean line by Harry's waist; blood seeping through and into the tattered parts of Harry's shirt.
His arms and legs had acquired most of the cuts and bruises, and the same would have gone for Logan had his healing capabilities already sealed up the larger wounds and knitted any damaged skin back together again.
Harry was already panting rather heavily whilst Logan's breaths were kept deep and even. Logan was staring down at Harry's form with the shadow of a triumphant smirk in his eyes, but still composed enough to not jump to conclusions.
"Give up?" he asked huskily. He watched as Harry stared into his eyes blankly, catching his breath, before Harry's eyes flashed once with a mischievous twinkle.
Forcing a burst of pure magic up into Logan, Harry managed to dislodge the man's hold over him for split second - long enough for him to pull himself into a different position.
Eyes' widening, Logan watched in bewilderment as one moment, Harry was Harry, and the next there was a large, black form with fucking sharp teeth lunging towards him.
Logan pulled back hastily, alarmed, but not fast enough as the thing sunk its teeth into his shoulder fiercely. He let out a sharp shout of pain even as his hands were sluggishly pulling themselves up to wrench the animal off of him.
There was another howl of pain from Logan as the beast dragged its own set of claws down his sides.
Finally managing to get a grasp on the large, furry body, Logan forcefully jerked it away from him and threw it in a random direction. He didn't bother to put his hands over his wounds - a habit he'd kicked long ago - as they were probably already healed, of not in the process of healing itself.
His eyes tracked the flight of the four-legged creature from where he'd thrown it but he did not have the chance to get a clear enough look at it before the black fur melted down and morphed into ripped clothing and a familiar form.
Pulling his feet under him, Harry managed to land safely onto his feet; head whipping up to eye Logan standing across from him. He quirked one corner of his mouth - traces of Logan's blood evident on them, highlighting them in a dangerous shade of red.
Logan experienced a moment of blankness in his mind at the sight of a dirty and rumpled Harry, still panting softly from the exertions of the fight; lips and fingertips covered in Logan's own blood. The picture sent a full-body shiver through Logan as he licked his own lips absentmindedly.
Shaking himself out of the stupor, Logan smiled darkly as he launched himself straight at Harry once more. However, instead of going for a strike, he pulled Harry's body along with him and they skidded along the ground - tussling again. Just as Logan pulled an arm back to deliver what would be the final blow, Harry's eyes locked with his own and the alluring green flashed eerily into a hauntingly dark emerald hue.
Suddenly, Logan found himself in another place entirely; if it could be called a place at all. It was more of an empty void, stark white plains for as far as his eyes could see. To his side, he caught a glimpse of a shadow by the corner of his eye. Turning, he froze as he stared up into a hooded figure.
The figure was almost floating lightly above the ground. It wore frayed robes of pure black. A threadbare hood obscured its face from Logan but he shuddered involuntarily at the way the figure invoked a pure sense of danger and malice.
It reached out, and slipping from under the cloak, skeletal bones for fingers were revealed.
Logan wanted to retreat, flinch back, anything; but he found himself glued to the spot. He was repulsed when the cold fingers caressed the side of his face, and then.. nothing.
"-ictor is Harry!"
He groaned and returned to the sounds of a beat of silence before cheers, hollers and surprised exclamations erupted from all around him. Logan squinted as he opened his eyes to the brightness of the day.
Taking a moment to focus himself, he found himself looking up at the form of Harry standing over him, lips curved in a smile that was holding itself back from getting into a full-blown grin even whilst his eyes shone with concern and growing relief.
"Welcome back," said Harry, extending a hand towards Logan who grasped it and heaved himself up gratefully.
He groaned again, his body feeling unusually sore. "Ugh. What was-" he stopped mid-sentence when Harry's hand, still grasped in his own, squeezed suddenly. Turning to face the man, Logan raised a brow.
Harry's eyes - now thankfully back to its usual bright-green - turned away from Logan's and into the crowd, not really seeing anything. "Later," was all he offered in return.
Frowning, Logan knew better than to push a matter and simply shrugged, muttering an "alright". He also noticed that Harry had wiped off the blood on his fingers and lips onto his sleeve and shirt messily.
The Professor was approaching them, with Scott, Jean and Ororo trailing by his side. Xavier had a pleasantly pleased look on his face as he eyed the two of them. Skimming over the others, Logan saw that both Scott and Jean had still held traces of shock in their expressions; eyes darting between himself and Harry in what could almost be wonder.
Ororo was smiling widely at Harry, but she spared a glance at Logan to nod approvingly. He quirked a brow at her which only made a soft laugh escape her lips. "Congratulations, Harry!" she spoke up first, extending a polite hand.
Harry made to shake her hand in thanks before he stopped midway, then pulled his arm back sheepishly. "Ah, sorry. I'm a little dirty," he explained. Ororo simply smiled and nodded, dropping her own arm. Logan rolled his eyes, knowing that none of them here really cared that he and Harry were covered in dirt.
"Thank you," he added on courteously nonetheless.
"Indeed," Xavier nodded, agreeing with Ororo's statement. "That was very well-fought, Harry."
"It was incredible, Harry!" Jean piped in enthusiastically. Although her eyes seemed a little distracted, but neither men paid much attention to the fact that her gaze was drawn instead to their hands which were still linked comfortably with one another - neither of them noticing it.
Harry smiled bashfully at the praise and exchanged words with the other four adults whilst Logan looked elsewhere, noticing the students that seemed almost bursting with the need to come up to him and Harry; chattering amongst themselves excitedly.
Then, he felt a tug on his hand and looked down to find himself surprisingly still holding onto Harry's hand. He didn't release it, however, and instead trailed his gaze up Harry's arm to look quizzically at the man.
"You should go wash up and pack," Harry suggested.
"Oh?" he said.
Harry nodded, glancing back once more at the Professor who smiled and nodded. "We're leaving tonight."
Logan huffed in amusement at Harry's plans having already been in motion and merely nodded before taking his leave. Behind him, he heard the others also excuse themselves and then heard Harry get swarmed by students.
He smiled inattentively at the fading sounds of Harry's reserved comments and reactions to further praise as Logan made his own way back into the Mansion to prepare.
Umm yeaaa personally thought the duel scene was pretty pathetic when i was writing it. Tbh tho I surprised myself with the turn-about at the end ;)
Also! My school friend has begun writing out a Merlin fanfiction to get her through her post-Merlin depression state (which she still curses me for xD) and so I encourage any of you Merlin fans to check it out! :D [PS, although I'm a merthur fan, she's writing Mergana ;)]
Here's her simple blurb-idea that i shall steal off the draft sneakily.. :
Morgana was never one for listening to the rules. So when her father told her to stay put, what choice did she have but to follow him? She never really cared for destiny anyway. Betrayal, genocide, and against all odds, a happy ending. Morgana-centric (Merlin/Morgana).
It's still being drafted and given a beating-to by me but looks pretty good and should be out soon! Her FF username is gone-phishing
Anyway, please do review to keep me writing and i'll (hopefully) see you at the end of the month! xx