for mofic. Her request: Logan and Scott (not necessarily
slashed). Scott didn't really die in X3. Logan goes to find him.
Both Logan's hands were fisted at his sides, and his claws
wanted to extend. He held them back just so the tip gouged against his
skin from the inside, tiny pinpricks of pain that reminded him how much
damage he could do if he lost control and lashed out now. Because he
was oh so close to lashing out now.
"We have to assume he's gone, Logan. Right now we have to--"
"The hell we do," Logan said evenly. "I'm not assuming anything. How
can you just give up on Cyke like that? You, of all people?"
"It's not a matter of giving up on Scott. But we have to look at what's
happened, and we have to find Jean and bring her back to the safety of
the school. I have to get through to her . . . if Scott's out there,
Jean's our best lead, isn't she?" The Professor's eyes seemed to Logan
to be seeing something else, something probably before his time here.
Logan thought the part about finding Scott sounded thrown in for his
benefit. He stared at Xavier, wanted to shake him and ask where the
hell the real professor might be hiding. "Professor, I am
looking at what's happened. That's why I'm not giving up on him."
"Storm," Xavier said, ignoring Logan, "you get in the jet, I'm going to
Cerebro, and we'll coordin--"
"Exactly," Logan said. "Use Cerebro to find him, and we'll pick him up.
Or I can go and look for him on foot while you two . . . do what you
"I've tried that already, Logan," Xavier said. "I haven't found him."
"That doesn't mean you won't, right? It could be . . . I dunno,
something wrong with him, something she did." He stared at the
professor for several seconds, until it was clear he was getting
nowhere. "Dammit!" Logan swiped his hand over the countertop, sending a
few vials and chips skittering across the floor. "What's wrong with you
people? This is Scott we're talking about. Come on, Ro. Scott."
"Logan," she said, shaking her head as she did so, "Do you think I want
Scott to be dead?" Her voice broke and she looked at the floor for a
moment. "Right now, Jean's clearly capable of anything."
"But she didn't kill me," Logan ground out. "She didn't even really
The Professor tilted his head as if considering what Logan said, but
then an air of defeat that Logan was quickly learning to hate settled
over him again. "She knows that you're practically indestructible."
"Practically. But if someone tried hard enough? If she could reason
enough to decide I wasn't worth the time to kill, then she's reasoning.
she's as dangerous as you think, if she killed her fiancé,
why wouldn't she try to kill me, too? Because that's Jean in
"What about his glasses, Logan?"
Logan frowned at Ororo. "Maybe he's unconscious." He took a step toward
her, frustrated. "Maybe he's keeping his eyes shut. But if Jean
didn't kill me, there's no way she'd have killed Scott. No way."
"You don't know that," was all the Professor said.
"Well, we'll find out." Logan spun and stomped away, and the last thing
he heard was Ororo shouting after him, at first just his name, then be
He punched his fist through a wood-paneled wall before he got out the
door. He looked at the split skin and flesh, already healing so fast it
barely bled, felt the bones snapping back into their positions. Why
the hell do I need to be careful? he thought.
After Jean died, disappeared, he corrected himself, he'd gone
out into the woods, cried and howled with rage at the unfairness of it
all. He'd kept his claws sheathed and slammed his hand into an oak,
first felling the tree and then eventually splintering it where it lay.
His bones dislocated, destroyed the flesh that covered them, but
because of their indestructible casing, never broke. Over and over he'd
beaten his hand into a pulp only to watch flesh grow and spread over
the bones, perfect once again.
Now, just like then, he thought it was so fucking unfair. Just once, he
wanted to be able to bleed and break. He needed a physical ache that
kept hurting, something to distract him from the type of wounds his
mutation couldn't touch.
Logan didn't know how it was possible to hate a place so much and yet
feel so drawn to it at the same time. But Alkali Lake stirred that
intense hatred tinged with longing in him. He felt uneasy while there,
but strangely like he should be there, as if the place held secrets for
him to find if only he looked in the right place.
Today, he was only concerned with looking in the right place for Cyke.
He'd called him Scott several times in the conversation with Ro and the
professor and it had felt strange on his tongue. Scott. Somehow
calling him Cyclops or Cyke felt better, if only because he felt so
little when he said those things. They were just names, labels, things
put on him from the outside, where Scott was who he was.
Don't get philosophical now, he told himself. He'd been
searching for hours when he finally thought he got a scent, so faint,
but unmistakably Cyclops. Scott, he thought, just as he
realized how the man's scent stirred things in him that were a lot like
the feelings he got being at Alkali Lake. It drew him in, even though
he resented the man it belonged to.
"Scott!" He shouted it repeatedly, telling himself that he only shouted
his name because he'd have felt foolish shouting, "Cyclops" to the
The scent was getting stronger now, and despite what he'd said to Ro
and the professor, he feared what he'd find. And when he found Scott .
. . .
"Jesus," he said, emotion pulsing through him to see Scott on his back,
eyes wide open and staring sightlessly at the sky. "No." He dropped to
one knee next to Scott, Cyclops, he thought, trying to put some
distance there to make it easier, and reached up to gently close his
Scott flinched away from his hand. Logan threw himself back
instinctively to get clear of Scott's eyes and the deadly energy they
produced. But nothing happened. If he'd been like this, out in the
open, not eating or drinking, he shouldn't be alive, Logan
Scott moaned. He still hadn't blinked, but Logan could see his hands
starting to move a little.
"Scott?" he asked, approaching him again carefully from the side, leery
of his eyes.
Scott's body spasmed then and his back arched, and Logan though he was
going to snap in half. His entire body seemed to glow red for a moment,
and then he collapsed flat on his back again.
Logan reached for him and grabbed his arm, and noted that despite the
frigid weather, Scott was warm. He even felt feverish. "I'm here."
"Jean. I know."
"She-she-" Another spasm hit him and he arched again, but this time it
didn't last quite as long. "She . . . where?"
He moved closer so that he could lean over Scott. "She was at the
school, but now . . . I don't know. We think she might be with Magneto."
Scott nodded and then turned so that he was looking right at Logan. His
are blue, Logan noted. Scott had large pupils of blue, which
wasn't something Logan had been expecting. He thought they might be
yellow or red, some color that hinted at the deadly force inside them.
Or just white, two wedges of blinding white that glowed from the back
of his skull. Not baby blue. Cyclops.
Scott kept trying to talk, but he'd spasm up or stutter so badly, Logan
finally stopped him. "Come on, we need to get you inside somewhere
warm, then we'll talk."
Scott shook his head and looked at Logan with pleading eyes, but Scott
was too weak to put up a fight. Carefully, Logan lifted him into a
fireman's carry and even that had him shouting in pain. He'd found a
truck, a lot like his old one, for sale cheap not far from here and in
optimism he'd bought it, so they wouldn't have to share the bike on the
ride back. It was fortunate he'd done that, and that he'd bought a
truck instead of a car, because to try to sit Scott on the bike or in a
front seat would have probably have been agony for him. He gently put
Scott in the bed of the truck.
"I'll take it as easy as I can, but the hospital's not too close."
"No, hosp--no hospit--"
"No hospital, I figured that much. Why not?"
"Just . . . no. Pl-please."
He hoped he didn't live to regret it--he hoped Scott Cyclops
didn't, either. Instead of going to a hospital, he found a no-tell
motel and paid in cash, up front. This time Scott resisted being picked
up, so he helped Scott to his feet, and put an arm around his waist to
get him into the motel. It was probably good that Scott could walk a
little. All they needed was for the owner to call the cops because some
guy was carrying an unconscious man into his hotel room. That'd draw
too much attention, at least once the cops showed up.
He gently lowered Scott to the bed, wet a washcloth from the bathroom
under hot water, and wiped his face and hands. He still couldn't get
over the eyes. He'd seen eyes just as blue, but the fact that he could
see these eyes at all was what threw him.
He spent several hours sitting up, watching Scott, because soon after
Logan had wiped him off, Scott fell into unconsciousness--or maybe he
was just in a deep sleep--and he came close to calling an ambulance
several times, Cyclops' plea for no hospital be damned.
Logan heard his name and sat up on the other bed. He watched Scott
reach up and touch the sunglasses Logan had put on him while he slept.
"I didn't want you waking up okay and blasting a hole through the roof."
"How ya feelin'?"
Scott didn't answer him, but instead removed the sunglasses and blinked
rapidly. "Still gone. It feels . . . empty."
"While you were out, every half an hour or so you . . . sparked. It was
like a red burst of energy coming up out of you. It started to slow
down after a while, and for about the last hour before I fell asleep, I
didn't see it at all. What the hell did she do to you?"
"Jean," Scott said, as if he'd only just remembered. "We have to find
her." He sat up, swinging his legs over the edge of the bed and the
momentum almost toppled him over.
Logan reached out and righted him. "We will. Just hold tight for a
minute. You need to be able to handle yourself when we do find
her." Logan was worried that Scott didn't even protest, just looked at
him with those unfamiliar eyes. "Sit back and eat something while you
tell me what happened."
Scott scooted back on the bed and leaned against the headboard, while
Logan spread his stash out next to him. "There's no gas station close
and I didn't want to be gone long, but there's a vending machine in the
lobby." Not that it could have been called a lobby. It was a tiny
little room where you stood to pay for a night, or a few hours. And the
vending machine had a quarter slot with grooves where you wedged the
coins in and then pushed. It even had pull knobs to select the chips or
candy that you wanted. Some rows were filled with off-brand cigarettes,
but there had been Doritos, Lays and a few snacks Logan didn't
recognize. Many rows were empty, leading him to believe the machine
wasn't filled or serviced very often.
He popped open a bag of Doritos and handed them to Scott. "Don't look
at the dates on the packages. It's probably best that we don't know."
Then he filled two plastic cups he'd had to ask for in the "lobby" with
water from the bathroom.
Scott downed the water, Logan refilling it twice more, before he was
satisfied and could drink more slowly. Then he ate only a few chips
before he dropped the bag to his side. He looked down at his feet, and
Logan though maybe he was about to lose consciousness again, until he
"I thought she was going to kill me."
"She thought she had, kid."
Scott looked at him, his head tilting to the side. "She said that?"
Logan took a drink. "When she was herself she was pretty
hysterical, and thought she might have killed you. She couldn't be
He watched Scott's lips tighten into a line, then start to shake. Scott
looked back down at his feet. "It wasn't her who did this.
She'd never have . . . ."
"I know." He wanted to press, to find out exactly what happened, but he
sensed Scott needed a little time. After a few minutes, Scott took a
deep, shuddering breath.
"I came out here, I don't know, I don't know why. I just couldn't let
it go. Couldn't let her go. And when I got here, I could just
feel something. Energy. A thickness in the air."
Logan nodded, remembering how it had felt when they'd found her. The
rocks, and Scott's glasses hovering in the air.
"But I could feel her, too. And I thought . . . I thought it was just
me, trying to hang on, and then . . . there she was, Logan." Scott
smiled a little and looked at him, one tear tracking down his cheek.
"She was alive and right in front of me, smiling, saying my name, but
her eyes . . . something about her looked so scared . . . . "
Scott sniffed and wiped his cheek with his fingertips. "And then she
touched me, and I knew it was all wrong. I mean, it was Jean, she was
there, but it wasn't her. Something else was all around her, and it
started pulling at me, from the inside. She reached for my
glasses and I begged her not to, but I couldn't move, and nothing
happened. She was . . . sucking that from me somehow, and . . . it was
like a transfusion, I remember thinking that. Like a blood transfusion
where they remove your blood and replace it with something . . .
foreign. She was in my head, filling up the places she was . . .
sucking dry." He took a breath and let it out, a sob coming on the end
"The last thing I remember was her voice, the real Jean, saying "no"
and "I love you" over and over, echoing inside my head. " He looked up
at Logan and didn't bother wiping his face this time. "She didn't want
to hurt me, she was trying to stop . . . whatever it was."
Logan had to press his own lips together in a tight line to keep them
from trembling. Everything that had happened was bad enough. But for
Scott to sit here and talk to him this way, saying more words in one
rattled off story than he'd probably said to Logan in the entire time
they'd known each other . . . it spoke to how bad this whole situation
had become, for all of them.
He looked down at the floor until he'd composed himself. "She did, kid.
She stopped it, or you'd be dead." And somehow whatever that red energy
had been Logan had seen all over him, somehow that had managed to keep
him alive, even exposed as he had been. The stubble he'd had had when
he left the mansion hadn't grown enough. He'd been suspended by it,
somehow. And Logan guessed it didn't matter how or why, he was just
grateful that it had.
"What about my eyes?" Scott said. "How did she take that from me? Were
here eyes normal? Could she do what I did?"
"I didn't see anything like that. Her eyes . . . they weren't like
yours. Come on, eat up," he said, nodding at the abandoned chips.
"You're probably the only one of us that can get through to her; you'll
need your strength."
Then he explained what had happened at the mansion, but he left out the
professor's and Ro's unwillingness to look for him. He played it so
that they felt it vitally important to find Jean as fast possible,
while they sent Logan to find Scott, and Scott agreed that they should
have been looking for Jean. That's what he'd have wanted.
Scott was so close, so many times, to completely losing it. Logan could
tell. It was like back at the mansion all over again, when he'd tried
to get through to him but had to watch him leave anyway. Jean's death
had left something so broken in him. But at least now there was a way
to fix it, if they could manage to get to her and bring her back.
He felt protective of Scott in a way he hadn't before, because he had
the same kind of hole inside him. They'd shared a love for her, and
now, like it or not, they shared the pain of her loss. That brought
them together, if nothing else. And somehow, that Jean had loved Scott,
made him Logan's to protect now. He owed them all that much.
As soon as Scott had finished the chips, he was ready to go and Logan
could see no real reason not to. He seemed to be getting his strength
back, and his attitude, as he'd demanded Logan stop calling him kid.
Logan knew Scott wanted to lash out at him, for many reasons, and could
tell that was coming back too, bubbling just under the surface.
"On the road we'll get some real food; you're not gonna get far on
Scott stood, a little unsteady but without needing to grab Logan for
support. "First, I need to go back to the lake."
Logan didn't ask why, just looked at him like he might be losing his
"She kept saying something else, in my head . . . I can almost hear it
. . . it might help me remember. It might be important."
They stood at the edge of the water, Scott looking out at the surface
intently, Logan watching Scott in the same way. Scott had the
sunglasses in his hand, and he put them on to mimic how he'd arrived,
how he'd been when Jean found him.
"Anything?" Logan asked.
"Just give me a minute," Scott snapped, tilting his head in Logan's
direction but not looking at him. At least, Logan didn’t think he was
looking at him. It was hard to tell through the sunglasses.
Scott took the glasses off slowly, and by his expression Logan knew he
was remembering Jean approaching him. He hadn't seen Scott look that
happy since before.
Scott's hand went slack, and the glasses slipped from his fingers.
He grabbed the sides of his head, and he turned to face Logan. "She was
saying, kill me." His voice broke and got louder. "Please,
Scotty, kill me, hurry." He dropped to his knees then and wept, and
Logan stood his ground. His urge was to go over to him and comfort him
somehow, but though the urge was there, he didn't know how to do it
right. Maybe he couldn't. Maybe Scott needed this.
When Scott started to calm down, Logan said, "She said that to me, too,
at the mansion. When she was herself, she--"
Scott caught him off-guard, both with the scream and the body slam,
somehow managing to topple them both over despite Logan's weight and
center of gravity. Scott beat at him with his fists, an animal growl
bursting from him with each blow.
"She said it to me, not you, Jean's mine, don't try to
make it sound as if she--"
"Whoa, whoa!" Logan managed to get a hold of one wrist, felt his lips
split open and heal, while he tried to grab the other, with Scott the
whole time shouting about Logan trying to take Jean from him, trying to
make it like she'd tell him, share with him, the same things as she
might with Scott. His words were a jumble now, but Logan understood
that he was getting at all that. Maybe because, deep down, that's
exactly what he'd been trying to do.
Then Logan became aware of the tiny hairs all over his body, as if
they'd all moved suddenly in a light breeze. Scott's blue eyes suddenly
flashed and that spark was there, arcing off of him, and all at once he
and Scott both realized what was happening. Logan shoved Scott back and
away from him as he rolled to get away, and Scott started to turn and
close his eyes, too late.
Logan screamed as the flesh of his back and right side was sheared off
by the blasts from Scott's eyes.
Logan's scream turned into a hiss as he fought the pain. Oh God, this
was . . . he'd never felt anything like it. Burns were the worst type
of pain, and this was like having someone grab flesh and tear it away
and then burn the open wounds that were left. Unlike a cut that hurt
right where it was, both during the injury and the healing, this was a
whole body kind of pain with fingers that reached away from the damaged
flesh and sent agony wrapping around him like rope. This was an injury
that, if he couldn't regenerate, would have killed him by now, he
He made a strangled sound, and couldn't breathe, his body starting to
lock up. When he finally managed to drag in a breath, the sharp smell
of his own cooked flesh made him gag.
He could hear Scott stumbling, blindly looking for him or his glasses,
and he wanted to answer, to tell him to calm down, but he couldn't make
a word. Every process in his body seemed to be sending all its
available resources to replace mutilated, burned meat with new. He
managed to turn his head and could see a metal rib glinting in the
sunlight before a spiderweb of flesh slipped over it, making it pink
When Logan woke, he was on his stomach and the only pain he felt was
from the rocks digging into him.
He raised his head to see Scott, who'd found the sunglasses. "I'm all
right." He realized he was shirtless, and when his eyes focused he
could see the burned pile of flannel and denim next to Scott.
"I didn't feel it coming until it was too late."
"I know. Neither did I. It's okay. Lucky we both moved when we did." A
delay of even half a second would have mean he'd been looking at
Logan's face. Or he'd have caught him full on in front, instead of the
energy just grazing him, as it had.
Scott held out a hand for Logan, who took it. He pulled gently and
"I thought I'd killed you," Scott said softly.
Logan could tell this had taken a toll on him--and he'd already been
stretched to the limit before. He'd heard Scott shouting his name,
heard him falling and crawling, and could only imagine what it had felt
like to think he'd broiled Logan and was unable to even open his eyes
to see. He looked worse now in many ways than when Logan had found him.
"I'm all right," Logan said, "don't worry about it."
"I'm not worried about it," he said, his lip curling, "I'm just
Logan turned his head from side to side, the pops loud in the silence
around them. "Probably nothing you haven't thought about doing a time
or two." He hadn't meant it to sound quite that way, but now that it
was out, it felt good. They needed to get back to where they were
before. Familiar territory. "Considering it's the only way you could
get the better of me."
Scott's mouth dropped open, and then he laughed. "Is that so?"
"Yep. You ready to go?"
"Logan . . . I'm sorry."
"You said that, kid."
"Stop calling me kid."
"Okay. You said that, asshole."
Scott's jaw set, and Logan almost smiled.
"Logan, I would never have even imagined hurting you like that, for the
record. You saved my life, coming here like you did. And . . . I'm
grateful. But none of that changes the fact that I still--"
"Hate me? No, you don't. You've never hated me. You just think you're
supposed to. " Logan turned away and started walking. They shared a
love for Jean, and that made Scott understand him better than anybody
else. That's why Scott, Cyclops, dammit wanted to hate him.
Maybe that's why Logan felt a strange kinship with him, too. That pull
that was uncomfortable and familiar at the same time.
"Would you have taken her away from me? Not that she ever would have .
. . but if she'd have come to you . . . ?" he called after Logan.
Logan stopped, sighed, and without turning said, "Yes."
He turned and looked at Scott. No. Maybe. "She wouldn't come to
me. She's yours."
They stared at each other for a long time, and Logan wished he'd looked
closer at Scott's eyes so he could be sure to remember details. He
realized that all the years Scott and Jean had been together, Jean
hadn't seen his eyes. He needed to remember the details, because they
were his alone.
Scott sighed and though neither man spoke, Logan knew that the
stand-off was over. "Come on, Scott Cyke. Let's go get your