Logan left and Scott wants him back. For a mission.
Categories: X1 Characters:
Charles Xavier, Jean Grey, Logan, Scott Summers
1. Series Information by The Mo
2. Chapter 1 by The Mo
3. Chapter 2 by The Mo
4. Chapter 3 by The Mo
5. Chapter 4 by The Mo
6. Chapter 5 by The Mo
7. Chapter 6 by The Mo
8. Additional Information for Readers of A Questionable Proposition by The Mo
Series Information by The Mo
A Questionable PropositionAuthor:
This is an X-Men movieverse series but it is not in any way related to my previous fiction. It takes place between the first and second movies. It was written for realpestilence
as part of the livelongnmarry
auction to raise money to fight against Proposition 8 in California. realpestilence
gave me a few requirements for the story and I’ve endeavored to include them all. I’ll list them after the last chapter, since they do contain spoilers.Pairing:
Scott/Logan is the main pairing. Scott and Jean are together at the beginning of the series, reflecting the situation in the movie.Summary
: Logan left abruptly but Scott wants him back. For a mission.Rating:
This series is intended for an adult readership. It contains graphic descriptions of sexual activity and deals with adult relationships and concerns.Format:
A story series of 6 stories. Total length is about 15,000 words. Note on Character Origins:
This story is out of continuity with my previous fiction and uses a different back story for Scott from the ones I’ve used before. If you’ve read my previous fiction, forget about those stories. None of that stuff happened.Disclaimer:
The X-Men and Alpha Flight belong to Marvel. The movie belongs to Fox. Feedback:
Oh, yes! I love feedback. Please comment on the chapters as published in my livejournal, review the stories on my website, or send me email at firstname.lastname@example.orgArchiving:
Sure, just ask. Alternative file formats available upon request.Acknowledgements:
Thanks to my very helpful and insightful betas — kestrelsparhawk
. Their assistance was invaluable. Mistakes are mine alone.
No one but Charles knew where Scott was going and what he was up to, and even Charles didn’t know why he was really doing it. At least Scott hoped he didn’t. Scott had been working for Charles – and living in his home – a long time now, ever since a few weeks after his sixteenth birthday. A few months after Scott had come into his powers and his life had turned upside down. In that time Scott had often found that, even with mental shields firmly in place, Charles sometimes knew more than his Field Leader expected him to. Or wanted him to.
The team and school were informed over dinner that Cyclops would be on a one-man mission for the next couple of weeks, and that Storm would be Acting Field Leader in his absence. Solo missions were unusual but not unheard of. The mystery surrounding this one caused flights of fantasy in already seething adolescent brains. The school was quickly buzzing with rumors.
Storm politely but firmly declined to answer when a delegation of students asked her whether it was true that Mr. Summers was being sent to capture Mystique, in her current disguise as Senator Kelly. She wondered, though, if the students had gotten it right and if so, why Charles had sent him alone.
Scott asked Jean to cover his classes and the Car Club meetings while he was gone, and she agreed, distractedly, without any question about where he was going or when he’d be back. Any doubts he’d had about the necessity of this mission vanished when faced with her complete lack of curiosity as to his plans. It seemed that nothing he did was of interest to her anymore.
Scott wanted to believe he was imagining the change in her, but it was all too evident. Ever since the mission against Magneto – the one mission with Logan on their side – he’d seen the woman he’d known and loved for all his adult life turn into a stranger. An increasingly powerful stranger. As her interaction with him decreased, the strength of her telekinetic gift was intensifying at an alarming rate. He had seen her lifting objects telekinetically that had always been way beyond her capabilities: cars, boats, once the Blackbird itself. And at night their bed shook convulsively with the force of telekinetic dreams.
This wasn’t the first time Scott and Jean had dealt with a change in mutant powers and the impact that can have on a relationship. When they’d first met and first fallen in love, neither of them had full use of the mutant gifts they were developing. He’d been effectively blind, still hoping at that point that he’d learn to control his optic blasts, hopes that were eventually dashed when an EEG revealed that the damage to his mutant control center was permanent. Jean for her part had only telekinesis, the telepathy she would later develop not yet in evidence.
The first two X-Men, they trained together and learned to fight with the limitations imposed by Jean’s limited superpowers and Scott’s inability to control his. Eyes firmly closed except when using his blasts, he’d rely on her signal – vocal or tactile – to open them. Endless practice and his almost superhuman self-control made them effective in combat in spite of his disability. It wasn’t until later, when they’d discovered ruby quartz could block the optic blasts, that the visor enabled him to fight independently.
Scott had fallen in love with Jean before he’d ever seen her. He didn’t know back then whether he’d ever see her. He loved and lusted and learned to please her with his eyes closed, reveling in a world of touch, smell, sound, not knowing if he’d be able to add sight to the senses with which he explored her.
Scott had asked her what she looked like, but didn’t know whether to believe her description. “Red hair, gawky, glasses, ugly,” she’d said, without a trace of self-deprecation or sadness in her tone, as if she were describing the weather. “A boy who looks like you would never be interested in me, not if he could see me,” she’d added.
“I bet you’re beautiful,” he’d replied. And when he finally could see her, he knew he’d been right.
Scott’s blindness – and his consequent reliance on her – had been a major factor in their relationship in the beginning. If anyone was the leader then, it was Jean. She was four years older than him, which is a lot of time and maturity when you’re in your teens. Even more importantly, Jean had come into her powers years before Scott had. She had been living at the Xavier mansion since she was twelve.
Jean seemed to Scott – only months into trying to accept and adjust to his mutant status – infinitely sophisticated and wise. She could expound at length on the X-gene and the evolutionary development it represented and had a pride in being a mutant that seemed completely natural to her. Scott admired and envied her comfort, still struggling not to think of himself as a disgusting freak.
Jean could pass for normal, too. And help him pass for normal – it had been Jean’s idea to get Scott a white-tipped cane and glasses dark enough that no one could tell his eyes were tightly closed behind them. Off of the grounds of the mansion, they often appeared to be an ordinary couple, normal except for his disability, and that disability an apparently unthreatening one.
Sex was the only area where Scott felt more mature, more experienced than Jean. He’d had a variety of sexual experiences, the first with a divorced woman who lived next door to the Summers family and used to ask Scott over to help her with tasks around the house. “I miss having a man around the house,” she’d said after he’d come down from the ladder, having changed the light bulbs that were too high for her. “There’s something else I’d like you to do,” she’d continued. It wasn’t until she kissed him that he realized she wasn’t just looking for handyman work.
That had been Scott’s initiation into sex, but there had been girls his age, too, while he’d gone to the local high school. And then, when his father insisted that he transfer to military school, his good looks and easy manner had attracted some boys, too. He turned them down firmly, but without anger, even when his would-be seducer was his best friend and roommate, Carl. Carl had been flustered when Scott declined, frightened of how Scott might react. “I really thought – ” he’d begun, but Scott had stopped him before he could say what he thought, assuring Carl that he understood that the offer meant nothing more than desperate sexual need due to the lack of women. Scott explained that he preferred his right hand and waiting until he got home and Carl relaxed.
Scott definitely wanted to be home. He had no idea he’d never see his home again, his life about to be upended by the X gene’s activation. Scott looked forward to the next vacation and what he thought would be his next trip home. Home was where the girls were plentiful and many were interested in young Scott Summers with the prominent cheek bones, bright blue eyes and oh so kissable mouth. Jean never got to see the blue eyes, but she made clear early on that she was interested in the rest of what Scott had to offer.
She had lived an isolated life as Charles Xavier’s only student, with no opportunity to meet boys during what would have been her high school years. Then, in college, a shyness borne of fear of potential boyfriends’ reactions to her mutant powers prevented her from dating. Jean had never even been kissed before Scott came into her life. He’d told her he didn’t want to rush her, that her first time should be special. “I’m a 20-year-old virgin, Scott,” she’d said. “I just want to get it over with.”
Under the bravado, though, he felt her insecurity and listened to that much more than the words. He insisted they take the time they needed to really explore each other’s bodies and get to know each other’s responses. They touched, they kissed, they stroked. He made her come with his fingers and his tongue before he ever entered her. “I didn’t know it could be like this,” she said.
“Me, neither.” His fingers touched her face and found he’d made her smile, and cry.
Yes, his blindness was a key element of their relationship, initially. Yet they’d adjusted to the change and their relationship had grown and deepened when his sight was restored. They’d become a more effective fighting team, as well.
Bit by bit he took over the leadership role, proving – as the ranks of the X-Men increased – to be the best among them at tactics and at ensuring team safety. Scott’s time blind had left him hyperaware of his surroundings and with a heightened ability to use all of his senses. He always knew who was endangered, who was injured, who needed backup. He could redeploy team members immediately when necessary. No one was surprised when Charles named him Field Leader. He had been their unofficial leader for months, the guy who brought them back alive, against all odds, again and again.
Jean and Scott adjusted well to that change, too. His leadership in the field led to no inequality in their private relationship. If anything, it helped to eliminate some of the inequity that those four years and her more extensive education had represented.
A few years later, when Jean had begun developing telepathy, they had adjusted well to that, too. Charles had initially seemed concerned about that new development, a reaction that puzzled both Jean and Scott. Why wouldn’t he be happy that one of his own had a new mutant power, an extremely useful one in the combat missions he was more and more frequently sending them on? Charles never explained his reluctance but he seemed to get over it over time. He worked individually with Jean, teaching her how to use and control her telepathic abilities.
Scott had been frankly thrilled by Jean’s new powers, by their ability to have a constant mental link. It gave him greater confidence of his ability to ensure her safety in combat and provided them with a continuing connection during the times they needed to be separated. It added something to sex, too, to feel each other’s thoughts and emotions, bringing a new level of intimacy. Feeling her orgasm from inside her brain as well as inside her body was a level of sexual joy he couldn’t even have imagined until he’d experienced it. “Remember how it was when I could finally see?” he’d said to her at the time. “It was like a whole new component to our sex life.”
“I remember. You turned into a sex maniac,” she’d replied, smiling. “And you’re doing it again.”
“Are you complaining?”
“No, celebrating. Some women turn to sexy lingerie or toys or new techniques from women’s magazines to keep their men interested. I develop mutant powers.”
It hurt Scott to remember that conversation now – the easy sexual banter, the deep connection. The distance between them now made it seem so remote, as if they’d been different people back then. Scott tried to recall when they’d last had sex. He couldn’t remember.
He remembered the disaster that had been the last time he’d tried, a couple of weeks ago in their bathroom. She’d been brushing her teeth as he showered when he’d suddenly pulled back the shower curtain, reached out and pulled her into the shower with him. She’d shrieked and then laughed as her nightgown got soaked. Scott had wished he had his glasses, so he could see how it clung to her. Eyes tightly closed, he’d pulled her close to him, kissing her, touching her breasts, guiding her hand to his hard on. And then – nothing. Her brain was a blank wall to him.
“What are you thinking about?” he’d asked, accusingly.
“This. You.” She stuck her tongue in his mouth, hand stroking up and down his shaft, but it didn’t distract him.
“Logan. You’re thinking about Logan, aren’t you?"
“Of course I’m not.” But the mood had been broken. She knew he didn’t believe her. No presence in his mind, but the slamming of the bathroom door left no doubt as to her feelings. He stood there a long time under the hot water, anger and frustration and regret all at war in his brain. His hand fell to his cock, stroking first idly, then with purpose. Thinking about Jean. And Logan. It took him a long time to come and when he did his orgasm was a release more angry than joyful. He’d slept on the couch in their sitting room that night. And a lot of nights afterwards.
He tried once more to talk to her, the morning before he left. “Tell me,” he said. “Why are you closing me out? What don’t you want me to know? What really happened between you and him? Tell me the truth and I can live with it – whatever it is. I can’t live with not knowing.”
She shook her head with exasperation. “Nothing happened. He liked me. I liked him. He was interested in me. I told him up front that you and I are together. Nothing happened. I’ve been faithful to you since we met. Ten years, Scott.”
“Is ten years too long? Are you bored? Sick of being with the good guy? Need to go after some dangerous loner? Someone who doesn’t have to put the team and the school first?”
“This is all in your imagination. Nothing happened between Logan and me and I’m sick of trying to convince you.”
“If nothing happened – if you’re not thinking about him – why are you closing me out of your brain?”
“I’m not!” He had been speaking loudly but she was truly yelling. “I’m closing me out of yours!” Jean took a deep breath and calmed down enough to continue in a normal voice. “I can’t stand listening to your suspicion 24 hours a day. You’re obsessed with Logan. You don’t even see
me when you look at me. You see him. You can’t make love to me without thinking about him. How sick is that?” She started to cry. “I can’t deal with you concluding that every move I make, every thing I say, is somehow evidence of an affair. An affair I never had!
“It’s good you’re going on this mission, whatever it is. I need a break from this. We need a break from each other. Get over this insane jealousy and I’ll let you back in – in all senses.”
When Scott first proposed the mission to Charles, he’d encountered some skepticism. Not for the idea of it, just the tactics. Most particularly, the staffing. “Why you?” Charles had asked. “I don’t think you’re the man for this mission.”
They were seated by the fireplace in Charles’s office – Scott on the couch, Charles in his chair next to it. He had wheeled over from his spot behind the desk, abandoning the physics exams he had been correcting when Scott entered.
“Whom do you want to send – Jean?”
Charles had chuckled at that. “Well, she might get better results.”
Scott considered that, not sure if Charles was completely joking. “No doubt he’d agree to anything she asked him to do. And you’re right – he’ll likely be disinclined to go along with any plan I suggest.” Charles nodded, and Scott continued. “On the other hand, if I ask him and he agrees, we can be assured it’s not because he likes me. It would be because of the mission itself. If it’s Jean asking, well, it might just be a way to build good will.” He had almost said “a way to get into her pants” but had corrected himself just in time. Well, in time not to say it out loud.
“Is everything okay between you and Jean?” Charles had asked, voice full of concern, eyes probing.
“We’re fine.” Scott had replied, mind closing down, eyes as always hidden. “I just want to do this one myself.” He quickly changed the topic. “What about travel? How should I go?”
“Well, the Blackbird would be the fastest, but there are the obvious problems.”
“Yeah, like where do I put it when I get there?” He mused on that for a few seconds. “It’s pretty remote territory. There should be somewhere I can land where no one goes very often. We did invest all that extra effort and money in vertical landing, after all.”
Charles shook his head. “That’s not the problem, I don’t think. You can definitely land it, and I’m sure we can find a secluded spot that you can leave the jet for as long as you need to be there. As you say, we’re talking remote areas. But once you’ve parked the Blackbird, what do you do then? How do you get around?"
“Yes, that’s a problem. If I fly by commercial carrier, there’s nothing to hide and I can rent a car once I arrive. Maybe we should do it that way.”
Charles shook his head. “I don’t know. We do have something to hide that way. Not the Blackbird, but you. We know you’re in the Feds’ mutant database – they didn’t need the Mutant Registration Act to get information on the X-Men. We have to assume they’ll be tracking your movements if you buy a ticket, not to mention when they scan your passport at the border. I don’t want any official record of this.”
“You’re right. We need to figure out a way to do this unnoticed.” Scott leaned forward and pulled a small remote out of the coffee table drawer. He pressed a couple of buttons and a screen descended from the ceiling and lit up. He reached back in the same drawer and pulled out a keyboard and started typing. “See, what about here?” he said, as a topographic map appeared on the screen. He identified a proposed landing spot with the laser pointer in the remote. “It’s provincial park land but it’s not used much, particularly this time of year. I don’t think this stretch is patrolled often and we can camouflage the Blackbird for flyovers. I can hike out to this road over here,” the pointer tracking his proposed path. “It’s a truck route – I’ll hitch a ride into the next town and rent a car there.”
“Maybe.” Charles looked at the screen, musing, then at Scott. “What’s the cover story? Why are you hitching a ride on a deserted stretch of highway?”
Scott thought for a moment. “Camping and got lost? No, I might get asked about the rest of my party. How about car broke down on a side road?”
“Yes, that could work. You get a ride into the next town, supposedly to get your car towed and repaired, and then the trucker is gone and you’re there renting a car. And going after Logan.”
“How long is he staying in one place?”
“Not long, and his movements aren’t predictable.” Charles thought about that. “That’s another reason to take the Blackbird. I’ll keep watching him with Cerebro, but the quicker you get to where I last saw him, the easier it will be to locate him.” Charles shook his head. “I wish I felt more confident of your ability to persuade him, though.”
“I’ll be my most charming.”
“Somehow I don’t think that’s going to work on him.” They both laughed at that.
Even moving as fast as he could and with frequent input from Charles, it took several days for Scott to locate Logan. Scott didn’t think Logan realized he was after him, but he wasn’t sure. Every time Scott got close, Logan would hit the road again. He was living in a camper mostly – as old and decrepit as the previous one. Doing odd jobs, cash only, in a variety of small northern settlements. But when Scott finally caught up to him, he was back to cage fighting.
The fights were set up as part of an itinerant carnival, the subject of some controversy as Scott discovered chatting with the garrulous desk clerk at the Drifter’s Hotel in nearby La Ronge. Some of the residents of La Ronge – at just under 4,000 residents, the largest community in northern Saskatchewan – were none too pleased with the entertainment offered, and that was even before the fights were advertised. Even without the fighting, carnivals were looked on as full of sketchy characters. Carnival freak shows (Scott wondered how many of the “freaks” were fakes and how many were actually mutants), games of chance, and so on had an unsavory air about them. Many residents worried that this kind of entertainment and that kind of entertainer were not befitting the upright image this former fur trading post was working on developing. But the carnival was on private land and didn’t require a permit. The mayor told the Chamber of Commerce representatives that Wally Jenkins wasn’t breaking any laws by hosting the carnival, rough and unsightly as it was. And there seemed to be plenty of people in the area, both in La Ronge itself and in the neighboring community of Air Ronge and the reserve as well, who wanted rough and unsightly. And were willing to pay to get it.
Scott checked out the carnival, including the cage fighting, two nights running, planning his approach. On the third night he took action.
Logan’s first opponent that night was approximately twice his size and had a cocky, overconfident look Scott was sure would disappear quickly. The promoter knew what was coming, too. He quickly lined up a second opponent, who stripped from the waist up and waited outside the ring as the first fight began.
Scott hadn’t been surprised by the fighting itself. Charles had told him about Logan’s previous cage-fighting and predicted that he might go back to it. Scott was surprised, though, by Logan’s showmanship, and impressed too. Logan affected a nonchalance at the start of each fight, sitting in the corner, back to his opponent and the crowd, even as the promoter gave his opening pitch. He only turned around when his opponent was almost upon him. Then he’d stand up slowly, almost lazily, giving no clue as to his speed and quick reflexes.
The fighting was no holds barred. There were no restrictions whatsoever except that it was bare hands, no weapons. Of course Logan was holding six shiny and deadly weapons in his bare hands, but no one but Scott knew that and Logan wasn’t letting on. His strategy was clearly to get the opponent to hit him, and hit him where it was going to do major damage – to the other guy. No soft tissue, bone. Bone covered in adamantium. The huge thuggish man who was first up tonight obliged, striking a hard blow to Logan’s jaw. The look of surprise mingled with pain when he connected, and the then useless right hand by his side made it clear to Scott that Logan had broken the man’s hand with his own punch. Logan’s opponent, however, seemed dazed and puzzled by what had happened.
And that’s when the nonchalance ended. As had happened the previous nights, after the first blow Logan appeared to become enraged, much to the delight of the blood-thirsty crowd. He started throwing punches in return – to the belly, and then all over his head. When the man was on the floor, clearly unconscious, Logan moved to stomp on him. Scott edged close to the ring in time to see the promoter grab Logan, and to hear him say, “I don’t care if you spend the rest of your life in prison but you kill him and they close me down. That I care about.”
Scott accosted the promoter as he exited the ring after the start of the next fight. “I’ll go up against him next,” he said.
“Yeah?” The promoter looked at him, considering. “You look kind of skinny to take him on.” Scott took off his shirt, revealing a more muscular appearance than was evident in clothes. The promoter shrugged. “Okay, it’s your funeral. You know the rules?”
“There are no rules.”
“That’s right. Them’s the rules. You get five hundred bucks if you can knock him out.”
“Nobody’s knocking him out. Nobody’s lasting more than five minutes.”
“Your choice, take it or leave it.”
“How about $100 if I can keep it going for fifteen minutes?” The promoter seemed to be thinking about the proposition. “I won’t do it if I don’t get anything out of it. And look, the crowd’s getting bored with watching a fight that never gets started.” Scott gestured to the cage. “Speaking of which, you’d better stop him from killing that one.”
The promoter jumped up to intervene, but called back to Scott to say, “You’re on.”
The last opponent was removed from the cage quickly and Logan was back on a stool, facing away as Scott climbed into the cage. “Lose the glasses,” the promoter said, reaching for them.
“I can’t; I’m blind without them.”
“He’ll knock ‘em off you.”
“Then I’ll fight blind after he does. But I’ll start off seeing.” The promoter shrugged and went back to drumming up enthusiasm for the next fight.
Scott didn’t have much of an advantage over Logan’s previous opponents but he had some. He knew about the adamantium, so he knew to only go for soft tissue. And he had the element of surprise. When Logan looked up, Scott was almost on him. And while Logan’s mouth was open, yelling “You?!” Scott punched him as hard as he could in the pit of the stomach. Logan doubled over in pain and surprise.
Not for long, though, and his rage as he went after Scott was clearly not just showmanship. Logan was smaller, but stronger and heavier, the metal in him adding great weight and force. Still, rage mixed with surprise doesn’t make for good tactical thinking, and tactical thinking was always Scott’s strong suit, anyway. Scott managed to avoid a number of blows by anticipating Logan’s actions. Knowing how to use Logan’s weight against him, Scott was able to throw him into the cage wall. The crowd cheered. Logan was, of course, up and back in the fray almost immediately. This time a punch connected, a glancing blow on Scott’s jaw as he tried to get out of the way. Strong enough to knock out at least one tooth. Scott spat it out. And then another blow, strong enough to knock his glasses off. “Did I last the fifteen minutes?” he wondered as he quickly shut his eyes, surrendering to darkness before his eyes could do any damage. And then there were a couple more blows and a kick and the darkness took over his brain, too.
When I woke up my head hurt like it hadn’t in I don’t know how long. There had been years when every day started with a blinding headache. The headaches were one of two long term results from an accident I’d had as a child. The other result is the damage to the mutant control center in my brain, permanent damage that has left me dependent on ruby quartz glasses.
The headaches, on the other hand, I’d thought I’d gotten over. I hadn’t woken up feeling like this for a long, long time. Jean and I had worked together on it, figuring out what all the triggers were. I thought I knew them all and was successfully avoiding them. “Guess not,” I said aloud.
As always, my hand moved to my face before I opened my eyes, just to be sure. And I was glad I had checked. No sleep goggles. Weird. I never forget them. I reached to the night stand for my glasses, so I could see to get some painkillers. But I couldn’t find the glasses, or the nightstand, either. What happened? “Hon, can you see what I did with my glasses?” No answer. My head cleared a bit, but I was feeling strange still. Maybe this wasn’t just a headache. I felt too fuzzy-headed.
I forced myself to start paying attention to my surroundings. Get a grip, Summers. Time to take stock. What can I feel? What can I hear?
I wasn’t in bed, or on the couch I’d been sleeping on lately either. Could I have fallen off the couch in the night? I’m really too big for it and I tend to move a lot in my sleep – it’s a struggle to stay on. One of many reasons I wish Jean and I could get back to the way things were between us. But falling off without waking up? That’s not like me. I’m not a very sound sleeper, which is a good thing since I’m often woken in the night for team needs or student problems.
I listened a minute. No radio, no sound of kids in the hall, the silence the opposite of the bustle of morning at school. It felt like I was lying on a hard floor, not the carpet in our sitting room. Where am I? I thought. I struggled to remember. What happened last night? What day is it even? I couldn’t remember and the headache was making it hard to concentrate.
Suddenly memory rushed in. Okay, at least I know something. I’m not home, haven’t been home for days. Saskatchewan, tracking Logan, the fight. This wasn’t one of the old headaches after all.
I’ve been injured often enough to know what concussion feels like. Only I’d been too concussed to think clearly enough to know that’s what it was. Okay, force myself to think, to concentrate. Was I still on the floor of the cage? I felt around for my glasses.
“They got stepped on.” Logan ’s voice. “We had to get out quick. I didn’t have time to pick up the pieces. Don’t know if they’d do you any good anyway. They were pretty much shattered.”
“Where am I?”
“Middle of nowhere.” I felt around some more and Logan added, “In my camper.”
“What am I doing here?”
“Jenkins thought you were gonna snuff it – told me to get you out of there before you did. He’s already on shaky ground with the local authorities and didn’t want a death on his property. And then your eyes opened while I was dragging you – all hell broke loose.”
“You don’t remember?”
I started to shake my head, then thought better of it as the pain intensified. Holding my head very still, I said, “No, I don’t remember anything after you hit me that last time. My eyes opened?”
“Yeah. You didn’t seem quite awake, though. And they closed again quick.”
“Did anyone get hurt?”
“Nah, but plenty of property damage. And pretty obvious you’re a mutant. And then stuff happened and they caught on that I’m one, too.”
“It’s okay – they would have found out sooner or later. They always do.”
“What happens when they find out?”
“I move on. Same as this time.”
I felt around my still naked torso. I seemed to be wearing what I’d had on in the fight – no more, no less. “Any chance you got my shirt and jacket?”
“Yeah, you want them?”
“I’ve got a spare pair of glasses in the jacket.” A moment later I felt Logan’s hand, giving them to me. I put the glasses on and opened my eyes. I was lying on the floor of the camper. Logan was sitting on a bench, looking down at me. “I don’t suppose you have anything for pain here, do you?”
Logan shook his head. “Don’t need it.” He looked at me with a considering expression. I suddenly felt self-conscious in his gaze. I found myself wishing I’d asked for my shirt and not just my glasses. He smiled. “I fucked you up pretty good, eh?”
“I guess so. I got some licks in,” I added. “Guess you don’t feel it, though.”
Logan chuckled. “Sorry to disappoint. It hurt at the time, if that makes you feel any better, but no morning after pain.” And then, more serious, “What the fuck were you doing in that cage, anyway?”
“Obviously, dickhead. Why?”
“I wanted to get your attention.” Head simultaneously pounding and spinning, I slowly pulled myself up to a sitting position. Leaning back, I placed my head very carefully against the wall of the camper, holding it immobile.
“Well, you got it. What do you want?”
“Professor X sent me. He’s got a mission for you.”
“You don’t even know what it is.”
“And I don’t want to know. Not interested.”
“I think you would be if you heard about it. It’s a chance to settle some scores.”
Logan got up and went over to a small refrigerator at the back of the camper. “You want a beer?”
“I don’t think that’s a good idea. Do you have any water?”
“Yeah, sure.” He tossed a bottle to me and then pulled out a beer, opening it and taking a long draught. “Oh, I almost forgot,” he added, reaching into his pocket. “Jenkins said this is for you – a hundred bucks.” He held out the money. “What’s it for?”
“I guess I lasted fifteen minutes in there with you.”
“Yeah? That was the deal? I didn’t know that – I thought they only got paid if they knocked me out.”
“No you’re right, at least in general. That was the deal with everyone else, but I told him I’d only do it if I got a hundred dollars if I could go fifteen minutes. I didn’t know if I’d make it.”
“What’d you do that for?”
“What do you mean?”
“You live in a mansion. You’ve got fast cars, fancy clothes. You’ve got your own fucking jet, for Chrissakes.”
“I used to have a motorcycle, too.”
Logan chuckled again. “You know what I mean. What do you need a hundred bucks for?”
“I don’t need
it. I just like to quantify my accomplishments.” I thought about that a minute. “Fifteen minutes, huh? Not bad.”
Logan grinned. “Pretty proud of yourself, eh?” And then, more seriously, “I think you could’ve killed me if you’d used your blasts. I don’t know that there would be time for the healing factor to kick in. You ever blasted a mutant with my powers?”
I shook my head again, and immediately resolved to remember to hold it very still for a while. “I think you could have killed me if you’d used your claws.”
“I could’ve killed you with my bare hands if I wanted to. I was holding back. Hardest part of that whole cage-fighting gig – holding back.” He took another drink of his beer and changed the subject. “So how’s your doctor girlfriend?”
“She’s fine. Still a doctor, but not my girlfriend.”
“Yeah, but she’s got a new guy, so don’t expect to just pick up where you left off.”
“How would you know where I left off?” He thought a little more. “You trying to get her back?”
“No, it was mutual. We’re ‘good friends’ - as the phrase goes.”
“I wouldn’t’ve guessed it.”
“We were together a long time. We were both ready to move on.”
“Probably for the best.”
“Why do you say that?”
“Well, a girl like that. I mean, I know lots of women like the pretty boy types. Some men, too,” he added with a smirk. “Bet the kids in your classes are all over you.” I began to protest but he stopped me before I could say anything. “I know, I know. You’re much too straight an arrow for that. I believe you – hands off the students. I’m just saying a woman like Jean needs something more than a straight arrow English teacher. No offense, I just figure she’s looking for a little danger.” He smiled broadly.
“Jean’s been an X-Man all her adult life. Believe me, when you’re a member of a mutant combat team you get more than a little danger.”
“Oh yeah – you’re the big fucking field leader. I forgot.” I laughed, in spite of myself. I don’t know why he has that effect on me. I don’t *like* him, but I can’t help laughing at his jokes, even when the joke’s on me. Logan continued. “But that’s not the kind of danger I mean. You know, sometimes women want somebody who isn’t the good guy, particularly if they’ve had the good guy for a long time.”
“Who knows? Of course, the problem with that theory is the guy she’s with now – he’s an accountant. Looks to me like she’s trying for less danger, not more.” I shrugged. “Anyway, doesn’t make any difference to me, as long as she’s happy. If you want to resume the fling you had with her, see if she’s willing to drop Mr. CPA.”
“What fling? Where’d you get that idea? I never did anything with her. Can’t say I didn’t try...” He thought a minute. “Did she say something happened between her and me?”
“No, I just assumed.”
“Water under the bridge. We’re not together anymore and what she does is none of my business.”
“You got a new girlfriend?”
Neither of us said anything for a while. Logan broke the silence. “I know you’re lying, you know.”
“You think I’ve got a new girlfriend?”
“I think you’ve got the old one. I know you do. You made up that whole story about breaking up and the accountant. And the supposed mission is bullshit, too. You’re here because of Jean – Jean and me. You’re dying of jealousy, aren’t you?”
“You’ve got it all wrong.”
“No, I don’t. You’re lying.”
“Yeah? What makes you think that?”
“Your cell phone’s in your jacket. Jean called while you were still out. We had a nice long chat.”
Logan’s smug expression was infuriating. I got up, doing my best to ignore the pounding in my head and the pain in other parts of my body. My hand went to my glasses. “What did you say to her? Did you tell her I came here because of you? If you fucked up what I have with Jean, I swear I will
“Take it easy Cyclops. She didn’t call. I was the one lying that time. No cell service here – middle of nowhere, remember? But hey, it worked. Got you to admit you were lying, anyway.”
Shit. Why did I fall for that? “How did you know, really?”
“When you were just waking up before, you said ‘pass me my glasses, hon’ or something like that. I didn’t think you were talking to me.” Logan smiled, and continued, “I never did anything with her. I don’t know what she sees in you – well other than the pretty boy looks and the superhero job – but whatever it is, I guess it’s big. Even my fatal charm wasn’t enough to get her to cheat. So you can go back to her and give up this stupid mission talk.”
“There is a mission. That part was true. Finding out what went on between you and Jean was just my own personal agenda.”
“Yeah? What’s the mission?”
“We want you to infiltrate the Brotherhood – Magneto’s organization.”
“Magneto’s in prison – and he ain’t coming out. You’re shitting me again.”
“I’m not. Magneto is in prison, but not all his henchmen are. Some of them are at large and we think the organization is still intact and working on getting Magneto out of prison. We need to foil their plan before it gets under way.”
“Henchmen? Foil their plan? Where do you get this stuff? You sound like something out of a comic book.”
“Scoff if you want to, but here’s a chance to get back at him. He did try to pull you apart from the inside, in that train.”
“How do you know about that?”
“I have my sources. He tried to kill us all in the Statue, too. That I was there for. Do you really want him out on his own, doing whatever he wants?”
Logan still looked skeptical, but he was starting to sound interested. “Why me?”
“Because you were never really part of our team, and Magneto and his hench- ... his people know that. And it would be easy for you to tell them you’d had a fight with one of us – me maybe, and stalked out. Hell, you stole my motorcycle.”
“I borrowed it.”
“Fine. You took it without permission; you walked out. Easy to embellish that into a big falling out and you want nothing more to do with the X-Men.”
“Well the last part’s right. I wouldn’t be having anything more to do with the X-Men if you hadn’t shown up. I’m not exactly thrilled getting stuck saving your life, you know.”
“Look at it this way – we’re even. I pulled you, unconscious, out of a vehicle about to explode when we first met, so to speak. You think the healing factor would have let you survive that?” Logan didn’t answer. “Okay fine,” I continued, “I saved your life and you saved mine. You don’t want to go on the mission, okay. I’ll try to come up with somebody else.” I stood up and started putting on my shirt. “Give me an idea of where we are and I’ll be on my way.”
“You’re not walking distance from anywhere, Cyclops. And you need at least another day before you can move much anyway. Sit back down.” I ignored him, finished buttoning on my shirt and reached for my jacket. “Tell me more about Magneto’s ‘henchmen’ and how you’d want me to join them,” Logan added, sounding almost friendly. I sat down.
He looked real surprised when I said I’d go with him. That’s understandable - I kind of surprised myself. I wasn’t sure why I told him yes. Sure, partly it was a case of why the fuck not? It wasn’t like I had anything else to do. No more cage-fighting in that place. I could move on and find somewhere else to fight, but I was kind of sick of it anyway. I’d been trying to figure out what I was going to do next, even before he showed up.
That was a shocker, him showing up, and like that. Threw me for a minute, and he used the chance to get a couple punches in, which just pissed me off at the time. Really, he’s the last guy I’d expect to find in that cage with me.
I hadn’t thought much about him, or the X-Men, for a long time. Hadn’t been thinking about her, neither.
It wasn’t always like that. I’d thought about her right after I left, alright. A lot. I was thinking at the time that it would be hard to get over her. When I left there I pretty much nailed every willing redhead between Salem Center and Alkali Lake, thinking about her, trying to forget. But after a while something strange happened: I found I was trying to remember instead.
I couldn’t really picture what she looked like, remember what she smelled like. I didn’t think about her much at all, really, unless I was trying to. At first I sort of nursed it, kept thinking about her, kept screwing women who looked a little like her. But after a while I started asking myself, why try? And then I mostly didn’t think about the X-Men at all.
Well, sometimes I’d think about them – about him – when I was riding his bike. That’s one fast machine. I’d ride it with a smile on my face, for the fun of riding it and for imagining the expression on his face when he realized I took it. But after a while it seemed like kind of a lame gesture: taking his bike ‘cause I couldn’t take his girl.
It made me think that maybe me wanting to fuck Jean wasn’t about her at all. It was about him, about wanting to get his goat. Or something. The funny thing is even though I couldn’t really remember her face, I sure could remember his. I could close my eyes and see him right in front of me – the pretty boy looks, the superior smirk, long lean body, confident walk. The dark glasses and that slight red glow behind them. I could tell what he was looking at by where the glow was brightest. I don’t think anybody else can – heightened senses make the difference. And just paying attention, too. I could remember him looking right at me, just like he was right in front of me. Yeah, sometimes I thought about that at night. Not sure why he made such an impression. Maybe because of the bike; maybe because he had the girl I’d wanted. I don’t know – it wasn’t something I wanted to dwell on.
So then I got the camper and just mounted the bike on the back of it and didn’t think about it much. Or them. But sometimes I’d see it on the back there and just remember a bit and kind of wonder what happened with the X-Men after I’d gone. I’d think sometimes about going back there, too. I could tell the professor that his tips on finding out about my past hadn’t panned out, and ask if he had any other ideas. Maybe he’d have ideas for finding stuff out or maybe he’d want me to join the team. And sometimes that seemed like a good idea. Something to do, anyway.
So it was something that came to mind from time to time. Still, I didn’t do nothing about it. I’ve been on my own a long time and mostly that’s the way I’ve wanted it. But then I’d hear that professor’s voice in my head that one time, saying “You’re not the only one with gifts” and I’d feel something. Some sort of... longing.
I’d always known there were other mutants in the world, ever since I figured out that’s what I am. And I figured staying away from them was the best thing I could do. You hang around obvious ones and people catch on. Not that I’m scared or anything. It’s just easier if no one knows. But then I got mixed up with the X-Men and the whole thing with Magneto and saw that there was a different way of looking at being a mutant. Two different ways. Magneto’s way of fighting the normals or the professor’s way of educating them, of fighting for
I’ve never been much for education, it’s true. But I saw what they were doing in that school and started to feel like this could make a big difference to mutant kids like Marie. And if I’m choosing between the geeks who protect her and teach her and the guy who was willing to kill her ‘cause he was too scared to risk his own life, well I know which team I’d rather be on. If I’m going to be on a team. But I wasn’t sure I wanted to be on anybody’s team. So I thought about going back, once in a while, not often, but I didn’t do anything about it. Maybe it was because I didn’t want to be on a team, or maybe I didn’t want to see Jean again. Maybe I didn’t want to see Summers.
I’d pretty much hated his guts at first sight. Arrogant, rich, standing there with the fancy glasses and the stupid ass cardigan and the freaking code name. Cyclops. Just oh so sure he’s the good guy. It’s a type I can’t stand, everything handed to him on a silver platter. And then when I found out she was with him that pissed me off more. Believe me, I wondered what she saw in him. But that was before I saw him in action.
“Field Leader” just sounded like a fancy title, but see him risking his life for the team and you think a little different. It’s probably not for me, that do-gooder stuff, but it’s still something. A good place for Marie and them other kids, like I said. And just seeing him fighting and teaching and just running stuff there – well I realized there’s more to him than just a pretty face. Jean told me once that he’d had to keep his eyes closed for months before they figured out about the ruby quartz. That takes some kind of control. And I saw it for myself when we were fighting in the cage. He shut them so fast when I knocked the glasses off of him that there weren’t any blasts. And then he fought me blind, getting hit again and again, weaker by the minute but he kept them closed. It was something to see. It wasn’t until I’d knocked him out that they opened, when he sort of almost woke up. Just a second or so, but long enough to blow the roof off.
When they’d realized he was a mutant it looked to be a mob scene there. They’d come after him and he wasn’t in no position to defend himself. You could see that mixture of fear and hate all over their faces as they approached. It would’ve been the end of him, they were set on making sure he never woke up. So, I popped the claws and told them to back off.
Well, they were all chickenshit. Willing to take on a dangerous mutant, sure, long as I knock him out for them first. Not one that’s ready to fight back. I saw the same hate and fear again, only now it was for me, but they weren’t gonna take me on. Not until they got some weapons, anyway.
So I grabbed him and hightailed it out of there. Jenkins met me at the camper with the rest of Scott’s stuff and a hundred bucks he said was for him. And I drove far away and just waited for him to wake up. I wasn’t thinking about going with him then.
But then I had him in my camper and I watched him. Unconscious, vulnerable looking on the floor there. Although really it’s the camper roof that was vulnerable if he opened his eyes. I was curious as fuck about why he came there. I figured it was something to do with me and Jean. Started feeling good about it when it turned out I was right, that he was jealous of me. But funny thing – it didn’t make me miss her or feel like I was wanting her all over again, just made me feel good that he was jealous. Kind of petty, I guess. And I wasn’t even mad at him anymore, but I guess it just made me feel superior or something. I took his bike, I beat him up, *and* still he can’t stop thinking about her and me. Can’t stop thinking about me.
So then he tells me this scheme the professor cooked up and at first I think it’s more bullshit but he talks to me some more and he sounds real sincere and then he’s all tactics and plans so I figure it’s for real. And I start thinking maybe I want to do it. For something to do and to do something for Marie and kids like her. And yeah, for getting back at Magneto for what he’d done to me and tried to do to her.
And maybe for finding out a little more about Scott Summers along the way, too. I was getting kind of curious about him. There’s more to him than meets the eye. Maybe I was wrong about him being all rich and spoiled. I just assumed, seeing him in that mansion and with all that stuff, but maybe I assumed wrong. Getting a hundred bucks out of Jenkins – well, that’s not something I think a rich guy would do. Maybe he wasn’t always a rich guy. I wonder where he was before the professor took him in, what he was up to.
And he wasn’t a whiner like those rich and spoiled types usually are. I fucked him up real good and there wasn’t really much to help with that in the camper – no meds or anything. But he didn’t complain, just washed the wounds so they wouldn’t get infected and waited it out. Didn’t wait that long, neither. He said the next day he was ready to go. Still moving kind of funny, but he didn’t complain.
So we headed out of there. He told me where he’d put his jet, turned out we were about 200 kilometers from there. I sold the camper in the next town, had some cash in my pocket. We went on from there on the bike. I told him he could drive. “Big of you,” he said, kind of laughing. “It is my motorcycle. You were just borrowing it, remember?” Then he said I could drive if I wanted, but I told him it was okay. Then he said he doesn’t see well in the dark, so he drove while it was still light out and then we switched. And I don’t know why, but I kind of liked sitting behind him and holding on, and liked it when he was behind there holding on to me, too. I was getting to like the look of him, too.
Feeling kind of randy, going without for too long. And hey, I’ve spent time in prison and in the army. When you’re stuck places without women you learn to be flexible. He was looking pretty good. That mouth on him – thinking of things I’d like him to do with it. But not much chance he was thinking the same thing, so I just concentrated on getting out of Nowhere, Saskatchewan and back to civilization. And this mission I’d gotten myself into. Looks like I’m an X-Man again, for a little while.
As soon as we got somewhere with cell service, I called Charles to tell him I’d been successful. He sounded pleased, and surprised. With Logan right there, I wasn’t comfortable telling him just how surprised I was as well, or the details of how I’d convinced him. I changed the subject and asked how things were going at school. He sounded a little bit guarded, not telling me much, making me wonder who was with him in his office.
“What’s your current location?” he asked, changing the subject himself.
“We’re about half way between Prince Albert and La Ronge. Not too far from where I stashed the Blackbird, but I don’t want to try to find it in the dark. We’ll stay at a motel tonight and go pick up the jet tomorrow. So expect us home tomorrow night.”
Only it didn’t work out that way.
It was probably my fault. If I hadn’t been in such a hurry to take off, I would have done a more thorough inspection. But Logan’s presence was unnerving me and I was eager to get back to Westchester and send him off on his mission. So I went through the usual checks, but my mind wasn’t entirely on the Blackbird. Every time I looked up he was looking at me. Not in a hostile way, really. Not friendly, either. A kind of intense scrutiny, like he was trying to figure something out. He’d been doing that a lot and I didn’t know what to make of it, but it made me uncomfortable. I didn’t want to think about what he might be trying to figure out. I had my own conundrum to figure out and I wasn’t getting very far with it.
It had started when we were still in his camper. When he agreed to go on the mission, I had been eager to get moving before he had a chance to rethink the decision, but he had insisted we stay in place a few days for my wounds to heal. “You’re in no shape to travel.” When I objected that I’ve been wounded often enough to know my own limitations, he added, “If I’m gonna try this superhero team thing it won’t look too good if I kill the Field Leader before my first mission.” So we compromised by staying another day and then getting on the road. And it was while we were cooped up together in the camper that he started staring at me in that way.
It was sort of surreptitious at first. He’d be out of my field of vision and I’d have that feeling you get when it feels like somebody’s looking at you, but by the time I turned around he was busy with something. But then I caught him at it once. He didn’t turn away, just kind of smirked at me and kept looking. Was it a gloating smile, for having tricked me into acknowledging my jealousy and my fear of losing Jean? No, I don’t think so. I’d seen that triumphant smile on him other times, but this was something else. A smile that said he knew that he could make me uneasy just by looking at me. A smile that maybe realized there was part of me that was enjoying the attention.
Yes, enjoying it and looking at him in a new light. And that’s what was unnerving me. I was reacting to him in a way I didn’t expect and didn’t understand.
At first I told myself I was just happy that the mission had been accomplished and relieved to finally believe that he and Jean had never had an affair. But there was something else there. Something that had me looking at him, too, whenever I could. Not that he knew I was doing it. One of the compensations for having to wear these damn glasses all the time is that no one can tell what I’m looking at.
I found myself watching him out of my peripheral vision, a lot, although at first I wasn’t sure why. There was something compelling about him, even as he went about ordinary tasks, fetching water for the camper’s tanks, doing some basic repairs. It wasn’t just seeing the claws in use as tools rather than weapons, although that was fascinating to watch. I’d seen him extend them one at a time before but had no idea that he could extend them part way, as well. A single claw could be a knife, a screw driver, a lever. I’d known they were amazingly sharp and powerful, but I was surprised to see they were almost agile as well. I knew from Charles and Jean that the claws had been created and the adamantium had been grafted to Logan’s skeleton many years ago, against his will, in an excruciating experiment. He’d clearly made the most of the results, though.
But it wasn’t just watching how effective Logan was at using his claws that was capturing my attention. There was more than that. I kept looking at how he moved – those thickly muscled arms and legs, the apparent lightweight grace of his movements. I knew from fighting him that his metal-filled body was anything but light but you wouldn’t know it to see him in action. It was sort of like watching a beautiful yet dangerous animal – a panther or a tiger – uncannily lithe for all that deadly power.
Yes, he was fascinating to watch, for his skill, for his mutation, for his adaptation to the adamantium. But that wasn’t all there was to it, to him, to my growing fascination with him. I couldn’t keep my eyes off of him and realizing that was making me increasingly uneasy.
It only got worse when he sold the camper and we continued on by motorcycle. I’d joked with him about who owned it when he said I could drive, but I was glad I was the one driving when we finally got on the road. Feeling him riding behind me was giving me a raging hard on, making it hard to maintain my composure, or my rationalizations about just why Logan’s presence was making me uncomfortable.
I couldn’t deny it any more. I was intensely and surprisingly sexually attracted to Logan.
It’s something I’d never felt before. I’ve been approached sexually by men on assorted occasions, starting in my teens. I’ve always said no, and done so without regret or ambivalence. I’ve never felt the animosity and fear that a lot of men feel when they are the object of homosexual attraction, but I’ve never felt any interest, either. And here I was, catching glimpses of Logan every chance I could, wondering why he kept looking at me like that. I was intensely interested and at the same time trying to hide my interest from him. Was he looking at me because he suspected? How could that be? How could he know I was attracted to him when I hadn’t even known, myself? And what would his reaction be if he did know? These were the questions I kept mulling over.
Not that I was coming to any conclusions. I couldn’t even figure out how I had come to be attracted to someone who was not only not a member of my preferred gender, but also a man I’d pretty much detested from the start.
Okay, so I’d been doing without sex for some time what with all the trouble between Jean and me. I know that it’s only natural to be tempted under circumstances like that. But why Logan? Why not that waitress at the burger joint we stopped at? She was unabashedly flirting with me and I was feeling nothing, barely managing to speak to her enough to be polite.
But when Logan’s leg accidentally brushed mine under the table, it was like lightning through my body, as brief as the touch was. I found myself wondering if I could touch him again and not let on I was doing it on purpose.
It was worse that night when we checked into a motel. The desk clerk asked if we wanted a room with one bed or two. “Two!” I said, perhaps too quickly and emphatically. Logan just smirked. And then we got into the room and he started stripping. “You don’t mind, do you?” he asked.
“Mind what?” I asked, warily.
“Me going first. Living in the camper – limited water, limited heat – you get to dreaming about a long, hot shower."
“No, go ahead.”
He was in there a long time. He came out, buck naked, and flopped down on one of the beds, turning the TV on and flipping channels. He’d made only a half-hearted attempt at drying off and my eyes were drawn to drops of water glistening on him in the lamplight. I tried not to look and gave up, settling on using my peripheral vision so he wouldn’t know I was looking.
“I think I left you some hot water,” he said absently, settling on a football game.
“Big of you,” I replied, heading into the bathroom myself, not undressing until I was in there so he wouldn’t see the effect he’d had on me. I took a long shower.
When I came out he was still naked, still watching tv, but the football game was over and there was porn on the screen. “I guess I should have asked,” he said, eyes glued to the screen, “but it’s only fifteen bucks more on your bill. I figured Xavier can afford it.”
I could have stayed. He didn’t seem like he’d mind. But I didn’t think I could keep my eyes on the screen and not look at him. I went out for a walk.
When I came back, the television was off and the room was dark. I could see the outline of his body in the bed, chest rising and falling as he slept. I got into the other bed and turned away from him. It took me a long time to get to sleep.
We left the next morning and between lack of sleep and distraction I know I wasn’t as careful inspecting the Blackbird as I should have been. But I did go through my usual pre-flight routine and everything was fine. There was nothing wrong with the take off, either.
No, we were in the air for about 20 minutes before I noticed it. Something sounded wrong. That’s what I noticed first, before I could feel anything or see anything different. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but it just didn’t sound like the Blackbird does at a cruising altitude. I wasn’t sure if I was imagining it. It had been a while since I’d flown. I was tired. I was distracted. But I know this jet as well as I know anything and it just didn’t sound right. There was something... extra. Beyond the usual roar of an engine. Something metallic. Just under and behind the usual sounds. “Do you hear that?” I asked.
“Hear what?” But of course he couldn’t. It sounded like a jet in flight. It just didn’t sound like it should.
And then I could feel it, too. It must have shown on my face. “What’s wrong?” Logan asked.
“I don’t know.”
“What do you mean you don’t know?”
“Something’s not right. I feel like I’m fighting the controls. Logan, why am I fighting the controls?”
Trim controls weren’t working. We were losing altitude.
“Shit,” I said. “Runaway trim.”
“What the fuck is that?”
“It’s... I can’t control...”
I tried disconnecting the circuit breaker to stop the flow of current to the trim motor, but I couldn’t budge it. I was using all my strength to keep the plane from nose-diving. I kept trying but it was clear I couldn’t stop it. The most I could do was slow it down. I hoped I could slow it down enough to survive this.
“It’s not working. We’re going down.”
“Going down? As in crashing?”
The sound was getting louder, making it hard to hear him, even though he was right next to me. I answered him, yelling over the roar of the jet. “Crash landing, if we’re lucky. Look, hold on here with me. Push hard. It’s going to take both of us. If we can last another five minutes or so and slow it down, there’s a clearing up ahead. I’ll lower the landing gear. I’m going to try and get us on the ground in one piece.”
I was giving it my all and so was Logan. His hands were over mine and we were both pulling. His face was covered with sweat from the exertion. I felt a sudden urge to lean over and touch him, but I quashed it. The nose came up a bit. “We’re doing it!” I said. “Keep pulling.”
But it became clear soon it wasn’t enough. Pulling as hard as we could, the nose turned down again. But we were closer. I could see the clearing. We might make it.
We still might avoid a crash, I thought, but it was clear it was going to be at best a hard landing. “Look,” I said. “See that orange duffel behind us, strapped to the wall?” He nodded, still pulling hard. “It comes out easily. And there’s a metal box right under it, with a spring latch. If I don’t make it – take both of them with you.” He nodded. “Do it fast. Once the plane’s on fire it’s too late – probably too late even for you, even with your healing factor.”
The ground was getting closer. I pulled with all my might, trying to get the nose up just a little bit, trying for that hard landing, not a crash, not bad enough to tear the plane apart on impact. If only we had a couple of minutes to get out. “And Logan,” I added, almost breathless with the exertion, “tell Jean for me...” Only I didn’t know what I wanted him to tell her. And then it was too late, anyway.
At least this time I knew I’d had a blow to the head. I can’t say I knew much else, but my head hurt like it had been hit and hit hard. I couldn’t remember where I was, though, or what had happened. I reached to my eyes before opening them, to make sure the glasses were there.
They weren’t, but something was covering my eyes. I put my hand over my eyes to block the optic blasts, thinking – as I often do – how strange it is that my skin stops that explosive force, whether it’s eyelids or my hand, and nothing else but ruby crystal does. With my hand in place, I tried to open my eyes, and couldn’t. I started feeling around my face, trying to pull off whatever was obstructing my eyes. And then I remembered – the Blackbird.
I had to get out, and quick. No time to get this stuff off of my face, whatever it was, or to find my glasses. I needed to move blind. I started to pull myself up, calling “Logan! Logan, are you okay? We’ve got to get out of here.”
I felt his hand on my shoulder, pushing me back down. “It’s okay, Cyclops. It’s over.” I sat down. His hand stayed on my shoulder. My head was still fuzzy and I wasn’t sure what he meant. It crossed my mind that I might be dead.
He continued, “The jet burned, but at least we got out. Sorry about this,” he added, touching the padding on my eyes. “I had to tape your eyes shut. I couldn’t risk another accident like we had back at the carnival. This tent is the only shelter we’ve got.”
It was starting to make sense now. “You got the duffel bag.”
“Yeah, that and you. Couldn’t get that other case, though. Not in time to get away before it blew. What was in it?”
“Electronics. GPS, a radio to contact Charles, electronic flares.”
“Fuck. That would have been good to have. Well, we’ll manage without.”
“I’m surprised you managed to get the bag and carry me, too.” I tried to imagine him getting out before the jet burned, carrying me and the duffel bag full of the tent and supplies. I don’t think I could have done it if our situations had been reversed. I told him so. And added, “Hey, thanks for saving my life. Again. I guess I owe you one.”
“I don’t plan on needing my life saved any time soon, but I’ll figure out some way for you to pay me back.” There was a playful tone to his voice that I found strangely unsettling.
“Are my glasses intact, by any chance?” I asked, starting to pull off the adhesive tape wrapped around my head, wincing a little as it tore some of the skin.
“Yeah. Do you want some help with that?”
“No, I can handle it.” I finished getting the tape off and removed a layer of cotton padding under it that had held my eyes closed. Logan handed me my glasses and I put them on and looked around.
I was sitting on a tarp in the tent we’d kept in the Blackbird. The duffel bag that the tent and supplies had been in was behind me stuffed with something. I’d been lying on it like a pillow. My head still hurt and I was feeling dizzy. I leaned back on it and that helped a bit.
Logan was sitting cross-legged, looking at me. He was wearing the same clothes he’d had on when we got into the Blackbird, but there were rips in his jeans and his jacket was stained with dried blood. No visible wounds, but then there wouldn’t be. Anyway, it might have been my blood. I looked down and realized I was wearing one of the khaki jump suits that had been in the duffel bag.
“I had to cut your pants off of you,” he said. “There was a lot of blood and I thought I should find where it was coming from quick. But it must have been mine. You didn’t have anything deep. I washed your wounds, don’t think they’ll get infected. There’s good water right near here – a brook – and I used the first aid stuff in the duffel. I don’t think you broke anything and it didn’t look like you needed stitching up – just a lot of cuts and bruises. I probably gave you most of them, getting you out of there, but we had to move fast and you weren’t no help.”
“How long was I out?”
He thought for a minute. “I don’t know. I don’t know what time it is. Your watch was smashed and I didn’t have one. Maybe 12 hours? Maybe more. It took a while to find a spot – I wasn’t moving fast, with carrying you. I figured we needed to get some distance between us and the crash. And I didn’t know how long we’d be out here, so we needed water and so on. A few hours walking and then it was light and I found this place. The brook for water, lots of firewood. Fish and small game if we need to be here longer than the MREs last. It’s – I don’t know – maybe three, four hours until dark now, so more like 18 hours you were out.”
“Do you know where we are?”
He shook his head. “That GPS would come in handy right about now.” He looked at me carefully. “Can I leave you alone for a couple of hours? You’ll be okay? I got a fire going out there. It’ll be cold when the sun goes down.”
“I’m okay. Where are you going?”
“Cover my tracks. I don’t want no one knowing where we went. I can move quick by myself – shouldn’t take too long.”
“I don’t know if that’s a good idea. Charles will know something happened to us. He’ll send an X-Men mission to find us. I don’t want them thinking we died in the plane when they find it.”
“Can’t be helped.”
“I don’t want whoever sabotaged the plane to find us before the X-Men do. I’d be pretty happy if the other side thinks we’re dead.”
And he was right, of course. That had been no accident. I would have realized it right away except for the after-effects of concussion. Logan, not dealing with a fuzzy brain, had come to the right conclusion. “You sure you’re okay on your own?” he said. “You’re not thinking too clearly yet.”
“I know, but I’m okay. I won’t try to do any thinking while you’re gone. I’ll just mind the fire and take something for this headache.”
He nodded his assent. “Meds in the duffel. Jug of water just outside the tent. This might take a while, but I’ll be back as soon as I can.” And then he was gone.
I took some pain killers and sat by the fire for a few minutes until they kicked in. Then I got up, figuring I’d check out the area. The fire was burning well, and there was a neat pile of wood nearby. I put one more log on, picturing Logan cutting them with his claws while I lay unconscious in the tent.
I could hear the brook, so it was easy to find. I stripped and washed. The water was cold, but I figured it would be colder after dark. I couldn’t stop thinking about what Logan had said about cutting my clothes off of me, while I’d been out. I refilled the water jug and went back to our campsite to dry off and warm up and wait for Logan.
It was after dark when he returned. “How did it go?” I asked.
“Pretty good. Took a little longer than I thought. It didn’t look like they’d gotten there yet, so I figured it was worth taking some time to throw ‘em off when they do. So I didn’t just cover tracks – made some new ones. Oh, and I got us some supper,” he added, holding up a fish, speared on one claw.
He started to fillet the fish and cut it into chunks. “Can you find a stick to use for a skewer?” he asked and I got one and then watched him. Again, I was mesmerized watching the claws in action as tools.
He misinterpreted. “You hungry? It won’t be long,” he added, retracting the claws and putting pieces of the fish on the stick to cook.
“Yeah, but that’s not why I was watching you. I love to see mutants using their gifts, always have.” I thought for a minute. “But I guess the claws aren’t really mutant gifts, are they?”
“The claws are. Adamantium isn’t.”
“Aren’t they the same thing?”
He shook his head and popped the claws on his left hand, still holding the skewer with his right one. “They’re bone underneath,” he said, gesturing with them, “just lined with adamantium, like the rest of my skeleton.” He retracted the claws and turned towards the fire. “It’s the healing factor and the claws that are my gifts. The adamantium came later.” The bitter tone in the last sentence was unmistakable.
“Jean says it’s because of the healing factor that you survived that.”
“She’s probably right.” He shrugged. “I guess I’m glad of it now – surviving, I mean. At the time I just wanted to survive long enough to kill whoever was doing that to me. Even if I didn’t know what they were doing.” I didn’t know what to say to that, so I didn’t say anything. “I was awake the whole time.”
“Nah. Paralyzed, but awake. Can you imagine what kind of sick mind takes a person apart like that and makes him feel it?”
“Who did it to you?”
“I don’t know. I’ve got a whole lot of years missing from my brain. I can remember the operation, but not before or after. I don’t know where it happened, when it happened. I don’t even know if I did kill them. I hope I did. I wish I could remember doing it, if I did.” He thought for a minute. “What else did your girlfriend tell you about me?”
“Not much. It was a briefing for Charles and me, after she examined you. She said she has no idea how old you are, because you don’t age normally. She said you might be older than Charles.”
“Probably am. I have just flashes of memory from before, oh about 15 years ago, but I think some of them go back a long time.” He pulled the stick off of the fire. “This is done now.”
He sat down next to me and we ate the fish. It tasted delicious in the way that only something eaten outdoors and when you’re really hungry can.
We sat side by side for a while, backs against a tree, just looking at the fire. I tried to think about how we were going to get back to civilization, about making plans. But I felt both excited and discomfited by Logan’s nearness and I was too distracted to plan.
“Hey Cyclops,” he said after a while. “I’ve thought about it. I’ve got an idea how you can pay me back for saving your life this time.” He was smiling at me. His hand was on my thigh, stroking.
“No, Logan. I don’t...”
“Oh come on. It don’t mean nothing. It’s just what guys do when there aren’t women around.” He took my hand and put it to his crotch. I was still shaking my head no, but I didn’t pull my hand back.
I could feel his cock getting hard through the jeans and I knew I wanted to feel it in my hand. He knew it, too, and chuckled a little as I unbuttoned him.
I pulled it out. It was long and hard and felt so good to hold. Like touching myself, but different. I started stroking up and down with a loose fist, thumb on the head. He sighed and told me he liked it, in a kind of panting growl. And then pushed my head down.
I hesitated, but only a second. “In for a penny, in for a pound,” I told myself. Hand still round his dick, I opened my mouth and licked the top of it, tasting skin and sweat and wanting that in my mouth. I pulled the head of his cock in, licking around the top while I sucked on it, stroking up and down all the while. I felt like I’d been waiting all my life to do this, like I’d never get enough of it. I rubbed against my own cock through my clothes with my other hand, bobbing up and down on him, just reveling in the taste and the feel of him. And the sounds. He was murmuring encouragement, telling me he liked it. His fingers were in my hair and on my face. I was surprised at how soft his hands felt, stroking me. And then he stopped talking, his breathing faster and uneven.
“I’m gonna come,” he said, fingers in my hair, and tried to pull me off of him, but I wasn’t letting go for anything. I felt it spurt in my mouth, tasting bitter and sharp and there was nothing I wanted more at that minute. I kept my mouth on him as his cock shrank, then pulled off and wiped my face with the back of my hand.
“You’re damned good at that,” he said, leaning back against the tree and sighing. “You done it a lot?”
I shook my head. “First time.”
“Really?” I nodded. He reached over and started unzipping my coverall. “Your turn,” he said, pulling out my cock. “I don’t suck cock, but I’ll jerk you.”
And his hand was on me. I took his other hand in mine. “Your skin is so soft,” I said. “I didn’t expect that.”
“I can’t form calluses – part of the healing factor.”
He was stroking with some kind of circular motion, squeezing and tugging. It felt wonderful and he seemed so into what he was doing, like it wasn’t just pay back but something he really wanted. “You’ve got a great cock,” he said. “Long and lean, like the rest of you.” I shivered a bit from his words as much as from what his hand was doing.
I leaned in and kissed him. First on the side of his neck, then turning his head with my hand, full on the mouth. He hesitated at first but then opened his mouth and let me suck his tongue in. I wondered if he could taste his cum in my mouth as I stroked his tongue with mine, as he stroked my cock with those amazingly soft fingers and that strong touch.
I pulled back from his mouth, panting now. He leaned in and started whispering in my ear, both hands on me now. “I knew you wanted it. You gave it to me good and now I’ve got your big cock in my hands, just where I want it. You’re almost there, aren’t you?” His voice, his hands, his presence next to me, the fire light, the taste of him still in my mouth. So much sensation and so good I could barely stand it. And then I was coming, hearing myself shouting “Oh God Logan” as I did.
He stood up right afterwards, all business, tending to the fire. I suddenly felt cold.
“Temperature’s dropping,” he said, as if he’d read my mind. “We’ll be warmer in the tent. Let’s get some sleep. We can figure out how to get out of here in the morning.”
He disappeared into the tent and I followed soon after. He was asleep already, back to me. I felt like lying down behind him, holding his body to mine, but I didn’t. I lay down, turned the other way, listening to his rhythmic breathing.
I thought about what he’d said before, that it didn’t mean anything, what we had done. I was terrified that it was going to mean a lot – too much – to me. It took me a long time to fall asleep.
Additional Information for Readers of A Questionable Proposition by The Mo
This story was written as part of the livelongnmarry
auction to support efforts to combat Proposition 8 in California. Unfortunately we lost that one, but I am proud that the fandom corner of lj raised over $50,000 for this effort and that I was part of it, on both ends.
My original offer was:I offer to write a story in the X-Men movieverse (any of the three movies) with your preferred characters and pairings. Story can be sexually explicit or not, as you prefer. I will include OCs from my previous fiction upon request. I write character-driven slash with complex plots, complex characters, and realistic sex (albeit realistic sex that incorporates mutant powers). My main pairing is Scott/Logan but I'm open to any pairing you choose and will write het or femslash or gen, as requested. My fiction can be found at http://mo.fandomnation.com/fic.
So, I’d agreed to take requests on characters, pairings and whether or not there would be explicit sex in the story. I didn’t explicitly agree to any particular plot elements, but I did want to accommodate as much as I could.
Here is what the winner of the auction requested:
• A story unconnected to my previous fiction, starting from scratch with the characters
• Scott/Logan movieverse with explicit sex
• Unresolved Sexual Tension before they get to that point
• Physical violence between the two of them
• Scott and Logan are stranded somewhere alone together
• Each learns something about the other one he didn’t previously know
• Scott smiles at something funny Logan says
So I think I got all of those into the story. I had two possible ways to go on this one. My first thought was to make it a post-X3 story. I think there’s plenty of room in X3 for writing fic where Scott did not die. We know that Jean was in a “telekinetic cocoon” between X2 and X3. I thought that she might have put Scott in there in her place. And Logan would realize he was still alive and go get him. Plenty of opportunity for them to be stranded alone together. And when Logan mentions that he happens to have killed Scott’s girlfriend, I think the violence would likely follow. Particularly if he tells Scott after
he and Scott have had sex, having previously only said that Jean died. Anyway, I thought it had promise and considered that as a possibility.
The second possibility I considered (and eventually went with) was a story set between the first two movies. Scott is already out of the picture when Logan shows up in X2, and remains gone for much of the movie. There’s no indication that Scott and Logan have had any contact between the films, but there’s no indication that they haven’t, either, and that allows for some room, particularly if the characters who do greet Logan in X2 (Jean and Storm) didn’t know what had happened between Scott and Logan in between films. So I thought that had potential, too.
In deciding which way to go I was mostly motivated by my thorough hatred of X3. I think the movie is such a mess from beginning to end. I love the idea of fanfic as a way to fix canon gone wrong, but every time I think about doing that with X3 I just feel it’s too bad to fix. So I went with the other option.
My major research in this one, other than geographic, was about plane crashes. I’m pretty fascinated by crash landings where there are survivors and the almost superhuman effort that sometimes is expended by the pilot. I read a bunch of transcripts from black boxes as part of the research and the dialogue in the plane as it’s going down is pretty much drawn from real life.
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters and settings are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. No money is being made from this work. No copyright infringement is intended.