And then he discovered the next stage of his escalating obsession. Thanks to the eccentric old man they called Caleb Cale.
At the dinner table, Caleb was McChatty Chatterson, and with Logan sort-of sulking (or what passed for sulking in his world of polite political correctness) it came down to Alec to entertain the old man. He cracked a couple of jokes that made the old man throw his head back and laugh.
A part of Alec actually even felt sorry for the old man. He had no real family left, except Logan, having outlived not just his parents, siblings and wife, but also his own children – a son who lost his life in the Eurasian war in 2013, and a daughter who OD’d couple years later.
Now in the twilight of his life, he didn’t have anyone for company that he didn’t pay to be here. No wonder he was a little – as Logan put it, although Alec didn’t understand that reference at all – over the cuckoo’s nest.
“So tell me, Mr. McDowell…”
“Please, Sir, call me Alec.”
Caleb smiled, “Only if you call me Caleb.”
Alec grinned, “Deal.”
Caleb sipped his wine. “So Alec, what do you know of this new charity organization my nephew plans to start?”
Yikes. Logan and Alec hadn’t had time to debrief, so he had to be careful what he said. Alec looked at Logan, who was just as taken aback by the fact that it was directed at Alec. Obviously, the old man did not know that Logan moonlighted as a vigilante and he most definitely did not need to know of his associations with transgenics.
Their eyes met and Logan shook his head subtly.
Alec swallowed and sat back. “I think, Caleb, that Logan is the best person to answer that question. I’m just his caregiver, really.”
“I’m sure that’s not true,” Caleb responded, the hint of a smirk playing on the edge of his lips. “My nephew speaks highly of you. He trusts you. And LJ does not easily trust too many people. Dare I say, he gets that from my side of the family.”
Alec just smiled, chancing a quick glance over at Logan who’d gone back to studiously admiring his garden salad.
“Let me be honest with you, Alec,” Caleb began, leaning forward a little. “I’m skeptical. I once put my faith in research foundations who claimed to be on the verge of performing miracles with genetics, but to this date they have nothing to show for it.”
Alec had to stop himself from scoffing visibly at that.
“My wife struggled with cancer for many years until she finally died of it. Every year I donated a million dollars to cancer research and hoped, no, prayed for a cure that did not come. Instead, it has recently come to light that all our money got directed to this rogue military organization called Manticore, and for what? Creating dangerous, super-powered freaks? Breeding mutant assassins and letting them lose to run amok?”
Logan and Alec stayed quiet. What could they possibly say?
“And now my nephew, I fear, is on the verge of making the same mistake. He wants to save lives, and eliminate disease – a noble intention of course. But does it have to be genetic research, LJ? How can you trust these people? How do you know they’re not just another Manticore in the making? Like we don’t have enough of a mutant menace to deal with already?”
Crap, obviously Logan hadn’t known of his uncle’s strong aversion to genetics or he would have built a different business plan. Although, from whatever little conversation they’d had so far, there didn’t seem much that Caleb was not averse to.
“You really think I will let anyone deceive you again, Uncle?” Logan asked, keeping his voice pointed and accusatory.
Caleb sighed. “No, son, I fear you will be deceived. Let’s be honest, you haven’t exactly demonstrated any real knack for business to speak of. You walked away from every opportunity ever provided to you…”
Alec ground his teeth. So this was what Logan’s family thought of him – a loser who lived off his parents’ legacy without adding to it?
Logan was obviously used to the barbed insults by now. “All I’m asking for is a loan, one I will repay with full interest!”
“It’s not about the money, LJ, I have more than I know what to do with and you know that. I just refuse to be taken advantage of! Not again!”
The tempers had started to rise, and yet Alec felt the need to defend Logan. “With all due respect, Caleb, I can understand your skepticism after what you’ve been through. But this is Logan we’re talking about. He’s the most cautious and meticulous guy I’ve ever known. Surely you can trust your own nephew?”
Caleb looked at Logan, an eerie glimmer filming his pupils. “Can I?”
They were interrupted by the arrival of the entrees. Logan looked across the table at Alec, frustrated already. Alec lightly shrugged, they’d tried. And at least there was an upside – they didn’t have to stay in this creepy place any longer and he could get Logan out of here ASAP.
Alec admired the perfect piece of prime rib with madeira sauce placed before him and for the next few minutes conveniently forgot everything else. It was hands down the absolute best thing he’d ever tasted in all his life. He sipped from his goblet of wine (also a first – he’d never had red wine before) and nearly moaned with pleasure, actually he did, until Logan stared him into silence.
He was almost halfway through the luscious piece of meat on his plate when the shit started its ascent to the fan.
Logan coughed, lightly at first, then a little louder. Alec looked up frowning, waiting for it to pass on its own. But then suddenly he was choking.
Alec dropped his steak knife and ran to the other side of the table. Caleb stood up quickly too, calling for security and Mrs. Nolan.
Logan’s face was red as he continued to choke. Alec came over just in time to catch Logan as he toppled off his wheelchair. He pulled the gasping man away from all furniture and laid him on the floor, his upper torso resting against Alec’s chest as he knelt behind Logan. He put one arm around the heaving chest and thumped his back.
“Hey, hey… what’s happening?”
He was just about getting ready to attempt the Heimlich maneuver when Logan coughed again and rasped, “Pepper…”
“He’s allergic, his throat is closing up,” Caleb explained and then screamed again. “Mrs. Nolan!”
The old woman and a couple of suits came running out. She had a couple of injections in one hand.
“Wait, what’s in that?” Alec demanded, pulling a still coughing and convulsing Logan protectively to himself, raising one hand up to not let anyone close.
“Antihistamines, please, it’ll only take a minute,” Mrs. Nolan almost pleaded. Alec had no choice but to believe her.
He continued to hold Logan, pulling his head back to rest on his shoulder as the housekeeper knelt beside them to administer the injection. Logan was trembling, unable to breathe and his eyes were tearing up with the terrible sensation of choking caused by the peppers.
Alec took his glasses off and put them aside, then gently wiped the tears away. He stroked Logan’s hair and lightly rubbed at his throat, not sure if it could ease his breathing, but needing to touch Logan and make that horrible wheezing stop anyway he could.
“You’re okay, you’re okay…” he assured Logan, more for his own benefit, he suspected.
Meanwhile the medicine started to take hold and Logan went limp in Alec’s arms, no longer feeling like he was choking. It took another few seconds before the swelling in his throat receded enough to let him breathe easily. But the attack had been strong enough to zap him of all his energy. Alec found himself settling down on the carpeted floor, taking Logan with him. They sat like that, back to chest, Alec continuing to gently caress Logan’s sternum without realizing he was doing it.
A moment’s peace and Alec realized how fast his heart had been racing too. He’d come so close to failing this mission – as simple as it was supposed to be. All he had to do was keep Logan safe, for Max, for his friends… for Alec himself. What good was his genetic superiority if he couldn’t even do so much?
His arms tightened around Logan unconsciously and he pressed one side of his face against Logan’s, trying very hard not to burst into tears.
“I’m sorry, dearest nephew.” a voice mumbled beside them a few minutes later. Logan tensed up in Alec’s arms as he looked up into his uncle’s face.
“You did that on purpose,” he whispered. And it was not a question. The guilt-ridden look on the housekeeper’s face confirmed as much.
Alec frowned, rage setting his teeth on edge as he looked up at the old man. All his sympathies evaporated in that instant. In a flash, he reached behind his back under his jacket and whipped out a .32 Colt, aiming it right between Caleb’s eyes.
“What the fuck’s going on here, Caleb?!?”
The two suits immediately drew out their own guns and pointed them at Alec.
“Stop!” cried Caleb, “Back off, you fools! It’s him, it’s really him!”
Alec waited for the men to put their guns away but didn’t holster his own, still not trusting anyone.
“It’s okay, Alec,” Logan whispered, touching the X5’s arm until he relented and lowered his weapon.
Caleb came closer. “I’m sorry, LJ. I had to be sure. Surely you understand that.”
Logan made to sit up without support but couldn’t make it. “Who did you think I was, Uncle?”
“You live in Seattle, son. They’re manufacturing genetic clones down there! I might live like a recluse but I keep up.” Caleb said, as if that explained it all. The crazed glint in those age-old eyes was back. “One can never be too sure these days.”
Alec wanted to laugh, really, just about as much as he wanted to pummel something. He didn’t know who he felt sorrier for – poor Logan for falling prey to his paranoid uncle’s schemes, or Caleb for being completely oblivious to the fact that he was, in fact, in the presence of his worst nightmare – an actual, honest-to-god genetic clone.
“I did my homework, son. Manticore let loose a whole breed of clones out in this world to do their dirty bidding – assassinations, robbery, espionage. And they engineer their clones to perfection you know – take away all their flaws including diseases and allergies. It was the only way I could be sure…”
Logan just sighed in resignation (not anger, which surprised Alec) and leaned back against his escort’s shoulder. Alec rejoiced a little, but this was so not the time. He put his gun back in its place, and brought his now free arm back around Logan’s chest.
“Why didn’t you just ask him questions only the real Logan could know? Like private details about your relationship with him, shared memories and such?”
“He tried,” Logan supplied, still heaving against Alec. “But he just doesn’t have enough to go by.”
Of course. Alec didn’t know much about families, but he knew a dysfunctional relationship when he saw one.
“Okay, so… if Logan had actually died from you poisoning him, it’s not like it’d be a terrible loss or anything.”
The look on Caleb’s face was precious, but the glare Logan fixed him with was not. Alec just shrugged; Max had given him his name for a reason.
Then Logan started to lightly fidget. Alec loosened his grip but only a little. Disoriented as he was, Logan probably would have tried to stand even and blown his cover, if Alec was not still holding him down.
“We’re done here. Alec, I’d like to leave now,” Logan said, his voice breathless and rushed and… a little pained?
Mrs. Nolan heard it too. “Oh dear, are you getting the hives again, LJ?”
Logan winced and glared up at the housekeeper, unintentionally trying to reach his back which was clearly starting to itch.
Alec tried not to laugh.
“You need a second shot? Of course, you always do…”
“No! No more shots, they knock me out. I just… Alec, I’d like to go home now,” Logan practically begged with his eyes, “…please.”
Alec would have done as he wished, but Caleb stepped forward again. “Son, please forgive me for what I had to do. Please just… stay. Mrs. Nolan, please show these gentlemen to their bedroom. I cannot let you go like this.”
Logan was about to protest again when Alec interrupted him. “It’s okay. A little while longer won’t hurt.”
I’ll make sure of that.
He was starting to see the sweat break out on the man’s forehead and the shakes racking him from head to toe. If he was really getting the hives, Alec wanted to get him some help right now. Caleb might be bat-shit crazy, but Alec doubted he would attempt to kill Logan, not twice in one night. And they could jet anytime they wanted, as soon as Logan felt up to it.
One of the suits set the wheelchair back upright and together with Alec helped Logan into it, who continued to grimace in obvious discomfort and/or pain.
“You will find everything you need in your room, as always,” Caleb said as Alec started to wheel Logan out, following the housekeeper ahead of them.
“Please take good care of my nephew, Mr. McDowell!” he called behind them. Alec barely stopped himself from flipping the old man off.
The last few seconds of this conversation struck him as incredibly strange and something he should be concerned about. But his mental faculties must have been compromised by the damn wine because for the life of him he couldn’t figure out what.
There was an elevator to go up to the second floor and that’s when it struck him. Mrs. Nolan was leading the two of them, Alec and Logan, to their bedroom. Singular; not plural. They had been given one bedroom. And it got even worse when they stepped inside – the room had one bed. A single, solitary, king-sized bed.
Alec frowned, his mouth open in a confused ‘O’ once again until his eyes landed on Mrs. Nolan. She was smiling coyly, like she knew something she wasn’t supposed to, something he obviously didn’t.
“Call me if you need anything. I’ll leave you two to it, then. I really am sorry, LJ. You know how your uncle gets when he has an idea. I tried to talk him out of it, really I did… but…”
She stopped when she saw Logan wasn’t really listening. Not because he was angry, but because his discomfort was now growing by leaps and bounds. Abruptly she shut up and stepped out, closing the door behind her. Alec raised a finger, thinking maybe he should stop her, but for what he wasn’t sure.
Then Logan whimpered, and Alec instantly forgot everything else.
Logan was looking up through slanted eyes at a corner up in the ceiling of their stately bedroom. Alec didn’t need to follow his line of sight to know what Logan wanted him to know – cameras.
Damn. That would explain why Logan hadn’t jumped right out of his wheelchair already. He started pulling off his jacket, fidgeting almost violently, trying to get to the itch in the center of his back. It made Alec want to chuckle again.
“Oh you think this is funny, huh? Get over here and help me.”
It was almost like Logan had read his mind. The transgenic quickly came forward, kneeling beside Logan. “What do you need?”
“There’s a jar of lotion in the bathroom cabinet.”
Alec ran to the said bathroom, finding a white crystal jar where it was expected to be. By the time he came back out, Logan had ‘pulled himself up’ on the bed and shrugged out of his shirt and under-shirt, socks and shoes. Alec gulped, his steps slowing on his way to the bed. He’d fantasized about a shirtless Logan for months. But this… this was not how he’d expected it to come about.
“Everywhere,” was the miserable reply.
Logan’s face and neck looked sunburn-red, and it was hard to tell how much of it was the hives and how much just Logan blushing thanks to the situation.
“Here, let me.” Alec offered before he could stop himself. He sat beside Logan on the edge of the bed and squeezed out some gel on his just washed hands. Until an hour ago, Alec wasn’t sure he was even allowed to touch Logan’s hand.
Logan seemed nothing but grateful as he pointed at his throat, so Alec concentrated on coating the long column of his neck that was as red as a beetroot.
“Uh, no, face is fine.”
So that’s the blush part then. It took all of Alec’s willpower to not smile at that. Then Logan fidgeted again.
“How did you get pepper on your back?”
“It just… spreads. Goddamnit.”
“Turn over then.”
Logan hesitated. “Alec,” he whispered lowly, pulling the younger man close enough so they couldn’t be heard. “It’s okay. You don’t have to,” he said, eyes lowered, unable to meet his.
Alec couldn’t help but smile. This was the moment in which he found a name for this new stage of his escalating obsession. Thanks to the eccentric old man they called Caleb Cale, Alec knew how much he enjoyed – and why he’d never, ever, ever tire of – taking care of Logan.
Alec shifted closer to the other man, silently but firmly communicating his intent. “Hey, I got your back, remember?”
Logan swallowed visibly but did not look up.
“Seriously, I got your back. Turn over.”
Logan did not share his amusement for the double entendre and scowled but did as asked. He lay down on his stomach and turned his face away from Alec. Alec didn’t mind, he might have done the same thing if their places were swapped.
The room was dimly lit by just one antique Tiffany-style floor lamp not too far from the bed, enough to cast a soft golden tinge on Logan’s newly exposed skin. Gold was a great color on him, Alec decided, and didn’t bother to switch on any more lights.
With as much restraint as he could muster, Alec applied the lotion to Logan’s heaving back. He worked the expanse of all that skin from the base of his neck to his waist. Even the moles and blemishes added to the man’s beauty instead of detracting from it.
As he massaged the healing gel into the irritated skin, he could practically feel the tension seep out of Logan’s body. Alec lost track of how long he sat there, leaning over Logan, struggling to stay within bounds of propriety even as he let his fingers casually dip ever so slightly into places that he shouldn’t be allowed into.
At last, he mustered up enough courage to step it up a notch, or at least, try. “Logan, you awake?”
The other man had been so still, he might as well have drifted off. But Logan nodded subtly, blinking so Alec could see his long eyelashes move.
“Maybe you should take your pants off, just to check if… it’s all good down there?”
He fully expected to be shoved off the bed and cursed at with the choicest words in Logan’s vocabulary. Instead, there was silence for a whole minute. Then…
Logan slowly undid his own pants, and mutely went back to lying still; his hands back at his sides.
Alec gulped hard, seeing but not believing what’d just happened. With a fluttering heart and trembling fingers, he reached for the fabric of the black slacks. Slowly, carefully, he drew them down the swell of Logan’s ass, along with the black brief-boxers.
The sight took his breath away. Despite the couple of red bumps and blotches that had to be painful. He felt like a horrible person for blooming an erection at a time that was so not appropriate for it. Steeling his heart and mind (and nearly convincing himself to keep his eyes shut before remembering he was only a super-soldier, not a frikkin’ saint) he started to rub more lotion into Logan’s exposed butt.
The older man shuddered, hard. One fist made its way up to his mouth as if trying to muffle the sounds escaping his mouth. Alec held his breath, hoping… but not yet daring to voice it. Instead he focused on making Logan feel good, not just treating the sore spots but sweeping across the entirety of his backside.
That’s when he heard Logan moan.
Alec had to pull his hand away for a second or three to get himself back under control and avoid making a premature mess inside his own pants. Only when Logan started to squirm did he bring his hand back, stroking and fondling the delicious curves to his heart’s content. The squirming stilled.
Oh yeah, there was no doubt Logan was enjoying it too.
In his reverie, Logan had moved his legs to cross them at the ankles, curling his toes. Alec had no idea if crazy Caleb and his cronies were watching but Logan seemed past the point of caring. Alec, however, remembered they still had a mission to complete and couldn’t afford to blow their cover yet.
Besides, who knew what Caleb would do to Logan if he found out his nephew could walk thanks to Manticore technology.
Casually, he shifted and positioned himself in a way that his body shielded Logan’s body from the camera. And then he reached over and pulled Logan’s long legs apart.
Logan gasped audibly. “Alec…” he pleaded, but did not make any protests or moves to get away.
“Shh,” Alec hushed him, easily peeling the rest of Logan’s pants from his legs and throwing them to the floor. “You’re okay,” he whispered throughout, “you’re okay.”
Quickly he checked for any more hives and was glad to find none. Nevertheless he took some more gel on his fingers and worked it into the back of the slender thighs, enjoying the feel of the toned sinews in his hand.
Logan twitched and moaned again.
“Don’t move,” Alec whispered bending close to his ear. “Remember to stay still.”
Logan complied, at least he tried to. “Do something,” he begged, growing increasingly frustrated by the light fleeting touches. “Anything… please…”
Alec didn’t wait for any more signs. Quietly, carefully, he coated a couple of fingers with the cool liquid and then parted Logan’s cheeks. The man flinched violently, but stayed silent otherwise. Alec caressed the length of the newly exposed crack, circling the little opening a couple of times before finally, finally, pushing a finger in.
Logan whimpered, muffled the rest of his sounds in his pillow and moved a hand down to his groin.
“Shh…” Alec soothed him unconsciously, putting his left hand in the middle of his back as he moved his finger in and out, massaging the tight passage. Minutes later, he added a second, then a third, pistoning the opening with a gentle, rhythmic motion.
Soon enough, gentle wasn’t enough for Logan, and he started to arch up into Alec’s fingers, trying to pull more of the X5 inside of him.
Alec curled up his fingers, seeking the pleasure spot to make Logan moan louder. And when he succeeded, Alec moaned with him. Before long, he found himself straddling Logan, applying pressure with his left hand to the center of Logan’s wriggling back as he continued to finger-fuck the gorgeous ass, watching it rise and fall like a desperate wave in a shameless attempt to get his cock some much needed friction.
Logan Cale, the strong silent type, was frantically rutting into the bed, mewling and cursing and whimpering for all he was worth… and all this despite knowing very, very well that they were quite possibly being watched by a perverted old man…
Just when Alec thought Logan couldn’t possibly look any hotter, Logan drew a loud, pained gasp and his spine went taut. Alec dug his fingers right against the gland inside, for good measure, and didn’t let up until Logan’s eyes had rolled up in his head and he was climaxing with a desperate, soundless, scream.
Fuck was that hot. But now Alec needed more. A whole lot more.
“God damn it all to hell…” Alec hissed and before Logan could ask what was wrong, he’d pulled off his leather jacket and had the Colt gripped in both his hands. The silencer was on it too.
Logan craned his neck up groggily just in time to watch Alec discharge the weapon into one corner of the high domed ceiling. Instinctively, the naked man covered his head but he needn’t have worried. The shot had been precise. Bits of cement debris petered down to the carpet four yards away from the bed.
Logan sighed and shook his head. “My uncle is not going to be happy about that.”
“Yeah well, give him a discount if he ever gets around to dishing out the dough. I don’t fucking care.”
They looked, really looked into each other’s eyes for what was probably the first time since they’d entered this room. And suddenly the gravity of the situation (of what they’d just done) started to sink in.
Alec gulped, forcing his eyes to stay on Logan’s even though he was acutely and painfully aware of the rest of his gorgeously naked body. He wanted nothing more than to rake it ravenously with his eyes, his hands… he longed to possess it, head to toe, ravish it with his still aching cock…
“What are you waiting for?” Logan whispered, once again in his freaky little way, managing to read Alec’s mind.
Alec blinked, still frozen in place, until Logan hiked one eyebrow. “Seriously Alec, before I change my mind…”
“No! No, no, no…” Alec was up on his feet and rapidly tugging his own clothes off. Logan smirked and turned to his side, propping his head up on one elbow to watch Alec undress.
Alec knew he was hot. It was part of the genetic cocktail for all X5s, so it wasn’t like a matter of personal achievement or pride or anything. It just was what it was, period. And yet, something about Logan fixing him with those intense green eyes while he stripped made him feel like he’d never felt before… beautiful, proud… nervous.
Logan took his time, his eyes narrowed into little slits as he checked Alec out once he was completely naked.
The younger man couldn’t help but smirk, “Like what you see?”
“Not sure. Don’t have my glasses.”
Alec didn’t know if he should chuckle or be offended. Logan laughed for him instead and shifted to make space in the bed. Forgetting everything else, Alec went back to the bed and fell into the open arms waiting for him.
Once again the citrusy base of Logan’s cologne hit him in the back of his throat, seeped into his very soul. It was subtle but comforting and Alec just had to bury his face in the crook of the older man’s neck. Logan was cooler to the touch, and just a little slick with all that lotion on his skin, but the strength of his arms as he brought them around Alec kept him in place.
As if there was anywhere else in all universe he could possibly want to be.
“So exactly what were you planning to do to me, again?”
Alec looked up into Logan’s face, his unshielded eyes. They looked just a little wary, just a tad anxious but nothing about his body language indicated distress or hesitation of any kind. And that was good enough for Alec.
“I was hoping to kiss you, for starters.”
“Well, then, maybe you should.”
Alec led Logan to lie back on the bed and covered him with his own muscled frame. Then their lips touched, and the rest of the world and everything in it ceased to exist.
In retrospect, it was the eyes that caught his… well, eye, first.
Maybe it was that time in Manticore after Max escaped, and they ran a bunch of old Eyes Only broadcasts to get him debriefed on his next target. Maybe it was the first time he met Logan, watched him writhe on the floor as the virus took hold and started to kill him. Even in pain as they were, or maybe because of it, Alec remembered perversely thinking – Hello there, pretty eyes.
Or maybe it was that night at Crash, the one game of pool permanently imprinted on his memory. Not just because Logan had killed him – Alec, who’d never ever been defeated in any game of any sort before or after – but because for a few rare minutes Logan had let his guard down. Because he’d actually let Alec get close… close enough to notice how Logan’s eyes changed colors, how the sea-green solidified into a determined steel grey by day, and melted into warm liquid gold by night.
And now here he was, just before the break of dawn… turned on his side to keep a steady watch on his sleeping companion, waiting to see what color those eyes were going to be at this hour.
They’d had sex twice last night. It was probably too early to call it making love, Alec thought, probably. Logan, as it turned out, was a careful and patient lover, even if just a little unsure of himself. In contrast, Alec was all passion and adventure and golden retriever enthusiasm, not unlike his everyday self. Difference was, Logan hadn’t rolled his eyes or ignored his attention-seeking tactics in bed. Instead he’d laughed and grabbed Alec by the ears to pull the younger man closer to himself.
Alec smiled at the memories, planting a soft kiss into Logan’s nearest shoulder. That’s when Logan stirred. He let lose a deep, can’t-believe-it’s-morning-already sigh, and then his insanely long eyelashes fluttered. He brought up a fist to rub at his eyes, and then squinted at the face hovering beside him. He started to smile at first, but then stopped.
He might as well have stopped Alec’s heart instead.
“What time is it?”
Alec swallowed his disappointment long enough to look at his watch and respond, “Just after six.”
“Did you sleep?”
He was probably wondering how long Alec had been acting like a psycho person and watching him sleep. Alec gulped again and shifted on the bed to lie on his back, a good distance away from Logan.
“I just woke up myself.”
What the hell had he expected? For Logan to wake up and smile like a fucking bride the morning after his wedding night and turn into Alec’s arms and call him sweetheart and profess his undying love to him forever and ever? That kind of thing only happened in the movies, so he’d heard. Or to people like Max.
Not to loser misfits like X5-494.
Logan looked away, his eyes sweeping across the room to take in their surroundings. Alec could practically hear the human’s pulse racing away while his own had receded to a depressingly slow ebb.
“Did you want to use the bathroom first?”
Alec didn’t respond. He just lay there for a few seconds in dead silence until Logan started to fidget. At last he decided to put the cyber-hero out of his misery and abruptly slid out of bed. The first thing he did was pick up his still holstered gun from the floor. That made Logan sit up, and Alec smirk. Gathering his clothes up under the other arm, he stalked off, stark naked.
If Logan followed him with his eyes, Alec pretended not to care. And if Logan heard the muted pop as Alec blew the bathroom bugs out, he didn’t react either.
Fifteen minutes later he stepped back out, fully dressed and ready to get the hell out of Puget Sound. Logan was as awkward as ever as he held a bed sheet wrapped around his naked torso and slipped past Alec to get into the bathroom. Alec tried to ignore the heartache and concentrated on the task at hand.
To be fair, it wasn’t Logan’s fault that Alec wanted it to be more than a one-night stand. He’d given the guy no indications of his ongoing crush whatsoever. And what was wrong with Logan wanting just a one-night deal anyway? Guy, girl, human, mermaid… he’d done it all himself and moved on the next day without losing any sleep. Why in hell shouldn’t Logan?
At seven AM, Alec was slumped in the sofa chair by the bay windows, sulking in his own company and getting hungrier by the minute, when the bathroom door opened. Alec turned towards the other man and tried to make his voice sound as normal (unaffected, indifferent, not heartbroken at all) as possible.
“Hey, what took you so lo– ”
His question was answered when he caught sight of a thin bloody slice on that perfect chiseled jawline. It was just a nick, one anyone could get in a split-second of distraction. And yet, for some insanely possessive reason, Alec wanted to smack that vigilante right across the face.
“Why try shaving when you don’t have your glasses, you dork?”
Logan scowled at him. “Maybe I was trying to stay away just a little longer from you.”
Alec’s jaw clenched. “And here I thought at least you’d buy me breakfast.”
Logan looked away. “Look, what happened last night, I…”
“You mean what happened two times last night? Three for you?”
Logan’s freshly shaved cheeks turned a bright crimson but his mouth stayed open, like waiting for some kind of inspiration to strike. But Alec didn’t want to hear one of his own lame-ass excuses (‘it’s not you, it’s me’) thrown back in his face.
He stood up and cut Logan off very, very pointedly. “Save it. I thought you wanted to get out of here. Ready to roll?”
Logan sighed, before throwing a disgusted look at the wheelchair sitting in one corner of the room. “I think we should give it one more try.”
“You kidding? You want Old Looney Tunes to dose you up with sodium pentothal this time?”
“We don’t have a choice,” Logan rasped in that soft, gravelly voice of his.
Of course, Alec surmised. Logan was here for one reason and one reason alone – Max. In his half-drunk, half medically sedated state, he might have let Alec fuck the big Jesus out of him for temporary relief. But come morning, both his head and his heart went right back to where they belonged.
About time Alec shipped his heart off someplace else too, like to Siberia, because Logan sure as hell didn’t want it.
He strode towards the door, “Let’s go. I might just get that free breakfast after all.”
Logan was dressed in a fresh set of clothes – a maroon full-sleeved sweater and black jeans – apparently he still had a wardrobe in this bedroom. Alec had to make do with the same ones he wore last night, but he couldn’t care less.
He didn’t understand why people always assumed him to be the vain one – apparently there was something about his face that was incredibly symmetrical or whatever, who the hell knew. In truth, Alec never cared much for what he looked like, what he was dressed in. And maybe therein lay the paradox – he didn’t care because he simply never needed to.
Logan was different but only slightly – he didn’t care period. He was only keeping up appearances for the sake of this mission. Nothing mattered more than the mission, Alec reminded himself bitterly, and focused on putting one foot ahead of the other while Logan rolled his wheelchair beside him.
Back on the ground floor, Mrs. Nolan bent to greet Logan with a hug and a whole lot of apologetic cooing that Logan had no patience for. So Alec left him with her, much to Logan’s chagrin, and raided the breakfast buffet.
“Is that caviar on an omelet… real caviar?”
“Imported all the way from Canada,” came the proud reply (as if Canada was not less than two hours away) from a voice decidedly deeper and more masculine than Mrs. Nolan.
Alec turned to face Caleb, who smiled at him like everything was hunky dory. Obviously the ‘let’s pretend last night never happened’ gene ran in the Cale family.
“LJ,” Caleb turned to his nephew. “I thought we might talk about your business plan this morning after breakfast.”
Two heartbeats jumped in the room. Alec reminded himself not to get too excited; the old man hadn’t signed anything yet. Logan was thinking the same thing, judging from the tightness of his smile.
“I’d love to, Uncle Caleb. Thank you for hearing me out.”
“Thank me later. Come on; let’s put some meat on your bones!” He dragged Logan’s wheelchair closer to the dining table where Alec had already made himself comfortable. “Although I will say you look healthier compared to the last time you came up here.”
“I suppose we have young Alec to thank for it?” Caleb winked at Alec in a way the X5 found vaguely violating.
“Not really,” Alec spoke with his mouth full, swallowing a piece of what was called ‘waffle’ quickly. “It’s really just… the miracle of science…”
Logan glared at him and Alec rolled his eyes. He couldn’t obviously say – your nephew is a transgenic blood junkie, that’s how he manages to look so sprightly., could he?
“You’re just being modest,” Caleb declared dismissively. He was seated at the head of the table flanked by Alec and Logan on either side. Using that position to his advantage, he put one hand on Alec’s shoulder and the other on Logan’s and squeezed.
“You two don’t have to pretend here under my roof, sons. I know how important it is to have someone to share your life with, and how much it hurts when that person is cruelly taken away from you…”
Sonofabitch there it was – confirmed by the big guy himself. The whole household expected them to be a couple from the get-go – hence the single room and one bed. Add to that Logan’s obvious discomfort every time Bling’s name came up – Alec might not be the smartest tack in the box but he could put two and two together.
“You know, my wife and I were together for fifty-five years! We met when we were fifteen, in high school…”
Alec ignored Caleb’s nostalgic rambling and concentrated on filling that hole in his heart with the sumptuous food. At least Logan wasn’t denying it. He could have set the record straight yesterday but didn’t get a chance to, and obviously he couldn’t anymore, not after having spent the night with Alec without a token of protest for the lodging arrangements.
Logan’s face was flushed as he tried to ignore his uncle’s ramblings too. After a while he decided he needed to get something in his stomach, before his big presentation to the holder of the purse strings here. He loaded his plate with a piece of toast, some fruit and scrambled eggs. Alec kept an eye (alright so he couldn’t help it) and was right on the ball when Logan absently reached for the salt shaker for his eggs, and picked up the pepper shaker instead.
Alec’s hand swept out in a flash and grasped Logan’s wrist before it could descend to his plate. Logan looked up at him in question.
“We really gotta find you your glasses,” Alec huffed.
Even if they hide your pretty, pretty eyes.
Caleb smiled at the two of them, staring at each other from across the table. Seconds passed, or maybe an eternity before they broke eye contact and Alec was not the first to do it. Logan blinked, his face turning redder by the minute. Any more crimson and Mrs. Nolan would think he was getting the hives again.
Alec smirked softly. This might actually turn out to be fun. Already his mind was reeling with all the many ways he could torment Logan with this… whatever this was between them.
Logan let go of the shaker, dropping it to the table with a thud. He looked up into Alec’s face again, and this time he had the audacity to smile. “You can let go now.”
Alec loosened his grip and for a second his hand hovered mid-air, feeling inexplicably empty. At least he’d gotten Logan to look straight at him for the first time since he woke up this morning.
“Mr. Logan, Sir,” one of the suits was at his side. “Your glasses, Sir. You dropped them last night.”
Logan thanked him profusely, but Alec fantasized killing the suit twelve different ways from Sunday, and one more for good measure.