A/N: Sorry for the delay. Been a busy three days. So this one is in an omnipresent third person POV :) Still drawing it out I know, but the story simply refuses to be written any faster I swear. *sulks* I do hope you like it..
Dryden, Northern Alberta
No friends or acquaintances came forward for the kid so they just dragged him out of the cage to an area in the back of the club. Someone threw cold water into his face and he came to with a painful gasp.
Strange question that, considering they still needed to support him up from both sides and he was completely disoriented and they didn’t really care anyway. Slowly he nodded and regretted it, his head spinning wildly. He felt the men callously pull his arms up to put his coat on and he nearly screamed. Finally they dragged him outside and left him leaning at the door, shutting it close on him with a bang so loud he would have lost all contents of his stomach if there’d been anything in there to begin with.
“So… that went well.”
He pulled the lapels of his jacket close with trembling fingers. An icy wind had picked up making it hard for him to see. He knew he needed to make it to the warmth of his rented car, if only he could figure out which direction it was parked in. Holding one arm across his aching middle he took his first tentative step away from the club’s gate.
He didn’t make it.
For street urchins not older than fifteen, sixteen, this was their lucky day. The unconscious man who lay sprawled in their very own back alley looked totally beat up and there was blood running out of his lips but he had a real nice looking jacket on. And would you believe the shine on those boots? No one saw or cared as they stripped the man of his wallet, watch, remote car keys and a real freakish looking gadget that looked like sunglasses for both your eyes and ears? Whatever, it sure looked expensive. They flicked the switch on the key ring and the nearest SUV… actually the only SUV around… beeped open.
“Get out! That’s a fuckin’ new Porsche dude!!”
“Keep it down you’ll wake him up!”
When the boys were satisfied there was nothing left to loot they got into the car and sped away. Fortunately for Scott, the kids decided it was too cold to take his jacket and boots off after all.
Logan didn’t bother to rest in his usual corner or smoke when they carried Summers out the cage where he was left behind to wait for the next guy. Instead he paced back and forth and growled in his throat like a seriously ticked off caged animal. Which is exactly what he was at the moment.
Logan hadn’t wanted to knock him out but it’d become necessary. The kid knew he had no chance but simply wouldn’t give it up. And to what end? He stopped pacing when the next challenger walked in. He was heavyset and taller than Logan and was just what he needed right about now. Something… someone to beat the shit out of without restraint. After that battle was won, he called Bono over and reminded him that after the next one he was done for the night.
“But… we’re on a roll tonight mate! Sure you don’t wanna stick around longer?”
Bono was whining but Logan was in no mood. “I said five I meant it. You got that?”
There was enough ice in the Wolverine’s manner to dissuade the bookie from arguing any further. The mutant returned to the center of the cage where his next victim awaited. And all he could think of was the kid. He thought back to all the things he’d said both before and during their fight.
//Its not something I can use in the cage like you do.//
Logan drove his fists into the challenger’s humongous beer gut again and again like it was his own personal sandbag. The kid was right, he did use his mutation in his fights. Without it, would he be able to survive this long? Would he even last as long as Summers did?
The boy sure knew what he was doing – handled himself well, moved fast, kept his opponent guessing. Fought better and longer, in his condition, whatever it was, than most professionals do. The kid wasn’t a prissy rich boy in need of bodyguards or bouncers as he’d presumed him to be. And maybe *that* was his point.
This one lasted longer than all his other fights that night. Maybe he was distracted, maybe the other guy was really good. He didn’t care. It felt good to suffer, if only for a few moments before the pain rolled away. Logan was still thinking of Scott as he walked out of the cage and the announcer declared him winner. Again. Pulled his woolen jersey and black leather jacket over his bloodied vest, collected his money from Bono and quietly slipped out.
Whether Summers was looking for Logan’s respect or not, he now had it.
Scott came to some ten minutes after he got mugged and he didn’t know it until another five minutes later when he finally managed to stand himself up and dug into his pocket for his car keys. Another painful two minutes were spent ransacking every pocket he had on and realizing he now had no money, no car and most importantly no idea how long he’d been out or even what time it was. His eyes widened even though it hurt to do so.
He willed his feet to carry him towards the front of the club. He’d somehow ripped open the stitches in his left thigh, the place where not one but two bullets had embedded themselves. The pain in his sore ribs also got worse with every step he took but he couldn’t care about that right now. All this would have been for nothing if he missed Logan now.
“Please damnit. Please let him be there!”
And he reached the parking place where he’d spotted the truck earlier. That’s how he’d known to come into the club after Logan. He took one look and winced his eyes shut.
“Thank you God.”
The bouncers looked at him weird but ignoring them he limped over to the truck and tried to open it. It wouldn’t budge. There was a time he could pick locks blind… but he had nothing to use right now. His clothes were dripping wet from lying in the snow for who knows how long, and the wind hadn’t let up either.
“No problem.” He told himself assuringly. “It’s not that cold anyway.”
He sighed, wrapped his jacket around himself tighter and leant against the truck’s bonnet. Cursed the stupid club people for keeping his pullover. Another ten minutes passed, maybe more and Scott felt like he’d nodded off at least thrice in the interim. Then he saw the man come out of the bar with his hands in his jacket pockets and head lowered. Ten steps away from the truck he looked up and stopped.
“Hi!” Scott would have waved, if he could raise his arm. Logan didn’t move, and for a long while just stood there, staring at him blankly. Then he walked over to the driver’s side.
“I always get totally ravenous after a fight. Don’t you?”
Logan glared at him again. He discretely checked him out from head to toe and Scott shivered not just from the cold. “Do you need to see a doctor?”
“What? N-no. Of course not.”
Logan nodded and unlocked the truck. “Kay then see ya.”
“Wait! You can’t just… leave!”
Logan stood by his door and grimaced. “What do you want now?”
Scott stuttered for a second. “I… I want you to stay! Please tell me everything that happened back there was not for nothing.”
He realized he was sounding as desperate as he now felt. But since nothing else had worked, what the hell. Logan looked away from his young grimacing face and huffed. Then he walked over to where Scott stood and looked at him grimly. “Okay, you made your point. And let’s say I believe you. But it still doesn’t change the fact that I’m not interested in moving to New York. Period.”
He shrugged and shook his head for emphasis, looking Scott straight in the eye.
“At least… you could give it a try. Just for a month? A week?”
Logan sighed, his voice uncharacteristically soft. “Look I’m sorry… I wish I could help you… but answer’s no.”
Scott didn’t know what to say to that. Logan sounded really sincere. And his head was starting to spin again.
“You’re sure you’re okay?”
Logan looked concerned. Scott steadied himself and bit his lip.
//Logan looks concerned. //
Wheels were turning in Scott’s mind. Maybe, just maybe… if he just played his cards right…
He exhaled loud and slow, lowering his eyes subtly. “Can you… can you at least tell me what time it is?”
Logan frowned at that. He was sure he’d seen a chrome digital watch in the kid’s hands when they were fighting. Hell it had almost been used as a blinding weapon, the damn thing flashed so bright in his eyes. “What happened to your watch?’
Scott shot him a quick look then turned to look everywhere but at Logan. “I got mugged after they threw me out. Don’t know how long I was out of it.”
Poor kid, Logan thought. It just wasn’t his day. He looked at his watch. “2300. You got a ride?”
Scott looked suitably embarrassed and refused to meet his eyes again. “Stolen.”
Logan cursed under his breath. “Look if I can drop you somewhere…”
Scott looked up at him at that, a slight look of anxiousness evident on his face. “I uh, am staying at the Lakeside motel.”
“There *is* no motel in Dryden.”
“In… Calling Lake?”
Fucking hell. That was the next town. “Get in.”
And he went to his side of the truck. Scott congratulated himself quietly and moved to the other side.
“No get in from here. That side’s jammed.”
Scott frowned at the state of the truck. He was an automotives connoisseur after all, hard for him to fathom someone not keeping their vehicles in anything but pristine condition. “No bodyshops in this part of the country?”
Logan raised an eyebrow and Scott, realizing his error flashed him a quick smile and moved towards where Logan stood. The older man noticed the limp and the slow gait. Scott bit his lip so no sound would escape him as he got into the truck then slithered into the passenger seat. Logan got in feeling thoroughly baited, but he kept his thoughts to himself about that too. Suppressing the urge to look into his companion’s glistening blue eyes once more, he gunned the engine.
They journeyed in uncomfortable silence for some time. Scott did not want to start off with his *sales pitch* yet and Logan had nothing to say.
“So… don’t you wanna know how I found you?”
Logan couldn’t be bothered to respond. Scott had him already figured him for a monosyllables kinda guy by now. So he carried on by himself, eager to strike a rapport with the older man.
“Wasn’t difficult. I followed your truck last night, guy at the gas station you stopped at remembered you. In the morning when I reached Calling Lake, checked into the motel figuring you should be stopping right about now too. But when I couldn’t find you in town, I inquired about nearby fight bars. Got to know the only one around was here in Dryden, drove down to check and sure enough… your truck was standing outside. Lucky for me you needed the money, I guess.”
A bump in the road jarred his ribs causing Scott to hiss before he could stop himself. Logan glanced at him once frowning. Then again, Logan frowned pretty much all the time anyway. “Still consider yourself lucky?”
Scott sighed. It wasn’t over yet.
Logan was famished. They stopped at the only restaurant on their way for takeout. “What will you have?”
The question was a reluctant half-grumble under his breath. And coupled with Logan’s gruff mannerisms, it came out way too amusing for words. And God was he tempted. “Thanks, I’m good.”
Logan frowned deeper. “Thought you said you were *ravenous*.”
Oops. But Scott knew he couldn’t risk it in front of Logan. “I… changed my mind.”
Logan was not blind to Summers’ agony. He could sense the pain practically radiating off the kid’s frail body, smell it even. Once again he didn’t comment, but wanted Scott to eat something. “Or maybe you lied. To get me to hang with ya.”
Scott managed a grim smile. “Bingo.”
For the first time since they’d met, Scott saw Logan break a genuine smile, brief though it was. “Look bub you gotta have somethin’. You look awful.”
It was Scott’s turn to chuckle, but it hurt so he stopped. “’Kay, find the lightest salad you can. No dressing. Please.”
“I don’t think you need to watch your figure that closely, *Slim*.”
“And water. Please.”
Logan smirked and left the kid in the truck to go in. Brought back a couple of hot dogs, a large box of chili and a small carton of Caesar salad along with a bottle of mineral water. When he opened the door, the cold draft he let in pulled Scott out of his daze and he sat up straighter. Logan handed him the stuff, got in and at once started driving. While he wasted no time helping himself to the food, Scott just stared into his salad.
“It’s meant to be ingested through the mouth.”
Scott scowled. “Really?”
He was hungry… very hungry, and weak and miserable. But the salad looked limp and unenticing, and the chili and hot dogs smelt greasy and nauseating. The sight of Logan gobbling everything down at supersonic speeds didn’t help his fragile disposition either. Catch 22 this – famished but afraid to take a bite. But he had to put on a show of continued ‘toughness’ for Logan as well. Cautiously he loaded a plastic fork and put it into his mouth. He was dead sure he was not going to be able to keep it down. This was dangerous, this could ruin everything… the guy was a slob sure, but he was also emotionally involved with his truck after all. Puking all over the sad, hundred year old upholstery couldn’t help his sadder case in any way. There was no way… no fucking way could he take… another… bite.
Scott forked up the largest piece of chicken he could find and his stomach growled. The hell with it.
“Save me some of that chili will you.”
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A/N: Pls let me know what you think?