A/N: Right so I'm on my way to JFK right now, and off for a week-long vacation :D But I have 2 long(er) chapters for you before I go and I'm not so happy with the verboseness but.. meh, happy overall. I hope you like it, and I hope you remember that this is a love story, not smut! Not yet :P Thank you so much if you're still reading! *hugs* :)
On the road, Northern Alberta
Shocked? Me too. How did the big bad Wolverine end up babysitting an annoying, constantly yakking, barfing all over the place kid from New York? Ah shit. Let my willy do the thinkin’ in place of my brain that’s how.
At first the food seemed to bring him back to life, sort of. He wasn’t dozing off, still hissing and bracing himself every time we approached a bend or a bump in the road. But he was kinda… *animated*… and damn he was talking again.
“So did you hear about the proposed mutant registration act?”
I had. I didn’t wanna talk about it.
“It’s been on the news for some time now. There’s going to be a senate hearing in DC tomorrow to discuss…”
He allowed a moment of silence. “What do you think will happen?”
I lit up a cigar. He waited, intent on making me talk. “It will go through. Unless something drastic happens to change Senator Kelly’s position.”
I threw a quick glance at him and saw him nodding slightly. He pulled at his jacket to get warmer. I switched on the heater.
“The professor’s gone to Washington to attend the hearing. He’s gonna try and convince the senators to drop it.”
I snorted. He was not going to be successful.
“At least we’re trying. We’re not burying our heads in the ground, hoping it’d just blow over.”
“You’re wasting your time. Unless you’re willing to pull off the *drastic*.”
I sensed his alarm bells ringing. “You mean like getting Senator Kelly out of the way or something?”
I didn’t even look at him.
“Is that your solution to everything? Punches and fists and if that doesn’t work you pull out your claws to kill?”
“You know it’s because of mutants who think the way you do that people have trouble trusting us. This is the attitude that encourages the vicious circle of hatred between humans and mutants, making peaceful co-existence impossible.”
I smirked, loving how worked up he’d got. “Aren’t you glad I’m Switzerland then?”
He glared, wanting me to explain myself. I dragged on the cigar hard.
“I didn’t say getting Kelly out of the way was the solution. You went ahead and *assumed* it of me. And I ain’t surprised, my image counselor warned me this would happen when I got them claws of mine put in.”
“Bad investment if you ask me.”
“I ain’t askin’ ya.”
“I’m still tellin’ ya.”
“Least I got something to prove me a fuckin’ mutant. What’ve you got?”
“You’re trying to change the subject.”
“No you are.”
“NO. YOU are.”
We just glared at each other for ages, and I realized he was one stubborn sonofabitch. He wasn’t going to answer my question until I did.
I rolled my eyes. “There is no solution. If not Kelly it’d be someone else. The act *will* go through eventually and it *will* make mutants’ lives hell in the States. Peaceful co-existence my ass. That’s possible only when you mind your own business and they mind their own. I’m doing my part, they’re obviously having trouble keepin’ their fuckin’ end of the deal.”
He shook his head. “Peaceful co-existence needs a lot of work to be done behind the scenes Logan. It needs education and awareness, not us skulking in the dark, springing surprises at them out of nowhere. It’s natural for people to resist change. They feel threatened by us because they don’t get what’s going on with us. They need to know evolution is not something unnatural or bad, just different. We need to help them understand that or they will obviously assume the worst.”
“Are you really this stupid or just in denial kid? You underestimate them people in high places who have all that fucking knowledge. They know *exactly* what’s goin’ on with us and *exactly* how they can harness us like beasts for their selfish needs. They’d sooner cut you open, suck your powers out or turn you into their own personal sluts and killing machines than sit down and yak with ya.”
When I turned to look at him this time, there was a vague look of empathy on his face that he quickly worked away at my scrutiny. A moment of silence followed and I didn’t realize until the last word had left my mouth, that I hadn’t spoken this much with anyone… and I mean any damn one… in fifteen years. Nor had I ever come this close to talking about… what I think happened to me… all those years ago.
God damn this kid. Or maybe it’s the beer.
“I understand what you’re saying,” His soft voice brought me back to the conversation. “I agree there are… such people who want to exploit mutants for their powers. That *is* the risk we bear in exposure, I know. But we can’t spend our lives in hiding because of that fear.”
I think I growled. I resented the implication that I was afraid. Even though… or perhaps *because* it was true to an extent.
“Besides it won’t happen as much if the Law protected us, like it protects humans. It won’t happen if we were allowed the same rights and dignity that humans enjoy. Then cruelty to mutants would be illegal and fought against. Heck animals have more rights than we do right now. And you know why that is?”
I took left at the Y intersection towards Calling Lake. He was expecting me to answer. Again. “Same reason why Holocaust happened. Why blacks got lynched in your goddamned country. Hatred. Hatred for the ones who’re different. And…”
I was reluctant to complete, but the word came to my lips anyway. “Fear.”
“They’re afraid of us.”
Summers nodded. “If we can just get to the point where they understand that evolution is natural and that there is no need to fear us then…”
“They’re right in fearing us kid.”
He fell silent at that.
“Power corrupts. Most of us have superhuman powers, with barely human morals to control them. You do the math.”
He shook his head. “No one is born completely good or completely evil Logan. You raise a kid right, you make a good man. But abuse and neglect can just as easily turn him into a murdering psycho. Same holds true for mutants. If they are not denied the security and the social support they need like everyone else to lead a happy life then… then there is a good chance of saving them and…”
He sighed. And then he conceded. “And keeping everyone else safe *from* them.”
“So you agree. Humans do need saving from us. Almost as much as we do from them.”
He looked at me. “Yes. I agree. To an extent. Which brings me back to the reason why I’m here.”
I realized we’d reached the crux of this entire conversation. The point that Summers had intended for me to conclude on my own, and I had played right into his hands.
I took a long drag from the cigar. All right, so I was curious. But I wasn’t gonna have to probe any further. The kid was dying to elaborate on his own.
“Have you heard of the Right? The anti-mutant group that calls itself the Right?”
“Lemme guess. Wrong?”
Summers took a sip from his bottle of water though swallowing it was an effort for him. “The Right is a subversive organization that aims to eradicate the entire mutant species… make the world a safer place for *normal* people.”
“Catchy mission statement.”
“Oh yeah. They’ve been causing a lot of trouble for us these past few months. Typical MO – instigate human-mutant conflicts in otherwise peaceful communities. Cause some sort of accident or calamity and hurt humans somehow. Then capture and plant innocent mutants on the scene so the blame falls onto them. Total mayhem. People die on both sides. And mutant bashing increases ten fold.”
“And you try to stop them how?”
He bit his lip at that, tends to do it when he is thinking I guess. “We hear of a disturbance, we get in there, investigate… get the victims out, alive hopefully… then try to prove to the people that its all a big conspiracy to intensify prejudice against us mutants. But we’re mostly very discrete and invisible going about it. Oh and we try as hard as possible to run into the bad guys in the process so we can work out our *issues* with them directly.”
I smiled, but still wanted to confirm that when he said “work out our issues”, he was not insinuating a heart-to-heart. “Does that involve any of the fighting skills you demonstrated back there?”
Cool. “Does that involve the use of your mutation?”
“The San Andreas earthquake last year?”
Damn he was changing the subject again and I was so getting frustrated with… wait a minute. I’d read the urban legends about it but… no fucking way. “That wasn’t a natural disaster?”
“The Right kidnapped a fifteen year old from Mexico, has the ability to cause the ground on which he stands to tremble and quake. Back then he couldn’t control it when he was nervous or scared. They plugged him into some sort of an amplifying machine, tortured him. You can guess the rest.”
I pulled the cigar out of my mouth. One tabloid claimed there was a mutant behind it all but nothing was proven.
“You have no idea of all the chaos and destruction that happened that the press never got to know about.”
I understood, and really I needed no details. Except one. “Where’s the kid now?”
“Back in Mexico with his parents. He stayed at the school for four months where Dad… Professor Xavier taught him how to control his emotions and powers. But then he wanted to go home to his parents so we sent him back.”
So the Professor was the kid’s dad?
“He’s not really my father. He’s adopted. I mean… I am. Uhh… he adopted… me.”
I wondered why he needed to blush at a simple fact like that. There sure were greater depths and secrets to Summers than he let on.
The road was slippery and rough and it was a dark moonless night. But those weren’t the only reasons I was driving kinda slow. I was rather enjoying his company and our conversation, even though he’d made me hit some rough patches of broken memories a couple of times already. Somehow I found myself wanting to confide in him, trusting him enough to speak my mind. Something about that boy…
Summers coughed. He placed two fingers on the side of his temple and pressed circles into it trying to relieve the pain. The bruise on his jaw was an uncanny shade of purple, I guess wounds and scars intrigue me since my wounds never really last long enough to turn purple or blue or whatever.
“Got some water in the fridge at the back.”
He turned slightly to look behind him, but gave it up. “Too far. I’m okay. How much farther?”
I looked around. “Twenty minutes.”
Some ten minutes passed in silence, but it wasn’t uncomfortable this time. The kid was dazed and in pain, not wanting to move a muscle in case it hurt. I realized my intense desire to take him hadn’t dominated my thought process at all so far. It was a new experience altogether – being able to discuss mutant-related issues with another mutant, who wasn’t judging you as being different or a freak. But one thing still kept nagging me – I did not know if Scott really *was* a mutant. I mean after everything, I did want to trust him and I probably did. But I just had to know.
“So wanna tell me now?”
“What’s with the big suspense?”
“You know I’m not gonna be freaked out no matter how unusual you think it is.”
He started turning the lever to open his window. I frowned at him, jeez was he panicking or what.
“Hey, relax kid.”
“What’s wrong with the fucking window?”
“It’s jammed. I told ya.”
“Stop the truck.”
“Just stop damnit. Stop!”
What the fuck? The boy had turned a deathly pale and he was wheezing too. I slowed down and stopped. “What’s wrong?”
I had to remove my hands from the wheel as Scott clambered across me to open my side of the door. It must have hurt like hell to do that but he seemed in such a hurry to get out that he probably didn’t even feel the pain. The door flew open letting the icy wind in.
“Damnit Summers what do you think you’re…”
Before I could finish, the boy’s long lean body was lying across my lap, his head and neck were hanging on the open side of the truck, and I heard him throw up.
Hey, at least he wasn’t throwing up *inside*. Then I would have *really* freaked out. He continued to throw up everything he’d eaten a half hour ago. This along with the drugs I smelled on him seemed very foreboding. I wondered if he was bulimic or on meth or something, kids these days.
He stopped heaving for a moment to retort. “Peachy.”
I didn’t know whether he’d want me to touch him or not, but considering he was already face down in my lap… he couldn’t possibly protest. I gently began stroking his back, rubbing up and down to help with the whole… puking. At first his taut frame tensed up all the more. But I kept it up and eventually he relaxed, feeling the massage ease the strain on his weakened insides.
A few minutes later the dry heaves abated. He still did not get off of me though, and I was still rubbing his back. Maybe he was totally drained and couldn’t get himself to rise, in any case I liked having him there. Liked touching him. Tentatively I put my other hand on the back of his head… feeling the softness of his auburn hair. Caressing it gently. He did not protest.
In hindsight, I know I did it mainly out of mischief than actual lust… and maybe I shouldn’t have. The strokes on his back got longer and longer until I was reaching the small of his back and inching further downward. He tensed up when he realized where I was going.
He muttered warningly, tiredly. “Logan.”
I don’t know how or when my voice got that… throaty. “Yeah?”
Was that an order? It sounded so very much like an *order*. “Stop what?”
And I moved my hand down to his ass, faintly cupping the curve of his right cheek through his jeans. He shot up and off my lap with speed faster than when he’d scrambled onto me ten minutes ago. It was sorta funny, if slightly disappointing… I sure liked the feel of that boy in my hands. I smirked and closed the door as he sat in his corner of the truck as far away from me as possible, burning daggers of adamantium into me. “Bastard.”
“Hey you climbed on top of me.”
I couldn’t stop grinning and he refused to look anywhere except out his frosted window. What he could see through it in the dark, I didn’t know.
“You’re a bastard you know that?”
“You just told me.” I growled, still amused. He huffed and looked towards me, still seething. “Do you want that bottle of water now?”
Full-on sulk mode, I could tell. But he nodded imperceptibly. I got into the back, pulled out a bottle and a chocolate bar then came back to my seat. “Have some of this.”
He grimaced, looked at me like I’d lost my mind or something.
“One bite, cure the bad taste in your mouth.”
I grabbed the steering wheel and sparked the engine. We were well on our way before I heard him whisper ever so softly, almost as if to himself: “Fucking johns.”
Then his head rolled back onto the seat.
Next chapter >>