A/N: Shorter chapter, but it just logically ends here. Best to break it out and post already because the next part is winding out of my control. Heh. Hope you like..
Calling Lake, Alberta
I woke with my head reeling and gut twisting, to Jean’s soft laughter ringing in my ears. Her voice echoed as if from a great, faraway distance.
Of course she’s teasing me, like she always does the morning after. She knows I can’t hold my booze, why does she make me drink at all? Oh like I give her a choice… I let the guys, even Bobby who legally can’t drink himself, egg me on until it so becomes a matter of fucking field leader prestige that I don’t even look at what’s in the shot glass before it’s poured down my throat. Again.
“I love you Scott. I love you so much…”
We’re kissing, sweet kisses in the trickling morning sunlight… my eyes closed, unshielded just the way she likes it. She drags her long red tresses slowly down my bare chest again knowing it drives me nuts. I squirm, laugh a little.
“Doc. C’mon. Please?”
Our voices float in and fade out as if traveling from a great distance. And then we’re rolling and laughing and teasing until it’s the wooden floor instead of the springy bed beneath us. And I’m on top holding her hands down with my own. I don’t see her but I feel her, her sweet scent pervading my very soul. Jean… how I loved her…
“But you don’t anymore, do you?”
I freeze. “W-What?”
The wind picks up, the pressure of sunlight on my eyelids disappears, how did it get so heavily overcast so soon? I wonder what could’ve made Storm suddenly so angry. Did she need help?
I let go of Jean who lies still like she was dead or something… roll over to one side, not touching her anymore, so cold. Cold like dead. Reach out for the bedside table but after several minutes of groping blindly I still can’t find it. Damn that… damn thing.
“Summers what do you need?”
“Hey, it’s okay…”
“Kid? What do you need?”
And then I remembered. No force beneath my eyelids, no throbbing headache… nothing.
I opened ‘em, and looked up straight into Logan’s face. Frowning as always. But here. Still here.
I was indescribably, and eerily happy to see him, but I schooled my face making sure he wouldn’t see it. He returned my blank stare with one of his own and got up from my bed.
He was on my bed?
Logan stood with his hands in his jacket pockets, fully dressed looking like he had someplace to be and fast. Damn. I tried to get up and realized I couldn’t, not without a whole lot of searing pain and burning agony. Still managed to set myself upright and faced him. My jaw felt swollen and I had trouble talking but it was probably just a bit stiff and would correct itself soon enough.
“You owe me one bub. A big one.”
I nodded in sincere agreement, trying desperately to ignore the fact that I was naked under the sheets. I was naked under the sheets?
I looked down at myself, then up at him. Not that I was blushing red or anything.
Logan looked like a deer caught in the headlight, if I were to use a mild cliché.
“Some nurse in 17.”
A nurse. Oh-kay. But what are the odds he didn’t take advantage of me while I…? Oh man. Don’t go there, Summers. Not now. Just be grateful he was still around. Yeah, praise the Lord.
“You got no business being out on your own in your condition kid.”
I shrugged painfully to answer his indirect question. “You’re kinda important to us right now. And there was nobody else.”
Logan looked at me like he was wondering which planet I truly belonged to. Then he exhaled, pulled a chair close to me and sat down. I ignored the fleeting thought of how uncomfortable I was *not* with his proximity to my semi-nude self.
“The uh… Right guys do this to ya?”
I nodded. “They ambushed us. Jean… a friend almost died. Luckily reinforcements arrived and saved us just in the fucking nick of time.”
I wasn’t exactly happy to admit I’d needed Warren to be my knight in shining armor that night.
“But some of this is also you Wolverine. Remember last night?”
He scowled, obviously didn’t like to be reminded. “You were beggin’ for it. Take the next flight back home kid.”
Then he got up. “And try to stay out of trouble.”
I swear this whole walking out routine was getting old as hell. “Why do you live here?”
His right brow went up. I shrugged, again it hurt but I did it anyway, pulled the covers up closer to myself.
“This place? This drifter life? Why do you do it?”
Maybe it was the ‘drifter’ reference he didn’t appreciate. “None of your damn business.”
“I told you my side of the story. Only fair you give me yours.”
“Life’s not fair kid.” He said almost lazily.
A magazine on the bedside table had caught his eye and he tilted his head just that bit to study it, completely forgetting we were supposed to be in the middle of yet another stupid argument. Damn, I needed fresh tactics.
I sighed in mock defeat. Crossed my aching legs beneath the covers.
“Look I got people back home I must report to. What do I tell them? What were the specific terms that we couldn’t fulfill? What do you have here that we couldn’t possibly offer you in New York?”
The guy looked my way and just… stared. Like he wanted to say something but was afraid of how he thought I might react. He needn’t have worried. I couldn’t dream of saying or doing anything to put him off or make him run again. After a moment’s thought he relaxed, the indifferent smirk returning to his face.
“Tell ‘em I like the scenery. In fact I think I’m gonna go enjoy some right now. Cya.”
He rolled up the magazine, stuffed it in his jacket which is stealing motel property by the way. Then he turned, and he would have really left this time. No, *really*. Well, actually… couldn’t he have left like a million times already by now?
He brought me back to my room, hunted down a nurse to look at me… *and* he stayed the night. Obviously I was making it difficult for him to let go. And… that’s it.
He was sorta attracted to me wasn’t he? On top of that, he felt guilty for putting me out of commission. Man… Cyclops… if you fail to leverage this now, you really do deserve to be recycled.
“You obviously have your priorities and I have no right to burden you with our issues when you clearly have your own to deal with here.”
Logan turned and looked at me, suspicion blooming all over his brutishly handsome… what the?... I mean brutishly… stubbled face. Yeah.
“I don’t have *issues*.” He growled menacingly.
Yikes. Okay pedal backward Summers.
“I’m sorry I… I didn’t mean it that way. It’s just… God!”
I threw my hands up in a show of despair. “I suppose I’m still embarrassed about last night and a little stressed. My mission’s a bust, I have no money or means to get home. Hell I don’t even know where the nearest airport is or how far or if there even *is* one! And I guess I’m still a little woozy with the drugs and… you know…”
“You know what, you should go.”
“I’ve been such a pain in the ass I know… can’t even begin to imagine what you had to do for me last night.”
He shifted weight, dug his hands in his jeans and grimaced. But also smiled a little at the same time, hell that’s a weird expression.
“It was… no big deal.”
“I… I don’t wanna be bothering you anymore. It’s perfectly fine, I’ll… manage, somehow. I’ll… I’ll think of something.”
“Thank you Logan. Very much, for all your help.”
Logan stood watching me, contemplating Lord knows what. Oh please oh please oh please…
“The nearest airstrip is Athabasca. ‘Bout a hundred miles south from here.”
Damn. No. No. No. “Thanks. Once. Again.”
I bit my lip. And I noticed his eyes drop ever so slightly to watch me do so. His gaze made me nervous, but this was a game I’d started. I had to see this through. I let go of the lip, casually letting my tongue peek out ever so briefly and swipe it wet. And still he watched. I swallowed, though not by intent. My nervousness was now accompanied with a familiar but mild sense of discomfort. I knew what it felt like to be violated from a distance… roving, leering eyes alone could do a damn good job of it. And yet somehow, his eyes felt gentle, almost (and I feel weird saying this, it is after all *Wolverine* we’re talking about) … polite. Inflicting a kind of violation that wasn’t… entirely unwelcome.
I’d been clutching the blanket with a hand over my ribs, maybe it was my vanity trying to cover up the disfigurement. But in that particular moment, I realized that maybe, letting it slip just a bit couldn’t possibly hurt.
I let go. It fell to expose me well below the navel. He breathed out, and looked away.
“I’m going that way. I could give you a ride.”
Yay me. “Would you really? I don’t wanna intrude…”
He smirked then. “I wanna make damn sure you leave the country this time for good. What do you do for coffee round here?”
I told him the room service number and he went to call for breakfast. I could have jumped and woo-hoo’d in delight. But my happiness at the tiny victory was muted because I still had the near impossible task of getting Logan *on* that plane to New York with me. And because I was still in pain and hungry and beat, something I could do nothing much about. And because there was this pesky little voice at the back of my head pounding feebly but insistently and which no matter how hard I tried, wouldn’t go away.
//Once a whore…//
//Shut up. Shut up. Shut up!//
Took me longer to get out of bed and into the bathroom than I expected, and Logan had the sense to take his coffee cup and sit outside on the cottage patio while I went about my business. Damn it hurt to take so much as a deep breath but no way was I asking him or anyone for help. I almost stumbled in the bathroom and must have made a huge ruckus, when he called out.
“Need help kid?”
I think I opened my mouth with a perfect intention to say “I’m good, thanks”, instead stood helplessly in stark horror as the words that tumbled out of my mouth sounded a lot like: “Fuck off.”
I winced and waited for him to start cussing and walking out again. Instead, a deep chuckling erupted right outside the bathroom door, and then it casually moved away.
“As you wish.”
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