A/N: Hi! Just wanted to reiterate (again) that this is an AU. I am making absolutely no attempt to be true to canon or the movies or fanon. Just my interpretation of how Scott and Logan should have met. Hope you like.
*** Third person POV ***
Capitol Hill, Washington DC
It’s not like he didn’t know, you know. Gambit was painfully aware that he was about to betray his kind in the worst way possible.
He had to create a massive, frenzied spectacle in full glare of the media just before the Senate started their final round of deliberations on the Mutant Registration Act, a spectacle of terror that the mutant community won’t be able to live down for years. And all for a villain, who’d somehow gotten the better of the Leader of the Thieves’ Guild, kidnapped him and vanished with him into the night. All of the Guild with all its skills and assets couldn’t locate his father until Hodge summoned Remy himself.
The bastard had his very soul in captivity – Jean-Luc was more than a father to him. He was the man that taught Remy everything he knew, accepted him for what he was, hell embraced it with open arms and maybe selfishly so, but Remy didn’t care. Jean-Luc Lebeau gave an orphan child with devil’s eyes that nobody else wanted, his name, a home. He made Remy who he was today.
Remy looked at the time on his watch – o three hundred, only five more hours to go before he would have to put his plan into action.
Emma Frost was a young but brilliant telepath. She was one of Charles’ trusted allies, extremely competent as a headmistress, and an insanely powerful mutant.
She could also be a stubborn little bitch who’d go to any lengths to get what she wanted.
Jean reminded herself of that insipid fact as she sank into her chair beside Scott again. But everything Emma was saying right then, it did sort of… make sense. Somewhat.
“Don’t you think he’s suffered enough at the hands of heartless, abusive men, huh, Jeannie?”
Jean flinched, looking down at Scott’s serene face, trying hard not to let her trembling show. The bitch had no idea what she was talking about. During an *unauthorized* trip into Scott’s mind a couple years ago, Jean had managed to wean one, just one image out of his harrowing past, a past he kept so severely suppressed, even Marie had been too scared to access it. And like Marie, Jean regretted having tried it ever since. She’d resolved never to pry into that grotesque chapter of his memories again after that.
Emma suddenly dropped the stern icy façade she always had on, looking almost like she was desperate, and pleading. “At least you know me, darling. You and I may have had our differences, but I am and always will be a close friend and confidante to Charles. Surely that counts for something?”
It did. It was true. That Wolverine, Jean didn’t trust him one bit and sure didn’t like the idea of Scott alone with that man at all. And since he wasn’t coming back to *her*, maybe the only recourse left would be… Emma?
After everything Marie had shared with her – the days Scott and Logan spent together in Canada – no doubt there’d been sparks, crackling ones at that. But she couldn’t be sure if Scott was leading Logan on, or, if he really did… oh hell, who was she kidding? Scott didn’t have a single deceptive bone in his body. He couldn’t possibly have faked it, he just couldn’t.
Jean looked down at Scott, stroking his hair out of the boyishly perfect face. She'd loved this man, still did. And God knew she’d played with his mind enough. Interfering when she shouldn’t have, intruding where he didn’t explicitly permit her to. And it had been wrong, every damn time, even when she was trying to protect him.
Like right now. Jean exhaled deeply.
“If he chooses you of his own free will, then he’s yours. I won’t stand in your way.” Then she lifted her gaze and fixed it at Frost. “But you can’t use your powers of persuasion to force him to love you, Emma. I won’t let you.”
“The blocks stay up.”
Emma pursed her lips and glared, and Jean smirked. No way in hell was Scott ever falling for this frigging ice queen, Jean knew that. And Jean knew Emma knew. And Emma knew Jean knew it too.
Emma crossed her arms and scowled. “Everyone will know he left you for a guy.”
Jean had to laugh at that. “Better a guy than you, *darling*.”
“But for Logan? He’s a dangerous anomaly, an unknown variable, Jean! He is bound to leave Scott hurting, one way or another, you *know* that!”
Jean looked back down at Scott again. “If Scott wants to take that chance, it is his choice.”
// Not mine. Not anymore. //
Emma blinked, looking like she might have heard Jean’s unspoken thoughts, and it wouldn’t be surprising if she did, obviously. Moments later, her shoulders slumped, and it looked like she might have given up, for now. Coming over to Scott’s other side and leaning against the table again, she looked down at him with blatant longing in her eyes. And a full-blown sulk adoring her pouting red lips.
“What the hell does he see in him anyway?”
Jean had to smile at that. Join the club.
“Don’t know, maybe a kindred spirit? Someone else who doesn’t feel like they quite belong? Someone else who seems to have even lesser need or appreciation for words?”
“Or maybe he just thinks he’s smokin’ hot.”
Emma smirked, caressing the bruised knuckles of Scott’s left hand softly until she caught Jean glaring. Then she took her hand away immediately. Soon enough, she got bored of standing around. Sending a mildly accusing nod Jean’s way, she sashayed away. Jean watched her go and heaved a sigh of relief. She strode over to the ICU door facing the stairs and closed her exhausted eyes.
Jean started. Seconds ticked away before she could get herself to spin around.
She ran towards the table, staring hard into Scott’s eyes now open, thank God, even if barely so. Tired and wary and a dull sort of blue instead of the bright sapphire she was used to. But open!
“Welcome back, baby…” she whispered, a tear falling down her cheek and onto the man’s. She quickly wiped it off, leaning down to kiss (not lips) the said cheek and pressed the side of her face against his for eternity. When she remembered what he’d said, she pulled away to look into his eyes again. Scott still looked like death frozen over, literally, like all the blood and energy in his body had been drained out of him.
“Thanks for what?”
Scott smiled, at least he tried to. “For giving him a chance,” he whispered, out of breath.
And before she could react, Scott’s head lolled to one side and his eyes fell shut again.
Logan caught the first whiff of the now familiar scent at the steps of the Hart building. Gotcha, he thought, and looked up at the architecturally insignificant building. The terrace would be the easiest access to the main hall in the morning for the event. That’s where Logan would go, if he’d been the one on this job.
It was close to dawn and the sky had started to lighten, the city will be up and about in another hour. Logan hurried, sneaking past the security guards easily enough and thanks to two kids (Bobby something and Kitty something) back at the mansion, he didn’t have to worry about surveillance cameras at all. He’d just made it to the stairs and started to climb as stealthily as he could, confident that he was doing a brilliant job… until he realized he wasn’t.
Someone strong and tall and lightning fast on his feet took him down from behind soon as Logan reached the door to the roof. Logan was flung to the ground and he swallowed the instinctive ‘ooff’ that threatened to escape his lips. In the dark, the two mutants punched and rolled and struggled to overcome each other, but it was all done in complete and utter silence – neither willing to alert the guards standing one level below.
The mutant was nimble and smart, and even with Logan’s metallic frame and bulk or maybe *because* of it, he just couldn’t get a grip on the guy. Remy on the other hand, got several hits in and they might be temporary in nature but damn, for about a second there, each one fucking hurt.
“Stop! Lebeau!” Logan hissed angrily. “I’m here to hel- aarghh!”
Logan had had enough. He didn’t want to hurt the other man but he had no choice left. A well placed blow to the solar plexus and Remy was stunned long enough for Logan to get a grip, flip him onto his back with Logan straddling him and holding his hands down by the sides of his head.
Remy hissed back with equal fury. “Let go, you fuckin’ sonofa…”
“Shut up and listen!” Logan grunted back. “Your father is safe! We rescued him from Hodge!”
“You don’t have to do with this anymore! Okay, kid?”
“Who are you? Why would you help Remy and ‘is Pa anyway?”
“Just trust me on this one, alright? Now can I let you go or are you going to freak out on me again?”
The first light of dawn started to creep onto the roof. A red ball of a sun slowly ascended, making clear the features of the men as they finally paused long enough to really look at each other.
Logan was still frowning, hoping the guy pinned under him wasn’t psychotic or worse, and would see reason and ditch the Senate bombing idea after all. Lebeau, the other man, started with his face twisted into a frantic snarl, which slowly unraveled into an expression of disbelief, then relief, and then…
Logan didn’t see it coming. This was an expression filled with absolute, outright, shock – not one that came with fear or anger or amazement – but one that came when faced with something totally unexpected yet not entirely unfamiliar.
It was an expression of recognition.
Jean sprang into action once the shock wore off, and to her absolute horror, Scott’s eyes had closed again.
“No no no… Scott! Scott? SCOTT!?!”
The man groaned, frowning hard, not liking the shrill screaming in his ear at all.
“WHAT? Easy Jean…”
“Oh, thank heavens,” Jean exhaled and almost slumped into the chair again. She looked at the monitors for any untoward signs and finding nothing, she looked back at Scott’s closed eyes. “Scott, I know you’re tired. But can you open your eyes for me, baby? Just one more time?”
She watched as Scott tried to huff as if in exasperation, and slowly and strugglingly, flittered his eyes open. Jean picked up a tiny doctor’s torch to examine his pupils and if Scott whimpered in protest, she pretended not to notice.
“How are you feeling?”
“Like I was thrown into a giant-sized blender and set to puree.”
Jean shook her head. “You had us going for awhile there, Scott. If you do this again, I will kill you myself. I can’t take the fucking suspense anymore.”
Scott tried to laugh but grimaced in pain instead. Jean put a hand in the center of his chest to keep it from heaving too hard. Clearly that was what was causing him the pain.
“How long was I out?”
She looked at her watch. “About thirteen hours. Did you sleep okay?”
“Like the dead.”
He licked his lips and asked for water, and Jean quickly returned with a cup, reluctant to leave his side for any longer than was absolutely necessary. There was so much she wanted to say. Her heart felt heavy, sinking to the pit of her stomach under the weight of every emotion she’d kept pent up inside. So many things she wished she’d had the opportunity to discuss with him the day they broke up, but couldn’t because of the Right attack that happened pretty much right after…
“Where is he?”
Jean froze. Reality crashed back down and she zipped her lips shut. Of course. This was a different time, a new world, she reminded herself. “He… we located Hodge near DC yesterday evening. He is planning to hit the Senate hearing in the morning.”
Scott’s droopy eyes started to widen. He even tried raising his head but Jean gently held him down by the sides of his face.
She smiled at him proudly. “Uh-uh. You did it. Logan actually volunteered to help.”
The expression of wonderment lasted a while on his perfect face. Jean also detected a hint of ‘I knew it’ and ‘Man do I rock this recruiting thing or what’ in there. Amused, she shook her head and tried to make him take more sips of water from a straw that he pushed away.
“What about Marie? Is she alright?”
“She’s fine, came down here a couple of times to see how you were.” Jean turned away for a second to put the water away. “Nice girl. I think she feels guilty.”
Scott spaced out for a minute, like he was straining to remember the events that transpired just before he lost consciousness. “Shouldn’t… was an accident. She’s so powerful, Jean. I thought she was going to suck me dry, game over in a matter of split seconds…”
Jean didn’t respond, simply leaned back in her chair and watched him. Watched as the myriad colors splotched across his face and exposed column of neck – the angry red of the cut on his forehead, the weird purple of the older bruises, the blue-black of the newer ones, and the pale white everywhere else like he hadn’t seen the sun in months, which was sorta true.
She sighed, knowing what he was going to ask. It was a question she had no answer to, not yet.
“How come she could use my powers, and I can’t?”
Right, so she still wasn’t quite prepared for the intense pain that came with those words. Jean leaned forward and stroked his hair softly. “I think it’s time we let the Professor know you’re awake, baby. He might have the answers to your questions.”
Scott winced. “No, don’t wake him yet. What time is it?”
He always had an uncanny sense of time, like he had an internal clock attuned to the current timezone, any timezone he’d find himself in. Back when Scott had his powers, Jean knew he wouldn’t have bothered to confirm at all, but the poor boy had taken a massive hit to his self-esteem recently.
“It’s nearly four AM.”
“Let the old man sleep. We’ll figure it out later.”
“Okay,” Jean swallowed, knowing how hard it was for Scott to *not know* and yet, maybe a part of him wasn't ready to know yet either. “Maybe you should get some rest…”
“Nah. Feels like I’ve been sleeping for ages.”
Jean smiled sadly at that. He wasn’t the only one to feel that way. His speech had been slurry initially, but it seemed the longer he forced himself to stay awake, the more lucid he became. She watched Scott wince as he slowly turned to his side facing away from Jean. The bed sores must be bugging him. She hesitantly put a hand out to rub his back and shoulders and was relieved to see him relax into her touch almost gratefully.
“You know he heals, right?”
Scott stiffened ever so slightly in her hands. “I’m not worried about him.”
Yeah, right. Jean smirked knowingly behind his back. But who knew what a self-regenerative mutant’s fatal weakness was. She found herself pondering sadistically if decapitation might take care of that hairy jerk. Scott craned his neck towards her.
“It’s… it’s not what you think.”
“We’re… not, like, there is n-nothing going on.”
Jean bit her lip. “Not yet.”
Did she just catch Scott blushing? But the man quickly turned away. He wasn’t ready to talk about this yet, and to be honest, neither was she. Something else occurred to her then.
“Scott, how much of that conversation with Emma did you catch?”
She waited with bated breath for his reply - did he know about the blocks she'd put in his head against Emma? Surely he'd understand it was only for his protection? Surely he would... like, not hate her for it?
Scott chuckled softly, much to Jean's absolute relief. He didn't know. “Most of when she was laying it on thick ‘bout how dangerous he can be. Think I started to come to when you guys started yakking. But it was all hazy and far-away until…”
Scott stopped. Jean didn’t have to read his thoughts to know the end of that sentence.
// Until they started talking about Logan. //
Jean nodded and made up her mind. “Just so you know, Cyclops…” she threw in the call-sign to let Scott know this was her professional opinion, as an X-Man, not as… as his ex-girlfriend. “I really don’t trust him.”
Scott kept his face turned away, which was just as well. After awhile though, he quietly responded. “Neither do I.”
“But you want to.”
“Of course, I do. He could be a useful member and a great asset to the team and…”
Jean sighed and softly clicked open her telepathic link to the man she still loved, interrupting him mid-sentence.
// That is not what I meant, Scott. And you know it. //
It wasn’t a question, and it wasn’t answered. Not that she expected it to anyway. Scott drifted back into an exhaustion-ridden sleep soon after.
“Homme, is that really you?”
Logan let go of the man immediately, straightened up and put as much distance as he could between himself and Lebeau. He took up a defensive crouching posture, entirely on reflex, watching as the other mutant continued to search his face with his ruby red slitted eyes for… for something.
“How long’s it been again? Woah… never thought I’d see anyone from de project again…”
Project? Logan tilted his head in question. He used to live in a project?
“Ho-how did you get out?”
Remy sat up and tried to slide closer, but Logan only jumped further apart. Remy stopped. “Oh c’mon. Don’ be tellin’ me you forgot ol’ Gambit? I was the annoyin’ but charmin’ gangly teenager next door, ‘member?!?”
There was nothing Logan could tell him at that point. All his instincts were screaming at him to not trust this man, and yet there was something so, so genuine about the shock in this man’s voice… something so casual and unguarded in his tone of voice like *he* trusted *Logan*, somehow. But what could Logan say? He sure as hell wasn’t going to admit to his amnesiac condition to a complete stranger, who might not be a complete stranger after all but… damn it!
Logan wanted to start howling like the wild beast he was and ripping something to pieces, the suffocation of fifteen years rising to his throat even though relief seemed to be closer at hand than he’d ever imagined.
Just then he heard something else: it was the refined hum of a jet engine, low at first and getting louder and closer, until it was too close for comfort. The plane’s invisibility shield, yep, that would explain it. Gambit in the meantime was utterly confused as to where the noise was coming from, until the X-Jet appeared out of thin air on the very roof the two mutants were perched on. He stared at the plane and stood up, and so did Logan.
“They wid you, man?”
Logan nodded. “Yeah, your father’s inside.”
The hatch opened and Storm appeared in the doorway, her tall, statuesque figure silhouetted in the light from inside the aircraft’s cabin. Gambit took another humongously shocked step back. Actually, scratch that, it looked like his first instinct at the sight of Storm had been to up and fucking *run*.
“The weather witch!! Don’ be tellin’ me you workin’ wid de X-Men now, homme?” he rasped urgently.
Logan frowned. “What do you know about them?”
Gambit turned toward him, his devilish eyes narrowed into little lines of red staring ominously into his. “Only dat once upon a time, you were assigned to stop Xavier from creating his dream team to begin wid, cher.”
“You were sent to kill him.”
“Guess sixteen years is a really, really long time to forget ol’ friends and make new ones, huh?”
Another intrusive sound hit his sensitive eardrums way before anyone else could detect it. It was the sound of footsteps running upstairs to the roof. Someone had spotted or heard the Blackbird landing on top of the Hart Building and alerted security.
“Quick!” He propelled himself into action. “We have to get off this roof now!”
Logan ran towards the jet and Storm ran towards the controls. Lebeau, still shocked, deliberated for about a second before he saw the guards charging onto the roof at exactly the same time Logan called out for him.
He didn’t need to be asked again. Remy ran and practically flew into the plane before the hatch slid shut and a second later, they were airborne. Gunshots started a second too late and uselessly ricocheted against the bullet-proof exterior of the X-Jet. Storm then activated the invisibility shield and set a course for New Orleans. Warren had stayed back in Arlington to dispose of Hodge – probably rough him up a little but eventually turn him over to the authorities ‘cause that was what these sissy X-Men people seemed to like to do.
Remy’s relieved exclamation rang out once the man stepped into the back of the plane and spotted a middle-aged figure strapped to a gurney. Jean-Luc opened his eyes and with a warm smile and open arms, greeted his son. The touching reunion was witnessed by Ororo with a soft smile on her face, and by Logan with a frown that was much, much deeper than his usual expression.
This man, Remy Lebeau, might hold the key to his past. But right now, they were on their way to drop him and his father off in their hometown, after which they were heading back to Westchester. It didn’t give him much time. Logan needed to talk to this man now.
Except, he wasn’t so sure he *wanted* to.
An assassin. That’s what Lebeau said he was, in a past life he couldn’t quite remember, nothing except what he’d see and hear in his nightmares.
// Who’s next? //
// Charles Xavier. Westchester, New York. //
// Buildin’ a fuckin’ school as camouflage. Get me what’s inside. //
Of course he’d always suspected it. Besides the disjointed snippets of memories, he possessed the skills and instincts of a killer. How he’d hoped he’d be wrong, that maybe there’d be a noble twist in the story and he wouldn’t turn out to be the monster at the end of this book after all.
He could feel Gambit staring hard at the back of his head. Logan ignored him and took deep breaths to calm down instead. Ororo looked at him strangely but he ignored her too, not interested in caring-and-sharing with anyone just yet. What he needed, right the fuck now was to… to get back to the boy. Yes, that’s what he needed. To concentrate on Summers. Taking care of the boy, making sure he woke up right and started healing right and…
Jeez, listen to him go. How the mighty have been fucking domesticated. And that’s when another morbid fear hit his gut like a sucker punch – now that Hodge had been taken care of, what if the kid didn’t need him anymore?
“Logan? Are you okay?”
He grunted angrily. “I’m fine. Just… hate flying, is all.”
“Funny,” Ororo mused. “I didn’t notice it before.”
Big bad Wolverine had aviatophobia – terrific. That should do wonders for his reputation.
Logan huffed and turned to look out his window. He could still remember the warmth of the boy’s body seeping into his, as he’d carried him out of the plane and into the sick bay. Still treasured the way Scott seemed to fit perfectly into the mold of his arms, as if that was where he truly belonged. He could even smell the blend of ivory and spearmint clinging to Scott’s hair, still – fuck how it’d screwed with his head.
The boy was proof, living proof of Logan’s humanity, his capability to… to maybe *not* be the monster everyone thought he was. Look at everything he was willing to do, and change, and *be*, just for that scrawny, sickly kid! Fuck New Orleans. Forget Lebeau, least for now. Logan could always hunt him down later. He needed to get back to Summers first.
And maybe, if he got the chance, he’d casually drop by the Professor’s office and ask him if he recalled an assassination attempt on his life sixteen years ago.