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23rd February 2007

3:05pm:

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45

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He slowly blinked his eyes open. He was lying in a fetal position on the cold ground. 

Looking around he saw an unfamiliar surrounding – like a glade, lit mainly by the high flames around him. The stench of smoke clung to the cold air and made it impossible to breathe. Where am I?...

The last thing he could remember was the Phoenix chasing Scott, but his adopted son was faster - he disappeared into the woods, then there was nothing but darkness.

“Hello, Charles.” She said in a sweet voice that made the professor tense from the waist up. He tried reading her mind, but it turned around to bite him-

Pain exploded in his head and he gasped.

“What’s the matter? Dysfunction problems?” She purred, leering down at him.

Against his will, Professor Charles Xavier could feel his face heat up. She kneeled next to him – the heat unbearable, and whispered in his ear “Maybe you shouldn’t have pushed Eric away, mm?”

Flashes of his most intimate moments exploded in his mind - his greatest desires and worst weaknesses enumerated in a twisted power display. She read his mind like an open book, leaving no doubt as to who was the greater telepath among them.

“You miss him, don’t you?”

Her lips touched his ear, tracing it idly, and in a spastic move, he jerked his body away and stumbled backwards, landing supine on his back.

“Why, I’m hurt,” she said laughing, “didn’t your mother ever tell you not to play with a woman’s heart?”

She hovered up and away, and at the same time something hovered closer. Charles looked up-

A dead tree trunk, massive enough to crush one of the mansion’s walls, was floating above him unsteadily. 

“Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer.” She laughed, “I’ve been waiting to do this for years!”

His eyes locked with hers, but no trace of Jean was seen. There was no one to appeal to.

“Good night, Professor!” She said, blowing a kiss his way and at the same time releasing the log.

My X-Men! I didn’t get to say goodbye- - Was Charles’ last pained thought, as he closed his eyes and took the blow.

 

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46

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Kurt’s eyes snapped open and his heart began beating alarmingly fast. Something was horribly wrong, he knew.

His team needed him. He slowly rose to a sitting position. Something was wrong with Herr Logan and Herr Rasputin, he knew without asking, and made his way out of bed.

 

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47

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Pain. All over.

But something was wrong. This was not the all-consuming pain that would send a man to the other world, not the all-consuming pain that being crushed to death guaranteed.

He opened his eyes – the trunk was still above him – touching and not touching, quivering erratically, before rolling over him and crushing into the frozen ground next to his head.

Surprise was written on her face - ugly and dark, and she turned-

“Here you are,” she spat, “for a moment you had me thinking you were trying to avoid me! And I see you brought the little hussy with you…”

 

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48

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They didn’t need Logan’s special abilities to track her down. A trail of ash and smoke pinpointed them in the right direction. It led to the clearing by the lake.

The sight revealed before them had them petrified.

Professor Charles Xavier was cast in the thicket by a large trunk, body randomly distorted like a rag doll, but he was still alive, and relief made the team giddy.

In the centre of the glade, Doctor Jean Grey stood in her X-Men uniform. She faced Scott Summers; the young man was bruised and beaten, still wearing his jeans and black long sleeved shirt from their earlier evening at the movies. An evening that now seemed light years away. The only change in Scott’s appearance was his visor.

He used the said visor against anything but his ex-beau, blasting away at rocks, branches and trunks that were sent his way.

She was obviously just toying with him, testing the waters, but it was easy to see who had the upper hand. With every attack she came closer to him, and something in Logan’s mind clicked-

“She needs to get close to deliver her stroke of death!” he exclaimed, and Marie, who shared his nightmare immediately understood.

“If he can’t ward her off, then we must!” she called. The Phoenix seemed so engaged with Summers that she didn’t even turn to acknowledge them.

“Agreed,” Hank watched the scenario before them, “But first we must get the professor out of danger’s way-”

“Keinem problem,” came the German reply, and they didn’t even get to see Kurt before he ‘bamfed’ in and out of the clearing, bringing Charles back with him.

3:03pm:

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49

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For a moment the reunited team members just stared at each other. Months worth of trainings had them understanding one another wordlessly. The Phoenix had to be defeated. She tried killing Kurt, the professor and now Scott.

“Jean’s no longer there.” Logan said, conforming what they all had been thinking.

“No, she’s not.” Came Xavier’s now unsteady voice. “She’s not there, she’s with Scott. They are both fighting the Phoenix.”

They looked up to see Scott stopping a rock thrown at him in mid-air, blasting it then letting a cascade of rubble spill to the ground.

“Jeannie…” Logan whispered apprehensively, and Scott turned to face them. They could feel her, could feel Jean’s presence, warm and gentle. Tears ran down Logan’s face.

But the moment was short-lived. The flames around the Phoenix rose high and a downpour of objects went flying Scott’s way.

Ice and lightning hit the Phoenix as hard as possible. Red beams intercepted rocks and trees.

With a horrifying scream she turned to the professor -

“Stay out of my head!!!”

A force field was hitting them hard, sending them flying back while the Phoenix retreated some – deeper into the forest, in the direction of the lake.

They were already on their feet, Colossus helping the professor, and they made their way to the lake. Logan froze, turned back-

“Cyke?”

Scott was sitting on the dry grass where he landed. Blood ran from a cut down his forehead then trickled down his cheeks where it mingled with his tears.

“I… I can’t do this Logan…”

Just a kid, Logan thought, a kid that lost his family and his lover, and lived to see the rerun. But this wasn’t the time. They needed him. They would go under his command or not at all.

“Call me Wolverine during missions, Cyclops. It keeps things straight,” He said, extending an arm to his comrade.

After a long moment, in which no X-Men moved – indicating more than words that his team members wouldn’t go into battle without him, Scott reached up and grasped Logan’s extended arm.

He shot Ororo an enduring look.

“You will have to take the lead.” He finally said.

She understood. She wanted it for years, but never like that. A firm nod of her head was her only reply.

“After me-“

Cyclops said, and the X-Men followed Scott Summers into battle for the very last time.

 

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50

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The lake was frozen, which was pretty early considering the time of year. In the middle sat the Phoenix, using the late doctor Jean Grey’s body.

His team members followed him, their face reflecting nothing but trust.

//You know there’s no other way, Scott//

//Jean? No… I can’t lose you again!//

//You already have Scott. This isn’t me. You know it, and you know what needs to be done. I love you.//

//I love you too-// He said, tears running down his face. He turned his back on the Phoenix to face his team-

“Charge!”

 

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51

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They ran forward, Storm filled the air with mist and Bobby iced up, sliding toward her fast. Implementing their last Danger Room fire scenario, Kitty and Marie removed their gloves.

“Drop her temperature!” Scott called.

Both Bobby and Ororo attacked her with long-range shots.

“OUT OF MY HEAD!!!” she screamed at the professor, tried melting the ice around her, but Piotr and Hank were faster.

Kitty and Marie phased out of a torrent of dripstones that went flying their way then kept running, distracting her.

She tried flying up, but Scott-Jean held her down. She howled with rage.

//I have to go back – she’s weak now, I can stop her//

“JEAN!”

Scott cried, but she was already gone. The look in the Phoenix eyes changed-

It was softer, and she looked at the professor with compassion and regret.

“I told you that I know what I’m doing” The Phoenix spoke, but it was Jean’s voice. Her control over the beast within seemed interim and she shook with effort.

“This is the only way. I guess it always was-”

At the same time, Scott’s legs left the ground much like in Logan’s dream, and the visor went drifting away. It flew in Logan’s direction and he automatically caught it, kept it.

//Take care of him//

“NO!!! NO!!! NOOOO!” Scott begged.

Ororo dropped to her knees, Kurt buried his face into Hank’s shoulder hiding his eyes. Kitty turned her back on them, Piotr wiped her tears, and Bobby’s arms closed around Rogue.

Logan couldn’t take his eyes off of Scott as the deadly eyelids were forced open, his scream tore Logan’s heart-

“Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!”

 

 

A red blast of light surged forward with uncontrollable force, lasting a couple of eternal seconds, before Scott fell to the ground, blind and broken.

Logan heard a mixture of sounds – broken screams and heartbreaking sobs from all around him.

He blinked his eyes a couple of times, she wasn’t there, only Scott. The optic blast had fried, it seemed, miles into the forest in the direction of his lethal gaze.

He ran, landed on the ice by Scott.

“Kid?! You alright?!- - ”

“Jesus, Logan” Scott sobbed, reaching forward blindly. From the distance he heard Kurt’s murmured pray.

 “…The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want; …Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil…”

For the second time that day, the team felt as one, consumed by their grief, and for the second time, the two men cried in each other’s arms after her death.

 

 

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52

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Once they got the fire under control, the firemen helped in searching for the body, though no one dared refer to her as such. Ororo’s exact phrase was ‘a missing teacher during the fire’.

For long hours, Hank was moving mountains to make sure the media wouldn’t get hold of any information regarding the strange avenue of burnt trees Scott had created. There was no connection in DC he didn’t turn to, before he could finally take a seat by Charles’ side in the rec. room where all team members, except Kurt who was inpatient, sat around a table and waited for any kind of news.

Two hours ago, the first rays of light shone and the infantryman search was replaced by authorities’ helicopters searching from the air.

When the phone rang, it was to inform them nothing was found, and that they would report a missing person and see what might come up.

Scott snorted, knowing exactly what would come up – that Jean Grey had died half a year ago, and he doubted any of Hank’s connections could clear up that mess.

He got up, moved to the door-

“Scott-“ Charles still sounded shaken, they all were in shock. It all happened so fast.

“Don’t talk to me!”

It wasn’t enough.

“I don’t want to hear you - this is all your fault! You might as well have killed her with your bare hands!”

“Scott!” Hank called. Ororo gasped. Logan only stared. The young team members wisely took their leave.

“Who do you think you are? Playing god with our lives, playing god with her powers! With people’s goddamned memory! Tell me – who the fuck do you think you are?! Huh?!” The ash-tray wobbled as Scott’s fist hit the desk, “Huh?!” He demanded again from the pale mentor, shivering with grief and rage.

Tears ran down Charles Xavier’s oval face and it still wasn’t enough, his fury was still eating him up, and what enraged him the most was that even now, even right after all that happened, he knew it wasn’t true. Not all of it was the professor’s fault.

God damn him!

He swore and exited the room, slamming the door hard enough to crack the old wooden threshold.

2:52pm:

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53

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The rest of the day was a blur. 

The only thing Scott was certain of was Logan. The other man was always there. He was there when Hank insisted he stay awake in case of concussion.

He was there when Scott collapsed to the floor, sobbing in the elevator, he was there while Scott fought his filthy clothes off, and then insisted he take a shower that he couldn’t care less for, and even then, he was there, touching and not touching, but watching over him.

It’d be Logan he’d miss the most, he realized with a bitter smile. Who would have guessed? The same man who wouldn’t shake his hand the first day they met, was now the only reason he hadn’t started the engine yet.

He leaned against his blue Mazda, his bags already inside.

Less than twenty-four hours ago, he held Logan’s hand outside the theatre and everything felt so… normal. Later that night, his world turned upside down. His mentor, Jean’s life – it was all a deception. Then he got a taste of his repetitive nightmares – the ones in which he was attacking Jean under Stryker’s control, only this was real, and this time he killed her directly and not collaterally.

In a sense he knew he had lost her long ago. He knew that this monster was not Jean, and that she was beyond saving, and yet - his powers killed her, his lack of control…

He closed his eyes letting the tears fall.

He couldn’t possibly stay in the mansion now. If he felt haunted before… if he thought coping was hard enough six months ago…

“Hey.”

Scott’s eyes snapped open; his arm went to his face, wiping the tears with his sleeve. Faint scent of tobacco tickled his nostrils and the garage filled with Logan’s reassuring presence. He knew why he fell apart against the other man in Alkali Lake. On times like these the Canadian felt like a beacon of strength. A comfort I can no longer afford.

“When did you plan on telling them?” There was justifiable accusation in Logan’s voice that made him gulp.

“Or didn’t you?” He asked, picking up on Scott’s guilty expression.

“I left a note.”

“Oh?”

“Look Logan, I don’t want to hear it!”

“Hear what?”

“I know school starts tomorrow, I know all that happened today is gonna be a hell of a mess to clean – but I just don’t care! Can’t I do that? Just for once?”

He wished he could feel as certain as he sounded. Guilt was eating away at him to such an extent that he wasn’t sure he’d be able to leave the mansion grounds.

“I’m not saying anything,” Logan stated flatly. “That’s Chucks’ mess to deal with.”

He knew Logan didn’t mean anything by that, and yet Scott could feel himself squirming.

As if in appeasement, Logan quickly added-

“He already got back-up. Two new teachers are coming in today.”

“Oh?”

Scott felt a little pained - a combination of hurt from being so quickly replaced and also of being the last to know. He used to be at the centre of things.

Logan looked down at the grease dirty floor. For a moment neither spoke.

“When did you plan on telling me?” He finally asked, brown eyes, partly covered by bangs, darting up to meet his.

“When?...” Scott stammered, “I don’t know. But I was going to tell you.”

Logan gave him a doubtful look.

“I was! That’s why I’m…” Scott looked up at Logan, took a deep breath, “Why I’m still here...” He gestured at the garage.

“When?” Logan asked again, looking sideways. The lack of eye contact hurt, and Scott knew why he was putting it off – looking at Logan made the idea of leaving unbearably painful. He was burning to press into the other man, to be held by him, but he was leaving. He could not afford to be weak, could not indulge in what he soon wouldn’t have.

“When did I plan on telling you?” Scott echoed, biding his time, “Now?” he offered.

“Now?” Logan’s eyes narrowed into slits, his nostrils flared. For a long moment there was no sound but their breathing. When he began stepping forward, Scott stood his ground. He made no sound as Logan trapped him between the car and his body, didn’t flinch when jeans clad thighs pressed against his own. Logan leaned forward, efficiently pinning him to the cold surface of his car. His words were warm vibrations of air, carrying the scent of his cigar.

“That doesn’t leave me a lot of time to pack, does it?”

To pack?... Scott blinked.

“What?... Logan, no.”

His palms landed flat on Logan’s chest. He intended to shove him back, but couldn’t get past the point of touching him.

“Where are we going?”

If anything, Logan got closer still.

“No Logan, seriously. They need you here.” Scott was sure he was shoving the other man away, but maybe he was pulling him closer.

“And you?”

“Me? They’d have to deal with it. I’m not staying here no matter what.”

“No, that’s not what I asked.”

Scott just swallowed, waiting for him to go on. The light footsteps of children echoed from above. Life at the school went on.

“You say they need me. How about you?” Logan asked, standing so close they breathed the same air.

“Me? Of course I do, but…” Momentarily, Scott closed his eyes. So tired. He wished Logan would just shut up and hold him. He didn’t.

“…But what?” Brown eyes searched his ruby covered ones.

Scott sighed heavily.

Of course he wanted for Logan to join him! Only, it would make his departure even more selfish. “I can’t ask you to come. The mansion’s security system-“

“Furball is gonna take over for a while.”

 “No, that’s wrong-“ He did try shoving Logan away this time, glad the other man stood his ground. He never felt like this before – torn, split right down the middle. The gap between his needs and his sense of duty was unbridgeable.

”Scott…”

Warm hands came up to cup his cheeks, “This isn’t about the mansion anymore. This is about you. What do you need?”

Logan was doing a much better job at wiping his tears, thumbs tracing his cheeks back and forth. Over the last twenty-four hours, the concept of ‘personal space’ seized to exist between them. Logan was always there. And if he were honest with himself – that was exactly where he wanted him.

There was something so sincere in the Canadian’s eyes that Scott couldn’t possibly lie to him, no more than he could push him away.

“You.” He whispered through his tears. “I need you.“

The kiss was gentle. It tasted of tears. It wasn’t about lust. It was about compassion, about comradeship and condolence. They held each other, right there, against Scott’s car, for a long tender moment, before parting.

When they did, Logan looked contemplative. A shadow fell across his face

 “About… earlier.” He cleared his throat looking uneasy. Scott waited for him to continue, though he knew where it was headed. “Jeez kid, I’m… I’m sorry.”

“Why?” Scott asked, sardonically almost, “What would you say happened?”

“We were forced to have sex?” Logan offered, picking up on the jab. He ducked his head and smirked bitterly at the resemblance the exchange held to one of their past conversations.

“Well that’s just great … ” Scott stated dryly, wanting to end the awkward silence between them. 

True remorse was written on Logan’s face. “My fault kid. I should have fought her harder. I should have…” he sighed.  “I fucked up. I’m sorry.”

“No, Logan.” Scott considered his words carefully.

“I shouldn’t have kept you waiting.” He finally said while closing his eyes, shutting out everything but the sound of Logan breathing and his scent. He remembered the moment in which the ‘Phoenix’, as the rest referred to her, took over him.

He couldn’t move, but he could still think and he could still feel everything. He felt the energy that surged through his body, understanding how strong the Phoenix really was; he felt how badly she wanted Logan and how badly she wanted him dead. He felt Logan’s touch, felt pain and pleasure. Felt the moment in which she forced herself into the feral man’s mind, and he was there with her as she read him. He’d never forget the way she gloated when she saw how badly Logan needed him, how long he had kept him waiting…

“I’m sorry Logan.” He whispered with a shudder, opening his eyes. Logan stood closer to him when he did. He was slowly nodding and Scott moved to wrap his arms around the other man’s waist, holding on to him a couple minutes more.

 



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54

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She didn’t knock.

Alaska?”

He looked up. Even after she showered, Marie still emitted a hint of smoke that mingled with her shampoo.

“Is it true? Are you leaving? Are you going to Alaska with Mr. Summers?” The tears that ran down her face told him she already knew the answer. His silence confirmed her fears.

“You don’t even like him!” She accused with despair.

Logan closed his eyes with a bitter smile. He liked Summers just fine, but Marie couldn’t have known that, and he was reminded of Scott’s fuming words. Chuck really did allow himself to play god around here. He wondered whether he would have done the same under the circumstances.

“When?” She asked with obvious dread.

He zipped his bag and got up. On many occasions before he had yearned to make his duffel bag serviceable once more, but this is not how he’d imagined it.

“Soon.”

“How soon?”

“Today.”

She was crying and Logan could feel his chest tightening in response. He moved to hold her, realizing that oddly – he didn’t want to leave.

“For how long?” She murmured between sniffs.

“I don’t know yet.” Which was true. He had no idea.

“But will you come back?”

“Of course I will kid. How else would I make sure you’re filling your visitors lists?”

She giggled, which was already good.

“I’m going to miss you.” She whispered.

That reminded him. He pulled a note out of his pocket and gave it to her.

“What’s that?” she asked, unfolding the paper. A cell phone number was scribbled on the white folio.

 “Whose is it?”

 “What do you think kid?” he growled.

“A cell phone? You?”

“Yeah. So what?” he couldn’t even fake the menace in light of her laughter. He sighed then confessed.  “Chuck insisted.”

After Hank gave him the detailed explanation regarding each of the medicines he was supplied with, came Wheels’ turn to give him a departure briefing which included him carrying a mobile.

Both men knew better than to take it to Scott.

“So we could talk at least?”

“Anytime.” Logan said, risking a quick kiss to her forehead.

“Take care,”

“Promise.”

Heavy wooden doors closed behind her as she left his room.

Marie stood in the hall a minute longer.

“Goodbye Logan.” She whispered, knowing he could hear her.

 

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Scott was watching the golden sunset. Red and black. The burnt and torn-apart grounds of the mansion surrounded him – a lone testament to everything that took place.

The uprooted trees were gone, young saplings had told him what ‘Ro had been up to that day. He wasn’t surprised this was how the weather witch chose to cope. Without checking, he knew Hank was drowning himself in his work, and that poor Wagner must be fussed over endlessly. The professor was, no doubt, the one responsible to how innocent the ‘scene’ appeared to be. If he hadn’t known better himself, he could easily be swayed to believe a fire broke out, which wasn’t farfetched considering how dry the other day was, and how several fires had broken out at approximately the same hour yesterday. 

“You ready?”

He turned his head to see Logan joining him at the small balcony. He knew the professor intended to keep their room untouched, and while he didn’t know about Logan, he wasn’t planning to return. This was a one-way trip.

He nodded his reply, gaze drifting back to what remained of the sun.

“Scott-”

“No.”

He knew what Logan wanted, was pretty sure the professor had set him up to it. He wasn’t saying goodbye. He couldn’t bear staying in the mansion a minute longer, and he wasn’t going to face all of the people who stood there watching him kill her.

“You sure?”

“Yes. Lets go.” He turned to face Logan. “…Please…”

He didn’t have to ask twice.

 

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The burnt garden below him was empty. What used to be golden was now covered with ash. In less than a day, kids would be returning to their school to find it like this. The smell of smoke carried in the wind.

Charles Xavier sat by the ledge. It was usually his favourite spot – he could watch over the mansion grounds, watch his dream as it was slowly realized. Today however, he did not enjoy the stay at his office balcony. He was waiting for two things to happen. Both Miss Braddock and Mr. Madrox were to arrive, and his adopted son was to leave.

Scott

How did things ever deteriorate to this?  He was sure his first student would be the one to carry his dream through.

In a way he was still convinced of it. Powers or intuition, but he simply knew Scott would be there, that some day he’d return home.

With a pang, he heard a car start below.

 

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 “Summers?”

Scott firmly nodded his head and Logan started the engine.

He insisted on driving. They both didn’t get any sleep, but Summers looked as bad as he felt, pale and bruised. He didn’t plan on getting far that day. He wanted to crash at the first motel they’d find, just as long as he would get Scott away from Xavier’s School for the Gifted.

He reviewed the detectors on his way out, most survived the fire, and the rest were Hank’s to take care of.

He hated leaving things like that, and he knew that deep inside Scott felt the same, but the kid’s pain was too raw, his rage too fresh…  The wound was yet to heal before it reopened, and the kid finally broke.

He brought the car to a stop and waited as the heavy gates before him slowly slid open.

He watched Scott’s slim jacketed body. The kid wore his goggles and leaned heavily against the passenger’s seat door. He stared out of the window, but Logan doubted he paid any attention to the view. If anything the kid still seemed shocked. He was shivering and Logan automatically reached back to grab a blanket. Single-handedly, he draped it over Scott, and then absentmindedly threaded his fingers through Scott’s hair.

The gates came to a stop on their rails, and Logan shifted into gear. Scott wasn’t looking back, but Logan couldn’t help but risking a look at the rearview mirror.

Chuck watched after them, a small figure by the balcony rail.

//Take care of him//

He was asked, and for the second time that day, he promised he would.

He would.

 

7th January 2007

11:22pm: Last Night PG-13

Title:  Last night.
Author:
SG –
Scogan.
Rating
:
PG-13
Status:
Complete

Pairing
:
Logan/Scott
Warnings:
None.

Sequel:
  Nope.

Category:  Movie
Timeline
:
Post x-2. (x-3 didn’t happen)
Summary:
New Year’s Eve at the Xavier school for the gifted. Scott’s POV.
Disclaimer
:
No copyright infringement is intended or implied, all characters belong to Marvel/ Fox.
Notes:
As usual, a million thanks to cyndrarae for the amazing beta read! Thanks dear!

26th September 2006

4:04am: Heat Wave 1-2

Title: Heat Wave
Author: SG -
scogan 
Rating: NC-17
Status: Complete

Pairing:
Logan/Scott
Warnings: Non-con; contains manips, some are grafic - (up to R)
Sequel: Retribution. (previous 25 entries)
Category: Movie
Timeline: Post x-2. (spoilers for x-1 and x-2)
Summary: The turn of events over one hot weekend.
Disclaimer: No copyright infringement is intended or implied, all characters belong to Marvel/ Fox.
Notes: A million thanks to cyndrarae for the amazing beta read!
All possible typos are me ruining her hard work, and for that I apologize.

Also, regarding all of the medical issues in the story – if I knew a dead doctor he'd be turning in his grave… You've been warned :p

 

Heat Wave

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1

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The mid August sun was already heating the air, regardless of the early hour. The bus air-conditioning was barely cooling the hot stuffy space, and Piotr was already missing the 59 °F he left behind him in Moscow. The driver turned the radio on-

"...The State Attorney has yet to file a single charge against FBI's second most wanted man, General William Stryker, who was captured four days ago in the state of Massachusetts. The Attorney is still reviewing all supporting documents, and is expected to press charges by Thursday. The multitude of charges might include corruption against the government, releasing and abusing sensitive information, attempted murder and conspiracy against the president, and in the extreme case - attempted genocide and crimes against humanity.

On to other news, the third day of unusual heat got weather forecasters warning the government against a second heat wave. For the third day in a row, very high temperatures spread across most of the United States and Canada with a lot of countries already reaching 92°F or above. While officials say it is too early to declare an emergency state, hot lines are already open to receive distress calls and to inform citizens regarding prevention and first aid. The lines will stay open during the weekend which is expected to stay just as hot if not hotter. The weather today is without change, clear and dry, with a high: 107°F and west winds of up to 8 mph..."

"-Damn government!" the driver turned the radio off.

After the two hours drive from the airport, Piotr was more than happy to see the familiar landscape of Westchester through the windows. He rang the bell for his stop. He had two more lines to catch before reaching the mansion and the day wasn't getting any cooler. Much to his relief, a car was revealed as the bus exit the curve. By the car stood three teenagers, waving their hands in excitement.

"Piotr!" It was Marie who hugged him the moment he stepped onto the sidewalk, with his suitcases still in his hands. He couldn't help but to feel sorry for the girl, who had to wear gloves in one of the hottest days of the year.

"How are you doing bro?" Bobby shook his hand, and Piotr felt the temperatures blissfully drop a few degrees.

"Hello, Piotr." Kitty said smiling. Standing on the tip of her toes, she kissed his cheek lightly.

"So all of you stayed at school?"

"Yep." Rogue said. "And spending the summer vacation at school isn't as bad as it sounds."

They helped Piotr with his suitcases and entered the car. "So what did I miss?"

"They took us on a mission last week!"

"Shto takoye?! Where? When?"

"In Canada, four days ago."

"Really? Tell me all about it!"

 


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2

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"Bobby NO!!!-"

"Rogue, he's dead! We got to get out of here-" Piotr was tugging her arm with force.

"Colossus! We can't leave him behind-"

"Alright. Shadowcat- I'll take him, you'll get Rogue out of here. Storm some cover!"

The air above them filled with mist. Kitty phased herself and Marie through a car that was thrown at them.

"Colossus, you're dead." Scott's voice rang through the speakers.

"What? Why?"

"-Piotr..."

"Okay, okay." he sat down on the ground, next to Bobby's 'dead' body.

"That sucks." Bobby smiled at him. Piotr only sulked. He took the sessions very seriously ('As he should', Bobby could almost hear Mr. Summers say from the control room above them.)

The three X-men who were still 'alive' made their way to the armored car. It was beginning to crush as the crane pressed it to the ground. "Storm! We can't make it in time!-"

*bamf-*

The dummy in the passenger seat was gone.

*-bamf*

The dummy and Nightcrawler appeared behind the three girls.

"Exercise over X-men." The speakers announced.

Up in the control room Charles turned to Scott. "What do you think?"

"Mm, we had better drills."

With his left foot still healing (though it was much better), Scott couldn't take part in the Danger Room session. He joined the professor at the control room instead. It was the first time he ran a session since Alkali Lake. He realized he’d missed that.

Minutes later the group sat in the briefing room, waiting for Scott and the professor to join them.

"Why did I die?!" Piotr asked before Scott could close the door behind them.

"Magneto is a dangerous enemy Piotr," Professor Charles Xavier turned to his class. "You were paired with Kitty on this mission for a reason. Not leaving the casualties behind was right and noble. You made the right decision X-men, and for that I commend you, but Piotr cannot stay alone while his entire body is transmuted into organic steel. Not with Magneto around - Erik can sense the smallest amount of metal from a distance. By leaving Colossus without Shadowcat's backup you have doomed him."

Piotr ducked his head. The professor continued, "However, By staying in small groups like you had planned - and not attempting to reach the president alone by using an ice slide which Magneto can easily collapse in a junkyard full of metal - " Bobby smiled embarrassed, "You could have prevented losing two team members during this mission."

Scott saw the silhouette passing outside the door and got up from the professor's side. He could hear Xavier saying, "Good job at saving the president, Kurt. However with two casualties the mission had failed. We will repeat this exercise at 5:30 p.m. Until then I ask you-"

Once in the hall, the professor's voice faded.

"Where the hell where you?"

"At the gym."

Logan slowly exhaled, blowing out smoke. "Didn't know I was supposed to report to you every time I go there, Cyke."

"You can't smoke in here Logan."

The other man just tilted his head and narrowed his eyes, challenging Scott to do something about it.

"You need to attend sessions Logan, you need to learn how to work in a team-"

"And you're going to teach me?" Logan's eyes scrutinized him from head to toe and Scott squirmed.

This wasn't fair! The balance between him and Logan was broken four days ago, and Logan was using that against him.

"You said you will show! Why didn't you show?" Scott hated the way his voice hitched up, surrendering his inner turmoil.

Logan took the cigar out of his mouth, leaning against the wall. "Why did you leave?"

Scott ducked his head, but before he could reply the door opened behind him as the professor dismissed his class.

-"We'll get it right the second time" Piotr told Kitty as they walked out.

-"Thanks for not leaving me to the vultures." Bobby kissed Marie fast enough for nothing to happen but for her to breathe out frost.

-"Logan!" Ororo cheerfully called. "Are we still on for tonight, or are you going to ditch me the way you did the Danger Room session?"

"We're on for tonight, darlin'."

Scott swallowed against the lump in his throat. Logan and Ororo started walking away. "Logan!" she rested her hand on his forearm, "Can't you put that horrid thing away?"

"Only 'cause you asked." Logan stubbed his cigar in the nearest ash tray.

Scott felt the taste of ashes in his mouth.




4:03am: 3-4

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3

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"Home sweet home!" Hank placed his baggage down, taking his hat off. The heat outside was unbearable for a guy with fur, and he blessed the air- conditioned mansion.

"How was Washington D.C, Hank?" Ororo asked as she embraced him.

"Didn't Charles tell you? It hasn't changed much," Hank smiled, "However, my travel was not in vain. Worthington's 'cure' status has been changed from 'pending' to 'illegal'. I expect them to appeal any time soon, but when they do - I'll be there. I already have key congress members objecting to the cure, which is more than I could have said four days ago." 

"That's excellent!" Ororo smiled brightly.

Logan passed through the living room. "Nice going, Furball."

"You overheard us?" Hank looked at him quizzically.

Logan stopped and looked at him suspiciously. "Yeah. What of it, Bub?"

"From what distance? It could be interesting to experiment on-"

"I don't do experiments, Bub." Logan turned his back on them, walking away, body tense.

When Logan was almost outside the room, Ororo saw Hank’s lips moving, but she couldn't hear any sound. From the other side of the hall, Logan turned his head.

"Loud and clear Doc."

He exited the room.

"Hmmm...That's interesting..." the doctor mused.

"So," Hank gestured toward her uniform, "What did I miss?"

Storm groaned. "A Danger Room session not worth mentioning. We're doing it over again this evening if you're interested."

"Oh?" Hank raised one blue eyebrow.



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4

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A few minutes later, Hank walked into the kitchen. He wasn't surprised to see that's where Logan had gone to. Charles was there as well, staring out of the window. When the mansion was originally designed, the kitchen was supposed to have the view of an interior garden on the lower level. However, when Xavier bought the mansion, in order to customize it for his special... requirements, he turned the Japanese garden into an Olympic size swimming pool. It was used for training at first, and on occasions Hank used it in one of his experiments. Nowadays it opened to the students as well, for two daily hours with Hank serving as a lifeguard.

Joining Charles by the window Hank saw what caught the professor's eye. His fist hit the window ledge.

"I'm going to kill him!"

"Well he did say it was getting better," Charles smiled.

Logan approached them to see what they were fussing over.

"-I told him to stay off that foot!"

"Well, technically he is off the foot..."

In the large swimming pool someone was swimming laps. He was swimming front-crawl and breaststroke alternatingly, but he was fast. Using flip turn whenever he reached a wall, he didn't stop swimming. He looked professional. He looked...

"Summers?!"

Both man looked at him, amused.

"Don't underestimate Scott, Logan", the professor said with a smile.

"Yeah, Slim won his share of competitions back in the day." Hank agreed. He laughed at the look on Logan's face.

"Nothing big Logan. Local 25 yards swimming competition for youth between the ages of 6 and 18, but they thought he'd go pro. Won a scholarship as well."

"Why did he quit?"

Hank's smile faded as he reminisced. "Well, his powers first broke out when he was fourteen. I'm afraid it ended his short swimming career." Hank smiled, but his smile was a sad one.

However Summers' powers 'broke out', Logan could tell the story didn't end well. The man before him seemed genuinely concerned about Scott, and Logan couldn't help but remember how devastated he looked at the memorial held for Jean.

"Isn't fourteen early?"

"Well... yes. Usually. Unless..."

Logan could feel his grin becoming wolfish. He could smell dirt from a mile, and here- he smelled a whole pile of it.

"Unless what?" he asked and Hank stammered.

"Well... usually you'd be right. Mutation manifests somewhere between the ages of 16-21. There are exceptions, of course... But in some cases... when catalysts are involved..."

"Catalysts?" Logan was in Hank's face by then, "What sort of catalysts?"

Hank looked trapped. It was the professor who answered Logan's question.

"He smoked cannabis." Xavier's precise voice rang in the kitchen and Logan almost choked.

"Summers? I don't think so Bub-" Logan couldn't help his laughter but the professor cut him sharply.

"He smoked a joint at a school dance, blowing off the wall between the boys room and the gym. Two girls were severely injured."

Logan's smile was gone. There was an uncomfortable silence in which they could have easily cut the air with a knife. Hank turned to leave, and Logan had a feeling the doctor was asked to.

Once they were alone Xavier turned back to the window overlooking the pool. Logan took the cue and joined his side.

"Soon after that, Scott lost both his parents and complete control over his powers. I took him in." Logan was squirming in discomfort. Below them the kid took a flip turn diving forward fast, kicking the water.

"I'm not telling you this to make you feel uneasy, Logan. I want you to understand why above all Scott cherishes control, and why it was so hard for him to be robbed of it." It wasn't said out loud, but Logan knew who was it who deprived Scott of control and how.

//It wasn't your fault Logan. What's done is done, but don't use that against him.//

Logan's head snapped up-

"No, he didn't say anything, he didn't have to. When he's troubled, Scott's mind is like an open book." Xavier turned away from the window, "Look Logan, I can't tell you what to do, I can only ask you. He needs you right now. I don't think he slept in the last couple of nights. I know he's a little hard sometimes-"

Logan snorted. "Now there's an understatement-"

"But-" Xavier was cutting him sharply again, authoritative as always. "-he's only a kid."

Charles said, and no longer stood before him the dominant headmaster of the 'The Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters'. All that was left was a troubled man, concerned for his adopted son.

"Yeah. I know." Logan said. Seeing Charles like that was overwhelming. "I have to go Chuck... Got a date with Ro' in the garden."

"Of course. The new arrival of White Ash trees she needs help planting?"

"That's the one." Logan said as he left the room.




4:02am: 5-6

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5

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He couldn't sleep. He walked the dim corridors of the mansion with no idea what to do. So tired. That was all he could think of. So freaking tired, that there was nothing he could do but sleep, but he couldn't fall asleep. Does that make sense? Scott closed his eyes and leaned against the wall. Almost comfortable enough to fall asleep- just like that. But only almost.

 

Did he really have to throw his sleeping goggles against that wall? In the puzzled state of mind he was in, he couldn't remember why he did that.

 

Hank said it would take about two weeks until his new pair of sleeping goggles arrives. (The professor wouldn't let him pay -and he knew ruby doesn't come cheap) So what now? He wouldn't sleep for two weeks?

 

He tried using the sleeping mask, but when he was all alone in his room, and not in a strong embrace keeping him safe, he couldn't bear the eye cover. Hysteria much worse than any sleepless night quickly built in him at the forced blind state. He couldn't imagine living like that - how on earth did he survive his childhood? He had no idea.

 

He was hoping tonight might be better - he swam until his entire body ached - he should have been exhausted! Yet, as he wore the sleeping mask to secure his closed eyes, he panicked. He tried lying down on his stomach, telling himself to calm down, to fall asleep, but the mask - the blindness - it was too much!

Too much.

 

He pressed the side of his face to the wall, eyes still closed, and the room spun around him. He wanted to sleep! Then you know what to do, he told himself.

 

Yeah, he knew. After four sleepless nights, in which he dozed on and off in his office chair with his glasses on, he tried approaching Logan twice, but couldn't bring himself to knock on his door. What would he say? 'Hey Logan, I can't sleep without you, so- can I use your bed tonight?' he laughed at the thought, though what he really felt like was crying.

 

Four days ago, he woke from the last decent sleep he had. It was 4:00 A.M, he was held in a tight embrace, pressed down to a hard body - and he freaked. He left the room in haste while Logan still slept. Back in his room, Scott took the time cleaning up the mess he made there, while his nerves slowly calmed. Even now he had no idea what made him bolt out of Logan's bed like that, but he regretted it in every sleepless night that followed.

 

He was going to ask him to sleep over that morning, but instead of Scott asking Logan for help - he got Cyclops and Wolverine bickering over cigars, Danger Room sessions, and who knows what else, if ‘Ro hadn't showed up.

 

On the bright side, in his hazy state of mind caused by the lack of sleep, he finally dared to leave his room and face the students three days ago. Not using his crutches, he slowly limped down the steps for dinner.

 


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6

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"Mr. Summers!" Marie was the first to notice his arrival, and before he knew it he was in the middle of a pile of kids asking him questions and examining his injured foot like it was the first time they ever saw bandages. Only after he spoke to the professor, did he understand the innocence in which the kids asked him what happened after he was taken out of the cell by Stryker.

He finally took a seat by Ororo and Hank. Storm smiled at him while Hank only scowled, eyes searching for the crutches. "You're going to make it worse, putting pressure on that foot." Hank eyed him closely. "You look pale. When did you last eat Slim?"

Scott couldn't recall being that hungry in a while. The mansion was getting catering services three times a day, and the food was usually good, but that evening it was beyond good. Then again, he was always hungry after -

He blushed hotly, almost choking on his orange juice, as he realized the reason for his hunger. He was never much of an eater, but he was always starving after sex... He looked up from his plate, his eyes searching the room. The dining room was rather crowded, most of the students were already gone, but the reconstruction workers were still on a break, chatting lazily over their empty plates.

"He grabbed an early dinner." Hank told him knowingly, "He's out on his evening run."

Scott blushed - was he that transparent? Hank patted his back fondly as he got up to take a second helping.




4:01am: 7-8

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7

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But that was three days ago. Right now he didn't care for food, didn't care for anything but sleep. 

 

"-Ah!" he almost jumped out of his skin as a hand was placed on his hip from behind.

 

"It's only me, kid." the deep voice rumbled in his ear. A second hand came around him, holding him in a loose embrace around his waist. Scott leaned back into the blessed heat. "Come to bed." Logan whispered, and Scott's heart missed a beat. "C'mon." Logan tugged him toward his room, "Maybe finally we'll both get some rest. I can't sleep with you stomping back and forth all night."

 

Logan's room being pleasantly cool was Scott's first observation. The second was that Logan felt pleasantly warm. The man pressed behind him, and lightly kissed the back of his neck. "Get into bed." Scott felt dizzy - the tiredness, Logan's warmth, the soft lips on his neck... But then came the same fear, the same breathless sensation that got him running out of Logan's room four nights ago...

"No Logan - I can't!"

"Can't what kid?" wrapping one arm around Scott's chest, he inhaled the boy deeply. He could smell lust and fear on him, both as strong, both as equal. He caught a faint trace of chlorine as well, and was reminded of his talk with Chuck earlier.

"I'm not gonna do anything you don't want kid. Just gonna hold ya."

He was still mad at Summers for sneaking out of his room the way he did. Logan had woken up the minute Scott's breathing changed indicating that he was awake. He smelled the fear, yet he was sure Summers was only getting up to take a leak. He didn't expect to hear the door to his room open and close, then the kid's footsteps down the hall. At that point he was nothing but pissed. Did the kid really think he could leave unnoticed? Even without Logan's heightened sense of hearing, the kid's blind search for his glasses could have woken the dead.

He heard those tentative footsteps by his door twice since, knowing that Scott was standing there- hesitating then faltering, but he was too pissed to help him make his move. Only after three nights in which the kid barely slept, Logan realized it was up to him to reach out for Scott. Needing to get it out of his system, he took out his anger on Summers when the kid rebuked him for skipping a session, and now he could move on.  It was weird, but even before his conversation with Chuck, he felt responsible for Scott after sleeping with him. Never felt obliged to any of the women he slept with, but with Scott...

"C'mon- Get into bed."

Scott obeyed this time, pulling out the hated sleeping mask from his pyjamas pocket. He really didn't feel like wearing it. It was Logan who finally took the eye cover out of his hands and helped him wear it. He rolled Scott on to his side, and then spooned behind him, pressing close to him. It was the last thing Scott could remember when sleep took him.




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8

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He moaned.

"Shhh"

Logan whispered in his ear, as his hand slipped into his pants, under his briefs, taking hold of his morning erection. Logan pressed a thigh between Scott's legs, nudging them apart, and Scott pressed down to him, wanting to increase the pressure on his groin. He turned his head and stared into Logan's eyes, the early morning sun was playing on his bronzed skin, glittering in his brown eyes. Wait- bronze? brown? He wasn't wearing his glasses yet he could see? He thrashed as hot wetness engulfed him -

Then he woke. He reached for his glasses- the world was a monotonous mixture of dark red and black.

Logan wasn't touching him. He was lying on his back beside him, sleeping. The only similarity to his erotic dream was his painful hard on. Scott glanced at the clock- 4:32 A.M. He needed to get out of there. Logan might wake up... Scott knew the other man could sense these sorts of things, detect lust. Part of his mutation.

Scott's breathless fear was back - what the hell was wrong with him? He clearly wanted Logan, but the idea of implementing his desires...

For the second time, he got up and crept back to his room like a thief.


 

4:00am: 11-12
 

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9

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"Didn't know Mr. Summers could swim like that." Marie said as she added milk to her cereal. Bobby joined her by the window "Wow, not bad at all!"

"Good morning!" Ororo entered the kitchen.

"Morning Ro'." Hank raised his eyes from the newspaper he was reading.

"Bacon and eggs anyone?" she asked as she walked from the refrigerator and back, setting the ingredients on the counter.

"No thanks." Marie said quickly - she looked appalled just thinking of it, "It's way too hot for that."

"Not for me." Bobby smiled. "I'd love some."

Saturday and Sunday mornings were the only meals not served at the school, simply because no one showed up that early.

"Kurt! Morning! Bacon and eggs?"

"Guten morgen! Und nicht, danke schon."

Ororo shook her head. Sometimes Kurt's German sounded like English. Or was it the other way around?

"Logan! Someone I know won't refuse my food-"

But Logan walked past her. He walked straight to the window. Ororo joined him, looking out.

"Oh. Didn't know Scott is back to swimming." She looked at Logan watching Scott and her face darkened.

Beneath them, Scott climbed out of the water, momentarily massaging a sore shoulder before moving to dry himself.

 



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10

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Scott picked up his towel. His workout was shorter this time - his left foot ached. Hank would go ballistic if he turned to him about it though. He was drying himself as slowly as he could - wanting to postpone his meeting with Logan as long as possible after bailing out of his bed for the second time in a row. He had walked to his room, knowing he wouldn’t sleep there, and by 6:00 A.M he felt he was going insane, so he went swimming. He didn't swim in years up until yesterday. He was happy to find he still had all the moves. He was a little nervous about his ruby quartz swim goggles, but they were in the Ready Room, right where he left them years ago.

He liked swimming again, and for all the wrong reasons - It helped him feel closer to her.

With no grave to go to, being engulfed in the cold water made him feel like he was with her in a sense. It was silly, he knew, but it helped. He could almost hear her voice underwater. At times he was sure he saw something too... the same fire like energy that surrounded her in his dream, the same heat...

He didn't care if it was the lack of sleep, the grief, or if he was simply losing his mind - just as long as it went on. Just as long as he got to spend some time with her... even if that underwater 'Jean' was nothing but a figment of his imagination.

Throwing the towel over his shoulder, he headed to the showers. He picked up his sports bag, taking out soap, when a piece of paper fell out to the ground. He didn't notice it at first and almost stepped on it, then it caught his eye. The paper had a dark shade of red - it must have been grey or yellow. Scott picked it up and began reading it.

He left the water in the shower running, and the soap untouched.

 

4:00am: 9-10



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11

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"No splashing!" Jubilee yelled. She was lying on a pool float, drinking lemonade while reading a book.

"...That was 'a thing about you' by Roxette, and for those of you who had just joined us at WNYU 89.1 FM, on this sunny Sunday afternoon - we are trying to chill down as this now-official heat wave is hitting. But we New Yorkers can't feel too bad for ourselves- as in Phoenix, Arizona the mercury soared to 118 degrees today, setting a new record of being the hottest since July 1995-"

"Mr. McCoy, can you turn the radio down please? Thanks! I couldn't read like that..."

"Ah!" Marie cried as the water around her became cold "Bobby!-" her boyfriend just smiled at her amused.

The younger kids were playing and splashing in the shallow water while Piotr was swimming laps in the lanes. Kitty was sitting on the ledge, legs dipping in the water, bored. "What's the point of going to the pool if you can't catch a little sun?"

"Ah!" she yelped pulling her legs out of the water, "Bobby!!!" she raised her fist "One of these days..."

Hank looked at them, laughing. With the temperature rising, the pool opened longer and Hank spent most of the weekend there. Not that he was complaining, it was too hot outside to do anything else. The only brave soul who had risked going outside was Ro', summoning rain clouds above her new planted trees to keep them from dying.

"No pushing Mike!"

Hank got up, walking toward the shallow water.

"I wasn't pushing, Mr. McCoy."

"That's good Mike. Keep it that way-" Hank said as something caught his eye...

By the showers laid a discarded Nike sports bag. Scott's sports bag. He came closer -

By the bag laid a bottle of liquid soap, most of his content spilled to the floor. He heard the sound of running water...

"Slim?"

Nothing. The showers were empty, and Hank felt ill at ease. Something had to be very wrong for Scott to leave things as they were.

He turned back to the pool. "Okay, Sports. The pool is now closed."

 



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12

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He went to the faculty's living room in search of Scott. Only Ro' and Kurt sat there, sipping cold drinks and watching TV. "Did you see Scott by any chance?"

"Nope." Ororo replied, "Didn't see 'fearless' since this morning" she said, and Hank told himself he imagined the bitterness in her voice.

He went to the kitchen, remembering the kid didn't have breakfast nor did he show up for lunch. He passed by the dining room on his way - the sun was about to set, the air dropped a few degrees, and the catering service workers were moving in the hall, arranging the tables. The air filled with the smell of food.

Scott was in the kitchen, drinking coffee, staring out of the window at the pool.

"See anything interesting?" Hank asked, making Scott jump.

The hot beverage spilled on the floor and on Scott's hand.

"Ah! Damn." Scott placed the cup on the counter, then opened the water and stuck his hand under the tap.

"I'm sorry Slim. I didn't mean to startle you. Let me have a look at that-"

He pulled Scott's hand from under the tap, holding his wrist. The burn was a low grade one, nothing some local anaesthetic wouldn't help, but that wasn't what got Hank concerned. He was still holding his patient's wrist, and he didn't like how fast the pulse was racing under his fingers.

"I thought you didn't like to waste water, Slim." Scott looked at the running water cooling his skin, confused. But then he saw his bag, his Nike sports bag, discarded where Hank stood a moment ago.

Shit! The showers- he completely forgot about that!

"You want to tell me about it Scott?" Hank asked him gently.

"There's nothing to tell." Scott couldn't remember lying to another team member until then.

"Then what happened?" Hank asked. He noticed how tousled Scott's hair was, and how strongly he smelled of chlorine, realizing that in a very non-Summers-like fashion, the kid didn't shower at all.

"Nothing happened Hank. I just... I..."

"- I miss her." Scott said, feeling his chest tightening. He was lying about her. He was using her as an excuse!... I have no choice Jean. I'm so sorry...

A large hand settled on his shoulder. "You know you can trust me... with whatever it is. You can confide in me, Slim."

Scott couldn't hold that trusting gaze. He knew that if he would - he'd break.

"Slim?..."

Maybe he could tell Hank? Only to him... seek his advice and nothing more...

"I... today..." Scott forced the words out of his mouth, when the loud shattering blow was heard.

They ran to the dining room, Kurt bamfing there before them, soon followed by Logan and Ororo.

"So sorry, I'm so very sorry!" a talk skinny man walked out of the door. "We've lost a pile of plates - not a pretty sight." He laughed a short, nervous laugh under his moustache. "Dinner will be served on time." He said closing the door behind him. Some kids were beginning to show, and Ororo sent them back for 'a few minutes'. They had a Danger Room session planned before dinner, and was already in her uniform.

"You were saying, Slim?" Hank turned to him, but all Scott could see was Logan staring at him with anger. He could hear them, no doubt.

"Nothing Hank. I was saying nothing." he turned to leave, dinner being the last thing on his mind.

Hank looked back into the kitchen, where the sports bag was forgotten for the second time.




3:59am: 15-16

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13

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Scott walked down the hall to his room. Everything was so fucked up!

In spite of the heat, he was shivering. He unlocked the door to his room and went inside. He wanted to take a shower; the chlorine began to burn on his skin. Dropping a trail of clothes on his way to the bathroom Scott turned the water on, waiting for them to warm. In the meantime, he placed his sore hand in the sink, letting the cool water rinse it. He couldn't tell Hank. He would have to deal with it alone.

With his sleeping goggles gone, he showered in warm water with his eyes closed feeling miserable and tired, knowing he won't sleep tonight and judging from the look in Logan's eyes in the many nights to follow.

He dried himself and walked out of the shower, the mansion’s central air conditioner made the air pleasantly cool, making him sleepy. He walked to his bed. Worth a try... He'd deal with the rest later, right now, if there was a slight chance of him falling asleep...

But he didn't get far. On his pillow waited a dark red note.

Shit.

 




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"Iceman, Rogue stay together! Shodawcat - phase Colossus over here we need his help!" Storm was standing just below them, a trap wall separating them. Her eyes were white as snow and a lightning bolt lit the room taking down two mannequins.

Kitty phased Piotr through the wall, soon followed by a loud *bamf* as Kurt teleported Marie and Bobby to the other side. Piotr took down a mannequin and Bobby froze the portal from which it had arrived preventing other 'enemies' from entering.

"Good thinking Iceman! We are almost there-" Storm said, seeing the X that marked their destination. They ran toward it, when trap doors in the floor around it opened. All stopped in time but Kitty-

*bamf-*

*-bamf*

Kurt teleported in and out, showing up on the other side with Kitty in his arms.

"Nightcrawler and Shadowcat - Exercise over."

Bobby made a 'bridge' of ice wide enough for the rest to cross to the other side.

"Exercise over X-men." Charles and Hank left the control room and joined them in the danger room.

"Much better X-men. Great team work today." Charles commended them.

"Funny - no casualties this time, yet we keep on dropping in numbers." Ororo said, and this time Hank knew beyond doubt she was angry. Something was on her mind. "Didn't know Danger Room sessions became voluntary, professor." she said.

"Ororo..."

"What professor? They are already part of the team," she gestured toward the kids, "they can hear it-"

"Ororo!"

Yet she ignored him, "We all saw him swimming today, I think his foot is doing just fine"

"Storm!" the professor's voice rang in the room, his eyes blazed. "Yes, they are part of the team, but they are also his students. And yours. If you have something on your mind regarding a fellow teacher - take it to me."

"Of course." She said. "Can't possibly take it to him, now can I? I'd be surprised if you'd let me." Turning around, she stormed out of the room.


 

3:59am: 13-14

 

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15

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Logan watched them from the control room, wondering what got Ororo's panties in a bunch. The small group was beginning to disperse.

So the boy scout skipped a session...

He remembered overhearing his last conversation with Hank 'Nothing Hank. I was saying nothing' the kid said and Logan smelled his fear. At first he thought Scott was afraid to face him, but later he realized it was more profound, extending from a greater depth than an angry team member or the sound of breaking dishes. And now this...

Something was terribly wrong. He made his way to Scott's room.

 



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"Okay - I called them," Jubilee said, "They like totally have Nick Lachey's new album!"

Kitty rolled her eyes "I can't believe you're gonna pay for that" she said, "But hey, it's your money. A complete waste of it, but never the less-"

"Hey! Did I say anything when you bought that ceramic blow-dryer- thingy?"

"You mean my Ceramic Turbo 2000 Blow Dryer? The one that has even heat distribution? What can your CD do but whine over Jessica Simpson?"

"You know what - forget it! Are you coming to Tower Records or not?"

"Yeah, yeah. I'm coming."

"Is Mr. Summers giving us a ride?"

"No. Said he can't. But he gave me his car keys."

"No freaking way!"

"Way-" Kitty said showing her the keys. "I think he's going through something, he skipped a session today as well."

"Really?!"

"Yeah, Miss Monroe was really pissed."

"So... are we like... taking his car?"

"Duh! How many students in here can say they drove Mr. Summers’ car?"

"How many students in here can say they drove at all?" Jubilee asked bitterly after failing her driving test the previous week. Again.

 

 


3:58am: 19-20

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17

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Logan made it to Scott's room and knocked on the door. Twice.

Nothing.

Then Logan caught a scent. An old, well known and hated scent - one of the many that haunted him in his sleep. He clawed the doorknob, and entered the room.

 

The smell was stronger inside and Logan followed the trail in the room, from the kid's desk to his bed to-... it was faint now, and Logan almost lost it. He walked about in the room, sniffing the air...

 

-There!

The weakest trace led him to the nightstand. He opened it - a strong smell of mint attacked his nostrils, bringing tears to his eyes. No wonder he almost lost the trail. The kid kept enough chewing gum in there to last the entire school a week. Logan had to stop using his heightened sense of smell, blinking his burning eyes a couple of times to regain sight.

The nightstand began taking shape again. Books, Scott's aftershave, more chewing gum, 'Automobile Magazine' latest issue, as well as some other belongings, were neatly organized in the two-shelved stand. Nothing was out of place. Almost... Logan's eye caught the corner of a yellow page crammed under the stack of books in the bottom shelf. He lifted some of the books and carefully pulled the corner of the page-

Three crumpled notes fell to the floor and the hated scent was back, mingling with the smell of Summers' chewing gum collection.

But the smell was clear now, and in a heartbeat Logan knew the owner. His face darkened, his knuckles tingled the way they always did just before he extended his claws. But he forced them to stay inside, forced himself to fight the instinct to slash first and think later, and instead picked up the first note and went over it.

 

Hello Pretty Boy.

I have to say that the second time you were our guest was very unfulfilling for me as well. And you know what they say- all work and no play...

I HATE being DULL pretty boy! You're gonna pay for the little trick you played on me! I wasn't going to hurt you. Much. Let me assure you that when I'll get you this time (oh, I will get you, don't you worry) you will regret the day you were born!

What is it you ask? How did I get inside of your precious mansion?

Well, that was easy. About as easy as it would be to unload a 45 caliber into the head of the man in a wheelchair, should you mention this to anyone. Take my word for it pretty boy. I will have you even if I have to kill every deficient excuse of a child in that 'school' of yours!

Until next time pretty boy. And if I were you I'd keep that pretty mouth of yours shut.

 

What the fuck?! Logan was seeing red. He couldn't decide who made him angrier- the sick man that broke into the mansion, or the boy, who instead of calling a team meeting to decide on the steps needed to be taken, kept the notes and the intrusion to himself like a shameful secret.

Still fighting the urge to get up and take his wrath to Summers, Logan picked the second note and began reading it-

 

I thought I told you something pretty boy! Keep your pretty mouth shut! This is your last warning. The next one will be written in blood. I hope I've made myself clear.

But it won't be long now, pretty boy. I can hardly wait. Could tell from the first minute I saw you that you'd be a good fuck. Anyone with that build is. Could tell you're a virgin too. But then that son of a bitch gave you for someone else to enjoy. Doesn't really matter - gonna hurt you so bad you'd think I'm your first.

And while we're at it - don't you dare allow Weapon-x anywhere near your ass. I'd be able to tell if he fucked you, and that would leave me no choice but to kill you, then him. Unlike the fat bastard, I actually wanted so see how long it would take Weapon-x to die from the permanent injury caused by his adamantium skeleton without his healing abilities.

One last thing- until we meet again. I want you to think of me pretty boy. Want you to think of me whenever you take a shower, whenever you touch yourself, whenever you look in the mirror. Want you to know that whatever it is you're seeing, whatever it is you're touching, is all mine. Can you do that for me pretty boy? Or do I have to teach you you're all mine the hard way?

Logan's rage soared, his fury filled him, his claws felt like an individual trying to take control over him, trying to do his thinking. "Summers!" he hissed. Yet even now he couldn't tear himself from the last note still lying on the floor where it landed.

He picked it up --

Hello Pretty Boy...

 


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"SCOTT!!!"

The chilling cry echoed in the halls, raising goosebumps all over those who heard it in the living room.

"What the hell was that?" Ororo asked.

Bobby and Marie looked at each other bemused. Hank and the professor entered the room. For a moment everyone froze, listening to the sound of doors wildly open and slammed in the second floor where most of the bedrooms were.

A gasp made them turn to the professor, who now looked equally scared.

*snikt*

Logan sheathed his claws as he entered the room. "Where is he?"

"He's gone." the professor's eyes were fixed straight ahead, not meeting his gaze. Logan dropped three yellow notes into the professor's lap.

"Then find him."


3:58am: 17-18

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Hank helped the professor to restart Cerebro. They sent Colossus and Nightcrawler under Storm's command to the mall after Kitty and Jubilee. Hank stayed with Logan and the professor in search of Scott. His motorcycle was missing and the trail was too cold for Logan to pick up Scott's scent.

Charles rolled along the long bridge, taking his position. He placed the helmet on his head and the doors closed behind them. It was the first time Charles allowed such a crowd with him- Logan and Hank were standing on both his sides, Hank still reading the yellow notes Logan found in Scott's room.

The first two made Hank's skin crawl, then he reached the third-

Hello Pretty Boy...

I think it's time. As I write this two of my men are out shopping. They had an unexplained craving to enlarge their music collection. The thing is they are both a little Mmm- trigger happy? Is that how it's called? In any case I'd hate for them to go on a rampage in the middle of... I donno - say a Tower Records store? Cause then there's no telling who might get hurt...

Under your pillow you will find instructions. You have ten minutes to follow them, or you'll receive my next message via the eight o'clock news. Try warning anyone, and you might as well leave the instructions as they are, and start making the funeral arrangements.

See you soon pretty boy... (I'd better!)


 

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20

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Scott looked at the note in his hand and read the address. He reached the right place. It looked like a deserted factory, long out of use. He parked his bike, ignoring the sign that informed him he was trespassing. Half past seven- he made it on time. Descending from his bike, his stomach was turning and he was feeling sick, but his legs carried him forward as if on a will of their own. I wont let him Scott kept telling himself He won't touch me! He decided on the course of action on his way- he would get inside, negotiate over the girls' lives, let Johnson think that he'd got him, once the girls were safe and sound, he would take the glasses off.

He swallowed.

It hurt him knowing that the last thing he'd see would be Johnson as he would bring the old building down on them, but the others would understand. They have to understand.

He looked back at the red sunset, suddenly taken by her beauty, wondering if that was the last time her rays would charge his powers. He entered the deserted building.

It was dark as sin inside; the air was dense with dust, making his mouth dry and his throat sore. He heard a squeaking sound and felt a fast movement brushing past his leg. Rats. Dozens of them by the sound of it. If he could only use a mild optic blast to light up the room... He cursed his lack of control over his powers – having only 10 minutes to follow Johnson's last note, Scott left the mansion wearing his glasses, not his visor. He left in such haste - by the time the rest would figure out that he was gone he'd be... He shuddered.

A second rat brushed past his leg and Scott began wondering if he had made the right decision by not informing the team. A wave of regret washed over him and he reached for his X-com determined to use it to inform the professor where he was and why, and only then face Johnson. The idea of collapsing the building in a suicide mission sounded terribly dumb once he was actually there. He turned the communicator on. Nothing. He had no signal inside of the deserted building. He would have to exit the factory in order to make his call. He turned around just as the floor cracked under him. For a moment he was sure it was his imagination. He froze, listening carefully. Nothing. He took another step as the floor gave in under his feet.




 

3:57am: 21-22

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21

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His eyes closed instinctively as he fell, and that was his luck - his glasses were gone. The drop was longer than he would have survived if the water didn't break his fall. What the-

Ice cold water, painfully cold. He stretched his hand forward, kicking the water to surface. He felt ... a branch...a rocky wall... He blindly scouted along it - more rocks... some wooden scaffolds too steep for him to climb... another rock... something soft- there was a movement and Scott pulled his hand back- rats! Just great... he reached forward again- another branch... no wait- he ran his fingers over it- the same branch. Great, just perfect. A rounded pit. How deep was it? He took a deep breath, teeth chattering, as he felt that swift movement again and let go of the branch. He tried diving to the bottom, but had to surface for air long before he got there. The rats were bolder when he surfaced, squeaking loudly around him keeping him from grasping at the rocky walls. His body ached from the cold and Scott wondered what would happen first- him drowning or him freezing.

"When the factory was bought the owner had no idea it was built on top of an old mine. When the mine was dug the owner had no idea he'd run into underground water welling forth. I think it's safe to say, by all means and purposes, that this place isn't very lucky, don't you agree, pretty boy?"

Scott turned his head towards the hated voice above him and for a moment he wished for nothing more than to have his visor with him. But time passed and he no longer heard Johnson's voice or steps. Did he go through all this trouble only to watch him drown? Scott was kicking and striving the water vigorously, but his body was becoming rigid and stiff the longer he was exposed to the cold. A new kind of darkness crept into his head, different from the one inflicted by losing his glasses. For a minute he thought he could feel her. Heat and light as she helped him surface, but he wasn't sure. He was beginning to feel very, very numb...

 


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The professor took the helmet off, frustrated.

"I can't locate him."

"How can that be?" Logan took a step forward.

"That could mean one of two things- either he's unconscious, or..." the professor faltered, not stating the second option out loud, but both men understood.

 


3:56am: 23-24

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23

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The darkness surrounding Scott was slowly fading. It was cold. He was shaking violently, teeth chattering, before he managed any cogent thought. And he was...he was...

His eyes snapped open - he was completely naked, spread-eagled and bound, his limbs frigid from the cold - He blinked his eyes a couple of times- he was seeing blue? And grey?

"Nice, isn't it?"

Scott looked up and found himself staring into Johnson's face, inches from his own. The man cupped his cheek with one hand forcing his head up, forcing him to stare into his eyes.

"Mmm... That's very nice." he said, but the hunger and malice in his gaze made Scott panic - he couldn't tear his eyes from Johnson's, too used to being able to stare without others noticing his covered eyes.

His heart was beating wildly, his body was painfully cold, his mind was racing - strung out to a single plea of  'god, please no. God, please no. God,-' he closed his eyes-

"Look at me!" Johnson jerked his head hard and Scott was painfully aware of the collar around his neck. Inhibitor collar. But... how?

"That's much better-" Scott was staring into his eyes again, dazed.

"So much better..." he was tracing Scott's cheekbone with his fingertips and Scott fought the urge to thrash. The hand moved to his throat, just above the collar "You see, I was the old bastard's second in command. Had access to all of the equipment." the smile on his face broadened. "...and to a nice sum of money."

A swift movement in the room caught Scott's eyes and he turned his head. Around the bed sat a group of about a dozen men and a few women. Candles were scattered in the room. He tried having a better look at their faces when Johnson tugged his hair so hard it brought tears to his eyes.

"KEEP THOSE BABY BLUES ON ME PRETTY BOY!!!" he shouted into his ear.

 


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Scott's breath hitched in his throat. The thunderous voice left his ears ringing. At that moment he knew beyond any doubt that the man was more than just sick- he was insane. Johnson was panting, drops of sweat covered his brow.

"That's it, pretty boy. Keep them on me." Johnson slowly eyed the small room, but even then Scott's eyes never left his face, too shocked to move. Having his eyes exposed made him feel off balance, vulnerable. Being tied down and naked in a room full of hitmen didn't help. He was still shivering, still cold.

Johnson's eyes were back on him. "Just a couple of my closest... friends" he chuckled at that, "I'm a generous guy, I don't mind sharing." he said and moved his hand out of Scott's sight until he felt it on his penis.

He thrashed hard, and Johnson rewarded him by yanking his hair so forcefully Scott couldn't suppress a scream.

"Don't move! Don't you FUCKING MOVE!" Scott closed his eyes,

"OPEN THEM!" he gave Scott's balls a savage squeeze that made him cry out in pain. His eyes flew open.

"Don't you ever fucking close them!"

Oh, god. Scott couldn't help the tear that trickled down his check. He dreamt of being touched this way, of being able to see without the glasses, but not by him - not like this.  This wasn't a dream, it was a nightmare.

Johnson gazed down on him, challenging him to move as he began fondling him. Without thinking Scott flinched trying to put some space between them.

The smile on Johnson's face was hideous as he reached for the bedside above Scott's head and took a small remote. "I thought I told ya not to move-" He did something and the last thing Scott could remember was a clicking sound when the fire started-

He could hear his scream bouncing off the walls, as acute pain like nothing he ever felt originated in the base of his neck and ran down his spine.


 


3:55am: 25

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"Now what?" Hank asked. They were still standing on Cerebro's deck, unsure as to what to do.

"This is all my fault." Charles said. "To have a man in and out of my house without detecting it, to have Scott fear for our lives without noticing his distress."

"No, Charles. I knew there was something wrong and all I did was tried talking to him, getting him into even bigger trouble-" Hank waved the second note and something in Logan's mind clicked. Keep your pretty mouth shut! This is your last warning...

"When was your little talk with Scott, Furball?"

"Why, just before the dishes broke-" Hank said, but Logan was already on his way out, the two men following him closely, "Logan?"

He stopped and turned to them. "Chuck didn't sense him, I didn't smell him, he was in and out faster than any of us could see, he knew that Scott tried talking to Furball here-" He snapped the note out of Hank's hand and sniffed it. "He was never even in here."

Logan started running, with Hank in his wake and Charles far behind.

Logan entered the dining room; the tall moustached man saw him run in and began fleeing. He stood no chance.

By the time the professor got there, the man was dangling from Hank's grip.

"I already told you - I know nothing! He just gave me the notes - I didn't know what was written in them!"

"Address!" Logan barked into his face.

"What?"

"Where did you meet him? Give us a goddamned address!" The claws were slowly extending, lightly scratching the man's throat. He gulped, but stayed silent.

"Let me handle this." Xavier said.

They pressed the man down to a table, holding him still, and Charles touched the man's temples. The guy immediately stopped struggling.

"I know where Scott is. You must hurry!"


3:54am: 26-27

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All Scott could do was pant, overwhelmed by the pain.

"Oh, didn't you know?" Johnson smiled with self-content, "The collars weren't only made to neutralize mutants. They are also meant to control them. So let's repeat the rules," the hand in his hair tightened, "A. You look only at me. B. You don't move. You got that pretty boy?"

At first Scott didn't reply, but when Johnson sent his hand to the bedside again-

"-Yes-" Fresh humiliation surged through Scott as he forced himself to agree - the pain was too much, he couldn't bear it again. All he had to do was to hold still-

Johnson started stroking him in a slow, steady rhythm and Scott held still, his eyes fixated on Johnson's face. He could feel heat in his lower belly and wondered if he was going to get sick. Johnson added pressure to his strokes.

Stop! Stop- - his mind cried out, but the man didn't, and Scott couldn't bear it any longer. He closed his eyes.

The pain was fiercer this time, longer too, and Scott was shrieking, begging in a voice that was hardly his own. The pain stopped, replaced by a white flash as his jaw took a hit.

"Were you thinking of him?"

Scott spat out blood and stared at his captor in disbelief.

"You were, weren't ya? Closing your eyes and thinking of Weapon-x, imagining it's him touching you!"

If he wasn't so sore he would have laughed. It seemed a blasphemy, placing Logan anywhere in the sick scenario, but as the hand was back, stroking him again, the evil eyes challenging him to resist... the idea crawled back into his head, his mind clinging to it in a forlorn part of his brain - the one that wanted to survive.

Think of Logan!

Johnson's touch was awful, his body was itching to pull away and that thought nagged him again, unbidden. Think of Logan to hold still, think of Logan to avoid the pain, to survive...

He lowered his gaze away from the blazing eyes of the madman, stared at his chin instead, as he allowed the first image of Logan come to mind.

Logan, back to the day when he was changing out of his wet clothes right in front of him. He could almost see before him the broad back, the built arms, the firm ass-

- The first surge of blood filled his cock and he gasped. He could hear the evil laugh coming from the distance, could see from the corner of his eye men and women making out, some in pairs, some in groups, like in some sick cult ceremony. The panic was building in him again. Only me… he heard Logan's voice in his mind, and he mentally nodded.

Think of Logan's hands.

And he did. It was Logan who was now stroking him in an almost bruising way. It was Logan, and Logan wanted him to enjoy it. He was growing hard. The realization made him sick, but he tore his mind off it, forcing images of Logan instead. His mind screamed his comrade's name as he came.

Johnson laughed. "Weapon-X would never have touched you if he knew you're such a little whore." But Scott could hardly hear him-

It was weird. The climax made his shivering worse, the room was spinning uncontrollably. He wasn't sure, but something was wrong with his perception - blotting his sight. He felt sick to his stomach. Johnson's next words made him feel iller.

"I'm beginning to think you were only playing hard to get, the way you enjoy being taken, pretty boy." he forced Scott's head back and whispered into his ear "I'm going to fuck you into next week Scott Summers," the use of his name made him jerk, it was so much worse than when he used the twisted nickname, "By the time I'm through with you, you won't be able to remember his touch. Only mine."

In spite of the numb state of his body and soul, he wailed. Desperate, loud, convulsive gasps, as he begged "No! Don't do this! Don't... please don't do this! Don't-". The realization that this man really would enter his body made his insides ache with freezing terror. His cries fell flat on the collective laughter around him, and his body jerked with pain, as another electric shock was sent down his spine. He screamed until his voice was raw, desperately clinging to consciousness, as the dark spots blocking his sight were expanding.

"Hurts?" Johnson asked, "Your ass is gonna hurt so much mor-"

*snikt*

"I wouldn't bet on it Bub."

Relief filled Scott's sore body like a tide. He closed his eyes giving in to the darkness, too tired to fight it any longer.

 

 

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Wolverine burst into the room, the sound of Scott's scream had sentenced Johnson's fate even before he smelled the blood and pain, or saw the naked boy strapped to the bed.

Johnson's lips twisted, baring his teeth like a wild animal. "McPherson!"

There was no answer, and Johnson turned his head to the right, only to see his unconscious hit man dangling from Beast's hands like from a noose. He slowly retreated to the head of the bed.

Logan took a step forward and the first hit man jumped him from his left. His clothes were unkempt, his hair tousled. Logan could smell the sex lingering on him. He didn't even use his claws; he elbowed the man into oblivion.

Hank cast McPherson on another attacker, sending them both to the ground.

Logan walked toward a different thug, but the man fled, soon followed by two other men and three women. Logan let them go. It's not them he was after.

His wild eyes locked with Johnson's. The man was grinning at him. "I bet you didn't know, but he has the most stunning baby blues."

Logan and Hank's eyes darted to Scott's face. It was the first time they noticed his eyewear was taken. The kid was wearing a collar...

"Now, as I was beginning to explain to pretty boy here," Johnson smiled. He moved from the bed, holding a small remote-control looking device in his hand "The collars weren't only made to neutralize mutants. They are also meant to control them" he turned the dial, "and, in some extreme cases - to kill them." he exposed the remote for them to see. Around the dial was written in white - 10 V, 60 V, 110 V, 220 V, then in red -  500 V, 1,000 V, 2,000 V.

The dial was set on 2,000 volts.

"Enough to stop the heart and induce unconsciousness," he stared at Scott's unconscious body then laughed "Well, too late for that, but his heart will stop. Its the same method that is used in death penalty"

"Well, you should know." Hank couldn't help himself. The man doubled up with laughter, looking completely insane. When he opened his eyes, Wolverine was standing closer to him. He tightened his grip on the remote. "Don't try me, Weapon-X!"

Logan was still stepping closer.

"As good as he was, I will kill him-"

"As good as he was?" Logan asked mockingly "You never had him-"

"Oh, yes I did. His mouth was like fucking silk!" Johnson's eyes blazed with madness-

"No, I don't think you did Bub." Logan was still getting nearer, only a few paces separated him from Johnson.

"Stay back!"

But Logan didn't. He just tilted his head, like he was listening to a sound only he could hear. It made him look as unhinged as the man he was confronting. "As a matter of fact, Bub- I'm certain you didn't have him." he crossed the distance left between them, and Johnson hit the button.

The man stared in shock at the sparks flying. He didn't believe for a second that he'd be resorted to do that. Worse, he was left with no aces up his sleeve separating him from Weapon-X who was standing mere inches from him. Wolverine didn't seem to be bothered though, and Johnson averted his eyes to the bed.

Sparks were still flying, smoke was rising, the suffocating stench of fusion filled the room- but it wasn't coming from the bed. It was coming from the generator. The other mutant was holding the wire that had been used to stretch between the collar and the generator. That's when he started running. Heavy footsteps echoed behind him. Wolverine.

 



3:53am: 28

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"You're making a big deal out of it!" Johnson yelled back as he ran. He wasn't concerned about making too much noise, he had read Weapon-X’s files, the man was like a goddamn hound anyhow. He could no longer hear the footsteps. Did he lose him? He turned his head to look back, missing a pillar. He slammed into the hard body, reeling back dazed. He shook his head- it was no pillar. It was the goddamned wretched son-of-a-mutant that made his life a living hell!

"You think I'm making a big deal now? You don't know the half of it Bub-"

*snikt*

"Now, now... I'm sure we could work something out Mr... Howlett?" Logan narrowed his eyes "Oh, so the fat bastard didn't tell you? Maybe I can help... as his second in command it's not only Inhibitor collars I had access to... and now with the bastard in jail, I'm sure I can arrange something." He stepped closer, "What do you say James?  Your files - over a hundred years worth of memories, and a very interesting read if I may add, in exchange of your immediate departure, without the boy." Johnson stepped closer "Hmm? What will it be?"

Logan's ears heard the deafening explosion long before the fire in his left side ignited and the smell of gunpowder filled the air. He fell to the ground.

"As I said- your file makes an extremely interesting read. Especially where it reads about your weak points. Did you know that in WW1 a shot from close range had you immobilized for over two hours?"

Logan was slowly rising up to a sitting position. "...two hours..." he was dry heaving, trying to catch his breath, "...and thirty-eight minutes... you son of a bitch..." supporting himself against the wall, he slowly rose to his feet, tasting blood in his mouth. Johnson looked at him with awe, "But that bullet hit the back of my head," the movement was fast, the gun’s barrel was cut in half with astonishing accuracy. "So I suggest next time you read between the lines."

Johnson turned his back on Logan and ran.

"Coward-" Logan hissed as he slowly followed, holding his injured left side.


3:52am: 29-31

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Johnson took a left turn just as the floor cracked under him. For a moment he was sure it was his imagination. He froze, listening carefully. Nothing. He took another step as the floor gave in under his feet.

Logan reached the edge and stared down into the seemingly bottomless pit-

"Help! Help me-"

Johnson was hanging a few feet below him, clutching at a branch. "You have to help me- I'm- I'm the only link to your past!"

"That's where you're wrong, Bub." The feral silhouette above him was already fading.

"God damn you Wolverine! God damn you- -" the branch was beginning to tear from the rocky wall, "Whenever you touch him - whenever you fuck that boy, you'll always know - I had him first-"

"Wrong again." Logan said, then turned away from the abyss.

"Oh, and Johnson,"

The man's head snapped up, the wicked smile was back, "Had a change of mind?"

Logan just stared at him, then smiled.

"Stay away from my boy."

The drop would have been  short enough for him to survive... if there was any water to break his fall.

It was safe to say for all purposes, that the place wasn't very lucky.

 


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By the time Logan got back to the room Scott was in, there was no trace of his injury left.

"Are you alright?" Hank asked him.

Logan dropped an offcast bullet to his feet. "Had better days. How is he?"

"Logan - let me have a look!" the Doctor reached out for him.

"I'm fine Hank. How's Scott?"

Hank turned to the bed, still skeptical. "Well, my major concern is Hypothermia. I've been waiting for you to return, I need to fetch some medical equipment, stay here I won't be long."

Hank was out the door, but in less than a second he was back. "In the meantime don't allow his body to become vertical. And don't try rubbing heat into his limbs." he was about to leave, "Oh - and don't attempt treating the cold in any way. Or to give him alcohol, should you find any in this vulgar place..." Hank thought for a minute "You know what- just stay where you are and don't move until I return."

Logan took a deep breath letting it out through nose; the look in his eyes was enough to drive anyone out of the room. Hank finally left.

Logan eyed the small room. Some candles still flickered; some garments were left behind by the men and women who had fled the room. The smell of sex hung in the air, as well as the smell of Scott's blood, which Logan was learning to recognize all too well lately. He moved closer to the bed where he could see blood by the left side of the kid's head.

He knelt beside him to get a better look.

"It was by his mouth when I first got to him. I had to move Scott's head to examine him, but as you can see, he took a blow to the jaw. The bleeding originated somewhere in the oral cavity." Hank was back, carrying a stretcher, some warm blankets and a thermometer. "It's a good thing he didn't swallow." Hank was extending the stretcher, unaware of the pun, but Logan's mind raced.

'His mouth was like fucking silk'... who knows how long they had Summers at their mercy before they showed up? It is possible... Logan felt a wave of fury rising in him - an unreasonable swell of ownership, of possession - Scott never sucked a guy. If Johnson had forced him to -

He got up and moved to the bed.

"Logan, I will need your help in moving him- Logan? Logan?..." The doctor watched Wolverine moving to the head of the bed, taking hold of Scott's face.

"Logan!-" the man ran his tongue over Scott's blue tinted lips, tracing them lengthwise. He waited a minute then did it again, fusing his mouth to Scott's. Hank immediately understood. "Well?"

Logan let go of Scott's lips and looked at the doctor. "Nothing." He could taste Scott- blood and anxiety, but only him. No one else. He ignored Hank's urging words, and moved in between the spread legs.

 "Logan don't!"

But Logan ignored him, removing his gloves. Scott wouldn't allow it if he was conscious, and Logan had to check. Otherwise, he would always wonder. He leaned forward and caught a smell of semen - they made Scott come, he realized. Reaching in between the rounded cheeks, he ran his fingers over Scott's entrance. His boy was untouched.

Hank was glaring at him. "I could have told you that Logan - I already checked."

"Needed to make sure Bub." Logan said as he went on to cut the shackles.

 



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It was the second time in a short while that they needed to unload Scott from the hanger straight to the infirmary.

Charles had joined them and watched as they removed the blankets off of Scott's body, then moved Scott from the stretcher to a bed. Hank took Scott's temperature (and Logan was happy the kid was blissfully unaware of his surroundings) and walked around the room, arranging his equipment while talking to himself.

"Victim’s body temperature dropped 3 degrees Fahrenheit and is now 95.6, victim is unconscious, no shivering, blood vessels in outer extremities contracted -" He took his stethoscope, "Breathing is quick and shallow. Victim is pale, lips turned blue - no sighs of unusual tint in fingers or toes." he moved to a cabinet taking out a massive sack. "Preparing thermal blanket for immediate use, and warm intravenous fluids in case of deterioration..."

"Logan, help me with that-"

It was the first sentence Logan understood since Hank began talking and he quickly obeyed. They unfolded the thermal blanket on the bed, then carefully moved Scott, wrapping him in warm woollen blankets, then covering him with the electrical one.

"Now what?" Logan asked.

"Now we wait." Hank said as he gently dried Scott's hair with a towel the best he could.

"I will need you to fetch him dry clothes from his room later on."

Once Scott was covered, Charles called Ororo into the room. She walked in seeming exhausted. She looked at Scott and after seeing him safe, allowed her exhaustion to take over and slid into a chair. "What on earth was he thinking?" she pressed her palms to her temples in a jaded manner. "Mister 'we work as a team' decided to play the lone ranger? What was he thinking?"

"How was the mall?" Logan counterquestioned her.

"It was nothing," Storm waved her hand, "Nightcrawler was in and out with the girls before the armed men ever noticed, then Colossus taught them a thing or two about real intimidation." She laughed a little at the memory of the look on their faces when their feet dangled above the ground in Piotr’s arms.

But then she froze, staring at Scott. "They used a collar on him?"

Hank nodded.

"Did they?... Was he?..."

"No Ro', we got there in time." Hank said.

"Well? What are you waiting for? You kept that one collar and a neutralize chip, didn't you? Use it on him."

Hank cleared his throat. "Well, I do have a neutralize chip in my possession, but the victim is a physical trauma patient. I do not intend to make any abrupt changes to his system and risk dealing with initial shock or core body temperature drop-"

"Hank! English?"

"-the collar stays until his temperature rises."

3:50am: 32-33

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32

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Logan stayed by Scott's bed, watching over him. 'you need to attend sessions Logan, you need to learn how to work in a team'. The kid's words taunted him.

He was lucky Hank comprehended the potential of his hearing abilities after he overheard  his conversation with Ro', otherwise he wouldn't have whispered in a voice only Logan could hear 'Keep him busy, I can disengage the collar from the power source' and later, 'I'm done Logan, it's safe.'

Less than a week ago, Logan made an oath Johnson won't lay another finger on Scott as long as he lived. Four days later it was thanks to Hank's resourcefulness that the kid was even breathing.

"Anything new?" Speaking of the devil.

"Not really. What's that?"

Hank was carrying a tray to the bed. "Well I want to-... Scott?"

Logan turned back to the bed. The kid was blinking slowly, looking dazed and pale.

"Easy Scott! Don't get up -" Hank placed down the tray and pressed one hand to Scott's chest. "You suffer from Hypothermia. You need to rest."

Logan never saw Hank looking that perplexed. Scott was eyeing him from head to toe. "Blue..." Scott rasped. His voice was raw and he was slurring.

"Well... yes Scott, I am... Blue." Hank was staring into Scott's eyes with the same fascination in which the kid was looking at his fur. Then Scott, with obvious difficulty, slowly turned his head toward Logan. 'I bet you didn't know, but he has the most stunning baby blues...'

Scott's eyes locked with his. Logan could feel the growl- a low rumble, rising from his abdomen climbing up to his throat. Protective and starving all at the same time. But Scott couldn't hold his gaze. He ducked his head in shame. The hunger in Logan's body died. He was left with the need to kill Johnson. Again.

Hank was looking at his forgotten tray. "Scott I need to take your temperature."

Scott opened his eyes. "-kay." he was having a hard time articulating, and his responses were slow.

A large hand settled on his hip. "I need you to turn around, Slim."

It took a minute, but Scott understood. "-No-" it was almost a whisper.

"Temperatures measured rectally are the most accurate, Scott-" Hank had obviously anticipated an argument, but every feature in Scott's face spoke of surrender. He was in no condition to stand up for himself, and he seemed to know that. His cry was not a protest. Only a sad acceptance.

"Do you need help turning around Slim?"

The kid didn't answer, but he soon realized he needed help. While his body didn't turn to his will, the entire room did. Scott had to close his eyes, suddenly nauseous and panting. A warm hand pressed him back to the bed.

"Easy kid."

Hearing Logan's voice was unexpectedly soothing. He and Hank helped him to lie on his stomach. The covers were partly removed, exposing him to the cool air. He was too nauseous to be embarrassed, at least until one of Hank's gloved hands rested on his buttocks. The tray was at his eye level, and he could see Hank picking up a tube of 'KY jelly'. That made him nervous, and it must have showed, because Logan rested one hand between his shoulder blades, and the other on his lower back, holding him still. "It's nothing kid, just relax."

Logan watched as Hank lubricated the tip of the thermometer, then applied a small amount of the jelly on his finger and pressed it between Scott buttocks brushing it over his anus. He saw Hank doing it before, when the kid was out. Now, Scott was pressing his face into the pillow, hands fisting the sheet. Hank gently slid the thermometer into him, and Scott's knuckles became white as his fists tightened.

Scott waited for the long two minutes to pass. For a moment he really hated them. For holding him down, for touching him there, for saving him in the first place to live to the humiliation of his mistakes. Sure, no one said anything now. But once he'd get better he would have to give an account for his actions to the rest of the team. Explain his reasons for secrecy and concealment of information, interpret his sneaky departure, and worst of all - excuse his failure.

Hank finally pulled the tip of the instrument out of him. "97 degrees Fahrenheit. That's better. I want to see you stabilize on core body temperature of 98.6"

They helped him to lay back and covered him with the warm blankets once more. Hank forced him to drink a glass of room temperature water 'or he will get them via intravenous therapy'. The last thing Scott wanted was for anything else to be inserted to his body, so he drank the water despite his nausea.

"That's it Scott. Now try and get some sleep. You need rest."

 


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He jerked out of his sleep.

A nightmare.

He had dry clothes on, yet he was still cold and he was shaking violently, teeth chattering. Scott laughed bitterly- outside people were dying from the heat, while he almost died from the cold. It wasn't even ironic, it sat well with the way his life had been so far - a cruel twisted joke. Unfair. So unfair. Making him a mutant, taking his parents, taking his brother, taking his control over his powers, taking Jean, taking his control over his body - over the most intimate parts of it, then taking his control over common sense. Making him fall for another team member, making him fall for a guy -

The first flash of his nightmare came to mind. Johnson penetrating his body with force 'think of Logan all you want, it will be as close as you'll ever get to him again. He won't touch you after this' the shadows around the bed laughed, but they weren't Johnson's hit men. They were his team members and students. 'Some team leader we got' Storm said. She was held by Logan, the other man pressing behind her, watching Scott with disgust. 'No Logan! I didn't want this', he tried yelling, but instead, moans of pleasure escaped his lips. The crowd was laughing again.

Scott closed his eyes fighting the obscene nightmare, and a hand landed on his shoulder.

"Slim?"

The real Logan, not the one from his nightmare gently asked.

'He is thinking of you', Johnson told Logan in his dream, and the feral features twisted with disgust. He spat on the bed, turning away from it with Ororo still in his arms, and left. He was soon followed by the rest of the team. The professor was the last to leave. He looked at Scott and shook his head in disappointment, then exited the room, leaving him at Johnson's mercy.

Scott began panting and the grip on his shoulder tightened. "Slim? Are you going to get sick?" Scott gave a jerky nod, and before he knew it Hank had a bucket under his chin. Just in time, too. He was mostly dry heaving after he got reacquainted with the glass of water Hank made him drink earlier. It took him a couple of minutes to stop heaving. To his frustration, the doctor was already preparing the IV.

"Sorry Slim, I tried. You need fluids." He hung the intravenous drip above the bed and took Scott's arm, fingers probing for a bulging vein. Hank had found what he was looking for, and a tourniquet was tied tightly around Scott's upper arm. The thick fingers momentarily palpated the chosen vein, then Scott felt and smelled the cool alcohol wipe as a spot on his inner arm was disinfected. He averted his eyes, Logan's hand on his other shoulder never left. He winced as the IV catheter was inserted into his vein.

"That's it Slim." Hank untied the tourniquet, then fastened the catheter to his hand with tape, and set the drip to his desire.

"I'm cold..." Scott said.

"I know Slim. It's going to get better."

"Can't you make it hotter?" Scott could barely talk. His voice was raw from screaming.

"No Slim. Raising your temperature has to be slow and controlled. I'm sorry." Feeling he was adding insult to injury, but having no choice, Hank touched his hip. "I need to take your temperature, Slim."

Scott was shaking "No! Take it elsewhere!" 

"You know I can't Slim. This isn't the flu - accuracy is most important."

"No!... I can't have you... Not there!..." The nightmare was still fresh in his mind; he couldn't have Hank invading him like that - not now!

"Turn around." Hank nudged him.

"No." Scott said and he meant that. But Hank worked with children for most of his career - he wasn't impressed.

"It will be done, Scott. I'd hate having to do this against your will, so I'm asking you again - turn around." he looked down at the boy noticing Logan's hand on his shoulder. "Would you prefer for Logan to do it?"

Scott didn't answer, and that was all the invitation Logan needed.

Hank thought Logan might be timid or ask for guidance, but he simply got up, let go of Scott's shoulder and took the medicine tray.

Scott started to turn around, but Logan stopped him. "Stay on your side."

He removed the covers and helped Scott to push his pants down to his knees. He then pressed Scott's knees to his chest, leaving him in a fetal position. "That's it kid." Logan's finger brushed over his opening, applying a thin layer of lube, and it was still awful, but ever so better than to have Hank touching him there. "Almost done, Slim." Logan pressed the tip of the thermometer into him, and Scott found that even that was better - the position making the invasion easier for him to bear. 'He won't touch you after that' Johnson said in his nightmare and Scott jerked. "Hey! Easy kid - don't resist the pressure." Logan said, bringing him back to reality. His free hand was lightly rubbing his buttocks, soothing him.

Logan finally pulled the thermometer out, covering Scott with the thermal blanket. He handed the instrument over to Hank, and the doctor read the results. "Much better." he said then turned his head to the door.



3:49am: 34-35

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"He's awake." Hank answered the question only he could hear, and the professor rolled to the bedside. Scott couldn't hold the insightful gaze of his mentor. The grey eyes were even more penetrating without the ruby lenses covering his eyes.

Logan and Hank exited the room, and Scott was left alone facing the man he failed.

"I'm sorry." his voice was raw, talking hurt. "I should have told you."

"Yes. You should have. You made a mistake and you paid for it." The professor's fingers distractedly palpated the IV line, "But that's all I can blame you for. The rest is entirely my fault." Scott looked up - this wasn't what he expected to hear.

"You would think that after the attack on the mansion almost five months ago, I'd draw some conclusions. Install a special security system that will meet our needs, give the third degree to any man who wished to enter the school, have someone whose job is to plan, critique, exam and maintain our security system..." The professor was quite for a minute. "This was the second security breach we had in less than a year. Third if you take into consideration the time Mystique invaded Cerebro last year. That's three times too many. This should be a safe haven for those kids - a school. The day I have explaining to do to any of their parents will be the day I retire."

For a long moment Scott didn't know what to say. He did not see that coming. At last, he asked- "Did you find out how he got in?"

The professor looked at him with compassion.

"He was never inside the mansion Scott. He had an inside man - a worker from the catering service."

Scott's pupils dilated, the dishes!

"Yes Scott, he heard Hank asking you what's wrong and went to create a diversion. He was the one who received and placed the notes in your bag and on your bed, using a skeleton key to get into your room, which is another thing we must take care of - different locks."

Scott was beginning to comprehend the meaning of the professor's words - all of the threats, the intimidations, all of the menace...

//Were all vacant, idle threats.// the professor read his mind.

'...About as easy as it would be to unload a .45 caliber into the head of the man in a wheelchair, should you mention this to anyone...' Scott shuddered.

"I'm sorry you had to go through this." the professor touched his hand. "Is there anything I can do?" Scott shook his head, but his eyes held so much sadness it hurt just looking at him.

"Scott..."

"Can you help me sleep? Without nightmares?"

//Hank, I need your help here.//

The doctor showed up with a syringe and a small phial of anaesthetic.

"This will help you get some rest Scott," the professor said as Hank added the solution to the IV drip. Hank took his arm, absently fastening the tape holding the IV catheter, the touch masterful and gentle.

Scott's head lolled back to the pillow, already sleepy.

"Oh, and Scott?" Charles asked.

"Yeah?" his eyes felt heavy, and he focused on his mentor with an effort.

"If you ever pull another stunt like that again - you're grounded."

"What?! I'm not six years old!--"

"That's what you believe now."

His mentor turned to leave and Scott smiled with humility. The message got through.

 


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When Scott woke up he felt like after winter hibernation. And he needed to pee. Badly. His head hurt in a very familiar way... and he was seeing red. Literally. He touched his face and his heart sank at the feeling of lenses covering his eyes. Already? He wanted to take advantage of the collar and have a look outside - see the view from his window... look at pictures of her. He never saw her without the ruby covering his eyes.

"I'm sorry for the abrupt change Slim." Hank was standing by his bed reading through his files, "The collars were never tested for side effects and I didn't want you to wear one longer than necessary. On the bright side, as you can see, your sleeping goggles have arrived"

Scott groaned, remembering he had just lost a pair of ruby glasses as well, falling into the underground pool. Hank was reading his thoughts. "I've already ordered you a new pair of glasses, and this time I got you a spare pair of sleeping goggles as well." Scott was moving uncomfortably. "The pressure on your bladder is a natural reaction to the IV; I'd be worried if you wouldn't experience it. Do you need help getting to the bathroom?"

Too dizzy to walk there alone, Scott nodded. He noticed that the thermal blanket was gone. "Should your state remain without adverse changes, I believe I will be able to release you soon."

"Hank?" he asked as the doctor wrapped one hand around him.

"Yeah Slim?"

"Did you get him?" Scott asked apprehensively.

"He's dead Slim." Hank said, keeping the details to himself.

The kid closed his eyes.

3:47am: 36-37

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"Hey, there." Ororo stepped out to the balcony. "I see I got here just in time..." She smiled, seeing Logan had just finished his cigar, tossing the stub over the edge.

"Hey ‘Ro." He said, never taking his eyes off the darkness in front of him.

"Hard day?" she asked.

He snorted. "You have no idea." That desperate scream so full of pain was still ringing in his ears. He had to leave the infirmary and get some fresh air. Now that Scott finally slept he allowed himself to.

"I heard you were offered a job here at the school." Ororo sounded hopeful, knowing that Logan wouldn't stay merely for the X-men, but should he get a daytime job...

"What? Being Chuck's 'Unit Security Officer'?" Logan didn't mean the contempt that crept into his voice. He was tired.

"Don't sneer Logan! This is serious. It's an important position - you should be flattered the professor trusts you with that."

"No sneering intended darlin'. It's been a long day."

"Yeah I know. Been a long day for all of us." she entwined her arm with his, her slender wrist looking ridiculous in comparison to his built arm, "I just think you should take it, that's all. You'd be a great security officer. Besides, I think it's time for some changes around here. Some improvements."

"Some improvements?"

"Well, yeah. Danger Room sessions have become a joke - with the teachers skipping sessions what can we expect from the students? And two security breaches in less than six months? And no one says it out loud, but since Alkali Lake we don't have a real field leader-"

"Ro'-" Logan heard himself say, suddenly defensive.

"What Logan? Now you too? Scott is no longer equipped! Why has saying it out loud become such a profanity?"

"I'm not saying it's profanity-"

"Then what? Scott is barely hanging in there since we returned from Alkali Lake! Just look at our last mission!"

"What about our last mission Ro'? We got the bad guy, everyone had returned in one piece-"

"We were captured! The mighty X-men dependent on Mystique to come to the rescue! And you and Scott..."

She didn't finish, but Logan could see the curiosity in her eyes. She knew what must have happened, unlike the kids Chuck didn't mess with her head, but she wasn't sure. Wheels and Furball were the only ones to know what happened between Summers and him. Magneto too if you come to think of it. But he was never the guy to run and tell. He ignored her unasked question.

"Do you suppose you could have done it better?"

"As a matter of fact Logan - yes, I do." she let go of his arm and stood in front of him, making him turn to face her. "I intend to challenge Scott for the leadership. Elections or one-on-one, whatever the professor decides."

Logan looked at her through narrowed eyes.

"I'm taking a stand Logan. What about you?"

In the garden below them; kids were beginning to emerge outside after avoiding the heat wave by staying indoors the entire weekend. They sat on the moonlit grass in small groups, enjoying the breeze that proclaimed the breaking of the heat. Hank and the professor were out as well, taking a short break from the infirmary, chatting quietly among themselves. Kurt was there too, hanging upside down from a branch. The mansion was almost empty. All were outside but one.

"Are you with him?" Storm asked as if reading his thoughts. He slowly turned to her. 

"Is that why you defend him? You're sleeping with him?" He didn't need his mutation to sense the jealousy radiating off her. He felt bad for her. She was a great woman, and maybe under different circumstances...

"Don't be like that, it doesn't suit ya darlin'." he lit up a second cigar, in sudden need for a smoke. Storm looked at the cigar in exasperation.

"We're not together, but he needs me right now."

"Really? Enough to make you stay?" she asked the million dollar question.

'James Howlett'... during the worst negotiation ever made by man, that fool gave him all the information he needed. No more frozen, deserted bases up north, no more dog tags and nightmares - a name. His name.

He sighed.

"I see." Ororo glared at him. "I take it Scott's charisma is failing him in more departments than just leading the team." she said, then walked away.


 

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Logan walked down to the infirmary. It was none of Ro's business, but he had already resigned himself to his fate. He wouldn't leave Scott's side anytime soon. There wasn't even a question - the boy screaming and begging at the top of his lungs had sealed Johnson's fate, but not just his.

 

The boy didn't notice his arrival. He was sitting on the edge of the bed, his sleeping goggles covering his eyes, looking sadder than anyone that young should ever be.

"Hey kid."

Scott looked up at him, then lowered his eyes to the floor.

He had to get ‘Ro to give up on the 'duel'. The way the kid looked right now... Logan wasn't sure he'd even try to fight back. Guilt was the ultimate weapon against Summers, and between last night and last week Storm had a whole arsenal.

"Slim?" Logan rested one hand on his shoulder and the kid jerked.

"Don't touch me Logan."

Huh? "Why's that?"

"You don't want to." Scott turned his back on him, lying down in the bed.

"Didn't know you could read minds too."

"This isn't funny Logan, just leave me alone."

"You don't want me to." Logan said, and he didn't need to read Summers' mind. He could smell his fear.

"Yes I do. Go away."

Liar.

Logan reached out and touched his arm.

"Don't do that!" Scott jolted. Logan held him still.

"Give me a good reason not to!-"

"Let go Logan! Let go-"

He could smell the salt from the tears trapped in the goggles. Good. He needed Scott to hurt, to cry and scream until the poison was out of him. "Please Logan, let go!" his voice was raw, the words no more than a strained whisper. "Let go..."

But Logan didn't. He pulled him into a sitting position, then into his arms, holding him in a tight embrace. The more the kid struggled, the stronger he was clutched by the built arms, until he gave in, removing the goggles and crying into Logan's shirt.

Logan could hear the professor and Hank walking from the elevator long before Hank stepped into the infirmary only to turn around and close the door behind him. 'He's with Logan' he heard him whisper to Chuck behind the closed door, as they headed back to the elevator. He wondered what they made of it.

In the meantime Scott resumed his struggle. Logan's fingers were in his hair, pressing his head into the curved neck. Logan was hot. After being so cold he wanted nothing more than to press into him and stay there, but he couldn't.

"You don't want this Logan - you don't!" Talking hurt. His throat was sore.

"Don't tell me what I want kid." Logan changed their position, moving to the centre of the bed so that he could hold Scott more easily without putting strain on the IV line.

"You don't understand- he...he..." between his sore throat and tears, Scott could hardly talk.

"Shhh. You can tell me about it later."

"No!" came the expected protest and Logan smiled. He was hurting Scott, dragging out all of the pain and misery, making him face the anguish and guilt while they were still raw, but there was no other way. The kid needed to break so that he could begin to heal, and Logan was going to be there. To catch him as he fell.

"Logan, he made me..." Scott was fighting the tears caught in his throat, "...he made me..."

"He made you come?" Logan asked, stroking his face, wiping his tears. He already knew the answer to that, but he would hear it from Scott's lips.

The fists in his shirt tightened.

"-yeah."

It wasn't even a whisper. Without his powers Logan wouldn't have heard him. He reached for the nightstand.

"-Drink."

Scott shook his head. Logan pressed the cup to his lips. "Drink."

Too tired to argue, Scott drank the water in small sips until Logan was satisfied. He placed the cup back.

"How did he do it?"

"What?" Scott asked, his voice a little more steady after the water soothed his throat.

"How did he touch you? His hands? His mouth?" The words didn't come easy; Logan was fighting his anger and jealousy long enough to ask the question calmly, not wanting to put Scott under unnecessary stress.

"His hands." though Logan's cool manner made the ordeal feel less shameful, Scott was shaking.

"Right." Logan said, letting it absorb. "Did he force you into anything else?"

"No... Just that. Then you got there."

Logan's fingers traced the bruised jaw line. "Did he hurt you else where?"

Scott blushed hotly. "There was that and there was the collar," he was blushing even hotter, the red tint evident on his pale skin.

"And?..."

Scott couldn't answer, his face burned with shame.

"Shit! Slim, you need to have that checked!"

"No!" he was trying to pull away again, trying to put space between them. Logan only pressed him closer.

"Your balls?" That made the kid jerk hard in his arms, but Logan wanted to make sure they were on the same page.

"Scott?" he urged.

"Yes."

"You should let Hank check you-"

"No!"

"It's a sensitive area Slim-"

"NO!"

Logan sighed and stroked the kid's back. No point in arguing over it, he would take care of it later.

"Okay." He kissed a closed eyelid, wiping Scott's tears.

"Don't do this Logan!" Scott pulled away from his touch in shame.

"What aren't you telling me?"

The insight startled Scott. "You wouldn't understand" he said in despair.

"Try me."

"You won't!" Scott hissed, setting his jaw so hard it hurt. No point in telling Logan that. He would leave his side; leave the infirmary, the mansion, very likely - the team. And nothing was worth that. Nothing.

But Logan wasn't about to let go. Whatever it was, he was sure Summers had blown it out of proportion. He wanted to push Scott into telling him, and so he easily connected the dots. He pressed his lips to the kid's temples.

"No Logan! No-"

He kissed the tip on his nose, the closed eyes,

"Stop that Logan - You don't understand!"

"Then explain it to me."

"I can't-"

Logan pressed his lips to Scott's, stifling the rest of the sentence.

"-I was thinking of you!" Scott tore his lips from Logan's, panting.

"What?" Logan couldn't decipher what the kid meant. He didn't even try.

"When..." Scott swallowed, "...when he touched me... I was thinking of you..." he whispered. "That's why I... why he said I enjoyed it..."

"Is that what he told you?" Logan could feel his blood boil.

"Said I was only playing hard to get." Scott said, tears running down his face again. "I... I'll understand if you'll leave... but I - I had no choice Logan. When I moved or took my eyes off him he would use the collar - I had no choice..."

Son of a bitch!

"Is that why I wouldn't want to touch you?" Logan asked, feeling for the second time that day the urge to kill Johnson over again.

"Don't do this Logan!" Scott looked mad. He wiped his tears and wore back his goggles. "At least be honest - you don't want to touch me!"

"Yes, I do." Logan simply said.

"Prove it!" Scott challenged.

"I'm holding you as we speak Sli-"

"-Fuck me!"

Logan never had a problem with profanity, and in many occasions the use of those two words ended in some shoddy hotel room, but hearing Summers say that - hearing Summers say that there and then, was wrong in too many ways.

"Can't do that kid."

Johnson was right; Scott's chest tightened with shame, Logan won't touch him.

"Fine!" Scott snarled "I already told you I'll understand, you didn't have to lie!"

"Scott, we're in the infirmary for crying out loud! Can't do that. Not until you're released-"

"I'm going to be."

Huh?

"Hank said that if my temperature wouldn't drop again he'll release me."

Logan closed his eyes.

If he'd tell the kid no, Summers would be drawing his own twisted conclusions once more. But if he'd tell him yes... the boy scout couldn't possibly mean it. After all, it was Scott Summers he was talking about. The kid must be testing him, that's all. He'd say yes, and Scott could sleep at night, knowing all was well between them. He wouldn't take him on his words - even now Logan could smell the fear coming off Summers.

"Tell you what kid; you'll spend the night here under Hank's supervision. If tomorrow you're released and feeling well - I'll come to your room after dinner. Deal?"

Scott looked at him suspiciously.

"Deal?"

"-Deal." Scott said, still sounding incredulous. He leaned into Logan and buried his head into Logan's neck.

What did I get myself into? Logan wondered while stroking Scott's head.



3:46am: 38-39

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Scott couldn't remember where he was. He blinked a couple of times and the room began taking shape...  the infirmary. He checked his watch - the clock read 04:52 A.M. He slowly sat in bed, noticing Hank took out the IV while he slept. He could hear the doctor snoring quietly in his room.

Scott had to give Hank credit - he knew he was a hard client when he was sick, but he just hated being touched and probed, and Hank took it with infinite endurance.

He slowly got up from the bed. He must have been really sick if they managed to keep him in the infirmary that long. He made his bed the best he could in the dark, then turned and walked out of the infirmary of his own accord, testing Hank's endurance once more.

Back in his room (why was his doorknob gone?) he went straight to the shower. During all the time he was a patient he couldn't shower - the last shower he took was right before he found...

Eyes darting to his pillow, Scott shuddered. There was nothing there. Without thinking he went to his bed and removed his beddings, throwing them in a pile outside of his room, not caring what the others might think.

The 'inside man' had been in his room. His room was violated. He felt dirty and was reminded of why he came to his room in the first place. He went to the shower.

Turning the water on, he moved to the towel rack, catching a glimpse of himself in the mirror. He was pale and a blue mark had formed on his jaw, long before the blue marks on his left foot had faded.

'Want you to think of me whenever you look in the mirror.'

Scott yelped, turning away from the reflective surface. He took a few deep cleansing breaths. Get a grip Summers.

He removed his shirt and pants,

'I want you to think of me whenever you touch yourself'

Scott gritted his teeth. He had his thumb under his waist band, but he couldn't pull his briefs off. He didn't want to stay naked. This is retarded! Scott reprimanded himself but to no avail. The memory of being naked and spread-eagled in front of so many people... Oh, god! This was how Hank and Logan had found him! Scott could feel his face heating up, his eyes filled with tears. How humiliating! For the second time in less than a week he was sexually assaulted. What the hell was wrong with him?

He forced himself to remove his underwear and stepped into the water before the hysteria had a chance to register.

'Want you to think of me whenever you take a shower'

With that Scott sank to his knees in the shower, weeping.

'Want you to know that whatever it is you're seeing, whatever it is you're touching, is all mine.'

"No!" Scott wept, hugging himself on the shower floor.

'Can you do that for me pretty boy? Or do I have to teach you you're all mine the hard way?'

"NO!"

Scott rocked himself back and forth. He wanted Logan. Wanted for Logan to hear him and come to his room, but he knew the water would drown the sound of his sobbing and Logan wouldn't show.

'Weapon-X would never touch you if he knew you're such a little whore'

That's wrong! Scott pressed to the wall- Logan promised!

'He won't touch you after this'

Scott closed his eyes.

'He won't touch you after this'

He got up and soaped himself.

'He won't touch you after this'

He soaped himself again.

It was 30 minutes later that he stepped out of the shower and into his room. He stared at his bare bed. Stared at where the note used to be. 'He won't touch you after this'

Scott turned on his heels. He needed another shower.

 
 


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"Yuck, this is warm!"

"What's wrong with warm soup?"

"No, Bobby - the soup is cold, my coke is warm!" Jubilee pushed her plate aside. "Who wants to order pizza for dinner?"

From all around the table students' heads bobbed up. They looked at Jubilee doe-eyed.

"Pizza?" Marie asked.

"I'll bring the phone!" Bobby was half way through the door as he said that, and Kitty almost expected him to use his ice slide.

"You know, when the professor said he stopped the catering service because no strangers are allowed into the mansion until further notice, I think he meant pizza delivery boys as well." She said.

The doe eyes were gone. They were glaring at Kitty like they might eat her instead of the pizza she made them miss. It was Piotr who stood up for her.

"Kitty is right. If someone could see us right now, he'd think we didn't eat for weeks. I'm sure that we can cook ourselves something nice if-"

They stopped listening to him, and Piotr had to turn around to see why.

"Guten abend!" Kurt greeted as he walked into the dinning room carrying a tray of pancakes, Ororo behind him carrying maple syrup. "Anyone hungry?"

A minute later the room became very quite, aside from the sound of munching.

Logan watched them from the side. He never had much of a sweet tooth and he wasn't that hungry. Besides - he made a deal.




3:46am: 40

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40

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Skipping dinner, Logan reached the room earlier than he was supposed to. Scott's door was unlocked (mainly because the doorknob was chopped down) and Logan stepped inside, not sure what to expect. The room was empty, the bed freshly made, and the sound of running water came from the shower.

Logan couldn't help his wolfish grin at the thought. His boy was cleansing for him. He could feel heat starting at the pit of his stomach then spreading through his body spilling out of his mouth in a low growl. He needed this. Needed to claim and mark the boy as his own. Knowing the last person to touch him was Johnson, made his blood boil.

He looked at the freshly made bed. Seemed like the kid really meant what he said, Logan mused. He didn't intend for things to get far between them that night - he knew it was too early for the kid. He just wanted to be there for him.

He heard the water in the bathroom turned off. He sat on the bed, waiting.

The kid came out shirtless with a towel draped over his neck. He froze when he saw Logan sitting on his bed.

"Hi-" he tried hiding his wonderment, but the word came out brusque.

"Dinner wasn't all that great," Logan explained, standing up. He walked toward Scott, noticing the kid tense as he got nearer. He stopped a few steps before reaching him, not invading his personal space. The kid looked more tired than he did when he suffered from insomnia. He looked... defeated.

"How are you doing?"

The kid looked at him, pale and silent.

"Slim?"

"I'm... I'm fine."

Logan couldn't help a snort. Voice still raw, pale and beaten, the kid told him he was 'fine'. Summers might have been many things, 'fine' was not one of them.

"Come here." Logan said, testing the water.

To his surprise, before he knew it the kid was in his arms.  He was pressing so close, as if he was trying to burrow into him. Logan let his arms come around the kid, using his senses on him, breathing him in. While telepaths read minds, Logan read people - the kid in his arms was a mess.

"Slim?"

Scott's hand fumbled with his jeans fly, trying to unzip it. Logan stopped Scott, trapping Summers' hand between their bodies, still pressed to his groin.

"We don't have to do this" Logan said. All he could smell on Scott was anxiety and fear, not lust. "You've got nothing to prove Slim."

"Yes I do." Scott said, trying to unbutton Logan's shirt instead. But two could play that game.

"Okay. Strip." Logan took a step back, expecting Scott to refuse.

Only the kid didn't. With obvious ruefulness, Scott removed his pants and briefs. Stubborn kid. What the hell was he trying to prove? He was clearly not into it - Logan smelled nothing but fear on the reluctant boy.

"Go to the bed and lie stomach down." Logan finally dismissed Scott out of sympathy. The kid seemed to suffer in every second he was standing there in his birthday suit. Logan went into the bathroom.

"What are you doing Logan?" From the bed, Scott sounded nervous as hell.

 Logan was opening and closing cabinet doors. "Do you have some lotion or oil?"

"Skip that! I don't want that!" Scott said through gritted teeth. The rattle in the bathroom stopped and Logan emerged through the door. He glared at Scott scrutinizingly until the boy was squirming.

"I'm not gonna be your punishment Scott. If that's what you want I suggest you look elsewhere." He growled.

The kid, who quickly covered himself up to his shoulder blades, ducked his head.

"We will do it with lube, or not at all."

"Fine. Whatever." Scott said in defeat trying to sound impassive.

Logan disappeared into the bathroom once more. He came back bemused, holding a bottle of "Diamond Spa: luxurious Body Oil"

"Anything I need to know Slim?" the wolfish grin was back.

Scott blushed. "This isn't mine, Emma forgot it here."

"Oh. Who's Emma?" Logan asked with a jeer Scott could expect from any of his students, which were a hundred and some years younger.

"She runs a school similar to this one, only for younger children. An elementary school for mutants. A lot of her students end up here. She's a co-worker."

"Some co-worker..."

"It's nothing like that Logan! This room used to be a guest room. She used it after one of her meetings with the professor went into the night."

"Hmm," Logan said getting nearer, and Scott's body tensed. You want this... You want Logan... he kept reminding himself. But he could smell the sweet scent of the oil and in spite of himself he became more nervous, his body becoming more rigid. Logan pulled the covers off of him and Scott was fighting to hold still. 'He won't touch you after this' Johnson's voice rang in his ears, and Scott set his jaw in determination. It needed to be done and he would see it through.

He was waiting for Logan's hands to land on his ass. He almost jumped out of his skin when they settled on his shoulders, warm and slippery.

"What- "

Strong fingers began kneading at his muscles, just where he was sore from swimming, and Scott forgot what was he about to say. Thumbs dug into the base of his neck, then dragged down, pressing along his spine. Scott moaned. Logan found a tight knot at the base of his spine and kneaded it expertly, making him whimper. He’d forgotten how good getting a back rub could feel.

"Where did you learn this?" Scott asked. The touch felt professional.

"Japan." Logan answered before realizing it. Yes, Japan. He learned Shiatsu in Japan...

"What? When were you in Japan?" Scott tried turning his head to look at Logan, but the other man had just begun working on his neck, soothing the many knots he found there.

"I'm not sure." Logan finally said, kissing the back of his neck lightly then sliding his hands along Scott's back. Whatever Logan did to his neck got his persistent headache at bay. Scott dreaded to move, in fear of awakening the constant pain all over again.

Logan was working on the base of Scott's spine, fingers knowingly reaching and applying pressure to the designated areas on the kid's back. He had to admit it felt good. He enjoyed touching Scott in a very non-therapeutic way - the kid was just as smooth as he remembered, the skin warm and pulsing under his knowing fingers. He let them drift further down, expecting the way Scott stiffened as he began kneading the muscled buttocks, but he didn't stop and after a moment the kid sank back into the mattress.

Logan kept moving, working on his thighs and calves, and Scott thought he could go like this forever. He felt light years away from reality. All that existed was pleasure.

Logan took hold of his right foot and began kneading it, stimulating the nerve endings on the sole of his foot, making him moan into the pillow.

"Does it still hurt?" fingers lightly touched his left foot.

"Sometimes." Scott heard himself say. The other man took his time massaging his left foot, slowly and gently.

By the time Logan was done Scott felt as if gravity somehow tripled, pulling him into the mattress. His entire body felt limp and flaccid, but when Logan began covering him, he jerked in spite of himself-

"No Logan, you promised!" Logan couldn't help a weary smile. The boy scout was holding him to his promise of sex.

Not that he had a problem complying - he wanted this. Looking at the boy's body, still flushed from his touch, made his guts tighten with need, but he wouldn't do it at Scott's expense and from the looks of it the kid had no idea what he wanted or needed.

"This isn't a good idea." Logan moved to sit by him.

"You promised!" Scott accused him again, like a boy who didn't find his electric toy train under the Christmas tree. The words were muffled by the pillow, Scott never turning to face him.

Logan's eyes narrowed. The kid has no idea what he's asking for!

"Why do you want it Slim?"

"I need it Logan."

Logan caressed his buttocks and Scott winced in spite of himself.

"Doesn't look like it from here Slim."

"Damn it, I need this Logan! I can't stand knowing he was the last to touch me! I can't make it stop - No matter how many times I shower, no matter what I do-" his words were rushed and full of pain "Just fuc-"

"Stop saying that!" Logan could hear himself growl. It was just wrong, coming from the lips of a kid that was too timid to spend a night in his arms, less than two days ago.

"Please Logan. He kept saying you won't touch me..." Scott whispered, and Logan understood the source of the stubbornness.

"As you can see - I am touching you Slim. Having anal intercourse won't prove a thing." Logan said, hoping that the big words might scare Scott off when nothing else would. But they didn't.

"Please Logan."  The kid whispered. He needed this. He simply did. Didn't care if it would hurt, didn't care if it would be terrible, just as long as Logan would rock his body into oblivion, just as long as the merry-go-round of the- 'he won't touch you'- in his head came to a stop. Scott had two options - he could either break, the threat of it very concrete and real, or he could fall into Logan. Trust the other man with his body and so much more.

Logan sighed.

"Tell you what we'll do kid." he was caressing Scott's back gently as he spoke, "I'm going to give it a go. Gonna take it nice and slow, but-" his voice became edgy, "I won't take ya if you're not ready for me. In that case I'm gonna stop, and you're gonna drop the idea for the time being."

"But-"

"No. That wasn't a suggestion, Scott."

The boy stayed silent for a moment, in which Logan could almost imagine him fighting the Cyclops in him - the same part that refused being humble, refused being submissive, refused being told...

The kid finally gave his acceptation, with a stiff nod of his head into the pillow.

"Up."

Logan used a hand under Scott to lift him on all four. He arranged some pillows under him, then pressed him back down. The pillows were under his lower belly leaving him with his face and chest pressed to the bed, while his ass was exposed. Scott could feel himself blush.

"Is that alright kid?" Logan asked. He was rubbing his buttocks and thighs, and Scott forgot what was wrong about the position in the first place. Logan moved to the bedside and the longer he was gone the more unnerved Scott became. When he was back Scott almost jumped. "Hey, easy kid." Logan held his hips lightly, "I'm only going to kiss you now. Only my lips, okay?" Scott nodded into the mattress, but he felt silly about Logan having to calm him like some scared virgin. As promised, lips were pressed to his lower back, Logan kissed and sucked on the spot until the skin there felt on fire. He then started kissing a trail up his spine, hands following his wake by Scott's sides. The kid likes it gentle, Logan noticed, letting Scott's little gasps and moans guide him. When he reached his neck he inhaled deeply. Summers was aroused. A little timid, but the desire was stronger than his inhibitions.

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