That Look
Chapter 5

Archive: If you must, let me know.

Author's Note: The rating is for language, mainly and a little blood. Hmmm. Not sure exactly. Blame Vic for getting me started on Movieverse again, and Eoen for one little twist

Disclaimer: Uh-huh. Still not mine. Damn.

Scott found Jean in their room, in the bathroom preparing for bed. It was late. He didn't remember exactly how long he'd stood in the gym alone -- thinking, wondering, worrying -- after Logan had left. But when he'd shaken himself back to awareness and come upstairs, the mansion was dark and mostly quiet. As quiet as a building full of teenagers could get.

He leaned against the doorframe, watching her wash her face. Her hair was drawn back in a loose ponytail. She was dressed in a flowing dark robe over one of his old tee shirts, her favorite sleeping attire. He held his left arm across his body, hand cupping his upper arm. Feeling the sting of fresh bruises underneath.

Her gaze rose to his in the mirror, concerned. "What happened?" she asked, softly, frowning. Knowing him well, able to read him often without having to resort to telepathy. For which he was guiltily grateful right then.

"I might have messed up."


"Asked too much, too soon. He could leave again."

She looked down. Carefully folded the washcloth after wringing it out. Tugged the elastic band out of her hair, letting it fall free. Then she turned to face him.

"How's your arm?" she asked, glancing at him sidelong.

"Fine," he said, letting her divert the subject. She walked up to him, her expression somber, faintly worried. She was nearly his height, something that had always pleased him, and able to look him in the eye. She put one hand over his heart, the other cupped his face.

Scott closed his eyes behind his glasses and turned into her touch. Letting her presence, her gentle compassion wash over him. Feeling faintly unworthy.

He shuddered. Then straightened and wrapped his arms tightly around her, pressing her close, burying his face in her neck. Her arms slid around him in return, her pulse thundering against his cheek. She was uncertain too.

"There's something there, Scott," she said, quietly, her voice shaking slightly. "I know it. The two of you will have to sort it out somehow. He's so focused on you. . . "

"I know," he breathed, still shuddering. "God, Jean, I love you."

"I love you too, honey," she said, voice thin.

"I don't know how. . . " he began. Her lips against his cut him off. The kiss was soft, tender. Strangely unfamiliar. He accepted it, sank into it. Drawing her into him, as memory unfolded. Light and love. Affinity and promise. Challenge and grace. Jean.

She slipped back slowly, her eyes closed. "Let it go for now," she said, breath warm against his mouth.

He pulled her back, his grasp tight. Hands sliding up to hold her head in place as he kissed her; firm, hard, mouth parting over hers. Tongue sweeping relentlessly inside. She moaned deep in her throat, pressing herself close, her suddenly peaked nipples rubbing his chest.

He drew back just enough to let his mouth slide across her face, lips seeking. Her head tilted back, her hands stroked up his back in return, into his hair, careful, as always, of his glasses. He nibbled and bit his way down her neck, to the scooped collar of the old shirt. She made a soft breathy sound of pleasure.

Suddenly anxious for the feel of her under his hands, the scent of her skin, the taste of her. He caught her tightly to him, and spun her, half moaning, half laughing toward the bed.

"Scott!" she cried softly as he lowered her down, hands firm on her, not letting her wriggle away. Crouching between her spread thighs. His face still, intent. Absorbing the beauty of her. She was watching him, her eyes wide, dark. Lips parted on a gasp. He bent his head, mouth and tongue finding the hollow of her throat, hands cupping her shoulders. Her pulse was throbbing under his touch, her hands urgent on him in return.

He stripped her robe away, feeling the smoothness of her skin under his hands. The silk of her hair as he pulled the shirt over her head. Naked, sleek, she arched against him and he worshiped her with his gaze. Bent and took a hard nipple into his mouth, heard her moan of pleasure, felt her hands fierce on him. Lost himself in Jean.

This was love. This was right.

* * * * *

Julio waited until Gavin was asleep. When the entire mansion was still and long quiet, with only the occasional odd creak of old, old walls settling to make him start. Wary. No need for a light. The moon glowed brightly against the curtains.

More than enough light to see. More than enough light to dig out his small box of treasures from deep under his bed. To open it and sort through the carefully arranged items. Carefully arranged so that he would know if someone had disturbed them. But no one ever had, since Gavin. Gavin had protected him, comforted him, become his friend. All without asking anything in return.

They were his own personal things. Someday, he'd share them with Gavin. He'd hoped to do it soon. But now, Mr. Summers had distracted his friend. Given him something outside Julio's friendship. Made him happy in a way that Julio never could have. Already he was preoccupied. Already other kids were taking notice of the boy that Mr. Summers and even the Wolverine were paying so much attention to. Soon Gavin would be accepted by the others. Welcomed. So where would that leave Julio? Alone again? He shivered at the thought; the bed shook as well, rattling briefly against the wall. He forced himself to calm down, to still the outpouring of his hated mutant power. The rattling stopped.

Not wanting to awaken his friend, he carefully lifted out from the shoebox the few things he'd managed to keep on the streets. Until he finally found the one thing that had set him free.

* * * * *

Scott woke with a start, not knowing exactly why. Disoriented. Jean was still sleeping in his arms; the weight of her head on his upper arm had numbed his whole arm. He gently shifted her to her own pillow, carefully sliding his arm out from under her and rolling onto his back to let the blood flow back. Gritting his teeth against the pins-and-needles sensation.

He looked around the room as he waited for the feeling to fade. His soft sleeping goggles sent everything into stark shadow. Moonlight made the curtains glow.

There was a shape in the window seat.

He sat up slowly, warily. Hand rising to his sleep goggles.

"Your rules, my game," Logan said softly, barely a whisper in the night.

"No," Scott said, voice low, intensity vibrating in the air. "My game too. Now get out." The shape slipped from the window seat, into darkness. Silently.

"What's the matter, honey?" Jean murmured, stirring beside him.

"Bathroom. Go back to sleep," he whispered, grateful that she reinforced her psychic shields heavily at night. To avoid the dreaming minds of others, even him. He slid out of the bed. She mumbled an incoherent assent and rolled back over. Already asleep again. He'd long envied her that skill.

He listened carefully. Logan was still in the room, somewhere. He walked to the door by memory, half-expecting to run into the other man on the way.

He made it to the hall unimpeded, waiting a moment before a dark shape appeared and Logan's hand slid around his arm. He closed the door quietly behind them. Yanked his arm away impatiently, and took a few steps down the hall toward the stairs, away from the door. The shadow followed on his heels, the gleam of eyes and teeth showing briefly in the faint light.

"Went to her for it, did you?" Logan said mockingly, voice little more than a murmur.

"Back off," Scott said, angry and alarmed but forcing it down. "How much more, Logan? How many times do I have to prove it to you?"

"Until you convince me, Scotty-boy," the other man said.

Scott stood, silent, tense in the dark hall. Staring at the dark shape beside him. Wondering how far he would have to go, could go. Dared go. Remembered something in Jean's touch, her kisses. A desperation, a fear. From a telepath.

"You can't have me, Logan, but that doesn't mean I can't have you," he finally said. Logan's breath hissed in sharply. "Remember that."

"That's not the way it works. . . "

"Yes, it is," Scott interrupted, low, fierce. "My rules. My game. Or you're gone. Now. Tonight. Can you live with that?"

Silence. Thick. Dragging. His wound was throbbing with pain, he realized, because his hands were fisted at his sides. Tense as he waited for the Wolverine's reply, or the Wolverine's attack, at a disadvantage in the near-darkness and fully aware of it.

Then Logan dropped to his knees in front of him, his hands clutching Scott's hips, the loose flannel of pajama pants, forehead resting against his taut stomach. Breathing hard, almost panting. And shuddering as if freezing.

"Yes." Logan's voice hoarse, the word raw. Then, "Bastard. Why did it have to be you?"

"I didn't start this," Scott said, as gently as he could manage. Fighting himself. "But I'll finish it however I have to. Do you trust me, Logan?"

Logan's hands tightened on his hips painfully, fingers digging in deeply, possibly bruising. His head scrubbed back and forth against Scott's bare stomach as he shook his head, wiry hair harsh. Scott kept his hands at his sides, but couldn't force his hands to open, to relax.

"Do you?" Scott demanded.

"As much as I can." The words low, pained. "My head's so fucked, Scotty. You. You're crystal. I need. . . "

"What do you need, Logan?"

"Everything, Scotty. I need everything."

* * * * *

Scott slipped back into his room, pausing at the door after he closed and locked it to lean back against the cool wood, heart racing. Afraid he'd made a mistake, taken a wrong turn, read the situation wrong. Second guessing himself as he did after every major decision. Tearing it apart to make certain he'd done the best he could, and if not, to find a way to make sure he would the next time.

He'd let Logan hold him for a long time. The shudders gradually slowing, stopping. Until the other man finally just climbed to his feet and walked away. In silence. And Scott wasn't entirely certain if he was leaving the school itself or just him for now, but he hadn't called after him. Had just let him go.

"Scott?" Jean called softly. Wide awake. He closed his eyes and let his head thump back against the door.

"Yes," he said, fighting down dismay.

"Logan was here, wasn't he?"

"Yes. I'm sorry," he said, mind whirling. He heard her leave the bed, walk toward him, saw just a slender shape in the moon-shadowed room. Everyone had better night vision than he did, but he could still track motion. Her hand caught his, drew him away from the door, back to the bed. Wrapping her arms around his chest from behind, cradling him between her thighs as she leaned against the headboard. Enfolding him in her warmth, her love.

"I knew, before," she said quietly, her cheek resting on his hair.

"Knew what?" he asked, feeling slow, bemused, trying to find a way to tell her what was going on. But soaking up her presence for now. Relaxing as he couldn't anywhere else. Only with Jean did the walls come down. He'd kept too much from her for too long now. He needed her as check. To keep him grounded and real.

"That he really wanted you, and not me," she said huskily. "That flirting with me was a way to get your attention."

Scott shivered hard, arms rising up to enfold hers, fingers lacing with hers. Her words falling like rocks into water, leaving only a ripple on the surface but coming to rest deep inside.

"God, Jean, what do I do?" he whispered. "I love you. I won't lose you. But we need him. And he needs us, or he'll self-destruct."

She made a soft sobbing sound, her breath ruffling his hair. Her fingers flexed in his, tightening. Holding him close. Her heart beat steady against his back.

"Always trying to save them all, aren't you? That's why I love you so much, Scott Summers," she said. "Maybe you should be reminding yourself what you need. And asking if what Logan wants is really what he needs."

Scott sighed deeply, feeling Jean around him, the gentle brush of her mind against his. And this time he didn't block her out. He let her in.

CHAPTERS:   1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8

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