That Look
Chapter 8

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 could feel the tension, the anger in Logan. It echoed his own lingering feelings. Feelings he was trying to keep under tight rein. The arm around his back was rigid as they rode the elevator down, his own arm slung more loosely over Logan's shoulders as he supported him, keeping full weight off his wounded leg. Then they started the long, slow walk to the medical bay at the far end.

"You're too fucking trusting," Logan spat after a moment. Scott sighed, not in the mood to deal with Logan's rage, but as usual he had little choice.

"He's just a frightened, confused kid."

"Fuck that! You could have been just as dead. Why didn't you have Jeannie take the damn knife away?"

"Because then he wouldn't have made the choice. Wouldn't have realized that making me dead wasn't what he really wanted," Scott said wearily. "I had to give him the chance."

"Such a fuckin' Boy Scout," Logan snarled. "It's gonna get you killed some day."

"Not if you're there to watch my back," Scott answered, struggling against his own anger at Logan's stubborn hostility. The other man stopped short, the abruptness of the motion making Scott hiss as his wounded leg protested.

"If you let me." Logan's eyes were almost wild, his arm brutal around Scott's ribs. "And you want me to trust you. Well, I'm not gonna watch you die just so you can make a fuckin' point!"

"Someday you might have to."

"Fuck no!" Logan spat the stark denial. "I won't just watch." Then he snarled, "That kid, he's gotta go. He cut you once, he'll do it again."

Scott pulled away from Logan's arm, looking the other man over narrowly. Recognizing the fear driving the rage, but so drained by the confrontation with Julio that his own control was thin. Anger bubbled up, making his words hard.

"He stays."

"Damn it, Scotty, don't be stupid. He just tried to kill you."

"It was a cry for attention; he was scared and feeling isolated. He believed he was losing his only friend to me - to us," Scott said through gritted teeth.

Fighting his own anger, his own self-disgust, his own sharp sense of failure for not recognizing Julio's fear and pain sooner. For simply not realizing that reaching out to one boy might alienate the other. Too long removed from the streets himself to remember the utter despair that simply being alone could bring. And vividly angry with Logan for his lack of compassion.

"You've cut me too, Logan," he said, lifting his right arm to display the bandage there. "Should I throw you out?"

Logan blanched briefly, but the rage had too tight a hold on him. "It ain't the same. . . I don't hate you."

"Don't you?"

"No," Logan snarled, leaning close. Close enough that Scott could feel his breath on his face. "But most of the time lately I can't figure out if I want to beat you to death. . . " then his hot gaze flicked down to Scott's mouth, ". . . or fuck you screaming."

"That's enough, Logan," Scott said sharply, blood pounding in his veins.

"No, I don't think so," Logan said, circling him slowly, expression bleak and savage. Hands clenching and unclenching into fists. That gaze fixed on his face, his mouth again. "God, I'd love to see you go down on me. See that pretty mouth of yours stretched around my cock. . . "

"Damn it, Logan!"

"You want me here, you deal with me," Logan said, bitter smile on his lips. "But maybe now I don't think you've got it after all, Scotty."

"Got what?" Scott asked, voice low, dangerous. Heart pounding wildly. Knowing Logan was baiting him but unable to think clearly enough to divert him. Too much leftover adrenaline and helpless anger washing through him. Searing failure. Guilty desire.

"The killer instinct; that's what it takes to be a real alpha dog," Logan sneered. Then he half-crouched, hands fisting in front of him. With a harsh sound, all six claws extended on a downward snap of his arms.

Fury raced through Scott, hot, wild, burning away everything else. But it swiftly turned cold. Calculating. His greatest strength. Focused calm descended over him. Weariness and pain fell away. His mind raced.

"You'll never quit, will you?" Scott shot back. Then he reached into his pocket for the knife he'd taken from Julio. The knife sticky with his own blood. It slid into his hand with all the old, familiar ease. Some things could never be left behind. "Anyone can kill, Logan. The real test is knowing when you have to. . . and when you don't."

Logan snarled at him, gesturing sharply up with his claws. Scott dropped to a fighting crouch - left arm up to block, knife drawn back for mobility and to keep it from being knocked away - and had the dubious satisfaction of seeing the other man's eyes widen in surprise. Recognizing the skill.

Logan feinted. Watching closely as Scott dodged, refusing to be drawn. Unable to read his eyes behind the red lenses for clues to his intent.

Frustrated, Logan snarled. Slashed wide. Scott danced aside, face set. Waiting.

Scott knew his heart wasn't in it - Logan didn't really want to fight him. But the other man probably knew only two ways to clear the desperate fear and sense of helplessness he carried from watching someone he cared for be threatened. And Scott had already forbidden him passion. That left violence.

Yet still, Logan needed to understand, once and for all, what he was capable of when pressed.

Wicked claws flashed under fluorescent light. Clumsy. Without aim. A quick step to the side, a fluid move below. Then Scott swept up with his left arm, under Logan's wild slash, driving his arms into the air. Leaving the other man open. Vulnerable. Scott's face was controlled, grim. Logan's eyes flared as he recognized the danger, his own folly. But it was too late.

With deliberate skill, Scott slammed the knife in his other hand into Logan's side, under his metal-laced ribs. All the way to the hilt. Held it there a moment, as the strength of the motion brought them close together, his eyes behind red lenses staring into Logan's. Then, coolly, he pulled the blade back out.

Logan staggered back, eyes wide in disbelieving shock. His claws retracted as he pressed his hands to the narrow, precise wound in his side. Scott forced himself to watch, all horror deferred, as the other man fell to his knees, grunting in pain. Dark blood, from a kidney or the liver, poured over his hands. Logan blinked hard, shaking his head, trying to stay conscious, to climb back on his feet. He managed one out of two. He fell over on his side, groaning, staring up at the ceiling.

Scott crouched down beside Logan. Logan's head rolled to the side, keeping him in sight, watching the knife still held loosely in his hand. They both knew the pose was deceptive. He was as ready to kill as he had been moments before. Logan coughed slightly, wiping a trickle of blood away from his mouth with an already bloody hand.

"Killing blow," Scott said, face hard, nodding at the wound that was already closing in the other man's side. Thick, dark blood had pooled on the dull metal floor under him. But there was no more to follow. "But it won't kill you."

"Yeah," Logan acknowledged, watching him carefully. Eyes shining with pain and something almost like relief. Gaze flicking once from the bloody knife in his hand to his face.

"My rules, Logan. Never forget that." Scott threw the knife down the hall. It clattered and spun wildly across the metal floor, into darkness. His face was pale and drawn with anguish. Then he groaned, "God damn you."

Shuddering, he leaned down and sealed his mouth over Logan's, hands cupping his face, lips demanding. Tasting blood. Blood he'd put there. But also tasting the undeniable essence, the fierce life that pulsed within. Groaning as Logan's hand came up and caught his shoulder, slid into his hair, pressed him closer. As Logan's mouth opened in surrender under his. Tongues dueling. Pain, regret and cold anger melding into searing heat.

Breath short, he broke away to glare into Logan's eyes. Not caring the other man couldn't see it, searching his eyes for the answer he needed. The promise of life.

"Don't ever make me do that again," Scott demanded. A heavy hand flexed against the back of his head, then fell away. His own hands eased their brutal hold, thumbs grazing the quirked edge of a mouth as they slid away.

Logan snorted, leaned up on one arm, voice low and husky, "Can't promise that, and you know it."

But in his eyes, Scott could see acceptance. And a guarded new respect.

* * * * *

//Scott!// Jean's mental shout echoed painfully in his head, making him slam up his shields in self-protection. Scott winced. Beside him, Logan glanced up from his work, frowning.


"We didn't clean up the blood in the hall," he said wryly, tapping the side of his head. Logan shifted on the stool, a wickedly amused smile curling his lips. Then looked toward the closed medlab door, head cocked to the side as he listened.

"She keeps running in heels like that she's gonna break an ankle."

"You tell her," Scott said, shaking his head. Logan held his hands up, both brows lifted almost comically as he rejected all responsibility for the task.

The door hissed open, and Jean dashed through, eyes wild, hair flying. Then she came to an abrupt halt, staring at both of them in shock.

Scott rotated his head awkwardly on the examination table in order to look at her.

"Hi, honey," he said, smiling at her cautiously.

"Why is there blood all over the floor in the hall?" she asked, coming forward at a more reasonable pace. Her voice suspiciously calm and controlled. Eyes only for Scott.

"Hey, Jeannie," Logan said. She glanced at him for just an instant, nodding at him, then did a double-take when the thick streaks of blood on his shirt registered.

"What happened?" she said, frowning. "I thought you were helping him, not brawling again!"

Logan glanced at Scott, who just shrugged. Logan looked back at Jean and gave her a wolfish smile. She glared at him.

"Fine. Go all male and silent on me. You two," she said, sighing deeply and shaking her head in disgust. //I'm getting the whole story later, aren't I?// Scott heard in his head. He kept his expression normal with difficulty as he sent her a silent assent.

"I patched him up until you could get here, Jeannie," Logan said, waving his hand with smug pride at Scott's bared thigh. The pants leg had been cut raggedly away, stark white butterfly bandages were plastered all the length of the shallow wound. But some blood still seeped slowly through.

She gave a snort as she came up beside the exam table, bumping Logan's shoulder with her hip to make him scoot the stool aside, then peering critically down at his work.

"Good enough to qualify as first aid. Barely," she said, shaking her head. Scott caught her hand in his, smiling at her gently. Jean scowled back at him, still annoyed.

"How is Julio?" he asked. She relented and gave him a thin smile.

"The Professor says he'll be okay. 'Ro's talking to the rest of the kids."

"How are you?" he asked her, seeing the strain she tried to hide. Bringing her hand to his mouth and kissing it gently. Logan shifted on the stool, folding his arms over his chest. Watching. His expression markedly bland.

"I'm okay," she said. Then she frowned down at him, pulling her hand away to cross her arms over her chest. "No, actually, I'm furious. Why didn't you let me take the knife away?"

Logan burst out laughing.

"Hell, Jeannie, I asked him that too and that's why there's blood all over the hall," Logan said, chuckling with dark amusement.

She glanced between Scott and Logan, frowning worriedly. Scott sighed.

"We'll talk about it later, Jean," he promised. "I'd like to get patched up and talk to the Professor."

Jean nodded and turned away to gather up supplies. Shot Logan another dark look over her shoulder.

"I think someone had better clean up the hall, don't you, Logan?" she said. Logan grinned, glancing between the two of them knowingly.

"Yeah, yeah," he said, rolling back the stool and coming to his feet. "I'm on it."

* * * * *

Logan stood in the cold metal hallway staring down at the small pool of blood on the floor. His own blood. He could tell by the scent. There were a few spatters around the area where he'd fallen. Scott's blood.

He crouched down, fingertip smearing through a half-dried spot. Lifting it to his face. Sniffing deeply, memorizing the scent. Making it his own. Then licking the drop from his finger. Taking it in as Scott had done from his mouth. Blood for blood.

Closing his eyes as he remembered the knife sinking into his side. The pain. The shock. The icy determination on Scott's face.

Then the bitter anguish. And Scott's lips hard on his mouth, taking, seeking. Showing him his place in the pack. Marking him at last.

Logan stood up.

He'd found his home.

CHAPTERS:   1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8

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