saga/title/fandom: Love, or Something Like It (X-Men)
rating/genre: (NC-17) - Drama/Romance
warnings: slash, language, adult situtations, violence/death
summary: Logan has a past.(Logan/OMC, Logan/Scott)
comments/disclaimers: Standard disclaimer applies.
It was not yet March when the first shoots of spring appeared on the young tree outside his window, while a light frost glittered beneath his feet as he crossed the camp green. He was standing in line in the mess, waiting patiently for his coffee, when the orderlies burst through the outer doors, their voices harsh in the early morning air.
They were talking about an accident out at the rifle range, and somehow he already knew.
His name was Hilary Blaise: “‘A fine old Southern name,” he would say, wearily, when the men teased him about it. Hilary was deceptively slight; his fists were lethal, as Logan learned the hard way, in the boxing ring.
Logan protested. “I’ll break him in half,” he had said, ruefully, with the self-conscious grace of one who, with a commanding height since adolescence, had always borne the brunt of schoolyard fights. He was fast, too, which surprised his opponents, and lucky in the ring, remaining unmarked after scores of matches.
“‘Fight him,” Coach said, and, warily, Logan did so.
Hilary was bantam quick, amused as he parried Logan’s heavy fists. They fought to a draw; that night, they went off-post to the Lazy Eye, and Hilary drank Logan under the table.
“What did you mean, ‘She chose you’?”
Wolverine looks away from the kitchen monitor and sighs. “I meant. . . She wasn’t tempted. Or . . . well— Shit. Maybe she was tempted—”
Logan closes his eyes for a moment. “I’m sorry. I meant to say there was a choice – a lopsided choice. You were the ‘good guy’; I was the guy you flirt with for the hell of it.”
Scott leans back in his chair, cradling the empty glass. “That doesn’t help as much as I’d hoped.”
“She loved you; she’d only just met me,” Logan replies, his palms tensed against his knees. “I was a diversion.”
“After all this time,” Scott continues, after a pause, “it’s funny the stuff I can’t let go: when you said that, God! it bugged me.”
“Still. You know, I don’t want there to have been a choice.”
Logan shrugs. “There’s always choices, Scott. You know that.”
Hilary got them back to barracks and made sure Logan was in reasonable shape at lights out. After that, they were friends: Hilary the college boy, the gentleman, and Logan the roughneck, the high school dropout. Slowly, through the hell of Georgia in July and that endless weekend in November, they grew close: if Hilary was late, Logan saved him a seat in the movie tent, and Hilary did the same for him. They were always together: LoganandHilary, HilaryandLogan.
“Yeah. You didn’t have to choose Jean – why not Ororo, or some other girl?”
“She was the one,” Scott says, softly. “The one for me; I was the one for her.”
They weren’t drunk when they kissed. It just happened, naturally, on the Sunday after the assassination. They were talking in the shadow of the third base bleachers when Logan took Hilary’s hand and turned it palm side up, his beard sandpaper coarse against callused skin. Hilary exhaled faintly, then brushed Logan’s jaw with his fingertips, guiding him up and forward until their lips met.
The sex was unhurried, though they rarely had as much time as they wished. They went off base, mostly, spending their infrequent leaves at a cheap motel in Myrtle Beach. In all they had just twelve weeks; eight months, if one counted the days of their slow maturing friendship and love, from June 1963 until February 1964.
“Why do you hate me?” Scott had asked, a few days after Jean died, standing in a fine drizzle with shoulders hunched on the steps leading down into the garden.
“I don’t hate you,” Logan replied, sheltered beneath a leafless tree. “I don’t know you.”
It was an accident, of course, and Logan took it like a man. Hilary’s family wanted a closed casket, so the last time he ever saw his lover they were standing together on the mess hall porch, waiting for a break in the rain.
“‘Target practice first thing,” Hilary had said, lightly. “‘See you at breakfast.”
“I’m sorry,” Logan says now.
“‘After Jean died: you asked me why I hated you.”
“And I said I didn’t know you.” Logan kneads the tender skin between his knuckles. “And I didn’t – then. Now I do, and I— I was jealous.”
“Yeah. ‘Jealous of you and Jean. ‘Jealous. . .”
Scott nods, waiting.
“‘Jealous . . . of Jean.”
“‘Fuckin’ fags had it coming,” Kearny said, a week after the funeral.
Halfway across the theatre, in a sudden lull in the general conversation, Logan heard it: ‘fuckin’ fags had it coming.’ He was slumped in his seat, waiting for the lights to go down, but in a sudden, shocking movement he sprang, scrambling over the intervening rows until he held Kearny’s lapels in his tensed fists.
“What did you say?”
“Hey, man,” someone protested, “take it easy.”
Kearny’s face grew white, his nostrils flared, as Logan’s brows met in a furious scowl. He was not really a fighter by nature – he just used what God gave him – and for the first time he felt the powerful call of something . . . some thing beyond the control of his rough good nature.
He killed Kearny with a blow to the nose, and then he killed the three soldiers who tried to intervene. The MPs fired into the milling crowd – accidentally shooting two more men – but Logan took their bullets in the head, the neck, and the chest, staggering, bleeding, through the melee, his fists pummeling, growling and biting when he fell to his knees, hanging on to boot-clad feet as panicked men tried to escape. A final bullet just missed his left eye, and he at last lay still.
Scott turns away from the bubbling teakettle. “‘Jealous’? Of Jean?”
“Yeah,” Logan breathes, and his blood boils as he thinks. “She had you.”
There was a sham trial, as there was no way the brass could let the true facts come out. One enlisted man had killed eight other soldiers with his bare hands; he was shot thirty-seven times, at last six of those bullets necessarily fatal; he had been taken to the camp morgue, from which, sometime that same night, he escaped. A chase ensued in the back country, in the course of which this same soldier killed three more MPs: only a stun-gun brought him down, and huge doses of Thorazine kept him sedated throughout his short trial.
He spent twenty-seven years at Leavenworth, until the day Dr. William Stryker made him an interesting proposition.
Something shifts in Logan as he confesses it: he can see the likeness, for a tantalizing moment, of a boy he once knew, a boy who died, senselessly, a long time ago in another country.
© 2003 TNL
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