Charlie’s gonna have to strap me down for this, darlin’
The sound of gentle rapping on the bedroom door roused Max from a deep sleep. She squinted as she pushed herself up to peer over Logan’s shoulder, wondering who it was. What time was it? She slowly sat up and Logan tensed beside her, eying the door with a baleful gaze.
“Guys, are you gonna come out anytime soon? Professor Xavier wants to see you.”
It sounded like Jean.
Max relaxed, calling out, “We’ll be down in a few minutes.”
She heard soft footfalls pad away from the door and moved to place her chin on Logan’s shoulder, grumbling. “Well, we knew we couldn’t stay in here forever.”
“Yeah.” He rumbled, irritated. He wasn’t exactly looking forward to interacting with anybody else so soon after the extraction. Hell, he’d never been very personable to begin with, from what he knew.
Max grinned and kissed his shoulder, throwing off the covers and hopping over him.
“C’mon. Let’s go put in an appearance.”
Logan grunted and sat up, running a hand through the bird’s nest his hair had become. A section of it stuck straight up and Max let out a sharp bark of laughter. Combined with the sour expression on his face, he looked like a malevolent puppy that had just been kicked awake. Logan gave her a look of mock irritation and she began laughing louder.
“Bitch.” He muttered before yawning and standing up.
“Yep.” Max grinned, raising an eyebrow. “Got it in one.”
A sly grin pulled at the edges of his lips as he padded off into the bathroom. She followed him in and turned on the shower as he relieved himself. She quickly jumped under the warm spray and began trying to work the tangles out of her hair. She heard a flush and leapt into the corner of the shower as the water briefly became ice cold.
“Dammit!” she growled.
Logan gave a low chuckle as he climbed into the shower with her.
“’s what you get for laughin’ at me.” He chided, grinning now as he soaped himself up.
Max glared at him and smacked him, and he started laughing.
“What? Can’t take it? Get out.” He cocked a thumb, jabbing it back towards the door.
She quickly darted a hand forward and gripped a small patch of hair on his chest, yanking it out.
He started laughing harder.
“That all ya got, pup?”
Max let out a subvocal growl and leapt at him.
An hour and a half later they padded downstairs into the foyer, hair still damp. As they made their way into the sitting room, Scott looked up from the book he was reading and shook his head.
“I really need to talk to Hank about soundproofing that room.” He murmured.
Max flushed briefly and Logan looked over at her with a wolfish grin.
“Ah, Logan – Max, I see you’ve decided to finally come down and grace us with your presence.”
The professor rolled into the room as they turned to meet him. Max felt Logan tense up and quickly squeezed his hand.
“Don’t.” she murmured, leaning into him.
She was right. It was his natural response to even the mildest challenges to react aggressively. In this place, it’d only make life more of a pain in the ass than he wanted to deal with. Logan took a slow breath in as Max said, “Sorry for making you wait.”
“It’s quite alright, Max. Let’s just say I’m not beyond a little needling myself, considering what you and Jean so helpfully stuffed into Scott’s locker last month.”
He smiled and Max flushed again, letting out a quiet cough. “I believe it’s a trivial little thing called payback?”
Max spotted the hint of a smile on the professor’s lips. Logan turned to see Scott trying to keep from laughing, wondering they were referring to. Apparently a great deal had changed since he’d been gone. Of course she would’ve made friends – gotten closer with them. Why did he feel a small twinge of jealousy? Had he expected her to be miserable while he’d been AWOL?
Perhaps part of him did.
Still, there was a connection there that seemed awfully close. The kind that took a good while to build. Longer than he’d initially thought he’d been gone. He frowned and carefully asked, “How long was I gone, Max?”
She looked up at him and replied, “A little over six months.”
She was frowning too now.
Shit. he paled, squeezing her hand tightly. They had me in that fuckin’ can for four months. He moved to lean against the back of one of the couches, grinding his teeth with a low growl.
“Logan..?” she sounded alarmed.
“Four months. Christ.” He muttered, letting out a shaky breath.
Shocked, Max stammered, “Not one, like you originally thought?”
Logan shook his head with a grim expression. His voice came out in a low rumble as he asked, “How’d you guys track me down again?”
“I believe I can answer that.” The professor offered, continuing, “I’d been trying to get a lock on you for some time, just to keep track of you – but your mind is remarkably resistant to probes. Combined with the chemical cocktail they’d administered, it was almost impossible to establish a firm connection.”
Logan wanted to be angry – the invasion of privacy bugged the shit out of him, but if it hadn’t been for Charlie’s nosiness, he’d still be on lockdown. Nobody would know where he was. He eyed the Professor and gave the man a curt nod.
“Thanks for that.”
Xavier returned his nod, his tone subdued as he replied, “I regret that I wasn’t able to find you sooner than I did.”
Logan murmured, “It’s enough you found me at all.”
Scott stood up and was walking over as he asked, “Was there any..permanent damage?”
Logan looked over at him and let out a harsh chuckle. “There never is.”
Max leaned into him and he wrapped an arm around her waist.
Logan asked the professor, “Think you can try that thing we did before?”
Xavier nodded, but replied, “I want to ensure that you’ve had ample time to recuperate before we..”
Logan cut him off, saying, “I’m ready.”
Xavier blinked and paused for a moment, frowning. “You’re certain?”
“Yep.” Logan set his jaw, then added, “She comes with.”
At this, Xavier raised an eyebrow. “You remember what happened the last time.”
Logan grunted and nodded. “She’s a part of this – of me now.”
Xavier let out a small sigh. “As you wish, Logan.”
Max wanted to chime in with, Don’t I get a say?, but it was enough that he wanted her there with him. She’d let him roll alpha on her as long as he stayed somewhat considerate about it. It also helped that the way he’d put it made her heart do a low, thumping roll in her chest. She felt her pulse quicken, as Logan’s arm around her waist tightened. He’d known the effect his words would have on her.
“This would best be done down in medical, I think, considering what you’ve been through recently.” Xavier explained. He turned to go and Logan moved to follow, pulling Max gently along with him.
“Why medical?” Max asked, confused.
“Charlie’s gonna have to strap me down for this, darlin’.” Logan rumbled.
Max balked, stopping in her tracks.
“I wrecked one of the chairs in his office last time.” He explained, his expression sour. “Busted it down to kindling. Prof didn’t take it too well. He said it was an antique. Got an earful afterward.”
Max winced, letting him pull her along again. “Wow. That bad, eh?”
“Yeah. It’s gonna get nasty.” He frowned and continued, “Truth to tell, I’m not really sure I want you to see what’ll happen – but if you’re gonna be with me, you gotta know what you’re getting involved with.”
She threaded her fingers through his on the hand at her hip. “You’re saying I haven’t seen how bad it can get?”
She almost didn’t want to think about what could possibly be worse than the condition they’d found him in in that cell.
Logan let out a weak laugh and replied, “That’s just blood and guts, darlin’. The psychological shit that came up last time was almost too much.”
“Then why are you going back into it?” Max asked, bewildered.
“I gotta know. I need to see the faces. The reasons.”
His face closed down, his expression going stony.
Yeah. Max could understand that.
The initial screams should’ve been the worst. They sounded like they were coming from a wounded animal as Logan twisted on the table, pulling at bonds that were proving to be surprisingly strong. The Professor sat at the head of the hospital table, his hands resting on either side of of Logan’s head and his expression one of fierce concentration.
No – it was the weeping that broke her down. Tears trailed down her cheeks as she stood beside him, wanting to reach out and touch him – to reassure him. To do anything to help. God, he sounded like a little boy who’d just watched his beloved pet killed in front of him. Logan’s entire body was rigid as he wept – as if the sensation was too unbearable. Like he was fighting it. Five minutes in, the Professor pulled away and opened his eyes, his expression remote.
Logan slumped, breathing heavily. He sounded as if he’d just run a marathon. Max placed a tentative hand on his arm and his eyes snapped open, his gaze malevolent as he stared back at her.
Holy crap. If looks could kill..
“Logan.” She murmured, placing her wrist under his nose. She’d wiped it under her armpit, collecting the strong tang of her scent and using it as a way to re-orient him, hoping it’d pull him out.
His nostrils flared and she watched as he relaxed back into the hospital table, his breathing slowly returning to normal. No wonder he’d been trepidatious about her presence during this.
“Talk to me, Charlie. Tell me you got somethin’.” Logan muttered, his voice still a little rough from the damage inflicted on his vocal cords from the screams. Anybody else would’ve been hoarse for a day or two afterward.
Xavier quietly murmured, “Logan, I’m so sorry I didn’t find you sooner..”
“Don’t.” Logan growled, his tone dangerously sharp. “Just tell me you got somethin’. And get me outta these fuckin’ things.”
He flexed his arms and Max quickly moved to start unbuckling the straps.
He looked over at Max who was now watching him with sad eyes.
“Not you too.” he snapped, sitting up.
Max bristled and grated, “Hey fuckhead – you’re my mate. I get to be pissed off and worried for you.”
Logan grunted and looked back over at the Professor who was calmly peering back at him.
“I believe I might have found something, but I’m going to have conduct some research to be positive.”
Logan let out a slow sigh as Max wrapped her arms around him. He couldn’t quite remember now what had gotten him so agitated – so utterly furious, and it bothered him. Like all the other memories, it’d creep up and hang out right at the edge of his mind’s eye, then dart away when he tried to inspect it. It was maddening. Something had to give.
“Logan, once again I find I must caution you about letting these malignant subconscious memories fester. I can recommend a very good..” The professor wasn’t at all surprised when Logan cut him off with a growl.
“I ain’t goin’ to a fuckin’ shrink. Period.”
Xavier nodded, disappointed.
“We done here?” Logan grunted, wanting to get out of this place for a little while.
“Yes, Logan. We’re done.”
MARVEL owns the copyright on their own characters, but I’ve fussed with and taken liberties with canon, and Max is my own creation.
Chapter 1 :: Chapter 2 :: Chapter 3 :: Chapter 4 :: Chapter 5 :: Chapter 6 :: Chapter 7 :: Chapter 8 :: Chapter 9 :: Chapter 10 :: Chapter 11 :: Chapter 12 :: Chapter 13 :: Chapter 14 :: Chapter 15 :: Chapter 16 :: Chapter 17 :: Chapter 18 :: Chapter 19 :: Chapter 20 :: Chapter 21 :: Chapter 22 :: Chapter 23 :: Chapter 24 :: Chapter 25