Don’t start getting all psych 101 on me, Max.
Max looked around the room as Logan closed the door behind them. It was a decent sized room with a small bathroom off to the left. A double bed sat in the right hand corner of the room beneath an open window that let the night breeze in. She looked back to see Logan leaning back against the door, watching her with a careful expression.
“What’s wrong?” she asked, frowning slightly.
He pushed away from the door, his voice gruff as he replied, “Been awhile since I slept in an actual bed.”
Max walked over to the bed and began turning the covers down.
“How long have you been roughing it?” she asked, looking back at him.
Logan pulled his sweatshirt off and tossed it onto a chair in the corner.
“’long as I can remember.”
She walked over to him and placed a hand on his chest. “Don’t you ever use a tent?”
He chuckled and shook his head. “Nope. Never needed one.”
“Not even in the rain?”
“What’dya think the tarps were for?”
Max smiled at that and gently pulled away. Logan caught her hand, pressing it back to his chest. Max could feel his heart hammering beneath his ribcage. By his expression, she could tell that he wanted to say something, but was wrestling with it.
“Logan..” she murmured softly, feeling him shiver beneath her hand.
“I’m not good with this kinda thing.” He explained stiffly, not knowing how else to say it.
Max smiled and replied, “It’s not entirely surprising, seeing how all you’ve been doing for the last year is running for your life and squatting out in the wilderness.”
He sighed and pulled her close. She detected a hint of a tremor in his voice as he murmured, “What is it about you..?”
“Your wolf wants companionship.”
Max felt him shiver at the sound of her voice. “So does mine. It’s a powerful draw between Turnskins.”
“But I’m not..”
Max cut him off, shaking her head. “You may not shift, Logan, but you’re furry on the inside where it matters most.”
“That’s what I’m afraid of, darlin’,” he replied in a hushed whisper.
Max wrapped her arms around him, kissing his cheek. The man had his own demons to fight. She couldn’t step up and battle them for him, no matter how much she wanted to. Simply put, the wolf wanted him – she wanted him, and Max knew she would do what she could for him – no matter how he ended up feeling after he figured things out. There were too many variables to try to direct anything, or to hope that anything ended up a certain way. The best thing at this point was to just go with it for as long as it lasted.
In her experience, regret was something best saved for other things that were more easily controlled.
Logan frowned, squeezing her gently. He drew in a shaky breath, wondering if this was it – a chance to finally stop running so hard. To stop fighting tooth and nail for every goddamned thing. She was definitely right about one thing – there was a powerful draw between them. He almost couldn’t pull away from it now if he wanted to and it felt both reassuring and terrifying at the same time. At times, it felt as if the beast inside him was large enough to shake the world.
As Max gently pulled away and met his gaze, he found himself searching her eyes for something – he wasn’t quite sure what. He definitely knew he didn’t like feeling this conflicted.
Max’s hands slowly slid down his back, immediately redirecting his thoughts to something much less confusing. She smiled as he leaned in to kiss her, trying to hold back – to take it slow.
“You don’t have to worry about breaking me..”
Logan growled then, gripping her roughly and pressing her tight against the line of his body.
“Better.” she purred.
Logan quickly lifted her, wrapping her legs around his waist as he moved to slam her back up against the wall. Max quickly pulled her sweatshirt off, tossing it across the room. Within moments, they’d separated from each other, getting the rest of their clothing out of the way as quickly as possible.
Max lifted her hands over her head as she moved to lean back against the wall, locking her arms together. Did she know what she was doing to him? The signs of her submission were like a red flag to a bull. He shivered as a smile curved her lips.
Oh yeah, she knew. It shattered what little control he had left.
Suddenly she was in his arms again as he pulled her against him, growling. He gripped her tighter, digging his fingers into her ass.
Logan then spun Max to face the wall, grabbing her hips and roughly pulling her back. Max cried out and slapped her hands on the wall, her toes curling as his fingers dipped down to find her more than ready, sliding along her slickness and sending sparks skating through her synapses. He leaned into her and ran a hand through her hair, gripping it tight, his lips brushing along the back of her neck.
“Please..” she whispered, and he bit down hard, marking her and drawing blood as he slid into her.
Max screamed as she came apart beneath his fingers, and he felt her body lock up as he sped up his rhythm, relentless.
Once he’d spilled over the edge, Logan then quickly spun her and kissed her, gripping her so tightly he was positive he’d leave bruises – for however long they’d last on her skin. The wolf girl returned the kiss with a ferocity that surprised him.
Logan pulled back and she let out a full throated laugh, her eyes wild. It took his breath away. A trail of crimson snaked down over one of her breasts, and he frowned. He didn’t think he’d bitten her that hard. The ragged marks his teeth had left in her skin were already closing up.
“Don’t stop.” she moaned, her voice husky.
“Jesus, Max.” he groaned, wanting to lose himself in this. In her.
So, for the rest of the night, he did.
Max woke to the sounds of a chatty bird in the tree outside their window. Warm sunlight streamed in the window through the leaves. She turned to try to catch a glimpse of the bird and chuckled as Logan mumbled something and pulled her close.
She felt him smiling against her skin as she asked, “You plan on getting up anytime soon?”
He shifted beside her, groaning. “Too bright.”
She laughed lightly and turned to face him. “Aren’t you interested in checking this place out? It’s enormous.”
Logan looked over at her, nonplussed. “Saw all of this place I need to last night.”
Max smiled and she saw the ghost of a smile play along his lips as he rolled onto his back.
“Well, I’m gonna go exploring and see if I can find some breakfast.”
Max sat up and walked over to collect the grey sweats that she’d thrown over by the door in their late night frenzy.
“And some different clothes.”
She wrinkled her nose, wishing that she could find a skirt. Emergency shifting in pants tended to be a bit of a pain in the ass, although her father and brothers never seemed to care about all the pairs of jeans they’d ripped up throughout the years. Besides, skirts were just more comfortable. There was more freedom of movement.
Max pulled the sweats on and looked over to find Logan watching her, a smile quirking his lips as she moved over to the door.
“You want me to bring anything up?”
“Nah. I’ll come down and forage later.”
He rolled over onto his stomach now, still eying her.
Max smiled and opened the door, stepping out into the corridor. She wanted to give him some time alone to figure stuff out, as well as getting to know the layout of this place. She had always been inquisitive, wanting to investigate caves and various patches of forest that her brothers had never showed any interest in when she was a pup. As she padded over to the stairs, the scent of freshly brewed coffee made her mouth water. Max quickly made her way down the stairs, almost knocking over the blonde boy she’d seen in the kitchen last night as she came around the banister.
She deftly dodged and gave him an apologetic smile. “Sorry. I didn’t see you there.”
The boy smiled and looked up at her, his voice sounding out of place for his body. “It’s okay. I’m sorry about last night.”
Max let out a soft chuckle. “That’s alright. I’m Max.”
She extended her hand and the boy shook it gently. Very polite.
“I’m John. Are you and the scary man staying here now?”
Max let out a bark of laughter, then quickly covered her mouth and cast a quick glance back up the stairs. The scary man, indeed.
“I don’t know yet, John.”
“I hope you stay.” He murmured, letting go of her hand.
“We’ll see.” Max replied as she heard someone call his name out from behind her.
“Gotta go. See you later, Max!” he called out as he ran off.
She chuckled and turned to walk to the kitchen, hoping that there was some of that delicious smelling coffee left. The tile floor in the kitchen was a touch chilly and a small shiver went through her as she looked up to see a large blue furred creature sitting at the breakfast table, eating a bowl of cereal and reading a hardcover book that it held up between its toes. It looked up and smiled at her, sharp canines poking out over its lips.
“You must be Max! Splendid! Allow me to introduce myself. I am Doctor Henry McCoy, resident technician and mad scientist.”
He looked like a cross between a large blue gorilla and an enormous predatory cat as he peered at her over a small pair of glasses that sat perched on the end of his nose. How he saw anything through them was a mystery to her. One of his enormous blue hands encircled a ceramic coffee cup that looked so very fragile in his grip. Max found herself wondering how often he smashed them accidentally. He collected the book with his other hand and placed it gently on the table.
Max blinked, then stammered, “Coffee?”
Doctor McCoy gestured over to the counter, nodding as he replied, “Ah, yes. I’m often not myself until I’ve had my first vigorous cup of the day as well. You’ll find the cups just above the sweet aroma of the majestic bean itself.”
Max blinked again and asked, “Whua?”
He sighed and said, “Cups are in the cabinet above the pot.”
Max nodded and quickly poured herself a cup, her eyes closing in bliss at the first sip. She smiled and murmured, “Delicious.”
“It’s Kona. No expense is spared when it comes to providing staff access to high quality, early morning liquid fuel,” Henry explained, as she turned back to him.
Max paused a moment, then walked over to the table and sat across from him. A strong, musky scent surrounded the man and before she could stop herself, she blurted, “You smell feline. Are you?”
Henry did a small spittake, then quickly moved to wipe up the mess with a napkin.
“My apologies, dear lady. I’m not usually so easily startled.” He took a shaky breath, then quietly asked, “You can smell that?”
Max nodded and tapped her nose. “It’s stronger than it looks.”
At that, he cocked his head, his expression intent as he asked, “So, are your canis lupus attributes as potent now as they are after you’ve changed forms?”
Max raised an eyebrow at the comment and Henry quickly explained, “I don’t mean to be abrupt or prying, but this is the first time I’ve ever encountered an actual lycanthrope.”
Max took another sip of coffee, then carefully answered, “My nose is stronger when I have fur, if that’s what you’re asking.
“Fascinating.” Henry’s voice was a soft, reverent whisper, and she could see his eyes glittering with intellectual curiosity.
“Do you know if the guy who got shot – the one with the weird thing on his head – do you know if he’s okay?”
Max hoped that he was recovering well. She felt bad that it would take him a while to heal the wound.
Henry gave a solemn nod as he replied, “He’ll be fine. He won’t be able to use that arm for awhile, though.”
“It must be frustrating to have to wait for your body to repair itself over an extended period of time.”
Max took another sip of coffee. It was easily the best coffee she’d ever had, but then she’d never been much of a coffee snob. As long as it was black and bitter, she was happy.
Henry frowned, then cocked his head slightly. “Do you have accelerated healing as well, as the legends of old portray?”
“Bruises and cuts don’t stay on me for long.” she replied before asking, “So – are you..like me? Can you turn skins?”
Henry frowned for a moment, as if not quite understanding. He then let out a heavy sigh and shook his head. “Ah, I’m afraid not. What you see in stark representation is a physical mutation that, for all intents and purposes, is permanent in nature. I cannot reverse it.”
Max was suddenly sorry she’d asked. It sounded like she had hit a sore point, and she hoped that she hadn’t hurt his feelings.
“I didn’t mean..” she began, her words trailing off as Henry held up an enormous blue hand.
“It is quite alright, madame. While I am still on my way to making my peace with my appearance, I can hardly fault you for being equally as curious as I myself am about your..well, you.”
Max smiled and took another sip of coffee.
“I’d like to ask you a few questions, if I may. Would you be willing to submit to a minor scientific inquiry?” he asked, with a hopeful look.
Max sobered at the phrasing. She didn’t want to become a lab rat, dissected for study.
Henry seemed to sense his conversational misstep and quickly explained, “Rest assured, dear lady, that any revelations that I acquire about your nature will stay within the confines of this house. Although it would be an enormous splash in the scientific world to release such proof that your kind exists, I have no desire to submit anybody to the heartless and cold, clinical examination that certain immoral groups would invariably conduct on their subjects.”
“Are we talking questions, or tests?” she asked, wary.
Henry pursed his lips for a moment, then said, “Anything that you will be most comfortable with, Max.”
He was friendly enough, and there was a sincerity about him that was reassuring.
“Let’s try this – a question asked for a question answered?” he offered, raising an eyebrow. It was odd to see such a gesture on his feline features.
Max smiled and nodded, placing her cup down on the table between them.
“I go first.” she grinned.
Logan was padding through the corridor to the kitchen when he heard Max laughing. His lips quirked into a secretive smile as he strode into the kitchen. The conversation stopped and a large blue beast and a shirtless, tanned GQ model with bright, white wings peered over at him from across the kitchen, sizing him up.
Max spun around and grinned, her eyes dancing as she said, “Logan..”
Her tone made him shiver as he walked over to her. He still wasn’t at all comfortable with the surroundings, but being near her made it less irritating.
“Salutations! We were just discussing nature versus nurture with your delightful companion, Logan.”
Henry smiled and Logan eyed him, staying silent.
Max quickly intervened, explaining, “Henry’s the school’s resident scientist, and the guy with the wings is Warren, who apparently introduces himself as – what was it? ‘Just another featherheaded billionaire shmuck.'”
Who gave a shit? Why was she bothering to get to know these people? Logan raised an eyebrow, still silent.
Warren quickly stood and said, “Henry, we should probably get going – busy day and all.”
He then smiled at Max and said, “It was a pleasure to meet you Max.”
His expression sobered as he nodded and said, “Logan.”
The two of them walked out of the kitchen and Max looked over at him, her expression mild. “Any particular reason you’re being a dick this morning?”
Logan’s eyes widened as she added, “They were nice, and were telling me about the school – in detail. It sounds like a good place. You didn’t have to get all anti-social alpha on them.”
“Christ, ain’t there any mercy in you?” he muttered, annoyed.
“Logan, I know it’s been hard out there, and I know it’s going to take time for you to be comfortable socially – but you’ve gotta start somewhere.” she murmured, gently placing a hand on his arm.
She had no idea. None. The horrors he’d seen – that he’d been subjected to.
He pulled away from her and growled, “Are you fuckin’ kiddin’ me? Don’t start gettin’ all fuckin’ Psych 101 on me, Max. You got no clue about the shit I been in.”
Young. She was still so young. Why did he keep forgetting that?
Max sighed, pulling back from him, her tone soft as she explained, “We’re here to learn about your past. Alienating the people around here isn’t going to help you with that.”
Logan took a slow, deep breath in, feeling his anger rise. It didn’t help that she was right. He took a step away from her.
“We’re both runnin’, Max. Trouble is, what I’m runnin’ from puts holes in everything around me. It kills anything I let in too close.”
His mouth became a thin hard line. “This was a fuckin’ mistake.”
He turned and walked out of the kitchen and Max shook her head gently.
Logan tried to control his breathing as he strode angrily through the sitting room towards a pair of French doors off to the right that opened out into a patio that overlooked a lush backyard. He didn’t want to be here – didn’t want the added frustration and confusion that other people brought with them. His life hadn’t exactly been easy of late, but at least it had been somewhat manageable. Now he was not only on the run again, but was now being assailed with a whole host of other bullshit that he simply didn’t have time to deal with.
His thoughts raged as he walked out onto the meticulously manicured lawn, looking around for something that he could tear into that would bleed some of the excess frustration off.
“Women.” he grated, his nostrils flaring. “Too damned much trouble.”
Where the fuck did she come off, getting in his face like that? She didn’t know him. They barely knew each other, for chrissakes, and she was already trying to analyze him like a dollar store pop shrink.
All the hair on the back of his neck stood up as the whup-whup sound of chopper blades off in the distance caught his attention. Logan stood stock still, tensing at the sounds of several more helicopters approaching.
Dammit! I fuckin’ told you, Charlie…
Logan ran back inside the house, yelling, “MAX! INCOMING!”
The Professor rolled into the room, with both Jean and Ororo hot on his wheels. Max appeared by his side, as if out of thin air, and he flinched. How the hell had she moved that fast?
Ororo’s hair began to float around her head as she walked over to the doors. Logan blinked as he looked back over at Jean, whose mouth was now set in an angry line.
“Jean – wait for my mark.”
Charlie’s voice sounded entirely different now as he slowly closed his eyes and gripped the armrests of the wheelchair.
“What the hell?” Logan frowned, then followed Ororo outside. Max padded quietly behind him.
The woman’s white hair was now whipping around her face and she started floating upwards. She looked like a goddesss roused to action. Within moments, a thick fog began rolling across the school grounds from the lake, creating a thick white blanket that obscured everything. Logan felt Max take his hand and he gripped it tightly. He didn’t want to lose track of her in this mess.
The choppers grew closer and Logan tensed, waiting for the sounds of gunfire. They seemed to be circling in a searching pattern.
Logan frowned. They should’ve found the school by now.
After several moments, the sounds began to fade away – back the way they’d come.
“What the fuck just happened?” he asked in a hushed whisper.
“No idea.” Max answered, jumping slightly at the sound of a voice behind her.
“You’re playing a dangerous game, Logan.” This from Jean. She sounded angry.
He whirled on her, dropping Max’s hand.
“What the fuck are you talkin’ about, lady? I was the one told you guys that I had trouble followin’ me. Not my fault you didn’t choose to listen.”
“Charles had to literally erase your presence from the minds of the men in those helicopters in order to convince them to leave. They seemed really excited about getting their hands on you again.”
She cocked her head, placing her hands on her hips. “What do the words Weapon X mean to you, and why are they so important in the minds of the men chasing you?”
Logan stilled, his hands clenching into fists.
“Is it something you have that they want?”
The fog around them began to clear and Ororo dropped lightly to the ground beside them.
Charlie hadn’t been kidding about his ability to protect his people, at least on their home ground. The thought of how quickly the threat had been eliminated sent icewater racing through his veins. If the man could easily manipulate the minds of that many men that far away – how much damage could he do to somebody that was less than twenty feet away?
“Yeah.” Logan murmured, feeling sick to his stomach. “Me.”
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