Summary: Scott and Logan are fighting on the lawn again. It's an endless cycle.
Fandom: X-Men Comics
Disclaimer: Marvel owns all of these characters; I'm just playing with them.
Original Story: On Which Our Survival Depends by hotelmontana
Author's Notes: Title and lyric snippets from Linda Perry and Grace Slick’s "Knock Me Out." The original story (which is amazing, and should be read by one and all regardless of whether or not you read my remix of it) didn’t have a specific timeframe, so I’m setting it at the beginning of Astonishing X-Men, soon after Grant Morrison’s New X-Men.
Thanks: To the ever-wonderful likeadeuce for providing the brilliant idea of how to rework the remix when my original idea was not going anywhere, and for a fabulous (and very last-minute) beta.
(you knocked me out)
The blast hits Logan square in the chest, and it hurts like a bitch. Scott gets pissy sometimes, when people think his blasts are lasers. “They’re heatless,” he snits, time and time again. Easy for him to say. He’s never been hit with them. Fire or no fire, force equals friction, and Logan’s skin is smoking like five pounds of breakfast bacon.
He doesn’t wait for his body to finish healing, just charges head on, tackling Scott to the ground before he can get in another blast and aiming a punch that could crack a cheekbone. But his claws aren’t out, and he doesn’t even consider releasing them. He doesn’t want to hurt Scott. Never has, really. That isn’t what this is about. This is just a thing they do. Logan and Scott, brawling on the lawn, on a flimsy excuse for contact and pain. For anger and frustration and mutually assured satisfaction. For touch.
Scott gains leverage and flips Logan over. The blood from his broken cheek drips onto the shoulder of Logan’s costume, staining the yellow a rusty orange. A hard knee digs into his groin. Scott doesn’t hold back like Logan does. He doesn’t have to. With Scott’s punch Logan can feel his spleen burst, the blood it holds rushing into his abdominal cavity, but already his body is stitching up the membrane, flushing the excess fluid. Logan pulls his punches because he doesn’t want to hit too hard. Scott doesn’t because he can’t.
Logan can’t even remember what he said to start this.
In the end, they lie in their separate corners, panting in the grass. Logan listens to Scott’s breathing for the tell-tale hitching that would mean he went too far. But it’s ok. It’s always ok. It’s always just enough to maintain the fragile status quo.
Emma appears at the edge of the yard. “Twice in one week?” she says, raising one carefully-plucked eyebrow, staring down at Scott’s form as he pulls himself to his feet. “I’m close to giving up on you entirely, darling. Go get yourself cleaned up and come back to me when you’re prepared to act your age.” She doesn’t even spare a glance at Logan.
Her words make his blood boil more than anything in the fight did.
(I can never be the same)
In the lab, Hank looks up from Scott’s x-rays with a click of his feline tongue. “Considering the high probability of sustaining battlefield injuries in our most hazardous line of work,” he says, “I must question your repeated insistence on placing yourself in situations that increase the likelihood of incapacitation by friendly fire.”
Scott kicks his legs at the edge of the exam table, holding an ice pack to his bandaged cheek with one hand. “Weren’t you fighting with him just last week?” he asks. “It’s Logan. He is one of the hazards of this line of work.”
“While I can’t entirely deny the legitimacy of your example,” Hank replies, continuing to scan the x-rays on his light board, “I should point out that I possess not only a modest healing factor, but a generally easygoing temperament, neither of which you count among your attributes. And one scuffle does not a decade-long tournament of fistfights make. Frankly, Scott, whatever the two of you are doing, the rest of us are far too perplexed and terrified to interfere.”
Scott doesn’t respond. He knows that Hank is right and wrong all at once. His cheek smarts, even under the numbing power of the ice, but he knows he wouldn’t go back and change the afternoon even if he got the chance. He knows this is just the way he and Logan operate. Tomorrow, they’ll go into battle, and Scott will tell Logan to hit the day’s villain on his left flank, and Scott will hit him on the right, and no one will hesitate. These fights are punctuation marks at best, organizing the ebb and flow of their partnership. Commas and questions and exclamations. Periods they use to break each other down and start anew.
“Is it broken?” Scott asks, finally, when Hank’s insinuations have died in the air.
Hank shakes his head. “The fracture is so miniscule that it doesn’t merit more than a cursory examination. However, I’d caution you to avoid putting pressure on that side of your face for at least a week or so. And by ‘pressure,’ I mean anything from a downy pillow to a metal-laced fist.”
“He never hits that hard,” Scott says. It comes out more defensive than he intended.
He still feels Logan’s blood drying on his knuckles.
(I pushed you over)
The room is strangely quiet beyond the din of the television. The Yankees hit a home run. Jeter rounds the bases. The crowd cheers. But in the living room, the only sound is the cracking open of a beer can as Logan settles onto the couch next to Scott. Scott takes the can and doesn’t smile, but he lets the set of his legs widen on the couch, his knee brushing against Logan’s in the dark and the silence.
From her place that is everywhere and nowhere, she watches. She tries to watch as much as she can, wielding Phoenix fire like a compass to follow those she left behind, but time is meaningless in the White Hot Room, past and present and future conflating, connecting, spinning out. She can’t always find her way.
But tonight, she is here, and she watches. Sees their faces flashing in the light of the game. The red glint of sunglasses, the blue glint of deep-set eyes. Backs flat against couch cushions, but tilted ever so slightly toward each other.
She saw the future, once. A future of horrors, a terrible dystopia. And she fixed it, as best she could. A little nudge, and a whole timeline changed.
She could do that again, she thinks. She sees how close they are, her boys, to getting there. Closer than either could ever admit. They’d be good for each other, in her absence. Giving to each other what they have always, she sees now, been ready to give, even when she was still present. A kiss from a punch. Lips with the teeth. One little nudge is all it would take.
But, no, she thinks. It never helps to force things. She’s learned that the hard way.
Best to let them have it out.
(and here we will remain)