They weren’t, but something was covering my eyes. I put my hand over my eyes to block the optic blasts, thinking – as I often do – how strange it is that my skin stops that explosive force, whether it’s eyelids or my hand, and nothing else but ruby crystal does. With my hand in place, I tried to open my eyes, and couldn’t. I started feeling around my face, trying to pull off whatever was obstructing my eyes. And then I remembered – the Blackbird.
I had to get out, and quick. No time to get this stuff off of my face, whatever it was, or to find my glasses. I needed to move blind. I started to pull myself up, calling “Logan! Logan, are you okay? We’ve got to get out of here.”
I felt his hand on my shoulder, pushing me back down. “It’s okay, Cyclops. It’s over.” I sat down. His hand stayed on my shoulder. My head was still fuzzy and I wasn’t sure what he meant. It crossed my mind that I might be dead.
He continued, “The jet burned, but at least we got out. Sorry about this,” he added, touching the padding on my eyes. “I had to tape your eyes shut. I couldn’t risk another accident like we had back at the carnival. This tent is the only shelter we’ve got.”
It was starting to make sense now. “You got the duffel bag.”
“Yeah, that and you. Couldn’t get that other case, though. Not in time to get away before it blew. What was in it?”
“Electronics. GPS, a radio to contact Charles, electronic flares.”
“Fuck. That would have been good to have. Well, we’ll manage without.”
“I’m surprised you managed to get the bag and carry me, too.” I tried to imagine him getting out before the jet burned, carrying me and the duffel bag full of the tent and supplies. I don’t think I could have done it if our situations had been reversed. I told him so. And added, “Hey, thanks for saving my life. Again. I guess I owe you one.”
“I don’t plan on needing my life saved any time soon, but I’ll figure out some way for you to pay me back.” There was a playful tone to his voice that I found strangely unsettling.
“Are my glasses intact, by any chance?” I asked, starting to pull off the adhesive tape wrapped around my head, wincing a little as it tore some of the skin.
“Yeah. Do you want some help with that?”
“No, I can handle it.” I finished getting the tape off and removed a layer of cotton padding under it that had held my eyes closed. Logan handed me my glasses and I put them on and looked around.
I was sitting on a tarp in the tent we’d kept in the Blackbird. The duffel bag that the tent and supplies had been in was behind me stuffed with something. I’d been lying on it like a pillow. My head still hurt and I was feeling dizzy. I leaned back on it and that helped a bit.
Logan was sitting cross-legged, looking at me. He was wearing the same clothes he’d had on when we got into the Blackbird, but there were rips in his jeans and his jacket was stained with dried blood. No visible wounds, but then there wouldn’t be. Anyway, it might have been my blood. I looked down and realized I was wearing one of the khaki jump suits that had been in the duffel bag.
“I had to cut your pants off of you,” he said. “There was a lot of blood and I thought I should find where it was coming from quick. But it must have been mine. You didn’t have anything deep. I washed your wounds, don’t think they’ll get infected. There’s good water right near here – a brook – and I used the first aid stuff in the duffel. I don’t think you broke anything and it didn’t look like you needed stitching up – just a lot of cuts and bruises. I probably gave you most of them, getting you out of there, but we had to move fast and you weren’t no help.”
“How long was I out?”
He thought for a minute. “I don’t know. I don’t know what time it is. Your watch was smashed and I didn’t have one. Maybe 12 hours? Maybe more. It took a while to find a spot – I wasn’t moving fast, with carrying you. I figured we needed to get some distance between us and the crash. And I didn’t know how long we’d be out here, so we needed water and so on. A few hours walking and then it was light and I found this place. The brook for water, lots of firewood. Fish and small game if we need to be here longer than the MREs last. It’s – I don’t know – maybe three, four hours until dark now, so more like 18 hours you were out.”
“Do you know where we are?”
He shook his head. “That GPS would come in handy right about now.” He looked at me carefully. “Can I leave you alone for a couple of hours? You’ll be okay? I got a fire going out there. It’ll be cold when the sun goes down.”
“I’m okay. Where are you going?”
“Cover my tracks. I don’t want no one knowing where we went. I can move quick by myself – shouldn’t take too long.”
“I don’t know if that’s a good idea. Charles will know something happened to us. He’ll send an X-Men mission to find us. I don’t want them thinking we died in the plane when they find it.”
“Can’t be helped.”
“I don’t want whoever sabotaged the plane to find us before the X-Men do. I’d be pretty happy if the other side thinks we’re dead.”
And he was right, of course. That had been no accident. I would have realized it right away except for the after-effects of concussion. Logan, not dealing with a fuzzy brain, had come to the right conclusion. “You sure you’re okay on your own?” he said. “You’re not thinking too clearly yet.”
“I know, but I’m okay. I won’t try to do any thinking while you’re gone. I’ll just mind the fire and take something for this headache.”
He nodded his assent. “Meds in the duffel. Jug of water just outside the tent. This might take a while, but I’ll be back as soon as I can.” And then he was gone.
I took some pain killers and sat by the fire for a few minutes until they kicked in. Then I got up, figuring I’d check out the area. The fire was burning well, and there was a neat pile of wood nearby. I put one more log on, picturing Logan cutting them with his claws while I lay unconscious in the tent.
I could hear the brook, so it was easy to find. I stripped and washed. The water was cold, but I figured it would be colder after dark. I couldn’t stop thinking about what Logan had said about cutting my clothes off of me, while I’d been out. I refilled the water jug and went back to our campsite to dry off and warm up and wait for Logan.
It was after dark when he returned. “How did it go?” I asked.
“Pretty good. Took a little longer than I thought. It didn’t look like they’d gotten there yet, so I figured it was worth taking some time to throw ‘em off when they do. So I didn’t just cover tracks – made some new ones. Oh, and I got us some supper,” he added, holding up a fish, speared on one claw.
He started to fillet the fish and cut it into chunks. “Can you find a stick to use for a skewer?” he asked and I got one and then watched him. Again, I was mesmerized watching the claws in action as tools.
He misinterpreted. “You hungry? It won’t be long,” he added, retracting the claws and putting pieces of the fish on the stick to cook.
“Yeah, but that’s not why I was watching you. I love to see mutants using their gifts, always have.” I thought for a minute. “But I guess the claws aren’t really mutant gifts, are they?”
“The claws are. Adamantium isn’t.”
“Aren’t they the same thing?”
He shook his head and popped the claws on his left hand, still holding the skewer with his right one. “They’re bone underneath,” he said, gesturing with them, “just lined with adamantium, like the rest of my skeleton.” He retracted the claws and turned towards the fire. “It’s the healing factor and the claws that are my gifts. The adamantium came later.” The bitter tone in the last sentence was unmistakable.
“Jean says it’s because of the healing factor that you survived that.”
“She’s probably right.” He shrugged. “I guess I’m glad of it now – surviving, I mean. At the time I just wanted to survive long enough to kill whoever was doing that to me. Even if I didn’t know what they were doing.” I didn’t know what to say to that, so I didn’t say anything. “I was awake the whole time.”
“Nah. Paralyzed, but awake. Can you imagine what kind of sick mind takes a person apart like that and makes him feel it?”
“Who did it to you?”
“I don’t know. I’ve got a whole lot of years missing from my brain. I can remember the operation, but not before or after. I don’t know where it happened, when it happened. I don’t even know if I did kill them. I hope I did. I wish I could remember doing it, if I did.” He thought for a minute. “What else did your girlfriend tell you about me?”
“Not much. It was a briefing for Charles and me, after she examined you. She said she has no idea how old you are, because you don’t age normally. She said you might be older than Charles.”
“Probably am. I have just flashes of memory from before, oh about 15 years ago, but I think some of them go back a long time.” He pulled the stick off of the fire. “This is done now.”
He sat down next to me and we ate the fish. It tasted delicious in the way that only something eaten outdoors and when you’re really hungry can.
We sat side by side for a while, backs against a tree, just looking at the fire. I tried to think about how we were going to get back to civilization, about making plans. But I felt both excited and discomfited by Logan’s nearness and I was too distracted to plan.
“Hey Cyclops,” he said after a while. “I’ve thought about it. I’ve got an idea how you can pay me back for saving your life this time.” He was smiling at me. His hand was on my thigh, stroking.
“No, Logan. I don’t...”
“Oh come on. It don’t mean nothing. It’s just what guys do when there aren’t women around.” He took my hand and put it to his crotch. I was still shaking my head no, but I didn’t pull my hand back.
I could feel his cock getting hard through the jeans and I knew I wanted to feel it in my hand. He knew it, too, and chuckled a little as I unbuttoned him.
I pulled it out. It was long and hard and felt so good to hold. Like touching myself, but different. I started stroking up and down with a loose fist, thumb on the head. He sighed and told me he liked it, in a kind of panting growl. And then pushed my head down.
I hesitated, but only a second. “In for a penny, in for a pound,” I told myself. Hand still round his dick, I opened my mouth and licked the top of it, tasting skin and sweat and wanting that in my mouth. I pulled the head of his cock in, licking around the top while I sucked on it, stroking up and down all the while. I felt like I’d been waiting all my life to do this, like I’d never get enough of it. I rubbed against my own cock through my clothes with my other hand, bobbing up and down on him, just reveling in the taste and the feel of him. And the sounds. He was murmuring encouragement, telling me he liked it. His fingers were in my hair and on my face. I was surprised at how soft his hands felt, stroking me. And then he stopped talking, his breathing faster and uneven.
“I’m gonna come,” he said, fingers in my hair, and tried to pull me off of him, but I wasn’t letting go for anything. I felt it spurt in my mouth, tasting bitter and sharp and there was nothing I wanted more at that minute. I kept my mouth on him as his cock shrank, then pulled off and wiped my face with the back of my hand.
“You’re damned good at that,” he said, leaning back against the tree and sighing. “You done it a lot?”
I shook my head. “First time.”
“Really?” I nodded. He reached over and started unzipping my coverall. “Your turn,” he said, pulling out my cock. “I don’t suck cock, but I’ll jerk you.”
And his hand was on me. I took his other hand in mine. “Your skin is so soft,” I said. “I didn’t expect that.”
“I can’t form calluses – part of the healing factor.”
He was stroking with some kind of circular motion, squeezing and tugging. It felt wonderful and he seemed so into what he was doing, like it wasn’t just pay back but something he really wanted. “You’ve got a great cock,” he said. “Long and lean, like the rest of you.” I shivered a bit from his words as much as from what his hand was doing.
I leaned in and kissed him. First on the side of his neck, then turning his head with my hand, full on the mouth. He hesitated at first but then opened his mouth and let me suck his tongue in. I wondered if he could taste his cum in my mouth as I stroked his tongue with mine, as he stroked my cock with those amazingly soft fingers and that strong touch.
I pulled back from his mouth, panting now. He leaned in and started whispering in my ear, both hands on me now. “I knew you wanted it. You gave it to me good and now I’ve got your big cock in my hands, just where I want it. You’re almost there, aren’t you?” His voice, his hands, his presence next to me, the fire light, the taste of him still in my mouth. So much sensation and so good I could barely stand it. And then I was coming, hearing myself shouting “Oh God Logan” as I did.
He stood up right afterwards, all business, tending to the fire. I suddenly felt cold.
“Temperature’s dropping,” he said, as if he’d read my mind. “We’ll be warmer in the tent. Let’s get some sleep. We can figure out how to get out of here in the morning.”
He disappeared into the tent and I followed soon after. He was asleep already, back to me. I felt like lying down behind him, holding his body to mine, but I didn’t. I lay down, turned the other way, listening to his rhythmic breathing.
I thought about what he’d said before, that it didn’t mean anything, what we had done. I was terrified that it was going to mean a lot – too much – to me. It took me a long time to fall asleep.
This is the last chapter of a six-part story. It starts here.