Disclaimer: The X-men and their world belong to Mavel/Fox. No profit or copyright infringement is intended. This is an X-men Shared Universe, orignally imagined by Tarchannon, Dark Legends is a dark future where the next generation of the Legacy virus has triggered disturbing changes in the X-men. For further stories by a variety of authors and poets, go here.
She was asleep. Exhausted after dealing with her Dog and resisting the mental attack that had come later. Scott rested his head wearily on the foot board, his chain rattled faintly. The collar was tight, reminding him of his place, just like sleeping here on the floor at the foot of her bed reminded him. Just like the welts and bruises, the bite marks and wrenched muscles did.
His place was down. Low. It was where he belonged and he just wanted to sink into it and not think. Except he had to. Which is why he'd waited until she was asleep. She didn't approve of him thinking. She didn't permit it. She had ways to make impossible for him to think.
Scott stared dully at the blood stained carpet, picking at a shard of glass imbedded in his arm. Glass glittered on the floor, the broken riding crop lay against one wall where she'd thrown it when Logan continued to defy her. After - Scott cut the memory off. He was getting good at that.
She stirred in the bed, muttering something in another language. Someone else's thoughts, swamping her own. Scott listened anxiously. He was terrified that, someday, she simply wouldn't come back. That she'd be lost forever in the chaos of other minds. He couldn't bear that. After all they'd been through, to lose her. He'd already paid to high a price. Logan had paid a higher one. They'd both die to keep her safe, but not at her hands.
Scott reached under the bed, where he'd thrown his boots after Warren's funeral. There was a pin, hidden in the leather, for times like this. He pulled it out and went to work on the padlock. Sucked on his split lip as he tried to trick the lock into letting him go - just for a little while. He wouldn't leave her, he promised - as if that would make the lock more cooperative. Something worked and it clicked loudly in the chilly silence. Scott froze on his knees until he was sure she wasn't going to wake. After what had already happened, he didn't want to imagine what she might do if she found him wandering free.
Naked he padded out into the hallway, pausing at the linen cabinet to grab a sheet to wear. He straightened up and combed back his hair with his fingers. He had responsibilities.
The hallway was a mess and Scott frowned. He'd have to instruct someone to clean it up. He followed the occasional smears of blood to Logan's room. It was closed but a dim light shown from inside and - he pushed the door open to see the new recruit roll quickly off of Logan's bed. LeBeau stalked over, blocking Scott's entry.
"W'at you want, homme?" He hissed softly, alien eyes blazing with rage. He was wearing a rumpled silk shirt and velvet pants, Scott glimpsed a fading, greenish bruise on his neck and recognized Logan's mark. He had a few of his own. "W'at you 'ere for? Not done enough, eh?"
Scott stiffened, pulling the sheet tighter around him. He hadn't expected anyone to be in Logan's room. The newcomer had no right to question him. Question any of them. He started to snap out a command, demanding that the stranger move out of his way. LeBeau jerked his chin up defiantly and Scott realized that he was - foolishly - trying to protect Logan. He had to admit it was a good sign, the recruit was integrating into the team. Scott reminded himself that it would be counterproductive to drive the young mutant into open rebellion. He had to retain control over the team and they needed this man. "I came to see to my man."
"Yo're man -!" The red eyed mutant snarled, voice rising. There was a weak rumble from inside the room and LeBeau glanced over his shoulder and lowered his voice back to a whisper. "Gambit done spent de last hour digging glass out of de man's back! His eye still wounded - I t'ought dis man heal! He not talking, jus' snarl at Gambit. W'at you *do* to him?"
Scott swallowed. "Let me see him."
The newcomer shifted uncertainly. "Gambit should jus take dis man away from you - from you both!"
"Don't even try it." Scott snapped. "If Jean didn't kill you for it, I would! Let me see him, dammit! I - need to know."
Scott closed his eyes, unable to block the memory of Logan, blood smeared and damaged and barely able to walk. The miserable knowledge that he'd been unable to protect Logan - all the times the man had protected him and Scott had failed him. "I - need to make sure he's alright."
Mouth tight with dislike, the stranger backed away. "If he don' want you here, homme, you go."
"Don't try to order me around. I'm the commander here."
Logan had gathered a pile of sheets and blankets between the bed and the wall and was curled up in that relative safety. When Scott came around and crouched at the edge of the nest, Logan glanced over at him, one eye still swollen shut. Scott sighed in relief. The eye was black and blue, still swollen but nothing like what it had looked like earlier. It was healing. Wolverine was cleaner, blood mostly washed away. Scott glanced up at the newcomer in grudging thanks.
"Logan - Logan - do you understand me?" Scott said softly. "Logan."
The Wolverine only shifted restlessly, lip lifting to bear his teeth. The man had gone feral - as good a way to recover as any, Scott supposed. Sometimes he wished he had such an escape. He reached out, carefully, to check the man's back. His sheet slid off his shoulders as Logan came closer. The man nuzzled Scott's neck, scenting him, touching his injuries with gentle, confused, hands. Scott felt him lick a welt. Even now, Logan was trying to comfort him.
"I'm alright, Logan." He murmured, blinking back sudden tears. "It's alright. We'll be alright. Really - we - we'll be alright."
"Is he - still bleeding - ah - anywhere?" Scott asked awkwardly.
"You mean is de homme still bleeding from where you raped him?" The rage in the other man's voice made Logan snarl and bear his teeth at the tall stranger. The Wolverine might have accepted the newcomer but Scott still came first.
"Keep your voice even, LeBeau." Scott said, quietly. He touched Logan, combing back the tangled, wild hair. Soothing him as best he could. Wolverine retreated from them both, back to his corner and glared unhappily at them. Scott let him be, went over to LeBeau and dragged him back to the doorway.
"I didn't - " Scott broke off. Closed his eyes. It wasn't this man's business. Except it was - Logan had accepted him. Was accepting him even in his current state. "It was an object, not my - my dick. Is he still bleeding?"
"Non." The man shook his head briefly. "Dat stop while Gambit was - cleaning him up."
Scott sighed in relief. "He'll be alright. He told me once that flesh wounds - muscle and tissue damage heals quickest. Organs - they can take days or weeks. He said - he lost an eye once and it took a month to regrow. The eye will probably heal in a day or so."
"W'at happen to his mind?" The man's voice was sharp with worry and Scott was pleased to hear it. LeBeau seemed genuinely concerned. "Ders somet'ing wrong wid him."
"No. Well - yes. But it's just the way he is. Not from - from the virus." Scott struggled to explain something no one had ever really understood. "He does this, sometimes, goes - wild, feral. Acts like an animal. Forgets how to talk. Jean said - "
He broke off, swallowed and made himself go on. "She said that it's probably the way that he's kept himself sane through - everything that he's survived."
"Takin' a break, eh?"
Scott nodded. The stranger shrugged gracefully. "W'atever works, homme."
"Right." Scott looked over to where Logan had hidden himself away, then back at the slim stranger. The young man's strange eyes were hard and unforgiving. Scott fidgeted with the end of his sheet, aware again of the bruises and welts. Reminded of the filth of his home, the madness of his wife. He saw himself and his people through this stranger's eyes for a moment and was horrified. "LeBeau - I - we - we're not what you're seeing now. We - we were all so much - *more*, once. I - just - please, we aren't what you're seeing now."
He trailed off and dropped his gaze from the other man's. There was no point. No hope of explaining. Just - he hated being reduced to this - mockery of himself.
LeBeau touched his hand briefly, a feather light brush that startled Scott. He couldn't recall the last time anyone besides his wife or Logan had touched him. "Ah - homme. Gambit, he understand dis. We - all fighting dis thing - dis virus. Gambit - not what he seems either."
Scott pulled his sheet up and turned away. "Take care of him. He's accepted you and that's a good sign."