Continuity: During and immediately after Ultimate X-Men #6; something of a sequel to Eiluned's two Ultimate stories, "Just F*cking" and "On Guilt, Lust, and Repressing Emotions"

Rating: R for language and some discussion of sex

Disclaimer: No, they don't belong to me. I would have more fun with them…especially Logan. :)

Archive OK, should anyone wish to.

Many thanks to those who read over this for me, and especially to Rossi, who suggested a better last line than the one I had.

I love feedback, even the negative kind. --Miko


Leaving Home

When we got back to the mansion I went straight to the room. Jean was refusing to talk to me, and I figured it might be a good idea to give her some time to calm down before I tried reasoning with her. Besides, I was dead tired and filthy.

I stood in the door for a few seconds, looking around at the room -- my room. It was so strange to think of it that way. I hadn't personalized it a lot, but it smelled like me. And Jean.

I shook my head and peeled off my bloody uniform, heading for the shower. God, she'd been so beautiful, so absolutely perfect, I could feel myself getting aroused just picturing her. I turned the shower on and stared at it while it got warm, thinking about the way the water had run over her breasts and stomach...

Not useful. Lust was not what I needed here. I needed a reason why she shouldn't hate me. When the water was as hot as it would go I climbed in and started scrubbing, trying to get the smell of blood off my skin. Thinking the whole time, of course, and all I could come up with was, But I told her. I admitted it to her, I came clean. Don't I get any points for trusting her?

At last the water started to cool. I was bright red all over but at least I was clean. I rubbed a towel over my hair to get the worst of the water and all but fell into bed.

It was after noon by the time I woke up. I decided that talking to Jean could wait until I got myself something to eat, so I pulled on jeans, a t-shirt and my vest and headed for the kitchen. Storm was in there, talking to the Professor. As soon as she saw me coming she made some excuse to leave, studiously ignoring me on her way out. I grinned at her retreating back -- it was kinda funny that she disliked me so much. I couldn't figure out what I'd done, but it amused the hell out of me all the same.

As I wandered to the fridge Xavier said, "Feeling better?" I didn't bother trying to hide my mild embarrassment -- I'd snarled at him during the impromptu tickertape parade they'd held for us in Washington because I was in such a bad mood.

"Yeah, thanks," I said, and opened the fridge. Over the time I'd been there I'd figured out why Beast and Colossus were so huge -- the only question was why no one else was. That fridge was well stocked with just about anything you could want. I got out the makings of a sandwich and snagged one of Scooter's V8s. Jean hated the taste of them but I kinda like the stuff.

Xavier was quiet until I sat down at the big table with my sandwich. In fact he waited until I had a mouthful of roast beef before springing his statement on me.

"We'd like you to stay, Wolverine." I've had some practice at controlling my reactions, which will happen when you live with people who'll set you on fire even when they're not pissed, so I didn't choke.

I swallowed. "Jean told you why I came here," I said, and he nodded.

"Any doubts I might have had about the sincerity of your conversion faded when you saved my life on the White House lawn," he said wryly.

"Good to know," I said, and took another bite.

"We would like you to stay. You're a valuable addition to the team."

"Jean might argue with that. So would Cyclops," I pointed out. Not that I cared what Cyclops thought.

Xavier sighed. "They are both letting their emotions get in the wayof reason," he said. "Whether they like you or not, the fact remains that you're a skilled fighter and tactician. We can't afford to lose skills like that."

I put my sandwich down and said, "Well, Charlie, I'm flattered, but I've got to tell you I'm thinkin' of taking a leave of absence." I pretended not to notice the way he winced when I called him 'Charlie.' He didn't like it, thought it lacked dignity.

"Why? If it's Jean --"

"No." He raised an eyebrow at me. Damn telepaths anyway. "Not just that. I have some business to attend to with those government assholes."

He looked concerned but seemed to realize that it wasn't up for discussion. "Well, I for one will be sorry to see you go. When are you leaving?"

"In the morning, most likely." I picked up my sandwich again to have an excuse not to look at him. "I'll be back," I said, trying not to mumble. I could hardly believe what I was saying. I'm not a guy who's big on causes as a general rule, but something about this one compelled me.

"Wolverine...Logan. You should talk to Jean before you go," Xavier said. I suppressed a surge of irritation.

"I was planning to." I hoped he'd leave it at that but no such luck.

"She's very young, Logan. I know she acts maturely -- she can't survive any other way -- but at heart she's only nineteen."

I took a bite of my sandwich and chewed for as long as I could. Finally I had to swallow and speak. "I trusted her and she blew up, Charlie. What am I supposed to think about that?"

"I know it's not in your nature to trust easily…" I didn't try to hide my snort of laughter at that; it was the understatement of the year "…but keep in mind that Jean was shocked. And, after all, you had been lying to her up to that point."

"That's not the point and you know it," I said hotly. "The point is that I asked for her help and she threatened to rip my lungs out."

"You have to let that go if you're going to save your relationship," he said, and I blinked at him. Relationship? Did we even have a relationship? Sure, we'd been fucking, but since when is that a relationship?

The question that really stopped me, though, was, would it be so bad if we did have a relationship? If I had something to come back to that wasn't more fighting, more killing? I came out of my thoughts and saw Xavier watching me carefully. At least he probably hadn't heard me; I was still keeping my shields up, out of habit and courtesy. No need to inflict my troubled brain on anyone else, after all.

Xavier was still waiting for a response, and I didn't have one to give him. At last I said, "I'll try to keep that in mind." I gave him a nasty look but it didn't seem like he was impressed. He didn't say a word as I finished my sandwich and dumped my plate in the sink. As I went out the door, though, I heard him say, "Good luck."

Of course I ran into Scooter.

All but literally, in fact -- we both came around the corner too fast and just about collided. I managed to twist out of the way but he didn't seem to appreciate it. He looked me up and down like he was deciding whether to buy me. The dislike poured off him in waves. As I brushed past him, he said, "Wolverine."

For a second I almost kept going, but it wasn't likely I was going to get much other fun today so I turned back. I put as much amusement into my tone as I could muster and leaned one shoulder against the wall.

"What's up, Scott?"

He asked stiffly, "What are you still doing here?" Actually he did everything stiffly, most of the time -- all the time if he knew I was around. I grinned at him.

"Looking for my girl," I said as casually as I could, knowing the phrasing would make him angry.

"She's not your girl," he said sharply, just like clockwork.

I turned my grin into a leer and said, "That ain't what she says, Scooter." His jaw clenched and I could just about hear his teeth grinding, so I went on, "Maybe 'says' isn't the word I want. Maybe the word I want is 'moans,' y'know?"

It actually took him a few seconds to get enough control to talk. I just leaned there, enjoying the sight. I didn't have to make him mad to break up the team any more -- now it was just fun.

Finally he gritted, "I know why you're here." Changing the topic like a 14-year-old behind the wheel of a manual transmission. I shrugged and let him.

"No, you know why I was here."

"I know why you're here," he repeated, and looked incensed when I laughed.

"If I wanted Charlie dead I would've let Magneto kill him," I pointed out, and he flushed.

"I'll be keeping an eye on you, Wolverine," he said, and I suppressed the urge to laugh again. I thought about telling him I was leaving -- but why ruin the fun? So I just grinned at him again and turned away, making it as obvious as I could that I didn't consider him a threat. He stared after me and I heard him mutter, "Bastard."

The next few hours were an exercise in frustration. Every time I thought I'd picked up Jean's trail I found myself somewhere else, staring into space and unable to remember where I'd been. She didn't want to talk to me and she was clouding my perceptions to make sure I couldn't find her. In a way I was impressed; it showed just how far under my shields she'd gotten. Mostly though I was just mad as hell, especially when I walked through the living room for the fifteenth time and Storm looked up from the couch and giggled.

By the time I finally caught up to her the sun was almost touching the horizon. I thought at first she'd cooled off, but then I got a good look at her. Either she'd missed her mark trying to cloud me up again or she'd kept me running around all afternoon in the hopes of making me too mad to think straight. Fat chance of that, as I could have told her -- I've worked cold rage into an art and it doesn't get in the way of my thinking any more. Much.

She was standing in the main hallway, as if she thought I wouldn't start a fight there. She had those silly jeans of hers on, the ones with the patches on the knees, and that black top that was all front. She looked good enough to eat and I had to force myself to remember she'd threatened to kill me.

I came up to her and said, "That was a nasty trick, keeping me running around all afternoon."

She gave me a look of utter contempt. "And coming here to kill the Professor and lying to me about it wasn't," she said flatly.

"I didn't say that."

"You didn't have to."

"Jesus, Jean, it's not like I went through with it," I protested. I wondered why I was bothering. I'd gotten what I wanted out of her, right? Except looking at her wide green eyes, I realized that sex wasn't all I wanted out of her. Being around her felt like having a room that smelled like me: it felt like home. If I had to eat a little crow to keep that feeling going, well, I could live with that.

"You could have, Wolverine -- don't think I don't know it."

I made an effort and didn't yell. "So now I'm getting punished for something I didn't even do?"

"For me to punish you, you'd have to care what I think," she said coldly, and it was like a bullet to my chest. She thought I didn't care. I couldn't blame her -- I'd been fooling myself as much as her. On the other hand the cliche didn't really apply to her; she really isa mind reader, after all.

"Jeannie, of course I care what you think," I said as calmly as I could.

"Sure you do," she said, leaning against the wall with her arms crossed over her chest. I heard voices coming down the hall -- it was Chuck and Scooter. Jean didn't seem to notice them.

"--to take care of some unfinished business elsewhere," Xavier said.

"Really? I hadn't heard," Scooter replied, and I didn't have to look at him to see the shit-eating grin on his face.

"Don't look too disappointed, Mr. Summers."

I turned my attention back to Jean. "Yes, I care what you think. Jean, come on. Would I be here if I didn't?" I wasn’t sure whether I meant ‘here’ the mansion or ‘here’ talking to her. Probably a little of both.

"You're leaving in the morning, Wolverine. So don't shit me." She stressed my code name just a little, to make a point, I guess; she wasn't going to call me by my real name. I wasn't worthy of a name to her.

"I'll be back," I said, hating the desperation in my voice.

"Well don't expect me to be waiting," she said flatly. "There's more to life than sex and some men understand that."

"Men like Scott," I said, matching her tone.


"So when I get back you'll be shacked up with Scott?"

She hissed, "One, I don't 'shack up,' and two, Scott is twice the man you'll ever be."

To hell with reasoning with her. "Just keep that in mind the next time Scooter's working up the nerve to go for second base, babe." I turned and stalked off down the hall. I got to the foot of the stairs before she called, "Logan." I paused with one hand on the banister and she ran up behind me. It was hard to keep the anger up with her scent filling my nostrils, but I managed.

"Are you really coming back?" she asked, sounding like that might not be so horrible.

I put every ounce of sincerity I could muster into my tone. "I said so, didn't I?" This was clearly the wrong tack to take -- I could see her shutting down again.

"You said a lot of things," she said bitterly. I threw my hands in the air, unable to stand it any more.

"What the hell do you want from me, woman? I came here to kill the Professor, yes, I admit it. But Jesus! You may have noticed that he's still alive and kicking -- OK, not kicking, but he's alive. In fact, he's alive because I saved his life from a guy who could have ripped me in half in his fucking sleep." I popped the claws on my right hand, just for illustration, and let them snap back again. Jean opened her mouth to say something but I cut her off. "Not only that, Red, but I told you about it. I trusted you enough to tell you. I came to you for help, and what did you do? You threatened to rip my lungs out. Your very words. Nice stuff from a chick who claims to want to help other mutants. So you can just take your high horse and fucking shove it."

She said stubbornly, "You lied to me."

I gave up the fight to keep my voice under control and yelled, "I told you the truth too, Red! But I'm not pure as the driven snow, so I guess I'm not good enough for you, am I?" I didn't want to wait for an answer; I was afraid of what it would be. This time she let me go.

By the time I got back to my room I was kicking myself. That couldn't have gone any worse if I'd planned it. I slammed my door behind me and sat on the bed with my head in my hands. Damn. If she hadn't hated me before she sure did now. 'Congratulations, Logan, you've just fucked up the best chance you've ever had at a decent relationship. Or at least the best one you remember.'

I stood up and went to the dresser. I'd had to get new clothes -- everything I had on me when I went through JFK had been shredded by that bastard Wraith and his little party pals. I needed a new duffel bag too...

I thought about inconsequential things because it was easier than thinking about Jean. In a way it didn't matter; I was leaving in the morning no matter what happened with her. On the other hand, I knew that my business wouldn't take forever, and when it was over it'd be a lot easier to come back if she'd at least talk to me. I could just see myself in a crummy hotel, packing up my bag and leaving, disappearing somewhere not even Xavier could find me. I knew that moment of choice would come, and I could have been more sure of which way I'd go if Jean had shown even a little understanding.

I didn't go down for dinner.

When it got to be 2 am and I still hadn't slept I got out of bed and padded down the hall to Jean's room. The mansion was dead quiet, but even so a normal person wouldn't have been able to hear the sounds that drifted out through the door; that place has some thick walls.

She was moaning. In a very familiar way. It sounded like she was going to hit orgasm at any moment. And there was a scent in the hall, fairly fresh: Scott.

I stood there riveted, listening to her voice climbing to a peak. My claws popped and I almost didn't feel it. I savoured the image of tearing open her door and skewering them both, and I actually reached for the knob before I got a grip on myself. What did it matter? No matter what I'd felt, clearly for her it had only been fucking after all. She'd gotten a taste of it and now she didn't care who she got it from. Well, fine. She wasn't the only one who could be cold.

In the morning I packed up my new duffel, called a cab, and went down to snag something to eat. Jean was in the kitchen alone. She didn't seem surprised to see me.

"Logan, I just wanted to tell you--" she began.

"That Scott's twice the man I'll ever be? Yeah, so I heard." I grabbed an apple and headed for the door, more interested in getting away than eating. I had plenty of money, I could always stop for something on the road.

"What?" she asked, sounding shocked.

I couldn't keep the bitterness out of my tone. "I was coming to talk to you, Red, but you were otherwise engaged. So much for more to life than sex, huh?" I pulled the back door open sharply and heard her coming up behind me, so I growled without turning. She skidded to a stop out of arm's reach, smart girl.

"It's not what you think," she said quietly. I wished I could believe it, I really did, but after the way she’d acted it just wasn’t in me to be forgiving.

"Sure," I said with as much sarcasm as I could muster, and shut the door behind me. As I stalked along the path I felt Jean's mind touch mine.

-Logan,- she said, -I was alone. I was thinking of you.- She gave me an image, of herself lying alone in her bed, but I knew it was a lie.

-Outta my head, Jean,- I thought back, and made the effort to close my mind like a fist, putting up every shield I'd ever learned to use. It cut off the contact neatly; I could feel her pushing at my mind but she couldn't get in. The mind touch kept up most of the way down the drive, but at last she stopped trying.

I had to wait for the cab. When it arrived I gave the driver my destination and settled back, hoping he wouldn't get chatty.

I resisted the urge to turn and watch the mansion disappearing behind me, and if I caught a glimpse of red-brick walls in the rearview mirror, no one else would ever have to know.