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Brethren

by Janet F. Caires-Lesgold

     Date:  Sat Aug 31, 2002  4:21 pm
     Subject:  SpM/XMM FIC: Brethren (1/2) NC-17

     Title: BRETHREN (A Spider-Man/X-Men Movies crossover story)
     Author: Janet F. Caires-Lesgold
     Feedback to: jfc013@merle.it.northwestern.edu
     Archive: Mailing list archives only--others please ask
     permission!
     Category: Angst, smut
     Timeframe: Immediately after the "Spider-Man" film, and not
     long after the "X-Men" film
     Rating: NC-17 for language and m/m sexual interaction
     Pairing: Peter/Logan (Peter/Harry implied)
     Summary: Two strangers collide in the night
     DISCLAIMER: The characters you recognize do not belong to
     me, but are parts of the Marvel Comics Universe. Spider-Man
     was created by Stan Lee with Steve Ditko, and appears in the
     2002 Columbia Pictures film of the same name, screenplay by
     David Koepp and directed by Sam Raimi. Wolverine was created
     by Stan Lee, and appears in the 2000 20th Century Fox film
     "X-Men", screenplay by David Hayter and directed by Bryan
     Singer. This story is just for the entertainment of my
     online friends and myself, not for any profit.
     DEDICATION: For the back-up squad.
     AUTHOR'S NOTE: I don't know why. I just had to do this.
     COPYRIGHT: (C) Janet F. Caires-Lesgold August 30, 2002
     jfc013@merle.it.northwestern.edu Please don't redistribute
     or alter this story in any way without the express
     permission of the author. Thank you very much.

I had to leave.

It didn't take me long to pack up my things after the funeral while Harry was off with other relatives, in a big house with servants and polite people in dark clothing. I'm sure he didn't even notice that I wasn't there, anymore than he would notice right away that I'd left the apartment. Aunt May was keeping the important stuff for me, anyway, so the clothes and books I'd brought with me fit back into the suitcase, backpack, and steamer trunk with which I'd arrived. The suit--tights, mask, and all--was crammed into the very bottom of the trunk, not because I was trying to forget about it (I kept telling myself), but simply because it had been the first thing I'd thought to pack. When I put all of it into the car, it didn't even look like I was running away.

But running away was in fact what I was doing. I had no trouble convincing myself that it was best to forget anything that might have developed with Mary Jane--it would be for her protection: from Harry, from the next loony--heck, from me. My feelings about Harry were not quite as easy to suppress.

As I drove out of the city and onto the highway, I kept picturing his face before me at the cemetery, his eyes not quite seeing mine as he swore revenge on his father's murderer, the thought that it could be me the furthest thing from his mind. Then there were the other Harrys I recalled as well: the playful kid challenging me to one more game on the card table or the computer; the earnest fellow arguing late into the night about movies or sports or girls; the irresistible man waking me up in the morning with a fierce kiss or voracious blowjob. No matter how much I'd yearned for Mary Jane, the only person who'd ever touched me and taken me out of myself, sexually or otherwise, had been Harry Osbourne.

That was why I had to get away--call me a chickenshit if you must, but I couldn't handle the possibility that he would suddenly see through my disguise and turn his wrath against me at a vulnerable moment. Maybe after a break, I'd be ready to face him on the field of battle like I had his father, but only from behind my mask. He would be able to do whatever he wished to Spider-Man, as long as Peter, who once called himself Harry's lover, was safely hidden away.

When night fell, New York City was miles behind me and nothing in particular was in front of me--well, nothing but a gas station next to a copse of trees across the two-lane from a motel with an attached diner and a sputtering neon sign. I finally roused myself from my road fugue state and checked the gas gauge, then turned towards the fluorescent lighting at the very last moment.

A sinister-looking character in a battered leather jacket was fueling a motorcycle at the next pump, giving off anti-social vibes with every puff on the stump of a cigar he clutched in his teeth. Rather than risk pissing him off, I chose not to indicate the "No Smoking" signs easily visible over our heads. I breathed a silent sigh of relief when he replaced the pump nozzle and went inside to settle his bill. Unfortunately, he was still browsing at the magazine rack when I followed a few moments later, so I made a great show of shopping for stale candy bars while I waited for him to get going.

My ears pricked up when two more customers, both in jeans and denim jackets, entered the service station. The heavier of the two, a dull-looking guy in a beer-labeled cap, asked for the key to the men's room. "There's just the one, around back, but my assistant is out there now. You'll have to wait," warned the tall, gangly clerk. The guy in the cap wandered back outside anyway, leaving his bareheaded companion beside the cold-drink display.

I caught sight of a TV monitor showing the view from four security cameras behind the counter and, spotting myself in one of the squares, gave a surreptitious wave to my image onscreen. Just then, a sudden movement in one of the other squares attracted my attention. It was an exterior shot of what I realized was the view of the washroom door, which opened to reveal the clerk's assistant, a brown-haired girl who was probably only just old enough to work there. In a blur of activity, I could see the heavy guy in the cap push her back inside the small room, shoving her down to the floor and nearly out of camera range. All of my internal alarms went off, and I sprang to the door and out.

As I scrambled up the outside wall, I noted through the window that the other customer in denim pulled a gun on the clerk the moment I was out the door. Before I looked away, the cigar-chomper spun and wielded what looked like a switchblade, but I couldn't tell whose side he was on.

Choosing my battle by gut instinct alone, I went straight over the roof to the side of the building where the clerk had pointed that the washroom was. I followed the muffled voices to the open door, which looked out on nothing but trees and New York State wilderness. Peeking under the top of the doorframe, I could see the man muzzling the helpless girl on the floor with one hand that still held a long knife, as he reached toward the belt of her jeans with the other. My instincts to protect the innocent in full force, I held onto the jamb and swung myself inside the door, though I misjudged the height at first, whereupon my feet kicked out ineffectually above the pair on the floor.

Reorienting myself, I extended my arms so that my foot connected with the guy's knife hand, making the weapon skitter across the filthy tile. I jumped down and pulled him off of the girl, clocking him a couple of times in the head to distract him and kicking him neatly in the balls until he curled up in the corner in pain. Before he could stand up again, I grabbed him and tied him securely with web, then tried to find a place to put him, settling at last on letting him dangle from the branch of a tree outside.

Immediately, my attention flew to the girl, who sat huddled on the floor near the discarded knife. "Did he hurt you?" I asked, my voice only cracking a little.

She rubbed at the back of her head and regarded me with a terrified gaze. "Who are you? What are you?"

Having left the suit packed away in my trunk suddenly seemed like a very stupid idea. "I've got some, er, skills that come in handy sometimes. I'm sorry if I frightened you, but I just felt I had to help you. Are you okay?" I asked, holding out my hand to help her off of the floor.

Taking my hand tentatively, she got her feet under herself and stood up. "I hit my head..." she began, taking her other hand away from her hair and looking at it carefully.

"Let me see," I said, tugging her around gently by her arm. Scanning her scalp quickly, I found no surface injuries. "The skin isn't broken, but you might have a concussion. Let's go inside to find you some ice and call an ambulance, okay?" I tried to put my arm around her, but still she shied away from me. "Don't be scared. It's okay. I won't hurt you."

Together we walked around to the front of the building, even though I wasn't quite sure what we would find there. I kept her within my view but safely around the corner until I surveyed the situation inside. Much to my happy surprise, the leather-jacketed guy held the gunman against the wall with the knife I'd seen him draw pressed to his throat. However, I looked again, noting that the blade wasn't from a knife, but protruded from between his knuckles, and that there was more than one of them. The handgun lay forgotten on the counter, or most of it did, because the barrel and part of the chamber had been neatly sheared off and lay on the floor in front of the candy rack.

I gestured to the assistant through the window that it was safe to come back in. Once she saw her boss, who was on the phone giving directions to someone, the girl ran in the door and flew to his side. "Have them send an ambulance," I mouthed at him as clearly as I could. "This guy's friend tried to... uh..." The fellow's eyes grew large, but he nodded very seriously and made the request to the person on the other end of the connection.

I stepped over to where the guy I hadn't trusted held the guy I shouldn't have trusted up against the grimy laminated map of New York tacked to the wall. "Everything under control?" I asked.

Looking at me with a glint in his eyes, and ignoring the squirming would-be robber at the end of his arm, he replied, "Yeah. You?"

"I guess they were working in tandem. Once this guy saw his partner occupied with the girl in the washroom, he took his chance. Luckily, I got there before he got very far."

"Lucky for her. Good work. I had missed that." He hunted around behind me. "Where's your guy?"

He had me glancing over my own shoulder until I realized what he meant. "Oh. Hanging up in a tree outside. He's not going anywhere."

"Alive?" he asked matter-of-factly.

"Bruised. He'll think twice before he tries to take advantage of a woman again anytime soon."

That earned me a brief, sparkling grin that I hadn't expected at all, one that made a little warm glow begin somewhere in my gut. "If I had a chance with him, he'd think twice before taking a piss anytime soon."

"Done," I grinned back.

"Good man. You, uh, traveling?"

I looked at him, trying to read the unasked questions in his eyes. "I guess you could say that."

"Are you going far?"

Through the window, I spotted my newly-fueled car waiting for me under the glaring lights outside, and the motel beyond it. "I don't know. I don't think I had a destination in mind, so maybe I'd better stop for the night."

"You sound like me. Join me for a drink after the cops take over here?"

It didn't take me more than three seconds to decide that that sounded like an excellent suggestion. "I'd like that."

Flashing red and blue lights coming up the road interrupted my train of thought, so I exchanged a nod with the fellow in leather, paid our tabs with the gas station manager, then went on out to my car. I watched my compatriot hesitate just until the state patrol had parked in front of the door and started moving to the door of the small cinder-block-and-glass building before letting go of his perpetrator and leaving the establishment as if everything were completely normal, or as if he were invisible.

His boots scuffed the concrete quietly as he approached his bike. "You don't give statements, either," I observed once he was in earshot.

"Naaah," he drawled. "Too many questions I don't want to answer."

"Do you mind me asking a few before we get around people again?"

"It'll cost you a nickel each," he answered flatly, before another grin twisted the corner of his mouth so I knew he was teasing.

"Were those things your idea?" I asked, tipping my chin toward his hands.

"What, these?" he asked, flexing the fingers of both hands, then extending three deadly-looking blades from between all of his knuckles with a sharp 'snikt'. "Can't place the blame for them on anybody, really. If anybody ever claimed responsibility for implanting them, I think I'd take up Benihana on the lot of them."

The frown knitting his brows disturbed me more than his threat of revenge. "They hurt?"

"Every fucking time," he replied, retracting them with a wince. I watched in awe as the skin between his fingers seemed to seal up immediately behind the knives once they were seated inside his arms.

"Neat trick," I commented, swallowing hard so I wouldn't throw up.

"Useful, anyway. Kinda like how you climbed right up the wall..."

"You saw me?"

"Through the window. You went up the glass," he pointed out wryly. "Skill?"

"Mutation. Damned spider bite..."

"Hope you stepped on it," he chided quietly, then considered something. "You said you tied the guy up out back..."

Unfortunately, the facade of the building prevented us from seeing the tree where the cops had gone to cut down my dangling criminal. Instead, I demonstrated my web by shooting a strand at the windshield squeegee resting in the nearby basin, then using it to jerk the implement into my hand.

My new friend nodded appreciatively. "Also a neat trick. Now about that drink..."

"Sure--just a minute," I stalled as I applied the sponge end of the wash wand to a bug that had splattered rather gorily across my windshield.

"You're not gonna eat that?" he mocked lightly.

Shooting him a dirty look, I answered, "For that, you're buying."

"Fair enough," he agreed, releasing a small chuckle that made me feel more victorious than saving a teenage girl from a possible rapist.

We moved our respective vehicles to the lot across the road, then found ourselves escorted to a quiet booth for two at the diner. When the waitress came for our drink orders, my partner asked for Canadian whiskey and scoffed at my request for a Coke. "What's the matter?" he sneered slightly. "Aren't you old enough to drink?"

"Actually," I replied bluntly, "no, I'm not." Before the worry in his eyes spread any further, I added, "However, I am legal for just about everything else."

Rather than let himself think about what I had implied, he gazed out the window at my piece-of-crap sedan. "Except renting a car, eh, bub?" A quick nasal exhalation conveyed his amusement, and the momentary tension was broken.

"Look," I began again, "I don't even know your name..."

"Logan", he offered, sticking out his hand to shake, and not even reacting when I flinched at it just a little. He must have been used to that.

Taking his hand, I shook it like a man. "I'm Pete. It's nice to meet someone else who's had... um..."

"Opportunities?" His eyes lit with humor, some of it at himself. "You'll have to excuse me. One of the girls I work with says things like 'There's no such thing as problems--only opportunities.' If she weren't gorgeous and psychic, I'd belt her when she says that."

Even I had to laugh at that as I peeled the wrapper off of my straw and stuck it in my Coke. "Gorgeous, huh? What does she think of you?"

"She thinks I'm cute, like a lab monkey is cute. Besides, if I so much as touched her, her boyfriend would blow my head off."

"Figuratively?"

"Literally. You're not the only kid out there who's had, um, opportunities."

"I see," I muttered, studying a menu half-heartedly. "You say you work with this girl? Where do you work?"

"A private institution upstate. Why do you want to know? You looking for a job?"

"No--no. I like the city, and I work best alone." An oddly-faded full-color photograph of a plate of steak and eggs captured my attention, or I pretended that it did.

Reluctantly grabbing a menu of his own, Logan got quieter, as if that were possible. "This is a long way from the city."

I couldn't look at him right then. "You could say I needed a break."

"From something or somebody?"

When I glanced up, he was watching me from under his beetled brows. "Uh, yeah..."

"Mm-hmmm..." he nodded, turning a pasteboard page slowly. "Can I assume that there's a girl involved?"

It was my turn to look out the window. "You can. You'd be only half-right, but you can assume that."

"Ooooh--you're in love with a hermaphrodite? Very open-minded of you..."

"Knock it off. That's not what I meant..."

"Sorry. I'm gonna guess we're not talking about two girls. So there's a jealous boyfriend then?"

I met his half smile with as much of a scowl as I could produce. "Not quite."

This startled him out of his teasing mode. "Oh. I see... Do they know about each other? Or--is that what you needed a break from?"

"No--nothing like that. Just... It's complicated."

"Oh... Sorry," he muttered, staring a hole through the menu, and possibly the table beneath. Abruptly he shut the cover, making the dust on the silk leaves of the fake flower in the bud vase on our table fly up a little. The noise attracted the attention of our waitress, who scurried over and took our food order, leaving us in strained silence again.


When I finally got uncomfortable, I valiantly tried to catch his eye. "Logan? I understand if you can't deal with me being, er, different. Just talk to me, okay?"

It surprised me when he reached across the table and patted my hand, looking me straight in the eye. "You're not the only one who's 'different', Pete. I just didn't want to pry into your personal life."

I put my other hand on top of his, not quite sure if we were both talking about the same thing. "Are you saying...? I mean, I thought you liked that girl you work with..."

"I do. I like her boyfriend, too, but it's not like I'm gonna get anywhere with either of them." He continued gazing at me, like he was tasting my brain through my eyes.

His hesitation still worried me. "Is it my age? I mean, I am over eighteen, if that's what's bothering you."

Shifting in his seat, he brought his other hand to rest on the clutch in the middle of the table. Something in his expression made him seem suddenly ancient and feeling every year all at once. "Pete," he sighed quietly, "are you just here looking for a fuck? Because I could save some scarce pocket change if we just forgot dinner, got a room, and got it over with if that's all you want."

I could feel my eyes narrow under his stare. "No. I mean, if the situation were to arise," I paused pointedly, "I wouldn't turn it down. But I don't think that's all we have to offer each other. I can't talk about my abilities with anybody, Logan. It's just sheer luck that I ran into you here tonight, and I'm enjoying letting my hair down and just being on equal footing with somebody for a change--somebody who understands, you know?"

At that, the corner of his mouth twitched up again, and the years he'd acquired fell away before my eyes. Squeezing my hands once, he released his grip and went back to fidgeting with his drink and cocktail napkin. "So," he said eventually, "you still in school?"

I wondered at his sudden change of topic until I saw the waitress returning with our food. "Nope--I'm a newspaper photographer."

We made innocuous conversation as we tucked into dinner: a mushroom omelet for me, and a roast beef sandwich and fries for him. I told him about the newspaper business, and he told me about the research facility and school where he worked, while both of us kept skirting the issue of how we accomplished what we really did in case anyone else were listening.

Eventually he ordered another whiskey, and I got a refill for my Coke. As the waitress cleared our plates, he gave me an indulgent look. "Well, tell me about the girl..."

"Girl?" I asked stupidly.

"The one back in the city. You love her?"

I couldn't suppress a small smile. "Yeah. She's special."

His smile echoed mine. "She love you?"

I remembered a rainy street, a peculiar angle, and a kiss that nearly melted my socks. "I think so. We just can't be together. She doesn't know about me..." My voice trailed off forlornly.

"I'm sorry. What about the boy?"

My memory whiplashed back to Harry, and my pulse tripped up in elation before my heart made what I could have sworn was an audible thud in my chest. I found myself gnawing on my lips rather than answer him.

"Is this the complicated part?" he asked gently, sipping at his glass.

"Definitely," I answered, eyes closed to keep the visions inside, as well as any stray moisture.

"Does he love you, too?" It was almost a whisper.

Even more quietly than he, I replied, "He won't when he figures out that I killed his father."

"You..."

"It was my job. I had to do it. He swore revenge on the killer right at the funeral, right to my face! I don't think I can ever speak to him again..." All my defenses broke at once, and I felt hot tears roll down my cheeks before I could blink them back.

I sat desolate for a few moments before I realized that I was alone. That just made me cry a little harder until I noticed that Logan had taken our dinner check to the cashier. He pulled some paper napkins from a dispenser on a nearby table and handed them to me as he passed our table on his way to the exit door. Gratefully, I wiped my eyes and cleared my throat, then joined him outside.

"You okay?" he asked when he saw me, still keeping his distance.

I nodded my reply, blowing my nose in a pocket handkerchief.

Glancing at the motel office, then back at me, he said, "Go get a room for the night. I'll pay half."

After following his instructions, I held a key on a huge plastic tag as I grabbed the backpack from my car, then met him by his bike. We walked to the room together like it was the most natural thing in the world, which actually felt pretty nice.

Before I could put the key in the lock, he held up his hand. "Now, are you sure you're not jailbait?" he asked, a grin just below the surface.

Half-grinning back at him, I answered, "Positive," then opened the room to let us inside.

"Good," he affirmed. "I've had a little trouble with that recently..."

I gave him an askance look at that statement, but he was not forthcoming with more information. As I locked the door and pulled the windowshades, I assured him, "Besides, we're still in the same state. I think you're safe."

Shaking his head in mock annoyance, he sighed audibly and moved in front of me. As he stood before me, I was shocked to note that he was almost exactly my height--his personality had given me the illusion that he was much taller. I didn't have time to think about that for long, though, because he suddenly grabbed me in his arms and held on tight. My arms snaked around his back, the muscles of which almost rippled under my fingertips. Leaning against his body, I drew strength from the comfort he offered, something I realized I'd been needing after a very difficult week, or even longer.

When his grip loosened a little, I lay my head on his shoulder, drinking in his scent of cigar smoke, leather, and gunmetal. His bones felt weird under my cheek, but I thought it best not to ask any more questions. A gaze of curious kindness and infinite patience fell on me, and I raised my head at last in response to it.

A turn of his head, and he was kissing me. Tender lips in the midst of bristling whiskers brushed against mine, then pressed more and more ardently. The way they moved encouraged me to open my mouth to him, but just then I was overwhelmed by an ill-timed need to yawn widely.

"You're exhausted," he observed at last. "I think you could use some sleep more than anything else right now."

I had to admit he was right, and broke our embrace reluctantly. "What about you?"

"I'm not going anywhere," he assured me with a warm smile.

Wordlessly, we took turns in the bathroom, settling into bed beside one another within a few minutes.

"Goodnight, Logan," I murmured through the darkness from my flattened foam pillow. "Sorry I'm not that interested right now."

"I'll see you in the morning, Pete," was all I heard him say before I fell fast asleep.

The next sound I heard was screaming. I sat bolt upright, looking around for a fire or something, when I found that Logan was wailing at full volume on the pillow next to mine. A quick glance at my watch told me that a few hours had passed, but that sunrise was still some time off. Assessing the situation quickly, I determined that he was having a nightmare, and that I needed to wake him up as gently as possible, but steering clear of his blades just in case.

I rolled heavily to straddle his body and firmly gripped both of his wrists simultaneously, holding his hands out of the way of my shins. "Logan?" I called to him, just loud enough to be heard over his shrieks. "I need you to wake up. Come back, Logan. You're safe."

He startled awake with a stiff tremor running down his spine and tried to sit up, finding me in the way. Sure enough, his blades shot out in self-defense, so I was glad I'd thought to hold him down.

"Quiet, Logan. You're okay. I'll take care of you." Shaking his head to dislodge the last of the bad dreams, he finally let his eyes land on me in the dim light.

"Thank you, Pete. I apologize if I scared you."

Crawling back to my own side of the bed, I answered, "It's okay. You couldn't help it. Do you need anything?"

"Yeah. Lemme go to the john, and I'll be back."

While he was gone, I coaxed my heart to return to its normal rhythm as I squinted in the streams of light around the bathroom door. Before long, however, the light was shut off again, and he was beside me again.

"Do you have nightmares a lot?" I asked quietly.

"Yeah--mostly images I can't quite make out, like a lot of people are hurting me and I can't fight them. It's terrifying."

I chuckled to break the tension. "You're telling me..."

"Sorry," he answered sheepishly. "I'm just glad you didn't get injured."

"Quick thinking and fast reflexes," I bragged jokingly.

"Good for you," he nodded, the last drops of humor squeezed out of his voice as he stretched out on his pillow once again. "C'mere," he purred, gesturing me to his side.

Nestling against him, I traced a finger through the hair on his bare chest slowly, just a little afraid of what might happen next. In the wink of an eye, he grasped my wrist and pulled my hand towards his face, finally placing a damp kiss in the middle of my palm, and another just inside my wrist. A startling jolt hit me when his tongue snaked out and caressed the opening of the gland where my web emerged, making me instantly hard. My reaction must have been apparent, because he smiled at me wickedly and feinted as if to do it again. At the last second, though, he drew my hand away from his mouth and raised his head to capture my lips with his own.

We repositioned ourselves for the optimal kissing angle and feasted off each other's mouths for a long time, pausing only for the occasional breath or swipe of tongues along the lines of our lips. My hand cupped him through his jeans, letting me picture great heat and power pulsing behind the cotton threads and metal teeth. "Should I fuck you, Pete?" he said plainly into my ear.

"No--not this time," I answered, not caring if my fear showed in my voice.

If my hesitance surprised him, he did not show it. "All right," he agreed, kissing me a little longer, then rolling me onto my back and pushing my pajama pants down to my knees. "I won't hurt you," he reassured me, stroking my cock slowly, as visions of his blades gliding so close to my sensitive places terrified me and aroused me beyond all sense.

My eyes were tightly closed, so I almost missed it when he slid down and replaced his hand with his mouth, sucking me in slowly and purposefully. The only thing I could touch was his hair, so I wound my fingers in the splayed mop and held on tight as he licked and swallowed me whole. "Oh, God," I groaned, "I've gotta come."

The sound and sensation of him chuckling and humming around my dick was just too much, and I exploded into his mouth, shooting so hard I shook down to my toes. He took it all, though, lapping up the excess from my stomach almost reverently. I was feeling too good and spent to do more than nuzzle against his throat when he rose back up above me and kissed me on the forehead. A flurry of activity at his waist, and I could feel his naked erection pushed against my belly, where it stroked in a hot and steady rhythm up and down my skin.

Before long, his seed spilled onto me as he grunted in satisfaction. By then I was able to open my eyes and watch him, wondering just what it would be like with this wild man inside me, his blades unsheathed and just teasing my balls and cock. His hips continued to pump his hardness on my body, causing just enough friction to make me come again, whereupon I must have fainted.

When I could see again, Logan was tugging my pajamas back up to my freshly-washed stomach, then sat back, looking into my eyes curiously. "You're back," he said, joking but kind, brushing my bangs away from my forehead with his thumb. "You okay?" he asked me again, looking like he took some comfort from my silent nod. "I think we'd better get some more sleep, don't you?" Before I had the chance to answer, he lay down beside me again and settled on his pillow.

"Logan?" I called out, hoping he hadn't dozed off yet.

"Yeah?" he replied in a whisper.

"Thank you."

Once again he hovered over me and kissed me warmly, then snuggled close. "You're welcome. We can talk in the morning."

I was aware of nothing else until daylight forced its way around the windowshades. Logan was still asleep, so I crawled out of bed and into the shower, trying not to wake him. However, he was much on my mind as I scrubbed away the sweat of sleep and good sex. Thinking of him, I wondered about the people at the school where he "worked". It wasn't hard to understand why they took the obstacles that nature or the hands of man had put in their way and tried to do some good with them. Maybe that's what I would have to do, too.

As I emerged from the bathroom, dressed in fresher clothes, he leaned up on his elbows in bed. "Hey," he called to me. "Sleep well?"

"Yeah. You?"

"I think it helped to have someone beside me." We exchanged a look and a small, genuine smile before I went back to packing up my things. "Where you going now?" he asked, actually curious.

I stood up straight and hoisted my backpack onto my shoulder. "Home. I think they need me there. What are you going to do?"

"The same, for the same reason." He shot me a sly glance, so I walked back to his bedside and gave him one last, deep kiss. "Take care of yourself, kid."

"I will," I promised.

"If you're ever near the Xavier School for the Gifted, look me up."

"I'll do that," I said in the same tone, even though both of us knew it would never happen. "Until next time," I added, giving him a small wave from the door.

He tipped his head, unruly hair and all, at me as I left. "I'll look forward to it."

I shut the door behind me and headed back to my crappy car, my few belongings, and New York City. I had a job to do.

THE END


Feedback reminds me what's important!

Janet F. Caires-Lesgold jfc013@merle.it.northwestern.edu Speaker-to-Toys http://jfc.freeshell.org "I brought marshmallows. Occasionally, I'm callous and strange." -- Willow Rosenberg, Buffy the Vampire Slayer: "The Zeppo"


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