Climb the Wind (1b/5?) Logan POV, adventure/character
- Continuing DIRECTLY from part 1/a
The Boy Scout looked like shit. "God," I whispered,
completely against my will. They shoved me in.
The room was dim, and stank like day-old puke. There
was a bed for him, and one of the familiar pails, but
Summers lay against one wall, dressed in a similar
coverall to mine but dun in color, and soiled, filthy
with repeated retching. They had him blinded, too.
Nothing fancy. Plain duct tape. Very slowly,
cautiously, I moved forward. "One Eye?"
He raised his head, weak, turned it side to side,
seeking, voice incredulous. "Logan?" His lips were
cracked and bleeding.
"When was the last time you jackasses gave him water?"
I snapped behind me.
"He throws it up," the Suit said. "He throws up
everything." The man gestured. "High fever,
inability to hold down food or liquid. He's
dehydrating. That's why you're here."
I knelt down in front of Summers, but couldn't touch
for the damn cuffs. "Take �em off," I said, holding
out my arms a little.
"I don't think � "
"Get the fucking cuffs off! You think I'm going to
use the claws with six goons behind you?"
One of the guards stepped forward and released me. I
held still till the man moved away. I didn't want to
scare them. I didn't want to scare Summers, either.
Despite the dimness of the room and his weakness, I
could see him trembling, smell his fear. Strong, acid
sweat. His face had a slack quality. He was drugged.
I laid a hand on his shoulder. He flinched.
Under the tape, his face was covered with bruises,
fresh and greening both, and I could see more on his
body. They'd beaten the crap out of him, burned him
with cigarettes down one arm. Carefully, I unzipped
the front of the coverall and checked his torso,
afraid he might have bruised kidneys or some other
internal injury that could explain his illness. He
tried to shove my hands away, but not with affronted
modesty. The fear in him had spiked sharply. "Stop,
Scott. It's me." No jokes now. No half-insulting
names. "I won't hurt you." He quit fighting but the
trembling grew worse.
This was crazy. Even drugged, this was Cyclops. What
the hell had they done to him?
But as soon as I asked the question, I knew the
answer. I examined him with new dread and too much
knowledge. Bruises on his wrists from being
handcuffed down. More bruises on his hips from the
hard grip of fingers. I let my eyes drop. His
coverall was dark brown between the legs. Old blood.
Goddamn motherfucking sons of bitches.
It took every ounce of control I had not to pop the
claws and go on rampage. We'd have gotten free or
gotten dead, and for ten seconds, either appealed.
Then common sense reasserted itself. He wasn't going
anywhere in this condition and I couldn't carry him,
not and fight. "Hey kid, I ain't going to hurt you."
I spoke softly, and felt over his abdomen and ribs
with impersonal fingers, made sure I didn't go lower
than his navel. He let me, or he was just too weak
and sick and spaced to fight. When I was done, I
carefully covered him up again. I spoke without
turning. "If you didn't have him drugged out of his
mind, he might be able to hold some food down. And
controlling your guards is another good idea. I
wouldn't think you'd want your test subjects
*contaminated*." I finally looked back at the Suit.
He knew exactly what I meant.
And he just shrugged with one shoulder. "He's not
permanently damaged. And he's not drugged, either."
"Looks drugged to me, pal."
"He isn't. That's the point, and the problem. He has
no *serious* injuries" � well, maybe not physical, but
I didn't correct him � "yet he appears to be fatally
I looked at Summers again. There was foamy spittle on
his mouth; I wiped it off absently. Dehydration could
also cause mental confusion, not to mention lethargy.
"Bring me water."
"I told you, he � "
They did as I said, handed me a plastic bottle.
Avalon spring water. I opened it and poured a little
in the cap, dribbled it between his lips. His tongue
moved, seeking. I would have raised him up to help
him drink but I was afraid to touch him that much,
afraid anything approximating a restraint might set
him off, make him fight and hurt himself. I gave him
more water, a capful at a time until he'd consumed
about a fifth of the bottle. "That's enough. Scott
can you understand me?" I didn't expect miracles. If
it was a hydration problem, it would take half a day
at the least for him to start coming out of it. "Can
you understand me?"
He made some sound that was vague affirmative, but it
might have been agreement just to get me to go away.
"Do you know what's wrong with you?"
A long, long pause. Then, in a whisper, "Sun."
It took me a few minutes, then I remembered something
that Jean � *God, Jean!* � had told me once. Summers'
optic blasts were fueled by solar energy.
"Theoretically, if he were out of the sun long enough
� we think seventy-two to ninety-four hours � his eyes
would go back to normal."
"Why only �theoretically,'" I'd asked.
"Because the only time we tried, to verify the
hypothesis, Scott got violently ill in less than
forty-eight. He wanted to stay out the time, but Hank
wouldn't let him. We don't really know what would
happen to him if he was kept out of the sun long
enough to drain the energy in his head."
This is what would happen to him, I thought.
"How long have we been here?" I asked the Suit.
"Why do you want to know?"
"Because it matters."
The man's ex*pression was pure amusement. "Five days,
fourteen hours. Give or take."
I nodded and reaching up, felt around the duct tape.
It must have been there since they'd brought us in; it
had a sticky-old quality and I knew I might rip the
skin right off him if I didn't do this carefully.
"Bring me some alcohol, please."
"I'm going to take the goddamn tape off, for
The Suit actually laughed. "You must be joking. You
think we'll let you do that?"
"His eyes aren't a danger now."
"And we should believe you?"
"Yes. You wanted to know what's wrong with him. But
I think you already know." I glared up at the man who
stood � just out of striking range � and watched with
bird-bright interest. "You put him in here knowing.
You wanted to see what would happen if you took him
out of the sun. Just like you wanted to see what
would happen if you slapped me in a White Room."
The man actually smiled. "What a clever little mutant
you are." Then, to a guard. "Get him the alcohol he
I wasn't sure it had been so clever to let the man
know how long it took to drain Summers' power, but
done was done, and I wanted to get that goddamn tape
I owed Jean.
While the guard was gone for the alcohol, I said to
the Suit, "If you want him to get better, you'll have
to either take him outside or bring a sunlamp in here.
I can't even say if a sunlamp will work. I don't
know exactly how his power operates."
"No sun, no lamp. To expose him to sunlight would
rather defeat our purpose."
"Then what the hell did you drag me down here for if
you're not going to take my advice?" The man didn't
reply, and in any case, the guard was back with the
alcohol and a rag. I wet the rag and worked,
carefully, at the tape, loosening it a bit at a time
without letting alcohol get in Summers' eyes. When
the tape was gone, I used the soaked rag to clean the
cuts and burns as best I could. The Suit didn't
object. Neither did Summers beyond an incoherent moan
here and there from the sting, but his shaking was far
worse. I wasn't sure how close he was to losing it
When I was done, I moved to the side � just in case �
and said, "Scott, open your eyes."
"Can't," Summers whispered back, voice still rough but
not as bad as before he'd had water. "I'll kill you.
Jean says I'll kill you. I kill everything. Everything
. . . . Jean . . . ." His voice broke.
Shit. Was he delusional and seeing ghosts, or just
caught up in memory? "You won't kill me," I said.
"It's been five days. You've been out of the sun for
Obedient, or maybe just too dazed to care, Summers
opened his eyes.
They were blue. Very blue. Somehow, I hadn't
expected that. "Hey, kid," I said. Summers blinked.
The pupils were highly dilated. I watched sense chase
confusion across his face, and confusion chase sense.
The return of his sight had helped pull him back from
the brink a little, but only a little. He looked so
damn young. And while I knew what he could do, had
been following him in combat for the better part of
eight months since I'd returned from Canada, I still
felt irrational anger at Xavier for sending out
children to play at superhero.
Then he closed his eyes again, whispered, "Jean." And
I watched as one tear squeezed out of the left eye to
spill down his face. His lips had gone thin, the jaw
hard. It was coming back to him; he was coming back
to himself. It would take time, but he was clawing
his way out of the fog. The tremors were back, but I
was pretty sure these weren't from fear. This was
rage. I gripped his hand, felt a little burn in my
"You want some more water?" I asked, hyper-aware of
the goons and the Suit behind me.
"Better not," Summers whispered. "My stomach � Just
. . . better not."
I turned to look up at the Suit, asked for what I
didn't think I'd get. "Let me stay with him. He's
going to need water and he's too weak to do much for
He cocked his head and gave me that damn smile again.
"For now, you may remain with him. For now."
He left abruptly, the guards filing out behind.
"Shit," I said to air. "I didn't think he'd agree."
Summers said nothing. I bent to try and lever him up.
"Let's get you on the bed, at least."
"No!" It was almost desperate and he actually fought
me a moment with some hidden reserve of strength.
Then, more calmly, "If I get sick and soil the sheets,
they don't change them for hours."
And they cleaned up the corners faster?, I wanted to
ask, but didn't. Let him have his pride.
Casually, I rose to examine the bed. Changed the
sheets my ass. These hadn't been changed at all.
There were bloodstains along one edge, in patches
further apart than could be explained by twisting.
They'd done it to him more than once. They must have
shoved him face down and cuffed him to the rail on the
opposite side while they had their �fun.' I glanced
back at Summers, who'd curled around himself in a
fetal position, though I doubted he realized what he
was doing. The kid was too pretty, even with duct
tape on his eyes. At least I was here now and the
guards weren't likely to try anything while a guy with
nine-inch knives in his hands was watching over him.
I was wrong.
Rape is just as effective at dehumanizing men as it is
at dehumanizing women � maybe more effective. When
women have been held hostage, they're often asked if
they were raped. Men usually aren't. It's not
supposed to happen to us. If it does, it calls a lot
of things into question, starting with our
masculinity. And when one suffers but the other
doesn't, it's that much worse.
They didn't rape me, not physically. They just forced
me to see what they did to him. That's rape, too.
The details aren't important. Essentially, they came
in and immobilized me, really before I understood what
they were getting ready to do. He knew. He'd been
dozing, but he never let himself go under completely.
Hypervigilance. Now, he woke with a start and
actually scrambled up (amazing what a little water can
do), tried to get away. I was up and moving but they
had the stun sticks ready. I couldn't even get near
them. He fought, probably harder than he had in days
because I was there. He bit one of them and got
slugged halfway across the room, kicked a few times.
Then they forced him down and cuffed him, just like
I'd guessed, while they held me at bay. It took four
hits from the stun stick before I was flat against a
wall and too woozy to fight further.
But I did turn away. I couldn't block out sound or
smell, but I didn't have to watch. I could give him
that much. I heard them, but I didn't hear him. He
didn't whimper, didn't cry, didn't scream, didn't
protest � and not just because he was insensate.
They finally left. Unshackled him, dumped him on the
floor, and left. They didn't dress him. I did that.
After I cleaned him up. He tried to fight my hands
like he'd fought them, but he was far too out of it.
I didn't want to waste water but I was going to get
him as clean as I could, dammit. His lips were bitten
through. I realized now that it hadn't just been lack
of water that had cracked them before. He'd done this
every time. No sound. Nothing to give himself away.
Goddamn idiot. What did that prove? But underneath
my anger was awe, and respect. He'd resisted in the
only way he'd been able to.
I dribbled a little more water into him, then sat with
him on the floor, not touching. Just there. He lay
with his back to me. He didn't weep, but he shuddered
sometimes. It wasn't grief. It was fury. I could
smell it. Periodically, it shook his whole frame. I
tried touching him once but he jerked away and I
didn't touch him again. We didn't say anything at
all. What the hell was there to say? What words
could begin to encompass what I'd seen and what he'd
suffered in front of me? The leader of the X-Men had
been kicked around, spat on, and gang raped. They'd
taken everything from him. His wife (or as close as
made no difference), his power, and now his dignity.
He was twenty-eight years old and stripped down to
nothing. Except his rage.
Their tactical error lay in leaving us together for
any length of time. A man alone can be beaten down,
but together, we were stronger. I'm not really sure
why they did it, but then, I had no clue why we were
there in the first place. (Of course, it's not usual
custom to explain the experiments to the rats.) So
why they made the mistakes they did was just as
I did figure out a few things. First, it was fairly
clear that at least part of their purpose was to
discover our weaknesses in order to neutralize us.
But they already had us in their power, which meant
they could just kill us and neutralize us that way.
Finding my weakness or the Boy Scout's wasn't going to
help them with Storm or McCoy or the Professor, or any
other alpha mutant. We were each unique. Maybe they
didn't realize that, I don't know.
Second, because breaking me had involved a White Room
and total isolation, the guards had been ordered not
to touch me, not even to let me see them. The kid was
a different matter. They just had to keep him out of
the sun, and alive. What they did to him beyond that
was irrelevant. As for why they did it . . . . Well,
why do some enjoy pulling the wings off flies? I
might only have memory from seventeen years, but I'd
seen enough to know that if accountability were
removed, human beings were more inclined to mindless
sadism than the optimists � like Xavier � wanted to
admit. Pain and sex were both a thrill.
Why *Summers* was more of a question. Pretty face,
sure. But it wasn't just that. I wasn't ugly. And I
wasn't going to kid myself, either. Pile enough guys
on me and enough stun sticks and they'd have been able
to bring me down, too, and lock me across that goddamn
bed. They hadn't even after they'd let me out of the
White Room. Maybe it was fear of me. More likely, I
just didn't give off the right vibe. Summers was
young, and vulnerable. The stiff spine routine was a
cover for it. I was old and cynical, and I knew
enough about predators that when faced with a choice
of prey, they went for vulnerable. Rape is not about
sex. It's about power. They were proving that they
had it and he didn't. Proving it over and over. But
they proved it to me, too, because I couldn't stop it.
I couldn't protect him. All I could do was clean him
up afterward. Three times. After the first, he quit
fighting me. He just kept his eyes shut and his face
averted. And I said nothing. I was gentle and
impersonal like a nurse, and I never said a word.
After the third time, he let me hold him for a while.
I don't know if I'd earned the right, or if he was
just so desperate, he'd accept anything friendly with
skin on, even me. He shook himself apart in my arms,
but didn't weep. I stroked his hair and held on hard.
Gentleness isn't always what's needed.
I was also observant, and not just of what this was
doing to him. I was observant about the pattern of
our "keepers." And I was observant about his health.
He was growing steadily stronger. Getting some water
into him had been the turning point, and apparently,
once the energy in his head had dissipated, he went
back to normal, minus the powers. He was still weak,
but that stemmed from physical abuse and lack of food.
They brought me food, and I gave it to him. Soon,
they were bringing us both food, and more than just
bread and water. They gave us meat. A lot of it.
So. They understood that I had high protein needs.
How much they knew about us was starting to scare me,
and baffle me, too. If they knew so much already,
what in hell was the point of all this? Apparently, I
wasn't part of an experiment at the moment, or not one
that involved testing the limits of my powers. So
they fed me. Maybe they were watching our
interaction, to see what we'd do, but I wasn't into
psych head games so I didn't even try to figure that
one out. I had other things to worry over.
How long we were going to be together, for one. I had
animal hearing, and this wasn't the White Room. It
had normal insulation for high security, but my ears
were better. I caught a few snippets of conversation,
one of which included "sensory deprivation tank."
Shit. I was not going to let them put me in one of
those. A White Room was bad enough. If I hadn't been
climbing the walls before they'd had to interrupt for
Summers' sake, I'd been close enough. No tanks. I'd
be sure they killed me first, never mind my debt to
Jean. I'd be no good to the kid insane. I could
probably make sure they killed us both.
But that was a last ditch resort. I'd rather live to
escape. And I was going to have to do it before they
decided he was strong enough again and took me out of
here. Trouble was, I'm sure they expected us to try
something while we were together, so they watched us
vigilantly. That's where observation of their
patterns came in � particularly their patterns when
they came for their �fun' with Scott. They figured we
were so psyched out already, they got careless. I
hate it, that it took me three times to be sure, but
after the third, I had my plan. And after the third,
I was pretty certain that he was strong enough to go
more than a hundred feet without fainting.
There were no surveillance cameras in the room, but I
wasn't sure if the place was bugged. So I tore the
bed apart and checked the rest inch by inch, to see.
He figured out after a few minutes what I was doing,
and helped. Then we examined each other, clothes and
skin for implants, came up with nothing. "Clean, I
"Stupid," he said. "If they'd had any sense, they'd
have bugged the room and put trackers in us."
"I don't think they think we can get away."
He just smiled. That smile scared the shit out of me.
I'd never been able to see his eyes before, so I
couldn't know their normal ex*pression � but I was
pretty damn sure this wasn't it. Flat frozen blue.
I'd seen the look on men before combat, men who'd lost
too much. They fought like demons but they were as
dangerous to you as to the enemy because they just
didn't give a flying fuck if they lived or died, as
long as they could kill along the way. I had no
qualms about killing, not with these animals. But
butchery on rampage wouldn't do either of us any good,
and in his core, he wasn't a killer. What he'd done
in the tunnel had been shock-motivated self
preservation. But if I let him out in his current
state, he was going to be an angel of deliberate
death. Achilles dragging the body of Hector around
the walls of Troy. They'd killed his Patroclus, and
*God, Jeannie. Wish you were here. I don't know what
the hell to do with your boy.*
Not that we had much choice. We were going to have to
get out before they separated us again.
"Listen," I told him, hunkering down as if they could
hear us through the walls. He knelt in front of me.
"I've noticed a few things about the goons." He
didn't reply, just raised an eyebrow. He'd gone into
leader mode like a flipped switch. "They have a
pattern, when they . . . come."
"You can say it, Logan. When they come to rape me."
I winced. He gave me that cold smile again. I wasn't
going to say it just to satisfy his need to hurt
himself. "Three of them cover me with the stun
sticks, four of them take you out. *None of them
covers the door.*"
He appeared thoughtful at that, then nodded. "Yes.
They leave it open. And they come at the same time of
the day, too. At least they do now. I'm not as
certain about before. I was too ill."
"How can you be sure of the time?"
"I just can."
I wasn't inclined to argue with him. Summers could do
strange things with numbers and patterns in his head.
They almost had physical form to him. I didn't
understand it, but then I couldn't explain some of my
own senses either, those beyond the animal ones, like
my ability to sense presence. It wasn't a psi-sense,
quite, but I knew when I wasn't alone. I'd learned to
trust such knowledge. So if he could track time
without a watch, I believed him.
"Trouble is," he added, "even though they come at the
same time each time, they don't come *every* day."
That was part of the torture, of course. To
anticipate the horror that didn't arrive. But his
flat affect was starting to creep me out. You'd have
thought he was discussing the weather.
"They didn't come yesterday," I said.
"That doesn't mean they'll come today."
"No, but we should be ready." I studied him a long
minute. "How far can you run, do you think?"
"As far as I have to."
"Scott � "
"Get me out of this fucking room, Logan. I'll manage.
Get me out of this room and give me a gun.
Preferably a pistol. The guards don't carry weapons
beyond the sticks when they come in here. I don't
know what that means, exactly � "
"Prevents us from any chance of getting a projectile
weapon. I'd be surprised if they aren't armed out
He nodded absently; the thoughtful look had returned.
"What'd you see, on your way down?"
"You know we're down?"
"Yes." He didn't elaborate. He knows directions,
too. We both have that.
"They took me through about ten halls and then down an
elevator three floors, two more halls to here. And
yes, I can trace it back. Beyond that, though, we're
left to guesses."
"I've got to find the computer core."
"No you don't. We've got to get the fuck out of
"Logan, it's not an option. We can't leave this place
"And just what do you plan to do? Waltz in and ask to
access their network, pretty please? I may not know a
hell of a lot about computers, but I doubt you have
He smiled again. "I don't need the passwords. I just
need a gun and a couple grenades. I'm not trying to
hack it, Logan. I'm going to destroy it. I'm going
to bring this whole fucking place down around their
My lips thinned. I should probably have counseled
caution. Imagine that � the Wolverine telling Cyclops
to practice moderation. But I didn't. I wanted to
screw the sons of bitches, too.
"We're going to need more weapons, then, when we get
out of here," I said, by way of reply.
----(go on to 2/a)
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