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FIC: Bad Blood [The Whole Crew, PG-13]

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  • crisiskris
    Title: Bad Blood Author: Crisis Kris (kmatwood@shaw.ca) Rating: PG-13 Summary: When Scott is injured, the power of Logan s blood is revealed. But what will
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 18 8:33 PM
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      Title: Bad Blood
      Author: Crisis Kris (kmatwood@...)
      Rating: PG-13
      Summary: When Scott is injured, the power of Logan's blood is
      revealed. But what will Magneto do when he finds out?
      Disclaimer: The author has no copyright ownership of the characters
      contained within, and no profit is being made from this story.
      Notes: *emphasis*. Takes place after X2. Continues the storyline
      established in Fight or Flight, but can be read separately.
      Thanks to the Amazing Gaaak for another great beta job. Sincere
      apologies to you, the reader, because I *still* can't figure out how
      to get these things to wrap around properly.

      ***

      Charles Xavier concentrated on the fight unfolding only a few miles
      away, scowling. He supposed he should be grateful that Erik had
      given them as much time as he did, but it was increasingly difficult
      to feel anything but hate for the man. After all, this was his
      `old
      friend' who had betrayed them all by giving away the secret of
      Cerebro, setting in motion the events that had culminated in the
      death of one of his most cherished students and colleagues, Dr. Jean
      Grey. Still, he had to acknowledge that Erik had an honor system of
      his own; three months had passed since Jean's death. Erik had
      maintained an unspoken truce during a period of mourning.

      He sighed, focusing again on what was happening out there with his X-
      Men. It was safe to say that their period of mourning had been
      declared `over'.

      ***

      The attack wasn't much more than a test, really. After they had
      fled from Alkali Lake, Magneto had taken Mystique and Pyro back to
      his fortress to recoup and plan the next move in their war. Erik
      had no doubt that Charles would be off to see the President, and the
      ensuing swing back to the left on the issue of mutant registration
      freed up a lot of space for Erik to fill with his own plans for
      mutant superiority. One significant obstacle always stood in his
      way, however: his old friend Charles.

      Pyro, eager to belong, had provided all kinds of information about
      the school – defenses that he could remember, the number of
      students
      there, what their mutations were. The only thing that remained was
      to find out whether any of those details were in any way useful, and
      the only way to do that was to plan a raid of the school. After a
      long discussion, they had decided to use Pyro's memory of the
      tunnels to investigate alternative ways into the school, thinking
      that if they were able to access them undetected, Mystique might be
      able to slip in unnoticed and do some more reconnaissance.

      Unfortunately, Charles' mind had been remarkably free from grief
      as
      of late, and he detected Erik's presence long before they'd
      made any
      progress through the tunnels. As a result, they'd been met by a
      group of very ready – and very angry – X men, blocking their
      entrance to the school, ready to fight.

      The Iceman had started in with Pyro right away, and they canceled
      each other out. Mystique was doing a great job of fighting it out
      with Storm, but that left Magneto to try and deal with both Logan
      and Scott. Much as he hated to acknowledge it, Magneto's powers
      had
      been significantly drained by his period of captivity, and he found
      it straining to keep Logan stuck up against a wall; he had no energy
      left to steal Scott's visor. This left Scott free to blast
      anyone
      he liked. Sensing he was outgunned, Magneto was about to signal the
      retreat when he heard a fierce roar behind him.

      "Well, well, well," he said with a chuckle. "Look
      who's rejoined
      the pack." Mystique paused a moment to give the newcomer a sly
      smile, while Logan nearly pulled his bones out of his skin in rage.
      Sabretooth, however, chose Scott as his prey. This worked well for
      Magneto; all he had to do was sit back and concentrate on not
      letting Logan out.

      Scott was a good fighter, but Sabretooth was a killer. Dodging the
      blasts with catlike grace, he stalked up to the younger man and
      growled softly.

      "Look out!" Logan called helplessly, struggling. Scott
      ducked a
      little too slowly and Sabretooth's claws sliced through his arm.
      He
      cried, falling to one knee. The beast kicked at him a few times to
      get him moving, then resumed his game of cat and mouse.

      Magneto threw his head back and laughed. He could feel Charles
      rooting around in his mind, panicking, but he was too far away and
      too weak to do anything about. The others were locked in battle and
      couldn't come to the rescue, and the Wolverine in particular was
      helpless and sputtering with rage. It was all too perfect…

      The next moment he gasped in shock and fell backward, his eyes
      bugging out of his head. His lips flopped open and his veins bulged
      in his head as he panted for breath. His control on Logan slipped
      and faltered completely, and the Wolverine launched himself at
      Sabretooth. Soon the two men were at it with a vengeance, claws and
      blood everywhere. Rogue stepped up from behind Magneto, pulling her
      left glove back on. "I think I hate that man," she remarked
      in her
      soft southern accent. Then she hurried over to Scott's side.

      The moment that Magneto fell, Mystique had stopped fighting. Storm
      briefly considered frying her where she stood but in her mind she
      felt Xavier forbid it. Sighing, she turned instead to Bobby, who
      was still fire-and-icing it with Pyro. Taking a deep breath, Storm
      sent a whirlwind of snow and ice Pyro's way and their combined
      powers broke the deadlock. Pyro stumbled back, looked at everyone
      with wide, shocked eyes, then turned tail and ran. Mystique
      wasn't
      far behind, hauling Erik along with her.

      That left Sabretooth and Logan, who didn't give any indication of
      letting up any time soon. "Logan!" Storm called. He ignored
      her. "We have to get Scott back to the mansion."

      He paused for a brief moment, his claws hilt-deep in Sabretooth's
      stomach. "So take him," he ordered, "I'm busy."
      Sabretooth took
      that opportunity to clobber Logan over the head and he stumbled
      back. A second flashed by and they were at it again.

      Storm sighed. "What *is* it with those two?" she wondered
      out loud,
      rushing to Scott's side. Bobby was already there, pulling Scott
      up
      over his shoulders and grunting in exertion. Just then there was a
      whirl of blue smoke as Kurt appeared beside them.

      "Thank god you're here!" Storm exclaimed.

      Kurt nodded. "I just returned." He'd been on a little
      vacation,
      getting to know New York. Without further ado, he scooped Scott up
      in his arms and teleported away. Storm spared one last glance back
      at Logan and sighed. He was fighting for all he was worth, blood
      and sweat and spit flying everywhere.

      Rogue smiled uneasily beside her. "Do you think we should help
      him?"
      she asked.

      Storm considered it for a moment and then shook her head. "I
      don't
      think he'll let himself get killed," she said.
      "Let's go."
      Together with Bobby, they headed back home.

      ***

      Scott was already downstairs in the medical lab when they got there,
      Hank fussing over him. Charles Xavier sat near the doorway, looking
      a little sad. Storm went to him immediately. "Will he be all
      right?" she asked.

      Hank was the one who answered. "His injuries are not severe, but
      he's lost a lot of blood. He'll need a transfusion. What I
      need is
      someone with B+ blood…" his voice trailed off as he started
      flipping
      through the medical files they had. "Ah, here's one.
      Logan."

      "Yeah?" A gruff voice replied, and they all turned. Logan
      stood in
      the door, panting and bleeding, though they could already see his
      wounds begin to heal themselves. Storm looked at him quizzically
      and he answered her unspoken question. "Blue here figured I
      shouldn't be left on my own. He brought me back."

      Kurt smiled from behind the other man's shoulder. "He
      doesn't play
      well with others," he explained.

      "So what do you need from me?" Logan returned the
      conversation to
      its previous topic.

      "You have the same blood type as Scott," Hank explained.
      "I need to
      give him a transfusion."

      Logan was already rolling up his sleeve. "Take as much as you
      need,
      bub," he replied. "It's not like I can't spare
      it."

      ***

      Within minutes, the transfusion had been set up, and blood was
      trickling out of Logan's arm through a complex maze of IV lines
      and
      various assorted medical contraptions and into Scott. Logan lay
      back on the bed, woozy. After all that fighting, losing blood like
      this was making him feel a little queasy. "All right there?"
      Hank
      checked.

      "'S long as I don't have to move anytime soon," he
      replied with a
      weak smile. Hank chuckled.

      "Not too much longer, I promise," he replied.
      "Scott's blood
      pressure is rising nicely and – oh my stars!" The
      exclamation
      prompted Logan to sit up and open his eyes, ignoring the dizziness.

      "What is it?" he asked, turning to get a better look. Hank
      stepped
      aside to let him see. Scott lay on the bed beside him, unconscious
      and pale, his uniform shirt torn and bloodied. "What? I
      don't see
      anything." Logan squinted, but he couldn't tell what the big
      deal
      is.

      "Look at his face," Hank replied. "Look at the cut on
      his face."
      Logan complied. He understood immediately. Scott's face had been
      badly torn by a couple of Sabretooth's claws. As they watched,
      however, the cuts began to close up on their own, sealing off and
      then disappearing, first into little white lines of scar tissue and
      then into complete nothingness, as though the cuts had never even
      existed. "He's healing at a greatly accelerated rate,"
      Hank
      continued.

      Logan nodded. "Like me."

      ***

      It wasn't too long before the entire group was reassembled in the
      med lab. Scott's injuries were continuing to heal themselves, and
      he
      breathed easily under the sedation that Hank had first
      administered. Charles Xavier watched him for a moment before
      turning to the room's other patient. "Logan, how do you
      feel?" he
      asked.

      Logan shrugged. As soon as Scott had started healing on his own,
      Hank had ended the transfusion, which meant he wasn't losing any
      more blood. His own wounds had healed quite a while ago.
      "Fine,"
      he replied, mentally checking in with himself. "Just like
      normal."

      "It's fascinating," Hank broke in excitedly. "It
      seems that Logan's
      healing powers were transferred to Scott along with his blood!"

      "That does make sense," Charles replied, thinking.
      "After all, our
      mutations are in our genes. We carry them at a cellular level."

      "I wonder if all mutations are transferable," Rogue commented
      idly.
      Hank got a gleam in his eye.

      "I'd have to do some experiments," he replied.
      "Perhaps set up a
      database to match blood types and set up some case studies. I am
      presuming, of course, that the blood types must be a match for the
      powers to be transferred, just as in any transfusion. Which means,
      unfortunately, that Logan's healing powers can only be made
      available to someone with B+ blood…"

      "Good news for Scott," Storm broke in, and they all laughed.

      Well, almost all. Logan tried to smile, but it came off as more of
      a grimace. His eyes had taken on a downright haunted look as he
      headed for the door. "Logan?" Bobby called back to him.
      "You all
      right, man?"

      "Yeah," he grunted, not turning around. "Just want to
      get cleaned
      up."

      "Well make sure you come right back down," Hank instructed.
      "I'd
      like to take some more blood samples from you. I wonder what would
      happen if we used your skin for grafts?" Logan stiffened at the
      idea and did not reply, walking quickly out of the room.

      He paused for a moment outside the door, leaning on it and shutting
      his eyes. `Air,' he thought. `I need some air.' It
      was getting
      hard to breath in here. Pushing off, he headed toward the garage,
      thinking that a little bike ride might help him shake the sudden
      chill that had come over him. Especially if he took Scott's
      bike.

      ***

      Back in the lab, Kurt was looking doubtfully at the doctor, who was
      jabbering away about experiments and blood samples while they all
      stood around and waited for Scott to wake up. "I don't think
      Logan
      wants to give you samples of his skin," he spoke up finally.
      Hank
      stopped mid-ramble and looked at him.

      "What on earth do you mean?" he asked, genuinely confused.
      "He was
      more than happy to donate blood."

      "That's different," Kurt responded. "That was for
      Scott."

      "Yeah, that's a good point," Rogue joined the
      conversation. "Logan
      gets a little freaky about the idea of medical experiments – with
      good reason, believe me. He's been in my head, so I've seen
      his
      dreams." She shuddered.

      "I didn't realize," Hank apologized. "I should have
      read his file
      more carefully." His expressive face drooped with remorse.

      "It's all right," Storm reassured him. "You had no
      real reason to
      look at his file before now – I mean think about it, when do you
      ever see him? He heals himself." Hank looked at her doubtfully,
      but nodded.

      Kurt was less concerned about Hank than about Logan. "I
      don't think
      he was too happy when he left here."

      "He did look a little pale," Bobby confirmed. "Maybe
      someone should
      go check on him."

      Kurt nodded and turned to leave when Charles' voice stopped
      him. "It's too late," he whispered. "He's
      gone."

      "What do you mean, gone?" Rogue demanded. "He's not
      gone; he
      probably just took the bike out for a ride." She looked as
      worried
      as she sounded. "Right, professor?"

      Charles shook his head. "I'm afraid not," he replied.
      "Something's
      happened – I can see a fight… a dark place… the images
      are muddled.
      I can't understand them. Something bad has happened."

      Just then, a moan from the nearby bed distracted them. Scott sat
      up, looking confused. "What's going on?" he asked.
      Everyone stared
      at him in silence for a moment. Then they all started talking at
      once.

      ***

      Logan rolled the bike down the driveway, mindful of the fact that
      several of the younger students would already be sleeping. Once he
      hit the road, he straddled it and kicked the engine into life. Ah,
      better. With the wind whipping through his hair, alone on the open
      road, he felt much better. Much safer. The med lab really creeped
      him out sometimes, and that new doctor was a little too *clinical*
      for his liking. Skin samples, ha! As if he was going to sit there
      while some doctor carved him up in the name of science. He'd
      already been through that once, in the name of war.

      He revved the engine a little to chase the thoughts away, and was
      distracted enough to miss the tree that swung toward the motorcycle
      until it was too late. He swerved, but couldn't keep control of
      the
      bike; it spun out beneath him and he was thrown into the air,
      landing unceremoniously in a nearby ditch. "Damn!" he swore,
      pulling himself out of a puddle. Great. Not only had he dropped
      the bike, he was now covered in mud. He stood, shaking himself off,
      trying to get rid of the muck. That's when the large shape flew
      out
      of the trees behind him and landed on his back.

      Logan staggered to his knees, then unsheathed his claws and stabbed
      backwards. The other man evaded them, but had to give up his
      position to do so, allowing Logan to spin on his heels to confront
      his attacker. "God damn it," he hollered. "Didn't
      you fucking die?"

      "I heal quickly," Sabretooth replied, grinning.
      "Apparently, so do
      you. And here I was thinking I was something special." Logan
      growled dangerously, but Sabretooth only smiled. "Now, now,
      runt,
      play nice." He feinted, and Logan lifted his claws to block,
      leaving his belly open. With deceptive speed, Sabretooth ducked in
      and slashed him across the abdomen.

      It was hardly a deep cut. "That all you got?" Logan ground
      out.
      Sabretooth laughed.

      "That's all I need," he replied. Logan looked at him,
      confused,
      before it hit him. He'd been drugged - and they had done it
      right.
      No pansy ass human amount, he realized as he staggered to his knees,
      his claws retracting against his will. No, Sabretooth had just put
      enough drugs into his system to knock an elephant out, and it was
      directly in his bloodstream – must have been on Sabretooth's
      claws.
      Damn. His vision blurring, Logan lashed out at the other man, but
      Sabretooth just skipped away and laughed again. After a moment,
      Logan crashed down to the ground, his body too heavy to move. He
      wasn't quite unconscious, but he was powerless to fight as
      Sabretooth hefted him up over one shoulder and carried him across
      the road to a truck, dumping him in the back and driving them both
      away.

      ***

      It took Scott a few minutes to calm everybody down enough to piece
      together what had happened. After hearing the complete story, one
      voice at a time, he was able to find the missing
      link. "Sabretooth's still out there," he swore.

      "But that's impossible," Kurt replied. "I mean, he
      was very badly
      hurt when I went back for Logan…"

      "Yeah, and a year ago, he fell off the Statue of Liberty,"
      Storm
      responded, "but here he was tonight, alive and well."

      "Perhaps he has regenerative powers like Logan's," Hank
      hypothesized. Scott cut him off with an impatient gesture.

      "I don't care *why*," he replied. "My point is that
      Sabretooth must
      have been waiting for him. This means that Magneto's got him now.

      We have to find him. Professor?"

      Charles shook his head sadly. "I have not been successful in
      locating Magneto's fortress," he said. "I wouldn't
      even know where
      to begin looking."

      "Well, I do," A voice spoke up, and everybody turned to stare
      at
      Rogue. "What? He did live in my head for quite some time,"
      she
      defended at their stares.

      "Could you direct us there?" Scott asked anxiously.

      Rogue nodded. "I'm pretty sure," she replied.

      "Good, let's go. Hank, you better come with us – just in
      case.
      Professor…"

      "I'll be watching from Cerebro," Charles responded.
      "Now go!"

      ***

      Logan woke by degrees, fighting off the heaviness of drug induced
      sleep and trying to get oriented. "Hello, Wolverine," a
      voice
      called out. Logan opened his eyes. Magneto stood before him,
      plain and vulnerable. Logan's first instinct was to lash out; he
      snarled when he realized that he could not. While Logan was
      unconscious, Magneto had forced his claws to unsheathe, and his
      hands were chained so tightly against the wall above his head that
      he couldn't get them into any kind of angle that would allow him
      to
      claw out of his captivity. Magneto laughed. "Welcome," he
      continued, his eyes glinting.

      "What the fuck do you want?" Logan growled out in reply.
      Magneto
      smiled even wider.

      "Well, initially, all I wanted to do was capture the first X-Man
      I
      could, so that I had something Charles would be willing to bargain
      over," he replied congenially. "And then, Mystique reported
      back
      from the security sweep she did of that precious little school.
      From the helicopter, she saw an interesting sight – all the
      X-men,
      running out to the jet, presumably to come save you." He
      advanced
      on Logan, his face calculating. "And I mean *all* the X-Men.
      Including your Cyclops. I was surprised; Sabretooth here really did
      quite a number on him before that mangy little girl got her hands on
      me. I wouldn't expect Mr. Summers to be capable of breathing on
      his
      own yet, let alone walking." He lifted Logan's chin and
      looked him
      straight in the eye. "In fact, it seemed eerily reminiscent of
      you."

      "I don't know what you're talking about," Logan
      replied
      angrily. "He was in the med lab the last I saw him."

      "Of course he was," Magneto replied. "At any rate, I
      began to
      formulate an idea in my head. Your fearless leader no doubt lost a
      lot of blood. Perhaps he needed a transfusion. Perhaps when
      mutants give blood, they also give a little more of themselves,
      hmmm?"

      Logan tried to look as indifferent as possible. "I wouldn't
      know
      anything about that," he replied.

      Magneto's smile turned nasty. "At least, not that you
      remember," he
      responded. Logan stared at him in surprise, but the other man had
      returned to his original train of thought. "Of course, I had to
      experiment, to find out for myself if my theory was correct. At
      first I had hoped to transfer your powers to myself, but alas, it
      turns out we are not the same blood type. Sabretooth over here is
      B+, but I figured that wouldn't do me any good, since he seems to
      have regenerative powers of his own. Mystique's mutation, by its
      very nature, allows her to mimic other's powers, so she was out.
      Fortunately, my new initiate, Pyro, has O- blood. A universal
      donor, if I remember my basic first aid." He shrugged a little.
      "I
      was quite pleased with the results of my experiment."

      As if on cue, Pyro held up his lighter toward Magneto, flicking it
      to create a flame. Magneto caught the fire up in one hand, twirling
      it around before sending it flying at the wall next to Logan's
      head. "I don't have nearly enough power to do anything of
      consequence, though I imagine it's quite a different story when
      the
      blood types are a match." He stalked closer to Logan, his eyes
      deadly serious. "And then I thought, what would happen if I gave
      a
      mutant with accelerated healing powers and superhuman strength the
      powers of another mutant with the exact same gifts? Why, he'd
      become unstoppable." From the corner of the room, Sabretooth
      growled, smiling. "And then I thought," Magneto continued
      quietly, "What a fabulous idea."

      "What are you planning to do, Magneto?" Logan twisted in his
      bonds,
      trying to find some weakness in them. His eyes widened
      involuntarily as Magneto withdrew a syringe.

      "Why, exactly what you fear I will, Logan," he replied.
      "Drain you
      dry."

      ***

      The tension on the jet was thick enough to be tangible. Storm
      guided them through the cloud cover that had settled over New York,
      while Scott navigated with Rogue's assistance. All three were
      grim-
      faced, and Rogue's eyes were red and puffy, like she was trying
      very
      hard not to cry.

      Scott tried to be patient with her as she stumbled through the
      disjointed memories of Magneto that she carried in her head, but it
      was difficult when he was so wrapped up in his own feelings. Logan
      had become and important member of his team. He wasn't quite
      ready
      to call the gruff man a friend yet, but he couldn't deny that he
      held some affection for the man, and he definitely harboured a
      healthy dose of guilt for what had happened back in the tunnels.
      Before they'd left, Charles had taken him aside and explained
      that
      there had been no way to predict Sabretooth's return, but Scott
      knew
      that he'd been out of the game too long, mourning for Jeannie.
      There had been a point where the animal would have never gotten that
      close, and if he hadn't gotten hurt then Logan wouldn't have
      needed
      to give blood, and they could all be living in safe, blissful
      ignorance at home right now.

      "I think we need to head a little more south," Rogue
      interrupted his
      thoughts in a slightly apologetic tone. "This doesn't seem
      right to
      me."

      "Okay, south." He replied, biting back the urge to mention
      that
      only a few minutes ago, she had directed them north. Rogue
      didn't
      need to hear it to know what he was thinking, however.

      "I'm sorry," she said. "It's not like I have a
      memory of him
      looking at a map."

      "It's okay," he reassured her, turning in his seat and
      forcing
      himself to smile. He was glad for the visor for once, because he
      knew that if she could see his eyes, she'd have seen that he was
      lying about his frustration. "You're doing your best."
      He patted
      her gloved hand gently, remembering something Logan had said about
      Rogue needing to be touched when she was uncertain. Indeed, the
      young woman seemed to brighten, standing up a little taller.

      Behind them, strapped into their seats, Bobby and Kurt sat quietly,
      staring off into space. Logan was important to both of them; Bobby
      needed a role model and Logan had always been there to listen to
      him, to rebuild his confidence, to assure him that Rogue loved him
      and that if they couldn't kiss or touch, it wasn't because he
      wasn't
      a good enough man for her. Others had told him this too, but when
      it came from Logan, it came with the Big Brother Seal of Approval,
      as Rogue put it, because Logan would protect Rogue with his life,
      and he trusted Bobby with hers. Kurt was thinking that in the three
      short months since he'd joined the X-Men, Logan had quickly
      become
      his closest friend. Even among the oddball mix of people they lived
      with, they were outsiders, having spent their lives on the fringes
      of society (different fringes, mind you), and they had fallen into
      some sort of unspoken understanding that left a hollow space in his
      chest if he thought for too long about something happening to the
      other man.

      At the rear of the plane, Hank was busily setting up a make-shift
      medical bay. He had no idea what kind of emergency to plan for, but
      he'd brought as many things as he could think of – and
      Logan's
      file. There was no way he was going to make any kind of mistake
      with the man again.

      Scott spared a look back at the rest of the team. Everyone was
      focused, ready. Now all they had to do was find the place. He was
      just cursing their luck in his mind for the hundredth time when
      Rogue took a breath and said, "There. It's that way.
      We're getting
      close now."

      Scott looked up at her. "Are you sure?" he asked, finally
      daring to
      voice a little doubt.

      Rogue nodded, smiling. "Absolutely," she replied. "I can
      see it
      clear as day." Storm gunned a little more speed out of the
      engine,
      dropping into stealth mode.

      ***

      When Mystique reported that the X-Jet had been spotted, Magneto let
      out a string of curses that would have made a sailor blush.
      "Ooh,
      temper, temper," Logan laughed from the wall, where he'd been
      turned
      into a human blood bank. An IV dripped down from his left arm,
      steadily pumping out blood. He could already feel his healing
      factor lag behind in replacing it; he wouldn't be able to keep
      up.
      Magneto snarled out orders to lock the fortress down. "Now that
      seemed eerily reminiscent of me," Logan continued to taunt.
      "What's
      the matter, Mags? Not feeling up to stopping a big honking chunk of
      flying *metal* today?"

      With a wordless cry, Magneto flung one of his hands toward the other
      man, and Logan felt the Adamantium on his bones sit up and listen,
      trying to pull through his skin towards Magneto's fingers. Logan
      laughed to stifle his howl of pain. "Better save your
      strength," he
      managed to gasp out. The older man looked ready to kill, but Pyro
      appeared at that moment and defused the situation.

      "They're here," the young man said, breathless. "We
      need your
      help." With a final rage-filled glare, Magneto turned on his
      heel
      and left.

      Once he was alone, Logan acknowledged to himself that a man with a
      metal skeleton would do well not to harass a human magnet, but he
      hadn't been able to contain himself. Besides, he'd noticed
      back at
      the school that Magneto's powers weren't what they used to
      be, and
      he had a little theory. In his experience, when strength wavered,
      so did control. He wiggled his wrists. Sure enough, when Magneto
      had focused his power on Logan's skeleton, some of that energy
      had
      affected the metal chains he was wrapped up in. He had enough room
      to retract his claws. Once he had done that, he had enough room
      (now that his hands weren't, effectively, more than a foot long),
      to
      twist them around, so he could put his palms down flat against the
      wall. Then he unsheathed his claws once more, and they sprung into
      the cement behind them. Ignoring the pain the twist created in his
      arms, he yanked his claws down behind his head, breaking the wall
      apart. The chain that had moments ago been bolted into the wall
      fell away uselessly. Once those were gone, he was able to free
      himself easily from the rest of his bonds. He pulled the IV out of
      his arm and stalked away, ready to join the fight.

      It wasn't difficult to find; Logan just followed the noise
      through
      the maze of tunnels, creeping up on a large room. At the far end,
      he could see Magneto and his Brotherhood locked in battle with the X-
      Men. Logan silently unsheathed his claws, crouching low. He was
      the element of surprise, and he intended to use that to its full
      effect.

      ***

      Scott had formed a plan as they came up to the entry way. The
      Iceman would neutralize Pyro and try to defeat him if possible.
      Storm and Hank would tag team Mystique, an enemy who had proven her
      fighting power. Kurt had two jobs. First, he had get close enough
      to Magneto to teleport him back through the tunnel to Rogue, who had
      orders to knock him on his ass and keep him there, through whatever
      means necessary. Second, Kurt was to get around the fighting, find
      Logan, and get him back to the Jet. Scott himself had plans for
      Sabretooth.

      The Brotherhood was waiting for them as they came up to the end of
      the tunnel, and the X-Men launched into their plan wordlessly. At
      first, it seemed that it would go off without a hitch; Bobby had
      been practicing and quickly took the upper hand with Pyro, while
      Hank and Storm's approach with Mystique seemed to be steadily
      wearing her down. Kurt had moved quickly to teleport Magneto, but
      after that, things started to fall apart. When Rogue reached for
      the older man, he surprised them all: he lit a match and threw a
      *fireball* at her. It wasn't a big one, but it was enough for
      her
      to stumble back in shock and pain, and that gave Magneto enough time
      to turn around and focus his energies on Scott's visor, which
      came
      tearing painfully off his face.

      Fortunately, Kurt thought quickly, teleporting to Scott's side.
      He'd squeezed his eyes shut as soon as the visor had gone. Kurt
      grabbed him by the shoulders and spun him around. "Now!" He
      shouted. "Open your eyes!" Scott obeyed, and sent a full
      strength
      blast straight into Sabretooth's stomach as the other man was
      advancing on him. "Close!" Kurt turned him again. "Now
      open!"
      Scott surrendered control to the other man. He would be the weapon,
      and let Kurt do the yielding.

      Mystique was unable to break free from the double onslaught she
      faced, so no one was there to help Magneto when Rogue recovered her
      balance and threw her hands around his neck, squeezing so hard that
      she might have made progress in killing him even without her mutant
      powers. He fought her off, staggering, but lost control of the
      visor in the process; it went clattering to the ground. Storm
      paused for a moment to kick it over to Kurt, who picked it up and
      handed it back to Cyclops. He slid it back on over his eyes,
      grinning.

      The grin faded, however, when he saw what lay before him.
      Sabretooth, having received two full-strength blasts from
      Cyclops'
      eyes, was getting up to his feet, barely breathing heavily. "How
      is
      that possible?" Kurt muttered in his ear. From behind them,
      Mystique laughed.

      "You think you are the only scientists?" She replied,
      parrying a
      thrust from the Beast. She had taken Storm's shape and was
      fighting
      weather with weather on one side, while using her martial arts skill
      to the maximum to keep the doctor away.

      Her comment brought Hank up short. "Logan's blood!" He
      cried. "They must have figured out its properties. They must
      have
      given it to Sabretooth!" His assessment was correct, but his
      pause
      was costly. Mystique managed to land a blow on the back of his
      head, knocking him down, giving her an escape route. Ignoring her
      compatriots, she leapt over Scott and Kurt's heads, dodged around
      Sabretooth, and headed down one of the tunnels beyond.

      A few seconds later, her body came sailing back through the room,
      crashing unceremoniously into Sabretooth, followed by a roaring
      Logan, claws fully extended. He landed on the two of them, slashing
      for all he was worth, and they rolled away in a fine mess. Everyone
      stared for a moment, and then Logan's head surfaced and he
      shouted, "You planning to gawk, or help?" And they surged
      into
      action. Hank was sent back to Rogue to ensure Magneto was secure,
      and Storm gave Bobby the extra oomph he needed to encase Pyro in a
      thick shield of ice. Mystique's body came flying out of the
      foray
      at that moment, landing at their feet, bloody and breathless. This
      time, Xavier be damned, Storm did fry her, watching in satisfaction
      as the body twitched at her feet.

      That left, as usual, only Logan and Sabretooth. This time, however,
      Logan wasn't smiling as he slashed, enjoying the fight. Instead,
      he
      was steadily losing ground under Sabretooth's vicious attack.
      "I'm
      going to kill you, runt," the big cat promised, growling.

      "I'd like to see you try," Logan growled back, but it was
      plain that
      he was at a disadvantage; Sabretooth was fighting with enhanced
      strength, while Logan was lagging from the blood loss he'd
      suffered. Scott tried to get a good shot in, but they were locked
      in a fierce embrace, hacking and slashing at each other without
      mercy.

      "Damn it!" Scott howled. "Logan, get back!" He
      raised his hand to
      his visor, prepared to blast them both, but a hand on his arm
      stopped him. Hank had come up from behind.

      "I don't know if he'd survive it, Scott," The doctor
      informed him
      quietly. They watched, helpless, as Logan slid to his knees, barely
      blocking Sabretooth's claws as they came tearing down from above.

      Around them the X-men surged forward, and then paused, trying to
      figure out how to help.

      Then Bobby came over, a little lightheaded from exertion. He'd
      just
      finished encasing Mystique and Magneto in similar little ice
      fortresses, keeping everyone nicely disarmed. He turned to
      Hank. "Would freezing him hurt him?" he asked. Hank
      considered it.

      "I shouldn't think so," he replied after a moment. Bobby
      nodded and
      immediately lashed out, sending a stream of ice crystals toward the
      two men. He was too tired to fully encase them, so he concentrated
      on the floor instead, creating a skating rink under their feet.
      Sabretooth slipped and fell on his ass, giving Logan a moment to
      crawl away. In a flash, Kurt had teleported beside him, picked up
      his friend, and teleported him out of danger. Scott's hand leapt
      up
      to his visor and he blasted Sabretooth for all he was worth, again
      and again, until the other man wasn't getting up anymore. Storm
      finished the round off with a bolt of lightning for good measure.

      "Let's get the hell out of here," she said, turning on
      her heel.

      "Wait," Logan called. He was sitting on the floor, leaning
      up
      against the doctor. He struggled to his feet. "That won't
      keep him
      out for long," he continued, indicating Sabretooth.

      "I know. That's why we have to get out of here," Storm
      replied.

      "No. We have to lock them up first," Logan took a steadying
      breath
      and then limped over to where Sabretooth was lying prone. He leaned
      over, his face a mask of pain, and pulled the heavy body onto his
      shoulders. "There are cells on the east side, not far from here.

      We need to get them in there, come on."

      The others stood doubtfully behind him. Summoning up the last of
      his energy, Logan turned to glare at them. "Sorry, Logan,"
      Storm
      said, "But if Sabretooth really has super human strength, what
      cell
      is going to hold him?"

      "These are good cells," Logan replied. "They nearly held
      me."

      "But you did get free."

      Logan barked out a little laugh. "Yeah, well, I've got
      Adamantium
      claws," he reminded her. "Some things, you can't get
      from a blood
      transfusion." He turned on his heel and walked away, leaving the
      others to hurry along behind.

      ***

      Once the prisoners had been locked away, Kurt turned to his friend
      and wrapped his arms around him. "Uh, Wagner, what are you
      doing?"
      Logan started to ask, but before he could push away, Kurt had
      teleported him back to the jet, where Rogue and Hank were
      waiting. "Oh," Logan finished up, feeling a little dumb.
      He'd
      thought Kurt was *hugging* him.

      Kurt laughed, helping him lay down on the makeshift medical bed.
      "I
      know you are tough, my friend," he replied. "But I did not
      think it
      was necessary for you to hurt any longer than you had to." He
      patted Logan's shoulder and joined Rogue in the front of the
      plane
      as the others trickled in.

      Hank hunkered down beside his patient, his big blue face
      apologetic. "Logan" he said hesitantly. "I feel a great
      deal of
      remorse for my callousness earlier. I would like you to know that I
      would never perform any medical procedure on you that you didn't
      fully consent to. *Never*."

      Logan nodded. "Thanks."

      The doctor nodded, seeming relieved. "Good. Now, that brings us
      to
      treatment options for you right now."

      Logan held up a hand to interrupt. "If you don't mind, Doc,
      I'd
      rather just let my body heal itself. It won't take that
      long."

      "Are you sure?" Hank's voice was skeptical, but there was
      a twinkle
      in his eye. "I mean, I could always give you a blood
      transfusion…"

      ***

      It was quite late by the time that Charles was able to track Logan
      down alone. The injured man had spent the first part of the evening
      resting in his room and when he'd come down for supper, he'd
      been
      immediately surrounded by children demanding to know if he was all
      right, begging him to tell them what had happened, just wanting to
      be in his presence. Logan, with his usual gruff gentleness, had
      accommodated them with a story, leaving out the truly nasty bits and
      making everyone on the team sound like a hero in the process. After
      that, he and Kurt had disappeared outside for a smoke, and when they
      came back, Scott had grabbed Logan and dragged him down to the
      garage. Everyone seemed to need to reassure themselves that he was
      all right.

      Finally, though, everyone was asleep in their rooms, and the mansion
      was quiet. Xavier rolled through the halls, finally locating Logan
      on the front porch, staring off into the night sky. "Hey,
      Wheels,"
      he acknowledged softly, not turning around. They sat in silence for
      a moment.

      "Do you want to talk about it?" Charles finally offered,
      fully
      prepared to back off if he was asked to. To his surprise, though,
      Logan nodded. Bit by bit, he was becoming more willing to open up.

      "I've been thinkin' about Stryker's assistant, the
      Japanese girl.
      The one I killed."

      Charles nodded in the dark. "Yuriko," he supplied.

      "Yeah. I was – I was wondering what her blood type was."
      He took a
      drag off his cigar, inhaling sharply. "I don't think
      it's a
      coincidence that Sabretooth's blood type was B+," he
      continued. "I'd be willing to bet hers was too." He
      sighed. "It's
      so frustrating! Sabretooth seems to really, really hate me – and
      when he calls me runt, my blood boils in a way I can't explain.
      It's not the way I feel about anyone else I'm fighting.
      It's like
      it's personal. And then this whole healing factor thing, with the
      blood transfusions, and him being B+… well, maybe he's one of
      Stryker's weapons as well. But I can't remember." He
      bowed his
      head, clenching his fists.

      Charles moved closer. "Logan, there's no way of knowing
      whether
      Sabretooth's and Yuriko's healing abilities were a natural
      part of
      their mutations, or whether they received blood from you in order to
      create those abilities. That information is gone. It's at the
      bottom of Alkali Lake. Yuriko is dead."

      "Sabretooth isn't."

      "He'd kill you before he told you anything."

      Logan sighed, agitated. "I know that," he replied angrily.
      "But he
      *knows* something, Chuck. Somethin' that I can't remember.
      Somethin' that I've spent the last sixteen years of my life
      trying
      to find. It's hard to let that go."

      "I know." There was nothing else for Charles to say.
      Platitudes
      and reassurances about how it was going to be okay weren't going
      to
      be appreciated by the Wolverine, and there was little comfort he
      could offer. So instead, he just sat there, being present,
      witnessing the pain and frustration and acknowledging the sorrow of
      a man without a past.

      They sat there for a long time; the sky was beginning to lighten
      with the first signs of dawn when Logan shook himself free of his
      thoughts and stood, stretching. "I can't figure out what
      happened
      to me," he said softly. "But I do know what's ahead of
      me."

      "Yes," Charles replied, reading his mind. "Another long,
      boring
      school day." They laughed together, heading back inside, where
      it
      was warm, and safe.

      ********************

      THE END… or is it?
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