Light in the Dark by BlueFrog
Summary: Logan clings to a memory of a day at the lake to get through another night.
Categories: Logan, AU Characters: None
Genres: Angst, Dark, Shipper, UST
Tags: None
Warnings: Not Beta Read
Challenges:
Series: None
Chapters: 1 Completed: Yes Word count: 2869 Read: 669 Published: 02/26/2019 Updated: 02/26/2019
Story Notes:
Happy Birthday, @englishmajor226! Hopefully this fulfills your wish for a Logan one-shot. It's cold and dreary outside and winter is stupid so I couldn't help but write a bit of summer into this for you, even though it's a bit depressing in the end.

1. Chapter 1 by BlueFrog

Chapter 1 by BlueFrog
Everything fuckin’ hurt.

His joints. His muscles. His goddamn bones. Hell, even his teeth hurt.

He blinked back the fog of whiskey and felt his fingers twitch as he reached for the bottle, still. Hoping, with every sip, that it would numb the ever-present goddamn pain. Even if it was just for a moment.

A rattling breath in, and he forced himself to suppress the cough he could feel coming. Gripping the bottle tight, he gritted his teeth as he tried to breathe through his nose. Fuck! Not this time.

The small dusty room seemed to shudder with the force of the explosive cough that left his lungs and he threw the remains of the bottle of Jack across the room in a sudden rage, the glass spraying across the afternoon sunlight, golden drops of whiskey sparkling as they fell to the ground.

Goddamn fuckin’ adamantium shit!

The animal inside snarled slowly in agreement. Logan still wasn’t used to hearing him like that. The animal, like him, seemed to be finally done. Weary of all the goddamn pain. The loss. The fuckin’ loss.

He squeezed his eyes tight and lay back on the creaking bed frame, the weight of his body straining the cheap metal nearly to its breaking point. His fingers reached automatically for the second bottle that was waiting for him on the beat-up night stand.

As the bottle made its way to his waiting mouth, he couldn’t help but just force a little more pain on himself as he remembered. He focused on the brightest spots, the ones that would throw off the impending darkness he could feel seeping through his blood. The taste of metal on his tongue was diluted by the whiskey and the memory of a warm and sunny day by the mansion’s nearby lake. High summer heat and deep green in the trees. The smooth surface reflecting the cloudless sky and knee-high grasses and weeds surrounding its edges. The scent of sun-warmed mud filled his mind and he surrendered fully to the memory.

__


A distant high-pitched curse shattered the quiet of the lake, and Logan snarled as his head rose to detect the intruder. A quick sniff told him it was Rogue and he relaxed back into his sprawling position on the blanket at the water’s edge. He could detect the slightly cloying smell of her sunscreen, hints of coconut and lime tried to overpower the chemical protection the lotion offered, but underneath it all, the familiar clean warm smell of Marie, still the same after nearly eight years.

He sniffed again. She was angry. Another curse met his ear and he sat up, intrigued. She hadn’t spotted him. Not yet. She was just past the clearing of the water, behind a line of birch and ash trees. The line of curse words leaving her lips nearly had a smile sneaking past his own, one which was swiftly squashed when he detected a hint of her blood on the air. The warm coppery scent raised the hair on his neck in alarm. His body tensed and he moved silently to his feet, the predator within on high alert to detect any hint of an enemy.

He moved closer to her position, his bare feet moving swiftly and silently across the damp earth around the lake. He spotted a woman through a clearing in the trees, her skin glowing in the sunlight, and Logan stopped in his tracks, stunned into realization that there wasn’t another woman with Rogue. It was Rogue.

He felt the animal growling in approval of all the exposed skin that was visible over the lines of her one-piece swimsuit. A tank top was thrown carelessly over one shoulder, which slipped off to the forest floor as she hunched forward. Her long, toned legs were housed in a worn pair of jean shorts, its frayed edges grazing the tops of her thighs. He was pleased that she’d had enough sense to wear a pair of sensible shoes to get to the lake “ some cross-trainers with a decent tread “ but stopped as he saw the red line of blood slipping into them from one leg.

He suppressed a growl of anger as he ceased his quiet approach, allowing her to hear him coming.

“Logan,” she said in surprise, standing upright and brushing her long hair out of her face. “What’re you doin’ here?”

He ignored her and moved closer, leaning down to get a better look at the gash in her calf. “What happened?” he countered.

She sighed, and Logan was pleased that she didn’t appear to be in much pain. He reached out with one hand and thumbed the stream of blood aside, to reveal its source. A decent gouge on the backside of her calf.

“I tripped. See that stupid pile of roots back there?” She gestured sharply to her right and Logan spotted it easily. “I was takin’ off my shirt and fell. Stupid,” she muttered to herself. “One of the broken roots went right in.”

Logan grabbed her shirt from where it’d fallen and used it to brush away more of the blood, trying to see how deep it’d gone. He eased up when she hissed in pain, and he glanced up to find her watching him, nose crinkled as she suppressed a cry. He hated when she did that. Tryin’ to act tough with him. She didn’t need to. He knew she was steel underneath all that fluff and charm.

He liked that she didn’t protest him usin’ the shirt to staunch the bleedin’. Sensible. Smart. He liked that.

Like all that skin too. Glowin’. Sweat poolin’ at the small of her back…

Logan tried to force an end to the line of thinking by examining the puncture. It was difficult to focus while touching her skin. Not because of any danger in her absorbing him, she’d learned control years ago. But because for some reason, he was finally noticing her. She wasn’t the girl he’d first met all those years ago, bundled in a green cloak, bold as fuckin’ brass sneakin’ into his trailer. No. She was grown. Confident. A spitfire who didn’t take shit from anyone on the team, especially him.

Fuck, he thought to himself viciously.

“Ain’t too bad,” he muttered as he tied her tank top tightly around the wound to stop the bleeding.

She frowned as she looked down out her leg. “That’s gonna leave a helluva tan line.”

He snorted as he straightened up.

“What’re you doin’ here?” she repeated, turning back toward him.

Logan ran a hand through his hair and jerked back toward the blanket by the lake which was just discernable through the heavy shade of the trees. “Was enjoyin’ a little peace and quiet.”

Rogue nodded. “The little ankle biters at the mansion are enough to drive anyone crazy.”

“Why don’t you join me?” He found himself asking.

She blinked in surprise at the invitation. “Really? You don’t wanna be alone?”

“Nah,” he shrugged and walked back toward the outspread blanket, ears straining for a hint of her following him. He didn’t have to wait long as she began to follow his steps, her normal pace slightly disrupted by a hint of a limp.

“Need any help?” he threw back over one shoulder.

“Nah,” she said with a bit of a smile in her lips. “Ain’t too bad,” throwing his previous words back at him.

He snorted again in amusement and waited for her to join him on the large blanket. He noticed she had a small beach bag clutched in one hand, her own towel rolled up and sticking out from one zippered side. She tossed her bag at the top of the blanket next to the cooler he’d lugged out, and sighed as she sat back on her elbows, taking in the peace of the scenery in front of her.

He liked that about her. Didn’t need to fill the silence with unnecessary words.

“Want a beer?” he asked as he settled in next to her, opening up the cooler lid to dig for a fresh one for himself.

“Sounds great,” she answered back. He popped the cap off a pair of Molsons and she quirked a corner of her lip up at the choice.

“What?” he asked, feeling suddenly defensive.

She shook her head as she took the cold bottle from his outstretched fingers. “You really needta try some other beer, Logan. There’s some great craft beer out there right now. Lotsa stuff you’d probably like,” she said the last part almost under her breath. Like maybe she’d thought about what beers he’d like.

“What’s wrong with this stuff?”

She shrugged one shoulder before tipping back the long neck. “Nothin’ really. Just simple, kinda old-”

“-Classic,” he interrupted, correcting her. “Ya mean, ‘classic.’”

He could see her suppressed laughter threatening to move past her sealed lips and he sighed as he settled back in, plunking a worn cowboy hat across his eyes to shield them from the highest peak of the summer sun.

“Whatever you say, Logan.”

Time stretched, long moments of companionable silence taking up the afternoon. Though he appeared still, he was alert. Catching the small movements of her as she shifted here and there, as she dug in her bag for a book. Listening for the small sounds of her breath, her heart. Scenting the air as she slathered on more of that horrid sunscreen, wrinkling his nose at its artificial scent.

About three beers later for each of them, she finally stood, stretched, winced, and then looked down at her leg.

Logan too sat up and watched as she leaned over to undo the makeshift bandage he’d fashioned from her shirt.

“Bleedin’ stopped,” he said as he appraised the wound. It didn’t look too bad now that it’d stopped bleeding, but a part of him still wanted her to turn on her skin and take a second of his healing. He didn’t like her to be hurt. But he didn’t insult her by asking. The answer would be no. Her rule was only if she was dying. And this was pretty damn far from a mortal wound.

“Yeah. It’s tender though. Think I’m gonna soak it in the lake for a few minutes.”

And Logan watched in a mixture of fascination and horror as she shed her jean shorts and sauntered into the water at the lake’s edge. He couldn’t keep his eyes off the way she was movin’. She was graceful, even through the mud, and he watched her sigh contentedly as she moved in deeper, the water now obscuring a clear view of her body.

“Don’t go too deep,” he called out after her.

“I’ll be fine, Logan. Why don’t you join me?” she asked playfully, one eyebrow raised in challenge.

He snorted. “Ya know I don’t swim, kid.”

“You don’t know what you’re missin’!” She turned over on her back and floated, eyes raised to the sky, long hair trailing out behind her.

Yeah, I fuckin’ do, he thought violently.

His thoughts couldn’t be further from swimming. An uncomfortable awareness was spreading through his conscious mind. An awareness of Marie. Not the kid he’d begrudgingly helped all those years ago. The woman she was.

Before long, she had swum across the length of the lake, arms smoothly running in and out of the water, until she looped back toward where Logan was watching her, and strode out of the lake. He couldn’t keep his eyes off the smooth lines of her drenched in water as she emerged. She wrung out her hair and strolled back over to Logan’s blanket, plopping her wet self back in the previous position she’d occupied “ one hand wrapped around her beer, the other stretched out at her side.

Like a man possessed, Logan found himself moving closer to her free hand. Fascinated by the droplets of water that were slowly evaporating in the later afternoon sun. He was close enough now to see a small freckle on the underside of her wrist and he was startled that he’d never noticed it before. His heart was pounding as he found himself unable to stop himself from reaching out with one finger to touch it. See what it felt like in the sun-warmed light.

She jumped as she felt him, and he immediately withdrew his touch.

“Jeez, Logan. You should know better than to sneak up a person. Let alone one that could kill you.”

“Sorry,” he murmured, more than disappointed in the perfunctory feeling of her skin against his.

She frowned and looked up at him. “You okay?”

“Yeah, kid. Just brushing away a mosquito.” Even to his own ears, the lie sounded thoroughly unconvincing.

She didn’t call him out on the false claim and turned on her side to catch his eyes. She didn’t say anything. She didn’t have to. Her only movements were the rise and fall of her chest as she breathed. The sounds of her breath and the quiet peace of the lake soothed him as he met her gaze, full on. They stayed that way for several seconds, neither of them daring to move.

Finally, she blinked and raised the beer to her lips for another sip. The pounding of her heart told him she wasn’t immune to the magic of the day, the scent of her blood told him she was more than willing to move things along. But only if he was.

He reached out again slowly, this time moving a strand of platinum hair back away from her cheek. He tucked it gently behind her ear, and she closed her eyes in pleasure at the simple gesture.

It was all suddenly going too fast. He didn’t wanna fuck this up. Not with her.

He cleared his throat as he moved to stand. “Make sure ya get Hank to take a look at that when you get back,” he said, jerking his head toward her calf.

She nodded as she settled back in on the blanket, seemingly unsurprised by the turn of events. “Where are ya goin?”

“Away,” he said simply. “Gotta sort some stuff out. Be back soon though.” He grabbed the cooler and his hat and then turned back to where she was lounging casually in the sun.

“I know.”

He heard the truth in her words. Knew she trusted him to come back to the mansion. But still. He wanted her to know…something had changed for him. He wouldn’t just be coming back to the mansion. He’d be coming back to her. For her.

“Next time you wanna come out here, let me know. I’ll join ya.”

One eyebrow shot up and she peered back beneath one hand that was shielding her eyes from the sun. “Really?” she said simply.

He nodded. “Really.”

“Well okay then.” And she lay back down to soak up the afternoon.

Logan strolled across the length of the lake back toward the mansion. A quick stop in his room and a turn around the garage for his bike. A few weeks in the clear calm of the north to make sure he had his head on right. And then…

Then he would be back.

For good.

_____

A violent coughing fit snapped him out of the memory with a cruel savagery. The feeling of sun on his skin, and the promise of a future vanished with every spasm of pain that wracked his body. He curled up on himself with the force of the coughing and took several more swigs of whiskey to quiet his struggling body.

The light was dimmer now, early evening was upon him. He lay back on the bed again, clutching the memory of the lake close to him.

It might be enough to get him through another nightmare-filled night. The scents and sounds of that day. Everything had changed for him then. He’d known fulfillment. Light. Softness.

He’d revisit it again and again as many times as he needed to. Knowing he would never again know the satisfaction of a day like that one. Never feel the warmth of the sun or her touch again.

All he had left was the cold certainty of the present. No home. No family. No Marie. Just Caliban and the old man who’d ruined everything. A surge of guilt immediately followed his dark thoughts and he drank again. He forced himself to shove away the thoughts of his present, and tried, with grasping shaking fingers, to snare the memory of that day once again.

Willed himself to call up the sounds and scents of the lake. He swallowed another mouthful, recalling the warmth of artificial coconut and lime. Of mud and water. Reeds and sweat-dampened skin.

And he told himself he’d seen her again. Soon enough.
End Notes:
I'm not crying, you're crying. I have a love/hate relationship with the movie, Logan. Just as I have a love/hate relationship with this little one-shot.

I'm getting back into writing after a little hiatus, and this one just flowed easily, which was so delightful. Keep yourself warm, and hang in there. Winter is almost over.
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