Between the Darkness and Light

by Talya Firedancer

Part One

Should have known it was a dream, because he'd put no conditions on helping. Jean had put something in his hand, and now he opened his eyes to daylight and a pair of red quartz sunglasses. He remembered them well; Cyclops had never gone anywhere without his glasses. Too conscientious. When he picked them up by Alkali Lake he'd had no idea what could have happened to the man; when he showed them to Jean, the dawning horror in her eyes gave him the truth. Then they had been destroyed, along with the rest of the med-bay; the glasses were gone, rendered to ruby-quartz dust.

The Phoenix had splintered Scott's distinctive glasses into so much floating debris...along with the door to the med-bay, most of the Grey house, damn near all of an island in San Francisco Bay...and presumably Cyclops.

Now he wasn't so sure.

Logan sighed and examined the glasses in his hand. He thought he could even detect a faint hint of the man's scent, sweat and aftershave, leather and oil from working around cars and engine parts. How had she done it? She was, without a doubt, deader than folk songs; his claws had slid through her chest and he'd held her through the jerk and spasm as she breathed her last. He'd "saved" her.


Now he'd made a promise, and Logan had always been wary of making promises he couldn't break. Here was the proof of it. But what the hell was he supposed to do?

There wasn't much to prepare so far as getting himself ready for the road was concerned. He gave Storm the slip in the downstairs hallway and put five kids between them fast, flat-out ignored Peter when the young man called his name, and ducked out of the kitchen after nicking supplies before Beast could give him more than a keen-eyed stare. It was Rogue who found him before he'd quite managed to leave, running up to him in the wide, long garage attached to the mansion. He swore the kid had a sixth sense when it came to him - even as she was now, having taken the cure.

"Logan? Where you goin'?" she demanded, stopping just shy of touching distance. Weird enough, now that she could, she didn't - could be some sort of reverse psychology thing, he had no clue.

"Out," he replied, evasive. The one advantage to never giving a straight answer was that after a while, people stopped expecting one. He wasn't even sure how to say it. He'd made a promise to Jean? Jean's dead, Logan. Yeah, but maybe someone else isn't...

"You comin' back?" she inquired, lifting her chin.

"You know me, kid," Logan said with a shrug. "Can't guarantee nothin'. We'll see, you know? What, you want to hang onto another souvenir, to be sure I don't make off for good?"

Her gaze turned steely, assessing, reminding Logan that for all intents and purposes, the girl held a piece of him inside her. She might not know him as well as he knew himself -- whatever that was worth, with the bits and pieces he had left -- but she had a damn fair amount of insight. "Naw, I just..." She clasped her arms across her chest and tilted her head, frowning. "Why'd you pick this one?" With a jerk of her head she indicated the tall coal-black truck.

Logan glanced at it. The Dodge Ram's keys were already dangling in his hands and there was no use denying it. When they had taken the jet to Alkali Lake, they had found Jean and left fast. If Scott was still up there...there'd be a motorcycle to haul back, too. "For the gas mileage," he said, tone biting. "If you don't mind, a man likes to make a road trip in peace. Now, why don't you find something better to do, like make time with your boyfriend?"

Color filled her cheeks as fast as the hurt that flooded her eyes, and she took a step back. "Fine! I, I was just...I mean, I thought we needed you." Rogue shook her head, then turned on her heel and angrily strode for the garage exit. "Goodbye, Logan."

Jeez, he hadn't slapped her or anything, but damn the kid was touchy. "Don't count on no one unless they've told you that you can," Logan muttered to her retreating figure, but he shook his head as he climbed behind the wheel. Hadn't he told her that, more or less, not so very long ago? Still, wasn't his place. He wasn't a teacher no matter what offers Xavier had made, and a man's promises died with him anyhow. He wasn't her father. And he damned well wasn't her boyfriend - and thank God she'd found someone else for that.

It was a long way to Alkali Lake, so the sooner he got there, the faster he could stop eating shitty truck-stop food.