Between the Darkness and Light

by Talya Firedancer

Part Eight

The highway was a long stretch of nothing bordered by miles of nowhere, its sole function being to serve as a throughway from one populated hub to another. Logan had to spare the time needed to check out, glad he'd already taken care of filling the gas tank earlier in anticipation of an early start the next day. He pushed the truck's accelerator hard, having first-hand knowledge of the capabilities of Cyclops' souped-up motorcycle, but also knowing the bike took a firm hand and decent amount of strength to ride her.

He scanned the blacktop as the engine gunned along. Fuck. Shoulda known what wouldn't be such a big deal to him would be something Slim would take to heart. Not to mention, the timing... His jaw hardened. It had never happened, if that was what it took for Slim to get functional again. Sex was sex, but as for what came after, that depended on the person. Sometimes you could make a go of it. Sometimes, you ran. Logan hadn't done a whole lot of settling in the past fifteen years; Xavier's mansion was the closest he'd come to calling 'home' but even then there were other places he found he had to be, even when he wasn't searching for answers.

Wasn't as if he'd expected a kiss or a declaration of intent. It had shocked him to find them in the middle of something hot, truth be told; he'd always thought Cyclops would just as soon kill him as look at him. Logan frowned as he scanned the road. He recalled he wasn't the one who'd unzipped his jeans and dived right in; that had been all Scott.

He disengaged his train of thought and focused on the road, keeping alert for a sign of what he suspected he'd find.

It had been maybe thirty minutes between the time the Dodge had roared out of the truck-stop oasis parking lot when Logan's sharp eyes picked up something beyond the swathe of light cutting through the midnight-black and he jammed his foot on the brake. Cussing, he brought the truck to a dead stop so fast he was a little surprised he didnít roll the vehicle, and then wouldn't Summers be thrilled with him? Now visible in the glare of the headlights, a downed motorcycle had skidded over the highway, still within one lane and edging onto the shoulder. Its back wheel was up in the air and still spun in lazy rotations.

Switching the headlights to bright and flipping the hazards, Logan shifted the car into park and he was out the door in one erratic heartbeat. He'd promised. Now it wasn't just for her sake he wanted to see this through. He was going to take care of this, see Slim home if not in one piece then alive, at least.

He loped over to the downed bike, sniffing for traces of blood, spilled gasoline. Nothing. It was clean. He did catch a whiff of Scott's scent and scrambled past the prone bike, following the trace and finding a sprawled body over the line, well onto the shoulder. His mouth quirked as he realized that Slim must have crawled on hands and knees until he was off the road, even in as bad a shape as he was. Ever the safety-conscious, or at least, considerate of others' safety if not his own.

"You damned fool, what the hell'd ya think you were doing!?" Logan blasted, kneeling beside him.

"Ruining my bike," Scott wheezed, limp and unresisting as Logan slung one of Scott's arms over his shoulders and began to haul him back to the truck. He started to laugh, then choked off with a hiss of pain.

"Don't think I won't slap you just 'cause you're not feeling well on account of wrecking on top of everything else," Logan warned. He continued under his breath, "You think the bike is bad, wait 'til you find out what happened to your jet."

"What?" Scott roused enough to say, blurry but his head tracking.

"Forget it, it can wait, kid." Logan heaved the door open and contemplated how the hell to get Slim up that four-foot rise into the truck's cab.

"'M not a kid," Scott muttered, head lolling against Logan's shoulder.

"You're right," Logan said, acidic. "You're a damn fool. But you can lean, right? Lean right here -- shit -- lean here, Slim, I'm gonna climb up then pull you in after." It took three tries to get Scott to prop himself against the side of the truck, then Logan leapt into the cab and grasped Scott's arm. Left untended even for that instant, the man had begun to slide as his knees buckled under him.

He pulled Scott up into the truck by hauling on his arms until he could reach the jeans, then he got a hand on belt and the waist of his jeans and used that as leverage to get him the rest of the way into the cab. Scott moved with his manipulations like a sack of meal, uncooperative weight under his hands and the way his body sagged in the seat, head flopping back against the head rest, he'd passed out.

"Damn fool," Logan repeated, for his own satisfaction, but he was on the verge of panic. He knew how to check for signs of concussion or worse in a normal human - somehow, the knowledge was in his memory, though he had no conscious recall of learning it - but he couldn't have Scott open his eyes to show him whether his pupils were blown or normal. "You can't counter all that time of starvation with one damned meal and some shitty pizza and it's been how long since you slept?"

There was no answer, not that he'd expected one. He leaned over Scott's prone body to hook the door shut, then buckled the seat belt for him. He slumped onto his side of the truck for a moment, and a sigh rippled his chest. Shaking his head, he exited the driver side and returned to the bike's side.

It was damaged, part of one side crushed from impact with the blacktop, but even his eye could tell that the damage could be fixed. Nice recovery project, maybe, for the recuperation period. He seized the handlebars and wrestled it upright, then half-wheeled, half-dragged it to the back, where he loaded it into the flatbed.

Logan sprang back into the cab and glanced over at Scott, then jerked the door shut.

"Look, maybe I misread ya," Logan told the unconscious man. "Sorry for what happened. Back at the motel. I shouldn't have done it."

Scott mumbled something, which Logan's ears were sharp enough to catch. I left because I liked it, you asshole.