Title: All the Way Down
Author: Shana Nolan
Email: aericura@micron.net
Fandom: X-Men (movie)
Rating: strong R (implied sexual sitches, language, violence, drug usage)
Summary: to quote a line from a later part: "the year from hell"
Series: Perfect Ring of Scars #5
Category: angst!! (J,L,S,R)
Disclaimer: Fox and Marvel Entertainment Group have the X-Men and their movie. Stan Lee, I worship at your feet. I don't own anyone and I don't intend to sell this. no money, no sue, no powers. but my CB handle was Phoenix (great, date yourself, why don't you).
Archive: the usual suspects, and others will ask first
Comments: are welcome. Flames, however, are only accepted from a mutant named Pyro and even he knows better.

"still stings these shattered nerves, pigs we get what pigs deserve, i'm going all the way down, i'm leaving today"

Within two days of Logan keeping her company regularly, she had realised a few things.

No matter how much she could come to care for him, she would never love him as much as she did Scott.

It was agonising in itself, that realisation.

The other realisations just dealt with him. Logan was a man in the truest sense of the word. His blood surged with masculinity, his scent heavy and intoxicating to the feminine physiology. He dared to give sex a new meaning, his ferocity and frustration not just a fluke or occasional thing, but something that was as true to him as his claws and healing ability. He had so much potential to hurt a person, but somehow kept it curbed at that breaking point, leashed behind the line in the sand.

That was probably what kept her the most distracted in those days.

After all, it was hard to not be heady when the risk of being caught loomed over them. It only made them worse, more intense, and all the more miserable.

But as days crept on, a feeling crept into her being. The feeling of being used, and of using. Sensations given and received for the sake of forgetting, and of indulging forbidden fantasies.

It could not continue. Not the way it was, anyways. Something had to give, something had to adapt into a semblance of a healthier relationship.

Not that she had any right to one. Not in her mind.

Slipping out of the bed and Logan's strong arms, crossing the dark room to the bathroom with nothing on-- as he preferred her to-- she hesitantly turned on the light and looked at herself in the mirror. Dark circles hung below her eyes, her red hair tangled and less glossy than usual. The smile that used to grace her mouth was gone, the self-loathing frown making her look all the older. Even with mere weeks of lessened activity she could see the tone slipping from her body, the affects of bad eating and far too much sleep taking away that physical fitness that she had once worked hard for.

She was trying to become, literally, the shell of the person she once was.

Giving her reflection a sigh, she turned on the faucet and dipped her hands in the water, turning it to the coldest she could bear. Her skin was crawling with something akin to preternatural dirt, the dried sweat earned from last night still lingering on her, torturing her.

She couldn't stand the reflection any longer. Pulling a towel from the linen closet and turning on the showerhead's faucet with a hand, refusing to use her telekinesis for fear of feeling powerful, she stepped into the shower stall and started to scrub.

Her skin was close to bleeding when she finally stopped dragging the loofah over herself. Her flesh stung with the reapplication of soap, begging for some relief to the cleansing. Anything gentler, anything else than the scouring she was wreaking on herself.

But it was something else besides that, some lingering conscience that had survived her fall from grace that made her stop. It was keeping her from sinking so deeply that she could not return, holding onto her with a rope tied tightly around her neck. It whispered at her, cajoling her into turning off the water and going back to the mirror. She combed her hair out of habit there, dropping the towel to the floor carelessly, ignoring the eyes that met hers when she looked up.

But just as she was about to return to the main part of the room and crawl back into her misery, she froze.

Her telepathy was twice as potent when the mind she was reading belonged to a body she had been intimately close with, and it sang Logan's half-conscious thoughts into her mind like a choir.

Blood on his hands. Blood on his clothes. Blood on the floor. Blood on the body caught on his claws. Blood on the body sliding down to the floor with lifeless slack.

Scott's body.

Backing up into the doorframe, letting out a little shriek when her spine impacted with an edge, she closed every bit of her senses down and shut her eyes, willing away the disjointed image.

And when Logan crossed the room soundlessly and touched her, awoken by her sound of surprise, small as it was, she went stock still. His hands were on her bare, reddened arms, and it felt like glass cutting her into ribbons. It was all so wrong.


Her eyes flew open and she took a moment to look at him, shivering involuntarily as she read his concerned expression. Concerned for her.

He was worried for her after having thoughts of murdering her ex-fiancé.

"I--" Her breath caught in her chest and she heard the conscious, speaking again.

Lie. Protect yourself. Now is not the time. You must survive.

"I had a nightmare." Her voice sounded hollow to her, unreal. "I decided to take a shower and try to clear my mind of--"

A finger, tender and yet incredibly strong, fell at her lips, making her shiver and think of his hands stained with Scott's blood. "It's alright, Jeannie, ain't no need to explain. Come and lay back down. We can talk about this in the morning."

She forced a nod. It was all she could do, fighting the horror of the current moment with his soothing and the memories of his dream. Could the two belong to the same man, and how was it she had let herself be taken by him, permitting him the most personal of touches?

Surrender. Let it happen and wait for your chance. You must survive.

"Alright, Logan, alright."

But she still saw his hands as stained with the blood of a man she unwittingly held dear to her heart.

By the time the dawn was sneaking over the tops of the trees, she had repacked the bags and gotten dressed. Pulling her hair into a ponytail and slipping the warmer of her two jackets on, she cast a final look around the room, biting her lip at the sudden surge of emotion that played through her.

This was not the time for sentimentality.

He was asleep, soundly this time. She had portrayed herself as bothered enough to escape his hold, curling on her side and pretending to sleep while she listened to his breathing, waiting for the right time when she could slip past his all too acute senses and do what she needed to do.

She needed to run.

That was the only choice left. What little chance she had at rebuilding her life here had been shattered by her and Logan using each other. Using each other as outlets for their own frustrations.

And his dream, she realised with bitter thoughts aimed at her mutant talents, probably haunted her far worse than it ever would him.

Cracking open the door and slinging the heavier of the bags over her shoulder, she slipped into the hall and watched for others, trying to make her break from there as easy as possible.

For her, anyways. The others would take it in different ways, some better than others.

Reaching the main door, unlatching the bolt and taking a final look around the building she knew like the back of her hand, trying to imprint the happy recollections into her long term memory, she stepped out, closed the door and greeted the driver of the taxi waiting for her. The one she had called minutes before slipping out of the room. The one who had not asked why she needed a taxi that early in the morning in that part of town, somehow knowing that the situation was one of dire circumstance.

And with the simple placement of two bags into the trunk, her settling into the backseat and saying the four words "To the airport, please," she walked away from everything she had ever known.

She had to run. She had to survive.

At any cost.