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Only In Name And Blood

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“HGRRRRAAAAAAAAAAUUUGH!”

The glint of claws, shining from moonlight that somehow threaded in around the window curtains. Bunched muscles and tendons rippling with adrenaline. Suntanned skin with beads of sweat and winding veins. Thick black hair standing out at all angles, with matching eyebrows that overshadowed two blown pupils. Logan was a magnificent creature, even roaring and tensing after a nightmare.

Jean just stood and watched from the side of the bed; after a couple of months falling asleep beside him, she’d gotten very intuitive about when to jump away from him even if she wasn’t awake. As always, it only took ten or twenty seconds for him to realize he was back in the real world, and she sat on the mattress beside him as his claws slid back in.

“Was it the surgery?” Jean asked softly, rubbing his back in spite of how soaked his shirt was. He usually dreamed about the surgery.

“No.” Logan shook his head and then rubbed his face with his palms. An uneven sigh escaped him. “No, this was… dunno where it came from. Flyin’ ’round in a helicopter, all kinds’a trees’n shit goin’ by under us. An’... an’ someone else’s there, too, on a M-60 GPMG. Didn’t see him, but I’m tryn’a stop him, ’cause he’s just shootin’ down into the people. They ain’t soldiers, neither, just farmers an’ stuff. But he’s killin’ them an’ laughin’ while he does it. An’ I can’t stop him.”

That makes Jean freeze for a long moment. Reading up on her boyfriend’s various mental disorders so that she could treat them had brought her to a section on war-related PTSD, which Logan had all the hallmarks of beyond just “regular” PTSD. Between that and the dog-tags he’d worn when they’d rescued him, it was no question he’d been in some kind of military unit before the experiments. In that particular article, special attention had been given to the cases of soldiers returning after Vietnam, describing several of their experiences in detail, and what Logan had just described was a dead-ringer for the flashback of a Vietnam vet.

“You didn’t see his face?” Jean questioned, leaning into him with her arm across his back.

“No. Just saw his hands on the gun. Heard him laughin’ at them dyin’.”

“Did something happen today that was unusual? It could’ve reminded you of some past event.”

“Uh… the thing from SHIELD. Told you ’bout that, fuckin’ Sabertooth wantin’ me to go see him in prison. Fuck if I know why, though.”

That made her frown: “Yeah, you showed me the letter… but how would that connect to the memory of a war that happened almost fifty years ago…?”

“Huh?” Logan grunted, twitching his eyebrows in confusion at her.

“You were dreaming about Vietnam.”

“Shit. Kinda figured I’m an old bastard, but I guess I been kickin’ ’round longer’n I thought.”

“There might be a way for us to find out a little,” Jean offered, getting up from the bed to switch on the light. She scooped her laptop off her desk and sat on the edge of the mattress while it booted up. “The records from military units during that conflict may be online, and they’d have at least some of your info.”

“Hm.” Logan hesitantly scooted himself over to her, scowling. He’d remarked a few weeks ago that the way he knew he was up there in years was how incompetent he was with computers and his intense distrust of the internet especially. “Why?”

“All kinds of reasons,” she shrugged, tapping in her password and opening the browser. “Legal purposes, I think, or someone trying to find the guys he served with. Or even like you, they don’t remember and they want to figure everything out.”

Unfortunately, because Google wasn’t always the most reliable tool, it took them almost fifteen minutes to find what they were looking for. At least the site with the records had a search bar… which led to about forty different soldiers of varying ranks, all with the last name “Logan.” Assuming he’d been going by that name back then, of course.

“Gettin’ sick’a this,” he grumbled, cracking the joints in his neck and making her cringe at the noise. “Seen me in there, yet?”

“I’m still looking,” Jean sighed.

LOGAN, IAN
LOGAN, ISAAC
LOGAN, JAMAL

She opened the next one on the list in a new tab: LOGAN, JAMES. The scanned image of a photo popped up under the name as per usual, but it made her breath catch. It was unmistakably him, even though his hair was a little longer and more tame in the picture. But besides that, he looked exactly the same, right down to the hard grimace of impatience. Jean scrolled further to read the information.

HEIGHT: 6ft 3in
WEIGHT: 247.02 lbs
EYE COLOR: Brn
BLOOD TYPE: AB-
RELIGION: N/A
DATE OF BIRTH: Unknown
AGE AT END OF SERVICE: 31 yrs (approximate)
ENLISTMENT DATE: 19 Apr 1968
EXPIRY: 27 Feb 1973
NOTES: 1SG Logan along with CPL Creed were charged with killing a senior officer on 26 February 1973. They were subsequently arrested, stripped of rank/awards, and executed by firing squad at 10.00 on 27 February 1973. Body was transferred to MAJ Stryker for research purposes at 14.45 on 27 February 1973. Logan and Creed were confirmed to exhibit traits of the mutated gene “x” on 01 March 1973. Further scientific results have been redacted as of 02 March 1973. (Information provided by CPT Dolan, Delta Company, 209 Airborne)

“Creed…” Jean whispered as she read to the bottom of the page. Sabertooth’s real name was Victor Creed - he’d been in the army with Logan? They’d gone to Vietnam together? “You’re not going to like this… Sabertooth is your old war buddy.”

“What?” he snorted, leaning over to look for himself. “‘Executed?’ Bullshit, ain’t no way they could’a killed me… it don’t say nothin’ ’bout Sabertooth, neither.”

“Creed is Sabertooth,” she explained. “But that explains why his request triggered you. Was he the one in the helicopter with you?”

“Dunno,” Logan shrugged, shaking his head. “Only ran into him that one time couple months back, don’t remember what he sounds like.”

Jean kept Logan’s file open, and used the main site’s search again to find Sabertooth. By contrast, that page wasn’t difficult to locate at all. A photo of Creed’s broad face loaded, wearing an eerily similar expression to Logan’s picture.

“Looks a little familiar,” her boyfriend commented, his eyebrows drawing together and showing how annoyed that made him. “Dunno why I didn’t just gut the fucker back then. I would’a known he’s such a cruel bastard just by meetin’ him.”

“Maybe you knew him before you both enlisted,” Jean suggested, scrolling down.

HEIGHT: 6ft 7in
WEIGHT: 263.31 lbs
EYE COLOR: Blu
BLOOD TYPE: AB-
RELIGION: N/A
DATE OF BIRTH: Unknown
AGE AT END OF SERVICE: 35 yrs (approximate)
ENLISTMENT DATE: 19 Apr 1968
EXPIRY: 27 Feb 1973
NOTES: 1SG Logan along with CPL Creed were charged with killing a senior officer on 26 February 1973. They were subsequently arrested, stripped of rank/awards, and executed by firing squad at 10.00 on 27 February 1973. Body was transferred to MAJ Stryker for research purposes at 14.45 on 27 February 1973. Logan and Creed were confirmed to exhibit traits of the mutated gene “x” on 01 March 1973. Further scientific results have been redacted as of 02 March 1973. (Information provided by CPT Dolan, Delta Company, 209 Airborne)
CPL Creed received a series of formal and informal reprimands, specifically for drinking on duty, insubordination, and hostile actions towards the other men in his squad. Prior to his arrest and execution, he received a disciplinary action for disobeying 1SG Logan’s order to cease firing on unarmed civilians from the air. (Provided by SSG McCready, 1 Squad, 3 Platoon, Delta Company, 209 Airborne)

“Guess I was his platoon sergeant,” Logan muttered thoughtfully, reading the page with her.

“But look at everything else,” Jean frowned, pointing at the screen without touching so that it wouldn’t leave a fingerprint. “You both enlisted and were ‘executed’ on the exact same dates. His blood group is the same as yours, even though AB is the rarest phenotype. Your approximate ages are close, your height and weight are both similar. He even scowls like you do.”

“Fuck,” Logan hissed under his breath as Jean flicked back and forth between his and Creed’s photos. The vicious fighter she’d tried to apprehend several times seemed to be drilling his eyes through the screen, an intense expression on his broad face where her boyfriend’s was more angular and severe. But the similarities were hard to miss - nose, ears, forehead, their muscular necks and thick hair - and, she noticed, for some reason they’d also decided to trim their beards the same way. “Fuck, that ain’t right… Jeannie, you don’t think… he ain’t…”

“I’m sorry.” She shook her head, looking over to see the shock and horror that poisoned his handsome features. “We should’ve realized sooner, even, because his mutation is almost exactly like yours. Creed has to be either your brother or a cousin on your father’s side.”

“Jesus,” Logan whimpered for a moment before getting a grip on himself. He sighed, but then cut it short into a huff of frustration. “Gimme some good news, darlin’. Can’t do nothin’ to make this better on my own.”

“SHEILD has more than tripled the amount of security around him, as well as The Vault in general,” Jean offered. “Even if he does manage to get out again, it won’t be for years at least. Besides, even if you don’t have anything to do with him after this, at least you know you’re not the only one anymore.”

“Yeah, well, now I kinda wish I still was the only one. Or better, that he was. Still real sick’a this whole ‘bein’ alive’ thing, darlin’. It ain’t all it’s cracked up to be.”

“Would it help to know that I asked Ororo to pick up ten pounds of sirloin steaks for you this week?”

Logan tried to glare at her, but it twisted into a smirk and he couldn’t hold back a chuckle. “Maybe a little bit. ’Sides, I got you, too. That makes up for most’a the bullshit I gotta deal with anyway.”

“I think she got you a few pork roasts, too.” Jean snapped her computer shut and set it on the floor so that she could pull him into a hug. Logan rolled his head against her neck to kiss the underside of her jaw. “Hey, stop that. Your beard is tickling me…”

She couldn’t stop the childish giggle that followed, because it was tickling her, so her only retaliation was to pinch his flank, because she’d discovered it was his ticklish spot. He immediately yelped and sprang back away from her, landing heavily on the mattress. He was grinning at her in spite of the bags under his eyes.

“Alright, that’s enough of that,” Jean told him in a tone that left no room for uncertainty. “You need to get some sleep.”

“Grmph,” Logan rumbled in protest, but ultimately gave in. “Fine, dammit. But this’s gonna get picked back up in the mornin’.”

“Okay,” she nodded, giving a tired smile. She got up briefly to flick the light back off and snuggled up to his side, kissing the hard muscle of his shoulder. “Try to dream about me instead, baby.”

“Yeah, I got so much control over that… c’mere, darlin’.” He pulled her into the warmth of his chest and cocooned her in his arms; she didn’t think she’d ever get tired of the feeling and safety of it. “Love you.”

“I love you too, Logan. Sleep tight.”

He chuckled a little, tucking her head into his neck under his chin. They fell back asleep almost instantly, and no dreams came for either of them.


 

“It could actually be a good idea,” Ororo slowly offered.

Logan almost choked on the meat he was chewing, spitting it out violently onto the floor over his shoulder and then coughing himself hoarse trying to get bits of gristle out of his lungs and bronchus. “The fuck you thinkin’ over there, ’Ro? I miss somethin’?”

“Hear me out,” she replied, offering a napkin as he wiped his mouth on the sleeve of his green plaid shirt. “At the very least, it could be a way to gather intel. Such a strange request obviously has a motive behind it, and I can’t help but feel you owe it to yourself to at least find out what he wants.”

“I ain’t thrilled ’bout seein’ that fuck-stick ever again unless he’s on the end’a my claws,” Logan growled, stabbing his fork into the next chunk of beef with unnecessary force. “Fuckin’ gut him an’ wear his intestines as laces for my boots-”

“I’m trying to eat,” Jean snapped on his left, elbowing him in the ribs. “There’s a reason Hank usually handles the surgeries and autopsies instead of me.”

“Sorry,” he muttered, looking down at his plate. “Just fuckin’ hate that bastard.”

“We all do, trust me. But… I actually kind of agree with her on this one. It could be a good idea just so that you can figure out what he’s up to.”

“You remember what I said, though?” Logan asked, but not angrily anymore. He softened his expression for his girlfriend and he let her feel his concern. “Ain’t gonna leave you alone again, ever. ’Specially not for Sabertooth. But I ain’t gonna bring you with me there, neither, that’s just askin’ for trouble. Not doin’ it, darlin’.”

*What happened wasn’t your fault,* her voice came to his mind. *I wasn’t paying close enough attention to my surroundings.*

Yeah, an’ who were you thinkin’ ’bout when it happened? Me. ’Cause I left like a jackass. I ain’t takin’ a chance on him hurtin’ you again, baby. I really don’t wanna do this.

“Is he switching?” Ororo questioned, drawing them back. She looked slightly worried.

“Hm? Oh, no, he’s fine,” Jean shook her head. “Just a side note.”

“Don’t do that so much these days,” Logan added, shrugging. “Hank makes me eat ’bout fifty pills every mornin’, but seems to be doin’ somthin’ to shut him up in there, so I ain’t gonna bitch ’bout it.”

“We had to answer a lot of questions about that,” Jean groaned, rolling her eyes. “Apparently the whistle gets blown when we start ordering powerful antipsychotics and ADHD medications in mass quantities.”

“ADHD meds?” Logan questioned, raising an eyebrow at her.

“The bupropion is labeled for use in patients with that disorder, but it’s a dopamine antagonist, so it can work well as an antidepressant. That’s why you’ve been a lot less cranky.”

“So what type of questions were asked?” Ororo wondered, looking somewhat fascinated by this story.

“Why a school would need to stock these medications in bulk, mostly. They were making sure we weren’t selling them to junkies or the black market. We didn’t use your name, though,” she assured him, which made Logan feel a little better. “Just explained that we had a patient whose body is very efficient at filtering out toxins and would need a higher dosage. They wouldn’t ship us anything until Hank and I sent copies of our credentials in triplicate.

“I heard my name, what about me and credentials?” Speaking of Hank. He was now moving to sit across from Logan with his own lunch, but Logan didn’t mind. The other feral was hard not to like.

“Tellin’ ’Ro ’bout my pills,” he volunteered before downing another huge bite of steak.

“Ah,” the furry blue mutant nodded, adjusting his glasses briefly before turning his tray to make his soup closest to him. “Not to change the subject, but I heard you received mail yesterday.”

Logan grimaced. “Yup.”

“And… I understand it was written by Victor Creed and sent from prison.”

“Yup.”

“What did he want?”

“Wants me to visit him there.”

“Are you going to?” Hank frowned. “It could be a good opportunity to assess-”

“The fuck’s goin’ on this mornin’? All’a you decided to gang up on me ’bout this?” Logan snapped, glaring at Hank and Ororo. “I ain’t doin’ it, the end. Feel free to fuck off at any time.”

“Even for the opportunity to rub in his face that you’re the one who caught him and put him back in The Vault?” Jean pointed out after a moment of tense silence.

Well, shit. How did this woman always get to him? No matter how much he struggled to be obstinate, she always drew that little smirk from him in the end.

“Because I have you wrapped around my finger,” she teased when he had that thought. A peck to his upper cheek just over where his facial hair ended. “And you love it, too.”

“How the hell’d it get this bad, darlin’?” He couldn’t keep the words from coming out in a chuckle, pulling her to his side briefly and kissing her on the temple.

“Because I’m right and you know it.” Jean poked him lightly before going back to her own tray of food. “It’ll be fine, Logan. He’ll probably be chained to the floor and on so many tranquilizers he can’t uncross his eyes. You’ll be right in front of him if he tries anything, and there’ll be literally thousands of SHIELD guards around. I’ll just wait in the next room and maintain a psychic link, okay?”

“God dammit,” Logan growled under his breath, shaking his head. “Whatever. Fine. I’ll go visit Sabertooth in prison an’ try gettin’ his motives.”

“Just so that you’re aware,” Beast smiled, “the majority of us residing in the mansion are in unanimous agreement that you’re an adorable pair.”

“Call me that again, furball, an’ I’mma turn you into a rug.”

“It’s a compliment,” Ororo laughed. “And he’s right. I once heard a student commenting something along the lines of you being so in love with her that it’s almost sickening.”

“I’mma finish eatin’ with the TV,” Logan grumbled decisively, squeezing Jean’s shoulder before carrying his plate out of the cafeteria.