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Logan hasn’t celebrated his birthday, except for massive amounts of beer or tequila, for decades.

That’s the guy way. That’s the soldier way.

Marie doesn’t care, and she bullies the date out of him, Oct. 9, by refusing to back off when he growls at her for asking the question for the fiftieth time.

So. The day comes, and there’s waffles with real maple syrup for breakfast, and three kinds of sausage, and fresh orange juice.

Logan remembers when oranges were a Christmas treat, to be savored and dreamed about for months, and times when fresh meat was a luxury, and even times when dried meat was a distant memory.

Now you can get anything, at any time. Sometimes, when Logan goes to the store these days, he has to go outside and clear his head after a bit, all the bright colors and kinds of orange juice - in his day, you got the pulpy kind and you liked it - and fake maple syrup and bananas and pineapples and tomatoes all year round, and anywhere you go.

Makes him kind of dizzy.

Food, and someone to share it with, though, that’s a thing that’s been around longer than he has, and Logan’s pretty happy with that, as long as he gets to pick most of his companions.

The kids at the mansion treat him like a big friendly beast who’s just playing when he snaps, and that’s true, he is, no matter how annoying they are, and that‘s okay, and he doesn’t outright hate any of the grown X-folk, so that’s kind of nice.

Breakfast is followed by a barbecue. A big chocolate cake. The expensive ice cream in the little tubs.

Presents.

Logan can’t remember the last time someone gave him a formal present - it’s been years and years. Storm gives him a nice shirt, and the school kids give him a bunch of second rate kung fu movies, and Remy gives him a box of Cuban cigars.

Marie gives him a little digital camera. Logan is pretty sure he’s never taken a picture in his life. He doesn’t think he’s even in any pictures that aren’t official, ID pics and that kind of thing.

Well, somewhere, lost in the mud of some soldier’s camp, is one of those old fashioned pictures, the brown kind, of him and Victor and some of the guys they’d gone out drinking with during the War Between the States.

“You’ll like it,” Marie says. “It’s easy.”

“What the hell am I supposed to do with this?“ Logan says, but he doesn’t mean it. It’s Marie, after all.

Marie just smirks. “It’s a birthday gift, so you can’t return it or give it away.”

“Smart ass.”

There’s way too many buttons and even a tiny computer screen on the thing, but it’s kind of fun. Logan doesn’t often come across anything really new to him, well, at least anything new that doesn’t make him want to punch a wall or live in a cave, and he’s always liked fooling around with gadgets.

He takes some shots of the kids, playing soccer in the chilling air, and fools around with the auto light settings. Lots of stuff comes out crappy, but he can just erase them later, Marie says. Then everybody wants to be in a picture, until it gets dark, and they run out of cake, and they move inside to watch bad kung fu movies.

Then late, with most everyone in bed or winding down somewhere, out on the patio, a lantern overhead, Logan and Remy pass a bottle of rum back and forth.

Logan’s got one of those Cuban cigars sticking out the side of his mouth, and he’s only half paying attention to Remy, who’s telling some outrageous story about stealing a painting in Prague. Mostly Logan’s fiddling with the camera, working through a bunch of the buttons, trying to take some kind of night shots. Playing with the black and white setting, the sepia tone that makes everything look old fashioned.

Snaps Remy, laughing on the half lit patio. Reaching for the bottle of rum. Flipping a card through his fingers, like he doesn’t even know he’s doing it.

The card is a little blurred, but Logan kind of likes the effect.

 

So Logan becomes one of those guys who take pictures. He sticks the camera in his jacket pocket, or in his jeans, and everybody gets used to him taking snaps, sometimes in the diner, or at the Harley dealership, or watching the kids train. Sometimes after a fight, or when they take the kids on a field trip.

Sometimes when he doesn’t know what to do, or how to fill a conversation.

After a couple months, Logan gets tired of loading the pics onto Marie’s laptop, and he doesn’t really want a computer for himself. You load too much of your life into those machines, and if Logan needs one, he’ll borrow it or go to the computer lab in the classroom wing.

Logan brings home a big photo printer and a stack of mismatched photo albums he got on sale at the camera shop, and enlists Marie to help.

“This is your fault,” Logan says, and points at the stack of albums.

Marie sighs, but with dimples. She’s mocking him.

Logan ignores her and starts printing out pictures.

The printing and sorting take a couple days, in between missions and supper time and homework.

Even though Marie always has something to say, she sticks with it and between them they get the pictures sorted into albums, and Marie gets on the computer and makes dividers, and labels and stuff.

It’s fun, working together like this, on something that isn’t a crisis.

Fun until Marie brings over the last stack of photos, sets it in front of him, and fans them out on the table.

“There something you want to tell me?” Marie blinks not so innocent eyes at him.

Every single picture in the scattered pile features Remy.

“Shut up,” Logan says.

“Or maybe there’s something you should be telling Remy,” Marie says.

“What I got to say to Remy is up to me.” Logan gets up and sweeps the snaps of Remy into a drawer.

Later, though, he gives the snaps back to Marie anyway. He really doesn’t want to organize that stuff himself. It feels kind of girly. He doesn’t even say anything when Marie sticks all those pictures of Remy in one photo book by themselves.

 

Remy comes back to the mansion one night in early spring, throws a backpack on the bed of his usual room, and just like that, Logan feels a little more alive.

For a few days, things are fine, even with Marie kind of watching the two of them.

Logan takes himself off the workshop one warming afternoon, figuring to putter around while he has the place to himself. He drags an old stool over to the work bench, near a square of light falling through the open shed door. When he sits down, something drags at his pocket, and Logan pulls the camera out, now a little battered, and sets it aside.

He’s happily taking apart a rusted lawnmower engine, when a figure slips into the doorway, blocking his light.

Logan hasn’t time to protest, because Remy comes right in, right up to him.

“What’s this all about?” Remy slaps the photo book down on the work bench, one long fingered hand flips it open, and there it is, all the evidence: photo after photo of Remy Le Beau.

Remy covered in dirt. Remy and motorcycles. Remy in jewel colored shirts. Remy giving Logan the finger.

Logan sits very still, but he can tell Remy is not angry, not at all.

Remy rakes his hair back from his face with both hands. “Why didn’t you tell me? My balls been busting for you since we met.”

“Maybe I was hoping you’d guess.”

“Biggest idiot I know,” Remy says, takes hold of his shoulders, and kisses him.

When Remy leans back, Logan‘s got his fingers hooked in the belt loops on Remy‘s jeans. “You could have said something.”

“I didn’t want to get eviscerated. Mountain men ain’t usually big on queers.”

“Uh, hate to break it to you, pal, but mountain men don’t mostly have a lot of women out there in the hills. They got to make do with something.” Logan wants to rub off right there, pushing his cock and balls against Remy’s denim covered thigh.

“If you are just making do with me, I will cut off your most precious body parts,” Remy says, closing his hand over the bulge in Logan’s jeans. Rubbing the tips of his fingers around.

“Not making do,” Logan says, then decides to just abandon speech, and grabs for Remy.

Remy doesn’t try to escape. He lets Logan yank him close, lets himself be scented before demanding another kiss.

Manhandles Logan against the dusty wooden wall, does some yanking of his own, gets Logan’s jeans open.

Logan grips Remy’s head as Remy drops to his knees, gets his fingers in all that hair, it feels as great as it looks, he thinks, and then he’s making some animal noise because Remy’s got a hand on his balls and his mouth on his cock.

Remy runs his knuckles up the underside of Logan’s shaft, and he hardens, fills to capacity, and Remy’s mouth engulfs him.

He’s never let himself think about this, not the details, but Remy’s long throat, his agile fingers, his smirking mouth, he’s never been able to ignore those, and now he doesn’t have to imagine.

Remy pulls back, mouth wet, his spit coating Logan’s cock, breaths heavy. He stands up, rasps, “Fuck me.”

Logan can only nod, watch Remy turn away, takes hold of Remy’s shoulders. He’s got strands of Remy’s hair tangled around his fingers. He shakes the hairs free, and works his jeans down to his knees, and then they slide down to his ankles, and he doesn’t care.

Remy shoves his own jeans down, presses his palms into the old wood of the shed wall.

Logan strokes Remy’s hole, and Remy arches his back. With one hand, Logan guides his cock into Remy, knows from the soft, giving clench that Remy’s no virgin, and takes that as a sign to drive in.

Remy shoves back at Logan like Logan’s not spearing into him hard enough, and Logan gives him more.

They fuck fast, inelegant, their grunts and the smack of flesh on flesh a rough accompaniment, until Logan comes, rocking deep.

Remy drops a hand down to his own cock, and Logan gets his hand on there, too, and Remy comes over their tangled fingers.

Then Logan remembers where they are, and steps back, hobbled a little by the denim around his calves.

“Fuck, the way you look,” Logan says.

“Pretty as a picture?”

“Shut up,” Logan says, but he’s thinking about the camera on the workbench.

Remy hitches up his jeans, and moves toward Logan, crowds him, grabs the reaching hand, and Logan overbalances.

Logan, almost naked on the dirt floor, jeans around his ankles, boots still on, cannot reach the camera faster than a thief with both kinetic mutant powers and jeans all the way up around his hips.

Remy flicks the camera on, raises it. “This album, this going to be private.”