Title: Comfort In Difference (1/1)
Author: Emmy ((NEW email: firstname.lastname@example.org))
2004 Midyear Ficathon fic for Runewolf.
Summary: While on vacation, Buffy meets and finds comfort with a stranger. AU post Chosen; takes place in the Movie-verse of X-Men, sometime after the second movie.
Disclaimer: I own nothing and seek no profit from this story. All things BtVS belong to Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy, et. al.; all things X-Men belong to Stan Lee, Marvel Comics, and Fox, et. al.
Distribution: TtH, my list; anyone else, please ask first.
Feedback: Yes, please. It makes me all happy-like.
Thanks to my betas Joycelyn and Holly for doing this on such short notice. I really, really appreciate it. And thanks to Sophia, who not only encouraged me to try out the X-Men fandom, but has repeatedly held my hand throughout the entire writing process. (With this and many other fics.)
Genre: Harry Potter, Highlander, Lord of the Rings, Stargate, or X-Men
Max Rating: R
Author's Note: This story is set in January. I realize that it is now July and hot and that there is no snow on the ground. That is why I set it when I did ... Texas is entirely too hot and I wanted to go to a cooler place in my mind. :)
Runewolf, I hope you enjoy this. I'm sorry your original author bailed on you!
Buffy couldn't believe her luck. First, there had been no hot water at the cabin, then the two-bit grocery store hadn't had anything to eat except canned baked beans and a box of frozen corn dogs. She rolled her eyes once again as she thought of the idiot who ran the store and his insistence that if she'd shown up two hours earlier she'd have had more selection. Apparently you had to arrive early to get the good stuff in a town this far out of the way. Now she was just cold.
Buffy had thought this trip was a good idea; she'd been so excited about getting away from everything, and everyone. Giles had even gone so far as to rent her a cabin for a week. But, while upstate New York was beautiful to look at in January, what with its snow and quaintness, it was very, very cold. Especially when your car breaks down and you're stranded on the side of the road. Buffy sighed and rubbed her hands together again. "Well, this is relaxing," she said aloud.
The sun had set an hour before, and Buffy was debating the merits of setting out on foot versus staying where she was. All of her belongings were back at the cabin and, although the hike would only be a few miles, she really wasn't dressed for a trek through the snow. She looked at the small grocery sack on the seat beside her and kicked herself once again for thinking that the beer and trail mix she had back at the cabin would not make a good dinner. She had just decided to go ahead and walk when she heard the sound of a motorcycle engine. Deciding to take a chance, Buffy grabbed her dagger and Mr. Pointy and got out of the car, tucking the weapons into her jacket.
The motorcycle drove past her a ways before stopping, but then the driver parked and dismounted. Buffy took in his appearance and arched an eyebrow. He was good looking, Buffy had to admit, but probably dangerous. The man was not tall by any means, but he was clearly taller than her by at least an inch or two. He had somewhat wild hair that came to two slightly pointed peaks on the top of his head like ears and was very muscular, clearly a fighter. Without thinking, Buffy slipped her hand into her coat pocket and gripped her dagger, preparing for anything. The closer the man got the more aware she became that something was off about him. Her spidy-sense was tingling in the 'he's not quite human' way.
Logan sniffed the air as he approached the girl. She was very pretty, but he was afraid that was all there was to her. Nothing more than looks. She smelled like suntan lotion, sand, and the dry, dusty wind from the one state he simply could not stand, California. Add the bleach from her hair into the mix, and he wanted to jump on his bike and ride away. He cursed his need to help her, the need that Professor Xavier had somehow managed to instill in him, and kept walking toward her. Her hand was in her pocket, no doubt gripping a bottle of pepper spray- like that would stop him. The closer he got, the stronger her smell became. It was the faint hint of blood that made him stop walking. "You lost?" he asked, his voice gruff.
She shook her head. "Car broke down."
"Run out of gas?" he questioned, not bothering to hide his smirk.
Buffy's eyes narrowed. "No," she said snidely. "I did not run out of gas. I don't know what's wrong with the stupid thing, but it won't start."
Logan nodded and moved around her, careful not to frighten her. He reached into the car and popped the hood. She stood behind him, peering over his shoulder as he examined her car. "What's wrong with it?" she asked.
"Not sure, but I think it's your transmission. Whatever the cause, it's not moving anywhere tonight."
"Damn," Buffy said.
He smirked again. "Logan."
He rolled his eyes, visions of bad beer commercials and calendar girls playing through his mind. "Interesting name. You want a ride somewhere?"
Buffy hesitated. "You don't mind?"
Logan shook his head. "No, California, I don't mind. You got somewhere to go?"
"Cabin, a few miles north," Buffy said, wondering how he knew she was from California.
"Let's go, then."
Buffy nodded and accepted the helmet he handed her. Her sack of meager groceries forgotten, they rode in silence with Buffy pointing out directions as they went. She noticed along the way that she really liked the way the man smelled. It was a mixture of something woodsy, something wild, and cigar smoke, combining to make him smell manly and strong. When they pulled into the driveway she contemplated what she would do next and, even though her Slayer-sense was screaming at her to not be stupid, she decided to invite him inside, at least in a around about way. When he parked and waited for her to get off the bike, she handed him the helmet and smiled. "You want tea?"
He shook his head. "Got any beer?"
Buffy grinned. "Sure."
She walked him to the door and unlocked it then stared at him, waiting. He looked at her like she'd suddenly lost her mind and then entered the house. Part of Buffy relaxed as she confirmed that he wasn't a vampire. What he was, however, remained a mystery. "Make yourself at home. I'll be right back," she said as she disappeared into her bedroom.
Buffy changed out of her almost frozen jeans and into a pair of yoga pants and a new sweater. Pulling her hair into a ponytail, she walked back out into the living room. Logan sat on the couch with two beers in front of him. "Hi," she said, nervously.
Buffy sat down in a chair across from him and tried to smile. "Logan, I don't want to be rude, but I'm tired and I don't want to be surprised later, so just tell me. What are you?"
His eyes cut into Buffy with a harsh glare. "Excuse me?"
"You feel different ... like you're human, but not."
"Mutant," Logan grunted.
She stared at him in shock. "Well, that's not what I was expecting. A mutant. Like the one's that have been on the news lately?"
He just looked at her and Buffy realized then that she'd asked a stupid question. Of course he was one of those mutants. What other kind of mutant would he be? A thought occurred to her and she grinned, looked over at him, and asked, "You walk through walls or something?"
"Or something," Logan said, grinning back.
"Okay. Thanks for being honest," Buffy said.
"So, what are you?"
Buffy hesitated. "What do you mean?"
Logan looked her over and sighed. "Well, you feel different, too. And, you smell different. I smell a lot of things on you. I know you bleach your hair, you usually wear vanilla lotion, and that you're from California. I also smell blood. Blood that's not yours."
Buffy closed her eyes, wishing to all the gods listening that she was better at explaining things to people. She didn't want to mess this conversation up for some reason. "Oh, I'm something, too. Different."
"But not a mutant?" Logan questioned.
Buffy shook her head. "No. I'm not a mutant. It would be easier if I were, I think. I'm not a danger to you, though, as long as you don't try to hurt me."
"Wasn't planning on it."
They sat in a comfortable silence drinking their beer. Logan nodded towards the fireplace. "You want a fire?"
Buffy grinned. "I'd like one, but that is yet another thing I didn't think through about this trip. Fire and I don't mix. I'd probably burn the place to the ground. Not that it would surprise anyone if I did."
Logan laughed, surprising them both. "You do that often?"
"Burn things down? Honestly? I've been known to."
He found himself smiling at her and got up. "I'll start your fire, Buffy."
"I've got no doubt, Logan," she said huskily.
They stared at each other for a moment, eyes locked. She'd opened a door, and now he had to decide what came next. His eyes never leaving hers, he held out his hand. "Come on, I'll show you."
Buffy took his outstretched hand, and they walked over to the fireplace. Logan went through the motions and kindled the fire, narrating his actions to the blond beside him, his voice anything but instructional. He was teasing her with his tone, turning her on. His concentration was shot to hell when she ran her fingers up his arm sending a jolt of energy through his body. He brushed a stray hair out of her face and looked into her eyes. Buffy stared back and smiled.
"You get any of that?" he asked as he moved to stand back up.
Buffy grinned. "Probably not."
They sat back down, both of them on the couch this time. Buffy took his hand again and looked him in the eye. "Would you tell me what you can do if I ask?"
Buffy thought about it and then nodded. "Yeah, I think I would."
Logan let go of her hand. "Watch," he said as he released his claws. Buffy's eyes widened in surprise as he held out his hands to her. She ran a finger up one of the blades and then tested their sharpness. He noticed she didn't cut herself- she was careful, like she'd handled sharp weapons before.
"Wow," Buffy said.
"This isn't my mutation. This is ... I'm not sure how to explain this. My mutation is that I heal fast from nearly any injury."
Buffy nodded. "Cool. I can do that, too."
She grinned again. "Yeah. I'm a Slayer."
"Slayer?" he asked as he pulled his claws back into his body.
She looked at him carefully for a minute before she nodded to herself and began to speak. "Vampires, demons, witches, werewolves, and so on? They exist."
Logan nodded. "I know."
"You do?" Buffy asked, surprised.
"Yeah," Logan began. "A vampire tried to kill me a few years back ... made for an interesting night."
Buffy grinned. "I can imagine. Okay, well good, you know about all that. Um ... I'm the Slayer, or a Slayer, there's more than one now. But, there used to be just me. Then I died. Anyway, I'm the person who keeps all those nasty creatures in line."
"You kill them," Logan stated, taking the revelation that she'd died in stride, filing it away for further exploration later.
"Exactly," she said.
"But, you're so little. And young," Logan said with a smirk.
Buffy's eyes narrowed. "Looks can be deceiving. I can handle myself."
Deciding a little show needed to accompany her tell, she got up, walked over to the fire place, and picked up a poker. She held it out at arms length, making sure that Logan was watching. In one swift movement Buffy bent the poker in half, causing Logan's eyes to widen.
"Impressive," Logan said, trying his best to seem unaffected by her parlor trick.
"Yeah." Buffy said sarcastically, putting the poker down and walking back over to him. His attempt at indifference had not been lost on her, but she didn't press the subject. For some reason all she wanted to do was relax, to let her hair down for a change. And she knew without a doubt that she wanted Logan to be a part of that relaxation.
She sat back down on the couch and leaned into Logan. He took the hint and wrapped his arms around her. "This is a bit ... strange," he said, holding his arms stiff, as though he was uncomfortable.
"How do you mean?" Buffy asked.
"Holding you," he said. "I'm not used to that."
Buffy sighed. "You don't have to-"
"No," Logan said, interrupting, forcing himself to relax. "I said it was a bit strange. I never said it wasn't nice."
"Is it? Nice, I mean."
Logan nodded. "Yes, it is."
"You don't let people get close, do you?" Buffy asked.
"Not very often."
"Me neither," Buffy said, her voice quiet as she relived somewhat painful memories, remembered what it felt like to be the only 'Chosen One,' always alone in the end. "I even hold my friends at arms length ... being the Slayer is pretty lonely. Even with the friends I have."
Logan stroked her hair, and Buffy was sure he found that just as strange as holding her. "I can imagine."
Buffy smiled, turning to face him. "Sucks to be different, huh?"
Logan leaned in and cupped her face, turning it up to his. "Sometimes."
Buffy didn't pull away. "You staying here tonight?" she asked softly.
Logan smiled. "Thought I might."
"Only one bed," Buffy said.
"I can take the couch." Logan suggested, moving his lips even closer to hers.
"Or, you could share with me," Buffy said.
"Or, I could do that," he said, closing the distance between them. The end