Title: Healing Laughter
Fandom: X-Men (animated series)
Pairing: canon & Wolverine/Morph
Disclaimer: NOT my characters or my show. I'm just playing around.
Spoilers: Gives away Morph's fate in the series
Summary: Wolverine receives a visitor at the wrong time
Written for the Sneezefic Annual Challenge for Bunny #2
Notes: I defy anyone to make it through the series and *not* think these two have a tighter relationship than mere friendship. I've been wanting to write a story with the two of them for a while. Not sure I really pulled off what I wanted to, but Wolverine isn't exactly a talkative person.
Wolverine's head throbbed as the water ran from the tap into the glass. He closed his eyes, listening to the sound, and was taken by surprise when it suddenly overflowed onto his hand. He frowned and shut off the water, and then he headed out of the kitchen. He double-checked the security system. It was still armed. Not that it mattered. No one was there except for him. And maybe a little fighting would be good for him. But then his head pounded and he thought better of it. He wasn't in any condition to fight.
He trudged up the stairs to his room, taking sips of the water along the way. Wolverine flipped the lights on in his room and then stood there, staring at the chair. It was a ratty, whicker monstrosity and Wolverine couldn't figure out where the Hell it came from. Gambit's idea of a joke, perhaps? Hank having a give-away? A gift from Jean maybe? He hoped it was that last one. He sat down on it, listening to the woven wood crackle under him, which wasn't very reassuring. He set the water down on a nightstand and ran his hand up and down one of the arms, which flanked his sides tightly. Once he was in it, the chair was like a bucket, making it hard to get out of again. The seat was snug and he felt— or at least he imagined he felt— it almost goosing him.
And then he heard it laugh. With a little difficulty, Wolverine hopped up, claws jetting out on his right hand, jaw clenched through a growl. He didn't know the chair but he certainly knew that laugh. “Morph?” Wolverine rubbed his hand back and forth against the back of his neck.
With a sound like goo when its poked, the chair transformed into a familiar friend. Dark hair. Long face. Prominent nose. And that utterly distinctive prankster laugh again. “I must be getting really good if I really fooled you this time. You weren't just playing along?”
Wolverine shook his head. “Don't flatter yourself, bub.” Wolverine sat down on his bed. “I can't smell a thing 'cause I got myself one nasty head cold.”
Morph leaned back against the wall, facing the other man. “Didn't know you could get sick, given your powers and all.”
A shrug. “Usually passes quick enough, but this first day's always a doozey.” He stabbed a tissue box and brought it closer. He retracted his claws and held a tissue up to his nose. “h'Shoo!” He wiped his nose and tossed the tissue into a trashcan that was already full of the same. “Whatcha doin' here, Morph? Snfff!” Wolverine's first thought was something was up. Something had probably spooked the guy and he'd come running to his friends. The X-Men would always help him, one of their own. Wolverine just wished there were someone else here to help. He got up and put his hand on Morph's shoulder. “What's wrong?”
Morph shook his head. “Nothing's wrong.”
Wolverine worked to keep the surprise off his face. “Well, that's a nice change.”
“Yeah. I just wanted to see you.”
Both of Wolverine's eyebrows twitched and rose. “You mean a booty call?” The term came out in a sort of growl.
“A…” Morph laughed again and let Wolverine pull him into an embrace. Morph rested his cheek against Wolverine's shoulder. “Guess you could call it that.”
“Think I just did.” Wolverine coughed some tiny, moist little coughs that made him pull back. With a fist to his mouth, he turned and waited for the coughing fit to finish with him. It did so after a while and after a few gulps of water.
“You don't sound so good.”
Wolverine sat back down on the bed. “Cyclops took one look at me and ordered me to stay here. He wants me to look after the place while all the others went out on a mission.”
This time, it was Morph's turn to look surprised. “You're not the sort of guy who likes to sit at home when the action's happening.”
Wolverine lay down on the bed and closed his eyes. “Didn't have much of a choice, with the professor gone and all. There was no reasoning with him. You know how Cyc gets when he…” His eyes opened as he realized his mistake. Cyclops had been the one who had given the order to abandon Beast and Morph during the battle with the Sentinels after all. “Aw, Hell, Morph. I didn't mean…”
But Morph shook his head. “I know. It's okay.” He walked over and sat down on the bed in front of Wolverine. He turned and put a hand on Wolverine's arm. “I came because I missed you and… I happened to notice you had the place all to yourself.” He lowered his head a little, flushing. “Not that I don't want to see the others, it's just… their questions, and the pressure. I'm not ready for that. All I wanted was to see you.”
“Yeah,” Wolverine said, understanding. “But, sniff, Morph, I really ain't… I… I gotta sneeze… huh-huh-ERShoo!”
Morph laughed, and that laugh made Wolverine smile the kind of smile he never normally smiled. Lots of people had a way of burrowing in through Wolverine's tough exterior and getting right down into his heart, but none could do it as well or as quickly or as easily as Morph. “It's just another case of bad timing,” said Morph.
“huh… h'Shoo! herShoo!”
Grabbing a tissue for him, Morph kept his other hand on Wolverine. The physical contact was something Wolverine usually flinched at, but right now it felt good. Damn good, in fact. He accepted the tissue and wiped his nose. “Blasted cold.” He looked up at Morph. “I thought I'd turn in early. Plenty of liquids and sleep are usually all I need to kick this sort of thing. But how d'ya feel about turning this into a sleepover? I think I could use somethin' a little more powerful. A little warmth might do me good.”
Morph grinned widely. He kicked off his shoes and pulled off his shirt. “Yeah, okay. Sounds good to me.”
Morph got the lights while Wolverine found a place for the tissue box where he could get to it now that he was on the far side of the bed. They lay beside each other under the covers, on their backs. After a few minutes, Wolverine shifted and sniffed. He sneezed and blew his nose. He coughed and had a drink of water. And then he slipped an arm under Morph at the shoulders. A second later, both men's bodies relaxed. He hadn't slept beside anyone in years, and the man's presence was beyond reassuring in a way he had not anticipated. “Hey, Morph?”
“Mmm?” Morph had been halfway to sleeping.
“We shoulda done this long ago.”
Morph agreed, “Yeah.”
“Why didn't we?”
Morph changed his appearance instantly, morphing into the gorgeous, red-headed Jean. “I thought you liked me more.”
Wolverine turned his head away, keeping his reaction private as pain shot through his heart. “Morph. Don't.”
Morph resumed his usual form and sighed. “See? I thought so.”
But Wolverine pulled Morph closer and grunted. “Jeanie's with Cyclops. Nothin's gonna change that.” He almost believed that, too. “And anyway, it doesn't matter if you're back.”
“You'd rather have me?” Morph asked.
Wolverine bit his lip, hoping that in the darkness Morph wouldn't be able to see that. But, thank God for small mercies, a sneeze was on its way. “er… huh… hehhh-Shoo! H'Choo! hehChoo!” The tissue box was close at hand, but he started sneezing again before he could rub his nose. “hah-Choo! huhShoo! KShoo!” A few swipes of his nose and one embarrassing blow later, Wolverine felt a little better. “Sorry,” he muttered finally. “What were we talking about?”
With a shake of his head, “Nothing. Just… more bad timing I guess.” He moved his hand over and patted Wolverine's chest.
Wolverine was about to ask if this was a bad idea. Between the cold and the fact that they hadn't seen much of each other now that Morph was off the team, this shouldn't be happening. But then Morph was shifting, not morphing this time but rolling over onto his side. He pressed himself against Wolverine's side. “When's the team expected to be back?”
Shrugging, “No way to know. You remember how that is.”
Morph was quiet for a little while. Then, decidedly, he said, “I'll stay until they come back. You shouldn't be sick and alone here. What if someone attacks?”
“This place is locked up tighter than Fort Knox.”
“I got in.”
“You know the codes. Besides, I'll be better by tomorrow.” The look of hurt in Morph's eyes made him quickly add, “But tonight, sniff, I want you. Wanted you even before I knew you were around.”
“You wanted anyone. You wanted…”
“You, Morph.” Wolverine hugged him closer. He wasn't in any condition to fight.
Morph smiled. “Maybe my timing isn't so bad after all.”
Wolverine laughed, all on his own this time, though he was glad when Morph joined in.