Disclaimer: Oh, how I would love to take credit for owning these boys. But, alas, I get nothing for this and have no rights whatsoever.
Author's Notes: Written for the 132 Moods of Sneezefic challenge though I had the idea for this fic about a year before I claimed the mood. I'm glad I gave myself an excuse to write it.
"Hurry up, Mein Gulo," Kurt said, already pulling on his helmet. He teleported onto the back of the motorcycle to save himself the twenty seconds that walking would have taken. "I vant to get good seats."
Dragging his feet, Logan appeared from the shadows in the far side of the garage, his helmet off but in hand. "Look, Elf, I--"
"Und don't even try to get out of zis one!" Kurt said, crossing his arms over his chest and looking daggers at the man. "You promised you'd go and ve've already got ze tickets. And, besides, I really vant you to meet zem."
Logan sighed to himself and put on his helmet. No matter how much he trained or how many skills he possessed, he seemed utterly unable to fight Nightcrawler in matters like this. Nervous, he kept his hands steady as he mounted the bike and reached for the handles. Then he tried one last time. "Honestly, Kurt, I don't..." He fought against himself to phrase it tactfully, "I don't care much for circuses." And the understatement of the year award went to Wolverine.
Kurt wrapped his arms around Logan from behind and squeezed tightly. Logan could feel him practically bouncing in anticipation. "But you'll like zis one. Now let's get going before they leave town!"
Resolved to go, whether he would like it or not, Logan started up the bike and took off. The cool spring breeze whipping against him as they rode through the streets was encouraging, and almost made him forget where they were headed. ‘What was I thinking when I let the elf talk me into this?' he asked himself as he made a turn and they leaned into it together. But then he remembered the night he'd agreed, with the ice cube and a training whip and the literally hours of lovemaking by candlelight. He smiled. Clearly he hadn't been thinking of much then and would have agreed for Shield to slowly dissect him if it had meant more of the elf's scintillating torture.
Still... the circus. He absolutely hated the circus. Logan couldn't think of anything worse at the moment. His stomach dropped as soon as the big striped tents came into view at the horizon. He groaned just as he felt Kurt tighten with excitement. And he knew this was going to be a very long day.
He was even surer of that fact when he was seated in the bleachers next to Kurt, watching the display in front of him. Clowns were doing a balancing act involving china and unicycles in the ring to his left. To his right, there was a bear in a hat with a pom-pom on top, standing on a set of chairs. And in the large center ring there was a trio of scantily-clad women riding horses in unusual positions. None of these were particularly thrilling to any great degree.
But Kurt tensed up beside him, ready to burst from all the excitement. He grabbed for Logan's hand, squeezing it tightly in his blue furry one. "Zey're up next," he said as the riders made their final lap around the ring.
Then the spotlight fell upon two women in studded leotards, who were standing on a platform that stretched to the top of the tent. One waved then grabbed hold of a trapeze. Her toes gripped the edge of the platform, then she took off, soaring overhead first with the trapeze then without. She reached for another, catching hold with ease and continuing to swing as she twirled her body to sit upon it, holding onto the ropes with only one hand. The other woman caught the first trapeze as it swung back to her and began a similar routine. A man was on a platform on the other side, and joined in, linking bodies as they soared through the air together.
Logan watched for a while, feeling uneasy as Kurt bounced eagerly in his seat, watching the exploits with knowing eyes. To a novice, it looked like a death-defying routine many feet off the ground. To an expert, however, Logan guessed it looked like art. And while he gave them full credit for their precision and skill, his mind and heart just weren't in it.
Logan's leg bounced up and down, and the fingers of his free hand tapped on his thigh. He waited until their routine was over, which they finished with a spectacular double-summersault and twist combination, before turning to Kurt.
"That vas fantastic, no?" Kurt asked, his eyes bright and smile wide.
"Ah, yeah," Logan said, nodding at once. He shifted about in his seat. "But I think I'm going to step out for a second..." Immediately, Kurt looked terribly disappointed. Logan thought fast. "Can I get you anything? Cotton candy? Peanuts?" His hand trembled slightly and he rubbed the back of his neck.
Kurt grinned again and nodded. "Ja. Both. Circus food- yum!" He rubbed his belly in a circle.
Logan chuckled and quickly headed out, climbing and shuffling past other patrons and heading out between sets of bleachers. The lights were hot, the air stuffy and the sounds deafening from the acts to the crowd. Once outside the tent, he took a breath of seemingly fresh air and immediately regretted it.
Logan cupped a hand to his nose just as his head bobbed forward. "HARShooo! URSCHhhhhh! HAH-R'Shoooo!" He only had a few seconds of sniffling time before a fourth hit. "ARChooo!"
He looked up, snuffling into the side of his hand, to see one of the riders. "Thanks," he muttered. Then he quickly made to duck back inside or escape elsewhere. So far, he'd managed to keep Kurt from seeing him sneeze, but he wasn't too fond of having complete strangers gawking at him either.
But she held out her hand, blocking his path. "You're the one I saw Nightcrawler with, aren't you?" Logan looked a bit taken aback. "He's well known in carnie circles, and pretty hard to miss, even in a hat and trenchcoat."
Logan gave her a nod, then tensed up again. "hahhh-URSchhhhhh!"
The woman waved one of the burly mechanics who had been working on one of the cars. "C'mere, Steve. Give me your hanky."
Logan shook his head, backing up but hitting the thick canvas tent and the post behind it. "Really, no, I'm... hahh... I'm fine. Hahh-CHOO!" One sneeze snapped him forward, but the second and third doubled him over. "hehhh-Shooo! hehhhKShooo!"
By that time, the woman had a handkerchief in hand and was holding it out for him. He rubbed his nose which itched madly, eyeing the handkerchief coldly. "Oh please," she sighed. "Do you think you're the first person I've ever seen sneeze around here? Just take it. You're not going to quit sneezing until you blow your nose."
He knew she spoke the truth, but still thought seriously about refusing it. Finally he just took it and blew his nose as softly as possible until the itch backed away a little. The handkerchief was quite clean, but still smelled a bit like oil. Logan was rather glad to smell something other than circus at the moment.
"Thanks," he said again, sniffing and folding up the handkerchief. He tucked it into the pocket of his jeans. "I'd better get back inside," he said, tilting his head back towards the open flaps.
"Take care," she called out to him as he headed in.
Logan tried to ignore the smells as he walked around inside, buying the food Kurt had wanted. It would have been nice if one of the vendors sold allergy medication, too. Like any other drug, it wouldn't work on him for very long, but it would have given him a few moments of relaxation at least. All he needed was a fighting chance. As it was, it had only been a few minutes since his fit outside the tent and already he felt the need to sneeze again.
He transferred the bag of peanuts and the stick with the cotton candy into one hand, then pulled out the handkerchief. He positioned it over his nose and pinched his nose through it. His breath caught and he closed his eyes. "hahh-ERSHUHHH!" Even muffled by the handkerchief, the sneeze sounded awful. And worse than that was the way his nose and eyes were itching. He gritted his teeth as he tucked the handkerchief away again. There was still about an hour left and he wasn't sure if he could make it. He sniffed hard and headed back to Kurt.
An hour later, he'd made it. He gathered up the empty plastic bags of their trash and stood up. Instead of filing out with the rest of the circus-goers, however, Kurt was already starting down the stands towards the ground. Logan followed behind, dunking the trash in a can and pulling the handkerchief out to scrub his nose when Kurt wasn't watching.
The three trapeze artists they'd watched earlier were waiting for them on the ground. Nightcrawler hopped over the barrier while Logan approached it with some apprehensiveness. He wasn't any good at meeting new people, or at small talk. He had never managed giving welcome smiles and handshakes, so far as he could remember. He didn't like being introduced and having people stare at him. Fighting. He was good at fighting. And sex. He was definitely good at that. But he would have preferred practically anything to the situation he found himself in now. He was going to have to meet Nightcrawler's old friends whether he wanted to or not. He just hoped he wouldn't sneeze on any of them in the process.
Instead of jumping over, Logan went around to where there was an entrance, then doubled back to where Kurt was hugging the carnies. With a wide smile, Kurt commenced with the introductions. "Zis is Lena," Kurt said, gesturing towards the tall, blond woman on his right. On his left was a shorter brunette. "Zis is Sophie." They both wore red boots and tight, bright red outfits that just barely covered their middles. Not that they were any less revealing than some of the outfits his fellow X-Men wore. The man stood with his arm around the brunette's waist. "And zis is Jan." Kurt then leapt forward and wrapped his arms around Logan's neck in a warm hug. "Zis is my Volverine."
Logan was exceedingly glad for their positions. All he had to do was give a wave and a nod as they all said hello to him.
"I'm goink to go up und play a little," Kurt told Logan.
Logan was awash with conflicting emotions, but nodded. He was worried, expectant, annoyed, proud, stressed, and anxious, most of all. He couldn't stop the elf, no matter what he said anyway. Logan stood back against the wall division surrounding the area in a giant oval, crossed his arms over his chest, and watched. If he had to be dragged here, he did at least want to see Kurt have fun. And he was curious about seeing the elf in his element. But he still would have preferred they wrap up and head home as soon as possible. Logan rubbed his nose again, quickly.
The other acrobats climbed up the tall posts to the platforms, towering over Logan's head. Kurt, however, took his time before heading up. He kissed Logan's cheek, then looked around to make sure there were no more spectators lingering in their seats. Then, with a dramatic flair, he took off his hat and coat. He was wearing his uniform beneath. Kurt looked around one more time, then teleported up to one of the platforms, arriving there before the others.
"Take care," Logan muttered under his breath.
Even from that great a distance, Logan could see the smile on the fuzzy blue elf's face. He was glad Kurt was enjoying himself, but he couldn't help but wonder how long this was going to take. And he couldn't help but notice there were no nets this time. Something in Logan's stomach jumped as he realized this, and jumped again when he saw Kurt's hands close around the trapeze bar as it was unhooked from its stationary position.
Then Logan looked away, briefly, to stifle a sneeze. "hah-Urxxxt!" He wanted badly to blow his nose, but resisted the urge. He watched as Kurt's feet left the platform and he sailed across the great expanse. At the same time, the man, Jan, took off from the other platform. Halfway through his arc, Kurt flipped so that his feet were hooked around the trapeze. When the two met in midair, Kurt grabbed hold of Jan's ankles and they went back and forth together.
Logan felt a pang of jealousy. There was intimacy and trust between them in battle, as there was in bed. But this was something beautiful and stunning. He wanted to be that for Kurt. However, he certainly wasn't able. Not simply because he was not built for it, but because he wouldn't make it a minute without needing to rub at his nose.
"hahh-URSchhh!" They were getting harder to restrain. ‘How much longer is this gonna take?' If he did not leave soon, there would be no stopping the sneezes. He took out the handkerchief and cupped it to his face to dampen the sound of another. "h'urchhoo!"
He looked up to see Kurt let go, do a somersault in the air, then grab onto the first trapeze again. The women joined in after that, with complex forms and long chains that they hadn't made when there were spectators. Though he would not admit it, he was nervous watching. ‘What if one slipped? Or missed? What if Kurt was injured?' They all risked their lives every day, but this was risking your life unnecessarily. For fun. And they couldn't walk away from the sort of accident that might befall them the way Logan could.
Logan found himself watching intently, unblinkingly for the most part. He rubbed his eyes a little, when the urge got too great, and sniffled when he felt his nose itching too much. But he felt that if he just kept watching as they moved about high above him, nothing bad would happen to them. It was a routine they all seemed to know so well, and performed it with perfection.
That is, until he was taken over by another sneeze. It came by surprise and was louder than all by far. "hahhh-ERShooo!' In the empty tent, it could be heard everywhere, including at the top.
It made Kurt give a start and miss catching Lena as she flew through the air to him. She fell speedily, and Kurt had just enough time to realize what had happened. With a BAMF! he ‘ported to a spot halfway down taking hold of her as he fell with her. Then he teleported them to the ground where they both landed with a hard thud, but with no damage done apart from perhaps a bruise or two.
Logan, however, felt he was going to get the brunt of it. Kurt stared him down, looking as though his mix of emotions were as numerous as Logan's. Kurt was startled, angry, concerned, surprised, hurt. "Vhy are you sneezink?"
A lie would surely be easier than the absurdity of truth, except that Logan couldn't come up with one. There was, after all, only one reason he ever sneezed. And it was striking him hard now. "hahhhh... hahh-URShoooo! HERSchooo!" He doubled over, the handkerchief cupped to his face. "HarChoo! Sniff! h'URCHOO!" He lifted his head, looking at Kurt over the handkerchief. Kurt did not look pleased. Logan sniffed and straightened up. Then he looked over at Lena. "Are you all right?"
"Ja." She nodded as she brushed herself off. "No harm done. But you don't look so vell..."
Uncomfortable, Logan restrained a growl, succeeding better than he had at restraining the sneezes. "huh-ARShooo!"
Kurt smiled sympathetically. "He doesn't care much for circuses, apparently."
"I tried to tell you," Logan said gruffly. "I... ahhh... ERShahhh!" Softly, he mumbled, "Sorry."
"Gesundheit." Kurt reached up and stroked the back of Logan's neck. "As she said, no harm done. But perhaps we should leave."
At once, Logan nodded eagerly. He tightly clutched Kurt's sleeve at the shoulder with one hand. With the other hand he rubbed a thumb at his eyes in turn.
Kurt looked apologetically at his friends and made no move to separate himself from Logan.
"It's all right," Sophie said. "We shall meet up again before ze circus moves on. Perhaps... somewhere in town, instead?"
Kurt smiled. "Zat would be vonderful. I shall give you a call."
"As soon as I can," Kurt added. "Can you ride?" he asked Logan.
"Cad you drive?" Logan replied, stuffily. One sneeze while driving the motorcycle and he didn't want to imagine what might happen.
He promised he could. Then he said his goodbyes then wrapped his tail around Logan's waist. He teleported them both to the motorcycle to spare them the time and effort of walking.
"Cad you go a little faster thad usual?" Logan gently begged. They pulled on helmets. Logan lifted the visor on the front of his to rub his eyes and blow his nose, and then he pulled it down again.
"Ja, Mein Gulo. I had planned to. Ve vill be home soon."
Soon was not soon enough for Logan, who felt like sneezing again already. He put his arms around Kurt. "Hurry up, Elf."
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