Title: Shine Against Me
Author: lachlanrose
Disclaimer: Nope. Still not mine. Damn.
Feedback: Makes the Muses (and Prince) wanna party like it's 1999! The good, the bad, the ugly, welcome. Flames may be publicly mocked.
Summary: Logan and Marie talk about pornography…. and then things get crazy. W/R
Notes: Don't look at me… I have no idea where this came from other than to say it hit me out of the blue during my daily three miles. (Gah! Anything to make the miles go faster) and by the time I hit the last mile, the bunny was firmly attached and I spent way too many late nights writing, trying to shake them loose. They were very insistent. Nudie magazines. Computer files. Erotica. Voyeurism. Sex clubs. Power tools...
This one is a post X3. It's on the lighter side, but the intimate conversations take place against a longer/deeper story arc. There is a plot and a method to my madness. A very huge thank you to doctorg, whose amazing work grabbed me out of lurkdom and kick-started my muses like whoa. She kindly offered to kick the rust off and beta this craziness. It was just supposed to be quickie but it mutated… I'll be slappin' this baby with my usual warning — to the power of ten. (Uh, have you seen the summary?) It is seriously adult in theme and content. You have been warned! This fic is told in 'slice of life' moments. Some are short (like a page) some are long (like twenty pages) If they're super short, I'll try to post two together or post two days in a row, depending on how the breaks fall.

Shine Against Me

It had taken some doing, but the old gamekeeper's cottage at the edge of Xavier's estate was finally livable, although exactly how livable was still a subject of much debate. The crumbling structure had been Logan's pet project for the better part of a year. The work had been slow going, mostly because he'd wanted to do it himself and there were only so many hours in the day. The school and the team came first, but little by little, the cottage became less a dilapidated heap of stone slag and more a home.

In truth, Logan needed both the space and the work to keep his mind occupied. He was not a joiner by nature, and making a place for himself among people again had been hard. Swinging a hammer felt good. The monotony was pleasantly numbing and it felt good to tear something down and rebuild it, stronger and better than it had been before. The irony of that was not lost on him either.

With Charles, Scott, and Jean gone, the lion's share of the work had fallen to Ororo, and reluctantly, to him. Now, a year after that terrible loss, things were finally beginning to stabilize. Storm had taken over running the school. They needed a doctor on staff and Hank had returned to help them through the first rocky year without Charles. They'd picked up a few new faces as well, most notably an annoying Cajun who still rubbed Logan wrong most days. Enrollment was back up and Magneto and his merry little band of freaks had been blessedly silent. Kitty, Bobby, Jubilee and Piotr were coming along pretty well. Still a bit green around the edges, but at least they had a little seasoning now.

And then there was Marie.

Logan couldn't even think about her without it bringing a rush of warmth and the hint of a wry smile to his face. She was coming along too. The others had never quite gotten over the fact she'd taken the Cure, but now that it had proven to be only temporarily effective, they'd begun to come around. That had happened right about the time the gloves went back on. Assholes. Marie was still very much an outsider, but things were better now than they'd been for a while, and Logan had never been too sure that being an outsider was really such a bad thing to begin with.

She didn't seem overly bothered by it. Perhaps it was her odd friendship with him that kept her from true loneliness. It was deep and intimate yet as strangely platonic as it had been since she'd first climbed in his truck a lifetime ago.

Marie approached the small cottage with a bounce in her step. It was always good to see Logan. He slept out here most nights now and she missed talking to him, even if it was just in passing. Today there was no door to knock on, so she raised her hand to rap on the jamb but he beat her to it.

"C'mon in, kid."

Marie took a moment to appreciate the view. He'd stripped down to his jeans and boots and was busy removing lathing strips with a crowbar. Plaster dust floated in the air, sticking to his sweaty body. There were bits in his wild dark hair and dust on his shoulders and clinging to the moist sheen at the small of his back. The sight took her breath away and made her shiver, despite the summer heat.

"Thanks, sugar. How did you even know I was here?" She was quiet. Not Logan's ninja-quiet, but she'd been on the team long enough to learn a few things, and she still had enough of him in her head that she moved well through natural woodland terrain.

"Smelled ya," he tossed over his shoulder, not even bothering to look her way while he pried at a particularly stubborn board.

"Um, okay." Out of the corner of his eye, he caught her sniffing her hair.

"Smelled the food," he clarified, setting the crowbar aside. Normally he'd catch her scent first, but he was hungry and the bag smelled like fried chicken, cornbread and peach pie. Of course, he knew that already. Marie had lost a bet to him. That's why she was bringing him dinner. The team often played poker together, but not usually for money. Suiting up in the leather wasn't exactly the kind of job that brought home the big bucks.

Usually, they'd all write down something they were willing to do and they would toss that in the pot instead. Jubilee had offered her services as a personal shopper. Bobby offered to make it snow in July. 'Ro offered to chase away the rain one gloomy afternoon. He'd offered up an oil change. Marie had thrown in a home cooked dinner, her mama's recipe for fried chicken and cornbread. She was a little put out when she lost. Marie was good at poker but he was better. He'd wanted that dinner. He'd wanted her to cook for him even more.

He felt the sweat trickle. It was hot, thirsty work. Logan wondered what she'd think of how the place was coming along. The cottage had a sound roof now, working plumbing, and electricity. That was handy for the power tools, though he still preferred candles for light in the evening. All the weight-bearing exterior walls had been finished, but the rest was in complete chaos, except for the large deck out back. He'd finished that first.

Logan now slept on a low makeshift pallet amongst the construction materials in the living room and Marie couldn't help but smile at the two boxes pushed together under a tarp at the edge of the open space. He'd always travelled light. Those two small boxes represented all he had in the world. He was in the middle of ripping down yet another crumbling old wall. Plaster dust covered everything. He looked sweaty and thirsty. No surprise there. It was hot. Summer in New York with no central air? He was lucky he didn't have heatstroke.

Her attention still on the wide naked chest rippling with muscles as he worked, she absently deposited the food on the kitchen island and rummaged through one of the bags before pulling out a cold beer and tossing it in his general direction. She was aware his unique senses would compensate.

Plucking it from the air without even looking, he cracked it and stepped back to appraise his handiwork. He was opening up what had been the bedroom wall.

"Whatcha think, darlin'?"

"That if you take out much more of that wall, anyone coming up the front walk will have a straight line of sight through the front window to your bed." Her eyes twinkled. "But who knows. Maybe you're into that?"

He chuckled. "Nah. I'm puttin' the bed up in the loft eventually. Still open, but a better expectation of privacy. Was thinkin' of makin' it all open down here."

"Sounds good." She opened a beer for herself. He didn't say anything, despite the fact she was still a little short of the legal limit. He didn't much care. She was older than the Canadian limit and she looked good with a long neck in her hand.

"You think?" He was curious. She'd been giving him her opinion on the process from day one. No reason to break with tradition now. Usually she just sort of nodded along with his plans, but occasionally she spoke up. She'd been emphatic about a window in front of the kitchen sink and had told him in no uncertain terms, if he ever planned on entertaining a woman here, that it definitely needed a better bathroom; not opulent but at least functional. A bathtub. Not just a shower. That had been a blow to the budget, but nothing a few rounds in the cage couldn't fix. It had delayed things a few more weeks, but he was making progress once again now that his weekends weren't spent hammering random assholes into the ground.

"I like it. Nice and open. It's got good flow. Or it will when you've got that wall down. You shouldn't demo all the lathing throughout though. It's pretty."

"Pretty?" The Wolverine didn't do pretty.

Marie shrugged. "I like old things, but hey, it's your home. Do what you want, sugar."

"Always do," he said with a wink.

She rolled her eyes. "Want me to make you a plate while you wash up?"

Logan nodded, shaking off the worst of the dust as he brushed the bits of plaster from his hair. They both headed to the kitchen. Marie's steps faltered for a moment and following her gaze, he suddenly realized why.

The latest edition of Playboy lay face up on the bar, the glossy cover shining in the late afternoon sun next to a bottle of good bourbon and the cigar he'd bought to smoke tonight; his plan for unwinding this evening painfully clear.


It wasn't that he was embarrassed, but she didn't need to see that.

Logan reached out one thick arm and turned the magazine face down on the counter. He could feel Marie's eyes on him.

"Sorry, kid. That ain't respectful." He turned his back and began washing his hands in the sink, grateful for something to do that didn't involve looking at her pink face.

The lingering remnant of old fashioned chivalry touched her, making her smile as she broke out the food she'd brought and began to plate it up. "Don't worry about it. It's fine. I mean, I don't have a sex life except with myself so it's not as if I'm any stranger to pornography, though Playboy's not really my thing..."

Her cheeks burned scarlet as she realized what she'd just said. Her oral filter had always been damnably absent with him.

Logan swung around sharply, mouth slightly open in shock before it quirked up at the corner.

"Oversharing! Sorry! Forget I said that…."

"No chance in hell of that, darlin'." His eyes glittered.

She plated the food a little faster. "Nothing to see here, move along…."

She thrust the plate of food in his general direction. His eyebrow rose.

"You're not stayin'?" He'd been a bit amused by her discomfort but now he just felt cheated. There weren't too many people he liked spending time with and she was obviously poised for flight. Running again. Too bad. He'd been hoping to sit on the back deck with her and crack a few beers. Something easy. A warm night, a few cold beers and some good conversation with a friend.

"Um. No." She was going to go die of mortification. Marie forced a bright smile. She was the Rogue for God's sake. She could brazen it out. "I can't. I've got a hot date."

"With who?" It better not be that Cajun prick.

"With myself, sugar," she teased, throwing him a kiss and a saucy wink, and bouncing out the open front doorway before he could say another word.

The mental image her words called up was every kind of hot.


Logan scrubbed a hand over his face.

That particular fire didn't need any more fuel.

He took the plate of food out back and tucked in. There was a certain satisfaction in eating a meal she'd prepared, though it was a very different sort of satisfaction that occupied his thoughts long into the night.

Up next: In A Big Country. Logan and Marie get in the wind. There are some conversations you can only have on the open road...