Category: AU where I take all the realities and mash them together as I see fit.
Author's Notes: This… is not my normal style at all and it doesn't really have a point or a plot. At all. I hope people manage to enjoy it anyway.
Dedication: To Lauren, for being my cheerleader.
Damned stupid fucking animal in the middle of the road.
Damned stupid fucking animal in the middle of the road that trashed his truck.
Damned stupid fucking animal in the middle of the road that trashed his truck and left him here. In fucking ALASKA. In January.
Really, that was all there was to say as Logan trudged down the snowy highway, cursing the existence of moose everywhere.
Ryeton, Alaska was the sort of small town that no one other than the seventy some people who lived there ever thought twice about. Its public buildings consisted of two bars, a shack of a police station with a sheriff that slept his way through the day, a restaurant named simply Joe's that's cuisine was just one step above a roadside diner, a motel, and a general store. While it obviously wasn't the height of society, for the past eight or so months it had been home for Rogue, and it suited her just fine. She had an apartment and a cat and a job at the local restaurant. People didn't notice or care that she wore gloves and scarves all the time, and life in general was quiet.
It was a nice change, she thought idly while gathering together the last bit of trash from the morning rush that was now over and hauling the bag through the bitterly cold wind and into the dumpster behind Joe's. After all, there were worse things than leading a life where no one bothered you as long as you didn't bother them.
Rogue brushed off her hands and blew briefly on her gloved fingers as she started to head back inside, only stopping when she caught glance of a figure in the corner of her eye. She looked again and through the white of the snow, could make out the shadow of a man leaning against the far wall of the bar across the alley. For a moment, she was scared—everyone knew that being alone in an alley with a strange man was far from a desirable position to be in, even if you were a mutant with life-sucking skin, super strength, and the ability to fly.
The fear faded surprisingly quickly, though she wasn't really sure why. In truth, he was just standing there, not even paying particular attention to her, so she turned away and headed back inside. After all, while it was peculiar to see someone hanging around out there in the middle of a blizzard, she had seen weirder things.
Or so she thought until three hours later after the lunch rush when she took out the next load of trash—and found him still standing there.
Damn, it was cold. His healing factor kept things like hypothermia and frostbite at bay, but it didn't negate the biting of the Alaskan wind or the brittle feel of his skin after being exposed to the elements for so long. The hike to this wretched little town—if you could call it that—hadn't exactly been short, and now sitting here waiting for the fight bar to open so he could make some cash was robbing his normally warm body of any spare heat it produced.
A sound other than the howling of the wind whipping through the alley he was standing in caught his ears and through the snow, he could make out the door to the restaurant opening. Ah. The girl was back.
She had first showed up a few hours ago, probably a waitress judging from the little apron tied around her waist. He was pretty sure that she had seen him but chosen to leave him alone, a decision he understood and respected. After all, he was a scary motherfucker and she was just a little thing. Besides, he liked his privacy and his current mood wasn't really fit for company.
Apparently though, neither of those things was going to stop her this time, because she was coming right towards him. As she got closer, he could make out more of her features, long hair whipping in the wind and overwhelming brown eyes looking right at him. He couldn't remember the last time someone had just looked him in the eye like that. It was oddly appealing.
"You've been standing here all morning?" she asked just loud enough for her voice to carry over the sounds of the angry Alaskan winter.
He shrugged. "More or less." He had managed to hang around in that little grocery type store for about an hour before they had thrown him out for "loitering", which meant that they were tired of following him around the store with their eyes waiting for him to steal something or murder them all. But she didn't need to know that.
"You'll freeze," she said with what actually sounded like concern lacing what he could have sworn was a hint of Southern drawl.
"I'll be fine," he corrected, which was true enough. Being cold was unpleasant, not deadly. Not for him, at least.
But she looked skeptical, and rightfully so he supposed. It's not like he was going to say that his freak mutation would make sure that nothing happened to him. "All the same," she finally replied, "why don't you come inside?"
"Ain't got any money," he explained shortly, hating the cold reality of the fact that all of his cash had been in his truck and his truck had blown up with everything else he owned after that damned moose had caused that wreck.
Instead of looking put out, she just appeared to be sort of amused by his statement. "Well, even I could've figured that out, which is why I didn't ask. Come in the back, you can sit in the storage room until the storm clears up."
He blinked, honestly unsure of what to say. Not only had she sassed him, but she had just…offered something, knowing he didn't have anything to give back. He wondered if there was a catch—and then he wondered if it really mattered. After all, he was damn cold.
Fuck it, he thought, following her inside. He could worry about the consequences later.
Leading the stranger into the storage room, Marie couldn't help but feel a bit giddy. It was strange, the feeling of empowerment that came with helping someone out and not really expecting anything in return. She was Good Samaritan Marie, and it was a nice feeling. She had needed to feel just nice for a long time.
She peered around the small room, producing a blanket that had been covered some crates in a corner and handing it to the snow-encrusted stranger. "Here. It's sort of gross, but it's warm," she said with a trace of apology in her voice. "Uh… you can flip over some crates or something to sit on. I think there's a heating vent over on that wall somewhere, if you sit by it you'll warm up faster."
He was just hanging by the door, and she turned to look at him expectantly, only to find his expression be somewhat…confused. "Are you okay?" she asked. "I mean, other than the parts of you being blue thing."
He blinked. "Uh… yeah."
Marie rewarded him with a smile and pushed past him. "Good. Be right back."
Slipping into the kitchen, she filled the largest mug she could find with hot coffee—black, because he looked like the kind of guy who not only drank it black, but would be insulted if you dared to insinuate that he ever put anything else in it. Carrying it carefully over to the storage room, she offered it to him. "Here. It'll help you defrost."
He eyed it with all the hunger of an obviously starving man, but didn't reach for it. "I told ya I ain't got any money," he said gruffly.
She rose an eyebrow. "And I told you that it wasn't an issue." Or at least she had implied it, which was sort of the same thing.
He finally took the coffee and gulped it at a rather alarming rate, making her wonder how he didn't burn right through the roof of his mouth and wondering if there was enough soup that Joe wouldn't notice or care if a sizable bowl was missing. But it was a moot point right now, as she could hear him hollering her name back in the kitchen. "I have to go," she explained. "Make yourself comfortable… and uh, don't freeze to death or anything, okay? I'd have a hell of a time explaining that."
Logan had been dozing in the corner of the storage room until the sound of the squeaky door jolted him awake again, opening his eyes in time to see the girl come in, a bowl and another mug of coffee in hand. "Soup," she offered. "Well, chili, really. I thought you might be hungry."
Was this girl for real? She not only picks up complete strangers from dark alleys and sticks them in storage rooms, now she feeds them. It was too…something, and it made Logan suspicious. "Look, what do ya want from me?" he asked even as his stomach rumbled at the smell of food.
Somehow, she managed to look both surprised and annoyed. "Have I implied that I wanted anything from you other than to have you avoid an icy demise?" she asked so coldly that the storage room suddenly felt as frosty as the alley outside had.
" …People don't just do shit like this, you know," was Logan's argument.
He was honestly stumped when she shrugged as though it was all nothing. "You caught me on a good day, sugar. Now eat up."
Well, really, what was there to say to that? He started shoveling chili into his mouth, thankful for the first food he could remember eating in days. Not that he would actually say thank you—the Wolverine didn't do gratitude. He might, however, be able to pull some passable conversation out of somewhere. Now if only he could think of a subject.
Studying the girl who had done so much for him for what appeared to be nothing more than a few snarky comments, he had to admit that she was… unexpected. Beautiful to be sure, with auburn hair strangely streaked with white and those haunting brown eyes staring at him from her pale face. Petite, but built in all the right places, and a completely unique aura of sweetness about her, a purity that Logan couldn't remember running into in all of the seventeen years he could remember. It intrigued him and scared the shit out of him at the same time. He could tell that if he let himself, it would be easy to get addicted to that.
A man like the Wolverine couldn't afford to have an Achilles' heel, especially in the form of a beautiful young woman who was barely past being a child.
Instead of doing something ridiculously stupid like vocalizing some of his thoughts, he seized on the first thing that struck him as odd—her name tag. "What the hell kind of name is Rogue?" he queried gruffly.
She blinked at him again, tilting her head. "What kind of name is Wolverine?" she retorted. When he startled at her knowing any name at all, she pointed to his dog tags, where the word was clearly imprinted on the metal, causing him to scowl and tuck them back under his thermal T-shirt.
But quite despite himself, he heard his voice saying, "Name's Logan."
She smiled a little. "Marie."
It suited her a hell of a lot better than the rather depressing "Rogue" imprinted on her nametag did, even if she was an enigma who made him want to say things he would never normally say and silently wish that he was the sort of person who'd be worth the time she'd already invested in him.
That she made him want anything at all was reason enough to run.
Besides, the bar across the way should be open by now.
He had asses to kick. Money to make.
So after she went back to work, he picked up and left. And it did not mean anything that he'd bothered to fold the blanket and neatly stack his dishes before he'd slipped out the back door.