They'd crashed on their return from a mission. It was a muddy, sloppy day. The bike had slid, a sucking, whining noise as it fishtailed, fell, and spun. They had cracked to the ground. Gravel scraped them raw.
With the engine still pinging and smoking, he'd crawled over to heal her – which was nice, but then he'd collapsed. On top of her. She'd had to haul his heavy ass and the bike out of the road.
Heaven thank the friction coefficient of mud. She'd only slip-sprawled once.
But they were fine. He was fine. He'd just been peevish ever since.
"Can you fix it?" The wheel was cock-eyed. Leaked fluid of some kind.
"What—with my magical powers?"
No, Logan wasn't in a good mood. Cell phone cracked. Bike wrecked. Clothes bloodied and muddy and ruined. Puddly ground. Grey skies. Stuck.
Bored. Nothing to do. Logan packed light: compass, lighter, bottled water, a few protein bars, a few tools, twine…
"Garbage bags?" She held up the roll for inspection. Heavy Duty ones.
"They're useful," he prowled.
Dare she even ask? But…they were, for sitting on sodden ground. See? Useful! Logan had snarled. Somehow his lack of humor made her determined to keep hers.
He paced. She fiddled. Twined and untwined the twine. Memorized the nutrition content of the protein bars. She tried to juggle the tools. Ouch. Not so good at that.
"Why aren't you worried?" he demanded crossly.
She raised her brows. "Because you are."
"Want me to worry so you don't have to?" she offered, sinking back on her heels.
He halted in mid-stride. "Are you worried?"
"No, but I can be."
He shot her a 'crazy woman' look. "Either you're worried or you're not!"
Ok. Another tack. "Do you think we're in any danger?"
He sniffed the air, but… "No," he conceded.
"We could walk to the next town."
"It's thirty miles back."
"Hitching? I'll show some leg," she grinned.
His replies got gruffer, wearier. "No unwanted attention. Xavier will contact us, eventually. We should stay with the bike."
"So we just gotta wait," she reasoned smoothly. "Sit down, sugar."
For a while, he tried, but she could see the frustration soaking through his jaw, his shoulders. He shot up again.
She let him be, restless herself. Why did he get to be grouchy? And stray muddy droplets had gotten on her bag and soaked into her jeans. Heavy Duty Bags? Not useful.
She was wet, cold. Peeled off soggy gloves.
An idea sprouted. But what if she clothed herself? She eyed the bounteous roll.
Raincoat sacks she knew. She remembered sleeting stadiums and drizzling fields, sitting pig-tailed beside her father in matching bags and team caps. She didn't even like sports. She'd gone to be with him.
But this called for more than just holes punched in sacks—this called for heavy duty manufacturing. Garbage bag pants, sleeves, stockings!
Swathing was unsuccessful. Fall….ing…off!!! Also – not waterproof. She really needed a seam. Hmm…Lighter. Fire. Plastic. Melt. Logan's lighter. Flame danced. Two edges of plastic feathered together. Lovely. Melty. Seams.
From that point, she worked feverishly. Pants, in theory, were easy. Open bottom. Tie at the waist. Slit down the center for inner seams. Easy. But the seams weren't waterproof, her pinky found a hole in one.
"What the hell are you doing?" He'd noticed, huh?
"Making pants out of garbage bags." Obviously.
"So I don't get wet. Cold."
"Don't play in the mud, then," he muttered.
Permeable seams. She'd far rather pants with an outer leg seam. Several bags and a good hour later: tear down the sides of the bag, not the bottom. Fold in half-lengthwise, and melt seams from either side until it fit her waist. GENIUS!
Mostly. The crotch bunched. Never mind. She tweaked. Tried them on.
"Eureka!" she crowed. "Bifurcated garments!" She leaped into the Rocky position.
Her enthusiasm softened a bit of his edge. "Bifurcated?" An almost tease.
"Mr. Keller, Home Ec teacher," she bowed.
He scuffed, and it was over, the glimmer expired. He never liked it when she mentioned anything from Meridian. Someday, he'd have to get over that.
She capered experimentally.
"You like? Not the crotch." She'd giggled as a bubble of air got caught. She had some 'junk'.
Fine. She didn't want him humoring her either.
She sat down. Sleeves maybe? Like pants, only this time a hole for the head, fit around her chest instead of her waist. Lighter out.
He continued his splatty trek. Patience.
She was pleased with the results: layered tunic over sleeves, skirt over pants. Shapeless, but she gathered the tunic around her bust, arranged the tie of the skirt to better show her ass. She was able to do more with garment shaping with more melting.
She made sack leggings, next. "Ack!" Fell. Ok, so dumb idea to put slippery plastic around her boots. Lesson learned. Inside.
Finished, proud, she stood to primp and shake. Crinkle. Hilariously loud, too. She felt like a girl wearing all her clothes at once.
He was glowering and nervous. Always more when she stopped.
"Want me to make you one?"
"You sound like a diaper." Guess not. Was this more than boredom and nerves?
And then…what else would happen today but it rained. She didn't make it happen. Who was she – Storm? But she enjoyed it, splashed, whirled. Can't touch this! And of course, Logan paced, hunched over like a drowned cat. The bitch in her enjoyed that, too.
She sighed. "Logan, let me make you one."
Just the rattle of rain on plastic.
"At least wear one over your coat."
"Stop being silly." She slid on wet gloves, peeled off another bag, and jogged over to press it in his hand.
He looked very forlorn, beaten somehow, like the sack had overpowered him. She couldn't help grinning at that idea, but then he cast her another cutting glance, started pacing again. Every time almost ok, and then...
Maybe her fault.
"Let's play in the rain. My parents never let me." Gotta keep warm anyway; rain was cold. But he turned away in profile.
"What about tag? You're it!"
She darted out of reach, hopped from side to side to engage him. "You – um – chase me now."
"Don't worry – just until you catch me. Then my turn."
"Maybe you don't remember the fun of puddly water tag, but…"
That broke him, but not in the way she wanted. "Just stop, Marie. Stop playing dress up and – playground and stop acting like a goddamn kid. This isn't a game."
"Why not? We've been here for hours with nothing to do. If you wanna sulk and pace and…sulk-and-pace, fine! But I'm trying to enjoy myself. You don't have to ruin that, too We're stuck here!"
He shuffled, his face hard. If she were mean, she'd have said he sulked. "We're stuck here."
His jaw was clenched; he squinted at the bike, the dripping sky. "I – got you stuck here."
Maybe. But she hadn't known it had been like that.
She took a moment to answer, because her answer did matter. Being stuck like this mattered. "But…there's no one I'd rather be stuck with."
Something shifted in him, and he looked sidelong at her, guarded, blinking against the rain, still a bit proud.
She stepped forward, gaze on wary his, close, until she could feel the damp heat of him, had to peer up to see his face. He was watchful, rain dripping from his hair to hers. His hand rustled loosely at the garbage bag at her waist.
She laid a soft hand on his chest, leaned in, soft whisper…
She went shouting out before he could answer, a wracking pause until she heard him chase, then delighted shrieks, splashes, roars, until he caught her, and they were tumbling down on the wet, soppy ground with plastic smooching against the other.
His hair was soaked and dripping, the peaks even more pronounced.
Her laughter died at his expression gleaming down at her..
He plucked at a glove, finger-by-finger, brought her stiff fingers to his mouth. "These are wet." Still something gruff about his tone, intense about his gaze. "Cold." He blew with warm breath.
She didn't want it to get too serious. "These are wet," she stuck a tongue out, twining a leg around his denim-clad ass. "Should we take them off, too?"
He gave a low rumble in his chest, and one leg found its way between her thighs. "We could all be very, very wet."
She couldn't help laughing. "But I'm very, very dry."
"You may not stay dry," he hazarded, his hand running down her side.
"You gonna ruin all my hard work?"
His hand smoothed a wet lock of hair. "Maybe."
"So long as it's worth my while."
His gaze ran down her. "We've got more bags," he suggested. "You haven't seen what I can do with them." His brow again.
She grinned, "Someone's ambitious."
He chuckled low in her ear, and she didn't care if she got muddy. "We'll be inventive. Got time…You're stuck with me."
"Yeah, I'm stuck with you."
It wasn't a big day or the best day, just a day she would remember. Logan, the rain…and heavy duty garbage bags.