The Deal

Author: () Feedback welcome.

Archive: Yes, to anyone and everyone who wants it, just give me credit where credit's due ^_^

Disclaimer: No, I don't own any of them, I just borrow them, let them play, and then sneak them back home to Marvel before anyone notices they're missing.

Summary: This is the abridged, "clean" version of the story! The whole thing, unedited, can be found under my profile (Amandasfire) , because it gets explicit in parts and had been edited down from an NC-17 (there) to an R (here.) Please only go there if you're legal, but if you are, I highly recommend it! ;)

This fic is comicverse/Alternaverse… this branches off from that tease in New X-Men #117 where Jean… like… basically goes and offers herself to Wolvie and he turns her down. Yeah, RIGHT Mavel! This is how it should've gone!

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Chapter 1: The Call

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It began with a phone call.

The whole mess began with a phone call—a drunk dial--- something I thought I'd left behind me with my college academy years. This time, though, it was different. That one call started me on a course that, months ago… well… I couldn't even have imagined.

But I'm getting ahead of myself.

It was past midnight and I was awake, fighting one of the many bouts of insomnia that had been plaguing me as of late. Every night, it was the same story. Scott and I would go to bed together, I would read, he'd carefully take off his glasses, and we'd both say goodnight. Ten minutes later he'd be snoring and I'd be wide awake and not the least bit interested in counting the patterns on the ceiling.

That night, I was in the kitchen searching the fridge for something low calorie yet tasty. Emma had a good habit of stocking up on weight watcher products that I stole whenever the chance arose (the danger room only burns so many calories), when my cell phone rang. I looked at the time and saw it was close to 2am. The number was unavailable.

I hesitated for a second or two before I flipped it open, mentally shrugging. I wasn't sleeping anyway, and even if it was a heavy breather it had to be more interesting than scouring for 100 Calorie Snack Bites at two in the morning. Not to mention it's pretty difficult to prank call a telepath—considering my mind's about a hundred times better than star-sixty-nine.

"Hello?" I said.

"Jeannie," came the rough voice on the other end of the line. I recognized it immediately.

"Logan?" I said, surprised.

There was no reply, but I heard a muted clink, like glass hitting pavement. Probably dropped his beer. I wondered how much he'd had. Considering it was 2am, I was guessing a keg or six.

"Logan, where are you?" I asked, the dim glow of light in the empty kitchen making the conversation seem strangely intimate. "Are you in trouble?"

There was a slow breath at the end of the line, and then his voice again.

"Jeannie, you're beautiful baby, did I tell ya that lately..? "

I gave an over-exaggerated roll of my eyes despite the fact that no one was there to witness my performance. I could tell already I didn't like the direction this was going. Not that I couldn't take a compliment, just so much as I knew that when he sobered up it was going to get awkward.

"Logan you're drunk. Where are you?"

"Mmmat a payphone. I couldn't stop thinkin' about you darlin'.. I .. had to call, I…" his voice came through, scratchy low and desperate. "I just wanted to talk to ya, Jeannie. It seems like we never talk anymore."

Which wouldn't be my fault, I thought. I'm not the one who makes monosyllabic exits and then disappears for months at a time. But I knew better than to argue with an inebriated Wolverine.

"Logan, tell me how much you've had to drink. Did you put the bar out of business yet?"

There was a pause on the end of the line.

"I dunno Red. Lost count. Two bottles a' Jameson… eight shots of whiskey…"

"Really, that's it, eight shots? Sure it wasn't eighty?" I said sarcastically, taking a glass out of the cupboard and placing it on the counter. I got out the low fat milk and poured it slowly, cell phone cradled against my shoulder.

"Doesn' matter. What matters is what I've gotta tell you because I know if I don't now I never will. Jeannie I—"

"Logan! Wait-- think before you speak!" I said quickly, waving my hands as if he could see them, hoping to cut him off, but it came out anyway.

"I love you Jean. I been in love with you since the day I met you. I know I can't have you and it tears me up inside, it feels like something's got ahold of my guts, it feels like –"

"Logan…!" I said, squeezing my eyes shut at the onslaught of words. And then softer, "Logan, stop. Stop." I wasn't embarrassed—really, I was flattered if anything, but I knew that he was going to regret this, and knowing how it was going to be between us made me cringe.

"Listen to me! Are you listening?" I said loudly, putting a hand against my forehead. Someone was going to come home doing the walk of shame tomorrow.

"You're drunk Logan. Don't hang up, take a second to sober up—I don't want you driving -- you want to talk we'll talk. All right? I can forget this ever happened. Okay? Let's just start over. Where are you, anyway?"

I took a long drink of milk and waited for his response.

There was a silence on the end of the line.

"I gotta go," the gruff voice said suddenly.

"Wait, Logan wait I—" I started, but then there was a small chime as the line went dead.

I stood there barefoot, in the kitchen, holding my glass of milk.

More interesting than counting ceiling patterns, indeed.

* * *

After that incident, to my surprise, Wolverine never said a thing. His pride was wounded, that I knew for certain, but I thought I'd at least get a joking apology, or maybe even some crass innuendo sent my way to cover his true chagrin. Instead, he ignored me. And to my annoyance, and then alarm, it started to drive me crazy.

I knew it had just been Logan on a bender, good old Logan suddenly basking in a burst of immaturity and indulging in his perpetual self-destructive side. Nothing new. Yet, for some reason, I couldn't seem to get the words out of my head.

It was ridiculous. I heard those words every day, from my husband. Scott saying, "I love you" in passing, as he left. But it was something else… the tone of his voice. That raw need, that was something that caught at me, something that I hadn't heard in a long, long time.

"I love you Jean." Something in me couldn't let it go. I found myself daydreaming about it after I'd dismissed my class. And at night, I felt the little hairs at the back of my neck stand up as I wondered just what it would be like… but then I would only let myself wonder so far.

A little imagination can be a dangerous thing.