[Author's Note: I waffled for a long time about even posting this here. The set-up is kind of flame-worthy (you'll see!). It started out as outright, shameless PWP and then quite a bit of set-up and angst and romance crept in there. Five chapters, 1.) set-up, 2.) set-up, 3.) smut, 4.) smut, 5.) romance/angst/happy ending. You've been warned! I worried that maybe it was a bit too racy for this site, but it seems pretty on par with most of the M stories I've read, so hopefully no one will get in a tizzy about the lemony smut.]
Logan paced the small county jail cell. Wall, bars, wall, bed, sink, toilet. Wall, bars, wall, bed, sink, toilet. Around and around he prowled, for the hundredth time, cursing under his breath, scenarios running through his head, each worse than the last. They would figure out his papers were forged. They would run his prints in a wider database, attracting attention. The next jail wouldn't buy the story about a metal plate in his head setting off the detector, and would x-ray him.
"Logan Smith. Visitor!"
Logan interrupted his restless circuit of his cell, eyes narrowing in suspicion. No one would be visiting him. He realized they must have assigned him some kind of public defender. He stood by the bars, hands together in front, letting the paunchy guard handcuff him before escorting him down the hallway. It would be so easy to let the claws out. Two seconds to take out the guard, another five to get down the hallway...
Yeah, and then what, dumbass? he thought wryly. They had his picture, his prints, his papers. They'd get the claws on the security cameras, and he'd be on the run for real. He had to keep cool and play this out as best as he could, but inside him the Wolverine was howling.
They sat him in a chair, and he watchfully assessed the woman across from him through the scratched plexiglass shield. She didn't look like his idea of a public defender, but what did he know - until last night when his luck had run out his only experience with the American justice system had been on television.
The woman was older, mid 50's perhaps, and impeccably dressed. Her blonde hair was gracefully swept up at the back of her neck, with no attempt to hide the strands of iron grey lacing through it. A silk blouse and tailored skirt completed the package, hiding a body that must have once been striking and was still trim and elegant. Logan thought at first that he must have been called to the visiting room by mistake - maybe the name the unimaginative forger had chosen matched some missing relative of hers. Until he met her eyes. There was a cold grim knowledge there that he recognized. This woman was hard as nails underneath the silk and pearls. He picked up the phone.
"Mr. Smith." He didn't miss the slight mocking emphasis on the last name, the subtle acknowledgement that he was no more a Smith than she was a turnip. "You're in a bit of a fix, aren't you?"
Logan narrowed his eyes further, waiting. Damn this plexiglass, he couldn't get even a hint of her scent to know her intent.
"I was in the bar last night. You're quite a scrapper, aren't you? I'm surprised even the taser took you down."
He'd admit it, she had taken him by surprise. She had been in that dive bar, watching the fights?
"Ya come here to make a statement in my defense?" he asked sarcastically. "Testify that the little pissant started something he couldn't finish?"
She smiled with all the warmth of a crocodile. "Oh, everyone knows that already. And everyone knows that Matt McCready is, as you say, a little pissant. Unfortunately, he is also the sheriff's brother-in-law."
Logan felt her eyes on him as he took that in. Fuck, fuck, fuck.
The cold smile again. "Don't look so bleak, honey. I wouldn't be here if I didn't have an offer."
"What kind of offer?"
"Does it even matter? Is there anything you wouldn't do to get out of here?" She leaned back, crossing her legs carefully, her silk hose making a gentle swishing sound. "The good news is, the sheriff doesn't like his brother-in-law much more than you do. And he likes me a whole lot."
"So you got the pull to get me out of here." He didn't bother phrasing it as a question, this woman wasn't the kind to make promises she couldn't keep. "In exchange for what? You want someone beaten, or even killed, you got no need to go trawling the jails for likely candidates for the job."
She smiled again. "You're right there. But I'm scouting for a different kind of talent." The hard eyes looked him up and down. "You're a mutant, right? Have to be, not a mark on you after a night like that."
Fuck, fuck, fuck. It was getting to be a familiar refrain.
She drew in a little closer to him. "Have you heard of The Manor House?"
Now Logan was completely puzzled. "The whorehouse?"
Her eyes got even colder for a moment, before she sat back again. "Yes, the whorehouse. I have many more palatable terms for my establishment, but we can be direct, can we not?"
"You own that place?" Logan's grudging respect for the woman bumped up a notch. The Manor House was legend - high-priced, well-connected, discreet. The kind of place senators and diplomats went to get their rocks off. Logan had heard whispers of it everywhere but had never been certain that it actually existed. This woman definitely had the pull to get him out of here if she wanted, but why on earth would she bother? And what had she been doing at a place like that bar last night?
"As I said, I was talent-scouting," she said.
Fuck, fuck, fuck. What was this?
"No need to curse, honey. Just a little bit of telepathy. Very helpful in my line of business. Enough to know the fix you're in, and what you'd do to get out of it. And to get a little sense of your special talents. And there's...something in your hands?"
"What do you want from me?"
"Don't be so angry, honey. Not much. A term of employment. Let's say a three-month contract. Not too much to ask, given how long you'd likely be kept here if the assault charge gets upheld, as it would without my … intervention."
"So I'd be - what, your muscle? Like a bouncer?"
She smiled, shaking her head mockingly. "Don't be dense, honey. I'm not looking for a bouncer. You'd be my whore."
The shock of it made his claws snick out a few inches, and he barely pulled them back in time. Her eyes didn't miss a thing, but hopefully the security cameras hadn't caught it. He couldn't even force a response out, more stunned than furious. She calmly watched as he got himself under control.
"So surprised? I pride myself on keeping a good variety of talent. People come to me for the unusual - the exotic. Short-term contracts like yours are my bread-and-butter. Don't worry, I've got enough of a read on you to know that only women are your style. And you're not terribly - discriminating as it is. So maybe the ones you'll meet aren't as young as you're used to, but surely that would be no obstacle for a man as virile as yourself?"
"I'm not a goddamn whore," he ground out.
She smiled again. "I know, honey. Whores get paid."
He couldn't suppress the growl. "So this is what you do - go around blackmailing people into working for you?"
A mocking light in her eyes. She leaned forward, her voice becoming breathy and intimate. "As any good whore would say - no, honey, you're my very first." She shrugged. "I didn't get as far as I did by letting golden opportunities pass me by." She sat back again and gave him a considering look. "Well, there it is honey. Time is money, and I'm not going to wait around for your answer."
She leaned back, watching him trying to keep the emotion out of his face. He could feel now the gentle press on his mind. "Don't worry so much," she continued. "I need a nice dangerous type to round out my selection, but you're not to everybody's taste. A little too ferocious, aren't you? Consider yourself window-dressing if you like. Stand there looking all growly and scowly, show the claws from time to time to give the ladies a thrill." Her eyes grew hard and cold again. "But if you get picked, then you play it straight. Bait-and-switch is just bad business, and you don't make it as a whore by being a tease."
"What makes you think I'm not going to say okay and then cut out of there the second I'm free?"
"Oh, honey, you may be a hard one to read, but I'm not going to set this deal in motion until I know for a fact that you realize how well and truly fucked you are. And with all the information they have on you? One word from me, and you'd be on the run for well and good. If that was something you could tolerate you wouldn't still be here. So do your time in here, and hope that they don't figure out who and what you are, or do your time with me. That's the choice, honey. So what do you say - take it or leave it?"
[Author's Note: Okay, now that you see where this is going I blame an author from the Wolverine Rogue Fanfiction Archive (I'm looking at you, Rhion!) who had a series where Logan and Marie meet in a whorehouse. It stuck in my head, I couldn't shake trying to figure out exactly what on earth circumstance would lead to a believable man-whore Logan. Let me know if you think I "sold" it. Don't be shy, please review! Even if you just want to flame me for Hooker!Logan. Don't worry, it's just a thin pretense for some Rogan action, and for such a crude premise it is quite romantic ultimately. I hate that "leave me reviews or I won't any write more" stuff some authors pull, it's all written anyway and I'll post the rest regardless, but reviews are definitely awesome and motivating!]