This is my first challenge fic, written for Esmeralda Smith, who asked for a oneshot fic that had 1. Logan losing a bet to Rogue, 2. an M-rating, and 3. a chainsaw. It may be more angsty and moody than she was thinking, but what can I say - I love the angst! Rated M mostly for dirty thoughts, but I think it counts. Hope you like it!

Logan doggedly followed Marie's scent across the snowy lawn. Dusk was settling over the mansion, and he needed every bit of his heightened senses of smell and vision to follow her faint path in the fading light. He cursed under his frosty breath as snowflakes settled on his eyelashes and drifted in under the collar of his shirt. As much as he was a creature of the Northern forests, he hated the chill that settled in his metal-laced bones these days when winter fell.

An icy blast of wind whipped over him, and he lost her scent momentarily. He froze in place, body alert with predatory stillness, until the wind died down and he caught her scent again. The same familiar smell of sunshine and earth, but the loneliness that usually only faintly tinged her scent was overpowering his evening. She smelled like misery.

In a few more minutes he found himself at the boathouse. He should have known she would run to ground here. Charles had converted it to a guest house years ago, recognizing that life in the mansion could be a little stifling at times for the staff, and all the team members had a key and were free to use it when it was unoccupied. It looked deserted, but her scent was strong here. Logan stomped the snow off his feet in the doorway, making no attempt to be stealthy. Something was already up with the kid, startling her wouldn't help.

The door was unlocked, and a small part of his mind wondered if she had known he would follow her. She always seemed to know him better than he knew himself. All thoughts flew from his head, however, when he saw her. The small cabin was dark except for a fire in the grate, and Marie sat in front of it, knees hugged to her chest, staring into the grate. Her beautiful profile was stark against the flames, and the acrid scent of her misery burned in his nostrils.

She didn't turn around as he entered, just took another swig of the whiskey she was holding.

"You here to give me a lecture on the evils of alcohol?," she finally asked when he made no move towards her.

He took that as all the invitation he was going to get and unlaced his boots, sliding them off at the doorway and padding across the floor to her in his socks. He sat down beside her, taking awhile to settle his large frame on the soft Oriental rug. Her feet were bare, her small toes stretched towards the fire. She has cute toes, he thought absently.

He shrugged. "You're legal."

Her mouth kicked up in a wry smile, and he felt the echo of his own words drop like a stone in the pit of his stomach. Dammit, he hadn't mean it that way. He wasn't going to think about her that way, had been staying away from the mansion more and more in recent months, fighting the thought of what she was now legal to do. Legal to drink, legal to touch...

"That I am."

She leaned back on one arm and the posture silhouetted her figure against the flames. Her long silky hair danced a little in the heat, her lush breasts thrust forward by the arch of her back. The scent of her misery seemed to be lessening with his presence, and he cursed himself for a lecherous old bastard. She needed her friend tonight, her protector. It was her bad luck that the Wolverine was particularly twitchy tonight, restlessly shifting under Logan's skin. He looked at her, trying to force himself to see not the woman she was now, but the sassy teenager he had taken under his wing so many years ago.

She sighed, and her misery seemed to deepen again. She took another swig of the whiskey, and he saw her hands were shaking slightly.

"You should go, Logan," she said into the flames. "I'm not fit company tonight."

He snorted. "Well, I'm fit company exactly never, and that never seemed to bother you none."

She smiled briefly, but it didn't reach her eyes. "I'm serious, sugar. I'm gloomy and I'm well on my way to drunk, and if you stay here you might hear things you wish you hadn't."

He regarded her keenly, a small part of his mind admiring the slender line of her throat in the firelight. God, how it would feel to lick her there, to taste that tender skin... She closed her eyes, taking in a deep, shuddering breath.

"You can tell me anything, Kid, you know that. There's never been lies between us. What could you tell me that I wouldn't want to hear?"

She finally turned her head to look at him, the firelight giving her eyes an almost unearthly clarity.

"The truth."

He felt as if she were looking directly into his soul, all his secrets suddenly laid bare to her, and he had to suppress a slight shiver. He shifted uncomfortably under that piercing gaze. She couldn't possibly know what he felt for her, he had been so careful...

Her gaze shifted back to the fire, and he almost sighed in relief. She took another swig of whiskey.

"I think I've learned something today, Logan, and it was a hard lesson. There's lies, and there's truth, and then there's that vast space in between, where all of us live every day. Even you and me. And I'm in a mood tonight to push on those walls. So you might want to be wherever I'm not." A little burst of the fire emphasized her words, and he remembered that she had accidentally brushed up against Pyro a few days ago.

"What happened today, Marie?"

She just slowly shook her head. He felt the frustration rise up in him. It twisted his guts to see Marie hurting like this. He wanted to shake the truth out of her. He wanted to throw her down on this rug and make her forget all her troubles, forget everything except his name...

The vision of her naked body, lush against the rug in the firelight, flooded his mind, and he felt a growl starting deep in his chest. Christ, her dangerous mood was catching, loosening the reins on his imagination. His skin felt too tight, the Wolverine snarling to be set free.

He felt the urge to run, but he couldn't leave her with her pain like this. It was dangerous to stay, though. In the rare times he had been back at the mansion lately Marie had kept some distance between them, making it easier for him to hide how he felt about her. Now, all alone in this dark cabin with the snow falling around them, the pull between them had never been stronger, and in the mood she was in he wasn't sure if he could count on her to keep him in check. And damn if the idea of that didn't wind his arousal even tighter. She might not stop me...

His body was tense with indecision as he fought the warring impulses. She looked up at him again. Maybe it was a trick of the firelight, but her eyes now looked tender and knowing in the flickering glow. "Let's get out of here," she said. Relief flooded his body, and again he had the unsettling notion that she knew him too well.

"I'll get the truck."

Freed from the need to track, he let himself run the distance back to the garage, hoping the burn of his muscles might take some of the edge off, sate the Wolverine for awhile. He bumped the rusty truck down the snowy path, and knew the second he saw her that it hadn't worked. She stood in the doorway, her lithe body outlined against the glow from the fire still flickering inside, and he wanted her with an intensity that hazed his thoughts for a moment. He cursed under his breath as he threw the truck into park. She turned her head, apparently using Pyro's abilities to smother the flame, and then made her way to the truck.

She slid in beside him, her breath visible in the frosty air, snowflakes melting on her eyelashes. She closed the door with an expert bang in just the right spot to keep the rusty contraption shut. Her mood appeared to have shifted, as if she had made some decision. Her body seemed to hum with suppressed excitement.

He remembered the day he had driven the truck back to the mansion, the first tangible evidence of his prior life he had found in three years of searching. A deed to a ramshackle cabin, and the 1960's Ford truck parked outside, both in his name. Marie had been delighted with the old yellow truck, fascinated with the rusting old ax and chainsaw strapped to the sides of the covered bed, evidence of his lumberjack past.

"So that's why you have such an affinity for flannel shirts," she had teased, her brown eyes shining.

He pulled his thoughts back to the present. "Toby's?" he said, and she nodded her agreement.

They drove in silence, cocooned in darkness, the snow falling thick and fast in the light of the truck's headlights. It was only a few miles down the road before they pulled up at Toby's Roadhouse, the neon sign flickering valiantly in the snowstorm.

Toby laughed out loud when they came in. "I should have figured if anyone was crazy enough to be out in this weather, it would be the two of you."

Logan gave him his best surly growl. "Can it, and set us up. It's whiskey tonight." He saw Toby looking speculatively at the two of them, but he made no comment, setting them up with two shot glasses and leaving the bottle. With a barman's knack for discretion, he told them to holler if they needed him, and ducked into the back room on some errand.

Logan let his eyes run over Marie as she slid onto the stool next to him, from her boots to her slightly flushed cheeks, ducking his gaze away before it met her eyes. She slid out of her padded vest, and put it on the stool beside her, leaving on her thin leather gloves. He watched her hands, small and deft on the whiskey bottle as she poured the shots, imagining how they would feel on his naked skin.

"Cheers," she said huskily, and they both knocked their shots back.

He leaned his elbows back against the bar and stretched out his legs. "So, are you going to tell me what happened?"

"Let's play," she said, her words jolting to his groin before he looked up and saw her eyes on the pool table. He cursed himself for a lecherous old bastard again for misinterpreting her words, but still enjoyed the view from behind as she fed her quarters in the slot and racked the balls up. He brought their glasses and the bottle over, pouring them another shot to down before the break.

She handed him his cue, standing a little too close. "Make it interesting?" she said, and he looked at her sharply. He would have sworn she was flirting with him, but it must have been his imagination - her face was the picture of innocence.

"What did you have in mind?"

She leaned back against the pool table, the action emphasizing the long length of her legs in the tight denim and the dip of her slender waist, her sweater riding up to show just an inch of smooth skin. "I don't know...what do I have that you want?"

Again he searched her eyes for some hint that she was teasing him, but her expression was unreadable. He moved in close, and her eyes fluttered shut as he reached towards her. He pulled gently on the loop of scarf around her neck, and she shivered a little as the silk rasped her skin. Interesting. "How about this?"

She nodded, and he drew the scarf all the way off, the action releasing a wave of her warm scent, and he couldn't help taking a deep inhale. He suddenly wanted that scarf more than anything, wanted to feel the silk still warm from her skin, smelling of her. A poor substitute for Marie, but as close as he would allow himself to get.

The thought was sobering and he stepped back, hanging the scarf over the nearby chair. "How about for me?"

She pretended to ponder, tapping her gloved fingertips against her chin, and he smiled at her lightened mood. "I already have your tags," she mused, and his eyes involuntarily followed the chain down to where it disappeared, nestled in the cleavage revealed by her v-neck sweater, another jolt of arousal rocking him as he thought about tracing his fingers down that path. He poured himself another shot. "How about your chainsaw?"

"My chainsaw?"

She smiled up at him from under her eyelashes. Damn her, did she know what that did to him? "Why not? Girls like power tools too." And then she laughed, as he choked on his shot of whiskey.

The game went quickly. He had taught her well, but he was still better, and before long he had the scarf in his hands again. He couldn't resist the urge, and looped it around his own neck, enjoying the warmth and smell of her skin that still radiated from the silky fabric. "How does it look?" he asked, quirking an eyebrow.

She played along, adjusting the fabric a bit, and now it was his turn to suppress a shudder as the warm silk brushed his skin. "It's your color."

"Play again? New stakes?" he asked, and she nodded.

He fed the quarters in and racked the balls, buying himself some time to consider exactly how much he was going to piss her off. He hung up the rack, and poured them another shot.

"If I win, you tell me what happened today."

He didn't think she would agree - they both knew she couldn't beat him when he was trying. She seemed unsurprised at the request, though, and again he wondered just how well she knew him.

She looked him over consideringly. "High stakes. I'll have to think hard about what you'll give me if I win."

"Whatever you want, darlin'," he said. He had meant to lighten the mood, but his words seemed to have the opposite effect, and he turned away to pour himself another shot as her gaze became almost unbearably intense.

She took the shot from his hands and downed it, and he wondered if she realized it was his glass she was taking. He poured himself another, trying to ignore the taste of her on the glass. This is what she would taste like if he kissed her, warmth and sweetness and whiskey, his tongue dipping into that soft mouth...Marie...

"You know I've been practicing my control with different people," she said, and he nodded. Her cheeks flushed a little more, but her eyes were steady on his. "If I win, I get to practice on you." He drew in a sharp breath, his eyes narrowing on hers.

She shrugged, and looked away. "High stakes," she repeated.

He forced the tension out of his muscles, leaning back against the wall. Nonetheless, he heard the roughness in his own voice when he spoke. "What does that mean exactly?"

She diligently chalked her cue, the curtain of her hair hiding her face. "Don't be such a chicken, Logan. It means you touch me. I'll tell you where, and how long, and if I feel my control starting to slip I'll break away."

He cleared his throat, thinking it through. "So I just touch your hand or something?" Still, it was a risk. If she absorbed enough of him to get a sense of his thoughts...

She looked up at him, and the look in her dark eyes made his mouth suddenly go dry. "I didn't say that. I said you touch me, and I'll tell you where, and how long."

He felt his heart stutter in his chest. She couldn't possibly mean that the way it sounded, and yet her words from earlier echoed in his mind. "I'm in a mood tonight to push on those walls..."

He shook his head to clear it. It didn't matter, she could never beat him. And he wanted to know - needed to know - what had rattled her so deeply today. "Deal," he said.

She had a lucky break, and he watched her lean over the table as she set up her next shot. Again his mind reeled at the implication of her bet - or was he still reading into things, imagining a subtext that wasn't there?

She bent far over the table to take her shot, and he let his imagination luxuriate briefly in the thought of touching her. Running a hand down that bare back. Bending her over and pressing deep within her. The sounds she would make, that he would draw from her. The things he would whisper in her ear, all his dark intentions, held secret for so long. He would bury his face in her hair, breathing in her scent, as he spilled himself inside of her. His Marie, always his.


Her voice, so breathy it played into his fantasy for a moment, before he shook free of the images in his head and focused on her again. She smiled a secret smile. "Your turn."

He scanned the table, and was surprised to realize that she had sunk a lot of balls while he had been daydreaming. He might actually be in trouble here. He leaned in to take his shot, and she was suddenly there, so close beside him his arm brushed against the side of her breast as he stroked. A clean shot despite all that, but the ball unaccountably missed, bouncing off the edge of the corner pocket and ricocheting to knock in one of hers into the side pocket instead.

"Tough luck," she sympathised, and he growled in response. For the first time, he realized that he might actually lose this bet, and he tried to stifle the shock of excitement that ran through him at the thought of paying up. "It means you touch me..."

He stubbornly held his place at the table, hoping his nearness might throw her off. She seemed unfazed, though, again leaning far over the table, her hip lightly brushing his groin as she took her shot. It was a tricky combination and she nailed it, straightening up with a little bounce of triumph that just about weakened his knees.

A straight shot for the next one, and although she sank it he sighed in relief. She only had one ball left, but it was impossible, there was no way she would be able to sink it without sinking the 8 ball. If he concentrated, he could clean up the table on his next turn, and finally find out what was going on with her today. And then he'd better get his distance from the mansion again, before his control slipped and he took what he really wanted...

She lined up a shot, aiming at the pocket the 8 ball was right in front of.

"You throwin' the game, Marie?"

She smiled, warm and seductive, and his heart dropped. This was not his imagination.

"How long since you came to the mansion, Logan?"

The apparent change of subject threw him. "Since we got there together, you know that. Five years ago? Six?"

Her smile widened. "And in all that haven't learned to call 'no powers' before a game?"

She took the shot, and he watched in disbelief as her ball diverged from its straight path to veer around the 8 ball and fall cleanly into the pocket. Another shot from her before he had even caught his breath and she had sunk the 8 ball.

She straightened up and looked at him, and then away, suddenly shy.

"Sonuvabitch. You touched Jeannie?"

She nodded, and then snuck a peek at him, apparently trying to gauge his anger, but he was still just stunned. "So you have her telekinesis, and..." Oh, fuck.

A hint of her melancholy returned. "You ever heard the phrase 'You never hear anything good about yourself through eavesdropping,' Logan?" She fidgeted with her gloved hands. "Xavier thought it might help to try practicing control with Jean, but it slipped, and...I wasn't ready to know what everyone at the mansion thought of me. I mean, they like me, but..."

Her voice thickened with tears, and she took a minute to swallow them down. "Jubes, Bobby, Kitty - everyone. I hadn't realized how scared they were of me. And how sorry they all felt for me. That's why I had to get away to the boathouse. Fear and pity, everywhere I turned. Until...until you came."

He was still trying to wrap his mind around it. "You've heard my thoughts...this whole time...?"

Another peek at him. "Couldn't help it. I did warn you to stay away."

For lack of any other response, he took another shot of whiskey, still thinking frantically. She seemed to grow bolder in the face of his uncertainty.

"Like I said, Logan. There are no lies between us, but we haven't exactly told the truth either. Truth is, for you." Her voice grew huskier. "I want you."


"And now I know how you feel about me too. So what do you say, Logan? I still have the keys to the boathouse, and you lost the bet. I tell you where to touch me, and how." A mischievous look glinted in her eyes. "And thanks to you, I have no shortage of ideas."

He looked her over. His Marie, everything he had wanted and resisted for so long. And then he thought of all the things he had fantasized about, and that she knew them all. Wanted them all. Fuck it.

He took a final shot of whiskey, and grabbed her gloved hand, pulling her hard into his body and taking her mouth in a blazing, voracious kiss. God she was delicious, everything he had imagined, warmth and sweetness and whiskey and Marie. He drew back, quirking a smile at her stunned expression, and tugged her towards the door.

"A deal's a deal."

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