Marie was literally shaking. Her palms felt sweaty, her chest tight, her nerves ratcheting up a few notches with every deep, soothing breath she tried and utterly failed to take.
She had just made herself vulnerable, told Logan that he had the power to hurt her and explained exactly how he could do it. She'd never given that kind of ammunition to anyone in her life. What the hell was she thinking?
Well, she was thinking that he was the alpha, and he had earned the right to have that kind of power over her. He had also proved time and again that he wouldn't abuse his power. It was instinctual, her loyalty to him. But beyond the level of simple instinct, she was thinking that even though it was scary, it felt good to let her guard down around him and not have to be strong all the time. She was thinking how she could feel his pain, his overwhelming jealousy at the thought of her being with another man. That meant she had the power to hurt him, too.
Although it was absurd. His jealousy was totally unfounded. She'd never really had a 'boyfriend' in her life, though of course Logan didn't know that. John was just a friend, an investigator down at NYPD who'd gotten her help on several mutant-related cases over the years. He gave her the tee shirt when she got blood all over her clothes at a scene. That was all.
If she'd had any idea the response it would elicit, she wouldn't have worn it. Marie knew that it was hard for Logan to rein himself in. He was the sort of man who could easily be very possessive and controlling, if he didn't work so hard against those urges. But it was the fact that he did work so hard against them that kept her from being scared of him.
There was a familiar phrase she heard him repeat in his thoughts: You are what you do. He was trying to do the right thing, to make some changes for the better in his life, and she related to that. Life had thrown them both a pretty shit deal, but they had each risen up and overcome that once they'd been given a chance. They had both taken advantage of the opportunity Charles had been kind enough to extend to them.
The more Marie thought about that, the more her nerves abated. She and Logan were alike in a lot of ways. She sure wasn't going to hurt him on purpose, and she believed he wouldn't hurt her on purpose, either. She wanted to make him happy, so much that she was willing to share her room, her space, with him. Now that was just . . . unprecedented. Maybe he was right; maybe she was 'real territorial for a female,' as he so crudely put it. But she was willing to let him into her territory.
"You got it bad, sugar," Marie muttered to herself as she punched the elevator button. She needed to get to the gym and burn off some damn energy. Boy, did she ever.
She looks good, Piotr thought, pleasantly surprised when Ms. D'Ancanto entered the gym. The whole junior team, including its captain, had been left out of the loop as to why exactly she had been gone. The Professor just said that Rogue was injured while on vacation. Piotr, for one, figured there was no 'vacation' at all, and that Rogue had been sent undercover or something. But he knew better than to ask questions. And he sent her a 'Get Well' card, just in case.
"Hi, Pete. Good to see ya, sugar," she said in her honey-sweet Southern accent. "How ya doin'?"
"Good, now that you return, Ms. D'Ancanto," he said with a wide grin. She was, to put it bluntly, the hottest teacher in school. It helped that she looked barely older than him too, even though he knew that was impossible. It must have something to do with her mutation. She did suck the life force out of people with her bare skin, after all. What an odd mutation for such a nice woman to have. "Ve all have missed you."
Rogue shook her head at his blatant flattery, but he could tell she liked it. At least, he hoped so. "Ya been keepin' up with your trainin'?"
"Da," he replied with a little salute. "I vas preparing to practice self defense. Of course, it is better to vork vith real person than training bag. Vould you like to partner?"
She smiled politely. "Sure. But I oughtta warn ya, I've gotten a bit stronger since we last sparred, Colossus."
She called me by my code name! He cleared his throat, trying to play it cool. "Da, vell, I vill take my chances, ma'am."
"Why am I not surprised?" She laughed, but then her expression turned serious. "Ya know, Pete, Charles woulda promoted ya if ya weren't needed as junior captain. Bobby just ain't ready to fill your shoes yet. But you'll get your turn, babe, I'm sure of it."
Piotr appreciated the praise. The Professor had told him much the same thing when he chose Kitty for promotion. Still, it was nice of her to say. "Thank you, ma'am."
She grinned. "Lemme get warmed up and work out a bit, then we'll spar, huh?"
He nodded casually. Play it cool, Piotr. Play it cool.
With his massive size and strength, Colossus frankly had little need for technique in most fights. He could barrel his way through his opponents, literally. That's why Marie had always focused his training on situations where his size would be more hindrance than help, and ones where technique could easily overcome strength.
She checked to be sure that she was safe to fight, securing her unitard so that her wrists and ankles would stay covered. The top of the suit had a mock turtleneck, but it didn't cover her skin completely. "Be careful of my neck," she warned as she led him to the mats.
"Should you not remove those?" he asked, gesturing to the dog tags.
"No," Marie said simply. She didn't feel like explaining herself to him, even though in a real ground fight, it would be an incredibly stupid idea to wear a chain around her neck. "We're gonna work on some new moves from several different martial arts. Ground fighting is really close-quarters, so you'll have to rely on technique more than strength."
Piotr nodded, the picture of an eager pupil. "Shall ve begin?"
"Sure, sugar." The young man was the largest, most muscular person she'd ever seen, but there was an oddly boyish quality to him that she found endearing. It probably helped that he had always been one of her best students. "Okay. First, I'm just gonna take you to the ground. Try to defend." She allowed herself a small smile. "And if you can't defend, fall well."
Piotr got into his fighting stance and brought up his guards, but his reflexes just weren't a match for hers. Marie took him down several times with minimal effort. He did fall well, though, ready to thrust a kick at her as soon as his back hit the mat.
"Get low," she encouraged. "Widen your stance and bring your center of gravity down. See what I'm doing?" She pushed a hand to his chest again and swept one of her legs up behind one of his, creating a tripping point at his knee, going through the maneuver slowly this time so he could see how she was throwing him off balance.
He managed to defend by plucking her wrist away and slipping to the side.
"Good, good," she said. "Again."
He evaded her a little more smoothly this time.
After several more tries he seemed to be getting the hang of it, so Marie decided to surprise him. Rather than delivering a blow to his chest, she took hold of his arm, then his neck, climbed up his body, and flipped him to the mat in a move that was more flashy than practical. Still, he hadn't been prepared to counter her, so she took him down easily and held him in an arm bar until he tapped out.
"Ow . . ." he groaned, rubbing his elbow as he sat up. "Not fair, Ms. D'Ancanto."
She laughed. "Always be prepared to adapt. Ya can't expect people to fight fair, Pete—oh, hey, Logan." Marie turned at the sound of his footsteps, his familiar scent coming into her awareness. She tried not to smile like a lovesick idiot.
She was pretty sure she failed.
"Hey," he replied as he sauntered up the hall, stopping to lean against the open doorway. "That was a flashy takedown."
Marie raised an eyebrow at him. "Worked, didn't it?"
"Ahh . . . hello. I am Piotr. And you—?"
"Logan," he said, depositing his laptop by the door and striding forward to shake the young man's hand. God damn, he thought as Piotr stood up. Boy must eat his Wheaties.
Marie stayed seated on the mat, plucking at her shirt to let the air flow through. Sweat-dampened tendrils had sneaked out of her ponytail, and her cheeks were flushed. It had to be hot, working out in gloves, shoes, and a bodysuit. Logan frowned.
Marie cocked her head at him curiously, giving him a small smile. "I don't guess you two've met before. Pete's the junior team captain, Logan. He's one of my best students."
Logan nodded, hoping Marie would appreciate his effort at being polite. "Nice to meetcha. I'm, uh, the new guy, if ya haven't already guessed."
"Da," Piotr nodded, missing the hint of sarcasm. "I see you in dining hall before, but . . . not so much lately."
It was a battle, but Logan kept all trace of smugness out of his voice: "Yeah, me and Rogue have been gone the past couple weeks." He could see the gears turning in the kid's mind.
"Oh," Piotr said, looking between the two of them curiously. "I see. Vell, it is good that you both are returned. I vill see you in class Monday, Ms. D'Ancanto."
Marie nodded. "Absolutely. Tell the others we're gonna meet in the gym for the first half, then head to the Danger Room."
"Very good. See you," He nodded to them both and made his way off the mats.
Logan watched Pete's retreating back as he left the gym and disappeared down the hall. Logan was a big guy himself, but that kid was massive. Actually, it had been pretty funny to watch Marie take him down like that. She may be little, but she was damn quick and knew how to use every inch of herself.
Before Logan could finish pondering that thought, something darted out and swept his feet from under him. He tucked his head in and slapped the mat as he went down, a move deeply ingrained in his muscle memory, breaking his fall and pulling his arms back into a guard position. He turned to see Marie giggling. "Nice form," she said.
He quirked an eyebrow at her as he sat up. "And what the hell was that for?"
"For scarin' off my student!" She was still fighting back giggles.
Logan crawled over to her and pushed her down on the mat. "Hey, I was being nice," he insisted as he swung a leg over, straddling her hips. She didn't put up any resistance when he settled his weight on her. "I was tryin'. For you."
Her expression softened. "You were. I know that's . . . hard for you to do. I know you don't like other men very much. I mean, around me."
Logan traced his finger over the tags she wore. "I'm gonna try not to be jealous, darlin'. I trust you. I do. You're so good, baby." Her breath hitched as he continued tracing the silver chain up towards her neck. "So right."
Marie started to bring her arms up and touch him, but he pinned them down. "Why—"
"'Cause I won't be able to stop, if you touch me," Logan muttered, hoping she would understand. He tried to focus on something other than how warm and soft she felt, how desperately he needed to erase that boy's scent from her and replace it with his own.
"Oh," she said. "Okay." She stayed still and submissive under him, though they both knew she could throw him off pretty easily. But Logan thought maybe she didn't mind letting him have control. Maybe it felt as right to her as it did to him.
If it came down to a fight for dominance, he had no illusions: he thought she could win. Even if they were closely matched in skill, her strength might overcome him. But he was pretty sure she would never challenge him; she seemed content with him in the alpha role. Marie was stubborn, to be sure, but she really didn't have a dominant personality like he did.
Logan decided to test his theory. He pinned Marie's arms higher over her head, bringing his face down to hers and kissing the tip of her nose. Then he looked into her eyes until she averted her gaze with a whimper. "S'okay, baby," he soothed. "Why do you always look down? Don'cha ever wanna challenge me?" Wolverine was thrashing in his mind at the very thought of that.
Marie glanced at him warily, then back down. "No," she said, confusion apparent in her voice.
Logan continued despite his animal side's protests. "You never thought about that, what it would be like if you were alpha?" He could feel her growing more nervous, squirming under him a little, so he went on, "If you challenged me, you might win. You could make me submit. Don't you want that? I'd obey you. I'd follow you."
She wrinkled her nose. "Lo-gan," she said in a tone that clearly conveyed the absurdity of that thought.
Some primal part of him was incredibly satisfied that she hadn't even considered challenging his dominance, that the very idea of it seemed ridiculous to her. You know you're mine, don'cha, baby? he thought. But he didn't say that to her. "I'm serious. I would follow you if you challenged me and won."
"What if I lost?" she asked in a small voice.
He growled playfully, pinning her arms a little higher. "I'd have my way with you. Obviously."
Marie laughed softly, the taut muscles of her stomach moving under him. Logan hissed at the sensation. He nearly bent down to kiss her, but her expression grew serious all of a sudden. "What, darlin'?"
She thought for a few moments before speaking. "I—I don't see you as the alpha because you could win a fight with me. You just . . . are. I just sorta feel that, um, i-instinctively or somethin'. Sometimes it bothers me, 'cause there's this part of me that just wants to follow you and do whatever you say." Her tone grew a little indignant. "Did you do that on purpose, Logan? Did you train me to be like that when I was, y'know . . . feral?"
Logan's jaw dropped. "Huh? No! I mean, maybe a little. But you didn't listen to my commands then any better than you do now, you stubborn woman."
"Yeah, right," Marie said, gesturing to the tags around her neck. "I practically always follow your commands. I can't take these off. Did you know that? I've tried, but . . . I dunno. I can't. Ya told me never to take'em off, and . . ."
"Wow. That's hot," Logan said, staring at his mark around her neck.
Marie's brow came down. "That wasn't exactly the response I was hopin' for. Maybe you could, like, gimme permission to take'em off or somethin'?"
"Hell no," he practically growled.
Marie whimpered, but went on, "I ain't your pet, Logan. Ya can't just stick a collar on me and not let me take it off!"
He shrugged. "Apparently I can."
She didn't have a response for that.
"Challenge me," Logan urged. "Ya wanna take those off?"
She still didn't respond, but Logan could hear her heart rate increase at his words. Her smell changed, too, nervous but strangely appealing. Logan breathed her in, grinding his hips against her stomach possessively. He purred in her ear, "Ya gonna do it, baby? Or ya gonna keep wearin' those for me, showin' everybody you're mine?" She still didn't answer. "Well? Challenge. Me."
"Fine." Marie started to pull her arms free from his grip, but then she began whimpering, and Logan could see the gold coming out in her eyes. He wondered if he had pushed her too far, but before he could decide whether to back off, she let out a whine and bared her throat to him, submitting.
Logan chuckled smugly and ground his hips into her again. "That's what I thought. Pet," he added teasingly.
She blinked several times and shook her head, her eyes slowly coming back to their normal mossy green. "Hmph," she said with a pout.
"Don't worry, baby. I'll feed you and take you for walks."
"Grrr . . ." Marie bucked her hips and threw him over her in a backwards somersault, landing on top and managing to get her hands free. She trapped one of his arms against her chest, but the other immediately came around and tickled her side. "Chee-eeap shot!" she squealed, twisting away from his hand. She lost her advantage and Logan managed to get on top again.
"Ya can't expect people to fight fair, Marie," he said, mocking her earlier lesson to Piotr.
"Grrrr, I'll show you!" she said, and Logan couldn't even have said how it happened, she moved so quick, but suddenly he was in a knee bar, and then they were rolling, grappling on the mat, neither willing to tap out or submit.
Their growls turned more playful as they tussled, and Logan was fairly sure she let him pin her a few times. He definitely didn't miss an opportunity to rub his body over hers, to grab at her hips and butt a little more than strictly necessary. God, she was turning him on. He'd never been much for foreplay, but this he could definitely get used to.
Come to think of it, Logan wasn't sure he liked the idea of her grappling with anyone else. He didn't want anyone else gripping her body, hearing her little grunts of exertion. It was way too erotic.
He got her in a full mount and managed to pin her legs down under his too. He realized he was breathing pretty hard, sweat gleaming on his bare arms, and Rogue was flushed and sweaty, too. Her ponytail had fallen out at some point, and her hair spilled out over the mat. She looked like she'd just been well and thoroughly fucked. Logan let out a low growl before he could stop himself. "You don't do this with anyone else, do you?"
Marie looked up at him tentatively. "Um . . . not like this, Logan."
"How 'bout not at all," he suggested.
"Sugar, I'm the self defense instructor," she replied, laughing a little nervously.
Logan knew he was being jealous and possessive, but damn it, "I don't want anyone else . . . seein' you like this. This is-that's-it's just for me. Just me."
Marie rolled her eyes. "Logan. No one but you is thinkin', y'know, those kinda thoughts when they grapple with me."
He nearly laughed out loud at how naïve she was. "Baby, there ain't a man alive who could climb on top of a gorgeous woman like you, and not be thinkin' about all the ways he'd like to have you."
"You're wrong," Marie said simply. "I've seen some of their thoughts, Logan. I dunno why the hell you're crazy enough to want me, but nobody else does."
"I've smelled it on'em," Logan replied, feeling his lip curl up in a snarl. She really was that naïve. Jesus, he had good reason to be jealous and possessive. This woman was liable to get herself taken advantage of.
Marie shook her head. "No. That's impossible. The other guys in the mansion, they . . . pity me, maybe, but they don't think I'm attractive, Logan. They're scared of my skin. Besides, there's all these really pretty women like Ororo and Jean around . . . it's just not . . . ya don't have to worry about that, believe me."
Logan stood and pulled her up with him. "You've got no idea, Marie. No idea how much all those geeks drool after you. Pisses me off," he admitted. "I didn't know how the hell to approach you when I first came here, 'cause I figured you turned all them other guys down, so I didn't stand a chance," he said as he began walking her out of the gym. He grabbed his laptop but figured he'd have to hit the business center later. It was well past time for dinner.
Marie gave him a surprised look. "I find that kinda hard to believe."
"Well, it's true. But I gotcha now, baby," he said with a hint of a growl, nuzzling her hair. "And I'm not lettin' anybody steal you away."
She pulled his arm around her and fitted herself into his side as they walked, much to Logan's pleasure. Affection from Marie felt good, really good. He loved it when she was like this, when she wanted to be close.
She rubbed her cheek against him. "Nobody's gonna steal me away, sugar. I'm tellin' ya, they don't want me anyhow."
Logan was baffled by her certainty. Especially since he knew she was wrong. "How in the hell can ya think that, especially if you've seen their thoughts?"
Marie's voice was strangely flat. "I'm always touchable. In their thoughts, I mean."
Logan shrugged. "Okay. That don't mean they wouldn't want ya just like this, though. I mean, I imagine touchin' your bare skin too, but I sure as hell ain't gonna say no to what I got."
Marie hid her face in his chest, careful to avoid the skin his wifebeater didn't cover. Her voice went soft. "It ain't just that. They always picture me . . . lll-like, kinda . . . prettier. Prettier than I r-really am."
Logan honestly couldn't imagine how that was possible, couldn't imagine what anyone would change about her other than her mutation. How could you improve on perfection? "Maybe it ain't them that sees you different," he said, rubbing his palm over her hip soothingly. "Maybe you just don't see how pretty you really are. 'Cause baby, you're like, a ten and a half. I ain't just sayin' that. You're desirable. Fuck, I will take youright now in this elevator if that'll prove it to ya."
She burst into laughter. "Thanks, sugar. Mighty generous of ya, lookin' out for my self esteem like that."
"Yeah, well. You're welcome," Logan grunted. If only she knew how serious he was. God, he was horny. He'd have to keep that in mind: submission grappling with Marie, definite turn-on. He was going to have to brush up his jiu-jitsu.
A/N: A big thank you to everyone who has read, favorited, and most of all reviewed this story so far! The feedback is most appreciated. I'm looking for a beta right now to help me stay on track and finish this silly thing, as every Logan/Marie moment keeps turning into an entire chapter unto itself. Although perhaps that's not a bad thing =).