Title: Other Ways of Speaking
Author: lachlanrose
Disclaimer: Not mine. But I really like that Logan one.
Feedback: Yes, please. The good. The bad. The ugly. ;)
Summary: Two months after hooking up in Laughlin City, Logan and Marie find their peace disturbed when a couple of strangers come knocking.
Notes: A word of warning in this one, folks. I was curious how a relationship between Logan and a younger Marie (17) would play out, especially if that relationship was established before they found their way to Westchester. This fic explores what's 'too young' and why different people put that line in different places. If that idea squicks you, don't say I didn't warn ya. Heh. Thanks to the usual suspects for the beta and TOFOG for the title.


Other Ways of Speaking

[Saturday 11:47 p.m. Yellowknife, Canada]

"I just dunno, Marie."

Fuck that. He did know. He did know and he didn't like it. He didn't like that the two strangers who'd caught up with them tonight after the fights knew about what happened in that bar in Laughlin City a couple of months back, and he really didn't like that they knew Marie was a mutant too. They knew fuck-all too much for two people who were obviously inexperienced at making attempted pick-ups. They were too green to be in the field and far too inexperienced to intimidate the likes of him. He didn't know what kind of show this Xavier guy was running, but so far, Logan wasn't impressed.

Marie stopped folding the clothes they'd toted back from the coin laundry earlier and looked up at Logan. They slept in the camper most nights, but when Logan was fighting, they usually got a room whenever they were going to be in the same place for a few days. This time was no exception. It wasn't much—just a bed, a table, a TV, and a small bathroom—but it beat the cramped quarters of the camper. It wasn't that they didn't like the intimacy that closeness fostered, but they were both loners by nature and sometimes the extra space was nice. For that matter, so were indulgently long hot showers and king-sized beds.

She frowned a little, fidgeting uneasily. "You think maybe they aren't who they say they are?" Marie had only been with Logan two months and still hadn't learned to read all his moods, but she knew he wasn't happy about the strangers who'd come knocking on their door tonight. She twisted the shirt she held in her fingers nervously. "You think maybe they're the-"

From his position stretched out on the bed, Logan chuckled. "Nah, I don't think that, baby. They're not military and God knows, nobody in their right mind'd make up the kinda story they told us tonight." He scowled a little. "It's just they're so damn—"

"Goody-goody?" She offered, giving him a bit of a wry smile.

"Heh. Yeah, all that savin' the world crap? I just dunno if I buy inta that." He paused, taking a long pull from his beer. "Besides, we're doin' just fine on our own." That was true. Mostly. He'd be happier when the fighting circuit was done for the season and they could hole up in his cabin for the winter. He liked having her all to himself. He liked taking care of her. There had been something instinctual, something primal that drew him to her right from the beginning. He wouldn't have kept her with him otherwise. It wasn't as if he was trying to monopolize every moment of her time, but he felt strongly that right now they needed to have time by themselves to learn about each other without the rest of the world intruding. It wasn't such an odd thing, really. A lot of cultures did that.

For as deep as the connection between them was, it was also new and fragile. While their friendship and affection had grown and deepened considerably in the last two months, they were only just now beginning to explore the more carnal side of that connection, and he didn't want a couple of geeks in black leather fucking it all up—telling her he was no good, telling him she was too young. Hell, he knew all that shit already. For that matter, so did she. If it didn't bother either of them, who was anyone else to complain?

Logan sniffed, and fixed her with an intense stare. "You thinkin' of takin' 'em up on their offer?" She smelled nervous and a little scared and he didn't like that, not one damn bit. And he was deathly afraid she was going to tell him she wanted to leave him. He didn't have much that was good in his life and losing what little he had terrified him. He knew he'd never lose her to another man, but who could compete with what Xavier was offering? "'Cause I ain't forcin' you stay," he growled defensively, almost afraid to believe she'd choose staying with him over the life they both knew she could have if she left.

Marie was quiet a long time. "I love being with you, Logan. I do." She might not know all his moods, but she knew this one well enough. She tossed the shirt back on the pile of clean laundry and came to sit on the bed by his feet. She stroked her hand up and down his calf, smiling at the solid strength in the body hidden under all that denim and flannel. "You know I do, sugar." She stroked a little harder, wanting him to feel the physical connection along with the emotional one in her words. "It's just..." Marie sighed wistfully. "It's just... I could finish school there. That's something I want. And that place they talked about sounds good, like maybe a place I could get to do that," she said softly. "But I don't want to go without you, so if you say no, we'll stay. Ok?"

Her deference soothed him, made him feel a little more in control of the situation and a little less afraid she'd up and leave him. "It ain't that easy, Marie." He watched her hand moving up and down his calf. "This thing between us, they ain't gonna like it, baby. You're too young." He grunted. "I don't give a fuck what they think about me, but they ain't gonna go easy on you either. Bein' seventeen, bein' with someone like me—you're gonna catch a lot of shit for that... and if we decide to do this, I sure as hell ain't gonna stop sharin' a bed with you 'cause someone else don't like it."

"Good to know, because the only bed I want is the one you're in." Her smile grew more pensive. "But even if you agreed to go, even then, I wouldn't go unless we could be there... you know... together."

Logan chuckled. "Don't matter. That ain't gonna stop the talk, baby."

She grinned at him. "They don't know what we're like, sugar." They didn't know how good he was to her or how safe he made her feel or that they hadn't had sex yet. Marie blushed prettily. In truth, they hadn't even come close. They shared a strange sort of intimacy that was definitely sexual, almost shockingly so at times. That was only to be expected in the close quarters they lived in, but for as open as they were with each other, they were only just now starting to explore the more physical side of their relationship. Her blush intensified. "We haven't even made love yet."

"We will." There was no denying the surety in his words, and the heat in his eyes seemed to suck all the air out of the room. Logan moved his leg over a little so his booted foot touched her thigh. "You sure all this ain't 'bout what the rest of what One Eye hadta say? That part 'bout learnin' to control your 'gifts'?"

Marie giggled at the nickname, but quickly grew serious once more. "Maybe a little. As nice as having my own electrified fence is, it'd be nice to be able to turn it off once in a while."

She smelled sad. "Keeps you safe," he offered. Hands down, that was his favorite thing about her mutation. Absolutely. It had kept her safe for the eight months she'd been on the road before they hooked up. Plus, it made her more than a little dangerous and he liked that too. He needed a strong mate. An equal. Someone who chose to be with him because she wanted to, not because she couldn't go it alone. Equally yoked. Well, that was certainly true. They each carried death in their hands.

Logan sniffed again. The scent of her sadness had intensified. Well, maybe 'safe' wasn't exactly the right word to use in conjunction with her mutation. She'd had to use her gifts more than once in those eight months on the road and he knew that wasn't pleasant for her. The last time had been with some overgrown hairball just before she'd hooked up with him in Laughlin City. From what Marie had told him, the hairball had messed her up pretty good before she finally took him down. That run-in had left her with the two white streaks she now had in her hair and a healing factor that rivaled his own—another reason he didn't want her anywhere near that school. If they figured out what her skin could really do... well, he already had a reminder of what the rest of the world thought healing factors were good for. She'd gotten a healthy dose of his mutation too before they knew she'd somehow retained that regenerative ability, or perhaps it had been the combination of absorbing two super-healers almost completely that had made it permanent. They'd probably never know the answer. Whatever the reason, it was enough to give them both pause when it came to sharing that information with outsiders.

"It keeps me from touching your skin, Logan." She answered quietly.

Logan covered her gloved hand with his. "I won't lie to you, Marie. Touchin' you like that'd be real nice." His voice dropped, becoming lower, huskier. "But it don't make a damn bit of difference on my end, darlin'. I don't needta touch ya skin to skin to make you feel good." The solid confidence in his voice was unwavering and he grinned as Marie blushed. Logan paused, waiting for her to meet his eyes. "And I sure as hell don't need it for you to make me feel good." Case in point, he was already so hard it hurt and all she'd done was rub his leg. He gave her hand a reassuring squeeze. "Marie, if you wanna go, we can go, but don't feel you gotta just because of the touchin' thing, ok?"

"It's not just that." Marie nodded. "I was thinking maybe we should go for you too. Maybe they might be able to help you find something about your past. I know... I know you're skeptical, sugar." She ignored his snort of disgust. "But maybe it might be worth giving it a shot."

He sighed heavily. "I been lookin' for fifteen years, Marie. Fifteen years—with nothin' to show for it and suddenly some guy I've never even heard of not only wantsta help me for nothin', but he's supposedta have all the answers? Not fuckin' likely." He grinned at her. "Besides, if he did have 'em, he'd know better than to send those two rejects from the Matrix into the field."

"Logan," Marie chided. "I thought 'Ro was nice."

His eyes glittered. "Yeah? Whatdya think of the black leather Boy Scout?"

"I think you don't like him because you caught him checking me out," she teased.

"Heh. Can't fault the man for that, darlin'." He grinned. "You gotta nice rack."

"Logan!"

"Well, you do," he responded with his usual matter-of-factness. "But him lookin' atcha? That ain't what rubbed me wrong." Hell, if he got pissed off every time a man looked at Marie, he'd never smile again. He was secure enough in the strength of their bond that he didn't worry she'd stray. In truth, she'd have to look damn hard to find another man as strong as he was and he understood it was that power that drew her to him; that and his gruff tenderness. That girl had split his heart wide open. He was a good mate and he knew it. Strong. Cunning. Virile. Good in a fight. Knew his way around a woman. She could do worse. "It ain't that, baby. It's-"

"You know what I think?"

"What?"

"I think it's because y'all are too alike. He couldn't back you down. You couldn't back him down." Neither of them had raised their voices, but the conversation had been far from pleasant.

"Yeah, well... maybe." He took another long pull from the bottle. "But I ain't the one knockin' on his motel room and tellin' him how he should live his fuckin' life."

"Well, there is that," she teased. "Seriously, though, what if this Xavier guy could help us? What if we gave it a shot and I got my diploma and maybe some help with my control and what if he dug up a lead or two for you? What do we have to lose?"

"Besides our freedom?"

"It's not a prison, it's a school. If it sucks we can bail and if not..."

"If not, what then?" He was suddenly deadly serious. "Marie, all I got in the world is takin' care of you," he admitted quietly.

Instantly, Marie knew why this whole idea scared him so much. This was his world, his place. He was comfortable here and while she wasn't totally dependent on him for everything, she knew he took pride in protecting her and providing for her. He liked earning the money for their food and shelter and clothes. She helped too, but he did the lion's share and she knew that without that, he'd not only feel out of place, but useless as well.

He wouldn't look at her now. "If you take that away from me... I just- I can't stay in a place like that livin' off another man's charity."

"So don't." For a second he looked as if she'd slapped him and then his expression became hard and guarded. Marie could see him shutting down on her, could see the walls slamming down. She knew she needed to fix this. Now. She moved quickly, straddling his hips to keep him from immediately getting up and walking out. Marie took his face in her gloved hands and rubbed her thumbs against his cheeks gently. "Hey, hey, look at me," she whispered to him.

He met her soft, dark eyes. His were wary and full of hurt.

"Logan, sugar, I did NOT mean that the way it sounded. I didn't mean don't come. I didn't mean that at all. I meant don't take his charity if you don't want it. I'd never EVER go without you. Not ever." She gave his cheeks one last caress and dropped her hands as he lay back against the pillows. "But I do think going could be good for both of us, you know? And if that place is really as big as Scott says it is, there has to be something you can do to help out." Marie felt him relax under her a little, felt him start to breath a little easier. "Maybe you could teach them some self defense or something." It sounded lame, even to her own ears, but she really wanted to convince him there had to be some way of making it work.

"I ain't teachin' a buncha kids how to fight." His words were decisive, but she could tell he was thinking it over.

Marie's eyes danced. "I wasn't talking about the kids, Logan." She saw the hint of a smile tugging at his mouth. "Come on... you can't tell me the idea of throwing a punch or two at Scott isn't even the tiniest bit tempting?"

"Be hard to limit it to one or two with that dick."

Marie snickered. "See. You are thinking about it."

"Hmph." Hazel eyes snapping, he stared back at her. "I ain't wearin' the leather." He said it like a challenge, daring her to answer him back.

Oh, yes. There was some definite smirking going on now. "Too bad, sugar. I thought the Boy Scout was kinda cute-" Logan's growl cut her off and Marie yelped when he pinched her backside. "Hey!"

Logan chuckled. "Good try, but he ain't your type, baby. He's too tame for you." She was looking pretty pleased with herself until he added, "And he'd letcha run off at the mouth too much."

"Let me? LET me?" She raised her eyebrow at him in a flawless imitation of his trademark gesture. Lord, she adored teasing this man. She wasn't too sure why he let her get away with it, but it was one of her favorite things. 'Logan smiles.' Nothing like them in the world. "And I suppose you don't?"

"Heh. Hell no I don't." He grinned, absently running his palms up and down the tops of her thighs. "You're a powerful girl, Marie. Not just 'cause of what your skin can do, you're powerful in here." He tapped her on the chest between her breasts. "You need a strong man. Someone stronger than you." His teeth flashed playfully. "Someone to keep ya in line."

"Ok, I think about a million feminists just rolled over in their graves."

He snorted. "Let 'em. They've got it ass-backwards anyway."

"Yeah?" Marie always loved hearing his thoughts. For someone who relied so heavily on his instincts, he was a surprisingly deep thinker. And that he wanted to share those thoughts with her always made her feel special, important. Not like a throwaway kid nobody wanted because she was broken. He'd never made her feel broken. Not once.

"Yeah. It ain't macho bullshit, Marie. It's nature. There's a natural order to things. I'm in charge 'cause that's how it's supposedta be, and I'm bigger and stronger 'cause I'm supposedta be that way. It's on me, on my shoulders to be man enough to protect what's mine and to be strong for you when ya need someone to lean on." He squeezed her legs lightly when he sensed she was about to jump in. "Now before you go gettin' all riled up, there's a secret to how this shit works."

"What's that?" It was hard to keep the smile from her face. His expression was so earnest. He'd clearly given this a lot of thought and she wondered how long he'd been waiting for an ok time to bring it up.

"The secret is to be that rock out front bearin' the brunt of the storm, I gotta have a real strong foundation under me. Without that support holdin' me up, the storm'll just roll me around, wearin' me down 'till I'm nothin' but a grain of sand." His teasing bravado from before was gone. He was utterly serious now, speaking right from the heart.

Marie was surprised by his admission and more than a little humbled. Without her, he thought himself nothing but a grain of sand? That was a powerful realization. One that gave her a whole new perspective on the balance of power in their relationship. Marie nodded. "That's how I see you, you know? My rock. Always there. Steady. Solid." She smiled down at him. "And if I didn't trust you to drive this train, I wouldn't be in it, sugar."

"Heh. I like that," both for the amusing analogy, and for the sentiment it expressed.

"Well don't be too smug. Lord knows if I think your driving sucks, I'll tell you."

He chuckled. "See, told ya. One Eye would never be able to handle that mouth."

Marie licked her bottom lip in a way that suddenly had Logan very aware of their respective positions, and she grinned. "So, do you think this train of ours might be heading to Westchester anytime soon?"

"How's tomorrow work for you, darlin'?" The fights were finished. They had plenty of traveling money. He'd have a whole week of driving to get used to the idea of staying at the school for a while. But more importantly, he knew this was something she really wanted to do and he'd never hold her back from that or from her dream of having her degree. That was a part of why she trusted him to drive the train.

"I think tomorrow sounds good." She sighed happily. "I think it sounds really, really good. Thank you," she added softly.

"You bet." As if there'd been any doubt. He'd move heaven and earth if he had to in order to give Marie what she needed.

There was a long stretch of silence while they simply looked at each other. They both seemed to realize at exactly the same moment that Logan's hands had moved from her thighs to her hips and he was no longer touching her absently, but pressing her down against his groin firmly, with purpose. And there was absolutely no mistaking his arousal. A wide, lazy smile touched his mouth as he looked up into her face, locked eyes with her, and slowly dragged her up the length of his erection before pushing her back down again.

Her eyes got very wide. "Oh..."

They'd never done anything like this before. The nature of their intimacy was really quite odd if one thought about it. They'd been naked around each other countless times as the camper didn't exactly lend itself to privacy, and they'd shared the bed right from the very beginning. She knew he wanted her. He made no effort to hide his arousal or the fact he regularly found release lying next to her at night, sometimes with her snuggled right up against his back, cuddling him while he did so. But while she was present for all those things, and even included up to a point, there was a big difference between the passivity of watching and actively pleasuring each other.

Logan's smile widened and he moved her once more. Up, and then slowly down again. This time, his hips rose up under hers, increasing the friction for them both. He was no stranger to women's bodies and he knew what to do to make her feel good. He watched her eyes dilate and heard her soft gasp as her scent changed from nervous and curious to full-blown arousal. It made his mouth water and he could feel a wet spot starting to form at the front of his jeans as his body instinctively readied itself for hers.

He moved her again, enjoying the way her small hands clenched his shoulders tightly as he increased the pressure where they both wanted it. "Feels good, huh, baby." It was not so much a question as an acknowledgement of pleasure.

Marie nodded, looking every bit of her seventeen years and not a day older. Her creamy skin was flushed, partly with arousal and partly with embarrassment. She'd caught her bottom lip in her teeth, unsure of herself, but not wanting to stop. It was new and scary, but she liked the way it felt and she liked knowing she could make him feel good. He was breathing deeper now and his eyes were dark and intense. She'd seen pleasure on his face more than once as he worked to bring himself to release next to her in the camper at night, and she recognized that same look on his face now.

Logan watched the play of emotions across her face. He knew this was new to her. She'd told him she hadn't done much more than hold hands and kiss with her first little boyfriend. While he didn't want to push her, he felt the need to deepen his connection with her on a number of levels before they got to Westchester. Maybe it was a little insecurity on his part, but even the Wolverine's armor had chinks, and at present, the biggest one just happened to be sitting astride his hips smiling shyly at him.

Emotional issues aside, what they were doing also felt incredibly good. Logan was blissfully free of inhibitions and he shamelessly enjoyed the intense physical pleasure her body brought him. Truthfully, he was also taking a great deal of satisfaction from her guileless innocence. She was nothing like the other women he'd been with. She faked nothing with him. She didn't know how. Each blush, each gasp or giggle or smile, they were all real. All of her responses were honest, and at times, wonderfully candid. 'Can you really pee your name in the snow?' 'Is it like that every morning?!' 'Wow, sugar, that looked like it felt really, really good.' 'That's kind of a lot. Does so much come out every time?' 'Come snuggle me up, you smell good and I'm cold.' 'Can I watch you shave?' The list went on and on. He hadn't smiled as much, or been as happy in all the years he could remember.

While she didn't know anything about pleasing a man beyond what she'd read in magazines and seen on TV, she had a natural sensuality he wholeheartedly encouraged, and he very much liked getting to be the man to experience everything with her for the first time. Maybe a part of that had to do with the more animalistic side of his nature, or maybe it had to do with the fact he didn't remember any of his sexual firsts and through her—with her—he got to recapture a bit of his lost self. Logan didn't know and honestly, he didn't really care. All he knew was that being with her felt good, felt right.

He held her hips still, flush against his, knowing her body was telling her to move, but he wanted to make her need so urgent that it would override her inhibitions. She accepted his confinement for the moment, and as he hoped, turned her attention to finding another way to experience what was happening between them. Her hand released his shoulder and slid down his chest to his stomach, but there she stopped the motion and met his eyes, seeking approval.

Logan's large hands continued to keep her still, but he encouraged her with a slow grind of his hips and a smile. "Go ahead, baby. You touch me however you want... Anywhere you want," he added, wanting to be sure she understood his body was hers to explore at her leisure. He didn't think she'd go too far this first time, but it was a lesson he wanted her to learn and learn well. There was no part of him she couldn't or shouldn't touch... and the reverse was also true. He smiled wider and rewarded her with another slow thrust when her hands slid over his chest and arms, feeling the muscles bunched and hard under his clothes. Her hands were everywhere. She touched his face, his neck, his hair. She felt his stomach, giggling a little when she found his bellybutton and caressed the indent with her fingers, all the while watching the play of emotions across his face.

He was a little surprised when she ducked her head, letting her hair hide her face from him as her fingers skated lower. The scent of her embarrassment kicked up a few notches, but her hand didn't hesitate. She stroked his hip first, up and down, first with her fingertips and then with the heel of her palm, slowly moving inward with each pass of her hand until she was just a hair's breadth to the left of where he really wanted her to touch him. She had the rhythm right, although that probably had more do to with the way she watched him in the evenings rather than any inborn knowledge she possessed, but the next pass of her hand didn't bring her any closer. Nor did the one that followed or any of the ones after that. The indirect stimulation was maddening.

"Baby, that's not my-"

"I know." Touching him there was a big jump she wasn't sure she was ready to make just yet. Marie wasn't too sure why sitting astride him, letting his crotch touch hers, albeit through their clothes, was less scary than touching him with her hand, but that's just the way she felt. It didn't make sense, but she felt comfortable enough with him to let him know she wasn't ready for that, and equally comfortable that he wouldn't push her. Still though, she couldn't help but stroke the small wet circle at the front of his jeans with one curious fingertip. His body and its differences had always fascinated her.

With her face still hidden by her hair, Logan settled for watching her touch the evidence of his desire, smiling as the circle got slightly bigger and darker with each pass of her finger. She was very sensual. She withdrew her finger and looked at it curiously before shyly bringing it to her mouth. The inherent sensuality in the simple gesture sent heat spiraling low through his belly. It was unlikely that she'd be able to taste him that way, but that she instinctively wanted to spoke to the kind of lover she would eventually become. Some women never understood that telltale stain of moisture wasn't something he should be ashamed of or embarrassed about or that it was something they should pretend they didn't notice.

Thankfully, Marie had none of that trepidation and seemed to be as curious and uninhibited about her delight in his body as he was about hers. Still, he didn't want to push things too far too fast so he resolved to limit the wandering of his hands, at least for tonight anyway. He was content, for now, to just hold her hips to his and let her explore his body and the rhythms they could find together. Caught up in his thoughts, her soft giggle surprised him.

She lifted her hand from him to tuck her hair behind her ear and when she did, he noticed even though she was smiling, her brow was wrinkled a little. "Sugar, your pants..."

Typical Marie, endearingly candid and ever pragmatic. Logan chuckled, correctly reading the nature of her distressed look. "We'll hit the coin laundry again before we head out, darlin'." He didn't add that if everything went well, she'd probably have a few things of her own that needed to be tossed in along with his jeans.

Aware her penchant for speaking her thoughts aloud didn't necessarily mean she'd switched mental gears, and wanting to move on to something far more intimate than mundane discussions about laundry, Logan put her hands back on his shoulders and once again fit her hips to his. Like before, he held her hips still, but now she wasn't passively letting him do so. He could feel her straining a little against his hold and huffing quietly in frustration. He caressed the hollows of her hipbones with his thumbs, smiling at the way she moved restlessly against him. "Marie, baby? You wanna do a little more now?" He waited until she met his eyes and squeezed her hips for emphasis. "You want me to help you come?"

Her eyes got very wide and she hid her face against his shoulder, but he felt her nod. "Yes." The word was soft and breathy, but full of wonder and more than a little encouragement. "Logan, please..."

His eyes closed briefly against the want in her voice and heat prickled sharply under his arms and at the small of his back. One large hand left her hip and settled heavily on the small of her back, holding her against him as he began to move under her, slow and easy, giving her the friction, the pressure he knew she needed. Anchoring his hands on her hips, he pressed her down harder, grinding up now, not bothering to contain his own grunts of pleasure as they mixed with her soft gasps. She was fighting his hold on her hips now, needing to move. With a thoroughly masculine smile, he let her go and moved his hands to her back, not to guide her movements, but simply because he needed the connection with her that touch afforded him.

"Ohhh..." Their rhythm faltered without his strong hands helping her to move with him, but she slowly took over the cadence he'd started, making it her own, making it what she needed. "Oh, God," she breathed in his ear.

"That's it, baby. Unngh... Fuck, ride me." Whispered words, low and deep and hungry. "You do it just how you need to, baby. Make us feel good—" His words cut off in a growl as she centered herself on him and started a steady grind, beginning to search for release.

"Help me, sugar. I- I don't... I don't-"

"Yes, you do." God, she was so beautiful flushed and straining against him, asking him to help her come. "Just move how your body needs you to." Despite his words, his hands slid back down to her hips. She'd get there eventually, but he wanted this first time, her first orgasm with him this way, to be easy for her, to be sweet and good and everything she needed. "Take your hands off my shoulders and put 'em on the bed, baby," he whispered, taking back a little of the control he'd relinquished, both with his words and with his hands as they settled more solidly on her hips.

She complied, leaning forward to brace her hands on either side of his head. The shift in position brought her body more firmly against his and changed the angle of her hips. She was starting to understand, but it wasn't enough. "Harder... Please... I need-" And then his hands were there, pulling her down into him and he was pushing up against her, not wildly, but strong and steady. Her breath caught on a gasp and he smiled as she froze and then shuddered, keening softly, rhythmically with each rock of her hips as her orgasm rippled outward from her center.

His body was telling him to move, to thrust, but he fought down that urge and held himself still under her while she gasped softly and shook in his arms, working herself against his length a few last times before collapsing against his chest, breathing hard. He could feel her heartbeat as well as hear it, and the soft sounds she was making in her throat made his chest swell with pride.

"Mmmmm..."

"Good one?"

There was a little uncertainty in his voice and Marie understood he wasn't asking if the release had been good as he obviously knew the answer to that question, he was asking if sharing it with him together in this new way had been good. It was sweet that he needed reassurance at times too. Granted, those moments were few and far between; but that he trusted her enough to be so vulnerable with her never ceased to move her.

She sighed contentedly against his chest. "I've never felt this good in my whole life, sugar. Not ever." She pushed up to look at him, warmed by the tenderness, the protectiveness she saw in his eyes. There was heat, too. Heat and want. His body was hard under hers, tense with desire, ready to find his release.

"Never seen you look prettier, baby." He closed his eyes and shuddered before opening them again. "God, you feel good." His hands slid down her thighs and back up to her waist. His jaw clenched as she moved her hips experimentally against his. "Marie-"

Encouraged, she did it again. "Now you, sugar," she crooned in his ear, not quite so shy now in the wake of her own release and its resulting rush of endorphins. "Now you."

He opened his mouth, to tell her what he wasn't sure, but she circled her hips against his and whatever words he was about to utter became a long, low hiss of pleasure.

"Tell me what to do, Logan." Wanting to kiss him, but unable to without a scarf handy, she blew softly in his ear and nuzzled his shoulder. "Tell me how to-"

One large hand left her hips and settled on her nape, protected by the turtleneck she was wearing. "Look at me." Her eyes darted to his, obeying the order without question. His hands came up to pull the silky fall of her hair around them like a dark curtain, blocking out the rest of the world as he started to move under her again. He returned one hand to her neck and the other to her hip as his eyes burned into her. "Don't-" he shuddered, grunting louder now. "Don't look away," he panted through gritted teeth. His eyes, dark and intense, burned into hers while he rocked up under her, harder and faster. "Stay with me." Growling now. "Right with me, baby." He was starting to come apart under her, his urgent rhythm faltering as he drew close to the edge.

They panted together in the dark cocoon of her hair. "Come on, sugar. Come on... Let go." His eyes were wild, his mouth twisted into a blissful snarl of pleasure.

"Unnngh... Fuck!" His fingers tightened on the back of her neck making sure she wouldn't look away. He needed her here, in the moment with him. "Stay with me. Stay—" He pulled her hips down hard and arched up into them, holding himself stock still for one long moment and then he shuddered violently against her as his orgasm roared though him, hard and strong. Wet heat pulsed rhythmically against his skin, slippery and hot under the rough denim.

His eyes never left hers and Marie watched his gaze become unfocused as he passed within, lost in a dark swirl of ecstasy. And she was there, still holding his eyes, when he came back to himself, sweaty and panting.

"Hey there, sugar." Her words were low and quiet. Lover's words. They were lovers now. Glowing faces, sweaty bodies, tangled hair, squeaking bedsprings, heart-slamming lovers. It was a heady, staggering revelation. She had a lover. She was someone's lover in return. The world spun crazily. And something had happened between them just now when they held each other's eyes—something that bonded them together far more deeply than their exchange of physical pleasure.

"God damn," he breathed, hoping his contented smile didn't look half as stupid as it felt because he didn't think he was going to be able to get it off his face any time soon. As a matter of fact, it got a little wider when he saw she was wearing one too. A beautiful, shy, silly smile that looked every bit as good as his felt.

Marie looked away first, lowering her eyes, not submissively, but demurely as she dropped a gentle kiss above his heart and laid her head on his chest, listening as his heart slowed. Logan stroked her sweaty back through her shirt, unable to break even that simple connection with her just yet. Still smiling in satisfaction, he closed his eyes and breathed them in, contented on some basic level by their combined scents. His essence and hers, made more full by their exertions. Sweat and salt, the earthy, musky aroma of sex rising from their heated bodies, and the scent of a couple's satisfaction. It was all he could do to keep from purring out his happiness to her.

"You alright, baby?" He finally asked, still absently stroking her back. She smelled happy, but he wanted to be sure.

"Never better," came her sleepy, amused reply. And then more softly, "I really liked doing that with you."

The damn smile was back. "Me too." It was far from the wildest sex he'd ever had, but it satisfied him on a different level, deeper down. And unlike the transitory physical satisfaction of a quick fuck, this feeling of contentment was bone deep and lasting. "It made me feel real good, Marie. Not- Not just here," he moved his hips, pushing them up at her a little. "Here too," he touched his chest.

Words were always hard for him, especially those kinds of words, but he wanted to deepen their connection on more than just a physical level. "I guess mostly I'm just happy I get to be the man lyin' here with ya." He sighed and pulled her closer. "I'm glad you're my girl, darlin'."

"I'm glad I'm your girl too, sugar." She sighed contentedly and then giggled when her stomach growled.

"Heh." He slid his fingers over her sides, squeezing gently. "Musta been a pretty good one if it worked up an appetite." He gave her an impossibly indecent smile, smugly proclaiming he knew just how good it had been and that he was the reason for it.

Marie giggled harder and swatted his shoulder. "Yeah, I could eat." She rolled off him and scooted up to the headboard, watching him with curious eyes as he looked down at himself and chuckled. She blushed a little when she realized what he was laughing at, but made no move to avert her eyes from the wide, dark stain just below his belt buckle.

Unembarrassed by her perusal, Logan rolled slowly to his feet, enjoying the disheveled sight of her just as much. Her color was still high and she looked very soft. "I got some stuff for us in the truck, but I needta hit the head first." He grabbed a pair of sweats from the pile of clean clothes and headed for the bathroom, still chuckling. He shut the door, but only out of necessity. The bathroom was far too small to maneuver in while the door was open. Marie heard the water in the sink running long enough for it to become warm and a few minutes later, Logan emerged still wearing his t-shirt and flannel, but now barefoot and in sweats. He grabbed his keys off the table and turned to her. "You good?" At Marie's nod, he headed for the door. "Won't be long, darlin'." And with that, he slipped out the door locking it after himself.

Marie shook her head in amusement. Who but Logan would go outside barefoot at this time of year? Granted it was early fall, but it was still cold. She slid from the bed and grabbed her thermals from the laundry pile as she too headed for the bathroom. Inside, she couldn't help but smile at the wet washrag balled up on the edge of the sink. She liked the intimacy of it; of knowing how and why he'd used it and that she was the reason for it. She liked that she needed one too. Her panties felt warm and slippery. She undressed quickly; pulling on the warm, dry clothes before the chill of the air could steal the languid warmth from her body.

Returning to the room, she grabbed the old pillowcase they used as a laundry bag and went back to the bathroom. Stripping Logan's belt from his jeans, she checked the pockets and dug out his lighter before tossing them in the bag along with his socks and her underwear. With a shy smile, she added her jeans too. They were wet on the front where she'd been pressed up against Logan's hips and the crotch was moist. It was a little embarrassing, but kind of nice too, in an 'I'm now part of a couple that does intimate things with each other' kind of way. Rounding up the last of the dirty laundry, Marie tossed the bag on the table and hopped into bed.

A minute later, Logan returned, grinning at her as he came in with a gust of cold air and kicked the door shut with his foot. "Got somethin' for ya, baby." He tossed a package her way.

"Oreos!"

"Heh. Yup. Milk too." Even with her newly acquired healing factor, he knew it was better for her than water or beer.

"Thanks, sugar."

"You bet." He locked the door with his free hand and crossed the room, handing her a quart bottle of milk and setting a six-pack of Molson down on the nightstand for himself before he joined her on the bed. "Milk's all yours, darlin', but the Oreos? Those ya gotta share."

"You like Oreos?" Marie was a little surprised.

He grinned at her. "Hell, darlin', everyone likes Oreos."

She giggled and took one for herself before pushing the package back his way. "Are you a twist off the top and lick the frosting kinda man or what?"

She was twisting the top off her Oreo while she spoke and he nearly bit his tongue in two as he watched her pink tongue come out to lick at the filling while she waited for his answer, staring at him expectantly over the top of her cookie. While her question had been innocent, it fairly begged him to make some kind of sexually charged comeback. He bit back a smile and decided on the less heated of the two responses that had sprung to mind.

While she might have been a little less innocent than she had been before this evening began, he didn't feel he'd taken anything from her so much as he felt they'd shared something incredible with each other, but he also knew that intimacy with a man was something new for her and he didn't want to push things too far too fast. That kind of innuendo could wait until she was ready for it. And to be honest, he was enjoying taking things slowly with Marie. Emotional intimacy was just as new to him as sexual intimacy was to her and just as scary at times. Her naivety wasn't the only thing that stayed his hand. He had his own reasons, and they were just as valid.

Without a single word, he took a cookie from the package. It looked ridiculously small in his large hand. He raised an eyebrow at her, opened his mouth and popped the entire thing inside, smirking at her while he chewed.

Her eyes were wide, but a sexy, full-throated laugh escaped her lips. "Should I be taking notes? 'Cause, you know, I was thinking the whole licking thing had merit, but maybe you're right. Maybe there is something to be said for eating it all up in one bite." And with that, she winked at him, gave her Oreo one last look, smooshed the two sides back together and popped the whole thing in her mouth just the way he had.

Logan choked on his cookie. "Jesus, girl!" He pounded his chest. She was such a rotten little sneak! Her question hadn't been innocent at all. He opened a Molson and took a big swallow, grimacing as the flavors of sweet cookie and bitter beer mixed. He hadn't actually intended to have the beer and the Oreos simultaneously. Still, he couldn't help but chuckle as he looked over at her. Her eyes were dancing and she looked happy—smug, but happy. "Heh. Gonna get you for that, ya know." He winked back at her and took another pull from the beer.

Instead of the snappy comeback he was expecting, her smiled softened as she reached for another Oreo and twisted off the top. "I'm looking forward to it, sugar." Marie sighed happily and lay back down, resting her head on his thigh as she slowly licked the filling from her cookie in a completely non-sexual way and stared thoughtfully at the water-stained ceiling. She sighed again. "You know, I never thought I'd be here—this place in my life I mean. I never pictured myself like this, moving from place to place, following the fight circuit, spending my night in places like the Yellowknife Inn... eating Oreos in bed with a man like you." She smiled for no other reason than because her heart was happy. "And you know what? I wouldn't trade it for the world." Her words were soft and filled with such a quiet peace that they made Logan feel warm all over.

"Yeah?" He wanted to say more, but hearing that had made his chest so tight, that's all he could manage.

"Yeah." She snuggled into him a bit deeper. "I just never thought I'd have this. That I'd have someone like you. You could have anyone. Anyone you wanted. It still seems like a dream that someone like you would even want someone like me. It's hard to believe even when I see myself touching you with my own eyes. Even then it doesn't quite feel real."

"What? Hey. That ain't right. Not at all." He threaded his fingers in her hair, stroking softly. "You. You're everythin'. You're all I want. My life was a cold, dark place before you, baby. You have a beautiful light in you. Warm 'n soft. Bein' with you shines that light in places I didn't even know I had. I'm the lucky one, here." He smiled, surprised she felt that way about him. She thought she was the lucky one? Didn't that beat all.

"Maybe we're both lucky then." She grabbed another cookie and turned it over in her fingers, just looking at it. "We have so much. So much other people don't have. Food, heat, shelter... Oreos..." her teasing voice grew serious once again. "...Love." Marie sighed happily. "Simple pleasures, you know?"

Looking down at the beautiful girl in his bed, Logan couldn't agree more. He had enough money to take care of them, a truck that worked, a comfortable bed, good food, cold beer and a woman he loved to share it all with. He scooted down a little and pulled her close, snuggling her into his side and wrapping his arm around her as he pressed a kiss to her temple and nodded. "Simple pleasures." He sighed contentedly. "Nothin' else in the world like 'em, darlin'. Absolutely nothin'."


Author's note: Next up- Westchester. You know Scott's going to have something to say about all this... ;)