It was torture, a very specific kind of torture that Logan enjoyed indulging in far more than he should. If he was smart, if he was sane, he would avoid the situation altogether. He sure as hell wouldn't seek it out, wouldn't come here knowing what he was in for. There was absolutely no reason he should be here, sitting and watching temptation incarnate. She was of age, and since he was her combat instructor and teammate he knew she could handle any trouble that came her way, especially in a sparsely populated bar where all of the X-Men were known and welcome, at least by sight. Sure, a couple of years ago the eye he kept on her was protective, but it had been a while since he watched her for that reason.

As she sauntered around the pool table, considering the moves she might make, he let himself look his fill. Recently she had taken it into her head that leather pants were the best thing in the world, topped with tank tops that barely skimmed her waistline. He wasn't complaining. The black and green combo she was wearing drew every eye in the bar, but especially his. As her pacing turned her back to him and she leaned over to take her shot, his eyes dropped to the round ass she unknowingly presented to him. Just above the black leather waistband he noticed the dark lines and bold colors, yellow, green and blue, of the month-old tattoo she'd insisted on getting almost the minute she was sure her control over her mutation would hold. He knew it was a butterfly, but he could only see part of it. From the way the lines flowed, the upper wings spread up her back while the lower must cover both ass cheeks. Man, what he would give to see all of it…all of iher/i. He forced himself to wrench both his eyes and his mind from her body, more successful in the former than the latter.

Logan turned to the bartender, an older man whose gray hair and slight beer belly were as familiar to him as his students. He made a gesture, and Marty abandoned the glasses he was cleaning to come right over.

"Two Southampton Double Whites, Marty," Logan grunted at him.

Marty raised silver eyebrows over faded blue eyes and grinned shrewdly. "You making a move finally?" he asked as he drew two bottles of Logan's newest favorite beer out of the cooler. He handed them both to Logan.

Logan growled. "Not likely. She's too good for someone like me."

Marty shook his head and then tipped it towards a group of five guys sitting halfway across the room. He said, "If you don't, there're plenty of others who will. After all, a guy can try, right?" They were watching Rogue like hungry hawks, and Logan scowled at them, wondering how they would look spitted on his claws. He caught himself, shook his head, and stalked over to Rogue.

"Beer?" he asked when she looked up, a welcoming smile in her dark eyes.

"Sure. Thanks, sugar. This is Andy. He doesn't think a girl can beat him," Rogue said as she laid aside her cue and took the beer, indicating the sandy-haired young man standing on the other side of the table, glaring as he tried to puff up his thin chest. Logan nodded to him anyway and leaned onto the pool table next to Rogue.

"You stripes or solids, Rogue?" he asked, looking over the current game. There were many more solids still in play than striped balls.

She grinned. "Stripes. Goes with the hair, y'know?" A quick flick of her wrist and the bottle cap popped off.

Logan couldn't help himself. He reached out, wrapped a strand of pure white around a finger, tugged gently, and then let go. Her smile widened even more, and she took a sip of the beer in that strange dainty way she had. When she pressed the bottle to her lips, Logan almost lost it right then and there. Lust hit him in the gut and made him growl, hopefully low enough that she didn't notice it while preoccupied in the enjoyment of her beer. With a nod to Andy and a squeeze of Rogue's shoulder that at least let him touch her soft skin for a couple of seconds, he made his way back over to the bar. As he left he heard Andy ask, "You know that guy?"

"Ah work with him," was her casual reply, no hint of regret that there wasn't anything more between them in her voice.

"Shame. You coulda had her eating out of the palm of your hand," Marty commented. He shut up when Logan glowered fiercely at him and growled menacingly. Being an old acquaintance, Marty knew when to back down. He went back to cleaning the immaculate glasses.

Logan watched Rogue set her bottle onto a small side table, tuck her hair behind her ear and then bend over again to take her next shot. This time he was able to get a full profile look at her, and he couldn't help admiring the lean muscles outlined by leather, the graceful lines of her arms as she set her shot, the determined set of her jaw. She always took pool so seriously. The guy she was playing had no idea what he had gotten himself into.

He kept an eye on Rogue as she played. Whenever she took a drink of her beer, he had to force away mental images of what else she could be moving those lips against. By the time the game and the beer were both finished, Logan was squirming on his stool. He watched Rogue wave away Andy's offer to get her another drink. She smoothly moved between tables, headed toward the bar. The same five guys were still watching her, and one grabbed her hand as she walked by. Logan was close enough to hear him say, "Hey, honey, why don't you join us?"

Rogue laughed and tugged at her hand. "No thanks," she said. "Ah'm gonna go sit with my friend over there." She pointed at Logan, who glared at the guy who still held onto her hand, either his ego or his slightly drunken state ignoring her attempts to disengage him.

"But sweetie, what do you want with a guy like that? I could show you a better time than he could," the jackass bragged, trying to draw her closer.

There was no warning. One second he was holding her hand; the next, his head was pushed against the wooden table, and she leaned down to whisper into his ear. Logan was still able to hear her say, "You ain't showing me a thing, buddy, and my friend is worth ten of you any day. As for showing me a good time, he can please a woman from sundown to sunup and have her still begging for more, so Ah wouldn't go making claims you won't be able to prove."

Logan's eyebrow shot up as she lifted the poor guy's head by his hair, slammed it back to the table, and left his friends staring after her in mixed fear and anger. They were muttering to themselves even as she stalked through the remaining tables so that she ended up standing beside him.

"You want to head out now, Rogue? I don't like the look of those guys," Marty said before either of them could say anything. They turned to look at the five who glared back.

"Yeah, Ah'll go. I don't want to wreck your pretty bar, Marty," Rogue said, looking around ironically at the worn furnishing.

"I'll go with you," Logan said, throwing a twenty on the bar. He stared down the men she had left behind, letting them see the challenge in his eyes even as he put a hand on the small of her back to push her forward.

Rogue shot him a look. "You don't have to, you know," she said, pride and stubbornness radiating in the tenseness of her body beneath his hand. She moved forward so that he lost contact.

Logan shook his head. "I know. Let's go."

Unsurprisingly, they had both ridden their bikes to the bar. Besides Scott, they were the only X-Men who really enjoyed that mode of travel. Rogue's bike had been his present to her for her twentieth birthday over a year ago. It was green and sleek, with chrome that he often caught her polishing. Before she could hop on, he stopped her with a hand on her arm.

"Sunset to sunup, huh?" he teased her, although he couldn't help feeling a certain predatory satisfaction that she said it.

Rogue rolled her eyes. "Ah've got you in my head, Logan. Ah know what you're capable of," she said, and she didn't even blush. Maybe it was just the dim lights of the parking lot, but he could have sworn that the little smile she quirked at him was smug.

"You so sure about that, darlin'?" he asked. He couldn't resist stepping closer just to see if she would back down.

She didn't. Instead, she tilted her head to the side, her hair swinging against his hand on her arm and feeling softer than silk. "Well, you could always try to prove me wrong," she flirted back, taking her own step towards him.

Logan's gaze dropped to her mouth. It was so tempting, but he shouldn't. He knew he shouldn't. "If we started this, there'd be no going back, Rogue," he warned her softly. It was up to her. He guessed it always had been. Part of him wanted her to back down, to push him away, laugh, and say that she wasn't that crazy. The other part of him wanted that part to take a long walk off a short pier while he enjoyed himself.

She nodded slowly, and he watched her own eyes rest on his mouth for what seemed like hours but was really less than a minute. Finally she shook her head.

"You're right," she said, and Logan felt as if something inside of him was dying. He hadn't realized her rejection would hit him so hard. He looked away, dropped his hand, and stepped back.

Rogue surprised him by stepping forward suddenly. She pressed her mouth against his, quick and firm, and then pulled back just enough to say, "But who says Ah'll want to go back, sugar?"

Relief flooded him, and he brought his arms up, wrapped them around her. "I'll do my best to keep you occupied from sundown to sunup so you won't," he promised, leaning down to deepen the kiss she had started.

A noise startled them apart-the door slammed behind them. The five guys she had pissed off rushed towards them.

"Fight or leave?" Logan asked quickly. For once he didn't care about the answer.

Rogue gave him a smoldering look and said, "Ah have better ways to get a few bruises. Let's go."

Logan flashed her a grin and jumped on his bike. He pealed out of the parking lot just before the drunks got to them, Rogue right behind him. They both hit the special buttons installed on their bikes that sent them into overdrive, equally ready to get to the rest of their night.