Title: In Limine
Disclaimer: Still not mine. I object!
Feedback: Yes, please! With a motion for summary judgement on top? The good. The bad. The ugly, welcome…
Summary: At the threshold. On a mission for Xavier, a random meeting between the wildest X-Man and a sharp lawyer with a Southern drawl sets fire to the night. W/R AU
Author's notes: I was curious about how things might play out between our resident surly badass if he was a firmly established member of the X-Men when he ran across an adult Marie who'd never known life at Xavier's. It's AU in that respect, but everyone's still mutants with their regular gifts. This Marie never hitched to Canada. She stayed in the deep South and poured herself into law school. Now her tongue's as deadly as her skin. Then again, Logan's never considered it a bad thing for a woman to know how to use her mouth… Heh. And yep, the usual warning applies. This fic is mature in theme and content. (Duh!) You have been warned. And of course, a big thanks to doctorg for the beta. She takes my crazy ramblings and makes them as presentable as they can be, given the content.
Cold wet winter nights like this one were made for drinking. Unfortunately, Logan was doing his in a crowd at an upscale bar in Seattle that catered to the urbane professionals who filled this part of the city like so many ants. This particular night spot was the local watering hole preferred by the contact Xavier had sent him to find, hence his reluctant presence there tonight. The meeting wasn't until tomorrow, but even with his considerable gifts, Logan had never liked going into a situation like this blindly.
The majority of the offices nearby were devoted to insurance companies, with the usual accompanying plethora of legal professionals and a small smattering of financiers from the private sector. Hardly a shake-your-ass-to-a-good-Latin-beat sort of demographic. Probably not even a decent two-step in this crowd. It was the kind of place that served trendy cocktails at twenty bucks a pop and scotch older than most of the people back at the Xavier's school, teachers included.
Tossing back another overpriced drink, Logan looked over the room with a frown. The patrons largely reminded him of seagulls; a cacophony of gray and brown-clad individuals who'd cheerfully peck each other to death given the opportunity. As he ordered another round, the deep gray of his Armani jacket caught his eye and his lips twitched at the irony of it all. Despite the fact that he appeared just another gull in the flock, this wasn't his sort of place or his kind of people.
Or maybe they were? Maybe they too were caught living day to day without really knowing who or what they were.
It wasn't that he was melancholy or bitter so much as disturbed. He was... restless. Unsettled. And that was one place Logan didn't often tread. Since he'd woken up in the snow twenty-five years ago, he'd made a career of keeping himself so busy taking the assignments nobody else wanted that he didn't have time to entertain those kind of thoughts. He worked. Doggedly. Obsessively. He slept too little and fucked too much, rarely allowing himself to feel much of anything at all anymore.
They say some horses run better in a harness, but that had never been true of him. As far back as he could remember, he'd been a loner.
His mood grew blacker. He hated these assignments. He'd rather be sweating in the dirt or crawling through a jungle than wearing a suit in a place like this. Though he hadn't wanted to be there, Logan had become all but inured to these assignments over the years. The last thing he wanted to do tonight was sit around drinking overpriced alcohol and casing the place for possible weaknesses in preparation for the coming meeting, but he wouldn't be alone tomorrow. Xavier always sent them out in teams of two. Nobody healed the way he did. He wasn't going to risk Storm's safety just because he didn't like the prep work associated with these sorts of missions.
But even after he'd finished detailing the strengths and weaknesses of their chosen location, he'd stayed behind long after Storm had called it a night and gone back to her hotel. It had been a long time since he'd indulged himself, and it seemed illogical to turn back now when the summit was but a few drinks away. The clientele was a bit stiff for his tastes but the scotch was excellent, and frankly he couldn't be bothered to slog through the winter night in search of a more amenable place to contemplate the bottom of a glass. Though his outward appearance gave away little, internally he was aware he was fast approaching critical mass... and for once, he just didn't care.
Across the room, a svelte brunette in an austere Dior suit was losing an internal argument. Marie had specifically turned down her girlfriends' invitation to cruise the working class bars tonight - precisely because it had been too long since she'd been to bed with a real man. A thick, meaty man with calluses on his hands, who could go like a freight train and pound her into the mattress as if she were a rag doll; someone whose natural machismo made her feel feminine by comparison. She knew from experience there was little chance of finding such a man in this chi-chi place, hence her presence there tonight. The men here were largely of the intellectual metrosexual variety. Sort of Niles Crane meets Chandler Bing.
Unfortunately, the man occupying the corner barstool was exactly the sort she'd hoped to avoid tonight. He was no limp-wristed pencil pusher with a fake tan and a 'Body by Bally's'. He was the real McCoy, a rare filet mignon in a sea of tofu burgers. His broad shoulders filled his immaculate suit and despite his sharp appearance, there was an unmistakable air of something wild and rugged about him. His hair was thick and unruly and he had heavy muttonchops. The stubble on his neck begged to be licked. In short, he was a wet dream come true. If that man ever rode a desk she'd eat her vintage handbag.
Marie was aware she wasn't the only one looking. He was no doubt responsible for the epidemic of wet panties in the house tonight. He was primal and magnetic, and appeared all the more attractive because he seemed completely oblivious to the effect he was having on the female patrons. Scratch that. A good portion of the men were eying him up as well, but so far none had dared approach him.
At least, he appeared oblivious until their eyes chanced to meet in the Tiffany mirror behind the bar. In an instant, his lazy bored look was replaced with a touch of pleasant surprise and a fiery heat that chased away the lingering chill of the night from her body and left her tingling and shifting against the rising tide of internal flutters. She actually felt her womb contract in response to nothing but the power of his gaze.
It was more than just the possibility of the blatant invitation in his eyes. He was dangerous. A man like him... he would have an interesting story, a history she couldn't ignore, some way of breaching her carefully constructed defenses... and that simply wouldn't do. Her heart wasn't open. Not anymore. Remy had broken that part of her. Carol had finished the job. She was the Rogue now in fact as well as name, touchable yet deadly - in and out of the courtroom.
Now, on the rare occasion she picked up a man, she kept her boundaries clear. A night or two of mutual fun and it was over. The man at the bar was infinitely more lethal because it was clear that behind that enigmatic hazel gaze was a brain even more dangerous than his powerful body.
And still, knowing the risks, she couldn't look away...
Logan was unprepared and a bit surprised by the blast of heat searing his brain and body as he returned the brunette's gaze. The woman whose eye he'd caught certainly wasn't shy. Slightly hesitant perhaps, but there was no mistaking her interest. Or her response. And he wasn't ashamed to admit that it felt damned good.
What was mildly disconcerting was the ferocity of his own response to her. She wasn't a damsel in distress or the sort of unusual eclectic spitfire that was apt to catch and hold his attention. She wasn't on the slutty side, or a redhead, or in need of a hero or any of the other things that usually made him look twice, and yet the chemistry between them was absolutely undeniable.
It certainly wasn't love at first sight. It wasn't even lust. It was something deeper. Some primal attraction, like a primitive switch flipped in his brain. In that instant, he wanted nothing more than to feel her under him, owned and claimed and belonging to him in every way. That was putting too nice a face on it, really. What he wanted most of all was to put his teeth on her neck, shove himself deep inside her and keep her filled until...
He shook that disturbing thought away, blaming the considerable quantity of alcohol he'd had tonight for the vehemence of his reaction to her. Since Mariko's death, he'd deliberately avoided emotional entanglements, preferring instead to indulge only in the physical. Surely it was nothing more than that? A passing interest fueled by booze and enhanced by the roiling turmoil of his emotional landscape. Nothing a night or two of passion wouldn't resolve. And lucky for him the woman in question seemed agreeable to the idea if the look in her eyes was any indication. Suddenly the night wasn't looking like a total waste after all.
Marie was the first to look away... but it wasn't long before they were back to openly eye-fucking each other in the glass behind the bar. So much so that he was glad he was alone. She was seated with a few women, colleagues presumably, and her sudden inattention was obvious - even more so as she made no effort to suppress it in any way. That boded well for him, but one by one they turned to look in his direction, uncomfortable and embarrassed by their companion's total disregard for social convention.
He liked her already.
He liked her even more when she got up and left them without so much as a single word. She was shorter than he'd expected. Not quite as tall as his shoulder, even in those wicked stilettos. Despite her small stature, she looked him right in the eye. A direct challenge. He liked that. She stopped in front of him, a charming mix of confidence and breathlessness. Her eyes were a clear, vivid green and her skin was pale, like cream. Both of which complimented her glossy dark hair. She had two exotic white streaks that framed her pretty face. They were unusual and striking. His fingers twitched with the unconscious desire to touch them.
He put his hand on her without even thinking, squeezing her slender waist in his thick fingers before they came to rest familiarly on the curve of her hip. A claim? Maybe. But the alcohol he'd consumed was certainly in the mix somewhere. He had the urge to bite her neck and barely restrained himself, settling instead for pulling her into the charged space between his spread knees. She smelled divine, like fresh snow, expensive perfume and warm aroused woman.
Marie shivered at the strength inherent in his simple touch and at the nearness of his big imposing body. His eyes were startling; a strange blend of gold and green and she could smell the faint scent of scotch as he breathed slowly in and out while he watched her watch him. His lashes were thick and dark and that seemed incongruous with the danger bleeding from him. His skin was flushed slightly, a sign he'd had more to drink than she previously realized and it suddenly excited her. What would such a man be like without inhibitions? It was a heady thought.
Rubbing a lock of her long shiny hair between his rough fingers, he waited for her to say something. He couldn't seem to keep his hands off of her. Maybe she'd slap him for being so forward. It wouldn't be the first time. He took a chance and rubbed her hair over his lips.
When she spoke, her voice was sweet and soft with a slow honeyed drawl he couldn't place. Texas? Georgia? "Shall we just go now, sugar?"
It wasn't so much a question as it was an affirmation she had correctly read his intent, and he hers. The finger she sensuously trailed down his forearm dispelled any lingering doubt he might have had about exactly where she wanted him to take her. And still, some small part of him was mildly annoyed that she hadn't let this play out in the typical fashion; the usual small talk over drinks, maybe a dance or two and then a subtle hint from him about a nightcap back at his hotel.
The larger part of him, however, was more than willing to accept her forwardness, even embrace it. His manhood was secure enough to let her call the shots, at least at first.
"I gotta car waitin'," he said without hesitation, glad for the first time for the extra layer of security Xavier insisted on for these sorts of missions.
Her response was nonverbal, a low sexy hum in the back of her throat and a slight shift in her body language that suggested deference without submission.
Interesting. Like most predators, he liked a puzzle to unravel.
He followed her out with a hand on her back. Marie was glad for his solid presence behind her. While certainly not a prude by any means, she was also not the sort to fall into bed with just anyone and her response to him frightened her and thrilled her at the same time. She could feel the electricity in his touch, and for once the proprietary gesture didn't rub her the wrong way. In fact, if anything, he was rubbing her in exactly the right way. By the time they reached his waiting car, her knees were weak and his hand was all but shaking as he casually, and with great satisfaction, relinquished the last of his restraint.
The short ride back to the hotel was a blur. The interior of the sedan was dark and womblike, almost oppressive. They were very aware of each other in the close confines of such a small enclosed space. It smelled of leather, of the fresh wet night clinging to their clothes, and of the heady promise of sex.
Aside from his gruff directions to the driver, neither of them spoke and they didn't touch. It was probably for the best. Once he got started, he didn't intend to stop and he preferred not to be arrested for indecent exposure, however tempted he was by the idea of her straddling him on the back seat. His lips twitched. Maybe once he'd burned away some of the crazy fire from his blood, they would have a proper conversation. He wanted to know more about the mystery woman at his side.
Up next: Motion for Continuance. An elevator. A hotel room. A night of uninhibited pleasure... and a wild encounter that isn't at all what either of them expected...