Title: Custom Cannot Stale
Author: Sarah T. (harriet_spy@...
Notes: Feedback, positive or negative, welcome at the address
above. Please do not archive without permission.
They had not been able to relax until they had put an ocean and
several countries between them and the wrath of the U.S.
government and Charles. Their choices for a retreat were slim;
there weren't many places Erik hadn't confessed to Stryker. The
little wooden cabin in godforsaken Montenegro was one--such a
paltry thing that his subconscious must not have even dignified it
with the designation of "base" during questioning. They'd had to
hike half of the way. But they'd gotten there. He had built a fire in
front of the ancient, lumpy couch, and Mystique had sent the boy
off to explore, and they were alone.
Erik watched as she spread the local goat cheese over the local
coarse bread, took a bite, and grinned with her even white teeth.
He couldn't help but smile back. She wasn't particular. That had
never mattered. He might be an aesthete, but he was a survivor,
too, and he shared with her in full measure the appreciation of
bread and cheese, a fire and a reasonably soft place to sit.
He leaned forward to pour them some wine. Again, local, but it
would do. He'd been allowed nothing alcoholic in prison--the
sheer *prudery* of an administration willing to kidnap
schoolchildren but refusing to authorize money for a simple
glass of wine would never cease to make him laugh. At least,
until he remembered the one drug that they *hadn't* had any
pangs of conscience over. He hastily passed her a glass.
"Have I told you how very clever your plan to rescue me was?"
She had already almost finished the bread. "Yes, but don't let
that stop you from telling me again."
"Truly. Remarkably imaginative. Some people might have
settled for simply impersonating the man, but you..."
"Stryker was too paranoid. My way was less risky. Besides..."
"You knew I'd enjoy it."
"Locked up, studied, *drugged*..."
Her normally flat voice had an undercurrent of husky feeling to it.
"Oh, yes, my dear. I really can't thank you properly."
She drank off the wine in one draft. He did the same, watching
the line of her fine throat, letting the appreciation of it elevate the
mediocre red to something almost extraordinary. "I think you
She straddled him in one swift movement, and it was almost too
much for him right there. Two years was a *very* long time to be
confined to steadily paling fantasies. He bit her throat and ran
his hands up her arms, reveling in the way the exquisite
softness of blue skin turned into the cool dry slickness of the
The first time they'd been together, she'd stopped him before
they'd even begun. "One thing. If this is a pose, you can leave
He'd been honestly baffled. "A pose?"
"The great mutant liberator, with a mutant who can't pass."
"Don't you know how beautiful you are?"
She'd tossed her head. "Of course I do. And I won't waste my
time with anyone who doesn't."
He could have told her then, that to have the cool,
self-possessed stalk of the supermodel when one *was* a
supermodel was nothing, but to have it when one's skin was
blue and scaly was *transcendent*, but he already knew that
Mystique was a practical woman, and he'd told her with touch
instead. It hadn't changed, nothing had changed, as she rode
him, warm and wet and exactly tight enough for him, hands
scratching at his back, mewling with raw sensual pleasure. The
only new thing was a sudden, strange desire, that he could
change for her delight as she did for him. "Lovely woman," he
whispered, and knew he was slipping into other, older
languages, and didn't care. "So lovely."
As he climaxed, it was hard enough to have been a bolt of his
native power through him. He jerked his hand down to her, for
just the most minute touch of that power, and she was done, too.
She allowed herself to settle down around him, with him still
inside her. "Erik..." she murmured in his ear, on a long,
shuddering sigh. "I've missed you."
"You've had other lovers," he said, teasingly.
He kissed her shoulder. "Robert Kelly wasn't chaste."
He could feel her tense. "I wasn't thinking of those."
And he'd known she hadn't been, of course. Still. "I'm sorry to
have to subject you to such tedium."
A jerk of her head, and those yellow eyes were meeting his.
"You're talking in the present tense."
"Yes. A U.S. senator is far too valuable an asset to give up."
She slid away from him backward, her flesh flowing in that
inhumanly graceful way, but her scales fluttering. "You want me
to go back. And be *that*."
"For now, yes."
She held herself still for a moment, not looking at him. He
waited for her. He knew better than to upset her complex shifts
towards dignity. When she looked up, she was different.
Smooth again. "A U.S. senator can't be seen with a male lover."
He moved closer, touching her cheek with the backs of his
fingers. "Then we'll simply have to arrange for some vacations
She laughed, throaty and gorgeous. "Come here."
He came, but protested, "My dear...I *am* an older man..."
She put her arms around him. "After two years? I think we can
manage it somehow."
And they did, of course. She slept afterwards, the sleep of
someone who had not had true rest for a very long time. He
stroked her hair and promised himself that she would be
rewarded. He would give her a world in which such beauty
would never have to hide itself again.