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responding. Thank you VERY much--I appreciate it immensely.
Title: Letting Go
Author: jenn (jenn@...
Codes: Jean, Logan/Jean, movieverse
Series: How Things Change #3. This story follows "What You Leave Behind"
Summary: In which identity is explored and men do manly things.
Author Notes: Pre-read by Andariel, who is now making interesting noises
about the temptations of L/J. Go girl. You know you want to. <g>
Dedication: Eiluned and Minisinoo, without whom I never would have ever
wandered into a new pairing.
Archiving: List archives, anyone who wants it, just let me know where
Disclaimer: They aren't mine. I'm unhappy about this, but accepting until
a wealthy eccentric recluse leaves me everything in their will <read:
never, damn it>.
Feedback: All kinds accepted with powdered cappuccino for microwave use.
There was something about rainy nights that had always appealed to her--a
trace of nostalgia perhaps, from a childhood spent with hot cocoa and
marshmallows by the pink-curtained window of her bedroom, reading Nancy
Drew and checking for hidden panels under the windowseat. Something that
made her feel larger than life, that she alone could solve the mystery of
the yellow lamp or the secret of the hidden stairs (and she had once,
before Nancy Drew did, and still took some pride in that).
On some level, she had to guess her avocation as a doctor was an extension
of that, with every gene she mapped or foreign bacteria she traced through
its evolution in the human body. Perched over a microscope in her lab
coat, trying to solve the Mystery of the Absorbing Skin or the Secret of
Eternal Youth--not so different from Nancy in her calf-length skirts buried
behind a magnifying glass and a bland personality.
Glancing at Logan walking quietly beside her, she had to admit that Nancy
Drew certainly hadn't had such a fascinating field of study. Sliding her
arms through the sleeves of his jacket, she fixed the collar idly, taking a
simple and prosaic pleasure at wearing something that felt so much like
him, letting herself lean into the solid strength of him, warm and damp
"Tired?" The arm around her waist tightened. She couldn't read anything
in his voice except curiosity, realized she'd slowed her steps on the
clean-swept concrete, still wet from the downpour that had trapped them in
the diner for an extra hour. Smiling into the collar of his jacket, she
shook her head slowly.
"Not really." Longingly, she thought of cocoa and marshmallows, wondering
if room service could duplicate her mother's recipe--the secret ingredient
was vanilla powder, added just before serving. She'd left home before
she'd gotten the recipe in writing, however, so it could be she was missing
something else. Rum extract? Exotic sugar? "Did anything happen while I
was at the closing dinner earlier?"
Logan snorted slightly.
"Few protesters wandered around trying to look active." A slight,
dismissive shrug of the shoulder against hers. "No biggie." Even
disgruntled--he'd been itching for a fight, no release to be found in a
five star hotel where the reputation of Dr. Jean Grey had to be kept better
than spotless. Tension radiated from him, almost tangible in the heavy
night air, and she wondered how he was keeping such tight control of
himself. Unlike Scott, he hated the very concept of his public persona,
his standing as an instructor at Xavier's school, a member of the staff
that had to be on-hand for various formal receptions and fund-raisers.
He wanted out so badly she could feel it humming along her nerves with
every movement of his body. Fascinating. Turning slightly, she came to a
stop, feeling his surprise as he paused beside her, hand dropping from her
body. She missed the warmth.
"Where do you go when you're in Chicago?"
One eyebrow quirked, coolly evaluating her, knowing the question she wasn't
"I don't think--"
"Then don't." She paused, feeling something changing with her words, with
the very fact she'd come to a stop in the middle of the sidewalk.
Something that hummed with potential she wanted to explore. She couldn't
remember feeling like this before in her life.
"It won't be what you think, Jean."
She remembered that first touch of his mind, so long ago, the seething,
lightning-quick, primal strands of his thoughts weaving through her, memory
suddenly vivid and bright, living and real. Licking her lips, she
considered the step she was about to take.
Change. Reaching out, she took his hand, pressing the tips of her fingers
between his knuckles, feeling the metal beneath. The fingers tensed
beneath hers and the hazel eyes searched her face, looking for
something--something she knew he'd find this time.
She'd underestimated him. That was true--a kind of true that she'd been
vaguely aware of all of their acquaintance, but never followed up on, not
wanting to re-categorize him when he'd been slotted so neatly in her mind
already. She held the glass of rum and coke with a steady hand and pressed
her palm to the rough surface of the table, grounding herself into the hard
reality of the smokey bar, the noisy patrons, the scrape of chairs, the
screams and shouts and the massive amounts of untapped psychic energy she
reveled in, never having felt anything even close to the sheer level of
emotional violence that was leaking into her consciousness, staining it in
It was as if she'd lived in black and white all her life, right up to this
The power had gone out four times since they walked in and the problem was
solved with the battery-powered lamps set up around the cage and the
movement of the crowd to stock up on alcohol while the getting was good.
In front of her were two empty beer bottles she and Logan had drank while
he asked her silently if this was something she was ready for.
She had absolutely no idea. But she had every intention of finding out.
He was standing on the far end of the cage--his mind completely open to
her, every transient emotion written clearly on the surface in stunning
edges of silver-bright excitement and sharp lines of anticipation. The
shift of his thoughts echoing the shift of his body as he stopped being
Logan, the X-Man, the instructor, her friend, immersing himself in
Wolverine, whose entire body was primed for nothing but action/reaction,
adrenaline waking things in him that fascinated her. Smooth movements, the
ripple of muscle, the traces of sweat from the heat of the airless,
windowless room beading on his bare chest, the hazel eyes that darkened and
narrowed as they took in the room.
This wasn't a thinking man's sport. But then, a thinking man wouldn't last
fifteen seconds in that cage, and she shifted her chair until she was
inches away and could feel the psychic aura of the crowd pulling her in,
their excitement, their need, their impatience to see blood spilled and
watch men fight like animals.
She felt stripped, naked, but forced her caution down, let herself wade in
by inches--into the crowd's desire, Logan's anticipation, his opponent's
harsh pleasure, wanting to feel what they felt, focusing abruptly until she
could feel Logan's body like her own. Into the woman she could so easily
have become, a creature of pure sensation.
The first punch hit his jaw with the force of a sledgehammer, pushing her
abruptly into her own body, raising a hand to the ghost of pain in her
face, flushing with the excitement. Addictive, to feel him move, to feel
his animal-anger as his opponent danced away. Lead them in, make it look
good, make it look more real than it could ever be, because no human male
could stand against Wolverine in the ring and win.
They tried, though, and that was a kind of pleasure too.
Jean pushed her way back in at the next punch, taking it with an empathic
shiver of her body and followed Logan's answering swing, every movement
smooth and precise and controlled--he wasn't using all his skill, not even
close, or the man would be dead. Reaching farther in until she could feel
it all, the way metal-enhanced fists could bury themselves in human flesh,
the strong odor of sweat and fear and excitement, the crowd roaring in
The sheer joy he took from freeing himself, even if it was transient, for
those few moments in the ring, being what he truly was beneath the human
exterior. How much he loved what he did, with every fiber of his being,
rich in satisfaction and need and a thousand variations thereof that worked
their way under her skin and lighted every nerve in her body. Her hands
were clenched into fists on the table as she breathed out with him, echoing
his soft growl deep in her throat, eyes wide and fixed on the double
viewpoint of seeing the fight through bars and seeing their opponent
through Logan's eyes.
Jean stood up almost unconsciously, edging toward the cage, surrounded by
hot bodies as she opened herself to the frantic energy, screaming with them
at the next punch, shocked at herself in some distant corner of her mind,
busily analyzing mob mentality and wondering if a telepath was more or less
vulnerable than a mundane. Clinically charting her own physiological
reactions to the shouts and the bets and the fevered tension and blind
adoration that surrounded her, body and mind.
:::Just let it happen, Red.:::
Smiling when Logan met her eyes, hot and bright and more alive than anyone
she'd ever met, any mind she'd ever touched, any--
--her body reacted when the last punch threw the man into the floor, but
her eyes were locked to Logan's, as the lips parted with a low growl and a
kick before he turned back to the crowd, someone--a woman--pressing a shot
glass through the bars that he downed in a single swallow. Dr. Grey
retreated from consciousness as Jean opened herself completely to
everything around her.
Feeling the burn of his raw whiskey in her stomach, drinking her rum and
coke that wasn't enough and grabbing a shot off a waitress with a
telekinetic pull, throwing it back with a tilt of her head and grabbing the
fence in one hand, leaning into it.
"AGAIN!" The announcer was saying something, challengers were lining up,
and she wondered if they thought they could beat him. God no, they didn't
think that, but they wanted--they wanted to say they'd faced him, they
wanted to say they'd taken what he could give them, they wanted--
She closed her fingers tightly over the wire and freed her soul to the
feeling. Screaming, shouting, Logan's pure joy reverberating through her,
ordering two shots in a voice that didn't sound like her own, wanting to
crawl inside and face those men herself and let them go down under her
hands and her mind. Pulling herself up so their eyes met as the next man
fell, the shot glass in her hand and reaching out. He took it from her
fingers, bending to nip the inside of her wrist before he threw it back and
she shut her eyes to absorb the feeling.
The third opponent was no challenge at all--not enough, not enough, not
*close*, nowhere to release the energy, and when the fourth appeared almost
instantly, Jean held up her money and called her bet, taking her shot with
a twist of her head, unwilling to tear her gaze away from the men inside.
Logan was already moving, and Jean smiled as they began, taking the next
glass from the waitress and watching/feeling the first punch that slashed
across their connection.
Jean stumbled slightly, her grip on the cage holding her upright, rushing
inside Logan to feel it all, see if she was right, and catching his
interest, the first real challenge of the night. The crowd seemed to sense
it too--on the fringes of her mind she explored their reaction, their
instinctive knowledge that they were finally going to watch something
challenging, something *real*, more real than anything they'd seen before.
The second punch was harder, something snapping and Jean tasted blood when
she bit down on her lip from the pressure, then another punch, sending
Logan to the floor in shock. Jean pushed herself back from the fence,
keeping her grip as Logan got to his feet and the men circled each other,
his entire mind sharpening, focusing, removing the last traces of
inhibition and control and Jean tightened her fingers to go with him,
wanting to know everything.
The world condensed into pure sensation--the screams of the crowd, the
heated, sweaty people pressed close around her, a punch to the jaw that
staggered her, almost falling if so many bodies hadn't been forcing her
upright. A kick that should have doubled the man and only seemed to wind
him, another punch that knocked Logan into the fence wall inches away.
Jean's breath left her in a hiss, a growl building in her chest as Logan
caught himself, spinning away when the man attacked, ending with a kick to
the back of the knee to bring him down. Fists lashing out, and Jean felt
the blood trickling down her chin and her throat, forced herself to breathe
through the feel of knuckles on her cheek, on her jaw, darting into her
Logan letting go completely and her voice was hoarse from screaming with
the multitudes around her, her shields completely down, carried into and
through the bloodlust she'd only seen, never *comprehended*, never felt in
every fiber of her body. Wolverine was grinding his opponent into the
ground, and it was a shock like pain when the announcer called the end and
two men rushed in to remove the fallen competitor.
Jean breathed out and blinked, watching them carry the bloody, bruised man
away and Logan was moving to the door. Slowly, so slowly, she worked her
way out of the people, absently grabbing his shirt off the table, pulling
his jacket over her body as he collected his winnings.
Waiting at the table when he pushed her hips against the edge, mouth
closing over hers hard, licking the blood away from her chin and following
its line down her neck, hands locked on her waist, smoothing up her back
then down to her hips, tracing her body possessively. She slid her fingers
over the sweat-slick shoulders, tilting her head up and his mouth was on
hers, tongue stabbing past her teeth, running lightly over hers. Pure lust
radiating through him, through her when she responded, as he explored her
mouth, bit her lip, the scab reopening and traces of iron slicking through
All sharp senses of taste and feel and scent, the connection between them
still open when he bit her shoulder and lifted his head--
:::Not like this.::: Ignoring himself when he pushed a leg between hers,
lifting her onto the table, grinding against her. Jean sucked in a sharp
breath, running her nails down his back.
:::Just like this.::: Let him feel the rush inside her, the need that was
spiraling up from her guts, as she pressed against him, lowering her head
to lick his shoulder, sharp-spicy with the taste of sweat and other men's
blood, his blood, slowly to the warm throat and the hard pounding of his
jugular against her tongue.
A hand buried itself in her hair and jerked her back--startled, she met the
hazel eyes, unable to form a coherent sentence.
"It won't be what you think, baby," he whispered, leaning so close so his
lips touched hers. She didn't care, reaching out with hands and mind,
still feeling the high of adrenaline rushing her system. She wanted the
release he'd gotten in the cage, wanted to fight him and take him, pushing
inside him with her mind the same time he entered her body, snap the
connection into place and never lose this feeling.
"Logan--" she whispered. He had to understand, he had to feel it--she
knew he felt it, he wanted her, it was written along every muscle of his
body, coloring every thought in his mind.
"I'll never let you go. Ever."
His shields snapped down, locking her out completely, shock washing over
her so suddenly she stiffened and his hands left her, grabbing his shirt
from the table beside her and pulling it on. The hazel eyes burned when
they met hers--but he only took her hand and pulled her down, leading her
out under the gazes of the crowd who'd probably wondered if they were going
to do it on the table right then, right there.
Jean realized, as they emerged into full rain that soaked her instantly,
that it was exactly what would have happened.
He wasn't any more relaxed--if anything, the tension was hotter and
stronger and she knew when he dropped her off in her hotel room he'd be
gone again, wandering through Chicago's night life and finding another bar
and another woman--a woman he could have, a woman that could be whatever he
needed and forget in the morning.
"Logan--" No idea what to say, how to broach the idea--no real idea what
she was thinking, what she'd been thinking to do any of this, with power
humming along her nerves and her mind still reaching for his. His hand in
hers was impersonal, keeping her at a distance, utterly unexpected, too
"Let's just get back."
Rain crawled inside the collar of the jacket, trickling down her throat,
wet and chilly, cooling the sweat on her body, cooling the heat of her
Damn this anyway. Jean came to a stop in the middle of the sidewalk and
Logan actually pulled her along two extra steps before she utilized her TK
and brought them both to a halt. The big body turned slowly, hand dropping
from hers, hazel eyes guarded. He wanted to be anywhere from here.
"What are you afraid of?"
He didn't answer, and she saw the rain had cut through his shirt, soaking
it, cooling his skin, washing away the traces of blood on shoulders and
neck. Water drizzling from his hair into his face, and an impatient hand
swiping it away, leaving a trail of bright red that faded almost instantly
on the wet skin.
"Logan, look at me." Hazel eyes cautious, but she read something in them,
something that was still heat and her, and feelings she'd ignored for far
too long. Taking a cautious step toward him--he was so wired she didn't
know if he'd bolt--reaching out until she found his hand, running her
fingers over his, brushing her nails over his palm. Closing her eyes, for
a moment, just a moment--
--she stood at the very edge of everything. Everything she'd seen and felt
that night, everything she'd known and thought she'd known, everything that
was the man in front of her and, more unfamiliar by far, everything that
was Jean Grey.
Raised his hand to her lips, pausing to brush a kiss across the palm,
breathing him in. Jean opened her eyes.
"Don't let me go."
www.wolverineandrogue.com/seperis <--It's back online! Whoo-hoo!
XMMFF List Archivist: www.geocities.com/xmenmoviefanfic
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"...I deserve to be left alone with nothing but dirty movies and my hand to
pleasure me." -- Sabretooth to Toad, in Andariel's unnamed first draft