FIC: Viscosity: Into the Light (1/1) L/R NC-17
- Title: Into the Light
Author: Sare Liz, teknovamp@...
Series: Viscosity; after Seven Towers, before Burning Incense
Disclaimer: Belongs to others.
Archive: if you have standing permission, you may archive it. If
you do not, please contact me. teknovamp.com
Author's Notes: This was inspired by the selfsame picture from DeeJay
as the other Viscosity stories, the one where it seems like Logan is
worshiping Marie, as well as an incarnation of U2, this time a cover
done (by whom I don't know) of One, which reminds me a little of what
my Logan used to be like, before I rejoined civilization. The title
is from the lyrics of 'One': It's too late tonight to drag the past
out into the light. We're one, but we're not the same. We get to
carry each other.
Dedication: To Jenn, who had wanted to see this for so very long and
encouraged me so viscerally to write it. For you, chica. Sexo
Liquido, porque es un necesidad para la vida, no?
It's all about touch. It was always about touch. Rogue and touch
don't seem to go together, if you'd ask anyone in the place but no
one really asks about Marie and touch. Me and Marie and touch and
there couldn't be any better thing I could think of, than me and
Marie and touch. It's like everything else, if you really think about
it. Most people could go an entire day and not touch anyone and never
think a damn thing about it. Some people go weeks without a single
brush. Maybe some little part of them might miss it, deep down, but
maybe not. It's when you know you can't have it, when you know it's
been completely and utterly revoked from you that it suddenly becomes
an issue. Then it's not about touch anymore, really, because in the
average day, no body really gets touched anyway, it's becomes about
proximity and that's a bunch of bullshit, if you ask me. Proximity
is just the potential for touch and I guess they figure that if they
shouldn't touch they shouldn't have the potential to do it, and that
does make a certain amount of sense if you're figuring like a cold
Interestingly enough I've been called one of those. Maybe the only
person around here to claim that, I don't know, but there you are and
even a cold hearted bastard wouldn't do that to her. Then again, it's
damn hard not to see the situation from exactly the place I'm seeing
it and I sure haven't been acting like a bastard lately, at least not
to her. All I want to do is touch her.
I crave her proximity. I know that's what set me apart so early on.
It wasn't really what little past we shared, though that was
something remarkable, sure, but other shit had happened, shit I
missed out on, shit other people were around for, so all that wasn't
as important as it maybe could have been if everything had been a
little different. It was the fact that no matter what I was doing, no
matter what she as doing, if we were doing it within sight of each
other, we were usually doing it within reach of each other. Scared
the fuck out of her little friends at first, I remember, but they got
used to it. Maybe it got them a little used to the concept of Rogue
and proximity, but I wouldn't push it.
I think it's the proximity that gets her the most, or at least, when
my lips hover over her throat, so barely close to touching her, in
such close proximity, when she feels my breath over her flesh, the
caress I cannot give, she shivers in a way I can't reproduce
otherwise and I've tried. It's only when I give her what everyone
else is afraid of - actual human proximity - that she melts and
whimpers just so.
I heard once, one of her little boys say I got off on it. Now, what I
don't understand is this: I've got Marie in my arms. What else on
earth do I need to get off with? I've got *Marie* in my arms. Do I
really need anything else? I would say no. Apparently though, some
think that there's got to be something else that keeps me, besides
just wanting to be with her. It's kind of insulting when you think
about it. I don't get a rush when I think that it could be dangerous
because the only one it's dangerous for is Marie. The last thing she
needs in her head is me, *again*. Life and death situations are one
thing, sex is another. I'm not going to risk her sanity and sense of
self just for sex. And how could I get a rush off of Marie getting
hurt? I'm not that kind of cold blooded bastard, thanks. But I do
have control and if an honest accident happens, we'll both live, and
live happily and well and it'll be worth it to give this to her, this
utter closeness. This thing she wants more than anything else.
I can never decide which is really my favorite. Marie just says
that's my excuse for trying everything as often as we do, but it's
the truth and I think she knows it. She knows from past experience
that I know what I like. I do, it's the kind of person I am. I find
out something I like and I stick to it because sometimes constant
change is a good thing, and sometimes you need a hiatus from it and
you just need a little bit of self-created status quo. She knows I
like to find the favorite, and she knows I like to stick to it, but I
can't with her and I'm not sure I'll ever really be able to. It makes
me wonder if the hiatus is over, but seeing as the thought isn't a
haunting one, maybe it *is* time. Time for change.
Maybe I'll start with Marie. Maybe I haven't found a favorite because
I haven't been creative enough. Maybe there are no favorites. Maybe
favorites don't matter, because I'm with Marie and that's what
matters. Somehow, that last one sounds about right.
And it's a thought that leads to branching out and branching out is
good. I wonder what we could do with latex. I wonder if Jeannie knows
a place we could get some interesting outer wear.
And it's kind of like the thought of Marie in leather pants, though
through latex she'd be able to feel more. There's a certain sex
factor to leather though, and maybe that's just a created image
that's thrown at us, but it's damn powerful and who am I to argue
with what works? The way her teeth held her bottom lip the first time
I slit a pair of leather pants she was wearing was among the most
priceless things I've ever witnessed.
She just laid on my bed, her hair all mussed from me running gloved
hands through it, her stomach clenched, curling her body so she could
see. I had one hand running hotly from her bent knee to the outside
of her completely delicious thigh and I stayed like that, massaging
her hip and rubbing my knuckles into her still covered core. And I
know she knew what I was going to do and the anticipation was getting
to her. It was getting harder for her to take full breaths, harder
for her to just lean back and enjoy the interactive show.
I don't know why they did it for her, but for whatever her reasons,
she really liked the claws, and I'm so much more than willing to
accommodate her. It made her heart race to hear them slide out and
if it was quick it was a shock and I could see it in her eyes but if
it was slow, drawn out I could hear her heart slowly begin to beat
faster as her breathing became harsher. I don't know what she thinks
about at times like that but I know it isn't about getting hurt. She
knows I never would, but I wonder what, then. I should ask, at some
Didn't just then, of course. Don't want to look a gift horse in the
mouth. You say 'thank you mister gift horse, now get lost' because
you're about to make your baby come seven ways from Sunday and you
don't need an audience for that.
And I let the claws slide out slowly and just a few inches and yea,
my wrist was locked but it was that or julienne my mattress,
something I had no intention of doing. I was very absorbed in
kneading Marie's thigh, something I could do for extended periods of
time so long as the mattress stayed in one piece.
She moaned and her hand gently touched mine, one fingertip at a time
always lightly tracing over my knuckles, the flat of my claws, the
back of my hand, my frozen wrist and it was a moan of need, of pure
desire. Those fingertips curled around my wrist and pulled me up,
briefly intertwining with my fingers, long enough for her to breath
out her request, that the claws come out completely, and I knew it
was coming so the instant it was out of her mouth I snapped them out
and she gasped. She gasped and she arched and ground her self into
my other hand and gasped again, except it was my name this time and
it was a beautiful thing, to hear my name wrenched from her lips when
she's so close to coming.
She guided my hand to her breast then, my bare hand to her covered
breast and I took her gift and let my claws point at her rounded
shoulder but I couldn't resist her pull. I shifted my weight and
nuzzled into her stomach and it was all there, all over again like
new, being close to her, breathing in her smell through her thin
cotton tee shirt. I've never wanted her more than times like that,
when I just wish I could absorb her into myself.
And I wondered, sometimes, how it would be like to have her in my
head, what she would do, what she would say to all the things that go
on that I can never really put to words, but there is so much more
than words between us, so maybe it wouldn't be such a great shock for
her, being in me. But how would it feel to have her there, so close,
so near to every part of who I am inside. She would be able to touch
me then, in ways nobody really thinks about, not normally anyway.
Sometimes I think she sees it, though. I think she sees it in how I
watch her, in how I touch her, in how I can't get enough of just
being near to her so that even though she's not in my head and I'm
not in hers we still have something a little different, a little more.
And maybe it's just young love. That's what Scott said when he found
me gathering the longnecks and cold friend chicken. He smirked at my
attempt at a picnic and commented on the sweetness of it all. I
didn't have anything to say to him because it *was* damn sweet - she
was sweet, the lunch would be sweet, and with her drunk and giggling
and me feeding her fried chicken, we'd be sweet together. Go get
your camera, Scott.
And it was just as sweet as it could have been until the moment she
looked into my eyes with such a relative level of seriousness that I
paused and had to readjust my thinking because we'd just changed from
a Kodak Moment to a Polaroid Amateur Night and we were only a little
way off from everyone else, only barely out of sight in the trees and
I couldn't have cared less because we were close then but she wanted
me closer and who am I to argue with my
And I can't put a name to it, to her, to what she means to me. She's
a friend, a lover, a companion of all sorts, the keeper of my sanity
and my rage but I can't seem to quantify that, to couch it in ways
others easily understand. To say that I love her isn't enough and to
say more is too cliched and usually glossed over. It leaves me
completely unable to explain to others how much she means to me but
luckily enough the ones that matter caught on quickly enough.
I sometimes wonder if it matters to her, though. I wouldn't insult
her by grouping her with her age because she's so much more than just
the set of years that marked her time, but there is something to be
said about fitting in and being accepted and I know that it was
something once important to her, though things are different now and
normal isn't a part of it. And you would think that nothing would be
normal at that school that seems to occur around us but despite its
obvious understanding of certain things it is surprisingly demanding
and the social life that occurs is just like any other, or so I
gather. Even mutants have a standard for normal, and she still
wasn't it. Accepted by the team, she didn't quite fit in there
either and to see the looks of some of them - any of them - she
didn't fit right with me either, but that's where she fits the best,
On my bed that night with my right claws out as I kneaded her breast,
my face buried in her stomach and rising, my other hand firmly
embedded between her leather clad thighs, I was determined to show
her exactly how well we fit together. Literally.
Her hand was gripping my bicep, grasping at my forearm, sliding down
to caress the nine inches of metal from between my knuckles and then
back again to hold my hand against her, as if I had some better place
to be. I didn't and I was out to prove it I think. I moved up and
nuzzled right between her breasts, a place I could happily call home
if there was any question at all and she moaned again, this time
happily, contentedly with none of her former urgency. Now I like
urgency, don't get me wrong, but you can only be urgent for so many
years and then you need a little bit of contentment to fall back on
and maybe more than just a little. Maybe you need a lifetime's
worth, and now is the time to start building it.
I shifted a little then, loosely straddling her leg so I could move
up more and not do a mood crashing rendition of crushing her and I
let my hand slowly come up her hip, her stomach to her other breast
because I had plans, plans that involved my lips where my hands were
so everything had to shift. Carefully my hand went through her hair,
smoothing it down, deftly avoiding getting some caught and thus cut
by my claws and her own arm came up and pulled my lips to her ear.
I told her I loved her and it felt so good, so full, like if I did it
a hundred more times it would only get better with each telling, and
then a hundred more onto that and it would still somehow be better.
She told me she couldn't live without me.
There are several things I'm fairly certain anyone likes to hear from
the object of their affection, and I'm damn certain that's one of
them. It's things like that, completely unexpected bounties that
strike the hardest and though you'd think I would be prepared for all
sorts of things along that line, I hadn't been and it started as an
audible sigh as I breathed, a humming, sighing vocalization of the
perfect contentment I'd been building with her, finally released.
I could feel her hands clench on me, on my shoulders, on my back and
her entire body stilled for a moment, reminding me of how wonderfully
squirmy she can be, as she asked me with amazement in her voice, if I
As I couldn't possibly be, though I was too damn preoccupied to
really argue, I just stopped dead too, stopped everything I was
doing, and tried to stop everything I was feeling.
At which point I realized I was purring.
I also realized that I couldn't just stop feeling so I might as well
not just stop doing so I whispered back to her that it was only
something I could ever do for her, or at least I was fairly certain
about that as it had never happened before that I could remember, and
I resumed my caress and she resumed her beautifully contented moans.
I moved my head down to her breasts again because in all honesty
there are few places on her body I enjoy as much -- her neck,
uncovered, her clit, too covered, her lips, been there, done that,
going back real soon but not just yet. I bit gently on hardened nub
and through the cotton it was just the perfect pressure for her
because I didn't want her coming, not yet. We'd done all of this
before in stolen moments on the lawn, against the pool table, after
double overtime, in her room right up to and sometimes beyond when
her occasionally oblivious friends came in for whatever reason. She
always wore scarves and they always were so convenient and I'd
managed to bring her off a dozen times between the first time and the
*first* time, on my bed that night, but that time it was in my hands
and I wanted us to come together, or reasonably close and I wanted to
be inside her when it happened.
One more way I'm dying to be near her.
When she was ready, so beautiful and ready, my hand slipped down
again and my knuckles brushed against the leather, the tiny sliver of
adamantium neatly slicing open a slit letting my fingers probe gently
in, caressing gasps from between her lips as my fingertips slid along
her labia to circle her clit, now blissfully uncovered, or reasonably
And she complained then, that both of us shouldn't have our clothes
on and she started tugging at my shirt. She whined when my claws
snapped in as the sleeves drew across my hands but sighed in happy
relief when I let the set out again. I rolled over on my back and
silently dared her to finish. She did, telling me all the while that
I'd ruined her new leather pants, disclaiming any rebuke present with
the little grin she wore.
I had to ask her what in hell she thought I'd bought them for. She
giggled then, and tugged my jeans down and never did answer the
I looked at her then, and just drank in the sight of her in the tight
white little tee shirt that said 'mutant' in red rhinestones across
the front, the wine red opera gloves, the leather pants that were
about to be broken in, as she sat back on her heels, on my calves. I
murmured that it would hurt less if she were on top, and that it
would feel better, too.
She blushed, just the tiniest bit and I wasn't sure she was still
capable of blushing with me but I suppose she was, though when she
asked for the condoms the look wasn't embarrassment or shyness, just
I always think I'm ready when she touches me, when she wraps her
fingers around me and squeezes, when she puts the condom on with her
lips and cheats with her tongue, but I never am, and that time was no
different, though it was. It was so different.
They say the anticipation of death is worse than death itself and
while that may or may not bet true, there is a certain merit inherent
in the statement. So it is with Marie. Knowing that I was
imminently close to being inside of her, physically being where I'd
been only psychically before, that I was the first who'd been this
close to her, who'd even dreamed about fulfilling this proximity,
*her* first, made my previous raging need for her a palpable thing
that grew from the base of my spine to the pit of my stomach to what
felt like the most central part of myself and it just rested there,
trembling, growing, becoming something more. It grew with my
breathing, the wanting her, the needing her until I needed her more
than the next breath though I stayed as I was, only with my hands
encouraging her to do what she wanted, and eventually, what I wanted
She called my name and it surprised me, so concentrated on
distracting myself to just breathe that I didn't even notice her
staring, though her hands kept moving on me.
She wanted to know why I was growling.
I was so far beyond argument, beyond understanding it myself that I
gave her the most direct answer my mind could come up with, no
dancing around the subject or coating it in other things.
"I need to be inside you, baby. Deep. Deep inside you." I think I
was shaking. I know I was still growling.
And I gasped because just like that she placed me against her
entrance, rubbing the head just a little, up and down, up and down,
small strokes, small strokes, smaller strokes, oh --
Oh, fuck. Fuck it was good. Just like that and I knew what heaven
was like because she was so slick and perfect and tight and I hated
condoms but I was so beyond even realizing I had one on that it
didn't make any difference. I was in and out, in and out, so
shallow, still not breaking her barrier and she was just teasing me
now, having fun with the fact that she could giggle and I was still
growling. Since two could play I grabbed her hips and snapped the
other set out, ready to ride out her tremors but completely
unprepared for her to sink all the way down on me, right to the root
and cry out my name and I knew I'd lied to myself before because
that, right there, as deep into her as I could be and just holding it
there - *that* was heaven. No doubt in my mind.
She shuddered over me, a full body tremble and I gingerly pulled her
down to me and held her as she buried her face in the pillow beside
me. I knew it wasn't pain because its not always painful and some
women don't even feel it, but it was still there because she was
still shaking and now, as close as we'd been with me inside her, that
was when she needed me most of all, I think.
One hand stroking her lower back and one smoothing her hair when I
asked her how she was doing, my girl, my baby, my Marie. Her breath
was shaky as she turned her lips towards my ear and with her fist
curled up by my shoulder she just breathed - it was so aligned, so
intimate that I throbbed inside of her and her breath caught by my
ear and she involuntarily clenched and, oh fuck. I groaned because
she was so tight and perfect and it was just the two of us creating
this incredible haven inside each other, only for the other and when
her muscles clenched around me, grasping me and swallowing me down it
was everything I'd ever needed, right there, inside of her.
She asked softly, timidly, whispering it into my ear, if I could feel
It wasn't that it occurred to me through a fog, that she didn't know
how much she affected me because my every sense, my every thought at
that moment revolved around one single solitary thing - Marie. I
took it no easier, however because how could she not know? How could
she not understand how much it meant to me? What's more, how could I
make her understand? To that end I didn't try, I just did.
I told her, as my hand moved over the curve of her hip, as I pulled
her tight, leather-clad ass closer and heard her whimper for it, that
I couldn't feel anything *but* her.
She stammered in a whisper that she wasn't naked, and how I might
like it better if she were naked and she had the temerity to actually
Clearly, she'd gotten derailed at some point.
Since there was no pain, only confusion I moved both hands and slid
the claws back in right before I grabbed her ass and thrust up and
into her, hard. She gasped and her head snapped back and she arched
nearly off me.
I asked her to look at me but she refused, so I demanded.
"Look at me, dammit."
The biggest, darkest, most tumultuous brown eyes stared at me and I
couldn't read them but to realize there was a storm coming.
"I love you, baby," I whispered to her, always remaining still inside
of her even as she pushed herself off my chest and pushed me even
further inside of her.
"But, I " She looked down at herself, at her clothes and she was
close to crying.
"You're so sexy, baby." I had to show her somehow and I didn't know
how but my hands were already moving, trying to touch all of her.
Underneath her shirt, pushing it up, up over her ribs, beautiful,
delectable, gorgeous ribs, ribs that were normally so ticklish but
now just made her moan to be touched.
"So beautiful, Marie. So beautiful." Up, up just above her breasts
that fit so perfectly in my hands and I still had her eyes with mine
as I held her and brushed my thumbs over her hard, jutting little
"Can't you see how perfect you are to me?'
Her eyes closed and her head lolled back as she moaned my name and
clenched around me again and I think she started to understand. I
pulled her little white tee shirt back in place and smoothed it down
her back, across the tiny curve of her stomach, molding it to the
perfection of her breasts. It was about then that I did the most
practical application of a sit-up ever performed by man and latched
my mouth around one of those perfect breasts. She gasped and her
breasts heaved beneath my hands and my mouth, my mouth that was
making some serious progress on one of two wet patches of her shirt,
and her arms wrapped around me, holding me to her securely.
She moaned my name again and I nuzzled in-between her breasts, the
rhinestones hitting my nose.
Nose still buried between her breasts, I told her how much I loved
her and when I looked up it was into her eyes to tell her how badly I
"I love you so much, Logan. I want to give you everything."
Her hand cupped my face and I could see it in her eyes, how deeply
she meant it, as deeply as I did. And I grinned, because I loved her
completely and it wasn't something to be worried about, it was
something to be celebrated and celebrate it we would.
"Then ride me, Marie," I said, pushing myself into her the little
that I could from the position I was in. "I know you want to, I know
you need me as badly as I need you."
And words have power, names have power, they must because every time
she says my name, every time she breaths out 'Logan', possession for
her seethes out of my skin like a drug. I want to fold her up and
keep her safe inside of me. I want to hide her behind me and keep
her a secret so no one will ever take her away from me. I want to
fuck her, to secure her to me, I want to mark her as mine so she'll
never leave and no one will ever take her. Whenever she breaths my
name, I want *her* and I want her so badly I can't think.
She rocked on my hips tentatively as I went back to my sucking and
kneading that I'd neglected.
"Oh, Logan," she moaned, "I do want you. I do." And she rocked,
setting up her gentle rhythm as she sighed and held me close to her.
She rocked on in a silence filled only by my now incessant growling
as I suckled and punctuated at first sparsely but with growing
frequency, her chant, a litany of my name.
I suckled all the harder.
She didn't speed up, but her climax took her all the same, sneaking
up on her and taking her by surprise, wrenching an indistinct cry
from her lips as she ground herself down, clenching wildly, tightly,
irresistibly around me.
"Come on, baby, come for me," I coaxed because she was so
breathtaking when she came and for the first time I was within her
as she writhed out her waves of pleasure and the spectacle of her
beauty was compounded upon itself until I couldn't be silent, not in
the face of it.
"Beautiful. So beautiful."
She was shaking now, gasping and she wrapped her arms tighter around
me and I around her and I rocked her down from her high.
She whimpered and clung bonelessly to me so I eased us down and swept
her hair across my chest just before she collapsed on me, murmuring
that I hadn't come, and why hadn't I come?
And I thrust my answer inside of her more deeply and she gasped with
new life and ground down on me. Amazement and shock danced through
her eyes as she panted.
"Again?" she gasped out right before rolling her hips and making me
snarl at the depth of her, the renewed feeling of slick tightness
"Again." My voice was low and gravelly and that's just the way it
was because I'd been growling softly but when I'd thrust and she'd
arched I'd gotten louder - a hell of a lot louder - and I hadn't
stopped to speak, I'd just shaped the growl into a word because I
wanted her even more now than a moment ago.
"Hard, baby," I growled, thrusting into the shuddering hips I held
above me. "I want it hard, baby."
"Hard," she said, as if the word was washing over her, seeping into
her skin and making her feel something completely different,
completely new. She rocked on me, the hips I held, with increasing
strength. "Like this?" she asked, slamming against me with almost a
rough intensity and holding it there.
"Yea, baby, just like that." My hands kept her close to me as she
looked up and into my eyes. "Ride me, hard as you can. Don't stop
She leaned in slightly and braced her hands on my shoulders and began
rocking against me, but hard this time, so deliciously hard and fast
that with each breath the growling turned into snarling because it
was so good, so good, so good and she couldn't stop moaning my name.
"Logan, please," she cried out as she straightened up and I slipped
naturally just a little deeper.
"Deeper, Logan," she moaned. "I need it harder. Help me go harder."
The first time I thrust up into her as she rocked down on me she
cried out, then cried out my name but I didn't stop and neither did
"Claws, Logan. Please. Oh, baby, please."
I thrust six more times into her, popping one each time, feeling her
grip on my arms tighten as her grip on my cock tightened.
"Lemme see, Logan. I have to see," and she pulled my hands off her
and held them in her own, sliding her fingers to the sides of the
blades and the tension grew in our arms as in the rest of our
bodies. We rocked like that, hard, together, in complete unison of
thought and feeling. She filled herself with my hardness again and
again, shuddering from it and clenching around me as she time and
time again pulled away, leaving me barren and bereft, alternately
breeding heaven and loosing it. She teased me with the loss of her
perfection but I couldn't blame her because she teased herself too,
pulling back and seeing how long she could stay just at the top until
she couldn't anymore, until the craving, the need was too great for
her to bear and she'd have to slam me back into her, desperately
pushing and straining to go as far as our bodies would allow and
because it was never enough, pulling back just slightly and trying
again and again and again and again.
I wanted to come inside of her so badly, I wanted to mark her despite
the condom somehow but mostly I needed to come inside her and I
needed her to come, too. I could feel it building.
I didn't want it to be over, but it was coming and that was only the
beginning of our first real night together, the beginning of a long
string of nights together, sometimes just holding and being held,
wrapped up in whatever was convenient because after the first night I
couldn't sleep without her. My bed felt empty. My arms felt empty.
*I* felt empty and I lasted two hours. Two hours of wakefulness and
wondering only briefly why, before I padded silently down the hall to
the room she shared with her friends and I never thought then, that
it was the beginning of something more, me coming to her then, I
could only think that I needed her and maybe she needed me. I stood
at the foot of her bed just entranced to watch her sleep because she
was beautiful and I couldn't disturb her but I couldn't sleep and not
sleeping in her room was better than insomnia in mine. Her movements
were slight at first, her eyes darting behind her lids, her breathing
a little irregular, her heart a little quick, but I soon realized it
wasn't a dream, it was a nightmare. I sat on the edge of her bed and
leaned down to her, gently holding her shoulders if she should wake,
and whispering in her ear that it was alright, that I was there, that
she could wake up now.
She did wake, that night, with questioning eyes but I couldn't muster
anything better than a simple 'couldn't sleep'. Maybe it was because
of her nightmare, but she seemed to understand and since that first
night when she came around me, her hands clutching mine, moments
before my release, I just couldn't seem to sleep without knowing she
was there. It wasn't enough that she was safe in the room down the
hall, tucked into her bed because all I seemed to want to do was
crawl into that bed with her, a mistake I only made once, waking up
to the yellow wonder's nonstop litany of reasons I shouldn't be
I seemed to have only two choices at night - sleep with Marie tucked
snugly at your side, or don't even bother trying. All in all, it
could have been worse.