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FIC: No Guarantees: PG-13: Jean, Logan/Jean

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  • Jenn
    Title: No Guarantees Author: jenn (jenn@igg-tx.net) Codes: Jean, Logan/Jean, movieverse Rating: PG-13 Series: How Things Change #4 (follows What We Leave
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 16, 2001
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      Title: No Guarantees
      Author: jenn (jenn@...)
      Codes: Jean, Logan/Jean, movieverse
      Rating: PG-13
      Series: How Things Change #4 (follows "What We Leave Behind",
      "Projections", and "Letting Go".)
      Summary: In which it is late and people aren't sleeping.
      Author Notes: Thanks to Eiluned for the beta--sorry this took so long, it
      just seemed off and it still does, but it also seemed finished. You're a
      sweetie to volunteer. To Andariel for the encouragement.
      Archiving: Take if you want it, just inform me where it's going.
      Disclaimer: I don't own them. So very much understood.
      Feedback: Bencheley Apricot tea with feedback cheerfully accepted.

      *****

      It was a dark and stormy night--without the storm. And not so dark when
      Jean got downstairs, the moon spilling through the large windows and
      coloring the kitchen silvery white and strangely eerie.

      It was a midnight refrigerator raid--not exactly the most refined she'd
      ever been in her life, flannel pajama bottoms faded from years of use, the
      t-shirt stained from a few too many early-morning cups of coffee when
      insomnia got the better of her and drove her downstairs so Scott could
      sleep. Feet bare and her hair twisted haphazardly away from her face with
      a pencil she'd grabbed from the desk when the fine-motor coordination
      required to get into her new bathroom drawers eluded her.

      No, not refined at all.

      These days, her bed was empty, so she could certainly feel free to toss and
      turn to her heart's content with no one the wiser. Habit, however, was
      stronger than her new freedom, and she looked speculatively at the
      cappuccino maker seated temptingly on top of the refrigerator and forced
      herself to walk away.

      God, though, a chocolate latte would be good right now.

      She shook herself, thinking of the remainder of the cigarettes she'd shoved
      into her pajama pocket before leaving her room and the lighter in the
      kitchen drawer to her left. Relaxation outside meditation had never been
      her strong point, and tonight, for some reason, her exercises refused to
      take hold--her mind was running too fast and too hot with too many emotions
      and too many conflicting thoughts that she could barely define, much less
      explain to her own satisfaction.

      She fingered the cigarettes again, running the tip of a recently manicured
      nail lightly up the length of one before resolutely jerking her hand from
      her pocket. Probably not a good idea--it'd been years since she'd been a
      serious smoker. Not for Jean Grey the casual utilization of nicotine at
      stressful moments--oh no, even in her vices, she'd been an overachiever,
      and graduate school had seen her up to a pack and a half a day, coffee by
      the gallon, and a blending of days into nights into weekends where she
      couldn't clearly define the date unless there was a paper due.

      Scott had brought her Thai food and hid her books until she went to sleep.
      The edge of pain that accompanied the memory wasn't unexpected, and she
      half-turned, almost expecting him to be leaning into the doorway with that
      patient smile that told her she hadn't fooled him any by slipping out.

      But Scott wasn't at the door and that decided her--she rummaged through the
      pantry, finding the box of instant cappuccino and pulling out two packages,
      taking it to the microwave and going on a hunt for a decent size mug. A
      telekinetic push brought it harmlessly to her hand from the highest shelf,
      and she filled it with water before programming the microwave and standing
      back to light her cigarette.

      And she'd been the one to institute the no-smoking rule in the
      house--stressful days when she'd been quitting and stale smoke was enough
      to send her looking for a cigarette and some privacy. Irony.

      As the microwave rang, Jean began to reach for the door, then paused,
      stepping back and blinking before focusing her strength, smiling a little
      in sheer wonder as the door swung open and her cup levitated itself up and
      over--trembling a little when she split her concentration to shut the
      microwave door, frowning as she brought it back down to rest neatly--if a
      little messily--on the counter.

      Not bad. She'd conditioned herself for so long to control her powers, when
      she could use them and when she couldn't--it was strangely free to feel it
      all now.

      A flicker of her hand pulled a drawer open and the spoon hurled itself
      roofward--Jean laughed, covering her mouth quickly, and brought it to a
      stop, letting it rest midair before it clattered with a decided lack of
      grace onto the counter. The slightest trace of a headache formed just
      behind her eyes, but Jean Grey ignored it as one packet danced into the
      air--

      --and she knew she just didn't have the fine-mental coordination to try and
      tear paper with a thought. And hell if she wanted to spend any part of the
      night cleaning up the remains of powdered mix from the counter and floor.

      She snatched it out of midair, carefully pouring it in and tossing it
      behind her, visualizing the trash can. Listening carefully, she heard it
      hit the wall, then slide slowly down until she freed her control and it
      plunked neatly on the floor. Damn. But her smile lingered when she dumped
      the second package and picked up her spoon, stirring the instacappuccino
      into double strength, double sweet, double caffeinated perfection and
      lifted it carefully in one hand as she approached the door, a mental nudge
      pushing it open and allowing her to emerge.

      Walking back toward the stairs, she glanced toward the rec room and
      realized she wasn't the only one who was having trouble sleeping.

      Friday nights were the deadest nights on campus. Anyone with sense or a
      social life made a run for New York to lose themselves in whatever
      amusements were to be found for mutant kids who pretended to be normal for
      one night a week. She could hardly blame them for that, even if she did
      know Remy wasn't exactly pursing the most legal avenues open to him and St.
      John would probably find something that was just begging to be charred.
      There was always the off-chance a call would come in and Xavier's money
      would have to smooth the problems of a rebellious night. An adult was
      always awake and on-call just for just such an emergency.

      She just didn't expect it to be this one tonight.

      Logan was sprawled on the couch, in grey sweat pants and a hastily donned
      t-shirt that had obviously seen better days--not looking particularly happy
      with the world, but Jean could count on one hand the number of times Logan
      had been in a genuinely good mood. A small pyramid of neatly placed beer
      cans rested by one foot and he was absently drinking another without any
      real enjoyment--probably because all they had was American in the house and
      Logan's tastes ran to the very dark and very heavy.

      The briefest debate before she made her decision and approached the door.
      She had barely stepped a foot into the thick rec room carpet before Logan
      sat up, looking at her without a trace of surprise.

      Sneaking up on someone with his senses was beyond an exercise in futility.

      "Insomnia?" he asked, and she nodded slowly.

      "What are you doing up?" Because it was endlessly strange to see him
      wandering around here when he could be anywhere else--a bar, a fight, a
      hunt, something that would let him release energy and tension, let him
      return that much calmer and that much more relaxed, ready to face another
      day of adolescents and Scott.

      A scowl before he swung his legs over the side of the couch and leaned
      forward, elbows rested on his knees to give the television a long glare, as
      if it were to blame for all the troubles of mutantkind. Her mind picked up
      vague images of Scott giving the order, and sometimes she wondered why it
      was Scott always tended to choose exactly the wrong way to handle Logan.
      Of all the X-Men, Logan was the closest thing to a free agent they had, and
      pissed off, he could and would leave without notice. It was something the
      Professor understood very well, but the fact that Scott hadn't yet worked
      this out for himself was something that still left Jean a little bemused.

      "Curfew duty." He shrugged slightly, leaning back into the couch. "Sit do
      wn, Red. No good game tonight."

      Jean glanced at the basketball game on the television as she gingerly took
      the seat beside him, automatically curling her bare feet up under her,
      feeling the heat of Logan's body only inches away.

      There was a long stretch of silence while Jean watched a man in green shoot
      a basket and then, for some indefinable reason, the referee whistled.
      She'd never been very into sports--frankly, she'd never had the free time
      to cultivate an interest. Beside her, she felt Logan's focus on her, no
      matter where the hazel eyes were fixed, and tried to decide what to do
      about it--or if she should do anything at all.

      He hadn't pushed her since they got back, and she found that more unnerving
      than anything else. She wished he had, that he'd asked her, demanded
      answers of her, walked into her lab, shut the door, and forced her to make
      a choice.

      Scratch that--made her confirm her choice in the rational, clear light of
      day when she wasn't high on adrenaline and the rush of psychic energy. She
      should have known from the beginning Logan would never accept her
      compromised. It was always all or nothing.

      Slowly, she turned her head to look at him--

      --and it was the same dizzy feeling as standing in the rain, sensing so
      much waiting at the tips of her fingers if she reached. How this could be
      different, could be possible, could be probable, could be inevitable in
      ways she'd never explored before. It was change, and Jean wasn't used to
      wanting change.

      She certainly wasn't used to seeking it out, a yearning she'd never known
      existed that made her reach for something that didn't come with a warranty
      and a lifetime guarantee. But then--she'd found out recently that she
      didn't have a guarantee at anything. Even the heart of the first man she'd
      ever loved.

      Lightly, she placed her bare hand on Logan's knee.

      The muscles beneath her fingers tensed, and there was an endless moment
      where she thought he'd ignore it, chalk it up to whatever he'd rationalized
      Chicago into--but he simply turned his head, clear hazel eyes searching her
      face, hiding nothing. He didn't ask her a single question, but she felt
      him slowly open his mind to her, and reached out, letting his thoughts
      slide through hers, laced with trepidation and regret and hot, burning need
      that would have scared her, could have scared her, should have scared her,
      except she was jumping and dear God, she hoped he'd catch her.

      No guarantees.

      Bracing her hand, she leaned forward, until her mouth was inches from his,
      studying his face carefully, mind open to hesitation, to uncertainty, to
      any hint of rejection--and found nothing. Licked her dry lips nervously,
      feeling his eyes follow, before she slowly closed the space between them
      and brushed a tentative kiss across his lips.

      It changed everything.

      A hand rested lightly on her shoulder, fingering the lengths of hair that
      had escaped her twist, then up the side of her throat, pausing on the pulse
      point before gently cupping her face, tilting her head slightly but making
      no move to deepen the kiss. She drew in a shaky breath, meeting the clear
      hazel eyes, feeling the warmth in them, before he drew her close again and
      kissed her--a brush harder, a tongue slipping out to trace the curve of her
      lips before withdrawing and she wanted to follow it, taking in the taste of
      him again. Raising herself on awkwardly on her knees, she ran her fingers
      across the thick sideburns, up into the dark hair, over his temples,
      tracing the lines of his face when she kissed him again.

      She'd never kissed another man in the years she was with Scott, had
      forgotten so much. It was the kiss, the taste, the touch that lit
      everything up inside her--she wanted to memorize it, everything about it.
      The heat of his skin under her mouth and fingers, the texture of his hair,
      the musky, light scent of aftershave and cigar and whiskey, the clean smell
      of soap, the warm touch of his thoughts winding through hers. Pure Logan
      in every conflicting part--the animal in the cage, the combat instructor in
      the gym, the X-Man on a mission, the bodyguard who chased her through the
      Chicago slums. The man who pushed her against a filthy table and marked
      her body with his hands and the man who stepped back and waited patiently
      while she made a choice--

      --no, while she accepted her choice.

      His free hand curved around her back and pulled her across his lap, and
      Jean settled her legs on either side of him when he laced his fingers
      through her hair and his tongue slipped between her lips, tracing her
      teeth. She drew in another shaky breath and felt his tongue bump into
      hers, startlingly electric, erotic in a way that defied clear description,
      setting a low warmth burning in the pit of her stomach from nothing but his
      hands on her face and his tongue in her mouth.

      Her fingers dug into his shoulders, pressing her body to his, her body
      aligning itself over his perfectly, rocking into him almost without thought
      as a hand dropped to her shoulder, running gently over her throat, slowing
      as he reached her breast, cupping it through her shirt and squeezing
      softly, drawing out a gasp from her that he swallowed as he deepened the
      kiss, tongue circling hers, wiping everything from her mind but the feel
      and taste and scent of him all around her.

      Then he pulled back, mouth against her temple, and the muscles under her
      back were trembling while he brought himself back under control--thumbs
      lightly rubbing soft circles into her cheeks until she opened her eyes.

      The hazel eyes burned with something that wasn't lust, wasn't want--far
      more than she'd expected, than she knew what to do with. Knew only that
      she liked it, wanted to see it more often, see that gentle half-smile that
      she'd put there, she, Jean Grey.

      She couldn't remember in her life anyone who looked at her like Logan did.
      And she liked that too.

      "Jean--"

      If she'd been a betting woman, she never would have guessed Logan was the
      type to want to talk about it. Leaning back, she felt his hands drop to
      her waist and covered them with hers, searching his face.

      "Just say yes."

      Another pause, before the dark head tilted.

      "Jeanie." A pause, then a sigh, and the hands tightened on her waist.
      "It's--"

      "It's not rebound. I wouldn't do that to you or to myself." At least in
      this, she could be absolutely, unshakably certain. One guarantee.

      His shields jumped so suddenly she blinked, a little disoriented, but the
      flares she sensed weren't so much hostile as--fear? Maybe. And telepath
      she might be, but she could read people for shit and tended toward always
      choosing exactly the wrong response. She paused, trying to guess what he
      needed to hear.

      "Three weeks." His voice was low.

      Jean nodded.

      "Three weeks, three months, three years. It's not a matter of time, Logan.
      I'm not--" she wasn't the type to take out her trauma on other people.
      Being a telepath, she couldn't afford it, couldn't escape it when she
      screwed up. Taking a breath, she frowned, wondering how to explain it, or
      if she even could.

      "You don't have to explain."

      God, he was giving her a way out, and she let him draw her down to his
      shoulder, resting against his solid warmth beneath her, as his hands rubbed
      soothing lines up and down her back.

      "I can't promise--" she stopped, biting her lip. "But--" Damn, this was
      harder than she'd thought and it was so hard without feeling his mind--it
      was groping through the dark and she hated the feeling that she was missing
      something important.

      For the longest time, silence, and she lay perfectly still, listening to
      the rhythm of his heart under her ear, letting her hand rest on his
      shoulder, waiting for him to work this out to his own satisfaction, how
      much he could trust her, how much he could trust himself. Then--

      "Dinner tomorrow?"

      Jean blinked and lifted her head. The playful smile almost blinded her,
      and his eyebrow raised a little at her open-mouthed shock.

      "You want a date?"

      A shrug and his hand came up, knuckles brushing over the skin of her jaw
      with aching tenderness, down her throat. She tried to tune out the
      pleasant sensations, concentrating on what he'd just proposed, which just
      didn't seem very--er--Loganish.

      "Food, whatever." Another shrug, the slightest hint of embarrassment
      coloring his shields and she couldn't stop a grin. She leaned forward, a
      chaste kiss against his mouth that it took everything in her to pull away
      from.

      "All right," she answered, and lowered her head back to his shoulder,
      closing her eyes.

      The End.

      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
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      "...I deserve to be left alone with nothing but dirty movies and my hand to
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      oh-so-tippable *bovine*? -- Caroline during an Angel discussion
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