Fic: Liar's Poker: 1/1: R: L/R
- Title: Liar's Poker
Author: Victoria P. [victoria_p@...]
Summary: "She opens her arms and he falls into them, falls into her. She
is the ocean that will drown him, pulling him down with her love and her
Disclaimer: All X-Men characters belong to Marvel and Fox; this piece of
fan-written fiction intends no infringement on any copyrights.
Archive: Lists, Muse's Fool.
Feedback: All kinds accepted.
Notes: Thanks to Jen, Pete/Melissa, Dot, and Meg. And thanks to DD for
the beta and the encouragement.
He never should have touched her that last time, but seeing her in pain
hurts him, causes him pain in ways his own wounds never do.
He woke in the med lab to her eyes, shining with love and desire for
He left that afternoon.
When he came back the next time, he stayed for a month before his need
for her became overwhelming and he had to leave before he acted on it.
He's been back for three weeks this time, and he's already ready to
He can't take it.
He sees her watching him, knows that she knows, now, what he wants to do
with her. And he's closer to breaking down and giving in than he's ever
He keeps his face neutral, ignores her at dinner, but he should have
known that wouldn't faze her.
She has a natural optimism, a belief in people that even extra doses of
his cynicism can't quell. She believes in him, and that hurts, because
he believes he's done nothing to earn it. She reminds him that he saved
her life, but he knows that was necessary only because he put her at
risk in the first place.
He goes out and finds other women, but all he can see is that they are
*not her*, and his need goes unmet, his desire unslaked, no matter how
often he couples with nameless women in dingy motel rooms and back
alleys behind dive bars in the city.
It makes him weak, and he hates his weakness. He hates himself, because
he cannot hate her. It would be so much easier if he could hate her,
make her hate him. Take the weight of her expectations and shirk it from
his shoulders, loose the yoke in which she has him bound.
He is out at a bar, another night of trying to hide from the truth, when
it hits him. There's one blonde on his lap, another with her tongue in
his ear, when he realizes he has to leave again, because neither of them
smell -- move -- sound like her, and he can't take it anymore.
Fighting, drinking, driving fast -- these no longer give him the
pleasure they once did. Everything is tainted, filtered through the lens
of his need for her.
His determination holds until he stumbles into his room. Her scent is in
the air, but he tells himself it's his imagination, that desire is
clouding his senses.
But she's there.
In his bed.
She wakes at his entrance, sits up and blinks slowly, the soft scent of
sleep, sweat and Marie wafting over him, seducing him. Her hair falls in
gentle waves over silk-covered breasts, and he closes his eyes, clenches
"Logan?" Her voice, husky with sleep, glides over his sensitive ears
He swallows hard.
"What are you doing here?" His voice is hoarse, tight with suppressed
longing and all the words he'll never say.
She shrugs and he feels his body tighten in response to the way her
breasts move with the motion. "I missed you."
"I'm here now."
She pats the spot next to her with a gloved hand. "Come to bed, Logan."
He is frozen in place. All his wishes, dreams, desires are laid before
him, his for the taking. And she wants to be taken, wants to take him,
hold him inside the honeyed cage of her body.
To her, it's love, and love conquers all. She doesn't see that he's
soiled and in need of redemption; she somehow manages to want him as he
is, rather than as he could be, and that's new for him. He believes she
can redeem him, on the rare occasions he believes he can be redeemed. He
wants to believe so badly sometimes.
And tonight, he does.
He stands upon the blade of a knife, thin and sharp and double-sided as
one of his claws, and far more capable of cutting out his heart.
And as easily as that, she has him.
He moves forward purposefully; once the decision is made, once he's
allowed himself to have what he wants, he won't waver, he won't regret.
All that will come tomorrow.
"We're not going to be sleeping." He forces the words out, his voice
still rough and strange. It is the last out he will give her.
Her smile is pure and wicked, knowing and innocent all at once, a
woman's smile for her lover. "I know."
She opens her arms and he falls into them, falls into her. She is the
ocean that will drown him, pulling him down with her love and her hope.
His hands are already moving over her, impatient, the consummation of
which he's dreamed suddenly real soft flesh over taut muscle, warm and
pliant under his hands.
"God, Marie." A whispered prayer as he lays her back, rubs his face
against her silk-covered breasts, the slight curve of her belly, her
strong thighs. She touches him, and there's no hesitation in her at all.
She doesn't know, she *can't* know that this is wrong, that he will be
punished for it, that she will hate him in the end.
He pushes those thoughts away. He also knows that this was inevitable.
From the first time their eyes slid away from each other in the bar,
this moment has been looming, shadowing their every interaction. He
fought it for as long as he could, but he has no strength left to fight
He covers himself in her scent, breathing her in and knowing he will
never forget this, as long as he lives, and even after he's died, the
scent of vanilla and sweat and Marie --
"God, Logan!" she echoes his words as his hands find the heat between
her legs. She burns him even through the thin cotton of her panties, and
it's enough -- he can forget that this is wrong, that he can't touch
her, that he *shouldn't* touch her, when the evidence of her desire is
He breathes against her already peaked nipples. "Let me--" he begs, a
supplicant worshipping at her altar, this goddess of love and hope and
salvation, more real and merciful than any goddess he's ever heard of.
She smiles again, eyes dark with desire, and fire rushes in his veins
because he makes her look that way, he makes her body twist with want,
makes her lips form his name. He suckles at one full breast, then the
other, and she arches into him, panting. Her wordless cries of pleasure,
the feel of her fingers clutching his shoulders, spur him on. He
convinces himself he does it for her.
"For you, baby, all for you," he murmurs, eyes feasting on her
reactions -- she is wanton and free, and she is his, and he, hers, for
all that he'll try to deny it later.
She comes hard against his hand, her head thrashing against the pillows,
her body arched and curved like a violin, her voice making music that
only he has ever heard.
While she is still shuddering, gasping for breath, he pushes her knees
wide. She meets his eyes boldly -- no fear now, just desire and joy in
her gaze, in her scent, in her body -- and smiles again. She unzips his
jeans, and he draws a long, shuddering breath as her silk-clad thumb
flicks over him.
He fumbles in the drawer for a condom, aware that his desire to feel
her, skin-on-skin, will be the death of him. Yet he considers it for a
moment, selfishly. The foil packet is in his hand, then the condom is
on -- later, he will remember this in flashes, wondering how he got from
point A to point B, but for now, he feels nothing but the blinding need
to slide into her warmth.
Pushing aside the material of her panties, counting on his jeans to
protect him, he sheathes himself in her in one long stroke. Her eyes go
wide, her body tenses, and he realizes that this is her first time, and
he's already screwed it up.
He stills, buries his face in the crook of her neck, and whispers, "It's
okay, baby. It's going to be okay."
"Promise?" she asks, but this time, he can't give her the words. He
pulls out and slides into her again slowly, letting her feel every inch
of him. The words form unbidden in his mind, though he swears he will
never speak them. 'With my body, I thee worship.'
She is silk and velvet to his adamantium and flesh, and she grips him
tightly, matching his rhythm. She bares her throat to him, and he nips
at it, the flutter of her pulse attracting his attention. His lips brush
her skin for a second -- once, twice, three times -- and he's found the
secret to touching her. Butterfly kisses on deadly gossamer skin.
He's working almost solely on instinct now. His body knows this is
right, and won't let his mind get in the way. It begins low in his
belly, the slow, spiral build of release, uncurling like a snake. The
only time he can leave his body behind and be free. His hips piston into
hers; his elbows bear his weight as his hands tangle in her hair, and he
raises her face so her eyes meet his.
He doesn't speak when he comes. He growls low, and she tightens her
muscles around him, pulling him in deeper. He never wants to leave. He
wants to fall into her completely, body and soul, and he knows that she
is the one woman capable of taking all of him in.
He's floating back down to earth, the world making itself known to him
again when she convulses around him, her hand finishing the job he
He takes that hand, brings it to his mouth and licks each silk-clad
finger slowly, memorizing her taste, the flavor of their love, salty and
real and inevitable.
She licks her lips and he again risks the danger of losing himself in
her by brushing his mouth over her cheek, her nose, her lips, quickly
and carefully. He knows that in all the ways that matter, he is already
lost. She owns him more completely than ever, and he begins to hate
himself for giving in when he knows it's wrong.
He has never been a cuddler, never spent the night sleeping with a woman
in his bed, but he gathers her to his chest as she drifts off, content.
When she rolls over, he's already gone.
She stretches, feeling the soreness between her legs, luxuriating in it,
knowing that he's bound to her even more closely now.
She understands his fear, his ambivalence, the way honor and desire war
within him. She is sure that love -- his love for her -- will overcome
all the obstacles he places in their way.
He's touched her and she knows him.
The first time, she initiated the contact, an attempt to save her life
using his healing power. She learned his fears and hopes, his desire to
die, transmuted at the moment of her touch, into the desire to live.
The second time is a rush of white light -- his love, pure and
blinding -- his willingness to sacrifice himself for her. Other people
talk about death as a white light. For Rogue, the light of the machine
was death, yes, but the light of Logan's love is what brought her back.
To others, the white streaks in her hair are reminders of failure, pain,
loss. To Rogue, they are a symbol of the dazzling flare of love Logan
poured into her, a visible reminder of how much he really cares.
The third time... She shivers in delight whenever she thinks of it. The
third time he touched her, the love was there, and the desire to live,
and the love and desire came together in sheer, animal *need*.
He willed her to heal because he needs her. Wants her. Loves her.
And it scares him to death.
She knows he's been dreaming of her -- her body, her kisses, her
scent -- and she also knows that he believes it's wrong, he's wrong.
And he is.
Not in the way he believes. No. He thinks he's wrong *for her.* But
that's not it. He's wrong to deny what is between them -- the connection
that even death hasn't been able to sever. In fact, their bond has been
cemented by her death, and his willingness to follow her into its shadow
and bring her back.
But he only sees the shame -- the difference in their ages, experiences,
backgrounds. He sees himself as nothing, no one, going nowhere.
She sees that together they can make a future that will eclipse his lost
past and her troubled one. They fit together in ways that she never
expected, never even hoped for. And so she is willing to wait.
Now that he's tasted her, she knows that he won't stay away for long.
His hunger for her is wild and fierce, and she will use that to her
She's learned much from him over the past few years; it is her turn to
be the hunter, and his, the prey. And patience is the key to hunting.
She will wait him out, until he sees that his place is at her side. She
pushes down the fear and doubt, tells herself that he is addicted to
her, as she is addicted to his touch. He looks at her like a drowning
man eyes a life preserver, and eventually, he will realize that it is
only together that they can have a life. Alone, they can survive --
they've both made an art of that -- but together they can live, with all
the attendant joys and sorrows.
She wants that so badly she can taste it amid the salty, sweaty flavor
the night's lovemaking has left in her mouth.
The first days afterward pass in a blur. He stays away and she lets him
have his space. She knows he needs the time to acclimate to the change
in their relationship.
When a week passes, and they've done nothing but brush by each other in
the hall, with hellos mumbled and eyes averted, she knows she must take
She goes to him again.
She learned after the very first night years ago not to startle him
awake, so she calls softly to him, edging her way into the room, hoping
her voice and scent will rouse him.
And so they do.
He opens his eyes and she moves quickly; before he can protest, she's in
bed with him. She fits against him perfectly, and after several minutes
of heated kisses and caresses, she slides down his body. Using a sheer
scarf to protect him, she lets her lips speak with kisses instead of
words. She takes him in her mouth and he groans.
She's inexperienced, but with his memories to guide her, she is able to
bring him to climax quickly, probably more quickly than he'd like, she
realizes. He growls but she has no fear. He moves, makes to sit up, and
she pushes him down, gloved hands on bare shoulders. She straddles him,
grinding herself against him as she reaches into the night table drawer
for a condom. With fumbling fingers she manages to get it on him, and
then she lowers herself onto him.
He watches her, and she can see love and fear in his eyes. She moves
slowly, rolling her hips in a way that gives her as much pleasure as it
does him, and she whispers to him of her love, their love. But the fear
never does leave his eyes.
His hands steal to her hips, warm through the sheer silk of her
body-stocking, guiding her rhythm, and she begins to lose control,
shivering, shaking with pleasure as he thrusts deep inside her. She
cries out his name as she comes, a fierce, echoing shout torn from the
depth of her being, and her eyes never leave his as his hands tighten to
bruising on her body.
He growls his release and she strokes his chest with sated languor. She
wants to hold him, protect him from all that haunts his nightmares, but
he turns his back to her as they fall asleep, She nestles against him,
content that come the morning, things will be better.
He wakes to the feel of her pressed against his back, and he has to
stifle a groan.
All that work, all that successful avoidance, and he's back where he
started, in bed with Marie.
In love with--
He refuses to even think it, let alone say it, regardless of her words
to him last night. He has never believed in declarations of love during
sex, and even though he can smell -- hear -- taste -- *feel* the
difference this time, he clings stubbornly to his false beliefs
She burrows in closer to him, and he wonders if she can sense his
withdrawal, though he hasn't yet moved.
That scares him even more than the way his body relaxes into hers when
he's not paying attention.
For as long as he can remember, he has lived by his instincts, trusted
them to keep him whole and sane when everything else was going wrong,
but at this he finally rebels.
With ferocious momentum, he launches himself from the bed and stalks to
He washes her scent -- their scent, mingled and intoxicating -- off his
body, determined, like the heroine of an old movie musical, to wash away
his feelings as well.
She's stirring as he dresses and it takes all of his will to leave the
room before she wakes.
He scowls as he makes his way down to the garage. His room, and she's
driven him from it. He holds fiercely to this anger, lets it simmer and
adds to it other slights (real or imagined) he can lay at her feet --
her way of making him feel awkward and inexperienced and *soft* in her
presence, his desire to curl up with her and never be with another woman
again, the knowledge that he can never ever be good enough for the love
he sees in her eyes...
He never cared about these things before, and he'll be damned to hell
before he starts now.
He guns the motor on the bike and tears down the driveway as if all the
devils in that hell are after him, and he doesn't come back for three
They fall into a pattern.
Avoidance and then combustion. They spend the days separate, in pain,
and come together at night; she heals him in ways his mutation never can
or will, and then she breaks him again, and he returns the favor.
He can't live like this much longer, and he knows it must be tearing her
up inside as well, but he can't give in.
His behavior during the day deteriorates. Two of the girls leave his
class in tears, and when she confronts him about it, he is rude to her,
His words are always carefully chosen. He knows her weak spots, and how
to hit where it hurts.
"Was it necessary to scare them like that?" she asks, and though her
tone is mild, he can feel the reproach; it echoes the one inside his
head. The children haven't harmed him in any way, though they're yet
more evidence of his becoming far too comfortable in the role of
He stops as his thoughts, as always, circle back to her.
"What do you know about it, kid?" he responds, and the word, formerly an
endearment, is a curse in his mouth. "You stick to teaching Shakespeare
and leave the fighting to me. You're useless in combat." A lie, and a
reflection on his own abilities more than hers if true, but he doesn't
care. He just needs to lash out.
She nods, accepting as always. "Yes, but--"
He walks away before she can finish. As he works to make her hate him,
he hates himself more and more, that her love for him will make her
accept the meanness he deals out.
He wonders how long she will put up with this split in his personality
and is ashamed because he secretly hopes she sees through his maneuvers
and loves him anyway.
And again, he's caught in the cycle, trapped like a fly in a spider's
web. The harder he struggles against her, the tighter she binds him.
He can't stop touching her and she knows. She knows all she has to do is
slip into his bed and he's lost. He takes her hard and fast, and then
slow and hot, making her come with his name on her lips.
That's when he knows. In the dark hours of the night, he knows he can't
succeed, that he's as selfish as they all say he is, because he can't
let her go. She sleeps, sated, and he whispers to her of his love and
her beauty, and how it makes him want to howl because he can't tell her
while she's awake, because he's convinced himself it's wrong.
He touches her gently, secretly, letting her feel the things he can't
give her when she's awake. Then he falls into a deep, dreamless sleep,
thinking, 'this is what love is.'
He resolves to redouble his efforts to make her hate him in the morning,
but at night, when she is with him, he can't bring himself to do it, to
prove to her he's everything she's ever been warned about.
The fear that she'll find out and leave him gnaws at him, and he knows
he has to break it off. He's brusque and cold, insensitive to her
feelings, and yet she still returns to him at night, and he takes her,
praying she won't give up on him, the way he's given up on himself.
He knows he loves her, even if he can't say it, can't justify it.
He knows he's wrong for her, and it's tearing him up inside.
She lies awake, warmed by Logan's presence at her side in the bed. He is
with her more in sleep than awake these days, his body automatically
moving closer when his mind isn't in control.
She knows he's beating himself up over the nights they spend together,
and her patience, remarked upon by almost every adult member of the
household, is beginning to wear thin.
To the question, "How can you let him treat you like this?" she answers,
"Because I love him. And he loves me."
"How can you be so sure?" they ask, and she smiles but says nothing
more. How can she explain that she knows because she dreams it? That
while she sleeps, he lets his thoughts and feelings seep into her until
she's so aware of his love that she wants to burst.
She waits and watches and hopes, praying he'll reconcile himself to
their love, but knowing that one or the other of them will break if they
don't change the way they're living now. Soon, she'll call his bluff and
he'll have to choose: night or day, alive and together or alone and
The day comes finally when he can no longer do it.
She comes to him that night, illuminated by a flash of lightning that
throws the room into sharp relief. He sees the strain on her face, in
her body and he has had enough.
"No," he says, and he means it.
But he won't let her speak, can't let her convince him that he's made
the wrong decision. He's doing this for her, and he's leaving as fast as
his legs will carry him, away from this place, from her. From love.
He pushes past her with a growl but of course, she follows. Isn't that
what she does? Follows until he gives in? She's like the sea, wearing
away at his defenses, cutting channels into the heart he thought he'd
lost long ago.
He moves quickly and hears her rushing to keep up. He heads for the door
and out into the late summer storm which has blown up out of nowhere,
the sky turned to an early twilight by thick thunderclouds that roil
above. He spares a thought for Storm and realizes his own turmoil has
somehow infected the others in the house, that his behavior has had
consequences and implications for everyone.
He curses and stops, caught between his feelings of responsibility and
his need to flee before he ruins Rogue's life for good.
She slips on the wet grass and bangs into his back, grasping at him to
He turns and once he's sure she's standing on her own two feet, he lets
They face each other in the rain.
"I can't do this anymore, kid. You deserve better. You always have."
"I'm not a kid anymore, Logan. I'm a woman. And I'm in love with you.
Dammit, can't you see that?
"Or don't you want to see it?" she taunts, running her hands over her
body, the light summer dress she wears clinging to every curve, leaving
nothing to his imagination. Not that he needs imagination. His hands and
lips have mapped every curve and hollow -- he's spent nights on the road
reliving in technicolor detail every inch of her body.
He closes his eyes in pain, opens them again. "Marie. I see it. You're
young, beautiful." He can taste her desperation; the scent fills the
air, overpowering ozone and wet grass, belying the insouciance with
which she speaks.
She talks over him, not letting him finish. "I can't touch or be
touched. Ever. I'm learning to live with that. I'm broken." She is
almost sobbing, her bold façade finally failing, and he can feel his
"You're not broken," he growls, grabbing her shoulders and shaking her.
"I'm the one who's broken, who can never be fixed. You could have anyone
you wanted. Any man would be proud to have you."
"But I want you," she whispers, and while she may try to pass it off as
the rain, he knows those are tears streaming down her face. "Don't you
see? Alone, we're broken. Together, we're whole."
He closes his eyes again, and opens them when he feels her body press
against him. Against his will, his body responds.
"Tell me you don't love me," she challenges. "Look me in the eye and
tell me you don't love me, and I'll walk away."
He looks down at her, his eyes sliding away to focus on the trees behind
her. "I don't love you," he chokes out, his hands tightening on her
She reaches up and grabs his chin, forcing him to meet her gaze. "Liar,"
she says tenderly, and he is lost.
"There are no absolutes in life, only in vodka." Mike Kellerman,
_Homicide: Life on the Street_
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