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A collection of short-shorts originally posted to the lj community xmen_100.
Shades of Grey
The smell brought Logan down the hall. Half a dozen scents from shampoo to deodorant, sweat, juices, and the waxy smell of the lipstick she liked. Warm like there was living body heat behind them. She wasn't there, he knew that. He pushed the door open anyway.
Scott was sitting on the side of the bed, hunched over, holding a discarded blouse in his hands. He looked up when Logan came in, but didn't say anything. He smelled like leather and grease and blood. The bed smelled like both of them.
Logan wondered if Scott would let him lie down.
The alarms were on by the time he got back, but her window was wide open. He settled on the sill with the tail end of his cigar and watched her chest rise and fall through grey smoke.
She slept with her hands curled up against her chest, black satin opera gloves on the night table in moonlight, white streak on dark hair on white pillow. Like something out of an old movie, with gangsters and long cars and cigarette holders.
He was pretty sure she wanted him to be the hero. Maybe it wasn't such a bad idea, either.
"You plan on sticking around a while?" She scooped coffee from the bag without getting a single grain on the long white gloves, graceful with practice.
He sat at the table and watched her. "Maybe." She didn't look all that young anymore. "What about you?"
She glanced at him, surprised, then understood the real question he was asking. "Yeah," she said quietly, her eyes soft. "Yeah, I'm staying on."
He tried not to think about her drowning, burning, dying in a hundred different ways. It wasn't going to happen. He wasn't going to let it. "Yeah," he said. "Me too."
After she slunk out of the tent, he put an arm over his eyes and slid a hand down his pants, jerking off quick and hot and angry.
"I can be anyone you want." The unspoken codicil: only better. Jean willing, Storm interested, Marie touchable. If she hadn't overplayed it, maybe he'd have said yes. Maybe it would have been better than lying here and listening to Marie murmuring to her little boyfriend in the next tent over. Trying to remember the taste of Jean's mouth and forget the taste of Mystique's.
He could still smell her when he came.
Miles to Go
One hour more to Boston, and Bobby and John are alternating snores in the back seat. Marie's not asleep but quiet, watching the highway slide on by. Logan looks over at her once in a while to see the shine of headlights in her eyes.
He doesn't often think about might-have-beens, but he can imagine what it would've been like, being on the road with her. Three hundred miles from Loftlin City to the next roadside bar. She would've slept part of the way, and by the time they'd have gotten there, she'd have known him without needing a touch.
When I had a talk with him, the kid frosted my soda and talked about his feelings. Cute. That went for him in general. Not exactly what I'd have expected Marie to go for, but after a little chit-chat, I could tell he was a good kid. He wasn't going to hurt her.
Then things went a little nuts, so I didn't have time to figure out why something was still bothering me about him.
It was maybe a couple weeks after the whole mess when I walked out on the porch to smoke and saw her watching him play basketball. The kid had a decent jump shot, but he kept trying for three-pointers he wasn't going to make, showing off. Like I said. Cute.
And she was smiling, which was good, since no one had been doing much smiling lately. It took me a while to notice it was the kind of smile you wear when you're looking at a kid. A lot of love, but more than a little condescension. Not what you wear when you're a kid yourself, looking at the cute young love of your high school life.
So I caught her after dinner and hauled her out onto the grounds for some privacy before asking her what the hell she was doing stringing the guy along. She listened to me until I was done, and then she told me that he knew, and he'd asked her to give it a shot anyway, and she'd said yes, because she was seventeen and lonely and if she couldn't have what she really wanted, she at least wanted to go out and have fun. And maybe if she gave him enough time, he'd change her mind about what she really wanted.
That was good enough to shut me up. She went back to the house. I went the opposite direction and ended up spotting the kid down at the court again; he was shooting hoops with a couple of the others under the lights. The shadows made his face look older, the guy he was going to grow up to be. Another good guy, all clean-cut and play-by-the-rules. The kind of guy girls take home and marry.
Not what I'd expected Marie to go for. Nothing like me. Not what she really wanted, for now.
He wasn't going to get the time to change her mind.
Into The Woods
(fairy tales & myths theme)
She expected people to ask. She looked young and alone, and all the layers just made her look smaller. So she had a good story worked out. Problems with her dad, going to live with her grandmother. Where her grandmother lived would change depending on where she was, never more than a day's travel.
But no one asked, except one of the ladies at the soup kitchen in Des Moines, who was just making conversation. She'd almost forgotten it when the man who picked her up in Bismarck asked along an empty stretch of I-94. He could take her all the way, he said. There was nothing but endless dark past the half-circles of the headlights, and he smiled at her with too many white teeth while she stammered, kept smiling and driving until she fell asleep.
She woke up when he pulled off onto an exit under construction and killed the lights. Her door wouldn't open from the inside, and he reached for her, his smile breaking open into panting hunger as she screamed. One heartbeat, and his mouth went loose and surprised. The oily-slick taste of him came running through her skin, like deep-fried chicken and melting ice cream on a hot summer day.
She pushed and shoved his slackening body into the back, and sat in the driver's seat for a long time, tears drying on her face, not the prey at all.