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A Different Angle
A/N: Written for a challenge. (Beta by Joanna.) The prompts were:
Holiday: New Year
Concept: Etiquette
Item: Bubble Gum
Location: The cabin
Line: "It was an accident."



“Ready? What’re you--whoa!”

I stop in my tracks and stare open-mouthed at the glorious sight in front of me.

‘Naked!’ my brain registers in bright neon signs. ‘Wet and naked!’

“Jesus, kid!” Logan barks, quickly covering up, more as a reflex than actual embarrassment. “Don’t you knock?” He just came out of the shower and was toweling his hair.

Hot damn. This must be my best timing ever. And I really do mean Best. Timing. Ever. I remind myself to lock my jaw - don’t want to lose my bubble gum, and frown at his sudden lecture about etiquette.

“Well, excuse me, sugar. It was an accident.” I quickly close the door and semi-casually lean back against it. “When did you become the modest kind?”

Really, there’s no need to act all weird all of a sudden. I can pretend that seeing him gorgeously wet and naked is just a part of my daily routine. I could totally live with that.

God, I wish.

For a moment, he seems a bit taken aback by my reaction. Or lack thereof. He glances at the door, looks back to me again, but then takes away the towel and indifferently flashes me another eyeful while he saunters to his closet, continuing to dry his disheveled spikes.

Hot damn again. And guh! And… please, can I touch now? Or lick? Or both?!

“Scooter’s been on my tail all day,” he grumbles. “If he sees you here now--”

I don’t give him time to finish. “I’m not a student anymore, and there’s nothing here I haven’t seen in your memories already.” Then, I playfully tilt my head and add grinningly, “Although… it looks a bit weird from this point of view.”

“Funny,” he replies wryly, turning his back to me and looking over his shoulder to jerk his chin in my direction. “You gonna wear that?”

I’m having a hard time tearing my eyes from his perfect behind while he rummages through his clothes, but then I check what’s wrong with my New Year’s party outfit - a green, long-sleeved, skin-hugging top (but showing lots of cleavage), a short, black leather skirt (bought yesterday with Jubes), skin-colored tights (unfortunate necessity), and the high-heeled, knee-length boots (he secretly likes those). Oh, and gloves, of course. Always gloves. But I try not to think about those too much.

“Yeah. Something wrong?”

“You want the boys to come off just by looking at ya?”

My eyes widen in delight. “I look *that* good?”

“You look that *slutty*.”

“So?” I shrug. “Boys like slutty.” I walk over to his bed, and flop down on my stomach while he puts on some boxers. “Men, too, by the way.”

“Says who?”

“You. In my head.”

He turns around sharply, the look on his face clearly apologetic. “Damnit, kid. Don’t listen to me. I’m the biggest bastard of them all.”

“No, you’re not. You only have commitment issues. Tiny ones.” I show him my cutest smile and watch in fascination how his long legs disappear into the tight, well-worn denim he just grabbed. “But anyway, I was thinking of wearing this on my date with Remy next week as well. What do you think?”

“No way,” he retorts, taking huge strides through the room, obviously searching for something and leaving the jeans unbuttoned.

It’s a bit like a reverse striptease. The way all that flawless skin looks so smooth and inviting, I have to ball my fists not to reach out. I try to remember what we were talking about, but my brain is occupied with all the things I could do to him if he’d let me. I inconspicuously wipe a bit of drool from the corner of my mouth and silently scold myself: ‘must swallow saliva and focus.’

“Um… what?”

Grabbing his belt from his desk, he doesn’t seem to notice my brain-fart. “You’re not dating the Cajun.”

“I thought we’ve been through this before - I pick my own dates,” I reply sternly, rubbing my scent all over his sheets, hoping he’ll think of me tonight and start the new year with me in his dreams. Then, I rest my chin in my hands and watch how he slips the belt into the loopholes right in front of me. It gives me a perfect view of his abs, and I suppress the urge to sigh wistfully.

“That’s fine as long as you pick *nice* pricks, like that Icekid, or Goliath.”

With my eyes fixed on that thick vein disappearing into the black boxers, I murmur, “Nice pricks are boring, sugar. I’m nineteen already. Time for a bit of action.”

Somehow I manage to swallow the words, ‘Preferably with you, so come jump and ravish me?’

“You want action?” He snaps his fingers in front of my face when I don’t particularly feel the need to look up just yet. “That sonovabitch told everyone how he’s gonna… you know.”

I curiously quirk an eyebrow at him. “Actually… no, I don’t.”

“How he’s gonna…” He searches for the right words, raking a hand through his damp hair and messing it up even worse, “…work around your mutation.”

“Really?” I perk up at that, victoriously fist-pumping the air. “Finally, a hero!”

It clearly wasn’t the reaction he expected. His sigh turns into a growl, and when he tries again, his tone is tinged with aggravation. “Marie, you’re a prize to him. A challenge. I heard him. He never had a…” He stops again.

“A what?” I ask absently, contemplating if I still have those glow-in-the-dark condoms Jubes once bought when I was still dating Bobby. If I do… do condoms have an expiration date?

“A virgin.”

“Huh?”

Logan’s towering over me, frustration clearly evident in his face. I’m not sure if it’s because of me or this conversation, though.

“He said he never had a *virgin* before.”

I blink at him. “He said that?”

“Yeah. I’m… sorry.”

His tone is soft and gentle, ready to catch me if I fall, but I merely snort and rebelliously stick out my chin.

“Pfft. I have toys, you know. Women don’t need a man to do a bit of cherry-poppin’ nowadays.”

For a moment, I think he’s gonna roll his eyes, but he shakes his head instead and mutters a quiet, almost annoyed, “Don’t need to know those things” while stomping back to his closet and yanking out a T-shirt.

“Why not?” I ask, openly ogling how the fabric slides over his chest before he tucks the hem into his jeans and finally buttons up. “I know every detail of *your* sex life. You might as well know mine.”

“I haven’t been laid in months,” he growls, more as a complaint in general than giving me a direct answer, but I can’t help but giggle anyway.

“Aha! That old age of yours finally settling in?”

A glare. “Smartass.”

“No, really. Don’t you ever think about a real relationship sometimes? Having someone to wake up with every morning?”

“I don’t do relationships. And you know firsthand it’s not safe to wake up with me.”

“*We* are having a relationship,” I point out while he hunts down a pair of matching socks from his drawers. “Almost three years already.”

“We’re friends.”

Yeah. Just friends. Much to my disappointment.

I pop my gum and try again. “Okay. So, how about ‘Ro?”

He sits down next to me, the mattress dipping under his considerable weight. “We fucked once. We were drunk. It was two years ago.”

“Correction, sugar. *She* was drunk. You knew perfectly well what you were doing.” I stand up and fetch his boots, just to give myself some time to suppress the still existing jealousy. “Oh, and then we have Jean. Need I say more?”

Somehow, he even manages to make donning socks look graceful. How does he do that?

“She just wanted revenge because Scooter fucked Emma. I was happy to help.”

I drop the boots right in front of him. “And I still don’t get what the fuss was all about. I mean, Scott was only moving on, right? We all thought she was dead, for God’s sake! It wasn’t like he was cheating or anything. But… yeah, now that you mention it, let’s not forget Emma.”

“Hey, she made me think she was Jeannie,” he defends himself gruffly, and I sink down on the bed again.

“Which is really, really creepy. And rude. But mostly creepy.”

He doesn’t answer that. He violently tugs at the laces, and the silence feels a bit too loaded all of a sudden.

“What?” I ask suspiciously. “You’re still mad about it?”

He’s fully dressed now, except for his flannel shirt. At least he sits down for a minute, thinking about it.

“No.”

“Then… what? Please don’t tell me you’re having some kind of friends-with-benefits thing with her now. I can’t--”

He scowls at me, and I hold up my hands because he obviously still hates the blonde telepath just as much as I do. “Okay. Point taken.”

We’re sitting in silence for a while, and my shoulder grazes his arm. I wonder if I can get away with innocently leaning in a little, but then he says, “Mystique pretended to be Jeannie once, too.”

“Really?” I turn around and stare at him in shock. “When?”

He gets up and makes his way to the bathroom. “Remember that time you fell out of the Jet?”

I roll my eyes. “Duh. Like I’d ever forget.”

“She snuck into my tent. I found out when I felt the scars. Shoulda smelled it, but I was a bit… off.”

When I hear water running, I mutter sourly, “Bet you were.”

When it comes to Jean, he’s always a bit ‘off’. I’m so glad she and Scott made up after all the drama with Emma. I don’t know what I would’ve done if she’d picked Logan instead.

I stand up and strategically hop on his desk to get a better view of him brushing his teeth. “So… what did you do?”

He catches me staring in the mirror. “Towd hew to gewt ouwt.”

Flashing him a bright smile, I applaud. “Yay! You got some morals after all! Then what? Was she mad?”

He spits into the sink and bends over to rinse his mouth. I once again admire his jean-clad backside until he turns around, wiping his lips with the back of his hand, and walking back into the room to fetch the flannel hanging over the back of the desk chair.

“She offered to be anyone I wanted. Shifted into all of you. Fucked-up bitch she is.”

“Us?” I blink at him, feeling a suspiciously excited flutter in my chest. “She was *me* as well?”

He doesn’t look at me. “Yeah.”

Somehow, as wrong as it seems, I can’t help but feel smug about that. “Cool.”

He stares at me oddly. “It was sick.”

“Right. What was I thinking? Let’s not pretend to be desirable or anything.”

“You were seventeen,” he points out, giving me an intent stare, but I merely smirk back.

“So… does that mean I’m old enough now?”

He rearranges his collar and grumbles, “I’m not going there.”

“Coward.”

No answer. He rolls up his sleeves and fumbles with his watch. It makes me smile, and I know I have to put him out of his misery.

“Ready?”

“For what?” he asks doubtfully, and it makes me giggle.

“The party, remember? New Year’s Eve and all that?”

A wave of relief washes over his features. “Right. Yeah.”

“Good.” I jump off the desk and straighten my skirt. I can’t stop yanking his chain a bit more, though. “You think you’re finally gonna kiss me at midnight?”

He growl-sighs again. “Marie…”

“Hold your horses, sugar. I’m only teasing.” I grab his arm and drag him towards the door. “You’re really wound up, aren’t you? Time to wander again?”

I only get a grumpy, “Hmpf,” and I know I’m right. He’s been toeing the line for far too long already. He could really use a break.

I let go of his arm as soon as I open the door. I don’t want to embarrass him, and it’s not like he’s my date or anything. We just agreed I’d pick him up so we could show up together and conveniently avoid the ‘plus one’ suggestion.

He’s all quiet and surly while we’re walking through the hallway, obviously not in the mood for a noisy party in a house full of teenage mutants. It makes me wonder…

I jump in front of him and skip backwards, suddenly totally excited again. “Hey, I’ve got an idea!”

“I know that look, kid,” he protests. “Forget it.”

“Really, Logan. Scott’s rubbing off on you. You’re becoming a boring old fart.”

He stops at the stairs, and there’s the growl-sigh again, which, I have to admit, starts to sound really, really sexy. “Fine. What?”

“Let’s take off,” I say, knowing it’s a dumb-ass thought but feeling reckless anyway.

He peers down into the main hall before leaning against the balustrade. “Where?”

“I don’t know.” I shrug and try very hard to sound laid-back. “Wherever. Some place relaxed. We can… you know, hang out a bit.” I shrug again, but the plan shifts. I’ve always wanted to see him fight again. The cage, the naked chest, the violence. Yeah. I can at least try. “Up north, maybe? Where we met?”

He quirks an eyebrow. “Laughlin City?”

“Yeah. I always wanted to go back some day. We can have a drink. You can fight if you want. It’ll be fun.”

He actually seems to consider it. He’s staring at the far wall, his lips pursed, one foot edgily wiggling.

I’ve learned his habits over the years. He hardly ever sits or stands completely still for long. There’s always a foot moving, a leg swaying, a hand fidgeting, with his keys, or a beer bottle, or the remote. Unless he’s meditating. He can sit like a statue for hours when he meditates. I tried it, once, but I kept sneaking peeks at him and had to swallow down giggles. I gave up after half an hour.

“Classes start in two weeks,” he says eventually. “We can’t drive.”

I suppress the urge to launch myself into his arms and almost choke on my gum again. “We’ll fly.”

He casts me a pointed look. “Metal detectors.”

“Ugh!” I slap his arm in frustration. “Not commercial, stupid! Did you forget that we have a Jet and that you’re looking at the pilot?”

Okay. Co-pilot, actually. But those are details. Insignificant details.

He crosses his arms in front of his mesmerizing chest, a disbelieving smirk clearly written on his face. “You’re gonna hijack the Jet?”

“Hey, you ‘borrow’ Scott’s bike all the time.”

The smirk turns into a mischievous-looking grin. “He’s gonna kill us.”

“Yep.” I nod. “You game or what?”

Despite the boyish twinkle in his eyes, he reasons, “We can’t keep it for two weeks.”

“God...” I slump against the balustrade next to him. “You are *such* an adult.”

He ignores the accusation. “I got a better idea.”

“Like what?”

He looks down the main hall again. “’Ro can drop us off. She owes me one.”

I jump up and twirl around. “Yes! Yes, yes, yes!”

“See you in the hangar in half an hour?”

“Yes, sir!” I salute and almost run to my room, but then he calls, and I turn around, my heart tumbling in my chest.

He glances left and right down the hallway, tilts his head, and narrows his eyes to concentrate on the surrounding noises. When the coast seems clear, he asks, “You mind spending some time in a one-room cabin?”

Seriously, is that man totally oblivious to my devotion, or what?

I’m having a hard time keeping my knees from buckling, but I manage a little joke anyway. “What about etiquette and knocking on doors?”

He smirks at me. “You’re not a student anymore, and there isn’t much you haven’t seen already.”

It makes me grin, and when I turn around to get my bag, I exaggerate the sway of my hips because I know he’s watching. “Well, seems like I just have to get used to that different angle then.”
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