De Omnibus Dubitandum Part One: A Prima Facia
Title: A Prima Facia (At First Sight)
Series: De Omnibus Dubitandum (All Is To Be Doubted)
Rating: NC-17 for sexual content and violence
Summary: Logan and Marie meet post-registration.
Disclaimer: I don’t own them and I don’t make any money off of them.
Feedback: You can contact Ransom via her LiveJournal or at firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes: I’ve been working on this series off and on for about year, so I figure it’s time to get serious about it. Oh, and ~this is indicates thoughts~, ok?
Date Completed: April 29th, 2002
De Omnibus Dubitandum
Part One: A Prima Facia
“Madness is rare in individuals—but in groups, parties, nations, and ages it is the rule.” -- Nietzsche
On the day she met him, Wolverine made Rogue blush just by looking at her.
It wasn’t just that he looked at her—it was the way he looked at her. Like his eyes missed nothing. Like he’d like to touch her everywhere with his hands, just to make damn sure he’d missed nothing. Maybe make a pass with his mouth after that, because when he did a job, he liked to do it right.
She stopped dead in her tracks, stood frozen in the middle of the room, nodded dumbly as Scott made the introductions. She wondered how he could sound so normal when this was happening right here in front of him. Wondered how Scott could remember something as complicated as etiquette when she was having a hard time remembering it was rude to stare.
But if she was going to stare, there was no better target around than Wolverine.
He was tall, imposing, and all too quiet for a man of his bulk. His dark eyes moved constantly in the way of a person who has no choice but to watch his own back. Confident, alert, and six foot plus of liquid sex poured into denim and leather. His well-used duffel hit the floor next to his equally worn boots, and she noticed a small hole in the tip of the left one, the black leather peeling away, silvery glint of the steel toe there behind the curling edges.
Long legs in blue jeans. The denim hugging his body more closely at the curve of his calf, the sleek swell of his thigh muscle. Faded and soft and worn in places—his knees, the tops of his thighs, the edges of the hip pockets, the curving bulge of fabric beneath his zipper. All of this anchored by a thick leather belt, complete with a big metal buckle. For a second she could actually hear it, the sharp brittle clink that buckle would make against her teeth.
A snort that could have been a laugh brought her back to the present and all at once she realized that she had no idea what his mutant power might be. ~Dear God, please don’t let him be a telepath.~ She reluctantly raised her eyes to his face, almost panicked, then relaxed.
He knew alright, but only because he was familiar with the appreciative gaze of a woman. And more than capable of returning the same. No mind reading involved, just plain old hormones. She hoped.
Embarrassing, but certainly less so than if he had been able to actually hear what she was thinking. That thing about the belt buckle. Good lord.
She turned away, the corner of her eye catching the way the corner of his mouth rose in a smirk as her face flushed and her blood roared in her ears.
Scott was still giving Wolverine the tour. Talking, explaining, summarizing. All those Scott Things that he was so good at, that he liked to focus on. Rogue slipped away into the kitchen, aware that the back of her neck was burning just as hot as her cheeks.
There weren’t many places she could go to get away from the stranger in the main room. Not in a place this small.
They’d been in the factory sub-cellar for two months. Scott, Rogue, Peter and Bobby. All that was left of the once formidable X-Men. Living in a cold, dripping dungeon with pilfered electricity and secret tunnels and coded knocks. All stuff that seemed right out of some book or movie. All stuff that was necessary for survival.
They’d picked up a few strays in the months since they’d gone into hiding. Warily, carefully. Suspicious as hell and justified in it.
First there was Chloe, with glossy brown skin and huge dark eyes, who could heat things with her bare hands. Came in handy when she was hurling handfuls of rocks at soldiers. Not so handy when you startled her while she was holding one of your favorite shoes. She looked so sweet. Cursed like a longshoreman.
Then they’d taken in Frankie. His baggy thrift store shirts, the kind that always had someone else’s name over the breast pocket, hid a spiny dorsal fin that tended to stand up on its own when he was angry. His teeth were tiny and sharp, and delivered a nerve-numbing toxin that could be deadly in large amounts. He had a huge crush on Chloe. He could also go for extremely long periods of time without taking a breath; Chloe had already heard all the jokes about that particular skill.
Sylvie was the oldest of their recruits, trim and gray-haired and a miracle worker when it came to deriving edible meals from a collection of canned goods, a stolen spice rack and a hot plate. She could also create electrical fields with a mere thought.
They were a tight-knit group. Relationships, life in general really, were on fast-forward these days. When the world outside your door was nothing but dread and fear and danger, the distance between a familiar face and a best friend could be a short one indeed.
Right now, one of Rogue’s best friends was amusing himself by running one iced fingertip through a candle flame.
“Hey, Bobby. Thought you were on guard duty.” Not an accusation. If he was in the kitchen there was a good reason for it. They’d all grown up fast since they’d left the mansion. Shirking could be deadly. It just didn’t happen anymore. And if it did, you were gone. No second chances. Not since the last time. Not since Kurt.
“Frankie traded with me,” Bobby answered, his eyes never leaving the flickering flame. Watching the candle’s gold tongue lick at his finger. “Wants to go to the train station with Chloe tomorrow. This way he can sleep a little before they leave.”
Chloe was incredibly adept at convincing strangers she was much younger than she actually was, which often moved them to give her money or food tickets. She would have made a wonderful actress, had the world taken a different path. Her trips to train stations and bus terminals were always especially productive, a provided a much-appreciated contribution to their small bankroll.
“The girl has talent,” Rogue muttered as she sat down opposite Bobby at the makeshift table. An old door on two sawhorses. Propped her chin in her gloved hands and just watched.
He nodded and took another swig from the cup next to his hand. Tang, probably. That was about all they got these days that wasn’t water.
His clear silvery-blue finger seemed to glow with the flame’s light. “You look like E.T.,” she said with a soft laugh.
That made him smile. Such a rare thing now, Bobby smiles. He looked so much younger, so much more Bobby. So much like the past.
The realization came to her with what could have almost been an audible click. Two concepts coming together and making a new one. It wasn’t video games and cable TV and widescreen DVDs that Bobby was trying to compensate for when he toyed with the candle flame. Because they hadn’t had any of those things in, God, it had to be almost two years now.
But until recently, they had had St. John Allerdyce.
Bobby’s best friend, partner in crime, roommate of ten years. Gone. Captured while he and Bobby were on their way home with what would have been a week’s worth of food. They’d both fought hard, taken down more than a few soldiers. They’d been separated, surrounded, chased through the rotting buildings of the marina they’d called home at the time. Bobby had been horribly wounded, had stayed in his frozen form for five whole days, repairing the damage to his body. If he had reverted to flesh, he would have died from his wounds.
St. John hadn’t been heard from since. They’d moved as soon as Bobby was able, but not before he’d screamed and cursed at Scott, sworn that he’d kill him if they made him leave. If they made him leave the one place St. John would know to find them.
In the end, he’d gone quietly. Frozen tears clattering on the scaffolding under their feet as they slipped away in the night, carrying what they could in their battered backpacks.
“Bobby. . .”
“What happened to your face?” His way of saying that he didn’t want to talk about it. Living in close quarters tended to breed a shorthand version of communication.
She’d forgotten about her face. She tugged off a glove and gently probed her left cheekbone. Tender. Puffy. Probably turning some interesting colors. She grinned.
“Zappas had oranges.”
Bobby’s face brightened and he abandoned the candle. “Oranges? Really?”
She nodded. Smiled again. “And you better enjoy yours, because I had to literally fight for them.”
He pushed his chair back from the table, spread his arms slightly. “Come here.”
Rogue replaced her glove as she rose and scooted around the table, settling sideways in Bobby’s lap. He stretched to retrieve a thin dishtowel from the filing cabinet that served as their kitchen cupboard, which she helped him wrap around his iced hand.
“Our little hunter-gatherer,” he teased as he cupped his hand over her cheek.
She shifted and put her head on his shoulder, careful to keep her face well away from his. “Don’t move,” she said softly.
They sat silently for a few minutes, letting the cold sink into her swollen cheek. Finally, numbness began to set in and the towel was wet with melted Iceman. She jerked her chin just enough to let him know she wanted him to take his hand away.
“Good for now?”
She nodded against his chest, let him get rid of the towel and get settled before she moved. When she sat up, the hand around her waist tightened instead of releasing her, and her eyes snapped to his, found them looking thoughtful and sad.
His hand, still iced, came back to her face and he ran his thumb gently across her lower lip. Safe. Something they had discovered during heated teenage groping sessions, when they’d been young and giggly and crushing on each other. Before Remy.
She opened her mouth slightly, recognizing the cold slick feel of his transformed hand. Felt cold water trickle into her mouth and down her chin as her body heat melted the ice slightly.
Her tongue slid forward, scooped the pooling moisture from behind her lower lip and she swallowed hard, watched Bobby watch his thumb glide over the wet pink flesh of her lip. His face held a look that she hadn’t seen directed at her in years. Hadn’t seen directed at her in this exact form ever. This was the look of an adult, not a teenager. An adult who was feeling desire and despair at the same time.
She swept her tongue over the tip of his thumb and heard that distinctive crackle, felt her eyes go painfully dry for a second as Bobby stole the moisture from the surrounding air, used it to turn his entire body to ice. She shivered as her warm comfy perch suddenly turned cold and hard, couldn’t help the way she squeaked when his hand found the back of her neck, steered her toward his mouth.
A cold, wet Bobby kiss. So familiar, but with a new edge. One that had been borne out of the years and events that had passed since the last time they had done this. Frozen, solid hands running over her upper body, making her shake with more than the cold. Tugging on her hips, maneuvering her to straddle him, pulling her closer, pushing her down. His cheek sliding against hers, her wet hair sticking to her face. Frosty breath in her ear. “Do you want to?”
Nothing but a nod, because she was trying to keep her teeth from chattering. A skill she’d perfected years ago, then lost from lack of use. He slid his hands under her thighs and stood, sending cold water droplets in all directions as they disappeared into the passageway that led to his room.
On the table, the candle sputtered and went out.
End Part One
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