Sweat by Azurine
Date Completed July 1st, 2004
They were in Dayton, Ohio, it was snowing, and Logan was planning to cut off someone's index finger in an hour or two.
That was, sadly, not an atypical way for Remy and Logan to spend an evening.
Xavier hadn't actually requested that Logan cut off the guy's finger, but Logan probably considered it fair trade for being sent to Dayton. Remy certainly considered it fair trade for being sent to Dayton in *February*.
New York winters were shitty, but tolerable in small doses. Ohio winters were a horrid pain in the ass, and the sub-zero wind chill was not helping Remy's already foul mood.
He and Rogue were off again, in a relationship that was logging less time in on mode than ever before, and he was feeling decidedly moody about it. Some of that could probably be blamed on Dayton. Middle America tended to do that to him.
Most of it was Rogue, though. The girl was under his skin--no pun intended--and there wasn't a damn thing he could do about it except wait it out and hope he'd get over it.
So far, no chance of that happening.
When he'd first arrived at Xavier's, Rogue had been Bobby's girlfriend. Remy hadn't known that the first time he'd seen her, sitting in a chair by the window in the den. She had positively glowed in the afternoon sun, and if a dulcet choir hadn't actually risen to the occasion, it should have.
Of course, she'd been talking to Logan at the time. And Remy had assumed that *Logan* was her boyfriend, or maybe even husband, despite the obvious age difference. There'd been something distinctly possessive in the way Logan's hand had rested at the back of her neck, something of a warning in the way he'd narrowed his eyes at Remy and leaned just a little bit closer to Rogue.
The message was absolutely clear: mine.
Remy's surprise had been considerable when he'd realized she *wasn't* Logan's. His relief even more considerable. Remy considered stealing a woman from Bobby a piece of cake, but taking a woman away from Logan would be nearly impossible.
After he did woo Rogue away from Bobby, it didn't take him long to figure out that it didn't matter who she was dating--Logan was the man no one could woo her away from.
Even if he wasn't her boyfriend, Logan did have her, in his own strange way. Remy couldn't shake the feeling that sometimes it wasn't enough for him.
Oddly, Logan wasn't so much a roadblock in their relationship as he was a participant in it. His near constant presence, and his status as Rogue's confidante, made him privy to every detail of their relationship, and Rogue made it clear that Remy could like it or lump it. And even if Logan wasn't actually physically present during their more intimate moments, Remy couldn't help but feel the shadow of his presence there, the man who didn't have to be cautious, because he could survive an accidental brush of skin now and then.
Bitterly at first, but with a growing sense of the inevitable, Remy decided he'd just have to like it. He grudgingly accepted Rogue's friendship with Logan, Logan seemed to grudgingly accept Remy's relationship with her, and over the course of four years, Remy and Logan became friends in their own right. Despite the rivalry that no one acknowledged but was very much present, there was an uneasy balance between the three of them.
Remy and Logan were too much alike to get along all the time, though, and sometimes the balance got a little unbalanced and Remy had to go away for a while. He wondered sometimes if that was why Logan went away every so often, and vacillated between believing it was true and believing not much of anything got to Logan.
Only Rogue got to Logan.
Rogue, who could do no wrong in Loganís eyes. He was so pragmatic about everyone and everything else in the world, but Rogue got a pass on a lot of things she shouldnít have.
Remy didnít have the luxury of fooling himself that way.
He couldn't fool himself about his place in Rogue's life, and he couldn't fool himself about the realities of loving a woman he couldn't touch, and he couldn't fool himself about the contempt he feared she felt for him for just that reason.
He also couldn't fool himself about his occasional but undeniable desire to fuck Logan.
Logan's voice startled him. "Quit sighing."
"You keep sighing. It's depressing."
"I didn't realize you were so sensitive to my moods."
Logan snorted and tossed back the last of his drink. "What time is it?"
Remy checked his watch. "Another hour." He lit a cigarette and spun his lighter on the bar. The hotel was just a little too nice for them, and people were noticing. He was ready to get out of here and get what they needed and get the hell out of this city.
This would have been the perfect mission for Rogue, he thought. All she'd need was a few seconds and a square inch of bare skin. Everything the guy knew would be theirs for the taking.
All at once the idea came to him, and it seemed so insanely simple he was a little embarrassed he hadn't thought of it before. Maybe Rogue didn't keep dumping him because she wanted Logan. Maybe she kept dumping him because she knew *he* wanted Logan.
The next thought was inevitable.
How easy would it be to get Logan into bed?
And would Logan kick his ass for trying?
They were in New Orleans, it was hotter than Hades, and Remy was contemplating exactly why it was that he kept ending up in all these different parts of the country at the entirely wrong time of year.
He didn't bother to contemplate how the hell Logan had found him here, out in the middle of a swamp, in a tar-paper shack with no electricity, and running water that only ran when someone worked the pump handle. Logan was just like that.
Come to think of it, Remy would have been more surprised if Logan *hadn't* shown up.
"Did Rogue send you to come get me?" Stupid question, but he asked it because he was sick of watching Logan watch the ice melt in his glass of whiskey. Ice didn't last long in Louisiana, especially in the middle of July.
"Yeah. I told her you'd come back on your own, but. . ." Logan shrugged. "You know."
Remy nodded. They both knew Rogue well enough, and they both knew Logan was just as powerless to deny her anything as Remy was.
"Figured I'd hang out down here a few days, then go home. Your choice if you wanna come or not."
"Maybe I have better things to do than what you two decide for me."
He knew he sounded bitter, but he was tired of feeling like neither of them really needed him all that much, like he was always the third wheel. There was the mythic bond between those two and then there was him. Strangely attached, yet separate. Logan and Rogue. . .and Remy.
"And maybe I have better things to do than chase your ass across the country," Logan said. "I didn't sign on to be your goddamn relationship counselor." The look on his face was a dark one, but there wasn't any heat in the words. More like. . .
Maybe even dissatisfaction with a situation he was powerless to change.
For the first time, Remy saw the whole thing as Logan might see it: a romantic relationship he was neither part of nor separate from. Remy and Rogue. . .and Logan.
It was a revelation.
He just wasn't sure what to do with it.
"Maybe. . ." he began.
His nerve deserted him. "I don't know."
He took a deep breath, smelling rotting vegetation and Logan's sweat and the carry-out he'd had for dinner. The wet Louisiana air never seemed to let anything go, just held it close and forced it on you again and again. Sometimes it made him feel claustrophobic.
Or maybe it was the man across the table and the woman in New York who made him feel that way, no matter where he was.
"Maybe you should go back and I should stay here," he blurted, a little surprised to hear himself saying the words he thought he'd decided not to say. He added another splash of liquor to his glass. "Maybe you'd do a better job keeping her happy than I do."
When he looked up, Logan's expression was the same controlled brand of neutral Remy was used to seeing on his face during Xavier's pre-mission lectures about not cutting off fingers. Regretting that he'd drifted into forbidden territory, he fell back on a grin and a joke. "Or I could share."
Logan didn't smile back. "I couldn't."
The storm came up fast, or maybe just faster than a guy with ten or twelve glasses of Scotch in him could notice. The first of the raindrops plinking on the tin roof woke Remy up, and he rolled over on the creaky mattress, sticky and uncomfortable in his jeans. The lantern was still lit, their abandoned glasses still on the table, the bottle empty.
Logan's T-shirt was tossed over the back of his chair, belt curled like an empty snake skin on the seat, boots and socks scattered on the floor. Logan himself was nowhere to be seen. The screen door, cranky about being properly latched, stuttered against the frame in the wind, and the mystery was solved. Remy went to the door, drawn by the rain and by the man standing in it.
Logan was on the patch of weeds that passed for a lawn, head tipped back to the sky, bare feet spread wide against the wind. Dripping wet, he glistened like a prizefighter in the porch light.
Logan turned and looked at Remy as he crossed the grass, soaked jeans hanging low on his hips, hand pushing his hair out of his eyes, grinning as he blinked with wet eyelashes. He looked so perfect right then that before he knew what possessed him, Remy leaned in and kissed Logan on the mouth.
When he pulled back, he saw shock in Logan's eyes, and then Logan's hand gripped the back of his neck and pulled. For a second he thought Logan was going to snap his spine. Instead, Logan's mouth closed on his and forced it open, and Logan's tongue slid into his mouth.
The whole world when white-hot bright, burning through his eyelids, and every hair on his body stood on end, and it took him a second to realize it wasn't the kiss doing that to him, it was lightning. Logan abruptly jerked away as the sharp crack of thunder momentarily deafened them, stumbling a little as he back-peddled. Remy looked around, momentarily stupefied, but he had to follow his arm, and his arm was going with Logan.
Logan dragged him toward the porch as the whole yard lit up like a strobe, hustling him through the door and into the house. They stood, shoulder to shoulder, and watched the yard turn to silver and shadow as lightning spiderwebbed through the darkness. The thunder was loud and instantaneous, the storm directly above them.
Logan flinched as the sky lit up again, then scowled. "I hate lightning."
As well a man with a metal skeleton should, Remy thought. "Have you everÖ?"
Logan nodded. "Once. Blew me right out of my boots. Ears rang for three days."
He noticed Logan didn't bother to mention how much it hurt. That was Logan.
The rain on the roof was a steady metallic roar now, but it didn't do anything to buffer the silence that suddenly reared up between them. Just when he was contemplating edging away from the door and pretending nothing out of the ordinary had happened, Logan spoke up.
"Maybe. . ." he said, then fell silent. He continued to stare out into the yard, but his gaze was unfocused. The look of a man who was looking inward rather than outward.
The screen door sucked back a few inches, then banged against the frame. Logan reached for the handle and latched it. When he turned and looked at Remy, a quick flash of lightning made him look like he was moving in stop-motion. It was impossible to read his eyes.
"I don't know."
Remy looked down at the puddle forming around Logan's bare feet. "Your jeans are wet," he said.
"So are yours."
They were in a one-room hovel in New Orleans, it was raining, and Logan was moaning and arching and digging his fingers into Remy's shoulder.
The bed was small and the sheets were wrinkled and they were both slick with sweat and rainwater, but it was wonderful. *Logan* was wonderful. Laid out on the damp mattress like a dream made of whiskey breath and dense muscle and teeth that dug into Remy's thigh until he whimpered. Four years worth of frustration poured out of Remy, onto the hard planes of Logan's body, and Logan didn't so much as flinch.
Sex with Logan was raw and brutal, all about impulse and desire and what felt good. He had absolutely no inhibitions, as far as Remy could tell. A theory he would happily put to the test, given the chance, but it probably wasn't wise to hope.
As he watched Logan prowl the room, still naked, still keyed up from the sex, he wondered just how many days they could stay here before Rogue came looking for them. How many potential inhibitions he could test in the meantime.
Logan scooped a glass into the icy water left in the cooler, drank, then scooped again and padded back to the bed. Remy shivered as a few frigid drops fell on his stomach and slid down his side. He took the glass and drank, teeth stinging from the shock.
The storm had moved on at some point, and the breeze coming in through the screen door was cleaner and cooler. The earthy smell of rain and sex hung damply in the room, but for once he didn't feel smothered by the heavy air.
Logan dug out one of Remy's cigarettes and lit it, grimacing at the taste. He handed it to Remy, who took a drag, then waved him off when he tried to hand it back. He fixed his eyes on the lantern and said, "What now?"
Remy, who had somehow assumed he was going to be the one to bring that up, lay back and contemplated the ash on his cigarette. A few moments of silence passed, during which he came up with zero answers.
"There's a swimming hole out back," he said, finally. "I could use a rinse."
Logan raised an eyebrow. "Any gators in that swimming hole?"
Remy grinned. "I don't know."
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