Temptation Bound: Part One
Title: Temptation Bound: Part One
Rating: NC-17 overall for sexual content and violence, but this part is G-rated.
Summary: Another take on how Logan and Marie get together.
Archive: If you have the others, you can take this one.
Disclaimer: I don’t own them and I don’t make any money off of them.
Feedback: You can contact Ransom via her LiveJournal
Warning: Future installments of this story are going to contain references to an underage girl and a grown man having a sexual relationship. If this squicks you, please do not read.
Notes: I abandoned this story quite some time ago, partly because I was starting to squick myself LOL. But recently a little bird whispered in my ear about something that happens later on in the story, so I decided to start posting it.
Date Completed: May 29th, 2002
Temptation Bound: Part One
The damn kid had no sense.
That was the only explanation. Why else would she pick him??
Of all the rough characters in the world, she took a liking to him.
And damned if he knew why.
The kid had no sense.
Someone was hovering just outside the small ring of light the campfire was throwing into the clearing. It was chilly, one of the first nights so far that he’d enjoyed basking in the warmth of the fire as his dinner bubbled and burped above the flames.
A warm fire, a hot meal and a cold beer. Twelve cold beers, actually. It'd been looking like a nice, peaceful evening.
And now there was someone hiding in the trees, watching him. It was irritating.
“Might as well just come on out, I know you’re there.” He didn’t say it to be friendly, and his tone conveyed that. Little did he know that wasn’t going to matter, now or in the future. He’d already been chosen. He just hadn’t figured that out yet.
Enough noise to wake the dead. Christ, it sounded like an entire fuckin’ army was crashing around in the underbrush out there. He rolled his eyes and leaned forward to stir the stew in the cast iron pot. Good meat, not cheap. Lots of potatoes, carrots and onions. It was almost ready.
The noise reached a crescendo right before the army finally stepped into the clearing.
Not an army. A girl.
A young one. Jailbait, it looked like. Huge eyes, tangled hair, dirty clothes.
Wonderful. Just wonderful. If there was one thing Logan already had no shortage of, it was trouble.
“Hi.” She said it as confidently as she could, which was a good deal more confident than she looked. A little shy, a little uncertain, a little wary. But not at all afraid.
Well, wasn’t that just a kick in the ass?
He leaned back against the huge log that was serving as his backrest and took another drink from his beer. Looked her over, taking his time in his appraisal. She stood silently and let his eyes roam over her. Tried really hard not to stare at his dinner.
The first thing he noticed was that she was a mutant. Which probably explained the whole orphan-chic thing she had going. She was wearing a hooded sweatshirt that had seen better days, two or three t-shirts, a dirty pair of jeans. A pair of gloves, peppered with holes. Sturdy boots that were, as far as he could tell, her wisest clothing choice. She was carrying a backpack on her shoulders and an impressive set of dark circles under her eyes.
Well, enough of that crap. Time to find out what the hell she was doing here.
“Whaddya want?” His brusque inquiry snapped her attention back to him, reminded her that there was something else in the world right now besides steaming beef stew.
She shrugged, looked away, shifted uncomfortably from one foot to the other. Then her stomach, apparently frustrated with her reticence, took it upon itself to answer the question by growling loudly. Those big eyes wandered back to him, but he spoke before she could.
“You’re hungry.” Not a question.
She nodded again, had the nerve to look hopeful. He sighed and moved over, made room for her next to him, waved her over with one hand as he reached to stir the stew with the other.
She wasted no time in taking him up on the offer, plunking her overstuffed backpack down between them. Not an entirely accidental placement, he assumed. Still not scared, but still wary. The backpack was a good sized one, with a metal frame and a sleeping bag strapped to the bottom. She settled next to it, cross-legged. Looked up at him with huge dark eyes, looked at him like he was her goddamn hero for offering her a hot meal.
He filled a plate and handed it to her.
She accepted it with a grateful look. “Thank you.”
“Don’t thank me ‘til after you taste it, kid.”
She ate more than he did. Three huge servings of the stew, which was damn good even if he did say so himself, and half the loaf of bread he’d bought to sop it up with. Drank two bottles of water along with it, the only beverage he had besides beer.
He ate silently, filling her plate again and again without being asked. Once he got a good look at her, saw how thin she was, he couldn’t begrudge her the food. It had evidently been a long time since she’d had a good, solid meal.
She wasn’t healthy. Mixed in there with all the other things that made up her scent was the distinct odor of the human body fighting off illness. It was fading, indicating that she was over the worst of whatever it was, but it was still there.
He waited until she had eaten her fill before he tried to make her talk.
“How long you been out here?” He pulled a cigar from his pocket, prepared to light it.
She reached into one of the pockets on her backpack and pulled out a tiny calendar, the kind gas stations gave away for free. She looked at it, frowned. “What day is it?”
He reached for the stick he’d been using to stoke the fire, brought the bright red glowing end to the tip of his cigar, puffed on it a few times until he was sure it was burning properly. Used the time to recall what day it was. He’d been out here a few days himself. “Wednesday,” he finally answered on an exhale.
“No, the date.” She reached into the backpack again, produced a pen. It was pink and sparkly and had some kind of cartoon on it.
“The thirteenth.” He prodded the fire with the stick, puffed some more, watched her out of the corner of his eye.
A pause as she scribbled on the calendar, evidently crossing off days. “Three and a half months, then.”
That took him aback. He’d thought she looked pretty rough, pretty bad off. Like a young city kid would look after a couple weeks. Three and a half months? She looked *good* for three and half months. How she'd survive the tail end of winter was a mystery.
She was putting the calendar back in her bag, zipping it up. “I got sick a few weeks ago. I kinda lost track of what day it was,” she said by way of explanation, looking a little embarrassed by the admission.
He nodded. He knew what it was like to come to your senses one day and have no idea how much time had passed. He’d once lost a lifetime that way.
“How old are you?” He didn’t want to know, he realized after he asked. But he had to know. A look came over her face, the look of someone who is preparing to give an answer that is untrue. “And don’t lie to me.” He gave her a hard stare, just so she’d know he wasn’t fucking around about that.
She swallowed, seemed to shrink back from him a little bit. “Fifteen.”
Aw, hell. Fifteen. Fif-fucking-teen and probably being looked for by every state trooper and convenience store clerk from one of end the country to the other.
“Your parents lookin’ for you?” A father with a shotgun, maybe?
She shook her head. “No.” She said it softly, and he believed her. Knew without a doubt that there were no parents to look for her, and that was probably why she’d run. “I’m on my own.”
Her voice and her body language and her scent told him everything he needed to know about how she felt about that fact. It was very similar to the way he felt about it. Like it had been a relief at first, but wasn't so much that way anymore.
He let her clean up in the camper's bathroom, after warning her about how tiny the water heater was. She opted for a bath anyway, from the sound of it. The half-tub wasn't nearly big enough for him, but she probably fit just fine. He approached the narrow door that divided the bathroom from the rest of the camper and could practically feel her stiffen on the other side, wondering what he was going to do. Still, she smelled better already. Cleaner, and also happier.
“Hey, you got clean clothes to wear?” No use putting dirty clothes on a clean body.
"I can give you something. A shirt or something."
He returned to the door a minute later with one of his flannel shirts, the cleanest one he could find. It was probably big enough to fit her like a dress. It’d do. “Here, you can wear this,” he called through the door. It opened a few inches and a hand snaked out to take it from him.
When she came out, shy and slightly embarrassed in the shirt and a pair of socks, he gestured toward the bedroom at the other end of camper. "You can sleep in there." She looked toward the bed, then back at him, then back at the bed. "I was gonna sleep out by the fire anyway, " he added, aware of what she was probably thinking. He preferred to sleep outside when he could anyway, so it was really no hardship. She could have the bed.
"Are you sure? I can sleep there," she said, gesturing toward the couch with the ball of dirty clothes she was carrying. Her other hand pressed the shirt against her thigh in an attempt to keep as covered as possible. It was kind of cute.
"Nah, you take it." He waved a dismissive hand to show that the discussion was over. She'd get extra points if she took the hint and let it go.
"Okay." Good girl.
She turned and headed for the bedroom, hand creeping around to hold the shirt down over her butt, and he almost smiled. Her legs were thin and pale. The palest skin he'd ever seen.
She paused in the doorway and looked back at him.
"What's your mutation?"
Surprised her there. "How—"
"Got a sharp sense of smell 'cause a mine," he said, tapping his nose once with a finger.
Her eyes got wide. "Oh." He could see it, some of the wariness dropping away. One less secret she'd have to keep.
"My skin. It's—it hurts people if I touch them."
"I don't know, exactly. It's hard to explain. It's like they—like I take them into my head or something. Their thoughts and memories. And if I touch another mutant I get their power. Not forever, just for a little while or whatever."
"Huh." He'd never heard of a mutation like that. Pretty shitty one, if you asked him. "Alright then. G'night."
He took his sleeping bag outside and settled near the fire. As he took off his boots, he thought about her mutation. As unfortunate as it was, it made him feel a little better. If the girl couldn't be touched, no one could accuse him of doing anything to her he shouldn't be. It would be okay, he thought, to maybe help her out some, give her a chance to get her strength up.
All the same, a grown man traveling with a teenaged girl was still a pretty questionable situation. Maybe it'd be better to send her on her way tomorrow.
He lay there in the dark, listening to the dark sounds of the woods around him, wondering what the hell he was going to do now.
End Part One
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