I own nothing but my laptop...
He had been expecting the usual response. You’re standing, ‘no, but you could’, or ‘that line was a waste of breath’, so her reaction surprised him. He hadn’t actually meant it as a line, wasn’t actually trying to hit on her but was genuinely curious.
Not that he was against the idea of hitting on her.
She was gorgeous, Honey blond hair flashing brightly even in the dimness of the bar as it fell to the middle of her back. Vibrant hazel eyes that seemed to be a whirl of emotions. Her face was clean, smooth skin misted golden, lips full and pink. They were the pink that lips were, not the pink that lipstick was. She was tiny, short and petit with curves to suit but not overwhelm her frame. Jeans encased her legs and a plain long sleeve black shirt covered her upper body.
She stood out from the crowd but dressed as if she didn’t want to. Still, he’d lay money that she could stand out anywhere she went but in this room filled with whores and drunks, she was impossible to miss.
It was something else that prompted him to sit here though, and he wasn’t sure what. Just a niggling little sense that he knew her, once. He rarely got that, but if he had known her, how was she strong enough to leave an imprint when nothing else did?
Could always be his imagination. So he asked, blunt, frowning slightly at how much it sounded like he was trying to pick her up.
Sadness coated the air, making it hard to breath for a second, and then it was gone, so completely cut off that if he didn’t have the essence stored in his lungs, he would not have believed that it had existed.
He looked at her, knowing that she was where the smell originated, but her face was blank.
“You wasted breath on that one,” She said calmly, never looking at him as she lifted her beer to take another pull.
He watched her neck, stretching to a crescent as she tipped her head back; the skin smooth and perfect, muscles moving sleekly underneath flesh as she swallowed.
He shook his head slightly, wondering how watching her drink managed to be that entrancing, focusing on the fact that despite her words, the feeling that he knew her somehow was not fading.
She put the bottle down, expelling the breath her lungs had been forced to hold while she drank. Small delicate little hands pushed the brown bottle to the front of the counter, quick fingers wrapping around it to keep in from falling.
The bar tender waddled back over, grubby cloth in his hands, grabbing the bottle from the counter and stared down at her.
“Your cut off missy,” he said, flicking his grey towel at the sign behind him, “Ten drink max.”
The woman sighed, frowning, a slight sulk pushing at her lips as the bartender meandered away. She started to play with the bottle cap in front of her, blue and silver flicking between nimble fingers painted red.
Deep red; wine coloured. Pretty and feminine but not pink.
He appraised her again, but this time looking for something he hadn’t noticed earlier. She sat straight, her motel control excellent, voice clear and eyes sharp. And yet the bartender had said she had had ten beers. Not even the heartiest drinkers manage to down ten without some sign of drunkenness. Not if they’re human.
She braced the palm of her hand on the bar edge, swung her legs around off the stool and with a slight push of her hips, landed gracefully on her feet. No stumble, no stagger, no adjustment. Just smooth, cat like motions.
She started to leave, and he couldn’t think of anything to say to stop her from doing so, but she stopped anyways, foot hesitating. High-heeled black boots hovering over the ground, she turned back to him, her face soft and open.
“What’s your favourite animal?” She asked quietly, her quiet voice being all but absorbed into the screeching country music, and sound of drunken laughter.
He wondered at the question, but answered, “Wolf.” He said simply.
The beginning of a smile curved the very edge of her lip, and he got a flash of himself kissing it, as if he remembered doing so, but it faded as her face settled. Her smile was a mix of emotions, less jumbled than her eyes; sadness, fondness, and happiness.
He wondered why it was aimed at him. Why was she looking at him like that, did she deny knowing him, brushing off his comment.
“See you later wolverine.” She said, a forced smile quirking her face before she turned and walked back out into the cold. He watched her go, feeling the snap of cool air rush in to be absorbed in the warmth as she opened the door.
He turned to order a beer and stilled. Turning around sharply he looked at where she had left, a growl forming on his lips even though she was long gone.
He had said nothing about wolverines. He had answered wolves, and yet she had called him by his nickname.
Feeling frustrated, like another puzzle piece had slipped out of his grasp he turned back to the bar, hands falling solidly on the scratched surface as he called to the bar keeper, gruffly ordering the alcohol.
He needed alcohol. Not just because of the odd encounter, but the life that didn’t make sense and the stress of being part of a group that tried to save the world.
There was Jean too.
Pretty, smart and sweet Jean, engaged to a man as entertaining and attractive as a garden rake, and about as rigid. He frowned thinking about them, but the raw ache that had needed serious alcohol to sooth seemed softer somehow. Almost as if acceptance had settled, and he was fine with it, but there was nothing that had changed…
There was the mystery girl, but why would she be enough to get him over Jean, who he had been hopelessly stuck on for awhile?
With more questions and still no answers he told his brain to shut the fuck up and drink, once again wishing his healing was a little worse than it was. That he could attain the joys of inebriation as easily as everyone else.
Getting drunk in a worn down bar was a crappy way to spend Christmas Eve, but it did have a familiar feeling to it. Still, he had almost started to believe that his year would be different, not filled with cage fights and pool hustling.
But he couldn’t stay at the mansion. Sure Chuck had offered, but the kid had her new boy, and Jean and Scott were engaged. He needed to get drunk.
He still needed to stop thinking.
Raising his second beer to his mouth, his hand froze, some of the amber liquid dripping over his chin as he zoned out of his surroundings for a split second.
Smooth feminine laughter rang warm in his ears and he lifted his gaze to meet a pair of dancing eyes as she slid happily onto his lap, his hands clutching reflexively at her waist.
Swiping the beer with the back of his hand, ignoring the drops that had landed on his shirt he focused on the sudden memory. His memories were illusive, only being found when they came to him, but he had never had one like that before.
It was… happy. ‘Intense warmth spreading through your body, the world doesn’t get any better than this’ happy.
He absentmindedly rested his beer on the table, eyes shutting as he struggled to find that memory again. He wanted it so badly…
“Merry Christmas Logan,” a sweet voice, like warm honey falling on his skin, muttered, then weight on his lap shifting as she leaned in and then the sudden sharpness of blunt teeth capturing his earlobe, warm breath tickling his neck. His hands cradled a spine, pads of his fingers resting lightly on warm skin. She pulled back to look at him and his breath caught at the sight of bright green eyes, pupils wide like black velvet as they watched him.
He snapped out of his daze as the song on the jukebox shifted, a wave of anger rushing through him. Close on its heels was confusion. It was an appropriate time of year to get Christmas memories, but it hadn’t happened in the previous fifteen years so why today?
His mind flickered back to watching the girl slip from the bar early but he pushed that thought away, annoyed at the random interruption to his recollecting.
Quickly changing his plans he stood abruptly, pulling out a twenty and tossing it next to his barely touched beer. The edge of the bill fell in the condensation pool from the bottle, and he watched for a second as it absorbed water, ink darkening, before turning and heading out the way he came.
Cold air hit him like a wall as he stepped from the bar, and suddenly he wished he had more than just his over shirt. Especially since he had brought the bike.
It didn’t take long to reach his ride, his stride wide despite his height.
Sitting on the cold leather seat he grabbed the helmet from behind him, holding it in his hands to put it on, watching the green and red lights from the bar reflected mutely on the shiny black surface.
Arms wrapped around her warm waist as summer air rushed around them, cocooning them for seconds. His face rested at her neck, smooth gold skin crying to be kissed, strands of pale hair flicking back sharply into his face and going ignored. He watched fields go by in dark emerald lengths, a surge of recklessness rushing though him as he moved his mouth up behind her ear.
After all, she had started it…
Logan blinked, eyebrows lowering. He was starting to get worried about the flashbacks. They were pleasant as hell, but what if he got one while driving. It could cause…
He gripped her, fear and guilt settling fast into his stomach as the moment quickly shifted. They were flying through the air, a remarkable feeling of weightlessness, but he was panicked, rushing to move them before it ended. He curved his body around her smaller frame, holding her to him as they landed. His back slammed painfully down on the surface behind him; it was hard, unrelenting and gritty.
They slid with the motion of their fall and he started having trouble holding on to her, feeling the ground go warm and slick underneath him. He vaguely realized he was bleeding, badly, and would probably have a couple of broken ribs but he was too distracted to care.
… an accident. He wondered at that last memory. How could you be too distracted to care that you were injured. None of it was making sense; it was all fast and scattered. Like thousand of different sugary cookie batters, filling you so quickly that the pleasant faded to hurt.
Shoving the helmet on his head, feeling his rebellious hair fall under the plastic, he quickly started up the bike, wondering if he could ride out his sudden anger. He peeled out from the parking lot of the bar, a driver in an old beat up blue car yelling obscenities as he barely missed them.
The roads were empty, most people tucked happily away in at home with their families. He pushed the speed up, grateful for reflexes that allowed him to drive at dangerous speeds in dangerous weather. It was dark out, creeping up on midnight and it had been snowing for a while, the white flakes blocking out bits in front of him and making the road slick. His breath was starting to fog the visor in the helmet, so he breathed shallowly, cutting a tight corner as he took a small street to get back faster.
A car started to pull out of a drive way, screeching on it’s breaks as it saw him, tires protesting against pavement that had been kept dry by the back of the car. He ignored the loud horn; a rude gesture in a residential area, and tried to shake the echo of a tire squeal he wasn’t sure was from the car behind him.
The blocks whipped past as he went highway speed on city streets. He cut the gas, and put his foot down as the bike swung in a wide arch, a pile of displace snow coating one side of the wheels. He twisted the key, jumping from the bike and dropped the helmet back down on the back. A nice guy would take the motorcycle in on a night like this, but it was Scott’s.
Another little jab accomplished, he smirked slightly as he jogged up the stairs, not having the patience to go one at a time, counting the door ways along the dingy motel as he fished for his keys.
Finding them, which wasn’t too hard in tight jean pockets, he pulled them out, shoving them into the lock of his room, which could be picked or broken in a matter of seconds, and stepped inside.
He kicked off his boots and shook to dislodge snow from his body, the slight sound of his dog tags knocking breaking the stillness of the room. Pulling of his over shirt, he padded silently across the room, dropping to the bed wondering if he would be able to sleep at this hour. The bedtime hour for 12 year olds.
He threw the shirt toward a chair in the corner, and slipped between the sheets, replaced since this morning. The place was a crap hole, as many motels are, but the laundry service was decent, and the walls were thick enough if you weren’t stuck with above average hearing.
Trying to ignore the racket coming from three rooms down, which was harder to do with the prostitute was being extra noisy to assure her client of his manliness, he shut his eyes.
It took awhile, but eventually the boredom allowed him to drift off.
He was afraid. The fall wouldn’t kill him, and then she would know. She had always trusted him beyond reason, something no one else had ever done, but he had been too scared to tell her and now she would know.
Know that he was some kind of freak, and that he hidden it from her.
The blood was running faster, almost all the skin on his back gone, and he was getting too tired to be afraid. He knew he should be; things worse than death awaited, but he was just…
He needed to tell her, he forced himself to mumble words ,and could only hope they were the right ones.
… why was she crying? He wanted to make it better but… why was he so tired… warm and sleepy… he should just…
…his eyes flickered, and he could feel the skin on his back knitting painfully, pushing pieces of rock out as it worked. He looked down, wincing in the glare of the sun, and saw her lying across his chest, soaking his shirt with tears.
The fear came back full force then, and he raised a shaking hand to runt through her soft hair. She started, looking up at him with wide hopeful eyes, the edges red as they continued to overflow with tears.
And all he could do was hope she didn’t hate him.
She came in quietly, but his hearing picked up every move, from her feet as they came down the hall, to the metal of the key as it grated into the lock. The door pushing the berber as she swung it open. How her breath caught for a second, even her heart stilling, as it did every time she entered. Then her light weight as she tiptoed across the room, her bag landing quietly on the carpet, and the rustle of something she carried.
His eyes opened, and immediately fixed on her. First her eyes, he always found her eyes first, and he noticed that today they seemed happy, but slightly nervous. His gaze moved to her face, looking for marks, and relief flowed through him when there were none. First inspection over, he noticed something very different about her.
Tiny pleated skirt, green with sliver slits that showed as she moved. A body-hugging shirt, the letter H proudly displayed across the front in shining silver. In her hands were two bundles of plastic strips, same colours as her outfit, which explained the rustling noise.
It was a uniform.
“What do you think?” She asked nervously, pulling at the hem of her skirt and biting her bottom lip.
He blinked, really trying to manage to put words together but it was a shocking thing to wake up to. His gaze swept over her again, noticing details. Golden hair forming a silk sheen as it was pulled tight against her head; ponytail swinging behind her. Skin bright with enthusiasm and excitement. The necklace he had given her resting just under her collarbone, colour matching the outfit, and highlighted by the V-neck line on her shirt. Clean white tennis shoes, and matching ankles socks looking bright against her skin as she rolled her ankles in a nervous habit.
Nervous habit caused by being stared at.
“You, ah, made the squad?” He asked stupidly, his eyes flying back to her face as he mentally reprimanded himself.
She nodded happily, bouncing over to sit on the bed, grabbing his discarded shirt from the back of the chair and tossing it to him.
“Assistant Captain.” She said proudly, but he could see she still waited for approval, fingers twitching at her ankles rhythmically, as she sat cross-legged next to him.
“Congratulations,” He said, smiling slightly at her, rewarded with an astonishing 100-watt Buffy smile.
She ducked her head abruptly, her cheeks colouring at the blatant display of pride, and she pushed a non-existent strand of hair behind her ear, fiddling with the hoops when she had nothing else to do.
“I’m proud of you,” He said seriously, and she smiled again, a softer but happy smile. His eyes finally caught site of the clock and widened in surprise. It was 3:32. She would have run here directly after school, not stopping to gossip or celebrate with her peers, or notify her parents for a chance at their infrequent approval.
For a second he felt bad, wondering if he spent too much time with her, taking her away from the people she should be with.
“Will you help me practice?” Buffy asked, looking up at him.
His eyes caught hers and his worries were pushed back. He nodded, sitting up and pulling on yesterday’s shirt, standing to follow her as she bounced from the room.
He watched her and her friend, feeling like a dirty old man as they walked, chatting along the road. He had been drawn back here, needing to see her, the absence overwhelmingly painful all the time.
He had chosen right when he went away, looking at her, bright and happy, finished her first week of collage.
He had made the right choice, even if it hurt him.
She was still beautiful, growing into a young woman. The puppy fat had fallen away, and her eyes sparkled with a quiet wisdom. He could see an unconscious fluid grace in her movements, but they were backed by a comfortable sense of power she didn’t use to have.
They entered a coffee shop, the espresso pump, still chatting animatedly, and he wished he were there with her. That he knew what interested her these days, and who her friends were.
If wishes were horses…
Not that platitudes were helping.
He drank in the sight of her, and turned to walk away, slipping back into the shadows of small town alleys. Suddenly a sharp pain ripped through his body, and he looked down to see his stomach pulsing with electricity. His eyes followed the line to people dressed in military gear.
With a last thought of ‘why’, he fell to his knees as the pain overwhelmed his consciousness.
Logan snapped up in bed, taking a second to remember where he was, and checking his body for the conducting pins. When his mind finally caught up to the difference between waking thoughts and dreams, he settled back against the headboard, moving his body up the bed.
Those memories were like the ones he had been having earlier. More complete than most, but still not a whole story. They had all been almost happy, but overshadowed in someway with a lurking disappointment.
Or electrical shock.
Pushing the question of ‘why’ away again, he focused on the girl. Each dream fragment had starred the same girl, each time a little different. Blond hair. Gold Skin. Petite. Green eyes.
The last part didn’t seem right, and his mind ran back through the things it had recently remembered until he found what didn’t jive.
Brown flecks, in the memories her eyes had had brown flecks. In some they had been almost invisible, and in others equal to the green.
He couldn’t remember her face, but he had the feeling he should know her, as if he had seen her recently.“What do you think?”
The words echoed back through his mind, and he felt like cursing himself as he recognised the voice. It was distinct, and alone should have made the connection but when added it to the massive physical resemblance made him feel like hitting his head against the wall.
It did, however, explain why the memories had been triggered today.
That mysterious girl from his past, that he could remember loving beyond all reason, was the same girl he had watched walk away unknown.
The girl in the bar.
Wasn't going to post it because I'm not as fond of it as I am of Blue bottle, but I'm giddy on reviews and can't be responsible for my actions until after that dies down :)
This was written around the same time, and I didn't have any plans for making it better so I posted it as is, and hope that its not too disappointing. Even if the tenses jump like drunken crickets.
Please review (and hopefully constructively instead of simply just dousing it in gasoline and setting it ablaze)