Title: Father Figure, an X-men Vignette
Author: Melissa Flores
Email: mistiec_flores@yahoo.com
Fandom: X-Men (movie)
Rating: PG-13/R, depending on what you're usin'. For bad language, and a bit of sexual content.
Summary: Logan's deepening feelings for Rogue hit a snag when he overhears a conversation with some revelations on how she might truly feel about him.
Genre: Fluffy angst. Is that an oxymoron? Logan/Rogue
Disclaimer: Not mine. No really.
Archive: This 'ain't Fatal Caress, it's brand spankin' new, so if you have my stuff already, and want to archive this, go ahead, but make sure it's not part of the Fatal Caress series. Anyone else, ask, baby!
Notes: Well, I'm working on the Splintering Touch, but it's hard to write two angsties in a row so I'm taking a small breather for a fluff fic. Hope you like.
For Nancy, who stayed up with me and provided instant feedback as I wrote this. And for Nickle, who gave me the lyrics and suggested I do something with them.

The Corrs
(The Corrs/Mutt Lange)

Go on, go on
Leave me breathless

The day light's fading slowly
The time with you is standing still
I'm waiting for you only
The slightest touch and I feel weak
I cannot lie
From you I cannot hide
And I'm losing the will to try
Can't hide it, can't fight it

So go on, go on
Come on
Leave me breathless
Tempt me, tease me
Until I can't deny this loving feeling
Make me long for your kiss
Go on, go on

And if there's no tomorrow
And all we have is here and now
I'm happy just to have you
You're all the love I need
Somehow it's like a dream
Although I'm not asleep
I never want to wake up
Don't lose it, don't leave me

So go on, go on
Come on
Leave me breathless
Tempt me, tease me
Until I can't deny this loving feeling
Make me long for your kiss

It was pissing him off. It was really pissing him off.

Logan hunched lower in the back of the theater, growling softly to himself as his eyes narrowed.

He received a punch on his shoulder. "Stop that," whispered the woman beside him in a Southern drawl.

His eyes averted to Rogue, who kept her eyes glued to the screen, every once in a while popping a kernel of corn into her mouth.

He hunched closer to her, growling roughly in her ear. "It's not driving you crazy?"

She shrugged, and just cocked an eyebrow, smirking. "Oh, relax. You're not their dad."

Logan was still for a moment just staring at her, as the screen illuminated off of her face, highlighting the graceful structure of her face. The perfume wafted off her neck, and he fought the urge to just inhale.

She gave him another look and suddenly flushing, he pulled back, hunching lower in his seat. "I'm the damned Adult. I should grab them both by their ears and drag them the hell out of this place."


He glared behind him into the darkness, but Rogue merely patted him again with one gloved hand. "You know the reason they wanted you to come Logan is cause you won't. You'll let them be. Come on. They're just kids."

"You're a kid, I've never seen you do it," he mumbled, and then immediately bit off his words. Ah hell. Well of course she never did it. She COULDN'T do it. Way ta go, Logan. He hunched lower, the back of his head now touching the seat, feeling his face flush bright red when the body next to him froze ever so slightly. "Ah hell, Marie I'm-"

"Shhh." She whispered, turning her attention back to the screen.

Damn it.

Logan swallowed, and crossed his arms, felt as she moved the knee that had been resting against his as she crossed her legs away from him. With the warm contact now gone, the area was frigid, and Logan felt another growl emerge without warning.

Shit. She was mad at him. Logan peered at her from the darkness, but the young mutant merely kept her eyes on the screen, her playful expression at her two schoolmates making out behind them with the loud smacks now gone.


He was a god damned idiot.

The only reason he had even agreed to accompany the mutant high kids was because the little southern girl with the little accent had come up to him and asked him to take them, that no one else could, and that she really wanted to see the movie.

What could he say to that?

He knew what he wanted to say to that. He wanted to tell his little Marie that he would rather get crushed under Magneto's thumb again, that's what he wanted to say to that.

And he leaned against the bike, glared at the kids who were standing ten feet away and prepared to say exactly that when Marie suddenly smiled, and then her eyes twinkled the way they had the habit of doing nowadays, and her hands were on her little waist, and she stared into his eyes, and she said with that little voice of hers, "Aw come on, Logan. I'll buy you popcorn."

And that was all it took.

Half an hour later he was juggling a tub of popcorn, two large sodas, some sour whatchamacallits and some nachos, which he managed to spill in the aisle. Which he also ended up buying.

And it was all because of little Marie.

But every man drew a line, and his was sitting in the middle of a bunch of whiny hormonal mutant kids. Upon them finding their seats, he had abruptly turned, and hidden in the back. Way back.

She had come in a few seconds later, and when she didn't see him, she turned, until she caught his eyes, as he grumbled in his seat, trying to look as disinterested in the trivia on the screen as possible.

Of course, finding out that Madonna's original sex photos sold for 50 000 was about uninteresting as you could get.

Still, when she had looked at him, and then rolled her eyes, with this hidden smile that made him think he wasn't fooling anyone, she grabbed the snacks and then moved away from her friends, sliding in next to him, and handing him his soda.

"Here," she said. And after a second, muttered, "Baby."

It had taken him the full ten minutes before the theater darkened before he had managed to keep the smile from emerging from his face.

It was stuff like that that made living like at Charles' Academy worth it. He could put up with Scott's snipes, Charles' lectures, Storm's little smiles, and Jean's meaningful attempts to "help" him understand himself as long as he felt at home.

And she made him feel at home.

He wasn't sure if it was the place or the people, but the past few years at the academy had matured his little Rogue, brought out her spark, made her smile and laugh and become like one of the team.

She was a sparkle, a magnet, an aura of life, and when he had come back, for reasons even he didn't know, he had found himself drawn to her. Not out of pity or the urge to protect, as he had the last time, but rather, a genuine need to be with her, spend time with her.

It felt different when he was with her. He had become more than her friend.

It had once, briefly, flickered through his mind that he stared at her a little... bit more intensely than was appropriate. Than his groin tightening at seeing her in a particularly breathtaking out fit or his heart thumping twice as fast when she drawled his name a particular way was maybe a little ... different than how he SHOULD be lookin' at a kid that was barely legal.

But hell. He was Logan, wasn't he? Damned if he ever did anything that was appropriate. And it wasn't like he ever let anyone see just how the smell of her hair or the feel of her touch against him affected him.

Course not. Because everyone loved Rogue spending time with him, they thought it was "sweet". They're friendship was "sweet". And if anyone knew that Logan was having less than brotherly thoughts like hauling her up against him skin be damned, well... sweet wasn't what you'd really call that. And Logan would be in the dog house. Literally.

So it was his own little secret. He kept his trap shut and just glared whenever some new boy would sniff around Rogue, and she would ask him what he thought and he would answer the same, always.

The boy was a) a wimp, b) a boy, c) a dick, or d) all of the above. Take your pick, they all worked, because the next day the boy would stop sniffing and instead walk around with this idiotic puppy dog expression on his face, and his little Marie would look up, smile, and come sit next to him. Her "friend".

Damn. He knew it wasn't the best thing to laugh when those things happened, but DAMN. It was always so damn satisfying.

Only Rogue had the guts to call him a baby, to punch his shoulder and wink and smile and laugh at him in a way that he knew made him feel like she was completely comfortable with him, that she trusted him completely, like she depended on no one else.

Damn that felt good. It had been disconcerting at first, but now... it felt damn good. He was special to her, and because of that little affection, he was willing to do things for her other people would have gotten clawed for in minutes.

He strongly suspected this was the reason it was often Rogue coming forward with that sweet smile to ask him to do things, with her friends ten feet away, too chicken to come closer.

He didn't mind. He had to admit, sitting back in a darkened theater, his knee and his shoulder brushing her warm body, pretending to watch the movie and instead watching her, was pretty damn good.

Until the damn hormone patrol two rows back had taken to pissing him off and made him act like an ass.

Shit, shit, shit.

He pursed his lips, lolling his tongue around in his mouth, and cocked his head at Marie.

Leaning forward, he gently whispered. "Hey."

"Hey." she answered, never looking at him.

"You going to be mad at me the whole movie?"

"I'm not mad at you, silly." And she rolled her eyes, and kept her eyes on the screen.

He sighed, leaning back, and then looking around, making sure none of his charges were watching before he began to demand Rogue's attention.

For the first few minutes, he acted like a twelve year old, doing what he imagined the little squirt Bobby was doing a few rows down to some mutant chick. He nudged her once with her knee. She nudged back. He elbowed her. She elbowed back.

Hmmmm.. Logan's eyes narrowed, and once again he looked around the room, making sure no one could see them in the darkened room.

What he was about to do could not only destroy his reputation as an asshole, but downright make him look like a pansy.

Oh well. Desperate times called for desperate measures, and he knew from past experience there was only one way to make her smile.

Damn. The beating on his pride.

Feeling a smile suddenly form on his face, Logan grinned, leaning his head gently on her shoulder. "Marieeeeee," he began in a whiny voice.

He watched carefully, knew the voice so unlike him that he made her smile, and her eyes met his for a minute before her head jerked back to the screen.

He felt the grin get wider, and damn it all if he wasn't feeling downright cheesy at the moment. Him. Logan. Kick ass Wolverine. Downright cheesy.

What the kid made him do was inhuman.

"Oh, Marieeeeeee."

A flurry of shhhhing came from behind them and suddenly a giggle bubbled up from Marie's lips and she clamped one hand over her mouth and one hand over his.

He quirked an eyebrow, but remained obediently silent when her eyes narrowed at him, his lips curled with laughter.

"Oh, fahn, you big baby," she whispered when the giggling subsided. "Ah forgive you. Happy now?"

"Yep." He grinned wolfishly, and she only rolled her eyes, resisting another giggle before removing her gloved hand from his mouth and letting it drop into his lap.

He looked down at it, and before she could move it, he smiled, and gently entangled the fingers with his own.

She gave him a startled look, but he only winked, sliding his other arm around her and bringing her close.

"Just bein' neighborly, Marie," he told her matter of factly.

She snorted, but said nothing, merely picked up a sour whatchamacallit and shoved it into his mouth.

"Eat this and watch the movie, Logan," she whispered, before leaning against him and turning to the screen.

He glared and chewed, the sticky substance making it impossible for him to speak unless he grabbed a drink, and his soda, naturally, was conveniently located just out of his reach, so that if he wanted to grab it, he'd have to release her.

He'd be damned if he was going to do that.

Instead he swallowed, grimaced, and pulled her closer.

Shut up and watch the movie, Logan. You'll get back at her later.

And just the thought made him smile for the rest of the feature.

She had pulled away as soon as the theater lit up.

He didn't mind... much.

They were after all, with her friends, and those kids had the mouths of talking hyenas. If they had seen their position, they would think...well... they'd mostly likely be jumping to the right conclusion.

A conclusion that could get Logan in very big trouble.

So he grit his teeth, waiting until the crowd subsided, and then looked up at Marie, who shivered just a bit.

"You okay?"

She shrugged, and mumbled, "Just a little cold now."

He watched her for a moment, and answered, "I know the feeling."

Her eyes met his and she blushed.

Swallowing, he shook his head and then shrugged off his jacket, gently laying it about her shoulders. "Come on, let's get out of here."

They were the last to leave the theater, and when the group of teenagers saw them approaching, there were a couple whoops and hollers that were immediately silenced when Rogue blushed and Logan glared.

"Let's go," he growled, moving past Marie and walking to the door.

"Now how come he's only nice to you?" he heard Kitty ask behind him.

He didn't hear Rogue answer.

He didn't ask for his jacket back and she didn't give it back.

The week after the movie had given him a lot to think about, and he didn't talk to Marie much at all, preferring instead to watch her from a distance, eyeing her, wondering what she was thinking and what to do about the situation that had become obvious to him.

He liked her. Hell he more than liked her. She had become a blasted obsession, and the fact that he was more than twice his age gave him very good reason to think he might have been a lecher.

'Cept he didn't' feel like one. And he thought that if something was wrong or dirty about it, that he might. It wasn't like he looked at any other of the squirts that way, and Rogue was an exception anyway, what with her mind fluttering about with all those memories and years that weren't hers.

It made him think maybe they weren't so different at all.

It made him think maybe he wasn't crazy.

And then it made him think he was absolutely insane.

She was a kid!

She was a kid, and he was old and she was young, and she was Marie and he was Logan, she had bad skin and he had bad claws, and the whole thing just didn't make sense.

He growled at her that night. She had given him an odd look, but he merely crossed his arms and glared. And just like her, she only rolled her eyes, and then slid on the jacket, and left, and suddenly he couldn't growl anymore because suddenly he was overtaken with the nicest, most pathetic feeling in the world.

It was possession. Deep down, in his chest that made him smile and smirk and hold his head high.

Because Marie had been wearing his jacket. And he could smell himself on her.

And damn. The thought pleased him, cause if it felt THAT good to have his JACKET on her, what about the rest of him?

And the thought made him smile, and it was that night that he decided to hell with the consequences; he wanted Marie.

He would have gone to her right then and there, but considering it was midnight, and Rogue's bedroom was right down the hall from Old One Eye, it wasn't the best of plans...

He didn't want to be toe steppin' the night he... told her stuff.

And maybe did... other stuff.

Damn. He was acting like a kid.

But he kept himself on his bed, and needless to say, he didn't sleep. Instead he sat and thought and growled and smiled so much he felt like a freak.

She made him so downright cheesy.

It was going to be the death of him.

But man. What a way to go.

The next day was Saturday, and on Saturday, Rogue was always the hardest to find because she spent the day with her little friends, and it was on Saturdays that Logan knew to stay away from her. Because on Saturdays she became one of the girls, and she would get all giggly and gossipy that he would cock his head and stare at her like she had grown a second head.

She knew that too. In fact that's probably why she did it. To drive him crazy.

He smirked. Of course the thought of her doing anything just for the purpose of driving him crazy was rather... flattering.

Even if she did act like such a ... GIRL on Saturdays.

He should have known to leave her alone on Saturdays, but he couldn't wait one more minute, and so he had looked for her, found her in the garden with her little girlfriends, and when she didn't see him, he paused, content for the moment just to watch, wanting to mark her face, ingrain it into his consciousness, before he dragged her off.

She was smiling, knees curled up against her chest as the young woman picked flowers and weaved them together, laughing and talking, and doing what woman who picked flowers and weaved them together generally did.


"So it WASN'T my imagination that Bobby was trying to get his hand up your-"

"SHUT UP, Jubilation," snapped a fiercely blushing Kitty. "And everyone heard you and that new boy getting it on in the back row, okay?"

"Oh him?" Jubilee rolled her eyes, and they all giggled.

"Well you sounded pretty into it, from where Ah was sitting," remarked Rogue, looking up, a smile of amusement on her face.

"You mean you were actually payin' attention to someone other than Logan?" was the tease from another girl.

The smile on Rogue's face immediately faded.

"That's right!" Jubilee's eyes lit up. "You two were looking a little cozy when I came up for air."

Rogue's eyes narrowed, and Logan felt himself purse his lips, carefully watching Rogue's expression, so far unnoticed by the group of chattering girls.

"Come on, guys," she muttered, her face now beet red, looking down at the grass, her hair now completely hiding her face. "Logan and Ah are only friends."

"Oh really?" Jubilee raised an eyebrow. "That's why you have his jacket on?"

"I have his jacket on because it's a good jacket," she mumbled.

"Rogue's got a thing for Logan," someone began in a singsong voice.

"Guys... stop it."

"Oh come on, Rogue. You dig him. Admit it."

"Ah don't..." her face snapped up, and her eyes flashed, making her pause and take a breath. "Look, even if I did... it wouldn't matter because... you know."

"Oh come on. You can get around that."

"He's OLD, Kitty."

Logan froze, crossing his arms. She thought he was old?

"Oh please. We see how he looks at you."

"We're friends." Rogue's face was beet red, and her face looked close to panic when she trembled, and finally snapped, "He's like a father figure, okay?"


She might as well as well have keeled him over with a touch, because suddenly Logan couldn't breathe. He only froze, his heart suddenly dropping and his frame frozen.

She suddenly shuddered, looking up, and suddenly she gasped when she saw him standing twenty feet away, an unreadable expression on his face.


He could only stare her, his chest heaving and his eyes narrowing, and his heart breaking, and suddenly he turned, ignoring her as she called for him to stop, walking fast, as far away from her as possible.

His body was tense... and his form angry and his eyes were wet and HELL no one ever made him want to fucking tear his eyes out the way she did right then.


He walked faster, deeper into the forest, and she followed him, he could feel her, he could smell her, and he didn't stop.

Until she began to run, until she grabbed her hand and swung him round.

"Logan, ah'm sorry!"

He whirled, eyes flashing, his voice gruff and his face livid. "FATHER FIGURE?! What kind of father did YOU have, Marie?"

Her lips pouted, her eyes moistened as she ran her hands raggedly through her hair. "Logan... ah... I didn't mean it! Ah mean, when the girls get together, and they start teasin'..."

"You say things."

"Yah... it just... came out. Ah just wanted them to shut up... it's embarassin'."

His eyes widened, and flashed. "I embarrass you?!"

Her head shook. "NO! Logan, that's not what I meant, Ah... just the teasin'... Ah hate it."

"So you tell them I'm old, and... a father figure," he blanched at the word, spitting it out in disgust. His voice lowered, and he crossed his arms, feeling the alloy at attention just under his knuckles. He was shaking, as he looked down at the girl/woman, her eyes wet and moist, pleading with him to forgive her.

But his heart... his soul... he couldn't...

"Is that what you really think?"

She swallowed, slowly shaking her head. "No. Logan it was just girl talk."

"So you lied."

"Ah didn't-"

And his eyes flashed and suddenly his hands lurched forward, pulling her toward him, pressing her body against his hardening one letting his desire suddenly flood through him, into his eyes, making her see everything he felt, punishing her for the wounded emotions raging through him.

"Does this FEEL fatherly to you, Marie?"

Her eyes widened at the feel of him against her, every curve pressed against her, his body writhing against her own.

His hands slid behind her, pulling her against him and she groaned, her eyes shutting closed, as she gasped.

Her hands involuntarily slid against his chest, pulling him toward her, pressing herself against him, her body shuddering when his face buried into her neck, protected by her hair.

"Logan," she gasped.

And he bucked his hips, and she cried out, sagging against him.

And his eyes narrowed, watching her, his throat full and his emotions raging. "Does it feel fatherly, Rogue?"

And her eyes snapped open, realizing what he was doing...

He was punishing her.

"Logan, let go," she suddenly breathed, pushing against him. "Don't... just... LET GO." And with a burst of strength, she pulled out of his grasp, her eyes flashing, and moistening, the tears beginning to fall.

And she held her arms over her heaving chest, her tears falling as he glared at her, the beast inside him still angry, the man suddenly wanting to pull her close, ask her to forgive him for the liberties, for the way he had just... taken her...

And she didn't say a word, merely backed away from him, almost stumbling, and then she ran, running from him so fast, so far...

She looked so much like a child, and watching her, Logan felt his chest heave, realizing that the feeling that he thought was supposed to come, the guilty, the dirtiness, had finally overwhelmed him. He had tainted it. Made it unpure... when her only sin was her acting like her age...


He stayed away from her. Too ashamed, too saddened and angered at his own loss of control to venture near her.

He knew she wanted him away from her. She never walked by his door, always stayed away from places he'd be, and his heart tore at the thought that she was angry with him... or even worse, disappointed in him... in who he was...

He was a beast, plain and simple, relying on his own instincts, to lash out when he was hurt, to bite the hand the fed him, cared for him, loved him.

He could have run. He could have taken off and no one would have said two words about it, because it was a Logan thing to do. A wolf thing to do. To run when it was hurt, when it was scared...

To stay away and whimper and lick his wounds.

But he couldn't bring himself to leave her. Not again.

Jean commented on his red eyes; he told her it was from lack of sleep. Storm commented on his loss of weight; he told her it was the extra exercise. Only Scott commented on Rogue's disheveled appearance; he told him to go screw himself.

He worked his ass off, the Danger Room his secret hide away. The rest of the time, he was in his room, on his bed, torturing himself over and over by remembering the feel of her against him, her lusty gasp as his body had taunted hers...

And God... she had felt so good.

And he had hurt her... more than he hurt her, he bet.

He was a bastard. And he had no idea what to do. Logan had never screwed up before. He didn't care about screwing up with women because there was never a relationship to screw, even if lots of screwing was involved.

Now there was no screwing and just her... and it was the best damn thing he ever had.

And he had really screwed it up.

And his heart lurched the next day, when he saw her talking to the new guy with the red eyes. It throbbed inside his chest when he paused, looking into the library to see her leaning into him, he whispering in her ear, a hand on her waist.

It had taken all his control not to go in and impale the guy right then and there.

And the tightness in his chest continued to build when he found himself looking for her, and always finding him with her...

And she was always smiling, and her smiles weren't for him, they were for the new guy.

And it was always that much harder to swallow, that much harder to stay away. He lay awake and he thought about ten thousand different ways to kill Remy, to bring his little Marie back to him... to beg his forgiveness... but of course he would never do that.

Logan never asked for forgiveness.... that just wasn't him.

Course Logan had never fallen in love before now.

And the tightness kept spreading, his eyes kept getting haggard, and one day, looking up, he had seen her, that damn guy with her, and she was watching him, her face beautiful and her hair perfect and her body smooth, her arms crossed, and there was a look on her face, that he had never wanted to see.

It looked almost like pity.

And he had bolted out of his chair and out of the room. That wasn't what he wanted from her. Anything but that. He'd rather she hate him.

He hadn't expected to see her that afternoon, not in the woods, where he had taken to run, his sweaty form taking the beating for his wounded heart and conflicted mind.

It had taken him by surprise when she turned the corner, eyes spotting him. He had frozen, was about to turn the other way when she called out.


He froze, turning back, almost afraid of her. Damn. He was afraid of a little girl... of his little girl.

He didn't say a word his chest heaving from exertion and anxious tremoring.

She ran forward, the white bolts in her hair catching the sunlight, and her face was softened, her eyes slightly moist as she cocked her head.


"Hey," he grunted.

Hell he was never a man of many words.

She swallowed, nodded, and then took a breath, pleading in that accent of hers, "Kin we talk?"

He should have said no. There was no way she would say anything he wanted to hear, not after the way he had seen her look at the idiot.

But her voice was soft, gentle, and God, how he missed that voice.


She smiled slightly, and then turned, sitting down on a log, looking up at him, her eyes gentle.

"Ah'm sorry. About before. Ah never meant to hurt you Logan. Ah just about died when Ah saw you standin' there."

He felt a lump form in his throat and he crossed his arms over his bare chest, looking away, feeling the aching wound inside him tear just a bit.

"Yeah... I... I'm sorry too."

She was quiet for a moment, and shrugged. "Ah... deserved it..."

"NO." His gaze was sharp, his voice husky as he almost glared at her for her conclusion. "Not you, Marie. You could never... deserve... I was an animal to you."

"You were hurt Logan. Ah hurt you." Her voice was soft, repentant, but he only growled, running a hand through his hair. "And yes you do have some... animal qualities, but... I wouldn't like you any other way."

He swallowed, not daring to look at her, his lips twitching.

There was silence between them, and suddenly Rogue's voice broke the stillness, her face suddenly smiling, her eyes suddenly bright, her tone bright and familiar. "So there's this new guy sniffing around."

Logan looked down at her uncertainly, felt his face drift down into the customary scowl. "Yeah?"

"Mmhmm," she drawled. "Cute with brown hair and these red eyes. Name's Remy. Seen him?"

"Yeah," the word was just above a growl.

"So what do you think?"

He gazed at her twinkling eyes, and almost smiled, knowing the conversation all too well. "I hate him."

"Really? Why?" her face feigned innocence. "Cause he's a boy, a jerk, and an idiot?"

"Take you're pick."

"Oh." she looked a little disappointed, and seeing the expression, Logan's heart heaved, and he felt another growl emerge.

"He's an asshole, Marie. You stay away from him. No one here deserves you, you got it? You just stay away from these men until you find something that can appreciate you, take care of you-"

"Logan," she began.

"KNOWS you. They gotta love you, Rogue. They gotta love you for you, for Marie, not just cause of your face or your body or your sexy little drawl-"


"But YOU. Inside. The little Marie who loves M&M's and darts and foozball and-

"Logan," she interrupted. He paused mid rant, and she cocked an eyebrow. "Shut up."

He was taken aback by the curt answer, and his eyes narrowed, glaring at the young woman.

"What?" he snarled.

"Just shut up." Her eyes were twinkling, her lips curled into a soft smile as she said it, and he felt himself suddenly glare at her amusement. "You're runnin' off at the mouth about stuff you know diddly about, and you're sounding stupider every second. Do yourself a favor and shut up before you make an even bigger fool of yourself."


"Ah don't LIKE Remy."

He stopped short. "You don't?"

A small gentle smile floated on Marie's otherwise mischievous face, causing an endearing expression that hinted of both woman and child. "Nah." She shrugged, smiling. "What can I say? I kinda am into older men."

He paused, his heart suddenly skipping a beat at the affection in her eyes. "You... I... DAMMIT." His loss of words made his tongue twist, and he found he couldn't keep himself from her eyes, her beautiful eyes that were shining so brilliantly.

She smiled, standing up, coming toward him, moisture sheening across her eyes. "Ah don't know what I'm offering Logan, but it sure as hell ain't a father/daughter thing. Ah have poisoned skin, and ... it'll be hard... but... Ah love you." He suddenly shuddered, his eyes shutting tightly and suddenly he slid his hands forward, pulling her against him, holding her tightly, feeling his body come alive when she slid her arms around him, her gloves sliding across his bare skin.

"Marie," he whispered, his voice husky, aching. "God, Marie."

"I know," she whispered, carefully keeping her face away from his skin, pulling back and looking into his eyes. "Ah know, Logan."

And his throat was too full to do anything else, other than keep her close, thankful, so thankful. And gently, he held her, not wanting to repeat the same mistake, wanting to be gentle, to love her, and revel in it.

He slid down, lowering her gently to the forest floor, the leaves tangling in her hair. His face was tender as he gently slid a hand to her bangs, plucking one of the leaves out.

"Not a father figure?" he asked in a coarse voice.

And she grinned, shaking her head as her eyes moistened emotion. "Want me to show you?" she asked huskily. And suddenly her gloves slipped down his chest, trailing a shuddering trail down his shuddering muscles. And he groaned, feeling so elated and alive and it was then that the possession slid through him.

She was his. She was his. She was his.

He wasn't even aware he had said it out loud until she smiled, almost tenderly, her fingertips reaching his face, tracing his lips.

"Nah, sugah," she whispered. "You're mine."

And he grinned, leaning down, pulling her closer as he answered, "Prove it."