Deathwish, everyone says. Which is funny, because they all know just as well as she does by now that Logan won't let her die.
He's in the cheap hotel chair by the window when she comes out of the bathroom.
"Did you shower?" He knows she didn't--he would have heard it--but that isn't the only reason why it's a strange question.
"Take a shower."
She doesn't want to, really. She's tired and she doesn’t much care that she's dirty and bloody. They won't spend the whole night here anyway. They never do. He'll sit by the window while she sleeps and then he'll have her up at dawn, heading for home.
Home. God, she hates that place. Hates it because he knows he can always find her there, and it hurts so much that he seldom bothers to.
He doesn't look at her. This is what he does when he's angry--punishment the only way he knows how, or can. He denies her himself. Won't look at her or talk to her.
She hates living like this, caught in this limbo where she's nothing to him that she wants to be, only what he lets her be. Where she's trying so hard to keep him in her life while he's shutting her out of his one door at a time. Closing her into a box.
He only sees her now when he has to. She gets herself into trouble, he shows up and saves her. She wonders if he even cares, or if it's just a habit.
She's on the bed, wrapped in a towel, trying to untangle her hair with her fingers when he comes out of the bathroom. He's wearing only a towel. Showers for both of them. This is new.
He grabs her arm, turns it, looking at the bruises. Doesn't ask before he touches her, just assumes she's got her mutation turned off. Sometimes she'd like to let loose on him, just once, because she's so damn tired of how sure of himself he is around her.
He tilts her chin with his fingers, looking at the cut on her lip.
"Take a little," he says, and for the first time all day he doesn't sound like he's annoyed with her.
She only takes the barest bit, lets her mutation nip at his fingertips, a hot shimmer-burn of power that her body recognizes and takes in eagerly. She concentrates, wanting only his mutation, not the more intimate things that come with it. She doesn't want to know what he's thinking.
There was a time when she lived for this, these chances to see inside his mind, to know the things he so desperately kept from everyone else.
To know how much he longed for her.
It was a shock the first time she realized he wanted her, and she'd been naive enough back then to believe it was a dream come true.
Dreams don't come true.
He didn't want her to know, and the fact that she did only made him angry. Her initial joy turned to bewilderment, and then grief when he made it clear that her knowing didn't change a goddamn thing.
Oh, but it did, Logan. It did.
It ruined everything.
She can feel it less each time. Less love, less wanting, less tenderness. Maybe he's tamping it down in some corner of his brain, or maybe it really is fading on its own, and that's why he doesn't act on it. Maybe he knew all along it was only temporary.
Or maybe she's killing it in him.
And maybe she's doing it on purpose. Maybe somewhere in her mind she knows it'll be easier to live without him if he really doesn't want her.
He runs his thumb over her healed lip. "Better?"
"Good." He tips her face up as he towers over her, pushing her down onto the bed with his body as he forces his tongue into her mouth.
She's so shocked that at first she doesn't do anything, but he doesn't stop. Just yanks her towel away and settles his body on top of hers. That's when it's real. He's naked and she's naked and this is going to happen. After all this time, it's going to happen.
And a little voice in the back of her mind that she can't quite ignore asks, "Why now?"
She breaks the kiss and looks at him, and there's something in his eyes she doesn't like before he looks away. He closes his eyes and dips his head to her breasts. His hand is pushing her legs apart, and it feels good but it's not romantic at all. It doesn't make her feel light-headed and breathless the way she used to feel when his emotions would flow into her and make her ache with the want of him.
Everything is going so fast, and his mouth is hard and sharp.
So long she wanted this, and now she just wants it to be different.
He pulls away, up onto his knees, and reaches over her head. That's when she sees his wallet on the table next to the bed. He must have put it there while she was in the shower. Taken it out of his jeans before he went in there himself.
Take a shower, he'd told her, and she realizes he planned this, he knew all along they were going to do this. Maybe even while he was ignoring her in the car, and not saying a word to her over carryout dinners.
She looks at him, questions forming in her mind, and he does a near-perfect job of pretending he doesn't know she's watching him. Pulls the condom out of his wallet and slides it on. The smell of latex and spermicide almost makes her gag.
She puts a hand on his chest as he looms over her, and he pauses, just for a second. Then his head drops down to the crook of her neck and he's completely inside her all at once.
She wants to scream, she wants to cry, she wants to forget that he's breaking her heart. And forget that even as he's doing it, she still wants him, and responds.
His thrusts hit all the right nerves and she grinds against him as he moves, clutching at his back. She's got pent up desire to spare when it comes to this man, and that's all that matters to her body.
In some ways, it still feels like a victory.
She makes a noise that could be one of anguish or pleasure, and this time he really does look at her. Like he's daring her to enjoy it.
And that voice keeps asking, "Why now?"
Maybe she says it out loud, she's not sure.
"Isn't this what you wanted from me, Marie?" he hisses through clenched teeth. "Isn't this what you want?"
God, yes. And please, no.
He shifts between her legs, pushing her toward release. She arches under him, closing her eyes so she can't see his face. Can't see what isn't there.
Her control slips when she climaxes, and she gets a quick flash of his lust and the twisting tension of his building orgasm before she's flooded with anger and bitterness. She can feel how badly he just wants her to leave him alone, to not want him. To stop needing him, to stop loving him. To stop *controlling* him.
No matter how much he stays away, she still controls him, without even trying.
He wants her, but more than anything he just wants to be free of her.
He's totally silent when he comes, going completely still on top of her as every hope and fantasy she's ever had about him sinks like a stone in her heart, and she wishes she could drown with them.