Author's Chapter Notes:
"You can't leave it there," they said. "I can't?" I said. "No!" they said.

Okay, so here's more.
Les Jeux Sont Faits

Seven days.

It took her seven days, and frankly Logan was about ready to crawl out of his skin. He saw Marie around the Mansion, but she was always surrounded by that gaggle of friends of hers. And the darting glances she sent him across the dining room and the way he could sense the shift in her scent whenever she passed him quit being a pleasant thrill and started feeling like Chinese water torture by about day three.

By day five, he'd figured it out. As incredible as it seemed, she was playing games with him.

He damn well wasn't going to put up with that.

The morning of day six, he headed for her room at six ack emma. The plan: give Marie a wake-up call she'd never forget, then throw her on the bike and take off somewhere more private for the weekend. Unfortunately, the plan underwent an unpleasant revision as soon as he opened the door.

She wasn't there.

He stood there for a good thirty seconds staring at the clothes tossed around on her bed and the bag she'd left open on the floor before it really sank in. She'd gone away, probably for the weekend, and she hadn't told him.

Logan ground his teeth and stalked back to his own room.

Clearly, he was going to have to rethink his strategy.

Nothing came immediately to mind. He supposed he could have asked someone where they'd gone-at breakfast, it was clear that most of the senior girls had taken off together-but the only thing he wanted less than to know he was losing was to have everyone else in the place know it too. So he settled in to wait her out. Two could play at that game, so to speak, and there were always things he could do to keep busy.

Like challenge anyone who'd take him on to hand-to-hand combat sessions, which pretty much limited him to Rasputin and Summers.

It was a sign of the unacceptable level of his distraction that both of them basically kicked his ass. Not that he was really trying-wouldn't be fair, after all, since by house rules neither of them used their mutant abilities and his were built-in-but on day seven, when he had to shake Summers' hand after getting pinned for the third time, his mood was definitely at an all-time low. He stomped back to his own room to take a shower.

A cold one.

There was something deeply disturbing about this much of his mental concentration being taken up by a nineteen-year-old girl. Which was undoubtedly why, after he left the bathroom, he got halfway to the dresser before he realized the girl in question was sitting cross-legged on his bed.

Christ. At least he had on a towel.

Marie's chin was resting on her clasped hands, and she looked up at him innocently. “Hi,” she said.

“Hi.” Logan reached toward a drawer. “Don't you knock?”

She slid off the bed and was at his side before he could get the jeans he was reaching for out of the dresser. “I wanted to talk to you.”

“Yeah? Be easier if you stayed in the same room with me.” She had him off-balance, all right, because he definitely didn't like the sullen way that came out. But her lips curved up in a smile.

“Sorry. There were some things I had to work on.” She caught his wrist as he started to reach into the drawer. “Wait.”

“I'm getting dressed before we finish this conversation.” He was taking back control of this situation, that was all. And the sooner the better.

“I can touch you.”

Okay. Screw the clothes. He stared at her for the space of a heartbeat. Then he reached out again, but this time it was towards her.

“Wait!” She stepped back. “Just listen. I've been working on this for a while, but I'm not that good at it yet. I have to concentrate-“

“So concentrate.” He didn't know what the hell game she was playing now, but she'd gotten his attention, all right.

“Logan…” She took a deep breath. “It's like this. I'm pretty sure I'll be okay touching you. But I don't know if you can touch me.”

He gave a short laugh. “You've gotta be kidding.”

“No. I'm serious.” She looked up, a little apprehensively.

“Cut it out, Marie. What's the difference?”

“If I touch you, I know where the contact is going to be. So I can focus on that. But it's different if I don't know where-“ She broke off, probably at the look on his face.

“I'll tell you.” He started to reach for her again, but once more she stepped back. “Jesus christ, Marie.“

“Look, the other night, you had your turn. I just want mine.” She stuck her chin up defiantly. “So here's the deal. Seven minutes, all right? I just need to be sure of what I can do. I haven't had much practice yet.”

Logan's mouth twitched a little. “Who exactly have you been practicing on?”

“None of your business.” She gasped a little as his hand snaked out and closed around her arm. He yanked her up and against him.

“Tell me.” And it better not have been that French thief.

“Kitty,” she admitted breathlessly. “It was Kitty, all right? Because she could phase out if I lost my concentration.”

“Did you?”

It hadn't taken her long to recover her equilibrium. Those wide brown eyes met his steadily. “Not in seven minutes, anyway. Is it a deal?”

He had to hand it to her. She was some piece of work. He'd known she had guts since the first time he'd laid eyes on her, and she'd never stopped proving it. He held onto her arm for a minute, just looking her over.

Nineteen. Damn.

“All right.” There wasn't much room between them, but he closed a little more of it. “What do you want me to do?”

“Just, you know. Hold still.” Her voice had gone a little breathy. “Like I did.”

“Okay.” But he didn't let go of her arm, not yet. She was wearing thin cloth gloves, not leather; he knew she stuck to those indoors because they weren't as hot, and she could feel more through them. Which he was counting on. Slowly he raised her hand to his mouth and pressed his lips against her palm.

She sucked in a breath at the contact.

Logan held onto her and moved his mouth up to the tip of one finger. He took the material of her glove in his teeth and pulled. He went down her hand, tugging at each fingertip of the glove until it was loose enough for him to draw it off with his teeth. He let it fall and finally let her go, holding up his own hand so she could see his watch. “Seven minutes. Starting now.” He put his hands back on the dresser. He had a feeling he was going to want the support.

Marie took a moment, apparently gathering and centering herself. Then she pulled off her other glove and brought her hands to his chest.

Nothing could quite have prepared him for the feel of her hands on him. Somewhere, over the last two years, he'd resigned himself to the idea that if-no, when this happened-it would be with barriers between them, with some necessary precaution to keep her from knocking him senseless with her mutation. Even though she hadn't yet done anything more than stroke her hands up and over the breadth of his shoulders, it was still more than he'd anticipated.

Marie's face was a study in concentration as her fingers moved over his body, lightly at first, then more firmly as she gained confidence. She glanced up at him. “You don't feel anything, do you?”

“Be more specific, darlin'.” She looked confused for a second, and then she smiled.

“You know what I meant.” More daringly, she leaned forward and kissed his shoulder. He had to look away as her lips moved over him, and then his hands tightened on the edge of the dresser as she darted her tongue out and over one nipple. He twisted his neck and she looked up at the cracking sound. “Remember-just relax.” And now her mouth and hands were both on him, and he could feel her breath against his skin coming faster as she explored his body. “God, Logan,” she murmured somewhere against his stomach. “You taste incredible.”

Now wasn't that just what he needed to hear? “Get on with it,” he gritted out. What had it been? Three minutes? Four? He glanced down at his wrist.

Just past ninety seconds. Damn it.

He heard her give a throaty little laugh. “You'd think I was sticking needles under your fingernails,” she teased, and began to work her way back up towards his neck.

“You wait till time's up,” he threatened. “I'll show you a thing or two about touch you haven't even imagined yet.”

Marie caught her breath and pulled away from him, just the barest fraction of an inch, and he saw her expression of shock and near-pain. “What's wrong?”

She pulled her hands farther back and didn't look at him when she answered. “I felt it-it was starting. I'm sorry, Logan.” Her brow knit and she looked like she was about to cry. “I shouldn't have-“

Logan let go of the dresser and caught her shoulders before she could move away. “Hey. It's all right. It was my fault for distracting you.” Trying to assert control, more like, and he schooled himself firmly against that particular instinct. “Sorry.”

She blinked back tears. “No. It was dumb of me to try this-it's too dangerous.”

“No it's not.” He gave her a little shake. “I trust you. You haven't killed me yet.”

She managed a weak smile. “Not for trying.”

“Yeah, well, it'd take more than that. Hey.” Logan waited until she looked back up, reluctantly. “I want you to.” He let go of her and put his hands back down. “Go on. Take a second and focus. I won't count the time off.” He was relieved when she laughed, and after a moment of concentration she timidly replaced one hand on his arm. “That's it. You can do it. I know it.”

Marie nodded, and that look of intense absorption was back. It took a few seconds, but her assurance returned, and she brought her other hand back up and ran it over his neck.

He held still and kept silent. This was something she needed to know she could do, he saw that clearly enough now, and he was furious with himself for pushing her, for trying to take over the game. Not that this was exactly a game, for all its playfulness, but he still hadn't been playing by the rules. He was just lucky that she apparently still wanted to touch him enough to overcome her fear of what could happen.

Her lips were at his shoulder now, brushing lightly over the ridge of his collarbone, and then she drew his head down so she could reach his neck, his chin. He hissed in a breath as her mouth closed over his earlobe.

“You can talk,” she whispered, and her breath against his ear made him shudder. “I'm okay now.”

If he talked, something bad was going to happen, because what was going through his mind definitely wasn't going to help her concentration any. Maybe she could do the talking, distract him a little from the way her fingers felt running through his hair. “How'd you figure out how to do this?” he managed.

“Later that night.” She moved her hand over his face, discovering the roughness of his unshaven chin. “Bobby asked why John didn't pass out when I touched him.”

Logan didn't quite follow. “That Pyro kid?” When in hell-?

“Oh-I forgot you wouldn't know. It was when we were at Bobby's house, in Boston. He was attacking the police, and I couldn't think of any other way to stop him, so I touched him. I held on way longer than I ever had before, but he just got dizzy.”

He hadn't realized she'd done that. That trigger-happy cop had fired, he'd gone down, and by the time he'd opened his eyes everything was in chaos and the Blackbird had been landing. He'd never asked what had happened.

“I'd never really thought about it. But then I thought maybe it was that I was focusing on everything else, on just figuring out how to use his powers and put the fires out .” She paused in her exploration. “That's when Kitty suggested I try it with her, because she could phase out if it wasn't working.”

He made a mental note to find out what Kitty Pryde spent her allowance on and buy her ten of them. “Don't stop. You still have four minutes,” he suggested firmly.

“Don't move.” Her hands were still on his face, and she brought her mouth to his in an almost-chaste kiss. It was pure torture not to be able to respond to those soft lips meeting his, but he held still.

“Kit and I played Seven Minutes later.” She kissed him again. “Your lips are-different.”

Logan lifted his head before he gave in to the urge to kiss her back. Have to let her take this slowly. “How long were you playing that damn game?”

She was back to his chest now. “Mmm-not that long. I only got picked one other time. Peter. He just armored up, I don't affect him when he's like that.” Her hands moved lower. “He didn't really do anything. I don't think he wanted to make Kitty mad.”

That was good, because he'd just finished finding out that Rasputin could take him in a fair fight. Then he felt her hands at the towel at his waist. “Wait a minute.”

“My time's not up. I can do whatever I want, right?” One hand closed over him through the towel and he choked back a groan. “Please?”

So much for taking it slowly. “Whatever you want,” he echoed, and she stroked her hand up over him before pulling the towel open, tugging it free and letting it fall to the floor. Then her hand closed over him again, ever so lightly.

“Wow. I didn't know-“ Her hand tightened and he felt a trickle of sweat roll down his neck at the amazement in her voice. “Is this all right?”

He cracked his neck again, because if he didn't release some tension somewhere- “Harder.” That was all he could come up with, if he didn't want to shock her again.

She smiled, naughtily. “Okay.” She took a firmer hold and stroked up and down with insouciant deliberation. “Like that?”

“Just like that.” He closed his eyes as she brought her mouth back to his shoulder, working her way down his chest and stomach as her hand continued its motion. Then he realized she was kneeling down.

No. She couldn't possibly intend to-but then he felt her lips at the base of his cock, and her tongue came out and worked against him; she trailed the nails of her other hand along the inside of his thigh. When her mouth closed over the tip of his shaft, he seriously thought he was either going to die or explode.

Seven minutes? He wasn't going to last sixty seconds.

The thought crossed his mind that he ought to stop her, that this was too fast, but he didn't have anything like that kind of self-restraint, not now. All he could do was hang on and try not to move, or to do anything unexpected, because she might stop…

Oh, christ. His brain was going in circles. She was being careful, he could tell; probably she wasn't sure how much pressure she could use, and he needed just that little bit more, but damned if he could come up with a coherent way of letting her know that without breaking her concentration. Then the hand she'd had moving along his thigh came up, between his legs, she cupped him in her hand as she took more of him into her mouth-

He threw his head back as pleasure overtook him, tore through him with the force of a freight train, the muscles in his arms and shoulders standing out in cords under the skin with the effort of holding still. She didn't let go, and he could feel himself pulsing under her hand for long seconds before she finally let him slip from her mouth.

Logan detached his hands from the dresser with an effort-he was a little surprised he wasn't holding handfuls of wood-and reached down to take her shoulders and draw her back to her feet.

Marie looked shy and smug at the same time, which was a pretty enticing combination. “Did I run over the time limit?”

Like he cared. “Where the hell did you learn that?” he demanded, and one side of her mouth twisted up into an absolutely wicked grin.

“I didn't. I just got technical advice from Jubes.”

He drew her closer; she was still dressed, but she got her hands out of the way as he pulled her body against his. “That so?” Add another name to his Christmas-card list.

“Yeah. This weekend. Crash course.” Now she was holding onto the dresser instead, and she shifted a little nervously in his grip. “Wait-let me just get my gloves.”

“Shh.” He waited a second until she relaxed. “Kiss me. Just focus.”

She nodded, and after a second she lifted her mouth to his. He moved his hands down to her waist as their lips met. He let her take the lead, but after the first few seconds he opened his mouth, nudged at her lips with his own. He felt her slight gasp of surprise, but she didn't pull back, even when he ran his tongue along her lower lip. Nothing happened, and he deepened the kiss a little more, not taking control completely, but enough bring them to a new level of exploration. As long as she knew what to expect-

It gave him an idea, and he reluctantly drew back and let go of her, before she could lose her focus and scare herself again. Marie's expression was caught between pleasure and astonishment; she was obviously amazed at her success. “Lift your arms.”

“What?” Now she looked startled.

“Just do it. Trust me.” After a second she obeyed him, and he stripped her shirt off over her head. She lowered her arms a little nervously, obviously resisting the impulse to cross them over her chest. He dropped the shirt onto the top of the dresser and held up one hand. “I'm not going to do anything without telling you, all right?” She swallowed hard, but nodded.

Logan reached out with one finger, letting her see what he was doing, and traced a line down one breast, over the bra she still wore. He felt her shiver as his fingertip ran over her nipple. “You like that?”

“Yeah. Logan-“ He'd brought his other hand up to cup her other breast. “Be careful.”

“Don't worry. You're doing fine.” But she tensed up as his fingers moved to the clasp of the bra, between her breasts. He used both hands to undo it, pulling it away from her body a little. Marie let out a little sigh as he released the clasp and shifted her shoulders to let him slide it off.

He just stared at her for a long moment, until she lifted her arms in an uneasy gesture, as if to cover herself. “What?”

“You're gorgeous.” A smile flickered over her lips and she looked away self-consciously. Logan held out his hand, palm up. “Here. You do it. Just pretend you're touching yourself.” Her eyes came back to meet his and he nodded encouragingly. “Just try it. It'll work.” It better. Because he was going to go stark raving insane if it didn't.

She reached up and closed her hands over his, turning it over as she gathered her concentration. Then she brought it towards her, and she knew what he wanted; she guided his hand down to her breast and pressed his fingers against the soft swell of flesh.

Logan didn't move. He let her do it all, waiting until she was confident enough to direct his touch wherever she wanted-it didn't matter to him, as long as it was working. He knew her belief in herself was still fragile, that any accident could set her back for a long time, so he made himself hold back while she explored the limits of her control. She watched intently as their entwined hands moved together over her breasts, along her neck and shoulder, and the only thing he was sorry about was that she didn't seem to be able to focus and take pleasure in the contact at the same time.

At least, not yet. But one step at a time.

Finally she brought his hand up to stroke his fingers over her face, and she kissed his hand before she let it go. “I'm sorry-I'm afraid it's going to slip, and-“

“Don't be sorry. You did great. Next time you'll do even better.” Her eyes lit up a little at that implied promise. He put his hands on her hips, where she was still safely covered, and brushed his lips over hers too quickly for anything to happen.

“Then there's gonna be a next time, right?” Unaccountably, she actually looked uncertain and nervous again. “I mean, with you.”

Nineteen. He had to keep reminding himself of that; she went so quickly from self-assurance to doubt.

He knew he was no good at explanations. He was just going to have to show her. He set her back a step and moved past her to the bed, stripping back the covers. “Come here.” She did, and he gestured towards the jeans she still wore. “Take it off. The rest of it.” He realized how dictatorial that had sounded. “Please, baby.”

“I want to, but I don't think I can-“ Logan shook his head.

“It won't be like that. Come on, darlin'. Let me see you.” He slid a finger through one belt-loop and tugged her a step closer. “Or just lie down and I'll do it myself.” He grinned when he saw a blush spread across her cheeks. “What're you, shy all of a sudden?” He gave another tug. “Come on. I want you in my bed. Now.” Natural dominant tendencies aside, he wasn't above using words to get to her, not completely, and it was worth shaking her up just to see the look of sheer desire that crossed her face.

“All right.” She stepped out of her shoes and her hands went to her waist to fumble with the zipper of her jeans; it took her a second, but she got them undone and shoved them down, finally revealing the long legs he'd only ever seen covered in leotards during workouts. She'd kept her underwear on, but he didn't mind. It gave him the chance to take care of that himself. He would have loved to have done it right then, but somehow he didn't think it was fair to expect that kind of control from her just yet, and he wasn't taking any chances.

He beckoned to her. “Now come on.” She sat down and scooted back, drawing her legs up onto the bed and wrapping her arms around them. “Go on. Lie down.” He reached for the sheet and shook it loose.

She got the idea, and lay back against the pillows. He took a moment to look down at her before he settled the sheet over her. She relaxed a little then, and he climbed onto the bed and knelt over her. “You all right?”

She nodded and brought one hand up to touch his face briefly. “Absolutely.”

“Okay. Your turn.” He lowered his head and brought his mouth down over her breast, through the sheet; she squirmed under him and let out a little cry of surprise as he used his tongue and teeth against her through the thin fabric, until he could feel the tight peak of her nipple through the sheet. He gave her other breast the same attention before working his way down her body. He bunched up the sheet in his hands when he reached her hips, giving him enough slack to feel for the ridge of fabric that still covered her. She lifted her hips up to let him slide the panties down her legs.

Logan held still, just taking in the scent of her for a moment, letting her feel the heat of his breath over her. He glanced up and saw that her eyes were closed. “Marie.” He waited until she looked at him before he kissed her there, holding her gaze with his own even as his mouth closed over her. She caught her breath at the new sensation, but didn't look away. He could taste her, even through the material, and he slid one hand down to urge her legs further apart as he teased her with his tongue.

“Oh, my god.” She arched her back and her head fell back again; he just focused on what he could make her feel. He wanted to hear her moan again, to feel her giving herself over to him the way she had before, and it didn't take him long to achieve that goal. It seemed impossible for her to hold any response back, and he couldn't get enough of it. That kind of control, he never wanted her to learn.

She was arching up against him even more now, and he gave her what she wanted, increasing the pressure and the rhythm, until he could tell she was on the edge and he could feel the muscles of those long legs tensing in anticipation. Logan slid his hands up to her hips and held her still for just one long moment, reducing the contact against her sex to the barest brush of his lips, waiting for her whimper of frustration.

He got it. He held her hips more firmly and brought his mouth down over her all at once, and her shoulders almost lifted off the bed with the force of her climax. He felt her twist under his hands, bucking against his grip, but he held on until the last tremors died away and she sank back against the pillow, breathing heavily.

He took his time working his way back up her body, giving her time to compose herself, but Marie still shook her head in regretful exasperation when he leaned towards her face. “Please-I can't. I'm sorry, but not right now. I'm too…” She sighed blissfully and reached up to skim her fingers over his cheek, where his beard protected him. “You're really good at that,” she said, with disarming frankness.

He grinned and settled himself beside her, pulling the sheet up over the shoulder nearest him. “Just wait. It gets better.”

“”It couldn't.” She sounded fairly positive there. “Thank you.” She turned her head and cautiously reached up for the briefest of kisses. Then she started to sit up.

“Hey. What do you think you're doing?” He caught her around the waist and pulled her back down. “You're not goin' anywhere.”

“Logan,” she said reproachfully. “I can't. Not all night. I'll fall asleep.”

“That's the idea.” But she had a point; there was no reason to push the limits. “You stay right there.” He rolled to one side and got up to go to the dresser. He found a t-shirt and sweats, and after a second's thought, he reached for a pair of socks-might be a little warm, but a small price to pay. When he turned back, Marie was propped up on her elbows, openly staring. He raised an eyebrow and she turned red again. He laughed and leaned over to pull on the sweatpants, and shouldered into his shirt as he walked back to the bed. She pulled the sheet over her face as he sat down to put on his socks.

“That was embarrassing.” Her voice was muffled by the sheet, and he leaned over her.

“You're cute when you're embarrassed.” He tugged at the sheet. “Hey. Come out of there.” She giggled, but let him uncover her face, and he used it as a barrier between his hand and her cheek as he stroked it gently. “Stay here.”

She made a little face. “Are you sure?”

“Yeah.” He touched the tip of her nose with one fingertip. “I'm not going anywhere either,” he told her, and was relieved to see understanding flood into those big brown eyes.

“Okay.” She burrowed under the sheet as he lay back down beside her, half-asleep already. He reached to turn out the light before sliding one arm around her waist again, and she sighed and snuggled back against him. “Logan?”


“I'm glad you decided to play.” The words were deliberately innocent, but there was a sultry edge to her tone of which he entirely approved. There were a number of suggestive responses that occurred to him, but he thought she deserved the last word. This once, anyway.

“Me too.” He left it at that.

Game over.
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