DISCLAIMER: I'm borrowing Marvel's characters
to do to them what the books never would. Take that how you will ...
And if after you've read this you think I'm a li'l crazy or somethin'
... Well, then I've done my job. Enjoy.
DEDICATIONS: This was inspired by a fic
of a very fucktaculous writer – the one and only DuAnn Cowart. To
tell you the name of said fic now would give too much away, though,
so ... She knows which one it is, so that's all that matters, I figure.
J Thanks much! And, oh yeah – more JLIG!!
And to Lynx for read-overs and such, I gotta give
my thanks. Always encouraging. She's a right bastid. ;)
Not that You'd Have Noticed
I have no idea what I'm doing with her. None.
I can't even remember how it started – it just did. And I doubt anyone
would believe me if I were to tell them that we were together unless
I had footage, and even then there would be a hell of a lot of suspicion.
Not that I would get a recording and show it to anyone. I happen
to like breathing very much. I have no doubt whatsoever that she would
at the very least kick my ass, 'cause that's just the type of person
she is – and part of the attraction.
She's ... intense and amazing and unbelievable and almost everything
I would have thought she was from afar. An image or an epitome formed
by bits and pieces of information gathered over time, wrapped in mystery
and made only half opaque by sight. We lived in the same house and
I hardly even knew her.
I loved that about her.
Crazy as it might sound ... I might even love her. Or maybe just
the idea of her – which I could probably learn to live with. I don't
know. It's all so weird. That's probably why I don't think on the
'why' of things so much as the 'when' and 'where' and 'how long' of
things, if you catch my meaning...
A couple of weeks, I think it's been. Since we started meeting. Quick
and fast – that's what I mainly remember. And me being just ... Blown
out of my mind? Utterly shocked? Because, she'd started it
and I had no idea what was going on until it was too damned obvious
to be missed.
I asked her right after the first time what it meant - why
it'd happened. She'd just looked at me for a moment with that cool
gaze of hers that I had never been able to figure out before and said,
"If you don't know, Robert, then there really is no point in my telling
That was true.
I figured it was a one-time thing – if anyone had known what had
happened, they would have thought the same thing. And probably have
been more shocked than I was that that wasn't the end – that there
was definitely more to come.
Not that I knew that after that first time during a late night
Danger Room session, there was going to be more. The next morning,
I thought it was all a dream or something. I mean, _me_ in a late
night Danger Room session? And when I next saw her, it was as if nothing
had ever happened. Didn't look at me any differently – not that she
really looked at me at all before, except maybe to preemptively accuse
of me trying to pull a prank on her, which I've yet to be suicidal
enough yet to do – and didn't say anything. Might've just imagined
it. Which was weird, 'cause I'd never thought of her that way before.
And it really kinda puzzled me.
Me and her. It was like ... Like the Hulk getting with Deathbird.
Too weird to even consider, to believe.
Then, three days later during a really slow period next to the pool,
she came out of nowhere.
"There you are," came that voice of hers that was unlike any other.
I spun around, nearly coughing. "Oh. Um ... hi." Waved like an idiot.
She smirked. "I thought you were avoiding me."
"Who? Me? Uh ... Why ... would I do that?" The one eyebrow
I had slightly arched was really asking another question.
"You forgot already? I thought that I had left a better impression
on you." She sauntered a few steps closer.
For some reason, it was only about then that I realized she was in
a bathing suit. ...Aie. "Uh. No. No, I didn't. Really." Wasn't
a dream. Okay. Right. Now what?
Standing not three inches from me, she said, "Oh. Good. For a moment
there, my feelings were nearly hurt."
Teasing. I didn't know she was capable of that. Well, okay, yeah,
but it was still a little scary. I grinned suddenly and there was
fear in it, I'm sure.
And I think that that's part of the attraction for her.
"C'mere," she says as she reaches for me. I don't even try to stop
her – she moves too fast. Her hand was behind my neck pulling me forward,
and then she was sucking my breath out of my lungs.
By the time we pulled apart, I was gasping, she was grinning and
the pool was completely frozen. "What if someone sees us?"
"No one will," she assured me, like it was some secret that neither
of us would ever want the world to know of, though it would
do wonders that were too great to be called just 'wonders' for my
reputation. The 'No, I am NOT gay!' T-shirt wasn't really working
... "They're all gone." She trailed a finger down my bare chest and
I couldn't resist trembling – which made her grin even more. "Just
you and me," she whispered as she watched her hand move, then her
eyes flashed up to mine. "Scared yet?"
"Good. Let's go."
She led me into the trees with her.
It took four summer days for that patch of oaks to thaw. What that
woman does to me.
Didn't take long for me to become very pleased with myself. Not that
I thought of myself as some great stallion or something ... Just that
I was with her, that she'd chosen me for whatever reason ...
Okay, I do realize there was plenty enough room for me to
be insulted. Maybe she just wanted me for my body or something.
Heh. Right. Just kidding. But, really ... Dunno. If I were to guess
at who she might be attracted to, I wouldn't have even put anyone
anything like me on the list. Guys who were willingly responsible
and possibly overworked. Serious and brooding, maybe. Stronger and
more physically impressive. Never me. Not the 'normal looking guy'.
The hell if she looked normal.
But it was suddenly me and for a reason. And she wouldn't tell me
why – would only have me guess. Even when I was holding her and kissing
her. Even right after ... She wouldn't tell me. Would only look at
me, daring me to look away first, which usually happened unless something
came up and she had to go. And she did that a lot – just got up and
I don't really think I minded her doing that. Gave me time to think
about what we were and where we were going or if we're even going
anywhere at all. It would be _so_ weird if we were actually approaching
some sort of relationship. Us.
I almost wanted to laugh, but I didn't. 'Cause it dawned on me. The
reason why we couldn't – the big big reason. Why I hadn't seen
it before then was an extremely large oversight on my part
and I could only claim shock and wonder in my own defense.
And I wanted to panic – I really did. I mean, heavy heavy
consequences that I should have seen in an instance were rolling
towards my door and I could only pray that my ignorance was enough
to excuse me. I wasn't so sure, though. I thought that I might need
some sort of protection or insurance, but from where?
Couldn't think of a place, really. Nowhere I wanted to go just then
– I'd rather have waited till the terror was right in my face before
I ran there.
There was only one thing to do ...
"Breaking up with me?"
She looked like she was trying not to giggle in a 'NO ONE ever breaks
up with ME' kinda way. "Drake, if there were an 'us' to break up,
Oops. Wrong giggle. "But, there's not."
She nodded slowly as if speaking would be too much for me to handle.
"Okay, but whatever this is...? It. It hasta..." I gulped as I let
my eyes roam over her body, a stark contrast between it and her hair
– which I brushed away from her face. " ... stop." "Why?" Not heartbroken
or anything – like that would happen - but casual. Simply curious.
I loved that about her.
"You know why and I don't know why you didn't remind me when it skipped
my mind. I mean, serious detriment and stuff and – "
"Yes, that. A very big that! He's a friend. Like family or something."
"That's nothing to worry about." Not him. Just 'that'.
"No." She looked away towards the window.
"Because I said so."
"And that's just it, then?"
I snorted. So confident, so self-assured and poised. Like her word
was all it was about and nothing would dare go against her. "So what
happens when you're not around?"
"On your own, then, Drake," she said with a grin as she looked back
at me, tracing a finger up my arm.
"Oh, that's so unfair."
"But worth it," she assured me as if, again, her word was what it
was all about. She pulled me down to her and covered my mouth with
"Shut up, Bobby."
"But – "
She held up a finger right before my eyes, chiding me or something.
"Shut it or I will become the threat, okay?"
I gulped, wondering if she might not be the one I had to worry most
about and if she was ... Then my problem was solved. Maybe. I guess.
At any rate, I didn't speak anymore after that even though I had the
feeling the discussion wasn't really finished.
Guy hormones. Couldn't help myself. You understand.
"And just what were you doing in my head, anyway?"
Those words stopped me dead in my tracks as I came towards the kitchen.
"I wasn't looking – it just sort of ... Hit me."
His voice. Heart seized. Eyes went wide. Lungs ... stopped working.
Shatner affect took hold ...
"I'm serious. I have zero desire to catch you at such ...
intimate moments. At least, not when I'm not there for them."
She snorted. I wanted to run.
A bit angrier but even. Almost haughty. "Then you pull up your damned
shields or you block the link – whatever it takes. Stay. Out."
Unconcern. "Already done."
"This is ridiculous. You want the last word? You got the last word.
Makes no difference to me."
She snorted again.
He snorted back.
Then silence. Couldn't hear a thing, not either of them moving. Wondered
why I wasn't moving, myself. Then:
Suddenly: "What do you see in him, anyway?" I could tell that it
was eating at him and I couldn't possibly be surprised. Anyone would
ask the same question when they found out, but the way he said
I was insulted.
"It's none of your damned business," she returned. Not upset that
he was clowning me, I'm sure. Probably only because he was offending
her choice, period. That didn't surprise me, either. Only made me
more curious what the answer would be.
"He's hardly your type," he pressed.
"And? What's my type, anyway?"
"Sure as hell not any category that Drake would fall into." Jealousy..?
I couldn't help myself. Hey!
A pause. Footsteps.
Oh, damn. He'd heard. There was no use running – he could
find me no matter where I went. So I stood there like an idiot for
about a split second before backing away, a few more feet, then just
stood there and waited for it. No other choice, really.
The door swung open and my eyes snapped shut. Despite the fact that
I hadn't heard that 'I'm going to KILLhim/murdermurderKILL/whenIgetmyhandsonhim/KILLKILLmurder'
tone to his voice that he's so good at, I still thought that I was
gonna get it, that I had invaded the wrong guy's territory – if she
could be called anyone's territory – and that I was dead meat.
I said a few prayers, quashed my regrets with the notion that, hell,
I'd finally scored after years of trying and with a woman too many
men could envy me for, which put my ego in just the right position
to block out said regrets, and let out a deep breath.
"Drake, get in here."
Cracked an eyelid. There she was and not him. She jerked her
head towards the kitchen, and then went back inside. I wondered if
the flip way she did that meant that I would be safe when I went in
Wasn't sure when I did go in. Hell, I still wasn't sure who the lesser
evil was – him or her.
Cleared my throat and stepped in, head cocked to one side and eyes
ready for the slightest movement even if there was no point trying
to be ready for an attack I probably wouldn't have been able to defend
against, anyway. Gulped on the other side of the threshold.
She was leaning against the sink, arms folded. Didn't look at me,
but something across from her –
He stood across from her, staring at her instead of acknowledging
"Now," she said to him. "Who I'm with and why is none of his damned
business. Isn't that right, Drake?" She turned and looked at me as
if what I said would mean anything to him. It was all about her word,
wasn't it? Mine couldn't carry a feather's weight in a wind tunnel.
Gulped again. "...no?"
"That's right – put a little backbone into it next time," she added
like it was an aside that he couldn't hear, "so get over it already."
He didn't look at me. "You really want him?"
She shrugged. "What's it to you?"
He didn't answer right away. I wondered why.
"Then what's your problem?" she asked and I knew that I could sense
deliberation there – a scheme beneath the words.
Standing there, arms folded over a chest that was more than twice
the size of mine with at least two heads height over me, he shifted
slightly. Just a touch. "No problem. Just ... curious."
"With all the shit you've been through, you have no real reason to
be surprised by anything, do you?"
"Even with everything I've see, yeah, I think I do. He's a
stick. No offense, Drake." Just a formality. A platitude that didn't
mean anything. Why he wasted the effort, I don't know. I didn't answer
him, only stared at that hard look on his face that didn't look immediately
angry, but had a hell of a lot more behind it than I could muster.
"And maybe I got tired of being crushed in bed – you ever think about
I blushed. God, I blushed.
"Never complained before."
I felt like I should've turned around and left.
"But you do notice that I've moved onto – " She glanced at me for
a quick second, then looked back. " - smaller things."
Both of them looked at me. He began to snicker. Snicker. HIM. I felt
the defenses rising up, the mind working to come up with something
to say back to that. "Small??"
I didn't say a clever something.
She only shrugged. "Yep."
"If I'd said 'better', though, Nate here would've gotten too jealous
and in a blind rage, ripped you apart with his bare TK, wouldn't you?"
Nate slow nodded, this odd, maniacal look coming to his eyes. Even
the fact that his father would hardly have approved of my death by
his son's hand couldn't comfort me then.
"He's only playing with you, Bobby. Jeez."
Thank God. Too bad he didn't look it, though. Felt like I was facing
off against him or something and without a prayer of a chance at winning.
Yeah, he was kind of a friend and almost family, but that didn't mean
that I knew the guy. Knew him about as well as I did her – well, okay,
more than I knew her, but those were more facts that I'd heard and
not actual witnessing of character-defining moments.
"Uh. Yeah. Right," I said. Though I couldn't be sure. I mean, what
was he like when he joked? I barely had a handle on her – other
than physically – which I was still trying to get used to and then
I had to deal with his sense of humor? I'd thought those ran
low in his family...
"Really," she assured me. "Now. Is this settled?" she asked if there
really wasn't anything to settle at all.
I didn't say anything. He didn't either. He just kept staring at
me in that way of his, that, 'I can stand here and do this all day
if I wanted to – I got the staying power and you couldn't stop me
if you wanted to, so that's just what I'm going to do if I feel like
it and you'll damned well stand there while I do it, I don't care
who my father is to you, you got me, kid, 'cause it doesn't
matter right now and I know it and you know it, so you better just
get used to it' look.
Unsettling, I tell you.
"Leave him alone," she tells him, like I needed to be defended. And
I did. "Drake, let's get out of here."
I blinked at her. Was that supposed to be it? And that she was inviting
me anywhere other than in private like she usually did – actually
keeping company with me for reasons other than to shag –
I wondered if that's what she wanted. To shag. After that. Hell,
might've turned her on or something even if the little 'discussion'
wasn't exactly eventful. I couldn't be sure. Wasn't sure I was even
in the mood, I mean, the look on his face. His face, period. Just
the memory. Total mood killer.
"You comin'?" she asked.
"Yeah," I answered without a pause. And then I felt that mood coming
back over the horizon towards me and hardly anything Nate had said
about me mattered anymore. It would later, maybe, most likely – but
right then..? Nope. Just barely registered as I followed her away,
almost gloating – say what you want, big boy, but I've got'cher
I couldn't help but chuckle in that last second I was in the room,
when it was only him and me in there, right before I left.
What surprised me was to hear him chuckling, too.
You think you've won something here, Drake? You just wait. She'll
show you exactly what it is you've won.
And in the 'I'm gonna get some! I'm gonna get some!' haze that had
flooded my skull, I'd translated that forewarning into a good thing.
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