I don't know why you're bothering with this story. There was nothing earth-shattering about any of it. It was just sex, pure and simple. Just basic, no-strings sex. People do it all the time. Even people like me and Cyclops.
Damn, that's done it. Don't try to hide it, I saw your eyes light up. I'm not going to get rid of you until I tell you the whole story now, am I? Fine; sit down and shut up.
So the X-Men fished me out of a cell in Texas, you know that bit, right? I was whisked away and shoved into a leather uniform in a house - a mansion - with some sort of mutant vigilantes with whom I was shortly facing a half-dozen Sentinels.
Put yourself in my position. Tell me your head isn't spinning. I think fast on my feet, but I wasn't even sure I knew where my feet were anymore. And when Cyclops ordered me into battle, it was as if no time at all had passed since the incident in Texas. As clear as the mess unfolding in front of me - clearer - I could see that schoolyard. Baby-blue eyes staring wide at me through the mesh fence a side-flash of lightning had electrified barely half a second after the kid had been pulled away from it.
It had sent me, gasping, to my knees at the time, and only force of will kept me upright now. "Forget it, Cyclops. You don't understand." And I could hear the panic in my own voice as I told him, but I honestly didn't care.
You know, it's curious. There's Scott, who's almost diffident, but then when you get him into uniform, he's Cyclops. And Cyclops is strong, and stern, and demanding. "You either pitch in and help or we're all sleeping in a shallow grave tonight," he snapped. His voice cut through the fog of my panic, reached inside to who-knows-what part of me and yanked out what was necessary.
The really fucking annoying part is that I don't think he even knows he does it.
Galvanised, pushed, forced into action, I stretched out. The power of nature is intoxicating, invigorating. It fills me up to overflowing with pure energy every time.
It's overwhelming. I barely saw the flash of the lightning before everything went black. The pavement was soft and yielding as I landed, and the distant sound of his voice had as much impression as the raindrops that spattered against eyelids that were suddenly far too heavy to open. Unconsciousness crept up, and I didn't even notice.
And I woke up with a jerk and a gasp, like the lightning bolt had just gone through me. Cyclops half-dropped me, my legs slipping out of his grasp. My feet landed with a hollow thunk on the floor of the Blackbird, and I clutched at his shoulders to stop myself falling completely.
"Careful," he muttered into my hair, steadying hands on my upper arms.
I got my legs underneath me and stepped away from him. I felt like I'd just run a marathon. My breath was coming in deep gulps, and I could hear my pulse hammering in my ears. I stood there, Cyclops' hand staying uncertainly on my shoulder. There were faint tremours running through me, like aftershocks, and Cyclops had to help me into my seat as Marvel Girl shouted at us to prepare for take-off.
"Are you al-" and he broke off as he saw the huge grin plastered across my face. A small answering smirk appeared on his face before he turned away to take his own seat, leaving me alone with my glee.
I felt like I'd just won a marathon. Events came back with astonishing clarity through the blackness, and I saw again the lightning bolt, heard Cyclops' congratulatory voice: "You just took out three Sentinels in a single strike." And I hadn't killed anyone. I knew that with a blinding certainty that swelled up in my stomach and spread like a warm glow out to my extremities. It mingled with the raw energy still zinging about in my system and mingled in euphoric swirls.
We were landing back at the Mansion by the time I realised my legs were jiggling, practically bouncing on the soles of my feet, like I was two short blacks over the legal caffeine limit. I took my time getting out of my seat, moving slowly and smoothly to stop myself flying apart. Hank helped Piotr out, and Jean ushered an uncertain-looking Bobby out of the plane. Cyclops - still Cyclops as long as he's in uniform - moved forward to take care of putting the machine to bed. He stopped beside me as I stood up. "OK?"
The grin had faded, but it was still waiting to burst through, given an opportunity. "Never been better," I answered truthfully. "I feel like the top of my head's about to blow off."
He smiled in response, continued on to the controls, where he started playing with buttons and dials. "I know what you mean," he tossed over his shoulder. "Take a long shower. It helps. But I don't imagine anyone's going to be doing much sleeping tonight."
Hot water and steam washed away the tremours, but even so I could barely sit still afterwards to comb out my hair. The thought of even attempting to lie down and close my eyes was laughable, so I got dressed - jeans and a sweater from some acronymed university I never attended. Amazing the things you find in stolen cars, isn't it?
They were down in the rec room. Piotr looked a little worse for wear - generally beat up - stretched out on the couch and flicking through channel after channel of late-night crap on the huge TV. Bobby was curled up in an armchair, sound asleep. Able to relax for the first time since he left home, I guess. I asked Piotr how he felt, and true to macho-maleness, he brushed it off as nothing. I guess it's a bit hard to bluff with two telepaths around, though, so I left well enough alone, turning to watch Hank rifling through the cupboards of the entertainment unit, looking for movies.
When he found the playstation, or whatever those things are called, the resulting gleeful bellow from Piotr woke Bobby up. They all three leapt upon it with childish glee, sorting through games and arguing over controllers. I rolled my eyes. "How old are we again?" Hank just turned and grinned up at me. I laughed. "Where are Scott and Jean?"
"Jean's gone to bed," Piotr supplied, plugging things together. "She said something about using her powers making her tired enough to sleep comfortably, or something. I don't know. Scott's playing pool. Hey, no way, I get to play first! I'm the invalid, remember?"
I left them to it and headed out of the room, down the corridor to the billiards room. As I came closer to the slightly ajar door, the soft sounds of music grew louder. Fast drumming, loud guitar and vocals now wailing, now growling low. There was the click of ivory on ivory as I pushed the door open. Across the table, Scott straightened from his shot, cue held easily in one hand, and a ball dropped into the pocket nearest me.
"They've reverted to childhood," I said in response to a raised eyebrow behind red glasses.
"Playstation 2," he stated, taking a few steps around the table and bending for another shot.
"That'd be it." This would be the point where I should ask if I was interrupting, really. Be polite and all. Scott gave an impression of a solitary sort of guy. But I was bored, and didn't really want to make it easy for him to shoo me away. So I didn't ask, and instead came further into the room, taking slow steps around the edge of the large carpet that covered the centre of the floor. Another click, and another ball landed in the pocket. "Tool, huh?" I said, reaching the stereo on a side table and tapping it with one finger.
"What can I say?" Click-thunk behind me. "Maynard James Keenan is a god." Deadpan voice, just the faintest hint of irony.
I chuckled. "No arguments here." My first impression of Scott hadn't been that of a heavy-metal listener, I must admit, but like I said before, I think fast on my feet. I could adapt. Seemed like this Fearless Leader had a real teenager inside. Liked good music, could even make jokes. That was very reassuring.
A real teenager who was incredibly good at pool, evidently, as I turned around to witness another ball sinking. Hang on, not pool. These balls were all solid colours, no numbers. I dredged back into my memory for time spent in pool halls... "Snooker?"
"More challenging than pool," Scott replied, giving irony to the words by sinking the black ball from a ludicrous angle. He pulled the ball out of the pocket, set it back on the table. "You never get two shots in a row unless you sink a ball," - which he did, a red one - "so you can't set up a shot. Except with the aftermath of the last shot." A shrug, and he leant over the table, put the black in the corner pocket again. "But it's all just geometry."
I watched in silence as he used geometry to clear the table without fudging a single shot. And then, leaning the cue against the wall, he went around and emptied the pockets, started to rack them up again.
"How many games have you played already?" I asked, curious. He shrugged. "How many are you going to play?"
"As many as it takes," he answered shortly, and broke, hard and fast. Red balls scattered, the white ball coming back to rest on the top cushion. And he started all over again, one shot after another. Bam, bam, bam.
I prowled the room, sticking to the strip around the outside of the room where the polished wood was bare and cool under my feet. When the CD finished, I picked another one from the small pile on the table and put it in, turning the volume up a couple of notches when I did. Scott paused in his shot, and stretched out the cue to knock the door fully closed.
"Don't want to disturb anyone," he explained, and sank the blue.
I watched the pink and black go the same way, and he leaned the cue against the wall. Instead of going on the pocket-clearing round again, though, he leaned on the table a little and looked at me. "Are you just going to float around all night?"
I grinned and stepped up to the table, across from him. "Bothering you, boy?" Don't ask me where that came from. It shook me slightly at the time, just slipping out. 'Boy' was what I'd always used when I was being playful, or even flirtatious. And suddenly, I was looking at him with a different eye. He was handsome, I'd noted that as soon as I met him, though it hadn't really registered, what with the ensuing events and all. He wouldn't necessarily have been my first choice - a little uptight - but I was starting to see the person under the codename.
Scott just shook his head, a smile on his face, and gestured to the empty table. "Do you want to play?"
"Against you? I like my butt unwhipped, thank you." He chuckled. But looking over the table, my energy spoke for me. "Hey, sure, why not. Go easy on me, though. In fact, I think you should have a handicap."
In the end we decided that he'd take only one shot, regardless of whether he'd sunk one or not. I still figured he'd beat me comprehensively, but maybe this way I'd have at least a fighting chance. He broke, not taking the usual full concentration on the minutiae. The white ball still ended up at the wrong end of the table, but at least it wasn't nestled against the cushion or tucked in behind the yellow. I poked the balls around the table for a while, as Scott sank every shot he lined up. The music roared, but we were silent.
"So," I finally began, more for something to say than anything else. I've never been good with silence. "How does a nice boy like you end up listening to nasty music like this?" As I spoke, I shot. The ball teetered on the edge, then tipped into the pocket.
"Well done." Scott grinned, and leaned back against the wall. "The music?" He grew thoughtful for a minute, then shrugged. "I just did. How'd a nice girl like you end up stealing cars?"
I smiled, scanning the table for my next shot. "Movie stars and make-up just weren't interesting enough. Anyway," I looked up at him with a grin as I bent over the table to line up on the ball. "Whatever gave you the impression I was a nice girl? Black."
I was on a roll. The ball went straight into the pocket, and the white didn't follow it in as I'd half feared it would. I grinned - got a smile in return - and went hunting for my next victim. Doing something was good. I could feel myself relaxing a little. It really gave the energy in my body a chance to settle. Gave me a chance to realise that not all of the energy was still from leftover adrenaline.
Yeah, he was attractive, I'd noticed that before. But now I really noticed it. Noticed his tight-relaxed stance, propped against the wall with arms casually folded, just beyond the corner pocket I was aiming for. Noticed how he had pushed the sleeves of his sweater up to his elbows, and the cross of bare forearm over bare forearm was somehow one of the most sensuous things I'd ever seen. Noticed the clean lines of his face, of his mouth curled slightly, as he came around the table to take the cue after I missed my shot. Noticed the way his hair smelt damp-clean as he brushed past.
Noticed that it was quite hot in here.
I knew, even at the time, that this was at least partly the adrenaline talking. And the other part was probably my unease at being in this strange place. Really, frankly, I didn't care. I just wanted to know if he tasted as good as he smelt.
A red ball slammed into the pocket an inch away from my hand, making me jump a little. The last red. Now we were down to cleaning up the colours, and Scott was one point ahead of me. He came back around the table, stepping close to pass me the cue. I shook myself mentally. Train of thought back on track, Ororo. Oh yeah, what made him think I was a nice girl. "You're not as bad as all that," he noted quietly - well, quietly for a room full of heavy rock. "You cared about not hurting people."
"Yeah well." I took the cue and stepped away, bending swiftly over the table. Sighting along the line of wood, I let out a breath. God only knows why that comment had bothered me so much. "So I'm not Hannibal Lecter. I'm not exactly Mother Theresa, either, am I?" My shot turned out to be more of a vicious swipe, which of course missed entirely.
Scott brushed around behind me, taking the cue out of my hand before I had straightened fully. "No, you're not," he commented blandly, as he smoothly potted the yellow. "You play slightly better than she did." He passed the cue back across the corner of the table as I raised an eyebrow.
"Slightly better? Than a nun?" He simply smiled, and I hmphed. "I'll kick your mutant ass, boy."
The CD was winding to a close, and Scott was laughing as he crossed to the stereo to change it. "That sounds like a challenge," he commented in the silence between music.
I took my time lining up the shot, and sunk the green as he turned back to the table, music starting up again with a blistering guitar riff. I grinned as I headed around the table for a line on the brown. "It's a promise, Mister."
A promise I maybe couldn't fulfill, it seemed, as I missed the shot by a hair. He sank it, of course. And then, after I fumbled it, the blue. I watched him as he took his shots, taking in every single line of him, from the stretch of his neck along the straight sweep of his back and down the denim outline of muscled thighs. Was it just my imagination that as I took aim, I felt his eyes on me? Impossible to tell, behind red glasses, but maybe, just maybe...
The pink missed the centre pocket I'd been aiming for, but dropped neatly into the corner pocket. I laughed a nervous little huff, and came around to the end of the table for the black. Scott was standing a few paces away from the table at that end, didn't move as I came up for the shot. I still had room, but his presence was... unnerving.
"The black to win," he stated blandly as I leant over the table.
"No shit," I responded lightly. The black to win. And I wanted to win. If I won, I told myself, I'd make a move. If he won, then it would be up to him. I've never particularly liked not being the one in control. I'm in the driver's seat.
The shot was true, the angle perfect. The ball dropped into the pocket with barely a bump off the cushion. I set the cue down on the table as the white ball bounced back up the table, and turned to Scott.
He was smiling, standing there with his hands in the back pockets of his jeans. "Well done," he managed, before I stepped forward and shut him up.
He did taste good, the scent of very faint aftershave and a sharp hint of toothpaste as I dared to dart my tongue lightly along the line of his teeth. His hands were on my hips now, and I thought for a moment he was going to push me away; I'd made a big mistake. Then fingers tightened their grip and my arms were around his shoulders, a hand clutching the back of his neck as I tilted my head to let his tongue into my mouth, sliding along my own. My blood was pounding in my ears, a hand splayed over muscled shoulder and lips locked in open-mouthed wanting.
Scott did push me, then, a step backwards towards the table. His hands lowered a little to hoist me up onto the edge of the table. A synchronised, natural manoeuvre as I parted my knees, hooked a leg around his hip and pulled him close, hard, up against me, never losing that tongue-to-tongue contact. He moved against me and it was heaven, his hands pushing up my sweater at the small of my back, cold fingers on overheated skin.
There was a knock at the door, jarring, loud over the thumping music. Scott was away from me in an instant, around the corner of the table, retrieving balls from the centre pocket. I slid off the table as the door opened, and Piotr stuck his head in. "Hey, you two, we're heading into town. Hank's got a craving for pizza, or something. Coming?"
Shaking heads and murmers in the negative - but no eye-contact - and Piotr shrugged. "See you later, then."
He closed the door behind him again. There's no such thing as silence in a room with a stereo blaring metal, but Scott looked at the ivory spheres on the table, and I looked at him, and neither of us said anything for half a minute. I wasn't really sure I wanted him to speak. His body language said enough.
Finally, I said it. "A mistake, right?"
He looked up, then, but it's not really eye contact behind the red lenses. "It's complicated. You know that. The team, and... too complicated." I like to think his voice wasn't as certain as it usually was, but maybe that's just my wishful thinking, looking back. "We only met this afternoon. It was the adrenaline acting, Ororo."
"I know." A moment of stillness, then I was moving, striding towards the door. "I'm going to bed." I yanked it open, and paused in the doorway, looking back at him. "Good night, Scott. Play as many games as it takes."
The music was barely audible with the door closed. I don't know how long he stayed there, beating himself at snooker. I didn't stay up, listening. Wouldn't have done me much good. The guys' rooms are the floor below me and Jean, and I think Scott's on the other side of the building anyway. So I curled up in bed and, surprisingly, fell straight to sleep.
And I dreamed. Oh boy, did I dream. Layed out on green felt, skin and saliva, languorous and insistent. He was over me, under me, moving with and against and inside me. On and on and again in an undulating montage that left me gasping in the morning sunlight streaming through my window.
I've never looked at the pool table quite the same since.
Late the next morning, after our first training session, I flaked out in the rec room, half-watching some music program as I flicked through a car magazine that had been lying around. God knows why; there were all sorts of magazines here. I could hear the faint cries of the guys outside, playing some game with a ball that no doubt involved quite a bit of roughness. I got caught up in an article on the redesign of Mercedes, and didn't even notice the voices coming closer until the outside doors opened with a bang, and the guys came pouring in. They were sweaty, puffed, Hank and Bobby still horsing around a little as Piotr and Scott laughed.
Scott looked over to where I was sitting, and maybe I was wrong about that eyecontact through rose quartz thing. If I hadn't been watching so closely, I would have missed his small hesitation, just a slightly missed beat in the rhythm of his stride. Then he was moving on, the guys passing through with a chorus of: "Hey, Ororo."
It was enough. I knew. It wouldn't be long.
He knew it too. It's a tribute to his stubbornness that it took him a week to knock on my door.
A week. A week of subtle tension between us every time we were even in room together, and the only reason no one else noticed it was because Scott made sure we rarely shared the same space. As I settled into the mansion and my place in this 'team' thing, I started to see what he'd been saying that night. There was a definite balance to the team, something in the way we all interacted. Scott and Jean were more or less senior to our junior, though it wasn't quite as delineated as that. Scott and I crossing the line would change all of that, stuff the team dynamic. I'd been there before, working in a gang for the big jobs, the ones you had to pull off with precision. When every night could be the metaphorical big steal, you didn't want to fuck with the team. I understood that well enough.
But understanding didn't change the fact that I wanted to cross that line. It couldn't be blamed on adrenaline any more, and I didn't really know what to put it down to. He seemed so stern, usually. Almost like he was living some sort of daily ritual of denial. But I knew he had passions under there. I knew he was young, like me, and that he burned. And the more I watched him, on those rare occasions I got, the more I wanted him.
Continuing dreams probably weren't helping. Whether the dreams fuelled the desire or the desire fuelled the dreams is really an academic question now. It was a vicious cycle, and I was in no hurry to break it.
Late night, and I was lounging on my bed, reading. Same magazine, different article. Contemplating bed with a touch of anticipation when the knock came. So soft I half-wondered if I'd imagined it, but got up off the bed anyway, cinching my robe a little tighter before I opened the door.
Breathing and heartbeat are automatic functions, but for a moment I completely forgot how they worked. I stared at him. "Scott!" It came out on a choked gasp. His head had jerked up when the door opened, and he still looked faintly like he wanted to run away. Words failed me; I just stepped back, holding the door open.
He stepped past me, into the room, and stood with his back to the door, the set of his shoulders uncomfortable. I closed the door quietly, reached out to lay a hand on his shoulder. He didn't flinch away, like I'd thought he might. Just half-turned towards me, sculpted face impassive.
"This is a bad idea," he stated.
"I know," I agreed. My hand stroked down his arm, was caught in his, fingers squeezing. "But no one has to know."
He snorted, losing some of his discomfort even in that action. "How?"
I smiled, stepped a little closer. "We can be sneaky." I traced my other hand lightly along the line of his shoulder, watching its progress with fascination. "Like you said, we don't know each other. This isn't exactly the romance of the century. It's just pure physical attraction."
"Just sex," he said, flatly, and there was a wealth of meaning in his tone, not all of which I could fully comprehend. But he'd turned fully to me, and his hand was sitting heavy on my hip now, thumb curling under the waist tie of my gown.
"Mostly sex." The words were out before I really thought about them, but in general, I wasn't really thinking by then. I was pressed against him, or him against me, my voice low, husky in his ear. "You're young, Scott. We both are. Let yourself go."
Arms around each other fully - more than a hug, an embrace, a promise - and his hands were stroking down my back. I returned the favour, spreading my fingers over bare, muscled skin under his sweater. There's the faint, raised line of a scar, and I followed it with a finger. "What if someone hears something? Heard me in the corridor?" The voice was starting to quaver slightly.
I grinned against his neck, raised my head. "I'll tell them you were sneaking into Jean's room."
The first kiss was light, almost teasing, a press of lips a moment longer than chaste. He was grinning too. "She'll deny it."
Long enough lips to part this time. "So?" I answer. His breath - coming faster than usual - was cool on his saliva on my bottom lip.
"I still think -"
"Shut up, Scott."
It wasn't like the kiss in the billiards room. That had been hard, almost fierce, trying to force five minutes of kissing into thirty seconds of contact. Now, we took our time. Let the heat build slowly, surely. Cranking the tension a half-turn at a time, until I couldn't get his clothes off fast enough, and my gown was just a puddle of satin on the floor.
It was perfect. No matter what the paperback novels tell you, first time with someone new is never perfect. But we took our time, didn't rush anything. There was a lot of quiet communication - do this; don't do that; roll over, I'm losing circulation in my left arm - and quite a bit of laughter. It wasn't really romantic. It wasn't supposed to be. It was supposed to be enjoyable.
And damn, it was enjoyable. There was a spot just inside the curve of my hip that I'd sure as hell never noticed was an erogenous zone, but under his fingertips and tongue it was. There was a hint of hesitation in his touch that drove me completely wild for some reason. I muffled my cries by burying my face where his neck met his shoulder, gasping against the tendon there that stood out with the effort of keeping himself silent. He came with only a low groan, and collapsed, panting slightly, beside me. Our legs were still tangled, and I slid over and down slightly to lay my head on his shoulder. Savoured the moment.
He was there with me. Really there with me. Had been the whole time. I don't think I'd ever slept with anyone and felt so certainly that it had been a joint project, a duet.
Our skin stuck together with sweat, my cheek to his chest. I couldn't summon the energy to move, though. I was comfortable. Amazingly so, lying there listening to his heartbeat, feeling his hands comb through my hair.
Time measured out in rhythmic beats, and then Scott said, quietly: "Thank you."
I found the strength, raised my head to look at him. "What for?" I asked with a smile.
He smiled in response, and God, the man was breathtaking, naked in my bed and smiling like an angel at me. "For talking me into it."
I kissed him, slowly, thoroughly, deeply. "Thank you for giving in," I whispered against his lips.
Eye contact is possible through his glasses, and I looked deep into his eyes, then.
"I should go," he said after a moment.
I nodded, because I knew he was right. In no time at all, he was dressed and gone from the room.
But the scent of him remained, clinging to the sheets I wrapped myself in to drift off into dreamless sleep.
Pure and Simple by dee