Subject: Passion Has Red Lips (XMM) Date: Monday, February 03, 2003 1:04 PM Title: Passion Has Red Lips Author: Victoria P. [firstname.lastname@example.org] Summary: "Remy sent me." Rating: R Archive: Lists, Muse's Fool. Feedback: Rings my chimes
Disclaimer: All X-Men characters belong to Marvel and Fox; this piece of fan-written fiction intends no infringement on any copyrights.
Notes: Thanks to Jen, Pete/Melissa, Dot, and Meg. Inspired by the "David sent me" scene in Sabrina. Title inspired by the Fandom Nation Fast, Loose and Lovely Challenge, which can be seen here: http://www.fandomnation.com/fastloose.html
Passion Has Red Lips
Rogue nervously smoothed down the skirt of her dress. It was a daring dress, and she was still surprised she'd agreed to wear it when Jean picked it out.
Of dark green silk, it was a slim, sleeveless sheath that ended a couple of inches above her knees. She wore black velvet pumps and the sheerest pair of stockings (with black lace garters) she could find.
Searching through her makeup case, she took out and opened a new tube of lipstick. "Passion," she murmured, before applying it. She hoped the name was a good omen. It was red, rich and full and soft as roses, and along with the black kohl lining her eyes, it changed her face dramatically. Her hair hung loose down her back, wild, wanton, yet also a curtain she could hide behind if necessary.
She looked smoky -- seductive -- and it was good.
She fixed her bra again, admiring her cleavage in the mirror, and pulled on the matching green silk opera gloves.
She'd spent most of her four years at the mansion avoiding Xavier's fundraising galas, hiding up in her room or down in the gym while everyone else dressed up and played host to the crme de la crme of New York society.
At first, it had been too overwhelming to deal with crowds when the slightest careless move could cause so much damage. And then it had hurt too much when Logan came back and had eyes only for Jean.
They'd both since found other obsessions, but she'd never quite gotten over him, to be truthful; had never quite gotten over the fact that he saw her as a child, and she'd let that perception shape her actions for a long time. But it was time to be an adult. A woman. A woman who was going to make an effort to get what she wanted.
And what she wanted was Remy LeBeau.
They'd flirted on and off in the year since he'd come to the mansion, but it was clear to her that he was a ladies' man, a womanizer, and that he only wanted her because she was untouchable. He'd worked to convince her otherwise, and little by little, she'd fallen under his spell. It was thoroughly intoxicating to be wanted so much, and she, who had never felt wanted, found such single-minded pursuit hard to resist. One day she woke up and knew she had to have him, would do anything to be with him, because it might be her only shot at being wanted, being loved. That day, she decided to seek him out and tell him yes.
Unfortunately, that day he was gone on a mission, leaving her to wait impatiently with her newfound resolve.
Three days later, he and Storm had returned and were seemingly inseparable. Storm dismissed the idea that they were anything more than good friends, but Rogue wasn't quite sure she believed that. All her doubts about the whole thing came flooding back, and she wondered if, once again, she had built up a flirtatious friendship into a fantasy romance. Remy continued to be attentive to her, but her belief in her feelings (and his) was weakened by the way he seemed to flit between her and Ororo.
She was sure, however, that if she did nothing and let opportunity pass her by yet again, she wouldn't be able to live with herself. So she pushed her reservations aside and decided that, for once, she would be the hunter, rather than the prey, waiting and hoping and so often doomed to nothing but waiting and hoping.
Hence, a quick conference with Jean, an amazingly expensive dress, and what she told herself was one magical night, one last shot at love.
If he rejected her in favor of Storm, at least it wouldn't be because she was too scared to take a risk.
She pushed away the thought of Logan's reaction to her dress. Best not to think of things that could never be, she told herself. Focus on reality, not fantasy. Remy was interested; Logan was not. It had been a hard-learned lesson, and one she wasn't going to forget now.
With one last look in the mirror, she deemed herself ready, took a deep breath, and headed downstairs.
Logan was dancing with Jean when Rogue entered the ballroom.
His eyes almost popped out of their sockets; his blood raced with desire as he tracked her progress across the room.
Jean laughed at the look on his face. "You act like you've never seen a girl before," she teased.
"Not one like that," he answered without thought.
"What are you going to do about it?"
He shrugged one shoulder and swung Jean around so he didn't have to watch all the men in the room gawk at Rogue.
Jean shook her head. "That doesn't sound like the Logan I know."
"I had my chance, Red. I screwed it up. I was too busy --" he stopped. The words "chasing you" remained unsaid, but they both knew exactly what he meant.
"That's past, Logan. She knows that as well as you and I do. If you told her how you feel--"
"No," he snapped. "She wants the Cajun. And she deserves to get what she wants, whatever it is. I don't want to fuck it up for her again."
"And if Remy is in love with Ororo?"
Logan growled low, but said nothing.
He remembered how Rogue used to look at him, hope and love in her eyes, waiting for him to pay attention. Those looks were directed at Remy now. If the Cajun didn't understand what he had, what he could have, he was stupid. And Logan knew how stupid you had to be to go chasing after the impossible when you had love right in front of you. He kicked himself daily over his own idiocy, his unwillingness to face reality and instead cling to fantasy.
Fantasy kept you from getting your heart broken; it meant you could play the distraught lover and never let anyone else close, but it was just that -- play. When he'd finally gotten his head out of his ass long enough to realize he loved Marie, and not in a brotherly or friendly way, it had been too late.
She'd given up on what she'd thought was a fantasy, and begun pursuing reality.
He wished she hadn't made that transition before he'd come to his senses, but then he thought that maybe, just as Jean had been his fantasy, he had been Marie's, and wasn't it better for her to be with someone she really loved, than with him, the object of an adolescent crush?
"Logan?" Jean said, breaking into his thoughts. "Logan, the Professor is looking for you."
"I was a million miles away, Jeannie. I'm sorry."
"More like four feet," Jean muttered, glancing over at Rogue, who was laughing at something Remy had said while he twirled her around the floor.
Logan hesitated a moment at that remark, then released her and made his way across the dance floor to where Professor Xavier was holding court.
"Rogue, ma petite, you look stunning tonight," Remy whispered, the feel of his warm breath on her ear sending shivers down her spine.
"A man dreams of holding a woman like you in his arms. I'm lucky that for me, the dream has come true."
She smiled but said nothing, deciding that silence in the face of such extravagant compliments seemed more sophisticated than gushing like a schoolgirl. She wondered vaguely why her knees hadn't gone weak at his sweet words.
The song ended and he let go of her slowly, his hands lingering on her waist. "I must go dance with the donors, now, chere, but promise you will meet me in the orangerie at midnight."
"I will," she whispered.
"You make me so happy, Rogue." He pressed a fervent kiss to her gloved palm and walked away, offering his arm to a blue-haired matron in an overly frilly pink gown, as the orchestra began the next number.
Logan heard her agree to meet Remy at midnight, and watched as the Cajun kissed her hand and walked away, his heart aching in his chest.
He spent the next two hours orbiting Rogue, never getting close enough to have to dance with her, but never far enough away that he couldn't see the expression on her face, smell the perfume of her hair, even among so many people.
She was dancing with the Mayor when he went to get another drink.
"Scotch, neat," he told the bartender.
He leaned against the bar and closed his eyes. Snatches of conversation reached him; he automatically sifted out the ones that were of no interest and filed away little tidbits that might come in handy later on.
Then his attention was caught by Ororo's voice. "Remy, I realize that this is not perhaps the ideal time or place, but-- I am in love with you."
Logan felt his ears perk up. He scanned the room, and found Remy and Ororo huddled close, partially hidden by one of the potted palm trees Xavier had brought in as decoration. They probably thought they were safe from being overheard amidst the music and crowd noise.
"I need to know if you feel the same, or if you are in love with Rogue," Ororo continued. "I see how you watch her, how you are with her. And I will walk away if you tell me you love her. But I can't keep silent any longer. If there's even a chance that you could love me--"
"I, I can't deny I have feelings for Rogue," Remy said, reaching out to cup Ororo's cheek. "But they're nothing compared to how I feel for you, 'Roro. If I thought I had a chance--."
Ororo leaned forward and stopped Remy's mouth with a kiss.
Logan felt his knuckles itch at Remy's callous disregard for Rogue. But Ororo had a point, one that he hadn't wanted to acknowledge.
Maybe he was wrong. Maybe he ought to take a chance.
As he eavesdropped on them without a qualm, from the corner of his eye, Logan saw a flash of green heading for the French doors -- Rogue on her way to her midnight rendezvous.
Remy was still wrapped up in Ororo's arms, and it didn't look like they'd be separating any time soon. He was obviously not watching the clock, nor was he going to meet Rogue.
Which was simply unacceptable.
Logan hated the idea that she'd be out in the conservatory alone, waiting for the dumbass Cajun, who was never going to show.
Logan set his glass on the bar and said, "Give me a bottle of Dom Perignon and two glasses." The bartender complied silently, used to Logan's requests after years of working the Xavier galas. Logan started to walk away, then turned and said, "See that couple in the corner?" He jerked his chin at Remy and Ororo. The bartender nodded. "Have a bottle of champagne and two glasses brought to them, as well."
He waited for the champagne to be delivered to the pair in the corner as midnight drew near. Ororo was surprised and began questioning the waiter, but Remy looked right at him.
The clock struck midnight.
Logan made a show of looking at his watch and raising an eyebrow. Remy grinned back, and inclined his head in thanks. Logan scowled at him, but Remy didn't look abashed. He looked pleased. 'And well he might,' Logan thought. 'I'm pulling his ass out of the fire, and he's getting what he wants.'
Logan tried not to think about getting what he wanted. He wasn't sure it was possible. But despite his earlier words to Jean, he figured he might try and find out. After all, he couldn't live with himself if Ororo turned out to be ballsier than he was. He'd always gone after what he wanted, and the reward in this case would be well worth the risk.
He couldn't think about it anymore. He had to know how Rogue felt, and if she really was in love with Remy, well, he could always give her a shoulder to cry on.
He waited until Remy and Ororo snuck off together, then made his way to the French doors leading to the gardens.
He felt a sort of grim satisfaction at how events had shaken out, which warred with the desire to follow Remy and demand he do right by Rogue, pain that she would be hurt by the Cajun's defection, and selfish glee that now she might be more open to his own advances.
He tamped down that last thought and walked to the orangerie, bottle and glasses in hand.
Rogue was already there when he arrived, the green of her gown almost hiding her amidst jungle blooming in the hothouse.
He caught his breath at the way she looked, the white of her hair and ivory of her skin silvered by the moonlight, giving her an incandescence he found almost irresistible. Her gown clung to every curve, and he felt his groin tighten in response. In the moonlight, the green silk looked black, and it moved with her, the soft sound of it wisping against her body heightening his desire to feel it under his fingers.
She leaned over to sniff carefully at a rose.
"Hey," he said.
She jumped. "You're not Remy."
He grimaced. "No. He, uh, he got stuck talking to one of the guests." Not exactly a lie. "He sent me to keep you company." He put the glasses down on a table and set about opening the bottle of champagne.
She seemed to float above the ground as she walked over, and he feasted his eyes on her -- the long, toned perfection of her legs, the soft fullness of her breasts, and the sweet curve of her hips.
He wanted to lick the spot behind her knee, inhale her scent as it changed from surprise to arousal, feel that full-lipped mouth against his, sink into her warmth, and hear her call his name when she came.
He growled softly as he fumbled with the cork in the champagne bottle, feeling like a moonstruck teenager. His hand trembled as she laid hers over it. All the blood in his body went south, and he felt lightheaded with desire.
"Logan, what's wrong?" He raised an eyebrow in question, and she continued, "You seem upset." He shrugged, trying to get his brain working again. "I'm sorry you had to leave the party."
He snorted. "You know I hate these shindigs, kid." He winced internally at the 'kid', but it couldn't be taken back.
She didn't seem to notice. "I know you hate them, but you were dancing with Jean, and you don't get to do that often, and--"
'Well, shit. She really thinks I'm still hung up on Jean.' "Nah, kid. I mean, yeah, that's nice but," he hesitated, and then decided, 'What the hell.' "I'd rather be out here with you."
Her mouth opened in a soundless, "Oh." She seemed to realize her hand was still covering his, and she pulled it away. He missed the warm feel of silk against his skin, even in the heat of the orangerie.
Without her touch distracting him, though, he was easily able to pop the cork. She startled at the sound, then began giggling.
"You're actually going to let me drink?" she asked with a smile.
"Your birthday's in a week. I think it'll be all right," he said, pouring two glasses of champagne. He handed one to her and lifted the other.
"What shall we drink to?" she asked.
Random quotes ran through his head, 'Drink to me with thine eyes' and 'Kiss me with your mouth, your love is better than wine.' He said nothing, staring into her eyes, which glittered in the bright light of the moon.
"Logan?" She shifted nervously, breaking the moment.
"Uh--" 'Think, bub.' "To us," he said finally, annoyed at his own lameness.
Her smile fled; her expression became closed off, wary. "Us?"
"You and me," he explained.
She laughed, a brittle sound that felt like shards of glass piercing his ears, his heart. "Remy's gone off with Ororo, hasn't he." It wasn't a question.
"I'm sorry, kid, but yeah."
"And he sent you out here to, what? Pick up the pieces?"
He watched her put it together. "You saw them and-- God, Logan, I'm not a little girl anymore. You don't have to --"
"I know how old you are."
Despite his earlier words to Jean, every instinct he had was telling him to kiss her, love her, find out if she loved him. And he'd survived a very long time by following his instincts. He wasn't going to stop now, not when it was something so important. Maybe he'd been wrong in thinking she was over him; if he took a chance, at least he'd have an answer. Doing nothing seemed more foolish than acting. He had only to look at Ororo's example to see how well it could work out. If he didn't at least try, he'd never know. And he no longer believed he could live with that.
He put the glass down so he could reach out and cup her face, shielding himself with her hair. She stiffened. "Logan, it's not safe."
"No," he whispered, leaning in, "it's not." He brushed his lips against hers, the heavy red lipstick protecting them both from her skin.
She dropped her glass; it shattered on the flagstones, but neither of them noticed.
He couldn't quite taste her lips, but he inhaled her breath, and that was good enough.
She closed her eyes, dark lashes thrown into sharp relief against the pale radiance of her deadly skin.
"What are you saying?" Their mouths were so close he could feel her speak.
"It's not safe, and it's not a fantasy. It's real and it hurts. But it's yours. If you want it."
"It?" she pressed, opening her eyes, searching his.
He felt a flicker of fear. Because it was real; he never made himself vulnerable to people, but she could hurt him with the smallest of words now if she rejected him, and he'd have to live with that.
"Us?" A teasing note crept into her voice and he felt just a bit better. A small bit.
He feathered his lips over hers again. "Yeah."
She reached up and grasped his hand. "This is kind of sudden," she said. He knew she was uncertain, disbelieving. He couldn't blame her.
"Yeah. But not really." She was still holding his hand; he brought it to his lips, feeling her sharp intake of breath when he then rubbed his cheek against it, the silk catching on his whiskers.
She withdrew; he could feel it, though she hadn't actually moved.
"I don't get it. Why now?" Still wary, still feeling him out.
"You're an adult now."
She cocked her head, furrowed her brow. "So you were waiting for me to grow up? Because that's a little--" She wrinkled her nose.
"No! Well, not exactly." With his free hand, he ran a finger down the white streak in her hair. "I, you -- Neither of us was ready." He shifted, uncomfortable. "And I was a moron."
Her mouth curled in a half-grin. "Well, that last part I agree with."
Which meant he had to kiss her again, this time with a little more intensity. She opened her mouth, allowing him to touch her tongue with his, and then she pulled away.
"Careful," she said, and he found himself grinning at her breathlessness, and the way her body responded to him.
He waited, the moment stretched into eternity -- Rogue, gilded by moonlight, eyes heavy-lidded, lips red and bee-stung, making her choice. He hoped he hadn't misplayed his hand, or that her feelings for Remy had been deeper, that she'd been in love as he'd originally thought.
She took his glass from the table, then. "To us." She sipped the champagne, leaving a half-moon of red lipstick on the rim of the glass.
"To us," he echoed, turning the flute so he could drink from the spot her lips had touched.
He pulled her back into his arms then, content to feel her body pressed against his, and dropped kisses on her hair.
After a time that felt much too short to him, he put his arm around her and led her back toward the house. They saw Remy and Ororo in the rose arbor, entwined in a passionate kiss. Rogue glanced over, tensed, and looked away; he felt the shadowy fingers of doubt clutch at his heart.
Back inside the house, they passed a mirror, and he noticed he was now wearing some of her lipstick. He stopped, and she followed his gaze.
"Passion," she said. "It's a good color on you." He laughed, and wiped his mouth on the back of his hand as she continued, "Though I have to warn you, kissing me better be the only way you end up wearing it."
"I can live with that," he said, but he hesitated to make the same claim on her. He thought her reaction, or lack of one, to Remy in the garden, and again, doubt assailed him.
He pressed another kiss on her hair, his hand lingering at her waist as they crossed the ballroom. Some of the stiffness left her body and she relaxed into him. They stood and watched the dancers for a few moments. Jean smirked at him from Scott's arms, and he shrugged a shoulder. He'd seen a chance and taken it. Her advice had had nothing to do with it, and he'd tell her so tomorrow.
Remy and Ororo entered the room, and Rogue turned in his arms. "I'm kind of tired," she said, laying her head down on his chest.
"Want me to carry you up?"
That won him a grin. "I'd love it, but this dress isn't exactly made for it."
"Not up for putting on a show, then?"
She laughed. "Not exactly." She hitched the skirt a little and he had to catch his breath at the sight of her pale skin banded with black lace garters.
His throat was tight as he said, "No, you're right. Don't want to share that with the world." She blushed scarlet, which pleased him, and he could feel a low growl of satisfaction rumbling in his chest. "Let me walk you home."
She smiled outright at that, and he knew it was the right thing to say. Obviously, they were going to take this slow. And he was okay with that. After all, at the beginning of the evening, she'd been in love with Remy. Or she thought she had.
What if she still was?
What if she was settling?
He didn't want her to settle. He was quite willing to be second choice in this, something that, an hour ago, he would have denied, but if he wasn't what she wanted, that was a problem.
They walked slowly through the foyer and up the stairs, and by the time they reached the second floor landing, he knew he wasn't going to be able to sleep tonight if he didn't get a straight answer about her feelings.
At her door, he turned to her and asked, "Do you love him?"
She shrugged one shoulder, which did interesting things to her cleavage. "He wanted me," she answered simply. "I care about him."
He forced himself to remain calm. "And?"
She looked him in the eye, laid a hand on his arm. "And you didn't."
"And now?" he pressed.
"He wants Ororo. And I want you."
He pulled her into his arms, disregarding her exposed skin, and growled. "Good, because I want you, too." He tested the words, weighed them in his mind before repeating them. "I want you, too." And then, "I love you."
Which caused her to squeeze him so tight that he thought she might actually break one of his metal-armored ribs.
He kissed her again, carefully, surprised at how well the night had worked out.
With the taste of her in his mouth, and her lipstick staining his lips, he went to bed, pleased.
Rogue shut the door behind her and took a deep breath.
She looked in the mirror. She was the same girl -- woman -- she'd been five hours ago, when she'd last stood in this room. And yet, everything was completely different.
She'd taken a risk tonight -- both of them had -- and had been rewarded.
She put a hand to her lips, still tingling from Logan's kisses, and started laughing. She didn't stop until she was bent almost double, clutching her stomach, and gasping for air.
"He loves me," she whispered, hugging herself. It was so amazing that she almost didn't believe it. She was awed by the fact that he'd been willing to take a chance on her, to make himself vulnerable to her, and she vowed she'd try to always respect and live up to that bravery. Because while things hadn't gone the way she'd anticipated, they'd turned out so much better than expected.
She leaned forward and kissed the mirror, leaving it smudged with lipstick.
"Passion," she said, "is definitely my lucky color."
victoria The Muse's Fool: http://www.unfitforsociety.net/musesfool read my diary: http://musesfool.diaryland.com We Invented the Remix...Redux: http://www.unfitforsociety.net/remix/remixfaq.htm
If you enjoyed this story, please send feedback to Victoria P.
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