I knew I wanted her. The first time I laid eyes on her in that bar through a haze of smoke I wanted her. It might have been because she was the only thing in that dump that didn't smell used up. It might have been because she stared at me with those wide eyes like a deer caught in headlights.
It might have been. But it wasn't.
It was because when I looked at her everything in me screamed out that we were the same. Fear, caution, anger, pain. Need. It was all there in her eyes with an innocence that made the fear seem sharper, the need more urgent. I wanted to touch her, hold her, protect her.
But the first time I tried to touch her she yanked back like she was about to get burned.
Course, that was before I knew what she could do. She wasn't afraid of me. She was afraid of hurting me.
Turned out I was the one who hurt her.
I was having the same nightmare I have nearly every night. Drowning in something too thick to be water. Pain ripping through my body faster than I could heal it. People over me drinking from champagne glasses like it's a party. All of it covered in shadows and masks.
Then someone was too close, reaching out to touch me and it was all mixed up with the nightmare memory. I didn't think, I reacted, the claws shot out of my fist with the same ripping pain that's always there and sink into something soft and warm and...
It was Marie.
A thousand different emotions flashed through her eyes and I couldn't look away even as I screamed for someone to come help her. I held out my arms to catch her, to keep her from falling away from me.
That's when she reached out and touched me.
It burned. Her hand was so soft against my cheek and god help me I wanted more even with the pain of her power drawing my life out of me.
When she ran away, it hurt. None of Xavier's trained poodles understood what was going on in my head when I took off after her. I didn't give a damn if Magneto was looking for me, not when Marie was hurting.
Turns out that magnet-boy wasn't after me at all. He wanted Marie's power. I had her in my arms and he ripped us apart.
He should have killed me then.
When it came down to that last fight on the Statue of Liberty it didn't matter that Storm might miss when she sent me flying through the air. It didn't matter that Jean might drop me.
What mattered was that Marie was screaming. What mattered was when the scream stopped.
I could have killed Magneto then for what he'd done to her. Forcing her to absorb his power and memories. He might as well have raped her.
She was so still when I reached her. Those huge innocent brown eyes of hers were closed and she wasn't breathing when I gathered her in my arms.
I wanted to hold her again like I had on the train, but I wanted her holding me back. I yanked off my glove in a hurry and pressed my palm against her cheek, begging her to take my healing ablity. Begging her to take it all if she had too.
I felt my heart shatter inside my chest as I pulled her closer. One hand was buried in her thick chestnut hair while the other one held her pressed against my body. I kept my lips against her forehead, praying to whoever the hell would listen. Begging them not to take her away.
It started. Just a soft tingle first, then stronger until it was burning through me. I was starting to fade away when I heard the most beautiful sound in the world.
Marie's heart beating.
I pulled back slightly and stared down at her. I didn't see anything in her eyes but shock.
I almost smiled then, with her power still sucking me closer and closer to dry.
I thought I was going to die. It would have been one of the nicer ways to commit suicide, that's for damn sure.
So I kissed her.
It wasn't the kind of kiss I give just any girl. But my Marie wasn't any girl.
She tasted like honey. Like vanilla ice cream. Like that strawberry soda that I know is her favorite.
She tasted like heaven. Like home.
Now I'm back in a bar up in Canada's back roads. And thinking about why I ran like a scared rabbit.
Because with a woman like Marie?
One kiss ain't ever gonna be enough.