Winner Takes All

DISCLAIMER: No ownership. No money. No nothing.

NOTES: The last time I watched the movie, it was so damn obvious.

If you could be anyone in the world, who would it be?

Well, it's not just a personality quiz for me, a hypothetical question you ask to get to know someone better. And let me tell you, it's not that brilliant. It was amusing at the start, I grant you. I flitted from life to life, playing at being rich and famous, incredibly beautiful, male and female and somewhere in between.

We all grow out of playing dress up sooner or later.

I take every opportunity to relax, to be myself. The time is long past when I flinched at seeing blue skin in the mirror. Hell, call me narcissistic, but I think it's healthy to spend a certain amount of time admiring yourself. Sometimes, if you don't, no one else will.

But I do flinch when other people see me 'au natural' as it were. Because they invariably look disgusted. Horrified. And how the hell do you think that makes me feel.

Sometimes I flaunt it, just to be a bitch. A bar, a gorgeous body, a drunken pick-up, and then I show him my true colours.

Yeah, I'm narcissistic and a sado-masochist. On the surface I laugh at it, because there's a slew of guys out there having nightmares featuring me, and that's a damn good feeling. But deep inside it twists. Because that's what I'm always going to get, don't you see? It's always going to be the shock of horror, no matter what. The involuntary widening of eyes, the loss of breath.

I've seen it a million times, but it still hits me every time.

That's why I'm out here in this remote spot somewhere in the mountains. One of the reasons. It's not wilderness. Not just yet. A little rest stop on a seldom-used road. Some cleared land and a few old tables too far from anywhere to even be the target of graffiti. There's nothing here but me and the low, sleek black convertible I picked up a little while back. When it became obvious that my transport was now my responsibility, and Magneto wouldn't be around to give assistance any time soon.

Don't get me wrong, I'm devoted to him, but I'm also more than a little glad that he's out of the way at the moment. Otherwise I wouldn't dare to be here. To do what I've done, and what I hope to do. And if I hadn't dared, I know I'd live the rest of my life wondering about it. What might have been.

I remember that night at the Statue for a lot of reasons. It was to have been our greatest triumph, the first step in a wonderful plan. Thwarted. But I also have other, more personal reasons.

I feel a smile curve over my face, completely unwilled. I can't help my response. Whenever I remember that fight, my pulse speeds up, the adrenaline starts flowing, and that smile sidles onto my lips. The God-almighty rush of fighting for real. Not sparring, not just a little boxing match, but full-blown do-or-die.

But it's not like that. It's like a dance. Like an embrace. It's not just in the body, in the animal surge of instinct, it's also in the mind. Strategy and strength. Cunning and cutting. It's life. It's death. It's everything.

It had never been that way before.

I looked into his eyes - the Wolverine, that's all I knew him as - during that fight and wondered if they were dark with fear or anger or hate. Or maybe, just maybe, was there a hint of desire there too. Because I felt it.

And my God, I felt more alive than I ever had in my life.

No doubt you're expecting me to spout some crap about how I didn't want to kill him anymore, and had to force myself to go on with the fight, but that's just ridiculous. I still wanted to kill him. I wanted to plunge my hand into his chest and drag his heart out, see if he lived after that. But at the same time, I wanted to feel his claws rip into me, slice through vital internal organs. I wanted to kill him, and be killed.

I wanted to fuck him, and be fucked.

I'm practically purring now, just thinking about it. I lean back against the car, the metal cool against my bare, blue skin. I told you, I like going natural. It's like an acceptance of myself. But I don't get much chance to do it around other people.

That's the real reason I'm out here. Because as intoxicating as the fight at the Statue was, it's not enough to make me throw caution to the wind and send that sort of message to an enemy. I practically begged him to meet me here. I don't know if he'll come. I don't even know if he got the message.

I have to hope, though. Because he could /smell/ me.

You don't understand, do you? You have absolutely no idea. No one does, not unless they've been me and know what it's like. Yeah, this shape-shifting thing is fantastic. You can look like anyone, /be/ anyone.

I'm the ultimate in fantasy-fulfillment. I can be blonde, brunette, a redhead, bald if that takes your fancy. Any build, any complexion, anyone, anytime. You want to fuck Angelina Jolie, then you can. Hell, you want to fuck Russell Crowe, I can do that as well.

But does anyone want to fuck me?

You see it yet? Christ, humans do it all the time anyway. Just close your eyes, and pretend the man sweating above you is someone else - Tom Cruise, maybe. Just a little lie, to yourself, to the person you're with. And that's just using your imagination.

I can do the real thing.

It doesn't take very long to get sick of the lies. To wonder if anyone at all ever desired me. And even those that I've loved, the ones for whom I took on a normal shape so they didn't have to look at the blue skin, even with those I've wondered if they were pretending that this body was who I really was. If they were really loving me, or just someone who I looked like.

Wolverine, he could smell me. As the miniature Statue. As Storm. I changed completely, and he still knew it was me. Knew enough to plunge those claws deep into the body of his teammate, into my body.

The pain had been incredible, amazing, but it hadn't been fatal. I'd known that immediately. Under my heart and lungs, above my intestines, between my ribcage and around my spine. Nothing vital. A surge of exultant triumph had filled me - he'd made a mistake! - and I'd raised a hand to dispatch him.

Then I looked in his eyes, and that was the most staggering blow of all. It was all there, laid bare. He hadn't made a mistake. He hadn't meant it to be fatal. Now, there was business to attend to, and he needed to finish it; that girl of Magneto's. But another time... There were all those things, all the anger and hate and fear, but there was also desire, excitement. A mirror to my own.

So I slid backwards off his claws, the slither of the blood-slick metal a promise all of its own. I lay on the floor, waiting.

Waiting like now. Remembering the facts, and the implications. He'd sniffed me out. He couldn't lie, not to himself, not to me. There would never be any doubt.

The purr of a bike causes my pulse to jump, an almost lethargic flood of adrenaline through my system. The bike's big and black and he's wearing leather, looking like sex on legs, but that's all entirely secondary to the fact that he's /here/. I didn't know how much it meant to me until this moment when he pulled up opposite me, stopped the bike, swung off it.

He stalks towards me, closing the distance with animal grace, and in that moment I don't know whether he's going to punch me or kiss me. I don't know what I'm going to do to him.

I honestly don't care. The battle has rejoined. And the winner takes all.

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