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Untitled Victor/Raven ficlet

Um, yeah. TOTALLY not buying Vic's events in Marville. I mean, WTF people? *snuggles Mr. Badass Sociopath* Don't have much of a clue as to continuity, seeing that I haven't cracked open the spine to a comic since 2004, but heard about it from unanon. Has not been read over, so unedited and all that.

The restaurant wasn’t one that she expected him to go to. He usually preferred hole-in-the-wall places where the beer was good, the food decent, and the company questionable. Then again, he had a habit of swinging all the way to the other side of the spectrum where nothing less than five star anything would do. An average, family-style chain restaurant just wasn’t his style.

Yet where he was sitting was. He was perched up on a barstool, nursing a drink. His back was to the door, but she didn’t think that not being able to see who was entering and exiting was that big of a problem with him. Having other heightened senses did tend to make sneaking up on him difficult.

She bit her lip and uncharacteristically fiddled with the shoulder strap to her purse. Finally winning the battle with indecision, she let the hostess seat her at a table furthest to the back and well away from the bar. The words on the menu were a blur, mostly because she was concentrating on him. He looked like every other suit that was sitting there at the post-five o’clock quitting time happy hour, his shirtsleeves rolled over his forearms and jacket draped over his knee. His hair was a little longer than most, the golden blond strands picking up the light from the overhead lamps. Muscles shifted and bunched under his shirt as he took another sip of his drink. She curled her fingers tighter around the menu to banish the memory of how his skin had felt under her hands. It didn’t work.

She looked up when a waitress set an oversized margarita in front of her. “I didn’t order this,” she said.

The waitress shook her head. “It was from that guy over there, at the bar.” She pointed directly at him.

Raven looked at him. He hadn’t moved much, he still looked as casual as he had earlier, but there was something to the set of his shoulders, the barely noticeable way he tilted his head that told her he was all ears. “Tell him thank you for me,” she murmured, setting her menu down and stirring the drink with the little cocktail straw that came with it. She took a sip, guessing that if he was in the mood for it, that it would take him no more than five minutes to come over and talk. If not, then he was just sending her the drink to let her know that he was aware of her following him and that he wanted to be left alone. She couldn’t help but hope that it was the former, even given their past with dealing with their relationship, if they could even call their dealings an actual relationship.

At four minutes and thirty seconds, he slid into the leather booth opposite of her. “I thought you were dead,” she said, not looking up from the drink.

Ice clinked in the glass he had brought with him. “I’ve been getting that a lot.”

“I’ve seen you bounce back from a lot of things, Victor, but I honestly didn’t think you’d come back from this one.”

He snorted, ice clinking again as he took another swallow. “Takes a lot more than some dumbass magic sword to put me away for good.”

“I should have realized it when they said you had begged Logan to do it.” She tilted her head and looked up at him. “Did the two of you think that up all by yourselves?”

He shrugged. “Little bastard doesn’t like me, I don’t like him. It was a win-win situation. Besides,” he gave her a little grin that showed the pointed tips of his teeth. “I was getting sick and tired of playing the good guy.”

“Being heroic is somewhat overrated.”

“That’s not what I heard. Thought you’d taken a government job with old Colonel Fury. Spy stuff, ‘cept this time you’re working for them instead of tryin’ to steal their crap.”

She ran her finger down the glass, picking up little beads of condensation. “It passes the time.” She wondered just when he had decided to keep tabs on her.

“Never thought you’d leave that place.” He’d seen how…content, she had been with Rogue and Kurt. He couldn’t remember the last time he’d seen her like that, if he’d even seen her that way at all.

She took another sip, noting that the artificial blue was almost, but not quite, a match to her natural skin tone. “I had my reasons.” She didn’t say any more and he didn’t press. The same waitress that had brought her the margarita served Victor a bacon topped burger. “So what are you going to do now that everyone thinks you’re dead?” she asked instead, reaching out to swipe one of his fries.

“Dunno. Guess I’ll lay low for a while, hang out here.” He took a bite, a bit of mustard dripping off the bottom of the bun. “Catch up on my Netflix queue, things like that.”

She couldn’t help the laugh that bubbled up her throat. “Taking a vacation then?”

“Yeah, something like that. Probably take up a job or two, just to keep myself in the game.”

“So, you going to tell me why you’ve been following me this past week or not?” Victor finally asked after he had finished his burger and she had eaten his fries. They hadn’t had a lot of moments like this in their entire history, but he could admit that the ones that they did have, he had folded them carefully and set them close to his chest to take out and look back on. He had first noticed her on Tuesday when he had ventured out to the grocery store to fill up his empty fridge. Take-out was convenient and everything, but he had been sick and tired of the same old pizza that he had been ordering for the past month and a half. At first, he thought that his nose had been playing tricks on him, that he had just imagined the subtle perfume that she favored, but then he had caught it again several aisles over. He had casually tracked her down at the produce section. She had been an older woman then, her dark hair streaked with white, but he had seen through her disguise, recognizing the sway of her hips and the way she balanced on sensible heels as she concentrated a bit too much on the selection of apples in front of her.

Wednesday she had been a blonde, her face half-covered by the newspaper she had pretended to read, her bright blue eyes scanning the locally owned cafe he had made a habit of going to for a morning cup of coffee to go. He’d ignored her, but wondered what the hell she was doing.

And now it was Friday. She had kept her natural hair color for a change, even if her eyes were bordering on plain brown instead of amber. The white pantsuit was a dead giveaway, but maybe she had wanted him to notice her. He couldn’t tell what she was thinking, hell, over the years he had given up guessing how her mind worked, but it still didn’t change the fact that she was miles away from New York and actively following him.

Raven swirled the straw around her now empty glass, playing with the remaining salt on the rim. “I…” What was she going to say to him? That she had missed him? She had tried to fool herself, tried to tell herself that it was a good thing that he was finally gone. When they had lived under the same roof, they had also shared the same bed. The night that she had found out about his supposed death, she had stretched across the width of the mattress, falling asleep in the exact middle, her arms and legs splayed out so that the bed wouldn’t feel as big as it had without him. She’d woken up curled back on her side and her arms around his pillow.

She told herself that she hadn’t missed him. She told herself that she had left because she felt like she had done all that she had set out to do for the time being, that she was ready to spend some time on herself.

She’d be damned if she ever admitted that the real reason she left was because she had started seeing him everywhere she looked, as if her subconscious was hoping that everyone had lied, that he’d pop up when she least expected him to, the same self-assured grin on his face that she loved and at the same time hated to see.

And she’d be double damned before she told him that she had cried for him, mourning the loss of a sometime enemy, sometime teammate, sometime lover as best as she knew how to.

“You…” He prompted, leaning forward, his elbows on the table.

“I just wanted to be sure that they were right.” It came out lamely and she knew it.

“Looks like they weren’t.”

She crossed her arms in front of her chest, her fingers tapping on her sleeves. “No, guess not.”

He relaxed, leaning back against his seat. “So, what do you plan to do now?”

She shrugged. “I don’t know.”

“Gonna rat me out?”

She couldn’t help the smirk that settled over her face. It was as close to a genuine smile that she was ever going to give him. “Should I?”

He grinned. “Knew ya wouldn’t, Darkholme.” He signaled for the tab, pulling his wallet out. “Got any plans tonight?”

She stood up, her hand on her purse. “Not particularly. You?”

“Nope. Tell you the truth, laying low is already startin’ to get boring, what with me all by myself.” He left the money on top of the paper receipt and stood as well. “Wouldn’t hurt to have some company every now and then.”

If she hadn’t known any better, Raven could have sworn that underneath the blasé tone, Victor had almost sounded hopeful. “I’m not in the habit of coming this way often,” she started, watching as something behind his eyes seemed to shut itself away from her. “But, there’s always a first time for everything.”

She walked past him, smiling to herself when his hand settled over the small of her back. The weight was familiar, almost comforting. “Yeah,” he said, his free hand opening the door for them both. “I guess there is.”

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