“I’m Hank, damnit…” he whispers.
“You say something?” asks Tigra, Greer to her friends.
Hank and Greer aren’t friends, though, he knows that much.
He tries to ignore her as she prowls the room and him, ever the hunter. Who is she kidding? he thinks. Who am I kidding? This doesn’t turn me on.
“Nothing, Tigra. I said nothing…” he replies.
She knows I’m lying, he thinks more, and gets on with playing the game.
Hank drinks. He never thought he was the type. He isn’t the type, but needs to for this, for some reason. To stop from falling, or to fall, he’s not sure which. To be rudderless enough, to convince his brain he needs this as much as his heart knows it does.
“C’m’ere,” Tigra purrs, using her tail to pull him towards her in the shadows, enough for them to be tasting each other’s breath. His nose is too acute, though, while his mind is still too civilised. Her breath, to his sharp senses, smells like raw meat.
Tirgra’s tail runs the length of his back, causing his fur to both bristle and feel superb.
“You like it rough, Avenger? Or slow, X-man?” she whispers in his ear.
It makes him cringe, feel dirty, like a cheat, all her hamminess. Her cheese.
The cat that likes cheese, he thinks.
“What turns you on…?” he asks.
“You first…” she purrs.
“I…” he starts.
“Rough it is!”
Tigra flips Hank, throwing him through the air, into the wall, then, digging her fingers into the plaster, pins him there.
“No…” he says, as she bites his lip, drawing blood.
“Damn the damage, let’s do it on the ceiling! You’re more than strong enough to-“
“I said…” Hank starts, gripping her by her hair and throwing her blind. Tigra smashes into the mirror.
She lands on the ground, on all fours, smirking, purring.
“Look…” his voice trails off.
Hank sits head lowered on the edge of the bed. Thinking of how hopeless he feels, how lost - always, lost. But, as an X-Man he’s seen and suffered hurt too much. The death of friends, murder, genocide. How can his loneliness compare with that? So many died in Genoshia. He is a hardened warrior, yet feels oh, so alone.
Tigra strolls up from behind, lowering herself into his vision.
“Okay, lover…,” she says softly. “Slow…”
Gradually, he realises she is not the enemy, he is. They both are. Faking it because they want some kind of contact. Because, maybe, within the throws of love making, for the length of it, they might be able to kid themselves they’re in love.
To hide in a physical lie for a few hours.
She curls her arm around the back of his neck, moving her mouth closer still, as if frozen in a photo, a paper’s width away from a kiss. The contact of it makes his whole body sigh, and hurt, because it reminds him of what real contact was.
The Beast decides he is still Hank, but then there’s the world. What human would have him like this? They would need to be obnoxious, too strong, too brash. Too wild.
And even if not, they would be in danger every second of every hour.
Hank liked gentle girls, romance. The Beast can’t afford that. Yet, with a strong woman the Beast might be all that remains.
Tigra kisses him. They fall into each other with passionate motions born of desperation.
“Oh, my…” he bluffs.
They have nothing in common. Nothing. Greer is a flighty, extroverted woman, who is not as clever as him and has done not one thing wrong other than given in to loneliness… just like he has.
It makes things worse. It saves him for a while.