Remy gets his stitches out, and meets Rogue's friends.
A/N: Took slightly longer than planned, but here’s the next chapter. Thanks for the reviews/feedback last chapter. Please, R&R.
Chapter 5: Acclimation – Afternoon
Bobby hurried out of the room as class ended, trying to catch up with Rogue, who had sat at the back of the room away from most of the other students. “Rogue!” He called after her.
He walked faster, pushing past two other students, and caught up with her. “Rogue, wait up.” He said, placing a hand on her shoulder. “Please, I just want to talk.”
She shrugged his hand off and turned to face him, but he was grateful she actually stayed to listen to him.
“Rogue,” he said, once the other students moved past them and the hallway was left deserted. “I just want to say I’m sorry.”
Rogue looked at him with a surprised expression, obviously not having expected this from him. “W-what?”
“I’m sorry for everything that’s gone on in the past few days. I’m sorry for breaking our time together for homework, and I’m sorry for the stupid things I’ve said. I’m always opening my big mouth and saying something stupid.”
Rogue’s lips twisted into a slight grin. “Ya can say that again.”
Bobby sighed. “I- Rogue, what you heard the other day, that didn’t come out the way I meant it. I don’t think you or your power are useless or that you can’t defend yourself. It’s just, your power is so different than what most of us have, other than Logan. We can defend ourselves from a distance but you need to be close up for your power to work, and that worries me because it means it’s more likely that someone can hurt you, and you can’t heal like Logan or phase out like Kitty or turn to metal like Piotr. I know Logan’s been teaching you stuff, but that doesn’t stop me from being worried about you.”
Rogue’s eyes softened, and she placed a hand on his arm. “Ah know ya didn’ mean it, Bobby, it jus’ hurt t’hear what Ah’m always thinkin’. An’ Ah’m sorry too, for overreactin’ with the whole homework thing an’ ev’rythin’ afterwards. I feel like I’ve been such a big, nasty bitch to ya lately.”
Bobby tentatively reached out and pulled her into a hug, and whispered to her. “It’s okay. I’m pretty sure I deserved everything you dished out to me.”
He pulled back and looked down into her warm brown eyes. “Rogue. I was thinking.”
“Well, that’s a first.” She said, her eyes dancing merrily.
“Hey, not nice! I was thinking that we haven’t really done anything together since Alkali and I thought it’d be nice if we went on a date or something. I was thinking maybe a picnic some afternoon, just the two of us, out on the grounds.”
A smile appeared on Rogue’s face. “Ah’d like that. How about tomorrow? Ah’ve got a session with the Professor in the morning, but the rest of the day Ah’ve got nothin’.”
Bobby smiled. “Tomorrow sounds great. I’ll make us lunch and we can spend the afternoon outside.”
“Ah think that sounds good. I think we need somethin’ like this for us.”
Bobby hugged her once more, and let out a deep sigh. He was relieved she had heard him out and forgiven him, and that she still wanted to at least attempt to keep their relationship going.
“I’ve gotta go now, Rogue. I have to talk to Professor Xavier, but after that I was going to grab lunch with Piotr, Kitty, and Jubes, so if you want to join us, I think we were going to hang out in the living room.”
“Alright. Annie wanted some help with somethin’ so I’m gonna head down ta the med lab, but Ah don’t think it’ll take too long.”
“Okay, I’ll see you in a bit then,” Bobby said, and carefully kissed her on the top of the head. He backed up and moved around her down the hall toward Xavier’s office.
Rogue felt like an enormous weight had been lifted off her shoulders as the tensions that had built between her and Bobby melted away. She was amazed that he’d taken the initiative and apologized to her, but glad that he was willing to try to keep their relationship going. ‘This’ll be our test,’ she thought, ‘/If this doesn’t turn out well, I’ll end it. /’
She didn’t want both of them to be trapped in a relationship that was deteriorating, and didn’t want to stay together and end up with a nasty breakup but instead an amicable one where they could remain friends afterwards. She’d seen too many couples in high school in Mississippi that had broken up and never talked to one another, friends of the couple would be forced to choose “sides”, and it was something she never wanted to happen to them.
Rogue stuffed her hands in her pockets and walked down the hallway. She punched the call button for the elevator, and took it to the third floor. As she walked toward her room to put her books inside, she saw the person she had been planning to look for.
From one of the rooms at the end of the hall, she saw Remy shuffle out of the doorway. He yawned widely and when he saw her, he quickly put a hand over his mouth to stifle the yawn. She could tell he’d been sleeping from his mussed-up hair and rumpled clothing.
“G’mornin’, sleepy-head, Ah was just gonna look for ya,” Rogue called down the hall as she opened the door to her room. She tossed her books onto her bed and closed the door again.
Remy strolled casually in her direction. “Bonjour again. You have fun in class?”
Rogue rolled her eyes. “If ya call Physics an’ Calc fun, then yeah.”
Remy winced. “Guess not den. Glad t’be finished wit’ all dat crap.”
“Ya already out of college? How old are ya?” Rogue asked in surprise. ‘/Does he just look young?/’ She wondered to herself.
“Twennyone. Went to community college an’ got out in under two years ‘cuz I did some courses my last year of high school.”
“Oh, alright, Ah was pretty sure ya weren’t much older than me. Ah’m nineteen, an’ this is mah first full year. Ah did some stuff in high school too b’fore mah power came out.”
“Dey do college stuff here?”
“Yeah, we take most of our classes here, but some of them are from another college nearby an’ we do ‘em online.”
“Bet dat’s pretty nice. Dat way you can take classes wit’ people, wit’ mutants, dat you know an’ dat understand you ‘stead of wit’ some of de bigots dat are out dere. Hadta deal wit’ dat myself a few times. Xavier’s got a good t’ing goin’ here.”
He leaned against the wall next to her, and then asked, “So, y’said you was lookin’ for me. Y’miss me already?”
Rogue smiled. “Ah was lookin’ for ya ‘cuz Annie wanted me ta get ya when Ah got outta class.”
“Ah, t’get dese t’ings outta me,” he said, touching his abdomen over his bandages.
“Yeah, she said you’d probably be ready for ‘em t’come out.” Rogue said, calling the elevator once again.
As the elevator traveled downward, Remy jabbed a finger at the Basement Level 2 button. “What’s down dere?”
“Um, there’s pretty much only the Danger Room which is a place where we usually train with our powers, an’ a conference room down there - has Ororo given you a tour yet?”
“/Non/, she only showed me my room an’ den she had t’get to class.”
They stepped out of the elevator. “Well, Ah can give ya a tour of the place after Ah eat lunch if ya want.”
Remy smiled at her. “Dat’d be nice.” He stood at the sliding door of the med lab and extended his arm out toward the entrance, bowing with an exaggerated flourish. “After you,” he said.
Rogue smiled and walked past him. Annie, who had heard the door open, walked out of her office. “Thanks for getting him for me Rogue.”
She looked over to Remy and gestured at an examination table. “Hop up on there and take your shirt off for me. I think we should at least be able to remove the stitches in your shoulder.”
Remy sat on the table and pulled the shirt over his head, and tossed it onto the table beside him. Annie moved up to him and peeled the taped gauze from his skin, revealing his stitches. She looked over both of his wounds, pressing her fingers gently near the edges to check how much they had healed.
She turned her head to Rogue who stood behind her. “Ready to learn how to remove stitches?”
Rogue nodded eagerly and moved forward next to her. Annie grabbed a tweezers and a small scissors from a drawer. “Alright, it’s really pretty simple. All you really do is snip the suture on one side of the knot, and then pull on it from the knot side until it comes out. Make sure you pull the knot side first so you aren’t yanking the knot through the wound,” she said, demonstrating by pulling the suture slightly up with the tweezers, snipping the surgical thread, and smoothly pulling it out. “Just like that.”
Remy barely felt even a tugging at his skin, and was actually very impressed at how easily she had done it. ‘/Then again, it’s usually Henri or me that are yanking them out/,’ he thought.
Annie passed the scissors and tweezers to Rogue and placed a hand on her back, pushing her closer to Remy. “Now you try.”
Rogue let out a breath and moved her face closer to his suture. She pulled it up and placed the scissors near the knot. “Like this?” Rogue asked, looking up at Annie.
Annie leaned closer and moved the scissors to the left. “Right here, as close to the knot as you can. That way if the wound opens a bit, the knot won’t get pulled into the skin and you can still pull it out.”
Annie placed her hands on either side of the wound, ensuring that if it did open both sides would remain in place. Rogue carefully snipped the suture, and began to pull it from his skin. She didn’t realize her hands were shaking with nervousness until she heard Remy hiss in pain as it was pulled completely from him.
She quickly backed away from him. “Ah’m sorry Remy.”
She handed the scissors and tweezers back to Annie. “Maybe you should do it. Ah’ll just hurt him.”
Annie shook her head and pressed the tools back into Rogue’s hand. “You’re doing fine, Rogue. You’re just a little nervous doing this your first time.” She said, looking hopefully at Remy for his own encouragement for Rogue.
Rogue reluctantly held the tools and looked up at Remy. He smiled warmly at her. “You can do dis, Rogue. An’ b’lieve me, dat hurt a lot less den when I get my frère t’take out stitches from me. He’s got g’rilla hands when it comes t’dat.”
A weak smile flitted across Rogue’s face and she let out another breath. She moved closer once again and looked closely at the last suture. She moved the scissors next to the knot like Annie had shown her, and snipped the suture.
Rogue set down the scissors and moved the tweezers into place. This time she noticed immediately that her hands were still shaking. She glared at them, willing them to still themselves, but they kept shaking, and she let out a sigh of frustration.
She was startled when one of Remy’s hands enveloped her gloved hand that held the tweezers. Her eyes darted upward to look at him, and he looked down at her with a grin and squeezed her hand. “Hey, relax. It ain’ de end of de world. Jus’ a little piece of thread.”
She was surprised to see her hand was no longer shaking in his grip. She moved her fingers and grasped the thread with the tweezers and pulled slowly from his skin.
Once it was completely out, Remy slowly released her hand. “See? Tol’ ya you could do it. Didn’ hurt a bit.”
Annie smiled gratefully at Remy over Rogue’s shoulder, and mouthed “Thank you,” to him.
Annie moved back and placed a hand on Rogue’s shoulder. “That was excellent Rogue. I’m going to grab some isopropyl; why don’t you remove the sutures in his abdomen while I’m doing that?”
Bobby walked down the hall of the basement after getting Professor Xavier’s approval on a subject for the paper that was due in two weeks in their Ethics class.
He walked the entrance to the Med Lab and looked in through the doors to see if Rogue was still there. He stopped in his tracks when he saw Annie and Rogue next to a man he’d never seen before. ‘/Must be that Gambit dude that Kitty was talking about./’ He thought.
He was about to call out to Rogue until he saw the man reach up and cup her hands, and give her a charming grin. He stood frozen, and his only thoughts were, ‘/this creep’s putting the moves on my girlfriend/.’
He felt jealousy well up in his chest when the man didn’t let go of her and squeezed her hand. ‘/Who the hell does he think he is, pawing Rogue like that/?’ Bobby thought angrily.
Just as Bobby was about to burst into the room, Piotr’s earlier comment echoed in his head and stopped him dead: ‘/Right now a big part of the problem between you two is that you don’t think before you open your mouth, Bobby/.’
Bobby closed his eyes. He knew Piotr was right and he knew if he ran into the room storming about what he’d seen, he’d ruin everything he’d just worked for to get back with Rogue, and probably end up in another fight. ‘/Besides, it looks like she’s got scissors in her hand there. Don’t think she’d be too happy if I burst in and she accidentally stabbed the guy,/’ he thought.
After Rogue finished whatever she had been doing on the man’s arm, Annie walked away to a cabinet on the other side of the room, and Rogue bent down to what looked like a wound on the man’s abdomen.
Bobby chose that moment to interrupt.
“Hey Rogue,” Bobby called loudly from the doorway.
Rogue jumped, and looked to the doorway. “Bobby! Don’t scare me like that when Ah’m trying to take out stitches!” She said breathlessly.
“Sorry, I was just checking on you and if you were still going to eat lunch with us.”
“Um, yeah. Ah’ll be done in a bit. Why don’ you head on up an’ Ah’ll meet y’all up there?”
Bobby looked uncertainly at her, and shifted uncomfortably as the man on the table stared at him behind dark, mirrored sunglasses. He was almost certain he was glaring at him. Bobby finally nodded, and turned. “Alright, I’ll tell everyone you’re coming so they don’t eat without you.” He called over his shoulder.
Rogue moved back to Remy’s abdomen and began to remove the first suture. Remy’s momentary disgruntled feelings quickly evaporated, and he found himself having to shift uncomfortably on the table when his body began to react to Rogue’s warm breath and gloved hands on his skin. ‘/Dieu/,’ he thought to himself, ‘/Not usually this trigger happy. I hardly even know the girl. Guess the fact that she’s fricking hot and breathing on my stomach might have something to do with it, but still/.’’
Rogue swatted him on the arm, completely unaware of his discomfort. “Sit still,” she commanded, “It’s bad enough Ah hurt ya ‘cuz my hands were shakin’. Ah don’ need you squirmin’ all over th’place an’ makin’ it worse.”
Remy clenched his jaw. “Sorry.” He breathed a mental sigh of relief when the last stitch was removed and she backed away.
Annie handed Rogue a small bottle of rubbing alcohol and an application pad. “Here, you clean up his shoulder I’ll clean the other wound. The last thing we want is germs getting in there, especially when it’s closing up so fast.
Remy had cooled down enough to joke when the two swabbed his wounds. “Well, if I’da known dat getting’ shot meant I got ta have pretty girls runnin' their hands all over me, I’d’ve gotten shot ev’ry week. Dat’d be de life”
He was pleased to see that not only Rogue but Annie as well, blushed.
Annie stepped back and looked at him. “Well, if you do that, I’m sure Ororo’ll shoot you herself for making her worry.”
Remy laughed. “Yeah, she probably would.”
Once the alcohol evaporated completely, Annie put new bandages over the wounds. “Now, try not to get these wet. If you do, take them off and put dry ones on, because bacteria love to thrive in warm and wet areas and you’ll end up with an infection. Other than that, I’d say you’re good to go. From your rate of healing I think you can take those bandages off by tomorrow or the day after at the latest.”
Remy nodded and pulled his shirt back over his head. “/Merci beaucoup, ma jolie infirmières/.” Remy said, nodding his thanks to both women.
“/De rien/.” Rogue said in hesitant French. In high school she’d taken French one year, German another, and Spanish a third year to satisfy the three language credit requirements for graduation, but French had been her Freshman class and she remembered very little of it besides the basics.
Remy grinned widely at her. “Very good.”
“Thanks,” she said, smiling back. “That’s about all Ah know besides things like greetings and countin’ to a hundred.” She blushed then, “An’ of course how t’curse. Ah took French back in ninth grade, for a year.”
“Better den nothin’. An’ it’s always good t’know how t’cuss someone out without them even knowin’ it.” He replied.
Rogue glanced at the door and then back to Remy. “Ah better get goin’ ta lunch. Ya wanna come eat with me an’ mah friends, Remy?”
“Sure. If y’don’ t’ink dey’d mind. Be nice to get t’know some more people ‘round here.”
He started to stand up, but Rogue stood in front of him and placed a hand on his chest. Annie moved back toward her office silently, sensing she should leave the two alone.
“Remy,” Rogue said softly, “It’s gloomy out an’ it’s gonna rain soon outside, an’ the lights in here aren’t very bright. Ah don’ think ya need these, do ya?” She asked, reaching up and touching his sunglasses.
Remy’s shoulders sank in resignation, and when he made no move to stop her, she slid them from his face and folded them before slipping one arm of the frame behind the collar of her shirt so they hung from her neck. “I’ll keep ‘em for ya.”
Remy looked at her uncertainly, and she patted his shoulder. “Ya don’ need ta hide anythin’ Remy. We’re all mutant’s here, an’ y’eyes aren’ gonna freak us out like they might other people. They’ll accept ya no matter how ya look. Heck, we got a little girl that looks like a cat, a kid that can turn into a wolf, an’ an acrobat that’s got blue skin and a tail. Red’n’black eyes ain’ gonna even phase ‘em,” she said. “Trust me.”
“Alrigh’,” he said reluctantly, “but if dey do get creeped out, ya gotta give ‘em back t’me.”
Rogue smiled. “Deal. Now let’s go. I’m starved.”
She grabbed his arm and pulled him out of the infirmary. She dragged him to the end of the hallway and he followed her up the stairs.
There were a few students sitting at tables in the kitchen when they entered. Rogue grabbed a loaf of bread and peeled out two slices and set them on a plate. She grabbed a knife and a jar of peanut butter and spread it on the bread.
Remy followed suit with his own sandwich as Rogue spread jelly onto the other slice of bread. Remy opened the cabinet he’d seen Rogue use the other night, and pulled out a bottle of honey, which he drizzled over the peanut butter.
Rogue looked at him with a raised eyebrow.
“What?” He asked. “You never eaten peanut butter and honey b’fore?”
Rogue shook her head. “No, never thought of that combination.”
“Well, y’should try it. Taste’s great. Wanna trade?”
Rogue looked down at her sandwich and back to Remy. “Alright,” she said, handing him her plate.
Rogue grabbed a soda from the fridge and tossed one to Remy. She grabbed his arm again and tugged him from the room. He managed to snag two individual bags of chips off of the countertop with his partially free hand that was holding the soda as she pulled him past. “C’mon, we’re meetin’ in the livin’ room.” She said, leading him down the hall to the doors he’d heard the television blaring from the night before.
Rogue let go of his arm and pushed the door, which was slightly ajar, open all the way and entered the room. Remy followed closely behind her, and saw that the room had couches and recliner chairs scattered throughout, with a large plasma-screen television against one wall. A half-dozen other people were already in the room.
Several looked up as Rogue entered. The young man he’d seen down in the med lab – Bobby if he remembered correctly what Rogue had said – smiled as Rogue entered, but his smile dimmed when he saw Remy behind her.
“Hey Rogue.” He called to her, causing the rest of them to look up.
Rogue stepped to the side and next to Remy. “Hey ev’ryone. Ah’d like ya’ll to meet R-Gambit,” she said, correcting herself when she remembered her discussion with Ororo about Remy’s name.
Remy nodded to the group and set his plate, soda, and chips down on an end-table. Rogue inclined her head to him and he moved closer to her and the others. “This is Kitty,” she said, gesturing to a pretty young brunette who put down a sandwich and rose halfway to shake his hand.
Remy took her hand and bent his head over it to hover his lips over her knuckles. “/Bonjour/.”
Rogue turned to a young Native American woman, who had her long black hair pulled into two braids, on either side of her head, which hung down her back. “This’s Danielle.”
Danielle smiled and offered her own hand, blushing when he bent over it as he had to Kitty. “You can call me Dani.”
“Nice t’meet you Dani.”
A young Chinese-American girl who wore a bright yellow shirt, red leather choker, and golden hoop earrings dangling from her ears was sitting next to Dani and she too offered him her hand. “I’m Jubilee.”
Rogue gestured to a young blond haired man who appeared to be one of the youngest of the group. “This here’s Sam Guthrie. He’s new here too, only been here a few weeks.”
Sam smiled widely and shook Gambit’s hand. “Y’better not be thinkin’ ‘bout kissin’ my hand too.”
Gambit grinned back him. “Non, don’ worry ‘bout dat. Y’ain’ pretty enough.”
Sam laughed. “Good point. Nice t’see Rogue an’ I ain’ the only Southerner’s ‘round here now.”
Gambit saw Rogue roll her eyes at the two of them, trying to hide a grin. She pointed to the tall, dark haired young man he’d met earlier in the morning. “This is –”
“Piotr,” Gambit interrupted, giving him a jaunty salute and receiving a friendly nod in return. “We met dis mornin’.”
Piotr nodded. “Did you end up finding Ororo? She never came down for breakfast before I went off to class.”
“Yeah, found her. She showed me to de room she set up.”
The last person, the one he’d seen earlier in the Med Lab moved forward, extending a hand. “I’m Rogue’s boyfriend,” he said pointedly, “Bobby Drake. Iceman.”
Remy quirked an eyebrow, and shook his hand. “Iceman? Why y’called dat? Y’shoot icecubes outta yer eyes or someti’ng?”
Bobby’s eyes flashed in irritation and he gripped Remy’s hand harder and suddenly the moisture in the air around their hands crystallized into a thin frosty layer on their hands.
Gambit let go and shook the ice crystals from his hand. He nodded to Bobby. “Bet dat’s a useful t’ing t’be able t’do. Nice t’meet you, Iceboy.”
Rogue touched Remy’s shoulder breaking up any further “discussion” between the two. “Ah’m hungry, aren’ you guys?”
Sam cleared his throat, having noticed the tension between the two men. “Yeah Rogue. Most of us were waiting for you,” he said, and shot a mock glare at Kitty who had already eaten most of her lunch.
“Hey, don’t look at me like that.” She said, and glanced to Rogue. “Sorry, I didn’t have any breakfast, and I was starving.”
Rogue sat down on a couch a few feet away from Kitty and the other girls, and Remy grabbed his food and sat down next to her. “Naw, that’s fine, Kitty. What’re you guy’s watchin’?” Rogue asked, nodding to the television set which was displaying a commercial for car insurance.
“The news.” Jubilee piped up. “There’s not really much else on right now.”
Remy handed Rogue one of the bags of chips he’d grabbed, and she smiled at him in thanks. Remy popped open his soda and took a sip, sitting back to watch Rogue try her sandwich.
He smiled as she took a bite and her eyes widened. She swallowed her mouthful and looked at him. “Wow, this is actually really good… Gambit. Ah like it.”
Piotr looked over at her curiously. “What’s that?”
“Oh, he made me a peanut butter and honey sandwich because I’ve never tried it before. It tastes great….” She paused when she felt something hit her glove, and when she looked down she saw honey seeping out the bottom, drizzling onto her fingers. “Messy though,” she said and set down the sandwich to lick what she could from her fingers.
Sam laughed at her attempts. “Ah think ya’ll need to keep a spare set of gloves for lunch from now on if y’start eatin’ that. Gotta say they’re pretty good, but nuthin’ c’n beat peanut butter and mayonnaise.”
Kitty made a choking sound. “Oh my God, that’s disgusting. Please, I just ate, I don’t need to even think about that.”
“Oh, c’mon, just ‘cuz y’don’t like mayo doesn’t mean y’have ta act like you’re gonna barf or somethin’” Sam retorted.
Kitty closed her eyes. “Besides the fact that I hate the smell and taste of mayo, you know I’m a vegetarian, Sam. I don’t eat egg products. Please, can we talk about something else?”
Jubilee interrupted. “Since we’re talking about food, what do you guys think Ororo’s going to make for supper tomorrow? I know it’s Professor Summer’s turn to take care of it, but she’s been doing it for him lately.”
Remy leaned forward to look at her on the other couch. “You guys have the teachers here make supper for you ev’ry night?”
Dani shook her head. “Not every night, only Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Each time a different person gets supper for the students.”
Remy’s eyebrows raised. “Sounds nice.”
“It usually is, ‘specially not having to worry about it ourselves,” Jubilee said.
As everyone finished eating their lunch, the weather forecast came on, causing Bobby to shush everyone.
An attractive blonde woman was standing in front of the Futurecast, which showed warm temperatures until the end of the weekend.
Bobby smiled, and glanced over to Rogue. ‘/Perfect weather for us to spend the afternoon outside/,’ he thought to himself.
Jubilee set aside her plate and got up, walking over to the couch Remy and Rogue sat at, and sank into the cushions next to Remy.
“So Remy, tell us something about yourself. What brings you here to the mansion?” She asked, pulling her legs up onto the couch and wrapping her arms around her legs.
Remy swallowed his mouthful and glanced around and noticed that everyone had turned their gazes to him. He cleared his throat and shrugged. “Well, I mainly came here to visit Ororo. We’re good friends an’ she tol’ me I could stop by anytime. I’m checkin’ dis place out for a friend of mine dat’s got problems controllin’ their powers, an’ I was kinda t’inking of stayin’ around here, at least for a bit.”
“You need help with your powers too, or just your friend?”
“Non, I got ‘em under control now, took quite a while back when dey popped out though. You guys might not realize it, but I’d say y’all are pretty lucky dat you got a place like dis, where everyone knows what you’re going through an’ help y’deal with it. Wish dere was more places like dis.”
He glanced at each of their faces. “So, I already know Iceboy’s powers, what ‘bout de rest of ya? What can y’all do?”
Sam was the first to speak up. “Well, Ah’ve got this blast field thing, a “thermo-chemical energy field” I think Prof Xavier calls it. Ah can pretty much put this energy shield around my body, and blast energy out of my feet enough to fly around. Been workin’ with Xavier an’ I’ve been gettin’ some control to blast it outta my hands if I really concentrate.”
Sam glanced to the side to Piotr who shrugged. “I can turn my body to metal,” he said. He squinted and his skin shifted and reformed into a shiny metallic surface.
Remy looked at him in curiosity as he allowed himself to shift back to his flesh-and-blood form. “Can ya move around like dat?”
“Yeah, I pretty much turn into a sort of organic steel. I can move about the same as I do now, maybe just a bit slower because I gain a lot of mass when I turn to metal.”
Remy looked to his left at the girls of the group. Kitty smiled at him and then gave him a shock when she moved her hand through the arm of the couch. “I can phase myself through things. I’ve been working with the professor and learning how to phase other objects and other people with me.”
‘/Damn/,’ Remy thought, ‘/That’d be the perfect power for a thief like me/.’
He shifted his eyes to Danielle, who looked embarrassed. “Well, my power’s not really all that great like any of theirs. I can create illusions that people see. So far all I can do is make illusions of a person’s greatest fear.”
Jubilee eagerly stretched out her hand, and her fingertips began to glow softly. Rogue quickly reached across Remy and covered her hands up with her own. “No, don’t!” She said, sounding frantic.
Jubilee let the glow dissipate in surprise, and Rouge pulled her hands back. “Sorry Jubes, it’s just, he’s sensitive to bright lights.”
Jubilee then looked at him knowingly. “Oh, your eyes, huh? Can you see in the dark or something like that?”
Rogue noticed Remy shift uncomfortably in his seat. “Well, I c’n see better den most people can in low light, but I take a bit t’adjust to bright lights.”
Jubilee nodded, also noticing his change in posture. “Well anyway, I can make these little globs of energy and blow them up. Sorta like a really bright firecracker.”
Remy looked over to Rogue with a thankful expression on his face. “Well den, I’m glad ya didn’ blow one up.”
“So Gambit,” she said with a grin, “We showed you ours now you show us yours.”
He laughed. “Well, I can–”
He was cut off when a loud *BAMF* echoed through the room, coming from a point directly behind Rogue. Everyone jumped at the sound but Remy, unaccustomed to the sound swiftly moved into action. To everyone it appeared that one second he had been sitting on the couch, and the next he was standing next to the couch, turned around to face the noise, with his plate in his hand pulsating with a magenta glow, tensed to throw it at the sudden arrival.
The source of the noise raised his three-fingered hand in a tentative wave and a weak smile. “Er, hello. Sorry to frighten you, I was practicing teleporting to places without seeing them first.”
Remy glanced at the others who didn’t seem surprised by the blue-skinned man, and lowered his plate, allowing the charge to dissipate. “S’alright. Just the last time I heard a loud bang like dat I got shot.”
Rogue stood up next to Remy. “Kurt, this is Gambit. Gambit, this is Kurt Wagner.”
Remy nodded to the man, only now noticing a long, pointed tail swishing behind him.
Kurt shook his hand and apologized again. “I should have made sure this room was unoccupied before I teleported.”
Rogue shook her head. “That’s alright –”
Sam suddenly shushed everyone when something on TV caught his eye. “Hey guys, heads up,” he said, grabbing the remote and turning up the volume.
On the bottom of the screen a banner proclaimed “Breaking News”, and pictures of a Manhattan, New York neighborhood covered the rest of the screen. It shifted to an aerial view of a street blocked off by barricades and the caved in side of a large building. Remy recognized the entrance he’d blown up immediately and felt a cold clenching in his gut.
The view changed to an attractive young woman with short-cropped black hair standing in front of the barricades. She lifted her microphone to her mouth. “/Hello, this is Trish Tilby reporting for WNBC-4 News. As most of you know, close to two weeks ago, explosions in this quiet New York neighborhood brought police to the scene of what is being called the New York City Massacre/.”
“/A long forgotten network of tunnels dating back to the early Cold War era caved in due to the explosions, and inside police uncovered a group of armed men who, police allege, murdered dozens of mutants who were inhabiting the tunnel network. Currently 64 mutants have been confirmed dead, and the bodies of at least two of the armed men have been recovered, and anonymous sources have indicated they found the remains of another person apparently caught in one of the explosions/.”
“/Images and information released by the police and medical examiners indicate that the majority of the mutants living in the tunnels suffered from very visible, severe physical deformation, presumably a manifestation of their mutations. Yesterday I talked to Secretary of Mutant Affairs, Dr. Hank McCoy who is a renowned expert on Mutant Genetics and Behavior/.”
The picture shifted to a tall, blue-furred beast-like man wearing an expensive suit. He sat in a chair across from Trish Tilby. “/Well Ms. Tilby, I cannot say I am surprised that we would find a group of mutants, such as the ones found in these tunnels, forming small, private societies of their own. As you know, discrimination and violence against mutants is becoming more and more common, and for those who have physical mutations that visually brand them mutants, some deal with it best by removing themselves from the public eye, and banding together with others who understand their plight. In fact, I would expect this sort of thing to become more and more common with this horrible tragedy, unless we as Americans take steps to end this fear and hatred toward the mutant community/.”
The image changed back to the reporter standing in front of the barricade. “/We have some new, unconfirmed information from anonymous sources within the New York City Police Department that one of the armed men from the tunnels has given the police information on the incident in exchange for a shorter sentence. Apparently he has claimed that they were all private-contract mercenaries hired by a group called Friends of Humanity, a notorious anti-mutant group that has pressured Washington to pass the Registration Act that has been rejected three times now by Congress/.”
“/We have made calls to the Friends of Humanity Headquarters and after several attempts at contact, their PR director made the following statement: ‘Friends of Humanity has never been and will never be involved in violence against mutants. We, along with the rest of the American people, only want mutants to register with the government so that their powers are known and police can deal with them if any uses those powers to do harm. This is no different than requiring people to register their guns for example. We are not in any way involved with the tragic deaths of the mutants in New York, and our sympathies go out to any family members of the victims. Murder is a tragic crime no matter what species is involved/.’”
Remy heard Sam whisper, “Yeah, right. They’re full of shit.”
“/Here at the site of the Massacre rescue workers are still exploring the tunnels looking for survivors and more dead in areas they have only now been able clear debris to access. The mercenaries in custody are being charged with numerous counts of first-degree murder. With the death penalty declared unconstitutional in New York several years ago, they could be facing multiple sentences of life in prison. The State Attorney General has stated his department will seek the harshest sentences if they are found guilty. Our sources believe that the new development with the unidentified mercenary may lead to the person or persons that hired them for the attack. Back to you Diane/.”
The camera shifted to a brunette sitting behind a news desk next to an older man with graying hair. “/Thank you Trish. We now send you to Brian McCormack in the Sport Center... /”
Bobby turned the volume back down and said, “I hope they catch the bastard that hired them. I’d like t’get my hands on him myself.” He said, clenching a fist.
“I’m betting it’s one of mutant hater groups like that Friends of Humanity.” Sam said.
As they debated over who was behind the murders, Remy put on his poker face, not allowing his emotions to spill over and betray him. He felt guilt stabbing at his heart as he thought of all the mutants killed. ‘/Sixty-four/,’ he thought, ‘/all of them dead because I wasn’t thorough enough checking those assholes out/.’
‘/How am I going to tell Stormy that? She’ll probably never want to even see my face again if I tell her I basically led them down there.’ His thoughts conflicted. ‘But I can’t lie to her. She’s my best friend, and she’s gonna want to know the whole story sooner or later. She didn’t hate me when she found out about all those people that died in the theater when I blew it up, though, so maybe she’ll forgive me. Maybe cuss me out for being so fucking stupid. I mean, yeah, I screwed up, but how was I supposed to guess that bastard really hired me to find a mutant hideout/.’
Remy was broken out of his thoughts when Rogue touched his hand. He turned his head in her direction. She looked up at him and he could see concern in her gaze. “Are you alright Remy?” She asked quietly. “You kinda were in your own world there. If ya’re not feelin’ good we can go see Annie.”
He glanced around, startled, when he saw both Bobby and Piotr, as well as Kurt, had left the room, and the others were starting to get up from their seats with their empty dishes in hand.
He looked back at Rogue. “Oui, I’m alright. I was just thinkin’ ‘bout dat New York City thing, an’ it kinda got to me. Sixty-two people. Dat’s like killin’ most of de mutants here at dis school. Innocent people dat got a freak chance of gettin’ some genes dat made dem “different”. How could anyone do dat an’ look demselves in th’mirror ev’ry mornin’?”
Rogue shook her head. “Ah don’t know. Ah guess there’s some people that don’ have any sort of sense of wrong or right, or they do and just don’ care.”
Remy ran a hand through his hair, and then reached down to grab his own dishes when he was Rogue had taken hers as well.
“Well, nice t’meet you Gambit,” Jubilee said, standing near the doorway. “Hope ya stay around. We never have enough cute guys around here,” she said, winking at him.
The others bid them goodbye, and soon Remy and Rogue were left alone in the room.
Rogue turned off the television and nudged Remy with her elbow. “You still up for that tour?”
Remy smiled and shoved aside his worries over Storm’s possible reactions for later thought. “I t’ink dat sounds great right about now.”
A/N: Hope you liked it – getting more into the other students at Xaviers which the movies couldn’t really get into with the time constraints and character developments they already had to take care of. Little nod to Trish/Hank there, depending on how things go later on I might actually get a bit into the story.
Well, next chapter I’m planning will wrap up the day with the tour, dinner, and a convo with Xavier, so it should be a bit shorter (meaning shorter wait time for you guys ;).