A/N: Early update treat for you guys – partially to make up for the single update in February and also because I had loads of time on my hands because of Spring Break.
Also because I'm in a pretty good mood – the police caught the guy who broke into my place and I got my laptop back – unfortunately he'd already fenced off the rest of my stuff and it hasn't been seen so far – luckily my insurance is going to cover everything missing.
Anyway, enjoy the chapter – R&R!
Chapter 8: Anger and Attraction
Scott Summers shifted his ruby tinted glasses when he felt them slip slightly down the bridge of his nose, not wanting to accidentally blast a hole in the elevator door.
He had always felt like he had been both gifted and cursed with his mutant powers – while he could emit powerful, coherent beams of energy from his eyes, he was unable to control them. The ruby red quartz of his glasses, as well as the visor he wore as an X-man, contained the beams and reflected them back inward, keeping them confined until he removed the barrier.
The elevator door slid open on the ground floor of the mansion and Scott walked past the computer lab and through the door that led to the garage. Over the past few weeks he’d found himself coming here more and more, trying to take his mind from the grief of losing Jean by working on his motorcycle and the other vehicles in the garage.
Scott stopped in his tracks when he realized his V-Rod was not in the garage. “Dammit, Logan,” he growled to himself. “Why didn’t he just take his own bike?”
Scott sighed angrily, and resorted to checking the oil of the rest of the vehicles in the large garage. He found the task too simple to keep his mind from drifting to Jean, and gave up, stalking back through the garage into the mansion. Scott rubbed his forehead, and decided to try a Danger Room simulation – it seemed to work for Logan, so maybe it would work for him.
As Scott neared the main staircase, he was surprised to see Rogue and Logan walking down together. His head turned automatically back toward the garage and then he looked at Logan again. “Logan. I thought you were gone, because my bike was missing.”
Logan quirked an eyebrow. “I haven’t taken your bike since I got my own, Cyke.”
“Well, if you didn’t take it, who did?”
Rogue cleared her throat. “Um, Ah saw Gambit riding it ‘bout thirty minutes ago.”
“Ah, he said he was goin’ into town f’r somethin’. To be fair, I did tell him he could borrow any of the vehicles in the garage, an’ told him no one would mind…. Guess ev’ryone likes y’r taste in bikes,” Logan said.
“Very funny, Logan - wait, did you say Gambit took my bike? As in, Ororo’s friend Gambit? I’d heard we had someone visiting, but not who it was. I didn’t realize we had a policy to let professional thieves stay in the mansion,” Scott said angrily.
Logan shrugged. “Guess you’ll have t’talk to Chuck about that.”
“I think I will.” He said, spinning on his heel and heading back the way he came toward Charles’ office.
Logan chuckled softly, having held in his amusement over Remy during the conversation. He glanced at Rogue who was staring after Scott with a mixture of shock and surprise evident on her face.
“Ain't anyone ever tell ya you’re gonna catch flies like that?” He asked her. “C’mon, think I wanna hear this,” he said, nudging her arm.
Rogue snapped her mouth shut and looked up at Logan. “Thief?”
Logan nodded, grinning at her obvious surprise at the news. “That’s what he told me at least.”
Rogue’s eyes slowly grew as she realized something. “That’s what Storm was talkin’ about when she told me that the way he was raised he got involved in criminal stuff….” She muttered to herself as she let Logan lead her after Scott.
“Yep.” Logan said. “His dad’s the leader of a big thievin’ ring called th’ Thieves Guild – basically a family business for anyone that’s a member.”
As they neared the Professor’s study, they saw the door open, and Scott waiting as a student exited – Rogue recognized her as Sally, the girl who’d survived the tunnel murders. She gave her a smile as she walked past, and Sally smiled back, waving shyly.
Scott entered the office and leaned his hands on the desk in front of Charles. “We need to talk, Charles.”
Charles nodded, sensing the anger coming off of Scott. “What would you like to discuss, Scott?” He said calmly.
“Our little ‘visitor’. What were you thinking, letting him stay here? Or did Storm leave out the little fact that the man is a professional thief – a criminal?”
Charles frowned. “Both Ororo and Mister LeBeau were quite clear and direct about what he’s been involved in and his family ties.”
“Then why is he being allowed to stay here?”
Logan turned as he heard footsteps behind him from where he stood near the office door. Ororo turned around the corner, flashing him a frazzled smile when she saw him and Rogue. “Hey you two, how are you doing today?” She asked, hoping they were having a better day than she was – Fridays were always the worst days for her classes because all of the kids were antsy and misbehaving as anticipation of the coming weekend grew throughout the day. “I swear-” she began, and then saw Scott through the slightly open door. “What’s going on?” she asked.
Logan shrugged. “Scott found out Gambit was staying here – apparently he doesn’t think too highly of him. Oh, and Remy went into town on Cyke’s bike, but I think that was sorta my fault.”
“Oh no,” Ororo groaned, and walked up to the doorway to see what she could do to defuse the situation. When she’d finally regained her memory she’d gotten into contact with the rest of the X-men, who’d flown down to visit her and take her back with them. Scott hadn’t gotten along with Remy, and when he’d found out he was a thief, things had gotten even worse, leading to Remy basically kicking him out of his house.
Ororo raised her hand to knock on the partially closed door when she heard Charles speaking, causing her to pause.
“I am allowing him to stay here because he is a mutant who has asked for my help.”
Scott let out a disbelieving laugh. “So we’re just going to let a career criminal – a thief – stay here under our roof because he claims he needs our help? We should be turning him into the police at the very least, not giving him a place to stay”
“Yes, Scott, I am letting him stay just as we are letting little Sally stay here. She lived down in the tunnels where they stole daily just to eat. Would you have me kick her out as well? I’m quite certain that many mutants here have stolen in their lives to get by. I’m not going to punish Gambit for his past and how he was raised. He will have a place here for however long he would like to stay.” Charles paused. “Come in, Ororo.”
She entered, and Scott snapped his head around, looking at her with a glare. “I can’t believe you, Ororo –” he began, but she cut him off.
“Scott, please. If you want to kick Gambit out of the mansion because he’s a thief, you’ll have to kick me out for being one as well.”
She saw his eyebrows furrow. “Ororo, what you did without your memory while you were with him, you can’t be blamed for that. At worst it was basically peer pressure from a man mentally a few years older than you at the time who was giving you a place to stay.”
Ororo shook her head. “I’m not talking about that, Scott. When I was young, I lived in Kenya. I was a thief and a pickpocket for the first ten years of my life until Charles found me. So if Gambit leaves, so do I.”
Scott looked at her in shock for several moments. “I – you never-”
“Never told you? No, I didn’t. I didn’t want you, Jean, and Hank to think poorly of me. But that’s who I was for the first ten years of my life. If Gambit cannot be trusted because he was raised a thief then I can’t be all that trustworthy either, can I?”
Scott’s shoulders sank, all his anger clearly deflating. “I’m – I’m sorry, Ororo, I –“ He sighed. “I was just trying to get my mind off things by working down in the garage, but my bike was missing, and when I found out who it was that took it, I guess I overreacted.” He turned to look apologetically at the Professor. “Sorry Charles, for blowing up on you like that.”
Storm placed a hand on his shoulder. “Scott, I’m sure he didn’t take your bike to piss you off – he likely didn’t even know it was yours. I’ll talk to him when he comes back and make sure he doesn’t take it again.”
Scott managed a small smile. “Thanks. And Ororo.”
“We wouldn’t have thought less of you if you’d told us.”
She smiled slightly. “Thanks. So please, try to do the same for Gambit. Even if you don’t trust him, trust me and my judgment of him, okay?”
Scott sighed wearily and then nodded. “Alright.” He said before turning and leaving the room.
Ororo sank into the seat across the desk from Charles. “Sorry, I probably should have let him know so he wouldn’t blow up like that.”
Charles shook his head gently at her. “You have nothing to apologize for, Ororo. Scott is responsible for his own actions.” He sighed. “Unfortunately these angry outbursts have been getting worse, and he refuses to let me talk with him about Jean. I’m afraid he’s quietly letting his grief build up without dealing with it. And there’s nothing I can do to help him.” Charles said sadly.
“I can try to talk to him when he’s had time to cool down over Remy; maybe try to get him to talk to a therapist or something. It can’t be healthy how he’s burying this.”
Charles smiled. “I think he might be more willing to hear it from you.”
Storm looked at him uncertainly. “Probably. I hope he will.” She said.
Charles shifted through some papers on his desk. “I hope so.”
He raised his eyes to hers. “Did you come to see me about something other than Scott?”
Ororo leaned forward in her chair and opened her mouth to speak.
Xavier smiled. “Ah, Mister LeBeau. Well, I was telling Scott the truth – Remy is welcome here. He expressed some interest to me in staying here for the foreseeable future. In fact, when I asked him he agreed to help us teach Scott's Phys Ed and Shop classes.”
Ororo's face lit up. “Really? That's great Charles. Thank you for giving him a chance. I've been trying since I got my memories back to get him to get out of thieving and start a new life, and I'm so grateful you're helping him do that.”
Charles smiled. “There's no need to thank me, Ororo. I trust your judgment on Mister LeBeau and having talked to him I've seen he is a very nice young man who's had a lot of bad and unavoidable things happen to him growing up, and I think all of us here know what that is like.”
“You won't regret giving him a chance here, Charles.”
Charles nodded to her. “I'm sure I won't. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a physics class in about fifteen minutes that I have to prepare for.”
Ororo stood from her chair. “Alright, Charles. I'll see you later tonight at dinner.”
Ororo walked out of her classroom a few hours later, shutting off the lights after she had straightened up the room from her last class for the day. She walked down the main hall, and stopped in front of the kitchen. She’d noticed the door was closed, which was unusual in the Mansion – usually the doorstop keeping it open was never removed.
Ororo twisted the knob and opened the door, and felt her mouth begin to water from the smell that wafted through the air. She saw Remy, with his back turned to her, pulling chicken from a frying pan and setting it down on a plate.
“How was y’class t’day?” He asked, causing her to jump. She didn't realize he'd heard her come in. He turned around, grinning, and put the plate of chicken in the fridge as he went back to stirring one of four large pots he’d set up on the oven burners.
Ororo walked up behind him. “Hectic.” She said, looking over his shoulder at the dark brown roux – basically a broth of flour and vegetable oil – in the pots. “Gumbo?” she asked.
Remy glanced over his shoulder at her and nodded. “/Oui/,” he said, “Figured it’d be de easiest t’make an’ most people will like it.”
“It smells great. Thanks for doing this.”
“No problem, Stormy. No offense, but you look pretty frazzled t’day. Glad I offered t’do dis for ya so y’don’ have to worry ‘bout it.”
Remy slowed his stirring as the roux darkened further to an almost chocolate brown, and then he reached to the side where he’d piled up diced onions, celery, and bell peppers – known as the Holy Trinity in Cajun cuisine for its prevalence in most Cajun dishes – on four separate paper towels. He dumped each pile into its respective pot, and began stirring once again.
“Remy,” Ororo began reluctantly, “I’d like to talk to you about something.”
“Yeah, Stormy, what’s up?” He asked, turning to look at her.
“Next time you go into town could you borrow a different vehicle?”
Remy blushed. “Sure. I was kinda hopin’ whoever owned de bike wouldn’ notice, but I guess dey did, huh?”
Storm laughed. “Oh, yes, they did notice, and weren’t too happy. You took Scott’s bike, and once he found out it was you that had taken it he made quite a scene with Charles.”
Remy grunted, raising an eyebrow. “One-Eye is still ‘round? I hadn’t seen him – I was kinda hopin’ he’d left. He hidin’ away wit’ his hot red-head or she dump him yet?”
Remy was surprised to see tears come to Ororo’s eyes. “Remy, Jean’s dead. She was killed a little over a month ago. Scott’s the one I was taking over cooking for because he’s having a hard time coping.”
Remy let go of the ladle and pulled Ororo into a hug. “Damn, Stormy. Y’never tol’ me dat. You been hurtin’ too, haven’t ya?”
Ororo nodded into his chest. “Yeah, it’s been a hard past month dealing with everything. I wanted to tell you the last time we talked on the phone but I didn’t want to burden you with it when you were hundreds of miles away from me.”
Remy rubbed her back. “I’m sorry, /ma soeur/. I know Jeannie was like a sister to ya.”
He reluctantly pulled away several minutes later to check on the food. “Sorry Stormy – gotta add de meat in now.” He said. He pulled the browned chicken from the fridge as well as a plate of andouille sausage he’d already sliced into small pieces, and slowly stirred them into the mixture in three of the pots, while adding more vegetables to the fourth pot.
Ororo wiped her eyes as he turned back to her. “Remy, please don’t give Scott a hard time if you run into him. He’s going through a really rough time. He and Jean got engaged after you met them, and it’s really hurting him.”
Remy nodded. “Yeah, of course Stormy. Be on m’best behavior if I see him.” He looked at her sheepishly. “Didn’ realize it was his bike, either.”
Ororo smiled at him. “Thank you Remy.”
Remy turned and added stock to each pot as well as salt and some cayenne pepper, and turned up the burners to bring the mixture to a boil.
“About how much longer do you think you’ll need to cook?”
Remy eyed the pots. “Uh, maybe ‘nother two an’ a half hours an’ I should be done wit’ dis an’ have de rice all cooked up.”
Ororo nodded. “Okay, that way I can let everyone know about when to start heading in here for dinner.”
“Alright, Stormy.” He replied. “Y’should go get y’self a nap or somet’ing an’ let me worry ‘bout de gumbo, /hein/?”
Ororo ran a hand through her hair and nodded. “A nap sounds really great right now actually.” She said, and began turning. She stopped suddenly and reached up a hand, running it along Remy’s clean-shaven jawline. “You shaved,” she said in surprise.
“Yeah, got a razor in town today.”
Her eyes twinkled. “Good. I was beginning to think I’d have to sneak into your room at night with an electric razor.”
Remy chuckled. “Figured you’d be after me t’get rid of de shaggy look. Now outta here – go get some sleep an let de Chef do his work.”
When Rogue, Jubilee, and Kitty entered the kitchen, they saw most of the student body already seated at tables, waiting eagerly for dinner. Rogue’s eyebrows rose when she saw not Ororo, but Remy adding the finishing touches to dinner, while Ororo stood nearby, waiting to help him pass the food out to everyone. Rogue walked over and stood next to Ororo. “Remy’s cookin’?” she whispered to Ororo.
She nodded. “Yes, I told him I was going to cook and he insisted on taking over and making a Cajun dish for you all.”
Jubilee crinkled her nose. “Man, I hate spicy foods.” She complained.
Remy spun around with a shocked look on his face. He shook his head with mock sadness. “/Mon Dieu/! Dese places like McDonalds an’ all dese restaurants claimin’ dey’re servin Cajun food’ve been brainwashin’ all you Yanks t’think Cajun means tastes like crap while bein' spicy-as-hell.” He said. “Don’ let dem lie t’you – sure we sometimes put somet’ing in for a little kick, but not all dis spicy stuff dat destroys de flavor an’ leaves y’with a numb tongue b’fore you’re halfway done.”
Jubilee just stared at him, and Ororo laughed. “I should have warned you not to get him started on Cajun food.”
Remy saw Kitty eying the pots, and the chicken visibly floating in the top of the gumbo. He grinned. “Don’ worry Kitty. I made a pot of Gumbo z’herbes for you an’ de other vegetarians here.”
Xavier broke up their conversation, his voice echoing in their minds rather than attempting to speak up over the numerous loud conversations of the dining area. ‘/I’d like your attention, please./’
Once everyone had quieted down, he spoke. “Thank you. For those of you who have not heard, we have a guest with us.” He said, gesturing toward Remy. “His name is Gambit, and he is a friend of Miss Monroe’s. I expect you all to show him the same courtesy you show the rest of your fellow mutants.”
“Thank you for preparing dinner for us, Gambit.” He said, smiling warmly at the brown-haired mutant, who shifted uncomfortably at the attention of the entire room of mutants.
Remy shrugged. “No problem, Professor.” He ran his eyes across the room. “Alright den, grab a bowl an’ come on up. Y’in for a real treat tonight.” He said. “An’ don’ be shy – dere’s plenty here for seconds.”
As the last few students moved toward their seats with heaping bowls of rice and gumbo, Remy filled his own bowl up and moved past the island and into the jumble of tables. He began to move toward Ororo where she sat with Logan, Scott, Kurt, and Charles, but as his eyes scanned the room he saw Bobby, Piotr, Sam, Danni, and Kitty at one table and Jubilee pulling a chair up to sit with them, but noticed Rogue was not at their table. He quickly spotted her sitting alone at a table in the corner.
Ororo caught his eye from across the room and pointed at the empty chair next to her, looking at him questioningly.
Remy shook his head and then inclined it toward the far end of the room. Ororo looked and realized what he was getting at. She nodded and gestured for him to go.
Remy walked to Rogue’s table, where she sat with her back turned to the rest of her room. It looked like she’d eaten half of the bowl of gumbo he’d given her, and was now absentmindedly running her spoon through the remaining food.
Remy rounded the table, and sat down facing her. “C’mon, it can’t taste dat bad.” He said.
She looked up, realizing who’d joined her. Her eyes widened. “Oh, no, it’s not that, Remy. It tastes great. Ah’m just not feelin’ that hungry.”
Remy nodded, digging into his own bowlful with his spoon. “Glad y’like it,” he said between mouthfuls. “So what’s gotcha so down? A belle fille like you shouldn’ be frownin’ so much. Gives y’early wrinkles.”
A small smile made its way to Rogue’s face. “It’s not polite ta talk ta a lady ‘bout her wrinkles.” Then she sighed and looked down at her bowl. “Just haven’t been havin’ a good day.”
Remy’s mind began working over her statement – he’d thought she looked like she was having a great day when he’d left for town, spending the afternoon with her boyfriend. ‘/Something happen/?’ he wondered, but decided not to press her on it.
“Dat’s too bad. Hope dis gumbo’s a bit o’sunshine on your bad day.”
She smiled. “It is.” She said, eating another spoonful. “Ah’m surprised – most of the guys ‘round here couldn’t cook t’save their lives – Logan just gets us pizza when its his turn for supper. Not used t’seein’ a guy that can cook.”
Remy shrugged. “Always loved cookin’ t’ings. My Tante started teachin’ me when I was seven, an’ I been cookin’ ever since. Still, never been able t’make t’ings taste quite as good as she can.”
Rogue smiled. “Your /tante/,” she said, trying to remember what little French she knew, “that means Aunt, right?”
“Oui,” Remy said. “She an’ my père raised me, well, after my père adopted me. My mére – his wife, died ‘bout a year after dey took me in, an’ my /tante/’s been dere for m’brother an’ me ever since.”
“I’m sorry,” Rogue said softly, placing her hand on his arm across the table.
Remy shook his head. “S’alright. Dat was a long time ago.”
Remy glanced up, and saw Dani coming back from the island with a second bowl of gumbo. Rather than returning to the table she’d sat at before, she made her way to their table, and sat down next to Rogue. “Hey,” she said, and looked over to Rogue. “You feelin’ better? Jubes and I were worried when we saw you come sit over here by yourself.”
Rogue flashed her a smile. “Yeah, I’m doing better. Can’t be ‘round this swamp rat too long before he starts tryin’ t’cheer you up.” She said, grinning at Remy. “Thanks, for before Dani.” She said, referring to Dani getting Logan. “Sorry I brushed you off like that.”
Danielle waved her hand dismissively. “Don’t worry about it, Rogue. Y’should have let Jubes and me know you wanted to sit over here – we woulda just left Bobby sitting by himself.”
Rogue shrugged. “You guys were already sittin’ an’ Ah didn’ wanna make a scene with him.”
Remy let his spoon clatter to the bottom of his empty bowl. “Avoidin’ Bobby?” He asked her curiously.
She nodded. “We got inta a fight t’day. Part of mah bad day.” She said.
Remy leaned forward over his empty bowl. “Well, y’know what’ll take your mind offa all dat?”
Rogue looked at him curiously. “No, what?”
“You still up for ridin’ t’morrow?”
Rogue’s face brightened. “Yeah, of course. Ah was kinda thinkin’ of leavin’ early, ‘round 8 tomorrow mornin’ so we aren’t ridin’ in th’hottest part of the day.”
“Sounds good. Y’might hafta wake me up – I tend t’sleep in.”
Dani watched them, and considered offering to go riding as well, but Rogue seemed very happy with just the two of them heading out together.
Dani finished off her second bowl and sat back in her chair with a sigh. “That was great, Gambit. The Professor should hire you as our permanent cook.” She said with a grin.
Remy laughed. “Well, I’m not plannin’ on leavin’ anytime soon, so I’ll be makin’ supper for ev’ryone when it gets to Scott’s turn again.”
Rogue perked up in her seat. “Glad you’re stayin’ around.” She said, smiling at him shyly.
Remy quirked a lopsided grin at her, and glanced around the room, noticing most of the students as well as Charles and Logan finishing off their food and bringing their bowls to the sink. “Looks like ev’ryone’s finishin’ up.” He said.
He nodded to Rogue’s bowl which she had left untouched for most of their conversation. “You gonna finish dat?”
She looked at him apologetically. “No, Ah’m still not that hungry.”
He grabbed his spoon and gestured to the bowl. “You mind?”
“No, go ahead,” she said, surprised. She pushed the bowl toward him and he quickly dug in to the cooling food.
Dani nudged Rogue’s arm. “You looking forward to Spring Break? Only two more weeks.”
Rogue nodded. “Yeah, it’ll be great t’not hafta worry ‘bout getting’ stuff done for classes. What are you gonna do for break?”
“I’m actually going back home to Colorado, see my family and all that. What about you?”
Rogue shrugged. “Ah'm not really sure. Ah don' have anythin' planned.” She said, wishing she could go home like Dani, but knowing her family was terrified of her and her abilities after she'd put Cody into a coma.
Dani looked at her sympathetically while mentally slapping herself in the head when she remembered Rogue and her relationship with her family. “Hey, if you don't come up with something by the time break starts I'll talk my parents into getting you a ticket and you can spend break with me.”
Rogue looked at her hesitantly. “Really?”
Dani smiled. “Yeah, they'd love to meet one of my friends.”
Rogue smiled slightly. “Okay, if nothin' comes up Ah'd love t'go out to Colorado with you. Never been there before.”
“Well that settles it,” Dani said firmly. “You've been really missing out if you've never been there. It'll be really beautiful this time of year – all the trees will be flowering, but there'll still be snow up in the mountains for skiing if you wanna do that.”
Rogue laughed. “As long as they have bunny slopes, Ah'll be okay skiing. Ah went once with mah parents in Wyoming, an' Ah'm not that great at it.”
Remy cleared his throat, drawing their attention away from their conversation. He stood up from his seat. “I'll leave you two ladies t'talk. I gotta start clearin' up after ev'ryone” He said, glancing at the now large stack of dishes sitting in the sink. He looked back to them and grabbed Danielle's bowl, placing it on top of the other two. “I'll take care of dat for ya.” He said, winking at her.
He nodded to Rogue. “Don' leave without me tomorrow, /hein/? Jus' dump some water on my face if I won' wake up.”
Rogue giggled. “Alright, Ah'll have to remember you gave me permission to do that.”
As Remy left, Danielle shot Rogue an amused look.
“What?” Rogue asked.
Dani looked at her innocently. “Nothin'. Just thinking.”
She leaned over giving Rogue a grin. “So, horseback riding, huh? Just the two of you, alone in the forest? Sounds pretty romantic.” She said teasingly.
Rogue blushed brightly and looked away from her. “It's – it's not like that, Dani. Ah told him Ah liked to ride an' he said he does too, so Ah invited him along.”
“So, none of it has to do with spending the day alone with the hottest guy in this place?”
Rogue's expression faltered, and she sighed. “Ah- maybe, Ah don't know.” She said, placing her face in her hands. “Everything's so confusin', with Bobby, an' then this. Ah don't know what t'do.”
Dani patted her gently on the back, glancing around to make sure that no one was eavesdropping on their conversation. She leaned in next to Rogue. “If Bobby keeps treating you like crap, you should just dump him. It's not worth it if he's not willing to change. And as for Gambit, I think he's got a crush on you. Don't worry Rogue, you'll figure it out. Whatever happens, whatever you end up doing, just follow your instincts and I think you'll be fine.”
Rogue removed her face from her hands, her blush having faded significantly. “Thanks, Dani.”
“No problem Rogue. Now, Kitty and Jubes and I were talking earlier, and we decided to play some Rock Band up in my room after supper. Wanna join us?”
Rogue smiled and stood up. “Sure. As long as I don't hafta sing – Ah suck.”
Dani chuckled. “Alright, I'm sure we can just switch between the rest of us. C'mon, let's go.” Dani said, leading Rogue out of the kitchen. She caught Kitty's eye and gave her a thumbs up before she and Rogue headed up to Danielle's room.
“Well, you jus' make sure you wear y'life preserver an' do what Y'Uncle Henri tells y'to, okay /petite/?” He asked Sarah the next morning. She'd told him that Henri was taking her out on his boat on the lake next to their home later that afternoon.
“Jus' a minute,” Remy said before she could answer, hearing a knock on his door.
He opened the door to see Rogue standing outside. She flashed him a smile. “Hey Remy - ” She slapped a hand over her mouth when she saw him holding the phone. “Oops, Ah'm sorry,” she whispered.
He shook his head. “/Non/, I can talk for a second.” He said.
“Ah was just makin' sure yah were awake so we could go ridin'....” She said quietly.
Remy smiled. “Yeah, I'm up – I just gotta finish dis call an' get dressed – be ready in maybe fifteen minutes.”
Rogue nodded and backed up from the doorway. “Ah'll go start getting' the horses ready – meet yah down in th'stables.”
“See ya in a few.” Remy said, and watched her leave. She was already dressed for the ride, wearing a light, long-sleeved blouse and riding breeches.
Remy tore his eyes from her retreating backside, and brought the phone back to his ear. “Sorry 'bout dat /petite/.”
“Who was that?” Sarah asked.
“Dat was a friend I made here. I'm headin' out horse ridin' this mornin'.”
“Horses? They have horses there?” She asked, her voice a mix of incredulousness and excitement.
“Yeah, dey got a whole stable of 'em.”
“Wow. I always wanted t'ride a horse. Could- could y'teach me how, Remy?” She asked him shyly.
“Yeah, Sarah, if y'wanna learn. What I hear, dere aren' too many people here dat like t'ride, so I t'ink de horses would like de attention.”
He could hear the smile in her voice. “Thank you Remy – I can't wait. Well I should let ya go, have fun with your friend.”
“Alright, /petite/, you have a good time out on de lake. Talk t'ya tomorrow.”
Remy had changed into a pair of more comfortable pants that Storm had given him – ones that wouldn't bunch up while riding – and made his way out onto the grounds and toward the stables. The air still had a light chill, but the sun was quickly warming it.
As he entered the open stable door, he saw Rogue had already saddled two horses – Chestnut, and a dark brown mare – and she was checking their bridles.
“Sorry I took so long. Looks like you got dis all under control.” He said.
She looked up, startled. “Oh, that's alright, Remy. Ah like doin' this.”
She gently pulled the reigns of both horses and led them forward. “Ah saddled up Moondancer for yah. She's the least skittish around new people, so Ah figured she'd be the best for you t'start out with.”
Remy took the reigns from her, and ran his hand over Moondancer's neck, letting her know where he was as he moved out of her vision. He climbed onto the saddle, and Rogue hopped onto Chestnut's saddle.
Remy gently squeezed his legs, and Moondancer responded with a slow walk next to her companion. After a minute of a walk, he slowed her to a stop, and Rogue slowed next to them so they could check the girth to make sure the saddle wasn't fastened too tight now that it had had a chance to shift from the riding.
Remy strapped Moondancer's slightly tighter, and they resumed their ride, Rogue moving slightly ahead to lead them toward a dirt trail that led into the forest.
They brought the two horses to a moderate trot, and made their way into the forest, the trees shading the quickly warming air. Remy watched Rogue's posture relax as they rode, and it seemed like riding took her mind off of everything else.
She slowed slightly until she came up even with him. “So, you're a thief.” She said, stating, not asking.
His head snapped around, looking at her in surprise. He tipped his sunglasses down to stare at her. “Where'd you hear dat from?” He asked her.
“Scott. Ah guess he doesn' like ya very much an' he was askin' the Professor why we were lettin' a professional thief stay here.”
Remy sighed. “Asshole,” he muttered to himself.
He shrugged reluctantly. “Yeah, he got it 'bout right.” He looked over at her curiously. “So, y’know I’m a thief – why’d you still wanna go out here wit’ me?”
“Why d’ya wanna be out here with me knowin’ Ah can kill ya just by touchin’ ya?” She countered. She reached across the distance between the horses and squeezed his arm briefly. “Ah don’ care if you’re a thief. Ah’ve done some stealin’ mahself when Ah ran away from home when mah powers came out. Sure, just things like shopliftin’ an’ not a bank robbery or somethin' like that, but still. Storm tol’ me you were raised that way.”
Remy smiled in relief, silently thanking God that she wasn’t put off by what he did. “Yeah, my pére is de leader of de T’ieves Guild. It’s a big group of families in an organized crime ring. My /mere/, my /frère/, all my friends growin’ up were part of it. ‘Fact, only knew one or two dat weren’t members.”
“Not really somethin’ you can just run away from, huh?” Rogue asked with a slight smile.
Remy chuckled. “/Non/. But maybe wit’ most people thinkin’ I’m dead now I’ll be able t’start over.”
“What’d you do as a ‘professional thief’?” She asked curiously.
Remy laughed. “Dat’d be a real long list. Bank heists, stealin’ art an’ jewelry from museums, stealin’ from private collections, you name it an’ I prob’bly did it.”
Rogue looked a bit impressed, but she tried to hide it. “What’s it like?”
“It’s – really it’s hard t’describe. Not much c’n match de adrenaline pumpin’ through you durin’ a job. Your heart’s beatin’ like it wants run outta your chest, ev’ry noise makes y’look ‘round t’see if you’re spotted – an’ de adrenaline high lasts for a few hours after you’re done. Not quite as good as sex, but damn close.” He said, tilting his sunglasses to wink at her.
Rogue blushed and looked away from him. “What about gettin’ shot? Does that happen a lot?”
Remy laughed. “All de time. Like I tol’ you before, I’ve had plenty of stitchin’ up my frère did for me. Getting’ shot comes wit’ de territory – one of de bad t’ings ‘bout de business, even though de good more than makes up for it.”
“But you still want out?”
Remy nodded, a weary expression on his face. “/Oui/. I wanna see what I c’n do with my life b’sides be a criminal. Already made more’n enough enemies, an’ I don’ want dem hauntin’ me de rest of my life, makin’ me scared t’settle down wit’ my friends like Stormy. An’ you.” He said, muttering the last part.
Rogue pretended she hadn’t heard, but as they guided their horses along the trail past the lake, she felt happiness welling up inside her knowing that Remy thought of her as close of a friend as Storm was to him.
Remy sat back, leaning against a tree as Rogue finished eating the sandwich she’d brought along. They’d come across a peaceful, sun-filled meadow, and stopped there for lunch. They had relieved the horses of their bridles and saddles and secured them to a nearby tree with halters and leadropes that Rogue had packed in the saddlebags they’d brought along.
When she’d washed down the last bite with a mouthful of water from her canteen, he leaned forward. “Rogue, d’you wanna try workin’ on your powers?”
Remy shrugged. “I don’ have anythin’ else planned for t’day.”
Rogue smiled, and then looked hesitantly to his face. “Ah’d like to. Ah – Ah’m really hopin’ you’ll be able t’help me, you’re sorta my only hope right now. Ah was talkin’ to the Professor, an’ he’s thinkin’ that his way could take years b’fore Ah can touch anyone.”
Remy touched her arm. “Sorry t'hear dat. I hope I c'n help ya out.”
Rogue scooted closer so she was sitting cross-legged across from him. “So what do we do first?”
“Let's start wit' somet'ing easy – we'll see how fast y'power works. Go on an' take off a glove.”
Rogue reluctantly pulled off her glove, and placed her bare hand in her lap.
“Ready?” He asked her.
She took a deep breath and nodded. “Yeah.”
Remy reached out and grasped her bare hand with his. He felt the same pulling he had the first time he met her. He gripped her hand tighter, even as he felt his strength and energy drain out of him.
Rogue looked at him in worry and tried to pull her hand from his, but he held on for several more seconds, before he released her hand, gasping as if he'd just sprinted a mile. He collapsed backward, leaning heavily on the tree.
Rogue moved toward him quickly, and her hand landed on his chest. “Remy! Are you okay?”
Remy nodded weakly, and then his eyes widened when he saw his shirt begin to glow magenta. He quickly slapped his palms onto the shirt, negating the charge, and took Rogue's glowing hands into his, pulling the charge into himself.
“/Dieu/,” he gasped. “Careful where y'put your hands when y'got my power.”
Rogue looked up at him with a mixture of embarrassment and concern. “Are you sure you're alright?” She asked him quietly.
Remy slowly began to slow down his breathing. “Yeah. Shit, you really pack a punch.” He said with a weak smile. “But I'll be okay – got most of my energy back when I pulled de charge from you.”
“Why'd you keep holdin' on?”
“Had t'see whatya could do. I held on at least twenty, thirty seconds b'fore I couldn' keep it up. Prob'bly woulda passed out if I held on longer. So now we know how long I c'n touch ya.”
He finally pushed himself away from the tree, leaning forward toward her again. “Actually, I t'ink you're kinda lucky.” He said.
Rogue's jaw dropped. “What?”
“Sorry, dat came out wrong. You're lucky b'cause you can actually touch people for a short amount of time, where I couldn't even do dat. I t'ink we'll be able t'work a lot faster dis way, b'cause you won' hafta learn how to get it under control a bit b'fore y'can even touch anyone.”
Rogue looked at him thoughtfully. “Ah guess if y'look at it that way it's a good thing.”
They sat quietly across from one another for several minutes before Remy extended his hand to her once more. “Alright, let's try dat again. Dis time I want t'see if I can do anyt'ing t'fight it.”
He gripped her hand once again, and immediately focused on trying to pull his energy back into him. He finally, once again, released her hand and slumped backward; he absentmindedly pulled the charge from Rogue once her hands began to glow again.
“Dat was better,” he said, glancing at his watch. “Dat was almost a full minute dat time.”
“What'd you do?” Rogue asked him.
“Jus' set my mind t'tryin' t'pull my energy back from ya. Takes a lotta concentration near de end dere, because I'm pullin' some back, but nothin' close to all of it.”
He pulled his knees up to his chest. “I t'ink dat's all I c'n handle in a row, else I won' be able t'ride back. Mebbe we can do dis again later tonight.”
Rogue nodded. “Sure, Remy. If you're really up to it later we can. Ah – Ah just don' want t'hurt you.” She said, looking down at her hands.
Remy reached out, placing his hand on her arm. “Y'ain' gonna hurt me, Rogue. If it starts gettin' too outta hand, all I gotta do is pull away, okay?”
Rogue nodded. “Okay.” She said, still looking down.
“Rogue,” he said, “You know, if y'ever need to touch someone, jus' ask me - I know how lonely it c'n get without bein' able t'touch with your bare skin. I ain' scared of you, an' de feelin' when you use your power doesn' bother me.” He paused, proving his point by running his fingers over the back of her hand, feeling the tingling begin as she started to absorb him.
Remy was caught by surprise when she hurled herself onto him, burying her face into his chest. He awkwardly put his arms around her, letting her grip him tightly.
“Thank you, Remy.” She said, her voice muffled by his shirt. “You don't know how much that means.”
She pulled her face back and looked up at his face with shimmering eyes, which were still a light tint of black on red from her recent absorption. “Besides Logan, you're the only one who'll do somethin' like that without flinchin',” she said.
Remy smiled and hugged her closer. “Now you got two of us.”
Rogue pulled back and wiped the corners of her eyes. “Thanks,” she said, kissing him lightly on the cheek. She quickly stood up, turning around to hide her growing blush. “Ah think we should get ridin' again, Remy. The horses are gettin' antsy, an' we should probably get back before the hottest part of the day.”
Remy nodded, still feeling the tingling from the brief contact of her lips. He wasn't sure if it was partly due to her powers or entirely due to her kiss.
Remy stood up somewhat shakily, and pressed his hand against the tree to brace himself before he felt the trembling in his legs cease. He walked over and helped her get the saddle pads and saddles secured on the horses, and return the bits into their mouths.
He allowed her to lead along the trail, and he discretely brought a hand up to his cheek, and couldn't help a smile from breaking out on his face. '/You better watch yourself, Iceboy – you're gonna have to deal with me trying to steal her away from you now,/' he thought to himself.
A/N: Hope you guys liked it! A lot more Romy, as well as our first glimpse at Scott (a bit of his anger stage in his grief where in the movies we really only see his depression).
Next chap will not be quite as quick because I’m back to school this coming week, and we’ll have several big projects due – expect it in around 2 weeks, maybe 2 and a half and hopefully no more than that.