A/N: Hey there, back with the next chapter. Lots of Romy, and a little bit of angst for Logan in this chap. Thanks for all your reviews for last chapter! Please, read and enjoy.
/Chapter 17: Conflagration/
“Rogue!” Logan cried as she collapsed lifelessly into his arms. He quickly lowered her down, and checked for her pulse. He noticed her muscles seemed tensed, almost as if in pain, but he was able to feel her pulse and saw her chest still rising and falling.
“Rogue, c’mon darlin’, wake up,” he said, trying to shake her awake. “C’mon Marie.” He called, but received no response. Ororo moved over and knelt down next to them.
“Is she-“ she began, but was broken off by a worried voice from the doorway.
“Rogue?” Remy said as he climbed over the debris left from the doors being blasted open by Jean, and he rushed over to the three of them. “I saw you runnin’ down here. What happened?” He asked, looking at Ororo.
Logan glanced at him. “She absorbed Jean, and then she just passed out.” He said nodding in her direction.
Remy knelt down next to them and placed a hand softly on Rogue’s arm. “This happened back in New York after she touched Carol.”
Inside Rogue’s mindscape, Carol was in much the same position as Logan. She was still trying desperately to wake Rogue up when something caught her eye. She glanced up and realized an ember had landed on the ground outside of the area Rogue had drenched, and suddenly flared to life in a small flame.
She gently moved Rogue’s head from her lap on to the ground and leapt up, running over to the fire. “Oh no you don’t,” she said, smothering it with her foot until it became merely a dying whisp of smoke.
Another flare caught her eye, and then another, and when she looked around, she realized they were appearing all throughout the forest. “Damn, not good, not good,” Carol muttered as she stamped out as many as she could.
But it was too much, too widespread, and she dashed back to Rogue trying once again to wake her. “Wake up, Rogue, please, I can’t stop this on my own -”
She looked up once more when the flames concentrating in one area exploded into a flare of light, and she suddenly saw a woman step out of the flames. She had long red hair, and her body seemed surrounded by flames. She spotted Rogue and Carol, and started to stalk toward them with almost predatory grace.
Panic filled Carol’s chest, and an idea came to her as the woman got closer. “Please let this work,” she muttered, as she focused on the link like she had earlier in Boston.
“Should I… should I try to let her absorb my healing factor?” Logan asked, looking to Ororo and Remy.
Xavier rolled over to them in his wheelchair. “I don’t think that would be wise, Logan.” He came up next to them. “Ororo, could you see to Annie?”
Ororo nodded and reluctantly moved away, walking over to her unconscious friend who lay near the wall.
“I think-“ Xavier began.
Rogue’s body suddenly jerked, and she abruptly opened her eyes, looking frantically from face to face until she landed on Xavier’s face. “Please, help, Professor. Rogue’s knocked out and there’s a woman in there with us starting fires all around Rogue’s mind.”
“Carol,” Remy muttered to himself, recognizing her instantly.
“That was what I was afraid of. Rogue’s taken a large part of Jean’s … dark psyche into her.” Xavier looked at Carol. “Stay here until I enter her mind and then join me – it will make things simpler.”
He reached out his hands, placing them on Rogue’s arm.
“Charles, let me help,” Jean said, moving unsteadily over to their side. “She saved me, let me help her.”
Charles shook his head. “You’re too weak now, Jean – you have enough trouble keeping her under control in your own mind. You need to conserve your strength for that fight. I can handle the fragment of her in Rogue’s mind.”
With that he closed his eyes and focused, moving down, into Rogue’s mind, and he felt Carol quickly join him. He found himself standing in front of Rogue’s unconscious form. Only feet away, Jean walked toward them, a growing inferno rising behind her amongst the trees of Rogue’s mindscape.
“Stop this, Jean. This is not your mind.” Xavier said firmly.
She sneered at him. “I’m not Jean,” she said, trying to shove past him and Carol.
Charles remained calm, and didn’t budge. “No, you prefer to call yourself Phoenix, don’t you? I locked you away long ago when you had much more power than you have now, and in your own mind. It will be no different here.”
His brow furrowed, and the dark clouds Rogue had summoned before reappeared over them, and spread out across her entire mindscape. A clap of thunder sounded, and the swollen clouds let loose, dumping their water in sheets of rain across the fires, extinguishing them almost instantly.
“No,” Phoenix whispered, her body sagging, and she fell to her knees.
Her eyes flared with flame, but Charles merely stared back at her. “You will do this girl no more harm. Leave her mind.”
At his words, two blinding lightning bolts joined together as one and traveled from the clouds and struck Phoenix directly. As Carol blinked to clear the spots from her vision, she saw the place where Jean had stood was now merely a pile of ashes.
“Is she gone?” Carol asked, turning to look at Xavier as his brow furrowed once again.
He nodded as the storm he’d created began to slow and then dissipate into a ceiling of hazy gray clouds. “Yes. She’s gone.”
Charles knelt down next to Rogue and placed a hand on her forehead. He looked up moments later. “Rogue’s fine. She exhausted herself with whatever she did before you came and got me.”
Carol nodded. “She put out a big fire the same way you just did, and then she passed out.”
Charles looked up, pleased surprise on his face. “Really? Perhaps things are coming along for her better than I’d thought. I wouldn’t have expected her to have the mental control for something like that yet. No wonder she exhausted herself – that’s a very taxing act, even for a psychic like myself.”
He stood again, and looked Carol in the eye. “She just needs rest. Could you watch over her?” Carol nodded. “Alright then. I don’t think she’s harmed herself, but if anything odd begins to happen, let me know.”
“Okay, Professor, thanks for helping.” Carol said, settling down next to the girl she’d come to consider one of her best friends in the short time they’d known one another.
Back outside, Charles opened his eyes and pulled his hand back from Rogue’s arm.
“Is she alright?” Remy asked, his face creased with worry.
“She is. I removed the psyche that was harming her. She just needs some rest. If you and Logan could help her over to one of the beds?” He said, nodding at one of the still-upright beds in the Med-lab.
Logan grunted and moved one arm under her knees, lifting her easily in his arms. “I got her, Cajun.” He muttered, carrying her to the bed.
Charles turned around, and gave a brief nod of reassurance to Jean who was looking at Logan and Rogue with concern. “Don’t worry, Jean. Rogue and I both stopped Phoenix before she could do anything too harmful.”
He turned his attention to Ororo, who was helping up a woozy Annie. “Damn,” Annie groaned, pressing the heel of her hand to her forehead.
Ororo helped her over to a chair, and sat her down in it. “How are you feeling, Annie?”
“Like I got tossed into a wall,” she said grumpily, reaching up to touch the back of her head. She hissed, and pulled her hand back. “I think I’m okay. I’ve got a big goose-egg forming back there, and probably have a concussion, but I’ll live.”
She pointed to a small refrigerator that stood by a wall. “Could you get me an ice pack from there? I want to keep the swelling down as much as possible.”
Ororo walked over to it and brought back a soft icepack, which Annie gingerly pressed against the growing bump. Annie sighed, and relaxed slightly before she realized others were in the room.
She spotted Remy and Logan near Rogue. “Is she alright?” Annie asked, starting to stand up.
Ororo pressed her back down into the seat. “She’s fine. She’s got a much harder head than you, with her new powers. She’s just exhausted herself.”
Annie looked warily over to Jean. “And her?”
Xavier cleared his throat. “It seems there are some explanations in order. For all of you.” He said, gesturing to a chair for Jean to sit down as well.
“Go an’ be wit’ her, I’ll stay wit’ Rogue,” Remy murmured to Logan when he saw his torn expression as he looked between Rogue and Jean. If he was reading him right, he realized Logan cared for Jean just as much as Remy felt for Rogue.
Logan gave him a slight smile, and a nod. “Thanks, Cajun.” He said, and let go of Rogue’s hand, and walked over and sat next to Jean, placing a comforting arm around her shoulder.
Remy smiled, and returned his gaze to Rogue, and squeezed her hand as Xavier began to explain Jean and the subconscious part of her mind that had taken up the moniker of ‘Phoenix’.
Magneto looked up, broken from his musings by the young woman he’d recruited days before, who was rapidly becoming one of his favorite ‘students’. Callisto strode down the stairs to where he sat.
“There you are. I picked something up.” She said. Brief and to the point – just like he liked it.
“Oh?” He said, curious as to what she’d picked up that was important enough to hurry to tell him.
Callisto nodded. “It was electromagnetic in nature. It is massive. And it’s a mutant,” she said. “Easily Class 5. The most powerful signature I’ve ever picked up. More powerful than you.”
Erik’s eyes seemed to unfocus, and he gazed thoughtfully over her shoulder for a moment, and he realized there was only one person that it could be. He focused back on Callisto. “Where is she?
“Well, that’s the thing. I started picking something up somewhere up in Canada, and when I felt it next, she was in New York. Somewhere further upstate than New York City. Westchester Country, I think. And she’s still there, not moving.”
Magneto frowned. “Damn.” He breathed. “I had hoped she’d be elsewhere, hoped I might recruit her to our cause.”
He shook his head, and his eyes bored into Callisto’s. “Let me know if you feel her move again.” Until then, there was little he could do while she remained in Xavier’s halls, Erik mused to himself.
Logan sat outside the Med-lab, having been ushered out with Remy by Ororo and Charles. Ororo was staying close to Annie, by Annie’s own instructions. Annie had asked her to keep an eye on her, and if she noticed her slurring her speech or forgetting things, to get her to the hospital as those were signs she might have worse than a concussion.
Annie didn’t think anything would come of it, having used the diagnostic machines’ CT technology they’d used to check out Jean just hours before, on herself now to see if she’d sustained any unnoticeable damage that had yet to rear its head.
They’d set up one of the overturned beds for Jean, and Charles had asked them to leave to remain undisturbed as he and Jean tried together to strengthen her mental walls against her more dangerous personality.
Logan shook his head. The explanation Xavier had given to the others was the same he’d given to Logan earlier alone before Jean had woken up. He still didn’t much like the idea of what Xavier had done, but seeing Jean’s alternate personality act in the lab did give him pause. That, and Jean’s admission during the explanation that she’d known most of what Xavier had done, although not understood it completely until the last few years.
Logan realized he’d overreacted a bit, but then again who could blame him – the woman he’d cared deeply for, who he’d thought to be dead was suddenly alive, and Scott was still missing, possibly dead if Jean’s comments earlier were true. And then he learned Jean’s mind had been messed with, and he didn’t handle it too well.
Remy, who was leaning lazily against the wall on the other side of the hall with his eyes closed, sighed and opened his eyes, looking over at Logan. “You love Jeannie, don’ you?” He said, more a statement than a question.
Logan grunted, and nodded. “Yeah, Cajun.”
Remy shot him a rather intense glance of scrutiny. “Stormy’s got a thing for you, y’know. An’ I was pretty sure you had one for her too.”
Logan sighed, and rubbed at his temples – Remy had hit on the other issue that was bugging him. “I did – do. Things are happening so fast now I can hardly think straight.”
After Jean’s death, he’d found himself drawn to Ororo. They’d comforted one another after Alkali, and grown much closer. He’d felt a growing attraction, but tried to push it away by taking off for several weeks. He’d found himself unable to keep it from his mind, however, and eventually returned weeks ago, and they’d been dancing around one another ever since.
And now Jean was back. The first woman he’d really loved – at least as far back as he could remember. She was untouchable, the fiancée of Scott, and he knew that ‘forbidden factor’ had only added to her draw. And now Scott could be dead, and Jean was back, fighting for her very mind. Add to that his own intuition, which he’d spoken to Scott about: she might love them both, but she’d chosen Scott, not him, before she’d seemingly sacrificed herself for them all.
Talk about complicating things/, he thought to himself. He wondered if anything in his life would ever /not be complicated.
Remy broke him from his reverie, fixing him with a gaze. “I’ll bet. Jus’….. don’ hurt Stormy, however you end up decidin’ things. She’s /ma soeur/, an’ I’ll have t’beat de crap outta you if you do, /hein/?” He said, mirroring Logan’s own threat to him about Rogue.
Logan nodded. “Wouldn’ ‘spect anything less.” He said, shooting him a small grin.
Remy stood up, stretching. “Don’ think dey’re gonna let us in anytime soon. I gotta go let Sarah know I’m back anyway. Back in a few.”
Logan nodded, and leaned his head back against the wall, staring at the wall opposite him, still trying to get his mind to wrap around everything that had happened.
Rogue cracked her eyes open as she regained consciousness, and sat up, startled, when she saw Carol sitting next to her. Looking around, she realized she’d woken up in her mindscape.
“Hey there, sleepyhead,” Carol said, smiling.
“What happened?” Rogue asked.
“You exhausted yourself putting out that fire, and passed out. Then, the person you absorbed started up fires all over the place, and I ended up taking control of your body to get the Professor to help me.”
Rogue looked around. “Did she damage anything’?”
Carol shook her head. “No, the Professor put out all her fires before she could do anything lasting, and said he removed her psyche from your mind.” She smiled. “He was pretty impressed when I told him what you did before I got him there. Said you had more mental control already than he thought you would if you were able to do that.”
Rogue smiled back. “That’s good Ah guess. Thanks, Carol, for gettin’ him to help.”
She merely shrugged it off. “Well, wouldn’t want the mind I’m in getting burnt up. Besides, you’re… you’re my friend, Rogue, one of the best I’ve had.” She blushed and looked down. “Sounds pretty weird, I bet, a mental imprint calling someone a friend…”
Rogue put a hand on her shoulder. “No, Carol. You’re a person to me, not jus’ a mental imprint. Ah wish we’d known each other out there an’ Ah’m sure wed’ve become good friends out there, but Ah’m fine with jus’ bein’ friends in here. You’re as real to me as Remy or anyone else.”
Carol smiled, and blinked back a tear. “Thanks.” She looked away for a moment, and then looked back. “Speaking of Remy, I think he’s out there right now waiting for you to wake up. Probably shouldn’t leave him worrying any longer.”
Rogue’s eyes widened. “How long have Ah been unconscious?”
Carol shrugged. “A few hours at least, wasn’t really keeping track of the time.”
Rogue stood, and Carol followed suit. “You’re right, Ah should get going.” She paused, and looked back at Carol as a memory of earlier in the day came back to her. “Ah’m glad you stood up to him. He deserved that an’ more.” She said softly, referring to Carol’s fathers.
Carol smiled softly and nodded as Rogue began to fade from view. “I’m glad I did too.” She whispered.
As Rogue moved back into her conscious mind, she blinked her eyes open once more, and started to sit up.
“Rogue!” Sarah’s voice came from the left, and she found herself pinned back down to the bed as Sarah hugged her.
She heard Remy chuckle on the other side of her bed. “/Petite/, she jus’ woke up an’ you’re tryin’ to strangle her?”
Sarah pulled back slightly with a blush, and simply sat on the edge of the bed next to her, and Rogue was able to sit up completely. “Are you okay, Rogue?”
Rogue smiled back at her. “Yeah, Ah am.”
“You’re startin’ to turn into Remy with all this stuff happenin’ to you,” she pouted.
Rogue laughed. “Ah guess so. How long have Ah been out of it?”
“About four hours. I was jus’ getting’ ready to head up an’ make Sarah an’ me some supper.” Remy said, grabbing her hand and giving it a soft squeeze.
“Is Annie okay?” Rogue asked, concerned, knowing she didn’t have Rogue’s near-invulnerability to protect her from being tossed into the wall.
Remy nodded. “I think so. Got a concussion an’ a big lump on the back of her head though. Stormy’s followin’ her ev’rywhere she goes in case it ends up bein’ worse an’ she needs to go to de hospital.”
“An’ Jean? Somethin’ was controllin’ her, an’ when Ah absorbed her it got into me an’ tried to do the same. Hurt like hell.”
“Jeannie’s fine,” Remy assured her. “Prof says she’s got a darker part of her dey’ve been tryin’ to contain, another personality, an’ dat’s what got loose in her mind. Doesn’ care ‘bout anyone but itself. He said you really helped out, an’ he thinks things are back under control. Dey spent three hours buildin’ walls t’gether in her mind. Only let me an’ Sarah in here ‘bout a half hour ago.”
Logan found Jean standing outside of the door to the room she had shared with Scott, simply staring at it with a blank, emotionless expression.
“Jean?” He said softly.
She wrapped her arms around her abdomen, and glanced over at him. “Hey.” She said softly.
He glanced at the door. “I can go set up another room for you, if you want,”
Jean shook her head quickly. “No, Logan. I…. I need to be as close to him as I can.”
She looked down, and wiped away a tear, and sniffed as he slowly put a comforting arm around her shoulders. She looked up at him, raw fear in her eyes. “I can’t remember what happened. I remember seeing him, when I woke up, and I remember taking his glasses off and doing something with my telekinesis…..”
Her shoulders hitched. “But I can’t remember what happened after that. I think she – the Phoenix – took over, and I don’t know what happened to him.” Her voice shook. “What if I killed him? How could I live with myself if I did, Logan?”
He rubbed a hand up and down her back. “Don’t think like that, Jean. I know you, and I know you aren’t capable of something like that.”
“I’m not, but I’m afraid the Phoenix might be. I’m so scared. Scared that Scott’s gone, and scared that she’ll get out again, that I won’t be able to keep her in.”
She pulled away, and touched his cheek softly with a hand. “Thank you, Logan, for this. But I need to be alone right now. I need to think, and get my mind back in order. Good night.”
He gave her a bittersweet smile. “Goodnight, Jean,” he said softly as she screwed up her courage and opened the door to her room. ‘Goodnight,” he muttered after she was gone. Her grief over Scott, and her fear of what happened was quite understandable, but it still stung him when she spoke about him like that.
Logan sighed heavily and ran a hand through his hair. Maybe a run in the Danger room would get his mind off of things, get him thinking more clearly about what mattered, he thought to himself.
The morning air was warming, but it still kept a hint of a chill in it that the older students noticed in their shorts and t-shirts they’d worn for their PhysEd class. Rogue had brought a change of clothes in case they did any sort of contact sport.
Xavier had insisted that while they were technically college students at a private institution, they still had to complete a PhysEd course like most other colleges required. It consisted of Monday morning classes that often had a fun twist to them like flag football using their powers, and then Danger Room sessions several times a week.
Rogue stood, her arms crossed to keep the chill at bay, with Jubilee, Kitty, and Dani in a patch of warm sunlight that had made its way through the trees. Sam and Piotr were nearby as well, but Bobby stood off in the shade away from the rest.
Nearly everyone had, at least while she was around, taken to avoiding him, although she knew Piotr and Sam still hung out with him. She was touched that they were showing their support for her in that way, but it did sometimes make things awkward.
“Where’s Logan?” Jubilee grumbled. “He’s usually here bright and early.”
“Logan ain’ comin’,” Remy’s voice came from behind them, causing Jubilee to start slightly. “What wit’ Jeannie an’ all, de Prof wanted t’give him less stress, an’ at least for now I’m coverin’ all de PE classes, ‘cludin’ yours.” He said with a grin.
Remy looked over the group of them. He could tell Bobby wanted to say something, likely complain or protest, but he seemed to be keeping a lid on it. “Alrigh’ I don’ really have much planned, so how ‘bout 20 laps ‘round de mansion, an’ we’ll go from dere. So hop to it, faster you get back, faster we get to de next thing, an’ quicker you get outta dis class.”
There was a collective groan from the group as they began jogging away, beginning the first lap. Remy set up the folded-up camp-chair he’d brought outside with him, and sat down, contentedly watching them run. He tipped his sunglasses down as they rounded the building – especially Rogue, he thought with an admiring glance, watching her run past.
Soon enough, they’d finished their laps and stood in front of him, catching their breath. Remy stood up from his seat, tossing his trenchcoat onto it. “I take it Logan’s been teachin’ you de basics of fightin’?”
“Yeah,” Sam said, standing bent over with his hands on his knees as he caught his breath. “Mostly in the Danger Room.”
Remy nodded. “Alrigh’, here’s what we’re doin’ next den. Each of you is gonna have a little sparrin’ match wit’ me, an’ we’ll see what you got.”
Jubilee groaned. “No fair, you’re not exhausted. We ran twenty laps while you sat in that chair.”
Remy looked at her seriously. “You think you’re always gonna meet up wit’ someone while you’re still fresh? /Non/, it don’ work dat way. One of de best ways t’show you really can take care of yourself is fightin’ even when you’re exhausted.”
He smiled then, lightening the mood. “But for t’day, I’ll jus’ let y’all fight me at de same time, okay? Use y’powers, whatever y’wan’, just try t’take me out.” He snapped his hand forward, and his bo-staff extended itself in his palm.
One end glowed brightly as he forced energy into it. “If I drop ya on de ground an’ den tap you wit’ dis, you’re down an’ out for de rest of de fight. Any questions?”
“You sure you want to do this? Against all of us?” Jubilee asked, dubious.
Remy nodded, and shifted into a savate opening stance, and beckoned to them with his hand. “Let’s do dis.”
Everyone hesitated still, and finally it was Sam that acted first, moving in close, taking a swing at Remy’s abdomen, his fist glowing as if it was about to release a blast of energy. Remy spun to the side and let Sam’s fist fly by in front of him, then grabbed Sam’s arm and pulled him off-balance. He landed face-first on the ground and Remy tapped him with his staff.
“C’mon,” he said. “You guys can do better den dat. Don’ hold back on me. ‘less you’re ‘fraid y’can’ take me.”
That put them into action finally, and Remy quickly found himself surrounded, dodging kicks and punches. He swung his staff at Kitty, and it whistled through her phased body as she moved closer. He swept his leg out at her, and he grinned at her surprise when instead of phasing through her, it made contact, knocking her feet out from under her. He sprang forward, avoiding Dani, and casually tapped Kitty in the side with his staff. She just lay there, looking at her legs in confusion
Fortunately that pulled him out of Piotr’s range, causing him to land only a glancing blow. Unfortunately, it hurt like hell because Piotr had shifted into his metallic form.
Remy staggered back, further out of range, but Piotr followed him and leapt, intent on pinning him to the ground with his sheer mass. Remy let himself fall onto his back, and pulled his legs up as Piotr landed. They took the brunt of the blow like a spring, and then working with Piotr’s momentum, he shoved with his legs, causing him to sail over him completely. He tapped him with his staff as he flew by.
He plowed into Rogue, who’d been moving up behind Remy. Remy had realized that, and done the maneuver because he knew she could take the impact with Piotr without being hurt.
He rolled to the side as an icy fist plowed into the ground where his head had been. Remy sprang up, and let Bobby take another swing at him, moving slightly to allow his fist to pass close-by, and slam into Dani’s shoulder as she attacked on the other side.
She grunted in pain, and Bobby stopped his attack, and looked at her in concern. “I’m sorry Dani, are you-“
He was broken off when Remy scythed his legs, sending both of them tumbling to the ground, and tapped them both with his staff. “Never take your eyes off de opponent. He don’ care if one of you got hurt, an’ you can’t either ‘till he’s taken out an’ no longer a threat.” He said.
He turned around, and managed to slam his eyes shut in time as Jubilee extended her hands in his direction, and bright globules of light exploded forward from her fingers.
He could see the flashes even behind his sunglasses and his closed eyelids, and was extremely thankful he’d seen her before she used her powers. He heard a rustling behind him, and spun around, opening his eyes. He raised his bo-staff in two hands and Rogue’s fist slammed into it. It bowed inward imperceptibly, before flexing back into place.
‘/Damn/,’ he thought, wondering how much force had been behind it to bend adamantium.
He stabbed backward, almost absently, with his staff and the glowing tip blew up the ground in front of Jubilee, halting her charge with a shower of dirt. He sprang into a backward, aerial somersault, pushing off of his bo-staff, and landed next to her, laying her out with and other quick kick that buckled her knees. He tapped her as well, and then the only one left was Rogue.
Remy moved slowly toward her, and suddenly exploded into action, his foot blurring as it struck her stomach. She staggered back – she’d actually felt that. As he kicked out again, a whip-like kick she’d seen him used while practicing /savate/, she realized he was charging his blows with his own energy to give him a boost to match her near-invulnerability.
She blocked his kick this time, and lunged forward with a punch toward his chest. He dropped his bo staff into place, but her blow caused it to smack back and up at his head, and the next instant he was tumbling backward, the blow nearly knocking him out.
When he didn’t move, she felt dread pooling in the pit of her stomach. “Remy,” she breathed, rushing over to his side. She knelt down next to him, and bent closer, to see how badly she’d hurt him.
She suddenly found herself flipped onto her back with Remy leaning above her, tapping her on the chin with his staff. “An’ never made de mistake of thinkin’ your opponent is down when he really isn’t.”
He stood up, and reached a hand down to help Rogue up, but she pushed herself up, and shot him a disgruntled look. He sighed to himself, and looked at the group – he’d known he’d be in hot water for pulling that stunt.
“Alrigh’, what’d you all learn dis class?”
“Not to fight with Bobby around,” Dani grumbled, rubbing her shoulder, and everyone laughed.
“Not to underestimate your opponent. Just because you have many people, doesn’t mean you have the advantage,” Piotr said several moments later, now serious.
Remy spread his hands wide, and nodded. “Exactly, Piotr. An’ I think Kitty learned a really important one as well.”
She frowned. “That sometimes our powers don’t work? How’d you do that, by the way?”
Remy grinned. “Well, I knew what your power was, an’ I met a phaser like you once before, an’ figured your power worked similar. You van vibrate de molecules in your body around other molecules, which lets you pass through dem. I jus’ used my powers to vibrate de air around me so de rate was constantly changin’, an’ your power couldn’ adapt to each change quick enough. Bit of a risk on my part if I didn’ cycle de vibration fast enough, but it worked.” He said. “But yeah, your powers won’ always work on your opponent, so don’ bet all your chips on dem.”
He nodded to Jubilee. “But, when dey do work, dey can help you a lot. If I didn’ know ahead of time ‘bout Jubes an’ her powers, an’ I hadn’ seen her start usin’ dem, she’d have blinded me an’ dropped me in an instant. Very good, Jubilee.”
She brightened at the praise – the fall to the backside and the dirt covering her from Remy’s explosion had bruised her ego a bit.
Remy looked at all of them again. “Alrigh’, dat’s all I have today, I’ll let you guys head out early.”
As they brushed themselves off and began to head into the mansion, he grabbed Dani’s elbow, pulling her to the side. “Your shoulder okay?” He asked, nodding to it.
She rubbed it slightly. “It’ll be okay. Bobby hits like a girl,” she said with a grin.
Remy chuckled along with her, and then his expression became more serious. “I noticed you didn’ use your powers, Dani.”
Her smile dropped, and she looked down. “What could I do with them? They’re pretty useless.” She said softly.
He placed a hand on her shoulder. “Dey’re only useless if you make dem useless. You coulda used dem, put out a vision as some sort of distraction or somethin’, couldn’ ya?”
She shrugged. “I guess…. I never really thought of that.”
He smiled. “Think over what you could do, an’ next time I wanna see you use dem, /hein/?
She smiled slightly. “Okay. Thanks.”
“No problem.” He said, and let her walk past him on her way into the mansion.
Which left him with Rogue. He turned, and walked over to her. She jabbed a finger in his chest, a scowl on her face. “Jerk. Yah made me think Ah hurt yah. Ah was scared.” She said, her voice breaking slightly.
“Hey, I’m sorry, /Chére/, I wanted to make a point to dem, an’ I guess I didn’ think to much ‘bout what you’d think.” He said, reaching out to pull her into a soft hug.
She held on tightly. “Ah know.” She finally pulled back several moments later. “Still. Don’t do that to me again. Ah thought Ah’d snapped your neck or somethin’.”
He kissed her forehead. “Alright, /Chére/. I won’ do it again. Promise.” He leaned his own forehead forward against hers for a moment. “You fought pretty good today. Almost had me when Jubes tried to blind me.”
Rogue grinned. “Ah know, but Ah made a little too much noise. You were pretty good at kickin’ our asses today, too. Ah think all of us needed that to get us thinkin’, even if you were a big jerk.” She said, but softened her comment with a smile.
“Big jerk, huh?” He asked playfully. “Well dis big jerk is lookin’ forward to dinner tonight. We still on for dat?”
“Yep,” Rogue replied happily, and pecked his cheek with her lips. “What should Ah wear? Ah don’ wanna overdress, but you said we’re goin’ to a nice place.”
“A nice pair of pants, an’ a nice blouse should do. Dey ain’ too fancy where you gotta dress up like you’re goin’ to church or anythin’. We’ll take my bike unless you wanna wear a dress. If y’do we can snag one of de cars.”
“Let’s go on your bike, Ah’ve got more pants than any sort of skirts, anyways.” Rogue smiled. “Now, if you’ll excuse me, Ah need a shower after the workout you went an’ put us through.”
Remy tensed slightly, and smirked. “Yeah, you do smell pretty bad,” he said, before springing away, running toward the back door of the mansion, avoiding the swat she aimed at him, laughing at her growl of frustration.
Hours later, had he been in her room with her, he would have heard an identical growl of frustration, although this one was not directed at him, but rather the clothes strewn around her room, covering her bed, her table, her nightstand, a few shirts even hung over her floor lamp.
She’d spent the past nearly half-hour trying to decide on something to wear – she wanted to wear something perfect for their first date, and everything she thought would work just didn’t look right to her when she actually looked at herself wearing it in the mirror.
She knew she was being too picky, too perfectionist, but she couldn’t help it. She sat down on her bed and rubbed her temples with her fingers – that was something Carol had pointed out to her several times during her search for the perfect outfit.
There was a light knock on her door, and then it opened, Dani poking her head inside. “Rogue? I-“ she stopped, staring at the room, and rogue sitting on her bed.
“What happened in here?” She asked, opening the door and slipping into the room, walking over to her friend. To her, it looked like a tornado had swept through the room.
“Me,” Rogue muttered. “Tryin’ t’find the right outfit.”
Dani’s eyes snapped back to Rogue. “Right outfit for what?” When Rogue didn’t answer, her eyes lit up. “You’re going on a date, aren’t you?”
Rogue opened her mouth to protest, but as she looked up at Dani she knew her friend could read her like an open book. “Yeah, Remy’s takin’ me out tonight.” She said, sighing.
Dani clapped her hands together, and sat down excitedly next to Rogue. “I thought so. I saw you two all cuddly together out in the lawn after PhysEd. Everyone else was inside before I got in because Remy talked to me, so I was the only one that saw it.”
“Well, we’re not advertising it right now. The only other person that knows is Annie.”
Dani nodded. “Gotcha. Now, what’s this about not finding an outfit? I see a whole bunch of these that you’d look great in,” Dani said, looking around the room.”
Rogue shrugged. “None of them seem right, an’ Ah want to look perfect.”
Dani put a hand on her shoulder. “Well then, let’s find you that perfect outfit, and get you ready. You know he’ll think you look perfect no matter what you wear, right? Let’s find you something.” Dani said, standing up and beginning to dig through the piles of clothing on the bed.
Remy absently ran the cloth over the chrome handlebars of his new Low Rider as he waited for Rogue. He was, for the first time he remembered, actually, a bit nervous about a date. In the past, he was always confident, but that was because he knew it was only going to last for a week at most with the girl he happened to be seeing. This, with Rogue, he wanted to last.
He dropped the cloth and fidgeted absently with his collar. He’d put on a pair of khakis – dressy enough for the place they were going, but still sensible enough for a bike ride – and a blue polo-shirt for the evening. He’d traded his trenchcoat in, for the evening, for a less-beat-up leather jacket Ororo had bought when she’d picked some clothes up for him.
“Ready?” Rogue asked softly from behind him, and he almost jumped – he’d not heard her enter the garage.
He turned around and looked over her appreciatively. She was wearing blue, close-fitting dress pants, a white v-necked blouse, white gloves that reached midway up her forearms, and a pair of low heels. She’d put on a bit more makeup than she usually wore around the mansion, and she’d swept her hair back into a tight bun, which exposed her ears and the silver stud earrings she’d put in.
He moved forward, closing the small distance. “Yeah, I’m ready. You look great, /Chére/.” He said, breathing in the floral scent of her perfume as he pressed a kiss to her forehead.
She blushed, and looked down at the outfit Dani had helped her with. “Thanks.”
Remy smiled, and then snagged a black helmet from a nearby workbench and passed it to her. It was a full-face helmet with a visor, and she saw he had one of his own balancing on the seat of his bike.
“You ever ridden wit’ someone before?” He asked her, gesturing at his motorcycle.
She nodded. “Once. Logan took me for a ride, so Ah know all basics like how t’lean into a turn an’ get on without knockin’ the bike over.”
He smiled. “Good. You’ll want t’be puttin’ dat on, we’ll go on de highway an’ it’ll get a bit chilly,” he said, gesturing at the denim jacket she had slung over one of her arms.
She slid it on, and he continued. “Alright, I don’ know how Logan got you signalin’, but for me, tap me on de right shoulder if y’wan’ me to slow down, twice if you need to stop. Left shoulder if y’wan’ me to look at somethin’.”
Rogue furrowed her brow and nodded. “Got it.”
“Alrigh’ den. I got us reservations in ‘bout a half hour, an’ den we’ll go see a movie after dinner.” He said.
He helped her carefully slide on her helmet without messing up her hair, and fasten it snugly before he grabbed his own and put it on. He hopped on the bike, and she placed a hand on his shoulder, balancing herself as she slid a leg over the seat and settled in behind him, placing her hands on his hips as he started the bike up.
The engine revved, and they slowly started moving, out the garage and down the driveway. As they picked up speed, she smiled when he reached back with a hand and pulled her hands from his hips so that she wrapped her arms around his chest.
Remy casually grabbed Rogue’s hand as they walked down the sidewalk, and interlocked his fingers with hers. She looked up and smiled back at him, leaning slightly closer. They’d found a parking spot near the restaurant, and left the bike there.
They approached a one-story building, whose sign said “The Palm”. Remy reluctantly let go of her hand and opened the door, holding it so she could enter before him.
He let the door slide shut, and they walked up to the tall oak front counter. A young brown-haired woman dressed in an elegant black dress looked up from a layout of the restaurant’s tables, and greeted them with a smile. “Hi, welcome to The Palm.”
“Hi, we’ve got a reservation for two, for Robert Lord?”
She skimmed her finger down a long written list to her left, and tapped it when she reached his name. “Yes, we have you here.” She grabbed two menus and looked up at them. “Follow me, please.”
Rogue glanced around the restaurant as they were lead toward their table. It was well lit, with high ceilings, and expensive hardwood floor, giving it a very upscale feel. Well-dressed couples and groups that appeared to be out for business dinners sat at white table-clothed tables around the large dining area.
They reached a small, round table, and she let Remy hold her seat out for her as she sat down – for all his roguishness, he could also be quite a gentleman.
He sat down across from her, and the woman poured water into two glasses and placed them in front of him. “Take your time to look over the menus, and your waiter will be along shortly.”
Remy nodded, and picked up his own menu, opening it, leaning forward slightly, his eyes skimming down the list methodically, picking out dishes that caught his attention.
He glanced up at her as she looked over the menu, noting fondly the cute crease near the bridge of her nose that showed up when she was closely examining something. “You want an appetizer, /Chére/?”
She looked up at him. “The jumbo shrimp cocktail does look kind of good…” She said, somewhat hesitantly, having seen the prices of each dish: the cheapest entree she’d seen was a little over twenty dollars.
He smiled reassuringly to her, and somehow could tell exactly what her concern was. “Jus’ ignore de prices, Rogue. Get what you want an’ not what costs de least – it ain’ gonna hurt my wallet a bit.”
She relaxed, and mentally shook her head, wondering how he’d known what she’d been thinking.
Eventually a distinguished-looking older man dressed smartly in a suit approached them. “Good evening, my name is Jerry, and I’ll be your waiter this evening. Could I get you an appetizer, or something to drink?”
Remy shot Rogue a glance, and she nodded, closing her menu. “Actually, we’re ready to order.”
Jerry smiled, and pulled out a small pad of paper and a pen. “What can I get for you, miss?” He asked, looking to Rogue.
“Ah’d like the Prime Aged New York Strip, with a baked potato for the side.”
He nodded, jotting it down. “And how would you like that done?”
“Medium-rare,” she said, handing him her menu.
“And you sir?”
“I’d like de peppercorn-crusted Ahi Tuna steak, an’ a baked potato. We’d also like an order of your Jumbo Shrimp for an appetizer.”
Jerry smiled, and then looked between the two of them. “And what could I get you to drink? Could I interest in you in our wine list?”
Remy nodded. “We’d like a bottle of your 1993 Cabernet Sauvignon,” Remy said after skimming down the list.
Rogue shot him a look, but the waiter missed it. “Okay, thank you,” Jerry said. “I’ll be out shortly with your appetizer.”
As he left, Rogue looked over to Remy. “Remy,” she whispered, leaning closer across the table. “Ah’m not twenty-one.”
He smiled. “Dey don’ check dat at a place like dis. I jus’ got it because it goes good wit’ both our dishes. If y’don’ want any, y’don’ have to drink any.”
Moments later, Jerry returned with two wine-glasses and a bottle of wine. He removed the cork, and poured a small amount into one of the glasses, and handed it to Remy.
Rogue watched Remy hold the glass out at an angle and look at it, before swirling it and bringing it near his face before he took a sip. He smiled, and nodded to Jerry, handing his glass back to him.
Jerry poured the wine into each glass, and placed them in front of both of them, and left the table to get their cocktail.
Rogue looked at Remy curiously. “What was that all about?” She asked him.
“Dat?” He asked, gesturing to the wine glass. “You never tasted wine before,” he said, realizing it just then.
She shook her head, and he smiled, leaning forward eagerly. “Well, let’s give you a lesson in dat. Wine tastin’ isn’ just ‘bout de taste of de wine, but also ‘bout de smell, an’ de look of de wine.”
He picked up his glass, and gestured for her to pick up hers. “De first thing you do is look at de color, an’ you usually do dat against a white background – dat’s why all of de restaurants like dese dat serve good wine always have a white tablecloth. Now, hold it at a bit of an angle, an’ look at de edge – what’s de color?”
She did, and looked back up. “Sort of an orangish purple.”
He nodded. “Dat’s a sign of a good wine – de more colorful it is, de older it is. If dis was pale, or brown, I woulda asked him for a different bottle, because dat means it’s not going to taste as good. Now, swirl de glass.” He swirled his own, and she followed suit. “Now, dis is a thicker wine, look at de way it acts. If it acts watery, it’ll be more watery, an’ when it acts like dis, it’s a good sign.”
Rogue nodded, listening to him with fascination – this was something else she’d never known he was so experienced in, and she found that she enjoyed learning from him.
“After dat, you take a little sniff, den a slightly deeper one. What does it smell like?”
Rogue brought it up to her nose, and inhaled. She frowned in thought. “It smells sweet, but with a bit of spicyness in it.”
Remy nodded, smiling broadly. “Now take a little sip and swirl it around your mouth so it hits all your tastebuds.”
Rogue raised the glass to her lips and took a small sip. Her eyes lit up as she tasted it – it was unlike anything she’d ever tired before. “It tastes really good,” she said after she swallowed it. “Ah could taste the fruitiness, an’ it was a little bitter, an’ it was almost like Ah could taste some chocolate in there.”
Remy grinned. “Yep. Dat’s what I tasted too. Lots of times it has an extra taste to it dat is like other things you’ve eaten instead of de wine itself. Dis one is good, an’ de bitterness gets canceled out by de fats in de steak you’re gonna eat, an’ by de pepper on my Ahi steak, so it goes really well wit’ dat sort of food.”
Rogue smiled and took another sip. “You know a lot ‘bout wine.” She commented.
Remy nodded. “My pére is a big wine man, an’ I learned a lot from him. He’s got a huge cellar b’neath one of his homes north of N’awlins – gotta have at least a few million dollars worth of rare wines down dere.” Remy said, reaching out and grabbing a large shrimp from a platter and dipping it into cocktail sauce.
Rogue looked at it in surprise, and realized she’d not even noticed their waiter come back with it while Remy was talking to her. She reached out and grabbed one of her own, settling back into her chair as Remy talked animatedly about his father’s house.
By the end of their dinner, they’d finished most of the bottle of wine, and they were eating the last few bites of lemon meringue pie that they’d shared for dessert.
Remy looked at her with a bit of concern as she stabbed clumsily into the pie, smearing off a piece that she popped into her mouth. He’d noticed that as dinner went on, especially as they finished their main course, she’d become more bubbly, and started giggling quite frequently as they talked – something she didn’t normally do.
“/Chére/, slow down dere,” he said, placing a hand over hers as she reached out for her wineglass. “I think you’ve had enough of dat.”
She blinked, and then nodded. “Maybe you’re right.” She said, moving instead for her water. “Am Ah drunk?” She asked him, stabbing unsuccessfully at the pie.
He smiled, and pushed the pie to her side of the plate. “A little tipsy, I think. You did start drinkin’ on an empty stomach after all.” He said. “Eat dat up, you need t’make sure y’got stuff in you so y’don’ get any worse.”
As Rogue finished eating, Jerry cleared away the last of their plates and set the bill next to Remy. “Thank you for letting us serve you this evening sir.”
Remy flashed him a smile. “Thanks, it was really good.”
When Rogue finished off her glass of water, Remy stood, and pulled out his wallet. He peeled out two hundred dollar bills and tucked them into the black folder that contained their bill.
He pulled out Rogue’s chair for her, and helped her to her feet. She swayed slightly, and threaded her arm through his to keep her balance as they walked out the restaurant.
“If Ah didn’ know better, Ah’d think you were tryin’ to get me drunk, Mr. LeBeau,” she said, poking him in the chest with a finger, grinning up at him, as they walked down the street.
He rubbed a hand up and down the arm she had entwined with his. “Non, /Chére/, I wasn’t tryin’ t’get you drunk.” He poked her back. “Much too early for dat. Maybe on de second date.” He said, grinning.
Rogue sighed and leaned her head onto his shoulder as they neared a large Cineplex building, glad that he was still steadying her. She felt slightly lightheaded, and not completely sure of her feet, and an overwhelming feeling of contentment that was the result of more than just the alcohol she’d drank.
They came to a halt in front of a ticket window, and Remy looked down at her. “What d’you wanna see, /Chére/?”
Rogue ran her eyes across the list of showtimes, and her eyes alighted on a particular one. “Let’s watch Brotherhood of the Wolf,” she said, leaning into him.
Remy’s eyebrows rose. “Hmm, you’re a horror girl?”
Rogue smiled, and tucked her head further into his shoulder. “Yeah. Always have been. Ah heard this one was pretty good – it’s actually a French film.”
Remy smiled. “Well, dat’s somethin’ I never really ‘spected – most girls I’ve dated hate horror.” He said, moving forward and ordering two tickets for the next showing. He handed the clerk the money for them, and palmed the tickets.
“Well, Ah’m not most girls,” Rogue said, looking up with a sly smile.
Remy laughed, and handed the attendant at the door their tickets. “Non, you’re much better,” he said, whispering into her ear as they walked toward the door that was showing their movie.
Rogue released Remy’s hand as they stopped next to her door at the mansion. They’d both enjoyed the movie, particularly when Remy raised up the armrest and pulled her closer to him so they could watch snuggled close together.
By the time the movie had finished, she was no longer tipsy, and they’d had no problem getting back. Remy drove them back at a slower pace than they’d come, savoring the feeling of Rogue pressed up behind him on the bike with her arms around him.
“Well, here you are,” Remy said quietly – it was past eleven, and most people were either still down in the living room, or already in bed: they’d managed to sneak in without anyone seeing them.
Rogue smiled. “Thanks for this, Remy. Ah had a great time.”
He grinned back lightly. “I did too, Rogue.”
Rogue glanced both ways down the hall, and then he found himself being yanked suddenly inside her room. She pulled him into an intense kiss, her hands gripping the front of his leather jacket tightly to pull him against her.
They broke apart well over a minute later, and Remy gently touched the bare skin between the sleeve of her blouse and her gloves and pulled his charge back into himself.
He smiled, still panting, and leaned his forehead against hers. “I take it dat means I don’ have to worry ‘bout whether or not you want t’go on another date?”
Rogue laughed, and pressed her lips, briefly this time, to his. “Ah think that’s a pretty safe assumption to make.” She said playfully.
She reached up a hand and ran it across his jawline. “Ah really meant it, Remy. Thank yah. Ah don’ think Ah’ve ever had this much fun with someone before.”
He reached his own hand up and grabbed hers in it. “I know what you mean, /Chére, /” he said. “I feel de same way.”
Rogue sighed and pulled back. “Ah better change, an’ get to sleep. Ah’ve got class early in th’mornin’. See you at breakfast?”
Remy smiled and kissed her one final time, on the forehead. “Alright. You get your sleep, don’ wanna be de cause of you getting’ bad grades. Sweet dreams.”
As Remy left, and Rogue sat down on her bed, she smiled – she didn’t think they’d be anything but sweet after the night she’d had with him.
A/N: Hope you all enjoyed this chapter, I definitely enjoyed writing it. ;). Now have a general idea of what I’ll be doing with the Ororo/Logan/Jean triangle, but nothing will be happening anytime soon, so expect quite a bit more Logan angst as the story goes on. Oh, and yes, Brotherhood of the Wolf is a real movie (although it was released quite a while ago - 8 years or so), and one of my favorites so I couldn’t resist putting it in.
I actually spent the first part of this week pondering the future of this story (plot, etc.) as we near the climax of the movie in the story. I’d only had one idea earlier that would have kept this going a number of chapters (the Creed part of the storyline) after Alctraz, and in the course of a few days I had a bit of a breakthrough idea-wise, and I’ve started to spin together an even more intricate plot to convert some other comic storylines (some of my favorites that I wish had been in the movies) into a more movie-verse form like I’ve done here with the Morlock Massacre, etc..
Right now, I’m seeing roughly 30-40 chapters total (likely closer to the high end than the low end) likely by the end of this fic, so if anyone was worrying about me just ending this at the end of X3, don’t. :)
Anyway, enough ranting: next chapter will be more Romy, and probably more plot (movie-wise), as we see more of just what Rogue changed by absorbing Jean.