Author: Mr Sinister PM
After a fight with her girlfriend, Rogue gets some relationship advice from an unexpected (French) quarter...Rated: Fiction K - English - Angst/Humor - Words: 3,471 - Reviews: 1 - Favs: 1 - Published: 12-08-03 - id: 1632560
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Rogue stumbled down the hallway of the Xavier Institute, dressed in an elegant emerald-green evening dress and high heels, her eyes blurred with tears that ruined her meticulously-applied mascara more with every footstep. The stinging tone of Jenny's last words to her still rang in her ears, like hammers striking a bell. She wiped at her eyes with her gloved hand and pushed open the door to the X-Men's rec. room. If there was solace to be found anywhere, it would be here, she decided.
It took her a few moments to realise that she wasn't alone – Remy Lebeau, the X-Man known as Gambit, was sat at the bar in the corner of the room, nursing a bottle of Southern Comfort and smoking a cigarette. The rec. room was one of the few places that the Professor would allow the X-Men who smoked to do so, and then only when there were no other team members around, so Remy was obviously making the most of his solitude. He turned towards the door and saw her standing there in her dishevelled state. He didn't say anything for a second or two, so Rogue immediately felt like she should fill the silence with something – anything – that would make her feel less awkward. She and Remy hadn't spoken much since she'd begun her relationship with Jenny (and Rogue didn't blame him for not wanting to talk to her, either, not after what she'd put him through). "I'm sorry," she began, hopelessly. "I'll go if you want me to –"
Remy shrugged, his dark chestnut hair flopping down in front of his deep red eyes for a moment or two, before he moved it away with a gloved hand. "Free country, cherie," he muttered, gesturing towards the main body of the room with his other hand, and then turned back towards his whiskey. "Ain't any law about you not stayin' here, y'know." He took a pull on his cigarette, and then exhaled a long grey plume of smoke into the air, before he closed his eyes, pulled his mouth into a thin line, evidently frustrated with his own inability to leave well enough alone, and then turned back towards Rogue. "Prob'ly gon' regret dis, but… you wan' tell me why you so messed-up, Roguey? Ain't every day I see you lookin' like you got spat out de back of a jet engine, after all."
Reluctantly, Rogue walked slowly towards the bar stool that Remy had pulled out for her, and then hitched up her skirts so that she could sit on it. Running a hand over her mascara-smeared face, she dabbed at her eyes with a handkerchief to try and clear herself up – without much success. "Jen and I had a fight," she said, redundantly. "We were gonna go to the theatre tonight – I was gonna see Oklahoma for the first time ever." She laughed bitterly, feeling supremely silly all of a sudden. "Ain't that stupid? I'm a Southern girl who ain't never seen Oklahoma before." She wiped her eyes again, feeling a few fresh tears escaping from her lashes. "Anyway… we were talkin' about where we wanted to eat afterwards, and you know how these arguments go – you start with something so small and stupid it ain't worth anythin', really, and then the next thing you know you're screamin' at each other. She said some real bad things, Remy – and I said some real bad stuff right back at her, too." She rubbed her temples, screwing her eyes closed for a moment or two to try and dispel the headache she could feel brewing right in the centre of her brain. "Oh, God, Remy… I don't know what to do."
Remy raised his eyebrows, pondering what Rogue had said for a moment or two, and then he pursed his lips thoughtfully. "Mon dieu," he muttered, more to himself than to Rogue, before sipping some more of his whiskey, and then crunching the ice cubes between his teeth. "You don' do t'ings small, do you?"
Rogue shook her head, smiling bitterly despite herself. "S'pose I don't. My trademark, I guess." She sighed. "I just wish I hadn't got into this mess in the first place, you know? Just makes me feel really stupid."
Whistling softly, Remy crushed the butt of his cigarette into the ashtray by his left hand. "You really love her," he said softly. "Don' you?"
"I…" Rogue began, thrown a little off-balance by Remy's straight-to-the-point statement. "Yeah, I do."
Remy reached out with his hand and took Rogue's gloved palm in his own. "Den you should go to her," he said. "Tell her you're sorry. Ask her to forgive you."
"Well, you know I would, Remy," Rogue began, regretfully, "but I kinda don't know where Jen is right now. She drove to town before I could say I was sorry – I don't even know if she's comin' back. She seemed pretty pissed-off when she was pullin' out the driveway…"
"You tried callin' her on her cell phone, maybe?" Remy suggested, feeling even as he began speaking that the question was redundant. Rogue's next words confirmed his suspicions.
"Yeah," she said quietly, nodding with a sad little smile. "She switched it off. Can't get nothin' but an answer phone message." She rested her elbows on the bar and propped her chin up with the heel of one palm, tracing a twisted line in the thin layer of dust on the bar's surface with a single fingertip. Glancing over at Remy's half-full bottle of whiskey, she pointed towards it and asked "You mind if I have some of that?"
"Be my guest, cherie," Remy replied, pouring a little of the amber liquid into a fresh glass and then sliding it along the bar for her to catch with her right hand. "But don' you be drinkin' too much o' dat, all right? Ain't good for depression – trust me on dat one."
"All right, sugar, I'll take your word for it," Rogue replied, sipping some of the whiskey and enjoying the warming sensation as the liquid slid down her throat. While she took another sip of her drink, Remy slid off his stool and walked over to the jukebox in the corner of the room, finding a handful of quarters in his coat pocket and placing them into the machine's coin-slot. When he'd done that, he pressed a few buttons on the front of the jukebox and then waited a few seconds. Rogue turned to watch him then, saying curiously "What are you doin', swamp-rat?"
Remy spread his hands expansively. "T'ought you could use some cheerin' up," he said simply, before some elegant orchestral music sprang to life from the surround sound system the Professor had had installed. "Maybe dis will do de trick?" he asked, pointing to the speaker above his head, and then holding his hands out for her. "May I have dis dance?"
"Only if you want me to break your toes," Rogue retorted. "I ain't much of a dancer."
Gambit shrugged. "Don' matter to me, cherie. I can teach you how, if you like." He held out his hands again. "C'mon, Roguey – it'll help make your troubles seem like dey ain't even dere anymore." Rogue gave him a sceptical look then, and he smiled, before walking over to her and taking her hand anyway. "Trust me, all right? If it don' work, you can always blame me. Dat a fair deal?"
Raising her eyebrows for a moment or so, Rogue weighed up her options, and she had to admit that sitting around moping was probably not the best idea, so she took Remy's hand and began to dance with him – a little slowly and awkwardly at first, but gradually she found her rhythm as Remy gave her pointers on where to put her feet. Soon, she felt comfortable and was able to keep up with Gambit without repeatedly treading on his toes (which, despite her protestations, didn't break them, but just gave Remy cause to sit down for five minutes at a time until the pain faded from his feet).
"I've missed dis, y'know," Remy said suddenly, as they were slow-dancing in the centre of the rec. room's small dance-floor. "Couldn' we jus'… I dunno… start again, somehow? Run away to Tahiti – just de two of us?"
Rogue looked down at the wooden boards beneath her feet for a moment, biting her lip as the mood was abruptly altered, seemingly for the worst. She took a couple of steps back then, putting a small gap between herself and Gambit, as if to reinforce the point that what he had just suggested was impossible. "You know I can't do that, Remy."
Remy pulled one side of his mouth up in a wry smile, one that suggested he hadn't expected anything (other than what Rogue had just said) to come of his request. "T'ought not – but it was worth a try, non?" He paused, his smile fading, and he drew her a little closer as they danced. For her part, Rogue remembered what it had been like to be in his arms legitimately, and not just as a guest. Remy sighed, and then looked down at Rogue, who had laid her head against his chest, her eyes closed. "Jus' tell me one t'ing, petite – if Jenny hadn' come along, would you still be wit' me?"
"Yeah," Rogue replied. "Yeah, I probably would be. You were always special to me, sugar." Pausing, she brushed his stubbly cheek with a gloved hand, her green eyes bright. "But Jenny did come along, and we ain't together no more. I'm sorry it had to hurt you so bad, I really am, but I had to follow my heart. You understand that, don't you?"
"Not really, but I guess I kinda get reminded of dat ol' saying: 'If you love somet'ing, let it go – if it comes back t' you, it's yours forever"," Remy said wistfully. "An' if it don' come back –"
"– hunt it down an' kill it," Rogue finished, with a smile, before placing a hand on her chest innocently. "You ain't gonna do that to l'il ol' me, are you?"
"Not de ending I was gonna go for, Roguey," Remy replied, "but I guess it'll do." He paused, before looking over at the jukebox. "You want somet'ing else on?" he said, very obviously changing the subject.
"Yeah, I think so. Gettin' pretty tired of waltzin'," Rogue agreed, before letting Remy walk over to the jukebox and input some more tunes.
"Dis is gettin' expensive," Remy said, as he rummaged around in his pockets for some more spare change. "Don' know if I got de right coins here." Rogue chuckled, before she sauntered over to the jukebox, ushering Remy out of the way with a single movement of her hand.
"Watch and learn, swamp-rat," she said breezily, before pulling off one of her gloves and feeling for a catch at the back of the machine. When she found it, she squealed triumphantly and pushed it, making the front of the machine pop out on its hinges. Opening it wider, Rogue tapped in a few more selections (after some momentary consideration of what else she would like to listen to) and then winked at a speechless Remy. "What?" she asked. "I used to be a crook too, y'know. Wouldn't be a very good one if I didn't know how to save money sometimes, would I?"
"Good point," Remy agreed, in a contemplative kind of way. "Guess you still full of surprises, eh?"
"Guess I am," Rogue smiled. "Now y'all know my name, a girl's gotta have some secrets, right?" She paused. "Speakin' o' which… it's okay for you to call me 'Louise' now, you know – you don't have to keep callin' me 'Rogue'." Pausing again, she nodded towards the door briefly. "Hell, even the White Bitch calls me 'Louise' these days, an' I didn't even have to ask her. So I think you've got the right, too. What do you say, honey? You gonna call me by my given name, or what?"
Remy half-smiled at that. "Cherie, I meet you as Rogue, so you always gon' be Roguey t' me. I told you before – names don' matter t' me anyway. But if it makes you feel better, I'll call you 'Louise' from now on. Dat do you?"
Rogue nodded. "Yeah, I think so. I don't want to feel like I'm hiding behind my codename any more, Remy – not to anybody, and least of all to you. You've been such a good friend to me, even though I didn't deserve it. I –"
Remy shushed her then, putting a gloved fingertip to her lips. "Don' t'ink you didn' deserve it – not for one moment. Ain' your fault you felt the way you did, after all." He looked at the ceiling momentarily, as if searching for inspiration. "You be my best friend, Louise Darkholme. I don' want t' lose your friendship, ever. Okay?"
Blinking back some newborn tears, Rogue smiled. "Okay, Remy."
Remy wiped away the new salty trails trickling down Rogue's face with his thumb, and then kissed the tips of his fingers and placed them against Rogue's lips. "Dat's my girl." Then he looked at his watch, smiled a rakish grin and pointed towards the door. "I gotta go – I got a date. I see you later, okay?"
Rogue raised an eyebrow. "You're such a pig, Remy Lebeau. You give me all that slushy crap about friendship, and the next thing you know, you're away gettin' some from a cheap tramp." She felt intrigued by this development nevertheless, so then she said "So who's the lucky lady?"
Remy chuckled. "Oh, now dat would be tellin', I t'ink. Maybe when I bring her home for de folks t' meet, I introduce you."
Rogue stuck her tongue out at him, just as the intercom bleeped suddenly. When Rogue pushed the "accept" button, Bobby Drake's voice came through loud and clear. "Rogue? Hey, Rogue – you around?"
Rogue brushed her hand against the button that would allow her to reply, and said "Yeah, Bobby, I'm here. What can I do for you?"
"Well," Bobby began slowly, "I just thought you'd like to know that Jen just pulled up in the driveway, and she looks like she could use someone to talk to. That okay with you?"
"Thanks… thanks, Bobby," Rogue said, clicking the intercom off and looking at her hands for a moment or two. Before she could do anything else, however, Remy put his right hand on her shoulder and lifted her chin up with the other.
"You know what you have to do, don't you?" he said softly. "I see you two when I get back, Lou." He nodded towards the door of the rec. room. "Go on. She'll be waitin' for you. I stake de Lebeau family fortune on it."
Realising he was probably right, Rogue made a quick exit from the room, after giving Remy a quick, grateful smile. "Thanks, Remy," she said, just before she went through the doorway. "You've been a real help."
"No problem, cherie," Remy said as she left the room. "My pleasure…"
As his words faded in her ears, Rogue walked as quickly as she could towards the front door, at the same time hoping vainly that she didn't look too much of a dishevelled mess. She got to the massive oak door just as Jenny was closing it behind her. She waited for Jenny to take her coat off and hang it on the metal hooks that were bolted to the wall next to it, and then, just as Jenny turned around, she said "Hi, Jen."
Jenny sighed as she heard Rogue's voice, running her hands through her long brown hair as she turned to face her partner. "Hi, Lou," she said – her voice small, meek. She looked at the tiled floor of the entrance hall for a moment or two, as if she was unsure of what to say next, and then opened her mouth to speak again. "I'm sorry I ran out on you like that," she began, quietly. "I just needed a little time to cool off, that's all. I know I said some really stupid, hurtful things, and I'm really sorry."
"I said some dumb stuff too, Jen," Rogue replied, honestly. "I ain't no saint here, either. I am so, so sorry if I hurt you." She walked forwards and took Jenny's hand in her own. "I really thought you weren't gonna come back tonight. I'm glad you did."
"I'm glad I did, too," Jenny said, the ghost of a smile fluttering across her lips. "It was cold out there without you, Lou."
Rogue raised an eyebrow. "God, that is the corniest line I've ever heard – an' remember who I dated before I dated you. You are such a square." Nevertheless, she stepped forwards, clasping Jenny to her and resting her head on her girlfriend's shoulder. "Don't you ever do this to me again, you hear me?"
"Not planning on it any time soon," Jenny replied, her tone sounding a lot more cheerful than it had done a few moments beforehand. Then, she reached into the bag she'd been carrying since she'd got in through the door and said "Oh… I have something for you – call it an apology, I guess. Close your eyes and hold out your hands."
"This ain't gonna be somethin' nasty, is it?" Rogue asked, with a relieved smile.
"Nope, nothing nasty," Jenny insisted. "Close your eyes, and I'll show you." Rogue did as she'd been asked, and felt something small and artificially furry settle into her hand. "Okay, Lou, you can open your eyes now," she heard Jenny say. When she did so, she saw a small teddy bear in her palm, which was holding a large red love-heart. On the heart's silken surface was embroidered the simple message I'm Sorry.
"Oh my," Rogue said, a little taken aback. "Where did you find this at this time of night?"
"There are a few stores open right now, you know," Jenny replied. "I just did a little searching until I found the right one. So… do you like it?"
"Like I said before, Jen… you are such a square," Rogue laughed. "I love it." She took a deep breath and advanced a couple of paces, cautiously. "Can I get a hug, here? I'm dyin' for a hug."
"Sure – sure," Jenny said, sounding as relieved as Rogue felt. She stepped forward and slipped her slender arms around Rogue's waist, and Rogue returned the gesture gratefully, pressing Jenny close to her. "Will this do?" Jenny asked, running her long fingers through Rogue's skunk-striped brown hair with gentle, soft strokes.
"Absolutely," Rogue breathed softly, before she closed her eyes, reached forward a little, and kissed Jenny, in a soft, almost apologetic meeting of mouths. She could feel herself melting against the other woman, her knees almost going to jelly, so she broke the kiss and simply held Jenny close for a moment or two, feeling grateful to have her physically there for her to touch. "Thanks, Jen," she whispered. "It's good to have you home."
"Good to be home," Jenny replied, stroking Rogue's cheek gently with a couple of fingertips, and sending little jumping arcs of electricity hopping across the other woman's skin. "So you want to get out of this hallway, or what?"
"Oh yeah," Rogue agreed. "I think that's a great idea…"
Just as she and Jen were leaving the hallway, though, Rogue saw, out of the corner of her eye, a figure standing in the doorway. It was Remy, and he was obviously on his way out for his date. He nodded to her as she caught his eye, and she nodded back, giving him a subtle thumbs-up as she did so. He acknowledged it with a typically charming smile, and then he was gone.
Thanks, sugar, Rogue thought gratefully. I owe you one…