New Author's Notes: I've decided to revise this story, just a little bit. The changes aren't big, nothing that requires a second reading of previous chapters. It's just that a few inconsistencies and grammatical errors were bugging me.

Okay, hi all. Not that I'm not working diligently on the next chapter of TFC, but I wrote this in my spare time. I got stranded at school for a bit (why, WHY can't I drive. Stupid automatic driving test fails) and happened to have a pen and paper. It is another Rogue runs away fic, but different, I swear. Well, relatively different. Anywho, I play around with the character's pasts a little to suit my needs, and make no apologies because, well, I did it on purpose.

Before I forget, Rogue and Remy and their little pally pals are MARVELous creations, a pre-existing inkwell of fantastic, brilliant people, into which I simply dip my feathery pen. I wouldn't sue, because, frankly, you'd only end up with fifty cents, a giant, heavy Zoology book, and about ten disks of half-started fanfiction.

Read on.

We've Met Before
By Eileen Blazer
April 2003

But the world is full of zanies and fools
Who don't believe in sensible rules
And won't believe what sensible people say.
And because these daft and dewey-eyed dopes

keep building up impossible hopes,
Impossible things are happening every day.

They'd heard rumors that Magneto had gone out and assembled a new team. Apparently the old one, which included his children, weren't competent enough. The X-men had yet to see the Acolytes, but they didn't worry much. They'd defeated Magneto before. They could do it again.

One of the X-Men in particular gave it little to no thought. Rogue had more important concerns than the Master of Magnetism's lackeys. Although… she might've considered things differently if she had known about one of them in particular –the Cajun Mercenary.


The Past…

Mississippi never had much to offer its strange rogue child. Born and raised within its limits, she ever looked to maps and postcards, dreaming away the Southern slur of speech, the close minds of neighbors, and ambitionless, spiteful school teachers, imagining herself a Dorothy, walking down a road of golden opportunity in New York, Paris, or even Venice.

She didn't belong in Caldecott, there was too wide a gap between her and the others, a distance that might've looked as small as a preference of clothes, but felt as wide and stretched as the old River itself. They expected her to calm with age, to relinquish the purple lipstick and love of Poe in favor of fake smiles and parties with her superficially engaged peers. But they had mistaken her soul for a passing fad, and she couldn't stand it.

Walking the streets, her head held high, she'd see a greyhound bus zooming through town, bearing its passengers to nicer, better places. The desire would catch in her throat, suspending breath, filling her feet with the urge to chase after it. Only the memory of her current family would cement her to the gravel, hold her in place long enough for the bus to escape.

But the lust remained. Oh, how she wanted to sink into the waters of a real, honest ocean, taste the salty liquid on her lips. Uncover every secret of every corner of every block in some mysterious city.

On the day she turned 13, determined to please herself for once, fearing she might grow too old and lose her will and identity of the gray, dull town, the Rogue of Caldecott purchased a bus ticket that would carry her far from home. A nervous energy filled her at once, as she stuffed it into her backpack and went on home. But inside the safety of her room, she pulled it out again and kissed it. Twenty-four hours and she would be free.

That evening, over dinner, Irene presented her with a keepsake locket and two hundred dollars. When she spoke, there was a twinge of sadness, and the weight of sorrow in her movements, as though she'd known that the child before her was leaving.

The girl had regrets when Irene clutched her closely and kissed her cheek goodnight. She fell asleep trying to find a truce within herself, a way to satisfy both her own needs, and her little world's as well. But her best efforts were in vain, and the next day, she sat in the back of the bus, a wide-brimmed hat masking her youthful age.

Her peace came as she realized, in looking out the window at the blurry shapes and colors, that Caldecott was still standing still...but she was moving on.


Dear Irene,
I'm sure by now you've realized that I'm gone. I'm very sorry,
but I had to get away. I felt like I was suffocating or something.
Please try to not worry too much. I'll write when I can. More info
later, since I don't like to write a lot of personal information
when just anyone can turn this over and read it. All the best,
You're Rogue Child


Stop number one was in Jacksonville, a town so similar to her own she wondered if the whole world was really one giant Southern state, and every brochure and web site she'd seen a lie. She sighed in mild despair.

The bus depot was crowded. A man with two missing teeth crouched on the floor and, holding his cap upside down, begged for money. The girl dropped him a dollar and smiled, secretly fearing that she would end up like him, with no family to take her in, no future to look forward to.

She'd just adjusted the strap of her backpack, when someone bumped into her rather roughly, knocking the pack off her left arm. The person kept going without so much as an apology, becoming just a vanishing form with blonde hair and a brown trench coat.

The girl cursed the rudeness of strangers, glaring at the woman until she saw a sparkling bracelet on the floor, left behind. A spiteful voice whispered for her to keep it; it would've served Ms. Rude right. But then she groaned, picked up the jewelry, and ran after the lady. Damn ethics.

"Miss" She was a fast runner. She caught up with her soon.

"Miss! Ah think ya" Her words broke off as she found the lady -actually a girl, her age or so- in a heated conversation with someone else. She hesitated, not wanting to interrupt.

"Dis be all yo' fault. If you'd have jus' killed him, we'd be sippin' wine right now by da fire. 'Stead, we gotta track da fool across da whole damn Sunbelt." The blonde removed the coat and tossed it at her male companion. "An' I hate dat coat, Remy, I swear da second we get back I'm burnin' it."

The male caught her wrist and moved his hand across it soothingly. "Chere, I tol' you there's no honor in m' killin'. An' 'sides, da time alone be nice, non" She seemed to calm down, until the man continued. "An' what you got against my coat, Bella"

Ms. Rude, Bella, jerked back, offering a shriek of frustration. "It smells like perfume." She spat.

"So"

"So it ain't no perfume I ever wore." She crossed her arms and shook her head. "I'm goin' t' buy our next ticket, I t'ink he's headin' f' Alabama next. I know its hard f' you t' resist da femmes, but try an' not get caught up wit' some fille while I'm gone. I'm sick o' washin' de lipstick off yo' collar." With that, she marched off. The man, Remy, dropped his head into his hands.

Rogue bit her lip and jingled the bracelet in her palm, debating her next move. The Remy guy did seem a bit more approachable than Bella. Maybe she could give it to him, and he could return it the blonde girl?

She neared him cautiously, first rapping on his shoulder, and then jumping as far back before he lifted his head as the laws of physics would allow. He ran a slow hand through his long, tousled hair before sighing and opening his eyes. But when he finally got around to it, it was a sight to behold.

His eyes were black. Not black pupils, or dark brown that reflected black in poor lighting, or black contact lens, but honest- to- goodness black. There was no white in his eyes at all. From a distance, it must have seemed as though they were just empty sockets, but she was close enough to see that flickers of red would appear, like a ring a fire.

"Wow." She whispered, wondering how such a look was accomplished. Then the Remy guy chuckled. She blushed, ashamed at her behavior. "Ah'm sorry. Ah didn't mean nothin' bad 'bout ya, Ah just ain't neva' seen anyone with eyes like that. How did ya...how did ya do that"

"Dat be a question for da Almighty, Chere, o' at least a good scientist."

She nodded numbly. "Oh, 'course. Ah'm sorry again, Ah tend ta think aloud, an' Ah can't stop m'self from askin' stupid questions."

He smiled again, and this time she was able to register the white row of perfect teeth and five o' clock shadow on his lean chin. "Don' be ashamed o' dat. T'ink o' all da people who hold it all inside, an' it festers in 'em like rotten leftovers in de frig. C'mon, sit down." He scooted over and patted the bench where he was sitting. "What's yo' name, Chere"

"Um...that's a secret" she answered"Ah'm not too keen on gettin' tracked by anyone, ya see." She filled the space beside him and smelled, faintly, a cologne and cigarette mixture. She liked it.

"A nameless runaway, she is." He motioned, as though he were going to put his arm around her, and she froze, and then he came away, having taken the postcard from her pocket.

"Hey, how'd ya get that" She said. It had been stuffed in her back pocket. But she didn't even feel him take it.

"It be a secret." He answered in a teasing voice, while his eyes skimmed her writing. "So yo' just a Rogue, Chere? Wanderin' from town t' town" Remy gave her back the letter.

The girl, the self-titled Rogue, said yes. She fidgeted, moving her thumbs back around in her lap, then her feet. Why was she suddenly so nervous, just because she was speaking to a slightly older boy with flaming eyes in a Jacksonville bus depot, carrying his girlfriend's expensive bracelet?

The bracelet!

She quickly produced the precious item. " Ah almost forgot. Um, Ah think you're girlfriend dropped this when she passed me earlier. Ah wanted ta return it to her but she seemed...busy." She cast a glance down the way Bella had traveled.

As if sensing her real thoughts about the blonde, Remy laughed softly and accepted the bracelet. "Don' t'ink too bad o' her, she's right most o' da time. But I not be as bad she t'inks. Sure, there's da occasional fille in m' arms. But it don' mean nothin'."

"Oh" Rogue saw the boy and knew he probably didn't have any difficulty finding candidates for one-night stands. Was this the boy they always warned her about? She knew for sure that there was no one in Caldecott like him. "Hey, what does Chere mean anyway? Is that...French"

"Oui. And non. De language is French, but de Cajuns take it an' make it our own. "

"Cajun." Rogue repeated, thinking of her history books. "So you're like a Cody an' a Pierre smashed togetha'"

"Mais, I prefer t' t'ink o' myself as unique. But, Chere, you can t'ink o' me anyway y' wan'." He gave her a grin that let loose a thousand butterflies in her stomach.

"Ya neva' tol' meh what that means."

"It means 'dear'. An' belle means beautiful."

"Ya didn' call meh belle."

"Must've t'ougt it den."

It was daytime, but the lighting was relatively poor. She was thankful, for it hid –at least, to some degree- the blush that temporarily paint her face red. "Well, Ah guess Ah delivered the bracelet like Ah planned. Ah gotta go an' uh...uh..."

"Make plans t' run farther" He offered.

"Yeah, that sounds about it."

She stood up to leave, but he caught her arm, much like he'd stopped Bella a few minutes before. Chills didn't run down her spine, they pranced, taking their sweet time, playing havoc with her senses as his skin touched hers. "Don' go Chere, an' leave me all alone. I don' get t' talk t' nobody."

"Ya got Bella, don't ya? Ah mean, Ah hope ya can talk ta her. She is ya girlfriend."

His head dropped to the other side. "Fiancé" he sighed. "We be two months away from eternal bliss." Remy sounded as though bliss were a universe away, instead. Rogue pictured him and Bella at the altar together and found the image wasn't quite right. Was it because they were too young, or just not rightly matched?

But she smiled for him. "Congratulations. Ah hope ya have a lifetime o' happy memories and such." Was it bad that she didn't mean it?

Remy rolled his eyes. "We got enough time t' try an' make 'em. Bella t'inks marryin' young means we love each other mo', like Romeo an' Juliet. An' she t'inks de filles will stop talkin' t' me when dey see de ring."

"Is she wrong"

He looked away. "It ain't dat I don' love Bella. I tol' you I do. None o' de girls I kiss make me feel like she does. Like bein' tied down ain't such a bad t'ing. But there's a whole lot o' resentment in our families an' I just wan' mo' time to convince 'em we not just playin' house. Marryin' de day o' my sixteenth birthday not gonna make 'em happy."

"Have ya asked Bella ta wait" Somehow she didn't think the blonde would say yes.

"Non."

"Why not"

He hesitated to answer, then pulled her down so that she was eye to eye, only a foot between them. His red eyes were more intense now, pulling her in a hypnotist's spinning wheel. "I'm scared she'll leave me. Mebbe it ain't right for a homme t' feel dis way, but I want t' be in love, Chere. I just wish I was absolutely sure Bella was de one I want t' be in love wit', 'fore I give her everyt'ing I got."

They slipped into silence for a moment, before he laughed. "I must be tired. Spillin' my guts to de lil' fille who just wants t' return de bracelet I gave Bella."

"Don't worry about it. Ah like hearin' 'bout people most o' the time. The exception, o' course, is my gym coach, Mrs. Waters. The woman drones on an' on 'bout how she almost made the Olympics. Ah swear, if Ah have ta hear 'bout the broken leg that ruined her life one more time, Ah'm gonna go stark ravin' mad."

"Wanna go fo' a walk" He asked suddenly, stretching, showing off the muscles in his chest and arms.

"Ain't ya waitin' on someone"

He scrunched his nose. "She'll find me soon enough."

"Such the gentleman."

"Don' I know it." She linked his arm with hers and they walked off, not in the direction in which Bella had stalked, but towards the moving buses. There, she supposed, the throngs of people in line, waiting to board, would camouflage them.

"So you from Mississippi"

"Uh huh. Born an' raised."

"Really. Guess dat makes you a Southern Debutante, non"

"I've been told such."

"Yet you leavin'. No don' tell me why. I guess." He placed a hand to his forehead, and another on hers. "They don' like y' back home. They not understand you."

Rogue rolled her eyes and pushed him away. "Come off it. Ah've seen the Wizard o' Oz more times than Ah can count."

He shrugged. "Fine, fine. But I can' be blamed f' entertain' us however I can, since you won' cooperate...I know. What's de worst t'ing you ever done"

"What"

Remy led her by the arm, further into the crowds. "Do y' know how t' steal Chere"

"Steal"

"Shh." He covered her mouth. "Nothin' serious. Jus' a few dollars from a rich lady's pocket o' somet'in'. Its fun."

"Yeah. Right up 'til they lock the cell door"

"Have t' be caught f' dat. An' I'm gonna teach how t' not get caught."

"Ah think Ah better get goin'." She tried to remove herself, but his grasp was too strong. He winked, reassuringly, and pointed to an upper class looking, middle-aged woman with crossed arms and narrowed eyes.

"See dat type. They carry everyt'in in da purse. Pockets ain't fashionable. Now, when we get close, y' have t' move fast. I seen dose purses a lot, da latch go forward, den all de way back again. Stick yo' hand in, but keep it as close to you as y' can. Take da wallet and move away."

"No thanks." They neared her.

"A few dollars not gonna break da bank."

"Let me go."

Remy sighed. "Someday, y' gonna master dis trick." So he brought her closer and twirled her instead, catching the attention of everyone. He skillfully pranced her around the lady, away from watchful, bemused eyes, into some more secluded corner. She laughed, despite herself, enjoying the twists and turns of their impromptu dance, liking his artful steps and the way he led her.

"See, dat was fun, non" He said when they were alone enough.

Rogue answered"well yeah. But that' 'cause Ah didn't see nobody bein' victimized."

"Mebbe y' weren't lookin' hard." He reached into his own pocket and pulled out an embroidered woman's coin purse, smiling like the Cheshire cat.

Rogue was shocked. "How...when..." He couldn't possibly have swiped it while everyone's eyes were on them. He wouldn't have risked it. He didn't have time!

"Y' missed da lesson, t'day, but sometime in de future, I teach you some real secrets." And then he dropped the purse into the slot near them, the little tray that read: lost and found.

"Ah can't believe ya did that. Its impossible."

"Chere, Chere, Chere" he shook his head"Don' y' know not'in's impossible"

"But..."

"They for sittin' on and admirin', not makin' a valid point wit'."

She grinned. "Ah'll let ya think ya won this conversation."

He threw his hand over his heart. "How sweet. If only dey knew you in N'Awlins. You know, dat's de most beautiful place, sometimes. Perfect fo' someone like you. If you go out at night, y' can hear de crickets chirpin', an' de stars in de sky, and dere's always music in de background, 'cause everybody knows dat good musicians are nocturnal."

"Aw look at you, soundin' like a lil' boy missin' his swamp." She played, but adored the affection in his voice. It added a whole new layer to his thickly accented talk.

"I do miss de Bayou, Chere. M' Tante Mattie's cookin' is de best. Mais, 'cept for mine." His voice was wistful and light.

"So if ya wanna head on home, why don' ya"

"I got...ties. Loose ends. Bella's got a job t' finish fo' we retire."

"Ah, back ta Bella."

"Never endin' story, non"

"If you love her so much, you should stop worryin. An' if ya can't, ya should pack on up and say farewell, 'fore ya both make a bigger mistake."

"But how to decide, dat's what troubles me. What's y' suggestions, doctor"

Rogue chewed on her thumbnail. "Hmmm. Let's review the situation. Ya make out with girls ya find attractive ta see if there's a connection. But there neva' is. Even so, ya keep askin' what if."

"Oui."

"Well, Mr. Remy" she used a fake psychologist voice" all Ah can advise is that ya the next time ya fancy a gal, kiss her, and make ya choice based on that. Either Bella's worth it, or she ain't. Its a gambit"

"I like those."

"-but isn't everythin'"

"Dat's a good idea."

"'Course it is. Didn't I think it up"

"Da next girl." He repeated.

"Yup."

"Hey, Roguey"

"Yeah, Mr. Remy"

"What if da next fille, she be standin' in front of me right now."

She froze, caught completely off guard. "Ah..Ah...Ah...um..."

Remy pressed a finger to her lips, shushing her, and pushed her gently into the wall, then replaced his hand with his own lips. He caught her surprise and chuckled, holding to her waist, all the while placing a series of brief kisses on her mouth. And just when Rogue thought she could handle the dizziness of her head, and the wobliness of her knees, and the pounding of her heart, beating as though it were about to burst out of her chest, he kissed her harder and held her to him.

She felt the outline of his mouth, and then nearly jumped as his tongue begged for entrance. Lost in a tidal wave of emotions, she gave him what he wanted, knew she would have given him anything he wanted, because the world had turned to a giant kaleidoscope, spinning and twirling and she'd grown wings, and she wanted to fly to heaven but found herself already there.

Did the French do everything better? They had better breakfasts, better wine, better tourist stops, and if the Cajun personally escorting her to the edge of the universe was any indication, better American posterity. And, oh, their kisses were absolute euphoria.

Remy finally broke away, and it felt like someone was ripping off half her soul. She cried out and reached for him.
"Shh. Roguey, we have...to stop." He was frowning deeply now, as breathless as she, staring at her lips like a starving man peering into a restaurant window, all the longing and aching apparent on his features. He dropped his head to her shoulder, exhaling loudly, then muttered something that sounded like 'screw it' and kissed her again.

This time around she made certain to kiss him back as best she could, and it was her arms keeping the air from seeping between them. Were two people supposed to fit so well together? They kissed every way they could in following moments, long and slow and sweet, fast and fierce and powerful, and all ways it was beautiful.

And then at last, the volcanic eruption of passion dissipated and they gasped for air, remembering their situation and their reality. Rogue saw their reflection in a nearby window, realized she was completely wrapped around the Cajun her arms on his neck; her legs, at his waist. Even with just his back visible, they made a good-looking couple. With great reluctance, she relinquished her hold on him, slid down until she was looking up to him again.

"Merde, Roguey, you were s'pposed t' settle de doubts 'bout Bella."

"Ah thought Ah did" she responded, before she could stop herself.

He cocked his head to the side and nodded. "Guess so." He was deeply troubled, she could tell, but there was a quiet thrill in her body, like an aftershock, that she could have affected him so. He paused. "You know dat I have t' go back t' her, Chere, 'least right now."

She nodded, like she knew it all along, but it hit her like a speeding semi. "'Course. An' Ah gotta get the hell outta Mississippi. No strings on mah back."

He nodded too. "She's prob'ly waitin' right now."

"Ya oughta go ta her."

"Oui."

There was a call over the loud speaker, announcing that Rogue's bus would be departing soon, and any passengers should report immediately. She heard it, and smiled at Remy one last time. She gave him a wave and ran away, before she could change her mind.

"See ya around some time."

In the end, even Dorothy decided to split her time between Kansas and the magical Oz. Rogue, keeping the nickname, went on to see several states alone. She traveled quickly, and the postcard received many revisions. But when Irene read the final version, there were tears in her eyes and joy in her heart, because it had been hand-delivered by Rogue herself. Mississippi was still gray and dull, and no more her place than it had ever been. But she learned happiness in the love of family, and Irene would take her away often.

She studied French constantly, drowning herself in information, memorizing Bayou history, and always dreaming of Remy the Cajun. Soon enough, the language flowed from her lips like a native speaker.

Eventually, she dated, things got serious between her and Cody. She wanted to know if all kisses burned like Remy's, if they touched the bottom of her soul. She wanted to know if theirs had been truly special, or if Remy had returned to Bella because she'd hadn't made a difference to him. But the answer would never come, because the very first time she tried to kiss Cody, her powers manifested and placed him in a coma.

Nearly three complete years after she'd met him, she joined the Brotherhood, under the guidance of Mystique, who taught her all about mutants. It was then she realized that Remy must have been a mutant himself, his eyes an ever present sign. She wondered what his powers were.

She dreamed of him, sometimes it would hit her unexpectedly, the taste of his kiss, like melted chocolate swirling in her mouth. Other nights she would pray for the memory to surface, and she'd lie there, reliving it slowly, as though she were watching a movie.

She didn't think she'd ever see him again.


Remy. Gambit, they said his name was, smiled at her, and for an instant she saw a flicker of the stranger she'd made out with against the wall of some Jacksonville bus stop.

He was older now, even leaner, taller, and most disturbingly, his eyes were brown. Brown like the bottom of the dirty river. His hair was shorter, and lacking the messy appeal he'd had that day. But it was he, she was certain.

Was he happily married? She didn't see Bella working for Magneto, but she couldn't be sure. Was there a ring on his hand? Did he even remember her?

Rogue watched as one of his cards exploded, and sighed. Whatever their past, they were enemies now, and she couldn't let a moment years gone by affect her ability to fight with her team. For the present, she have to think of him no differently than the giant tin can and walking match.

But the future? Days before, chances of meeting him again had been slim to none. Yet here she was. So maybe it was unlikely that she'd bring him over to her side, but hey...

Nothing's impossible.


Fin

And here we are, at the end of the story. As I think I mentioned, I just kind of pulled it together while waiting for my ride, so forgive the bad spots and bad plots. I must add, this fic was more for myself than usually. I'm sorry, but that's why I didn't pay too much attention to little details. It was just a fun diversion that I decided to share with you all.

Because it is a one shot, I can't thank any reviewers in the next chapter. So, letting my ego loose for a second to assume that at least one person will be kind enough to review, I offer my eternal gratitude. However, if you'd like a more personal response, you could always go and review the latest chapter of my current story, The Freedom Caper, and I can respond to that when I post my next chapter (which will be sometime late Sunday, early Monday morning) hint, hint

Questions? Comments? Coconuts? You know where to find me!

Remember"Only love can conquer hate"