CHAPTER 12

Scrubs and Subtlety

"Ah need you ta steal a set o' nurse's scrubs fo' me."

Remy was sure he had heard her wrong. "Wan' run dat by me again, chère?"

Rogue didn't bother repeating herself; she knew he'd heard her. They were standing off to one side of a corridor, and she was trying to make sure they weren't overheard by any passing hospital staff.

Lowering her voice, she continued, "They'll only let in one person at a time ta see 'Ro, an' Logan's not gon' leave her side any time soon. So Ah need a way ta sneak in." She straightened and placed her hands on her hips. "C'mon, Cajun… Yoah always tellin' us what a great thief you are. This'll be peanuts fo' you."

He softened his tone. "Chèrie, I know ya stressed 'bout dat scare we had a couple hours ago, but doin' what ya t'inkin' o' doin' might not be de best road t' go down right 'bout now." He tucked his hand under her chin and gently tilted her face up towards him. "I know ya t'ink it'll help – "

"What, you an' Logan jus' wanna wait an' let somethin' happen?" she snapped, moving away from his touch. "Is that th' kind o' solution yoah thinkin' of?"

She was nearing her breaking point, Remy could tell. Her eyes were shooting emerald daggers his way, but he could see the panic swimming beneath.

It was time to try a different approach. "Anna Marie…" He could think of only two times before that he'd used her given name. Since the age of two, her father and Logan had been calling her Rogue, because of all the mischief she'd get herself into. Her mother was the only one who would call her Anna Marie. Remy hoped that it would somehow make her see reason.

Instead, the emerald daggers seemed to transform into full-length swords cutting into him. So much f'r dat idea… he thought. Holding up his hands in defeat, he asked, "You ain't gon' let dis go, are you, chère?"

"What do you think?" The sharp arch of her raised eyebrow was all the answer he needed.

He leaned forward and kissed her temple, softly whispering, "I'll take care o' it, belle. Go get yaself somet'in' t' eat."

She looked at him, questioning, before nodding and turning to walk away.

Remy watched her go. In essence, what she was asking of him wasn't difficult at all. It wasn't even a blimp on his radar. What concerned him was what she was going to do afterwards. This wasn't a case of stealing a pair of scrubs just for the heck of it. The idea of Rogue in any danger would never sit well with him. But at the same time, he knew that if he didn't do this for her, she would simply find another way to do it.

Damned if I do, an' damned if I don't… he thought, as he made his way to the floor's supply closet.

- oOo -

There was a sixteen-year age gap between Logan and Rogue. There were many times when he felt more like a second father to her rather than a brother, especially after their parents died. She had barely begun her teen years when the accident happened, and Logan was in the thick of his cage-fighting career. They both needed to adjust to a new family dynamic, where being brother and sister sometimes bled into being parent and child.

This was not one of those times.

Rogue was done with being told 'no.' Sometimes she needed to take matters into her own hands. Her brother had taught her that.

She quietly closed the door to the ICU room Ororo was in. Logan didn't move from the chair at the bedside. He didn't even turn toward her, but Rogue knew he had caught her scent as soon as the door opened.

"Was kind of hopin' I was the only one that got the old man's stubborn streak," he told her, as he held Ororo's hand in his own. "Guess that was too much to ask for."

She came up behind him and put a hand on his shoulder. "Daddy used ta say it was like watchin' two bulls fight, whenever we used ta butt heads. Neither o' us wanted ta give in." She softened her voice. "Ta be honest, Ah never wanted ta back down 'cause Ah didn' want you ta think Ah wasn't tough enough."

"Tough enough fer what?"

"Ta be yoah sister."

He scoffed slightly. "Darlin', yer the toughest kid I know. Even at four years old, you were mouthin' off an' doin' whatever the hell you wanted."

"'Cause Ah knew if Ah ever got inta trouble, Daddy an' you would have mah back." Her eyes moved over to Ororo. "Ah got yoah back too, Logan. Yoahs an' 'Ro's. Y'all are mah family."

Logan nodded. Expressing his emotions wasn't normal for him. It was actually a very rare thing for him to do. Anyone truly close to him - like Ororo or Rogue - knew how to read what he was thinking and feeling without a need to voice it into words. Rogue could feel Logan's fear and worry, even if he didn't directly say it.

"'Ro was pretty unexpected, you know," he said instead, lifting his eyes from Ororo's hand to her face. "We were jus' business partners with the bar. She's all the smarts an' the books an' the inventory." He smirked. "Then I'm all the other dirty stuff."

"Ah remember." Rogue leaned gently on the side of the hospital bed. "You two couldn't be more opposite. She's all classy an' regal an' elegant. An' yoah…" There wasn't really a polite way of describing her brother. "… well… you."

He chuckled at that. "Gee thanks, Stripes." Focusing back on Ororo's hand, he said in a low voice, "She means everythin' to me, kid."

"Ah know she does, Logan." Rogue knew that was as close to getting his permission as there would be.

She moved to the head of the bed, putting Ororo in front of her and Logan to her right. She slipped off her silver necklace and fit the pendant into the lock of her bracelet. With a soft click, she unlocked the power suppressor and placed both pieces on the bedside table.

Glancing at her brother, she smiled reassuringly. "Jeannie's been drilling me with psychic exercises, remember?" she said, referring to Scott's wife, Jean Grey. "What better teacher is there than an Omega-class telepath, right?"

Her confidence shook slightly when she still saw the fear in Logan's eyes. "I don' want ta lose either o' you, kid."

"Yoah not gonna," Rogue answered, reaching for his hand.

- oOo -

"How long has it been?" Bobby asked, pacing back and forth in the waiting area.

Gambit looked up from where he was stretched out across two seats. "'Bout fifteen minutes since you last asked me dat same question, mon ami. Ya gon' burn a hole t'rough de floor, at de rate ya goin'."

Bobby stopped his pacing and mumbled, "Sorry. I get edgy when I'm nervous." He continued his trek across the room. "How come you're so calm? Shouldn't you be more worried about her?"

If you only knew, homme… Remy thought, as he reshuffled the deck of playing cards in his hands for the thousandth time. Bobby had no idea how much effort Remy was putting into staying composed, when all he wanted to do was sneak into the ICU and make sure that both Rogue and Ororo were all right. Jus' concentrate on de cards, dat's all. Don' let ya mind wander where ya don' want it t' go.

"… I can't talk any sense into her. She still does the exact opposite of what you hope she'll do…" Bobby was rambling on.

Ain't dat de truth. Flipping a single card out of the deck, Remy rolled it back and forth over the knuckles of his right hand. He was forcing himself to focus on the movement so that he wouldn't focus on the risk that Rogue was taking. If he let the worry dwell in his mind, it would drive him insane.

Bobby stopped his own anxious pacing and dropped into the seat next to Gambit. He exhaled sharply and then turned to the other man. "So… you and Rogue, huh?"

A smirk appeared. "T'ought you knew all about us already?"

"Well yeah, but you know, the details are kind of sketchy."

"An' you t'ink dey're gon' get clearer comin' from me?" The cards stopped for a moment as Remy made a soft tsk-tsk sound while shaking his head. "We're friends an' all, homme, but I ain't de type t' kiss an' tell."

That comment caused Bobby to turn his head down the hall, toward Ororo's room, where his best friend had disappeared to. "Yeah, Rogue isn't either. Guess that's something you have in common." His gaze fell to the floor as something occurred to him. "You know, that girl's been saving my ass since the day I met her. My face would have been pounded into the pavement by some senior jock if she hadn't stepped in. And she's been bossing me around ever since."

Remy grinned. "Dat sounds like Rogue all right."

Bobby let the silence fall around them. Remy didn't seem inclined to share anything about his relationship with Rogue. Bobby should have figured as much. The Cajun had always been secretive and mysterious. He wondered if even Logan or Ororo knew much about Gambit's background.

"We shouldn't have let her go in there," he said, getting up to resume his pacing again. "We should've changed her mind somehow."

Remy raised an eyebrow at that. "How you t'ink we would've done dat 'sactly? Considerin' how stubborn dat girl is."

"I don't know." Bobby shrugged. "Tie her to a chair?"

Remy stood, pocketing the deck of cards. "Actually tried dat once. Didn' take."

"Do I even want to know?"

"Prob'ly not." It was Remy's turn to glance down the hall. He was losing the battle against the uneasiness in his gut. Rogue hadn't been gone that long, but not knowing if she was safe or not was unsettling him. "Gon' give her another ten minutes. Den we bust in."

"'Bust in'?" Bobby was surprised. "You mean into 'Ro's hospital room? I thought thieves were supposed to be subtle."

A wry grin pulled at the corners of Remy's mouth. "We can do subtle t'morrow."