Disclaimer: I am not Stan Lee. Therefore, the XME characters within this fic are not mine.
Rogue had never been to the art museum in New York before. It was an impressive sight, even in the dim light of the stars and crescent moon. A chill breeze tore through the air, but she barely felt it through all the layers of black she wore.
Glancing around to make sure she was alone, Rogue dashed across the lawn, coming to a gray box that jutted from the wall. A small padlock held it closed, but a straightened paperclip soon solved that problem. The lid of the box swung open on its hinges, revealing a keypad that controlled the Museums security. Rogue typed in the code, and was rewarded by green letters flashing "ACCESS GRANTED" on the screen. She needed no second urging. Within seconds she had climbed the stairs leading to the entrance, and slowly opened the door. She slid inside, not bothering to turn on a light. Instead, she pulled out a flashlight from her pocket and flicked it on.
Her footsteps reverberated through the building as she made her way from room to room. Beautiful paintings lined the walls, while sculptures took up the floor space. After fifteen minutes of maneuvering through the statues, she found the one she wanted. It was only about three feet tall, but it rested on a pedestal that raised it to Rogue's eye-level. Carved of smooth, black marble, it was a creature that resembled a man, but was most decidedly not human. The creature stood with his feet spread wide in a battle-stance, brandishing a club with one hand. It was clad in a Greek-style toga and sandals. If one were to look at the creature's limbs, or at his clothes, they would think him a human- until they saw his face. The creature had only one eye, for it was Polyphemus, the famed Cyclops whom Odysseus blinded in The Odyssey.
Its single eye was made of a ruby that flashed and sparkled in the light of Rogue's flashlight. Even to a casual observer this was an extraordinary gem, but closer examination proved that it was more than merely a ruby. Within the stone were tiny flecks of black, almost impossible to notice if you weren't looking for them.
Reaching into her pocket, Rogue produced a small switchblade, which she used to pry free the stone. She then pulled a small, velvet bag out of another pocket. She pulled it open, revealing an exact replica of the ruby, sans the black specs. She put the copy into the eye socket of the monster, and dropped the original into her bag, which she returned to her pocket. Then she took a moment to observe her handiwork.
The replacement ruby was as real as the one Rogue now possessed, and it shone just as brilliantly. Rogue doubted that anyone other than the sculptor himself could tell the difference. Rogue turned lightly on her heel and exited the way she had come in, taking care to enable the security system when she left.
A half-hour later found Rogue climbing the tree outside her bedroom window. She clamored to a branch that was more-or-less even with the balcony. Slowly, carefully, Rogue stood up. She shuffled sideways along the branch, trying not to look down. She wasn't usually afraid of heights, but teetering two stories above ground on a tree branch that's barely as wide as your palm while trying to sneak back into a house occupied by two telepaths after stealing a ruby worth an amount of money roughly equal to the contents of Fort Knox will make anyone a bit nervous.
Rogue crouched down on the end of the branch, steadied herself with one hand, and lunged for the balcony. Her right hand shot out, grabbing the railing. She then used her momentum to swing over the balcony, landing expertly. She silently pushed open the double doors leading inside, and entered her room.
Thankfully Kitty was sound asleep. Rogue hid the velvet bag inside an ornately carved wooden box, which Kitty believed to be a jewelry box. The held a picture of a winged dragon that somehow managed to look both beautiful and deadly.just like its owner. Once the ruby was hidden, Rogue changed into her pajamas, collapsed onto the bed, and was instantly asleep.