A/N: Hi! *waves* This is my first attempt at X-men movieverse, mostly I've done comicverse. I kind of took out all of X2 in this one--basically, Jean doesn't die and all that good stuff.

Chapter 1


You put in my hands a loaded gun

And then told me not to fire it

When you did the things you said were up to me

And then accused me of trying to fuck it up

But you've never been a waste of my time

It's never been a drag

So take a deep breath and count back from ten

And maybe you'll be alright
.

-Liz Phair


Hot. Cold. Hot. Cold. Rogue let out a little moan as she felt ice slide up and down her back, his hands brushing her skin just enough to give her a glimpse of his thoughts, which mirrored her own too well. She could feel the ice covering his lips melting as he moved over her breasts, up towards her shoulder blades and onto her neck, and he breathed onto a particularly sensitive spot on her jaw, freezing it and making her nerves tingle...

Marie D'Ancanto woke with a start, her back arched and mouth parted as if the dream were real. Realizing what she was doing, she quickly rolled over, hoping no one in the room had been awake to see her. Of course, there was no way she could get back to sleep now--she was way too wired. Sighing, Rogue swung her legs over the edge of her bunk bed and walked out.

It was at times like these she missed Logan. He could usually be counted on to be awake at this odd hour, brooding in the kitchen or slicing up Mystique holograms in the Danger Room, and he never seemed to mind her company. It was a good arrangement: she could use her crush on him to distract her from problems with Bobby, and he could switch his attention from thoughts of Jean to being her protective father figure. And if, by being with him when Jean wouldn't, she distracted him in more ways than one, so much the better.

But Logan had left, not for any important reason like finding his past, just because--although really, everyone knew it was because Jean had finally told him in no uncertain terms that she would stay faithful to Scott. And Marie had her doubts as to whether or not he would be coming back at all this time, now that his precious Jeannie was most definitely not interested.

Rogue hated thoughts like that, but really she couldn't help being bitter. When he'd come back the first time, she thought he'd come back for her, thought that he had just proved he really would take care of her like he'd promised. But he spent all his time chasing after Jean and bickering with Scott, barely even giving her a first or second glance, except when they both happened to be up at 3 in the morning, both pretending that nothing was bothering them. But he'd left so suddenly, no explanation, barely even a goodbye, and certainly no promise to come back. He'd hurt Rogue, more deeply than she cared to explore.

Rogue's musings led her to the kitchen, but as she grabbed a soda from the fridge, she paused, listening. Was that... it sounded like there were voices coming from the main hall. Rogue moved silently, a trick she'd learned from Logan, until she was in a good position to spy on the speakers.

I thought that this school was open to any and all who needed sanctuary, Scott, regardless of their attitude or their upbringing.

Logan was an exception, Storm--he was knee-deep in Magneto's plot, we had to involve him. But other than that, this place is a sanctuary for mutant children, not full-grown men, and especially not men who would most definitely be a liability.

How do you know?! You thought we didn't need Logan, and he's saved us all on numerous occasions.

Ororo please, calm down. Scott's not insulting Gambit, he just means that we can't afford to be taking in every adult mutant off the streets who needs our help-

-especially not hot-tempered, double-crossing thieves who work for our enemies half the time!

Everyone makes mistakes, Scott! I don't care what you say abut him, Remy Lebeau is one of my dearest friends, and this is my home--I have the right to let him stay a while in my home!

Ororo, it's more complicated than that-

Oh, bullshit Scott. What, are you afraid that letting another full-grown male' into the mansion would have the same effect on your marriage as the last one did?

Rogue gasped. No one had voiced the opinion that Logan was the cause of the recent fights between Jean and Scott yet, and now Ororo-!

Jean and Scott were both silent, glaring daggers at Ororo, who simply whirled around and stormed upstairs. Outside, Rogue could hear a clap of thunder.

***

Scott groaned and put his head in his hands. It was the morning after the fight with Storm, and the last place he wanted to be was in his office, doing expenses for the mansion. He and Jean had argued again after Ororo left, over the bold statement she had made before stomping off, and the only place Scott wanted to be was the Danger Room, blowing up holograms of Logan, and possibly Gambit.

A knock on the door interrupted his violent fantasies. Come in, he called, and Ororo stepped in. Scott, I... I wanted to apologize for my behavior last night. I lost my temper, I'm afraid, although that's no excuse for being needlessly rude.

Scott sighed, running his hands through his hair. We were all a little on-edge last night, I guess.

Yes, but my behavior was--uncalled for. And Scott, the last thing I said... I didn't mean it at all, it just came out in the heat of the moment--I have no place to be questioning your relationship with Jean.

No, you don't, he growled.

Ororo bristled at his harsh tone, but forced herself to remain calm. I also wanted to talk to you again about Gambit coming to stay here.

Scott said nothing.

... There's a boathouse down by the lake; if you don't want him staying in the mansion, I could set him up there.

The problem isn't him staying in the house, Storm, the problem is he's a wanted criminal.

He's a thief, Scott, not a murderer. Besides, you've never really questioned any of the kids about their past--or me, either, for that matter.

Scott jerked his head up, staring. 'Ro, you're not--you haven't-

My past is not what we're discussing right now. Scott, Remy is one of my dearest friends, and he's in an enormous amount of trouble right now. He needs me, and he needs a place to stay. I'll give him that whether you want me to or not, but I don't want him to come here hated by you and hiding from everyone else here.

Scott just scowled at his desk.

Please, Scott--he won't be any trouble out in the boathouse, he won't use up any money, he won't bother anyone, I'll make sure of it. If you can't find it in your heart to have compassion for him, then do it for me, as a friend!

Scott remained silent.

Ororo made a noise of frustration and stood to go, but Scott's voice stopped her. Logan won't be needing his old room; Gambit can stay there. And if he needs to, he can charge the cost of the flight to the mansion's credit card.

Ororo smiled. She knew her fearless leader would come around. Thank you, Scott. This means a lot to me.

Yeah, don't mention it, Scott grumbled. As soon as Ororo left, he headed straight for the Danger Room. He dearly needed to blow something up.

***

He hated New York already.

It was cold, it was raining, the people were unfriendly and the food sucked. The man known as Gambit scowled and pulled his trenchcoat tighter around him. One would assume that if you were meeting a weather goddess in a public place she would at least have the decency to ensure good weather.

Remy missed N'Awlins. It had only been a year since his banishment, and that wound still smarted. He had been bouncing around the country ever since, never staying in any one place longer than a few weeks, but he had avoided the East Coast at all cost. To a man born and raised in the steaming Louisiana swamps, the East Coast meant only one thing: Cold, mean people, cold, bad food, cold, uptight, and Cold. So far he'd been proven right on every account.

Remy checked his watch, and scanned the crowds in Central Park impatiently. He grinned when he saw her--she was pretty impossible to miss. Remy would know her only by her height and the regal way she walked, not to mention her shock of white hair and bubble of dry air that surrounded her. Long time, no see, Stormy.

You'd better be grateful for this, Mr. Lebeau. Do you know I almost flew into a jet engine in my hurry to pick you up?

***

Hey, Wo-ogue!

Rogue stopped walking to her next class, gritting her teeth. I swear, Jubilee, you call me that one more time and I'm going to throw you through a wall.

The hyper Chinese girl bounded up to walk with her friend. Ah, come on--I WUV you, Wogue!

Rogue moaned. Why didn't your mother drown you at birth, Jubes!

Because I'm too damn cute, duh.

Uh-huh. In what universe?

Augh! You, like, totally hurt my feelings! Uh-oh--puppy dog eyes. What's the matter, Rogue, don't you WUV me?

Rogue socked her friend in the arm, sending Jubilee skidding into the nearest wall. Hey! Why so violent? Are you, like, on the rag or something?

Rogue rolled her eyes. I refuse to dignify that with an answer.

Jubilee snickered. Poor Bobby, having such a moody girlfriend. So that's where all those bruises came from...

You're horrible!

Why thank you. She jogged to catch up with Rogue. Hey, have you seen the new guy that's staying in Logan's room?

Rogue whirled around, grabbing Jubilee's shirt.

Dude, cool down! Haven't you heard? There's this new mutant staying here, and he's taken Logan's old room. Jubilee grabbed her heart and doubled over dramatically. And he is, like, the biggest babe on the planet!

Rogue ignored that last comment--Jubilee said that about any male who wasn't actively disfigured. Who cares? Why is he staying in Logan's room?

Jubilee shrugged. I dunno. We're running short on space, with all the new students, y'know? It was probably one of the only adult rooms left, and besides, Logan's not gonna need it anymore, right?

Rogue stopped, biting her lip, and felt a thread of pain make its way through her stomach. Dammit, why did he always get to her like this? Because Jubilee was right, though she didn't really know it--Logan wouldn't need it, because he was never coming back. Not for her.

Whoever this stranger was taking Logan's room, Rogue hated him already.