Author's Note: Written because X-Treme #31 and #32 just ain't cuttin' it. For me, that is. Enjoy.
Waking up still catches me off guard. I'm not sure what it is…still not being accustomed to wearing so little or the body radiating heat next to mine. But damn! After the initial shock wears off, the warm feeling that's been in my chest since we've patched things together takes over and I'm overcome. With what I don't know, but it's nice, whatever it is. And right now, in the morning light, everything's perfect. From the way the sunlight peaks through the curtains to the slow rise and fall of his chest, my world is in perfect harmony.
His voice is raspy and barely audible. It's so goddamn adorable.
"Mornin'," I whisper, snuggling in closer, snaking my arms around his middle.
"Sapriste!" His shriek causes my heart to go into overdrive and I'm up in a flash. Oh God, Oh God, this ain't happenin'! I can't breathe for what seems like minutes and my thoughts temporarily freeze but then I realise he's sitting up too and looking kind of concerned. "Rogue?"
"I thought that…" Good Lord, I can't even force the words out of my mouth, it's that dry. My heart's still beating a mile a minute. "Oh God…"
"Chere." This is his biggest pet peeve, me worrying about everything around us crashing down in one ungraceful heap. He took my hands into his and rubbed them gently and looked at me with the utmost sincerity. "You have got de coldest hands this side of the Mississippi. Nex' time you go on surpisin' me 'fore I'm awake, gimme some warnin', d'accord? It's kind o' like bein' stunned."
I let myself smile a little bit and he leans in for a quick peck beside my mouth. "They're used ta gloves," I hear myself explaining as he shifts away. "Old habits die hard, I guess."
"Dere are worse fates, I s'pose." He's sitting on the edge of our bed (our bed!) naked, stretching before he got up. Naked. Life was so good. "Cold hands be better dan no hands at all."
"Yeah." Took a few moments for his words to sink in. Then I saw the bag on the floor and the clothes laid out neatly on the chair next to his dresser. It all fell into focus after that. "Oh."
He leaned back and let his head rest in my lap. "You forget already? I only been tellin' you for what, two weeks?"
"Ah didn't think it'd be so soon." Our lives in this little house in California seemed like light years away from the X-Men and every other damned responsibility that came along with the powers. Then again, thieving was more of a profession than lifestyle… "Ah thought ya were lookin' for a career change."
He grimaced and stood up. "Been thievin' since before I can 'member, Rogue. Not somethin' dat's gonna just fly away. 'Sides, it's a favor to a old friend."
"One who won't even tell ya where it is?" I challenged as he walked to the bathroom. I got up and followed, not wanting to let the discussion drop. "Can't ya just tell me what it's about?"
He was starting the shower, waiting for the water to get warm. "Can y' just trust me when I say it's better f' y' not t' know?" Half of his speech was garbled as he rubbed his face to wake himself and stepped into our little shower.
Two could play this game. I stripped out of my nightie and walked in after him.
He looked mildly annoyed. "Dere's hardly enough room for one in here, chere."
"How long are ya gonna be gone, swamp rat? Someone's gotta scrub your back and Ah'm in no mood to lend the loofah ta Storm."
"Lend de loofah?" His laugh was reward enough as he turned his back to me and I began to rub gentle circles on his back. One feature popped out and I slowed down to take a look at it. Traced it with the very tip of my finger. Kind of whitish, raised, and nearly identical to the two I have. A scar.
"Loofah lendin' ain't the point, Rem." Couldn't remember the last time I did this much whispering. Always did it when something was at stake, when I was afraid of loosing. "Seems like we just got started an' now…"
"For de love o' God, I'm comin' back!" He turned around and hoisted me into his arms. Too familiar of a position. My legs were wrapped around his torso, arms clinging to his neck, head against his shoulder. Our scars matched up like they did when we were impaled. I felt less like Rogue or Anna or whoever the hell was left in my head and more like a part of a whole, part of him.
The shower kept on pelting us but it felt good. Kept me from crying, at least. "It be a little too soon for my likin', trut' be told," he admitted, squeezing his arms a little tighter around me. What in hell was with the whispering? As if there were more than two of us here! Proof that we spent too many years at the mansion. This house was way overdue. Dammit, I wanted to live again! "Jus' trust me, will you? I be fine; Stormy's not gonna sacrifice me to win over de president…"
"Who?!" There we go, normal decibel levels restored.
"Whoops!" Inches away from my eyes appeared his trademark grin. "Said too much. Listen to me: don't worry. S'il vous plaît?" His eyes were pleading and a little playful.
French coming from his mouth is my weakness and he knows it. "Make me breakfast and I won't even pout."
"Deal. Pancakes an' bacon fine?" I nodded and he put me down and turned the shower off. "Gotta get goin'. Taxi's comin' at nine and at dis rate, I'm gonna miss my flight." He winked at me and retreated back into the bedroom, purposely exposing his bottom to me and drying his hair. Show-off, I thought. Not that I minded much.
I pulled on some clothes and went into the kitchen to start making coffee, trying not to think about him leaving. "Sugah, why can't Ah take ya to the airport? It's only an hour drive." He came in, combing his hair and smoking a cigarette. Were it not for the cig, I probably wouldn't have recognized him. "Remy? Since when do ya steal from the Gap?"
He looked down at his choice of clothing. Khakis. Yellow polo shirt. Loafers. My God, loafers. Where did I go wrong? Just yesterday he was wearing jeans, sandals, and no shirt. "Well, oui, it be kind of diff'rent dan what I usually wear…"
"A disguise, ma chere." He leaned in for a good-natured kiss. "Ah…now dat's a way to start my mornin'. Well, dat an' coffee, which I see you started."
"You're changin' the subject, swamp rat," I said warningly.
He took a deep sigh and got a frying pan out for bacon. I was awfully surprised I hadn't gained twenty pounds since he took over my kitchen. "Please, amour. Trust me. I don' wanna get you in trouble in case somethin' goes wrong. De less you know, de better. Understand?" He caught my eye and the room was silent for a bit.
"Dat's my girl." He pulled me close and we swayed to the sound of sizzling meat for a little bit. I didn't feel like pulling away, but before I knew it he was warming a griddle for pancakes. Apparently his empathy wasn't totally gone because he turned around and grinned at me. "Don' give me dat look. A few more seconds like dat and I woulda been late for sure."
Despite myself, I laughed. "An' whose fault is that?"
"Now, now," he scolded. "Don' go pointin' fingers. Had enough of dat last night." Another wink. "Oh, and about de airport t'ing…I didn' want you missin' work. One of us gotta bring home de paycheck and fool de government about de household income."
Decoded, this meant he didn't want me knowing where he was going. Too bad for him Mystique had taught me early on that a little sneaking never did anyone any harm. The president comment cleared up why he was headed for Houston, at any rate.
"Ain't you just sweetness this morning," I cooed, half sarcastic. He shot back a little grin and flipped a pancake. "So what am Ah gonna tell the neighbours? 'Oh, Remy's out infiltratin' top secret government programs an'…"
"Since I don't even know what I'm doin' out dere, tell 'em it's family business. Dey all t'ink I'm in the security industry anyway."
"Ya mean ta tell me ya don't know what you're doin'?" Found this a little hard to swallow as Remy's not one for blind missions.
He shrugged. "All Stormy said was 'bring your picks' an' 'It's casual dress. T'ink Scott.' "
"Ah think ya hit the nail on the head."
"Shut up. Dere's no breathin' room in dese pants. My poor lil' swimmers are gonna suffocate."
Near choked on my cup of coffee when that comment came out. "Ah thought we agreed…"
"We did, we did. We play first, den we settle. Some. I don't t'ink we could make it in de 'burbs."
"That is, if things go…"
"Rogue." His voice was firm, his eyes flashing. "We get out on de top, I promise you. Don' go an' jinx us 'fore we got a chance. Y' hear?"
"Yes suh." I glanced at the clock; 8:45. "Anything else for the great or good?"
He sat down and began inhaling his pancakes. "Oui. Last night after you fell asleep, I t'ought of some rules."
This wouldn't have bothered me so much if he didn't look so much like Scott at the moment. He actually pulled a list out of his pocket.
"Remy, you sure you're okay?"
He ignored me and continued. "Number one of Rogue's T'ings To Remember: You. Can. Not. Fly. So no more jumping off de deck."
I blushed, remembering a slightly embarrassing incident involving me and a hummingbird. Ah, well, Remy had patched my scrapes up rather lovingly and it earned me pity sex.
"Number two," he carried on. "You're not invulnerable anymore, so it'd be wise to learn how to use de brakes on your skates. Cars are not made for stopping gals goin' down hills. Dey also made pot holders for a reason in case you t'ink you're up to makin' mac and cheese again. Also in dis category is the fact dat you no longer can lift insane amounts o' weight. Just a friendly reminder dat I won' be hear to act as your personal masseuse."
"You're leavin' that list here, right?"
A car horn beeping got our attention. "Fils de putain." He got and up went into our room, got his bag, and met me at the front door. "Well, how do I look?"
"Like a prig."
"Splendid. How about British?" The accent change caught me and I wrapped my arms around him. He followed suit and rocked me for a minute.
"Just come home in one piece, 'k? An' please don' call from the goddamn jail."
"Please don' worry. Got it?" He kissed me and let his fingers trail through my hair for a little bit. "Oh, an' one more t'ing. No kissin' strange folks. Don' want you getting' cooties 'fore Gambit gets home."
"What 'bout good friends? Ya know how they like ta pop in at the strangest times."
He laughed and swung me around. "I would kill to see de look on Bishop's face if you pounced him. Talk about warm welcomes!"
"Ya should know. You've been on the receiving end for some time now." I glanced at the cabbie patiently waiting outside. "Ya gotta go."
"I know." We kissed one last time. For that day, anyway. "J'taime, ma amour."
"Ah love ya, too, Rem."
"Say good-bye to Anna for me, will you?" he teased. "I'm gonna get her a souvenir from de Lone Star State."
"Which Ah I know nothin' about."
"True." He pressed a kiss to my forehead and walked out the door. I lingered there for a moment, watching him get in the car and drive towards L.A. He waved and blew me a kiss, which I caught. That wasn't the only thing, as my throat constricted and I felt tears come to my eyes.
Get a hold on yourself. My mind was so clear lately; after the whole invasion thing, there had been one person hanging on in my brain. Called herself Anna. Problem was, I couldn't remember if that was me. from all those years ago. She seemed to fit, though. He's coming back. Always does.
Still feeling sorry for myself, I wallowed back into the room and collapsed on the bed. Wasn't supposed to be to work until ten, which left an hour for me to feel sorry for myself. It was a beautiful day, if that wasn't enough to contrast how I felt. Birds chirping, blue sky…
"Ow!" Since my powers were gone, I had become such a little wimp to the tiniest of hurts, especially paper cuts. How had a piece of paper found itself on the bed?
My heart started fluttering. A letter from You-Know-Who. In his elegant penmanship, remnants of a few sparse years at a Catholic primary school, my lover-man had written a cryptic message to me:
What little girls are made of; I promise you that.
The tears found their way back to my eyes, but they were happy this time.
I took a deep breath and went back to the kitchen and turned on the radio because I still wasn't used to the silence. He'd left me the dishes to do, purposely. It was kind of an unwritten agreement we had. He cooked, I washed.
As I was putting away the flour from his pancakes, I noticed two other things in the cupboard. Sugar. Allspice.
And as silly as it sounds, it made me feel better.