Disclaimer: Must we go through this again? You know I don't own the X-Men! Do you have to keep rubbing it in my face?

A/N: Ishandahalfarianites unite! That's right, here you are, a brand spankin' new fic. And not just a little one-shot either! This is the real deal right here, people. I'm talking epic. Well, maybe. The point is, it's gonna be a long fic. It starts off kinda slow, but that's necessary… To establish "mood" and all that fun stuff. It gets better, I swear! Watching a certain movie inspired me – I really don't wanna give it away, cuz that might ruin the plot surprises… But on a completely unrelated topic, go see 'Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind'! Now that is a great movie.

Well anyhoo, this is gonna be one hell of a ride! So get comfortable, and off we go! Oh wait – did everybody go to the bathroom ahead of time? Cuz we're not stopping halfway through! Okay, good. Wait, does everybody have their seatbelts on? Alright. Now we're ready. Onward!

Loved and Lost, or Never At All?

Chapter 1 - Echoes

"Footfalls echo in the memory
Down the passage which we did not take
Towards the door we never opened
Into the rose-garden.
My words echo
Thus, in your mind."

- T.S. Eliot

Rogue's eyelids began to flutter as she slowly woke up. She tried to fight it, rolling over and burying her head into her pillow, determined to go back to sleep. It didn't work. She laid there with her eyes still closed, although her mind was now fully alert. She really didn't want to get up.

The ability to fall back to sleep now would have been a blessing for her. Despite going to bed early and sleeping in late, she was still exhausted. Rogue didn't quite understand it – it was as if instead of sleeping the entire night, her mind was buzzing around the whole time. It had been like this for weeks now, and it made her wonder. She supposed she couldn't complain – she didn't have nightmares anymore. But then again, she didn't think she had any dreams either.

She sighed. All this thinking wouldn't help. Taking a deep breath, she instead tried to unwind and clear her mind, but found she couldn't do that either. She could easily rid herself of any thoughts, envision a blank slate, but it was like there was still something there, buried deeper beneath it all. Maybe something small tugging at the back of her mind? It was… disconcerting.

With an aggravated grunt, Rogue gave up on that and opened her eyes. Blinking a few times to adjust to the bright light, she could see it was gorgeous outside – blue skies, fluffy white clouds, birds singing, a stereotypical summer's day. Wonderful.

She didn't feel like getting out of bed, beautiful day or not. She felt like cocooning herself up in her blankets and letting them envelop her. What was wrong with her? There had to be something… It was like she had absolutely no motivation to get out of bed anymore. Not that she had exactly been gung-ho before, but her mood was never this apathetic. Why now? Things were going well for her – no recent fights, no recent betrayals… She was happy now.


Questioning herself made Rogue worry even more. Why would she do that? Her life was going smoothly, for once. She had friends, family, hell, she even had a boyfriend! So, what was wrong? She couldn't pin it down. There was that feeling again… What was it? Unhappiness? No… Sadness? No…

'Dammit, what th' hell's wrong with meh?' she wondered. 'Is there somethin' wrong with meh?'

Shaking her head vigorously, she tried to forget it, push it away. Time to get up and face the day – but first, she needed to vent. Reaching under her bed, Rogue pulled out her journal. It had been a while since she had written in it, but she had been busy. Flipping through it, she came to the last page that had scribblings on it and looked at the date.

'Huh, over a year ago? Wow, guess Ah haven't written fo' longer than Ah thought.'

She looked at the few pages she had written in, and then at the multitude of blank ones following them. Wait… There it was, that feeling. That's what it was – emptiness.

'Why th' hell would Ah be feelin' empty? Mah life ain't empty…'

Rogue didn't understand it, but that was clearly what the feeling was. She was vacant. Bare. A void. But… Was she? Suddenly, she couldn't stand staring at the blank page any longer. Grabbing a pen, she began to doodle randomly, anything to fill up the paper. There, it wasn't empty anymore.

Slamming her journal shut, she tossed it back under her bed and stood up. There was that motivation now – time to prove to herself that she was wrong. She wasn't empty. That was just ridiculous.

She went to her closet and threw on a pair of black jeans and her purple long-sleeved shirt. Walking over to her mirror, she brushed her two-toned hair, and then began to apply her dark eye shadow and lipstick. Looking in the reflection, she could see her roommate stirring behind her.

"Mornin'," Rogue greeted.

"Hi Rogue," answered Kitty, stretching much like her namesake. She collapsed back on her bed for a few minutes, and then sat up. Noticing Rogue tying up her combat boots, she asked her, "Hey, are you going out?"

"Yeah, Ah'm off to th' café, remember?"

"Oh, right. For your date."

Rogue raised an eyebrow. "Yeah, and yo' point is?"

"Nothing," she yawned, and then bounced out of bed. "But you two, like, always go there!"

"So? Ah like it there!" Rogue snapped. Why did it seem like everybody had been questioning her relationship? It bothered her.

"Woah, no need to get all defensive."

Rogue exhaled slowly. Kitty was right, she needed to relax. "Sorry. Ah've just… Ah don't know, Ah guess it's been a strange mornin'."

"Isn't it always? But that's okay," smiled Kitty on her way into the girls' bathroom. "You, like, better go then. Your coffee always cheers you up. I'll see you later."

"Later," drawled Rogue as she walked out the door. She pulled her gloves on as she marched down the stairs, and firmly resolved not to think pitiful thoughts about that action like she usually did. She was so preoccupied with trying not to think that she walked right into Scott, who had just turned the corner at the bottom of the stairway.

"Oh, sorry Rogue!" he apologized. "Didn't see you there."

"Obviously," muttered Rogue. "Ah imagine yah wouldn't have walked into meh otherwise."

"Umm… So, where are you off to?" Scott asked, trying to establish friendly conversation and ease away the hostility that appeared to swirl around the girl.

"Ah'm going out fo' coffee," she answered him, and attempted to walk past him.

"Oh." His voice tensed up. "With him?"

"What, yah can't even say mah boyfriend's name? Yes, of course with him! Ah am dating him, after all!" she burst out. "And Ah'm really not in the mood to argue with yah this morning, got it? Ah know yah don't like him, but it don't matter what anybody else thinks, so Ah don't really care!"

Scott took a weary step back, trying not to provoke Rogue. She reminded him of a bull ready to charge a toreador – any sudden movements would surely spell his doom, so he went for peaceful, soothing words instead. "Calm down, Rogue. I'm sorry, I didn't mean to upset you, I was just wondering where you were going. I like to keep tabs on my team mates, I care about you."

Rogue snorted. "If yah care so much, then don't pry into mah personal life, yah got it?"

"We're just worried, that's all. He's the enemy, he's worked with Magneto, and he's fought us on more than one occasion - we don't want you to get hurt," he continued, only serving to upset Rogue even more.

"Fo' th' last time, he's not gonna hurt meh! Ah'm a big girl, Ah can make mah own choices, Summers."

"I realize that, it's just that- "

"Just nothin'! Ah know nobody trusts him, an' that y'all walk on eggshells when Ah talk about him, but this is important to meh, okay? Y'all didn't give Kitty so much shit when she was datin' Lance!"

"Yeah, but that was different, that- "

"No, it wasn't different! Just drop it, okay!" she shouted as she abruptly turned and stormed out the front door.

Scott watched her leave and groaned, running a hand through his hair in frustration. "Well, that went well."

"You should know better than to lecture her about her relationships, Scott," spoke up Jean as she came and stood behind him. "It never goes well."

"I know… It's just that the whole situation is so weird, isn't it?" he commented as he turned towards her. Although 'weird' seemed like a rather weak adjective…

"Definitely. But we can't do anything about it, it's up to Rogue to make her own decisions."

"As much as I hate to admit it, I think she made the wrong one."

Jean gave him a sad smile. "She'll have to figure that out on her own."

- X -

As Rogue stalked along, she tried to breathe in the fresh air to calm herself down. Thankfully, the long walk to the café gave her plenty of time for that.

'Argh, who th' hell does Scott think he is? He's got no say in who mah boyfriend is.'

The thought of him managed to brighten Rogue's mood slightly. She'd see him soon, he usually made her feel better.

Soon she approached their meeting place, Le Café Café. When she walked inside, she quickly scanned the place. It was small and cozy, with bookshelves, tables, chairs, and couches scattered around. It reminded her of the Professor's library in the mansion – the atmosphere was much of the same, with whispered conversations and people relaxing over a good book. That was a place where she could hide within the Institute, and this was a place where she could hide when she needed to get away from it all. There were a few customers around, but not the one she was looking for. It appeared she was early, so Rogue made her way over to the counter and ordered her customary latte.

When it was ready, she grasped it in her gloved hands and happily sighed – no matter how dismal of a mood she was in, coffee always managed to make her feel better. As pathetic as it was, it was one of the only things that shed a positive light on her mutant powers and her need to constantly wear gloves – through the material, the normally searing cup would emit a pleasant warmth, heating her up and managing to thaw out whatever bitterness she would currently be feeling. She figured that embracing the positive aspects of her curse couldn't hurt, and this was the only one she could find.

Breathing in the aroma of her drink, Rogue made her way to their usual table. It was in the back corner, away from the hustle and bustle of the other patrons, where there would always be some privacy. She sat down and closed her eyes, tentatively sipping the scalding latte, and waited for her boyfriend to show up.

'Knowin' him, he's prob'ly held up flirtin' with every gal that crosses his path,' she mentally scoffed.

She continued to sit and drink, her earlier confusion and conflict already ancient history. However, after a few minutes Rogue felt another odd sensation – only this time, she could pinpoint it easily. It was the feeling of being watched.

Opening her eyes, their green depths scanned the room. They stopped on a young man standing by the entrance, staring at her. Rogue's heart leapt into her throat as she looked him over.

A worn brown trench coat hung off his tall, lanky frame. His unruly auburn hair fell into his face, which was probably the most handsome she had ever seen – the few days of stubble coating it made his appearance look even more rugged and sexy. But his eyes… His eyes were what really captivated her. A shocking combination of red on black, they made Rogue's heart beat all the faster. How could he possibly have such an affect on her?

She looked at him curiously, and he gazed right back, with an unreadable expression on his face. There seemed to be an intense mixture of emotions bubbling inside of him, but for the life of her, Rogue couldn't decipher any of them – that is, until a look of annoyance crossed his face, caused by somebody roughly brushing past him, shoving him slightly. With that, Rogue's attention turned to that other person.

'Finally!' she thought.

She glared at the silver haired boy quickly weaving his way towards her. "Well, Pietro, nice of yah to show up."

"Sorry," he apologized, flashing her a cocky smile. "But you know I'm well worth the wait."

"Somehow I doubt that," Rogue shot back. It did him good to have his ego kept in check, which she did on a regular basis.

"I'll make it up to you," Pietro cajoled, as he grabbed her hand and planted a soft kiss on the back of it, staring at her with his icy blue eyes. "Come on."

He held her hand as he led her out of the café, moving towards the mysterious man who hadn't moved from his earlier spot. As Rogue passed by, she accidentally bumped into him.

"Oh, sorry..." she called out as she walked by, slightly turning to face the stranger. As she spun back around to follow her boyfriend, they both missed the bewildered and upset look on the man's face.

Ooh, now I bet you all thought that Rogue's boyfriend was Remy, didn't you? Yeah, admit it… Bwa ha ha. Don't worry, I didn't just go insane – I've been insane for quite a long time now. But don't fret – there will be Romy! I mean, this is me, after all.

Next chapter – we find out more about this Rogue/Pietro craziness! Don't worry, the Romy is on its way. We just need a pit stop in Dramaville first!

And before you go, a few public service announcements – first of all, a shameless plug! melancholic and I will be co-writing a fic together! It's still in the process of being developed, but look for it soon, under the pen name ishaholic. In the meantime, go read her stuff, it's great!

Secondly, I'm assuming you all are Romy lovers – why else would you be reading a Romy fic? So, I'm sending out a plea to help keep our favourite couple together! There are all these nasty rumours saying that they'll break up, and even cheat on each other (Gasp! Shock! Swoon!) in the new Rogue and Gambit comic series – we can't let that happen, people! So let's all do what we were born to do – complain! You can send emails to and and check out my author profile for a link you can go to for more info. Let's keep our favourite couple together, shall we?

Well, I think that's it. Thanks for sticking around for all my ranting! Review, pretty please – I need encouragement! I imagine I'll be getting plenty of "Pietro! What the hell are you thinking!" reviews - those should be amusing… Tune in soon for more fun.


- ish -