Hiya! So… I've got this collection of short stories ideas I'd like to clear out before the New Year, and I figured I'd get this one out of the way. Also, I'm a wee bit concerned I might've lost all ability to write an interesting Romy Fic. This is sort of a testing the waters thing for me so… please review? Keep in mind; it's a one shot, and kind of short on narrative and plot.

Eight Hours

By Eileen Blazer

December 2004

"Listen here, baby girl, shut up and stop with the fighting or I'll hit you so hard you'll be crying out of those pretty…" The man paused and leaned over to look Rogue in the face. "What colors are your eyes, honey? Green? Gray? Somewhere in between, huh? Whatever. They'll be red like Mars if you don't quit struggling."

He tightened the chains binding her hands to her body and gave her a nudge towards the large warehouse in front of them. She nearly fell, but righted herself at the last moment. There wasn't any chance she'd give him, the nameless, ugly-faced kidnapper, the satisfaction of seeing her so helpless. Standing, she didn't cut an intimidating figure, not with her hands bound and her mouth gagged with some dirty rag the creep had picked up off the floor, but at least she had some semblance of self-respect. And that was a measure of power, however tiny.

All around them, things were dark. It was late, but the actual hour was a mystery. She'd slipped out of the mansion at midnight, intent on enjoying a few moments of calm, quiet privacy. The scar-faced thug must've picked her up no more than fifteen minutes into her supposed serenity, but the drive afterwards had been undiscernibly long. It didn't matter much, though, whether it had been two hours or three. Either way, it was still too early for anyone at the mansion to realize she was missing.

After so many training sessions with Logan and Scott, it annoyed Rogue to no end that a thug on a dark street had found a way to kidnap her. She'd been walking along, minding her own business when he'd jumped down from a fire escape with a net and a gun, effectively trapping her before she even knew she was under attack. And now… now he was taking her somewhere and there wasn't much she could do except struggle and plan the man's gruesome murder.

"You know, you're damn lucky. This week, they're offering a pretty price for you freaks to be caged but breathing. Two weeks ago, I was raking in the cash for turning in corpses." The man laughed rakishly and pressed the nozzle of his gun into her back. "Come on, Baby. Keep the legs in motion. Much as I'm enjoying this, I get paid per head and can't spend all my time with you."

She could fight back. She had the movement of her legs. Her power. Appalling as the thought was, it would only take the slightest touch to share his mind and watch his body fall helplessly to the floor. But the gun was awfully big, and if he were getting money to keep her alive, she felt more confident than not that he'd only use the thing if she tried to escape. At the moment, she thought, she could afford to bide her time.

They entered the warehouse. It was mostly empty, except for some scattered wooden crates and a few shiny cars. He pulled back a piece of the floor. Once it was removed a set of stairs was revealed. "You don't mind joining me in the dark, do you?" He asked, leering. The smile on his face made her want to gag, but he just laughed off her glare. "This is too much fun."

Something rang. He looked down at his pocket and sighed, before pulling out a cell phone. "Mickey here. Uh huh. She's right here. What about you? He can't be that hard to contain. All right, fine. I'll be over right now. Yes, now. Now means as soon as I damn well get the chance."

Mickey clicked the phone off and tucked it into his pocket, rolling his eyes all the while. He turned back to Rogue. "Looks like I'm in a bigger hurry than I thought. There's no time for ceremony. The boat's coming for you in eight hours, and Baby, I'll see you then. Try not to kill the devil in there with you, huh?"

Rogue had only a second to wonder what he meant by 'the devil', because he raised the gun and knocked her on the side of the head. A white-hot pain lanced through her, and she felt herself start to fall. And then… nothing.

Hour One…

A single match lit the darkness. She watched the tiny fire through bleary eyes, moving a hand to feel the bump on her head. Oh God, it ached. The match found a cigarette; the cigarette found a mouth. Whose mouth? Rogue pulled herself up and leaned her back against the wall. The devil, she reminded herself. Whoever that was.

He didn't leave her wondering long, though. He inhaled the smoke of his cancer stick and opened his eyes. "Allo, Cheri. Awake already? It hasn't been more n' five minutes since Mr. Intrigue shoved y' down da stairs an' bid us adieu for da night."

"Gambit." She groaned. That was all she needed, an acolyte to join the fun. She wondered if he was in league with the kidnapper, but then recalled that he'd planned on turning in mutants for cash. Apparently, Gambit was just another fish he'd hooked in the night.

"Y' speak like it's a bad t'ing, bein' stuck in here wit' me. I'll have y' know dere are a million girls who'd kill t' take yo' place. Not dat I'd let 'em, understand. You may be less n' enthusiastic 'bout spendin' quality time wit' me, but frankly, yo' a vast improvement over da morons I been keepin' pace wit' lately."

"Ah feel so special." She glanced around their shared space. "Is there any way ta get out o' here?"

"If dere was, y' t'ink I'd be sittin' around, chattin'?"

"Ah don't know," Rogue sighed. "Ya always struck me as bein' kind o' strange."

"Sure y' don't mean sexy, charmin', and debonair?" He wondered, stepping closer to her side. She didn't know what he wanted, until he removed his coat and dropped down, sliding the thick material into a round ball and placing it between the wall and her like a pillow. "Here," he said quietly.

Rogue wasn't sure what to think of his unexpected kindness. As had become her habit, however bad, she decided to ignore it. "Ah mean strange," she stated firmly.

"Too bad. I was hopin' we'd have a mutual admiration f' one another dat could help us pass da time." There was something about his words that made them sound dirty but… fun. No one joked like that at the mansion, especially not with her. Rogue flushed.

"Ah'm gonna see if Ah can find a way out." She declared.

"Y' not gon' find one. Trust me, our best chance f' escape is when da man comes callin'."

"There has ta be somethin'." Rogue insisted, defiantly. That Cajun thought he knew so much…

Meanwhile…

"I don't think she's going to be very happy with us." Katherine Pryde whispered, as she tried to hold Kurt back from his adoptive sister's door. Her efforts were in vain. The boy in her grasp evaporated into blue smoke, only to reappear almost instantaneously with his hand on the doorknob.

"She'll laugh later on." He assured his female companion. "It'll become another fond memory, I promise." Again he vanished, leaving her with a nose full of sulfur. She rolled her eyes and then phased through Rogue's door.

"So long as it's your head rolling and not mine," she mumbled, somehow sensing that it wouldn't matter whether or not Kurt claimed responsibility; they'd both share the blame for playing another midnight prank after Xavier had expressly forbidden such action. When she got inside, however, Kurt was standing next to an open window and peering out.

"You did it already?" Kitty asked.

"No." He said, softly. "She wasn't in here."

"What? Where is she?"

He shrugged. "I don't know."

Hour Two…

"There ain't no way out o' here." Rogue sighed, collapsing down onto the floor next to Remy. She drew her knees up and rested her chin on them. "This sucks. No one's ever going ta let me out o' the house unsupervised again. Ah can hear it already: won't someone please go with Rogue? You know how she is. Like Ah'm a baby who might choke on a Barbie shoe the minute someone looks away."

Remy laughed. "'Least somebody cares 'bout you. I don't show up at da next meetin', Magneto'll go out an' hire a replacement an' make like I never existed. Maximoff and Allerdyce will love dat."

Maximoff she was familiar with but… "Allerdyce?"

"Boy wit' da flames."

"Ah," she acknowledged. "The pyro."

"Oui."

A thought dawned in her head and she looked at the boy beside her. He was good-looking, with sparkling red eyes and a mop of auburn hair. "Do ya speak fluent French?"

"Usually."

"Me, too." She confessed. "But Ah haven't met anyone else who could f' years. M' tongue is a bit rusty."

"I could help y' loosen it up." Remy teased.

"Don't ya ever stop?"

"Not so long as I'm breathin'."

"Keep it up an' Ah'll take care o' that."

He laughed again. "I'd kind o' like t' see you try, Chere."

Rogue paused. The way he said it, she didn't know if he doubted her ability or was just genuinely interested in seeing her try. After all, time was passing slowly. Any amusement would've seemed good. She wondered if the ceiling was high enough for sparring practice. Finally, she just said, "Ah wish Ah knew what time it is."

He untied a watch from around his wrist and handed it to her. "Yo' wish is my command, fair belle o' the cellar."

"Ya ain't gonna miss it?"

Gambit pulled up his sleeve and revealed another watch resting further back on his arm. He grinned. "I don't like t' be caught off guard an' unprepared." He explained.

"An' I'm sure havin' two watches helped so much when our kidnapper was tryin' ta catch ya, right?" Rogue scoffed.

"I've been tired." Remy said in way of an explanation. "What else can I say? I got sloppy."

"Guess we both did, huh."

"Yeah, but you I can understand. I knew if I had t' train everyday wit' so many hot girls, I wouldn't a' learned t' tie my shoe, let alone defend m' self against a heavily armed attacker."

"First off, ew. Ah don't really take notice o' the girl's like that. Secondly, Ah can defend myself perfectly fine, thank ya."

"Since we're on da subject," Remy said, turning to look at her, "When we get out o' dis, you an' da other girls wouldn't be interested in ditchin' Baldy and One Eye an' joinin' me for a bit o' fun in da sun, would y'?"

Somehow, him mentioning everyone made his lewd suggestions seem less like fun and more like… lewdness. She wrinkled her nose. "Ya know what, don't talk ta me."

"But…"

"Just shut it."

"Fine. Don't talk t' me either."

"Like Ah'd want ta."

"Y' just did."

"Ugh!"

Hour Three…

Silence.

Meanwhile…

"Its late! She should be home by now!" Kurt cried out.

"Shut up." Kitty answered in a hushed voice. "Someone's going to hear you if you don't be quiet."

"It won't matter anyway, since I'm going to ze professor. He has to know about zis."

"About what? How Rogue snuck out for a midnight privacy quest, or how you realized she was gone while trying to play a trick on her that you'd been instructed not to perform ever again?"

Kurt frowned and crossed his arms. "Sometimes we have to look beyond ourselves and consider ze greater good."

"I'm sure Rogue will agree with you after she's been grounded for being out past curfew, right?"

He slumped down and pouted. "Well, she should have to suffer a little after leaving us hanging here."

"Yeah, but can you really fault her for wanting a little privacy? I mean, don't we all want that?"

"I suppose." He sighed, resigned once again. "Hey, how did you know she's looking for privacy, anyway?"

Kitty Pryde shrugged and held out up little black book. "I read her diary."

Hour Four…

"Let's play a game, Chere." Remy suggested, breaking the vow of silence.

"What kind o' game?"

"Truth o' dare."

"Are we that immature?" She wondered, and she rolled her eyes to emphasize her disdain for the game.

"Y' got a better way t' pass da time?" Remy wondered. "'Cause I'm goin' stir crazy in dis place."

Rogue didn't say it aloud, but she was too. The closed off space had seemed fairly large when she'd first woken up, but as the seconds and minutes and hours passed, the room was slowly shrinking. The walls were inching nearer. The ceiling and floor was beginning to push closer together, as if the eventual goal was a smashed Remy and Rogue sandwich. And not the good kind.

With a loud, heavy sigh, she said, "Truth o' dare?"

"Dare." It figured he'd say that. What could she possibly dare him to do while they were trapped?

"Give me all your cards for th' next five minutes." She said after a pause. He'd been playing with them nonstop for nearly half an hour. Shuffle this way. Shuffle that way. Shuffle, shuffle, shuffle, shuffle, shuffle. If she couldn't make him leap through fiery hoops, at least she could say something that would make him mildly uncomfortable.

Remy looked down at his hands and frowned. "M' cards?"

"Yes."

"M' babies?"

"Every last one."

"Even m' queen?" He seemed oddly shocked at the idea of losing her, like Rogue had asked he turn over a limb.

"Her especially." Rogue said.

With a pout, Remy gathered his decks –he had three of them, apparently- and slid them over to her side. "Don't bend 'em. Truth o' dare?"

"Dare."

"Give me yo' shirt for da next five minutes."

Rogue glared. "Ah'm not givin' ya my shirt, ya pervert."

"Why not? I gave y' m' cards, didn't I?"

"It's not the same thing! Look, it ain't about modesty. Ah can't control my power, which is relayed through my skin, understand? Havin' m' clothes gives me a sense o' control an' comfort." She didn't anticipate that he'd care one way or the other, but she gave it a shot and Remy did seem to be giving her words a bit of thought. In the end, though, he just shrugged.

"I got news f' y', Chere. M' cards give me a strong sense o' comfort, too."

Her stare hardened. "Fine." She pulled her shirt over her head roughly and tossed it at the Cajun. "Happy now?"

He examined the soft material. "Kinda, yeah."

"So truth o' dare?"

"Let's go wit' truth."

"What's yo' favorite cereal?"

"Cereal?" He laughed at the unexpectedness of the question. "Umm, frosted flakes. Truth o' dare?"

"Truth."

"Do y' really have a crush on Scott Summers?"

Rogue blanched. She hadn't told anyone but Risty about that… how had he known? Rogue made like she was cold to cover the way she shifted uncomfortably from the question. "Do Ah have a crush on Scott? 'Course not."

Remy didn't believe her. "Y' gon' play, y' gon' play right, Chere. I asked a question, I deserve an honest answer."

"Honestly…" She slumped a little. "Honestly, Ah don't know. Ah thought Ah did for a long time, but lately Ah've been wonderin' if it ain't just a shame, ya know? Ah've absorbed Jean a handful o' times, her psyche's roamin' around in my mind. How am Ah supposed ta know if my crush on Scott is mine o' hers?"

"Wow," Remy sighed. "Dat kind o' sucks."

"Tell me about it."

Meanwhile…

"You're not hacking into something again, are you Kitty?" Kurt leaned over her shoulder to take look at the screen of her laptop. "Last time you did zat, the FBI showed up and we lost all Internet access for a week. I have a paper that's due next Wednesday and if you-"

"Ugh, I'm like, talking, okay?"

"Talking?"

"Yes."

"To who?"

"The Easter Bunny, does it matter?"

"It would matter if you're talking to Rogue."

"Well, I'm not."

"You're not."

"No."

Kurt nodded and leaned away. He was silent for a moment, and then… "Are you sure? Because if she asked you to keep it a secret from me, well, I can't do very much about it but…"

"But it doesn't matter, because I'm not talking to her at all. If you must know, it's a man I met on the Internet a few weeks ago. He's kind of old, and English or something, but he's a great conversationalist. I feel like he really understands me."

"Who is he?"

"Pure wisdom."

"Zat's it? You can't even give me a screen name?"

"No, that is his screen name. Pure Wisdom. He says it's an oxymoron. I don't get it."

Kurt rolled his eyes and looked back at the window. Where had Rogue gone?

Hour Five…

Rogue was wearing his jacket. He stolen and kept her shirt, but never once had he mentioned that she couldn't cover up with anything else. His brown trench coat had been sitting there, all alone, when she decided to make use of it. Now, she was covered and warm, but a new problem had arisen: she was beginning to smell like him.

It wasn't exactly a bad smell. In fact, if she was honest, it wasn't a bad smell at all. It was kind of nice, like stepping into a card house, it reminded her of adventure and excitement and possibility. For a moment, she found herself snuggling in it, and now it was scenting her hair and skin, too. She was going to have to purposely wash it off in the shower, and that meant she was going to have to think of Remy, and truthfully, she was already more attracted to him –physically, at least- than she wanted to be. Entertaining thoughts of him in that situation wasn't going to help her any.

For his part, Remy LeBeau didn't seem to notice her predicament. He was lying on his back, toying with the buttons of his own shirt. She already knew an awful lot about him, due to their little game. He liked playing chess, eating popcorn with chocolate frosting drizzled over it, glasses that hid eyes and maintained his air of mystery, and watching scary movies with a girl. He was from New Orleans, just outside the French Quarter, and could pick a pocket as naturally as normal people could walk down the street. It was strange… this was the first time she'd ever thought about the enemy as a real life person. During her time with the Brotherhood, she hadn't given anything much thought. And as an X-Man, Rogue just assumed all of the bad guys were slightly psychotic slobs with a low intellect. Remy didn't fit that mold; that was for sure.

"Roguey," he called out.

"Roguey?"

"It's a nickname. A term o' endearment."

"Ah'm dear?"

"Oh, very." He said. Then, "Will y' kiss me?"

She wasn't drinking anything, but she felt like she should've been, just so that she could spit it out. "Kiss ya? Ain't that bein' a little forward, Mr. LeBeau?"

"A lil' forward? Roguey, we been stuck in here f'," He glanced at his watch. "Over four hours an' I'm only askin' now. I hardly call dat bein' forward."

"How so?"

"Well, I wanted t' ask since y' first dropped by, but I been holdin' in it all dis time. Let it never be said dat Remy LeBeau ain't a gentleman."

Rogue shook her head. "Ya know what would happen if ya touched me at all, don't ya? Ah'd drain away y' power an' y' consciousness 'fore ya could have a second thought."

"I know. I just wanted t' know what it was like. How come it scares people so much?"

"Uh, 'cause if Ah hold on too long, someone could die?"

"An'?"

"The answer's no, Gumbo."

Remy sat up and looked her in the eye. "Gumbo?"

She shrugged. "It's an endearment."

Meanwhile…

"Professor, we've been waiting for hours now, and frankly, we're a little concerned that she still hasn't come back yet. The sun is already on the horizon. If that's not cause for alarm, I don't know what is."

"Its not cause for alarm." Xavier sighed. "Why don't you two have a seat? An explanation is in order, I believe."

"An explanation?"

"I know that Rogue's been out tonight. It's become common practice for her. At first, Logan would follow her; just to make sure she was safe. But she never went anywhere that seemed to place her in any kind of danger, so we allowed it."

"But Sir, are you sure…"

Xavier smiled pleasantly, serenely, despite the fact that he'd been woken in the middle of the night by two teens who should've been comfortably in bed. "Why not take a brief nap. If Rogue doesn't return within an hour, I'll check Cerebro and make sure she's doing all right."

Hour Six

"Let's play a game," Remy suggested.

Rogue sighed. "Ah think we've been down this road before."

"Non. A different kind o' game. A contest," he quickly revised. "If you win, I'll give y' back y' shirt. If I win, I get a kiss."

"Ah don't know."

He rested his head on her shoulder. "Come on. It'll be fun."

"What'll the contest consist of?"

"T'ree different obstacles. One, we see who can stand on their head da longest. Two, we see who can uh, do da most sit-ups in a given amount o' time. T'ree, we have a thumb war."

"Remy, what if ya don't wake up in time an' the man comes back?" Rogue pointed out.

"Tell him I'm dead an' use m' powers t' escape."

She sighed. "All right, fine. We'll do the contest. But you'll be sorry 'cause Ah plan on winnin'."

Remy grinned at her. "Chere, I t'ink y' underestimate da t'ings a homme will do t' keep a girl undressed."

Meanwhile…

Xavier sighed as he moved his wheelchair towards Cerebro. He'd hoped that Kurt and Kitty would've gone to bed after his talk with them, but no. They were vigilant as ever. That was good, he supposed. Nice qualities for the children to have.

Well, it was better than them doing drugs, at any rate. He connected to the system and ran a brief search for Rogue. Then…a frown marred his face. She wasn't in any of the regular places. He sipped his coffee and contemplated that. Some day for her to venture out.

Hour Seven…

Somehow, fate had been cruel. Unjust. Or at the very least, in cohorts with Remy LeBeau, because she was sitting across from him, face flushed from standing on her head for so damn long, wearing his coat but not her own shirt, getting ready to kiss him. That was not like her at all. She was the private one. She was the quite one. The one who complained and such, but didn't really get into trouble once she'd crossed over to the good guy team. Remy was bringing out the strangest qualities in her.

She almost liked it.

He was grinning at her like an idiot. An attractive idiot, who'd left the top two buttons of his shirt undone, tousled his hair during the contest, and had a way of licking his lips that put inappropriate thoughts in her head. Then, maybe inappropriate was the wrong word. Maybe now was the best time, when she could go back later and claim insanity due to the pressures of the situation.

"Well," she exclaimed.

"Well indeed."

"We ain't got much time."

"But we have enough."

"Remy, are ya sure? After this, all your little secrets are going ta be hard ta keep. If there's anythin' Magneto's told ya that ya don't want the X-Men findin' out about…"

"I'll take m' chances," Remy answered.

Rogue shook her head. "You're a fool, Remy LeBeau."

"That's about t' get kissed by an attractive female, non? If dis is what it means t' be stupid, bring out da dunce cap now. I'll gladly wear it anywhere."

"All right… here we go…" Rogue shut her eyes and leaned forward. She meant for the kiss to be a brief peck, and she'd laugh at him after the fact. But the moment their lips touched, his hands snaked around and pulled her closer, made the kiss deeper. She felt her face burn. At least he was a good kisser. Not that Rogue had an overwhelming amount of people to compare him to, but he was making her fingertips tingle and her heart skip and she thought that was a fairly good indication that he was above average in the department of kissing. It was going to be a downright disappointing shame when her powers kicked in and he tipped over like a dead tree in the wind.

It was around there that Rogue realized that she wasn't absorbing him. Not even a little. She shoved the Cajun boy away. "Hey!" She cried. "What the hell is goin' on? How come ya aren't livin' in my mind now?"

"Y' sure 'bout dat?" Remy teased. She fought away a blush.

"Ah mean, how come Ah haven't absorbed ya yet?"

"I thought y' didn't want t'."

"Ah didn't, but it's not like Ah can help the matter none."

"Maybe y' can." He pointed out.

"Remy." Her voice carried a warning.

"All right," he laughed. "M' powers provide a thin force field sometimes. It's keepin' us from really touchin'."

"Didn't feel like it." Rogue said.

"Mais, dat's da beauty o' it, non? Now we know it works, we can make out all we want 'til our time is up."

"Ah'm not gonna make out with ya!" Rogue cried, indignant.

Meanwhile…

Xavier finally got a lock on her power. It was very faint. He wasn't sure why. "Logan," he called out, waiting for the computer to pick up and relay his message over the intercom.

Moments later, he heard, "Yeah, Chuck?"

"I wonder if you wouldn't mind checking on Rogue. She's out again, but I suspect something is different this time."

"I'm already gone." Came the swift reply.

The Final Hour…

Rogue pulled away from Remy, a bit breathless. "Ah think you're a bad influence on me, Sugah."

"Now it's Sugah?" Remy wondered.

"Ah'm experimentin'. Gumbo didn't feel right. Sugah's probably a little too saccharine." The both laughed, and then leaned in again to share a kiss. Rogue pulled back at the last second. "Ya ain't gonna tell nobody 'bout this?"

"What? Dat sullen Rogue Darkholme spent an hour wrapped up in m' arms while we waited t' see if we'd be sold up da river, Chere?"

"Well… yeah. They just wouldn't understand."

"Hey what about dat hairy lil' man wit' da big sharp claws? How would he take it if he, uh, say found ya wearin' m' jacket an' no shirt, kissin' me in a dark cellar?"

"Logan?" Rogue whispered. "Why would ya bring up him for?"

"He just cut through da floor wit' his claws an' is watchin' us, is all."

"What?!" Rogue turned around and saw Wolverine staring at them, murder in his eyes. "Oh, crap."

"I'd say bite dat tongue, but I already did an' it's kind o' not helpin'."

"Umm…" Rogue winced and prayed for a miracle. Any little kind of miracle…

"Hey! What the freaking hell are you doing here?" Mickey's voice boomed across the little cellar. Wolverine glanced at him.

"Who are you?" He asked in a cold tone.

"He's the guy that locked us down here and made us do this for his own sick amusement!" Rogue cried, ribbing Remy until he nodded in agreement.

"I t'ink he's castin' a porno movie o' somet'in'." The two older men faced off, momentarily forgetting the teenagers.

Rogue looked at Remy. "Let's get out o' here while we still can."

"Want t' go find a car an' make out some more?"

"You're incorrigible, Remy." She frowned at him. "But let's go."

Finis

And it's done. It's all a bit light and whatnot, but that's how it was intended, so… review! Please? Pretty please with a Remy on top? Come on…just press that little button and say a few words, like Eileen, you suck. Or: Eileen, I'm going to go read your new Christmas fic right now! Or: Eileen, I know where you live and if you ever post again I'll string your innards across the interstate highway.

Questions? Comments? Coconuts? You know where to find me! Or if not, you know, I'm Eileenblzr at Yahoo.