The Most Wonderful Time...

Merry Christmas, Rogue

(somewhat of a sequel to Rogue's Potatoes, though unintentionally. r/r please -- Merry Christmas!!)

Rogue smiled as she stepped outside, the cold Christmas wind sweeping across her bare face. Snow fell solemnly all around her from the dark sky above… she could only think of how lucky she was.

Her life was full of change – something that usually came along with being an X-Man, but change had been more than prominent in her life lately.

She was finally with Remy LeBeau, her fellow X-Man known as Gambit. They had spent a wonderful time together being able to touch… something so many took for granted. That was gone now; sacrificed for the greater good, like most things are.

But she had a man who loved her – and she loved him back. She had a roof over her head – having finally returned home… home to the Xavier Institute.

Things were different, sure; but when weren't they? Cyclops was Headmaster now, along with Emma Frost. The school had been rebuilt a… sixth time, but it looked wonderful.

The halls are full of children – learning and developing their powers. Not always to become an X-Man, but to learn tolerance; respect; pride… to better their generation in ways Rogue would have only been so lucky to encounter as a teenager.

Being a mutant wasn't exactly the highlight of her teen years.

Still, without her gift – or curse, depending on her mood – she'd have never seen or done half of the things she'd been able to do. She'd been to parallel dimensions, leapt across galaxies, saved the world countless times… she'd even met Brad Pitt.

More importantly, though, she never would have met the only family she'd ever really had.

That was the story for most X-Men… a price that comes with being a mutant for many… but it was always important to realize it.

The stars seemed to smile down at her as her thoughts danced through the years… Christmas was such a special time. She'd gone to the shelter a few nights ago; a little place in the city she tried to visit every year.

The shelter now fell in District X… she'd run into Bishop, who ended up staying with her and distributing food. Rogue couldn't help but smirk at the new memory – Bishop, complete with hair net (for what hair?) and apron, giving Earl a second helping of mashed potatoes from an ice cream scooper. "Merry Christmas."

Rogue's thoughts drifted… and she found herself atop a skyscraper in New York City. "Merry Christmas, Rogue," a soft voice called to her… the man known as Joseph pressing his lips to her forehead.

She had truly cared about the man – though Remy LeBeau would always own her heart. They were very close friends – sometimes, in fantasy, more… and he had given her a very wonderful gift in a time where she knew very little of it.

He was gone now… one of those things sacrificed for the greater good. In the end, Joseph had proven himself to be a true X-Man… like so many who have fallen before – and after – him.

Rogue tightened her scarf. She wasn't terribly cold… she rarely was, part of her invulnerability, but it felt like the right thing to do. She wondered what Charles Xavier was doing right now – as far as she knew, he was in Genosha… though she had no idea why.

She missed the Professor… most of the X-Men did, she thought, though many wouldn't admit it for some reason. She wondered if he was wishing those around him a Merry Christmas with that tone he always managed to use on the holidays… sweet, still stern, and always saying "it's time to reflect on what's important."

It had been ages since she'd seen him, having gone on a quest for Destiny's diaries with Storm and some of the others.

Her thoughts turned again – to Destiny, which led to Raven Darkholme, the closest thing she could remember to having a mother. "Merry Christmas, Mystique," she murmured to herself.

Such a touchy subject, that. For all Rogue knew the woman was dead – though she doubted it. She'd sworn the woman off countless times, and for good reason… wanting nothing to do with her; wanting to never see her again…

But there was a side to Raven few knew – and Rogue knew it well… or at least used to. The love she'd had for Irene, the woman who'd raised her beside Raven; the love she'd had for Rogue…

They used to make stockings together – and Rogue would never forget trying to shop for a woman who could predict the future.

The X-Man sighed, taking a few steps forward in the snow. The wind continued to whisk across her face, Rogue's spirits dropping with thoughts of Joseph, Irene, Charles, and Raven.

Rogue continued to walk forward, the crunch of her boot in the snow a reminder of the season – as if the snowflakes and bitter wind weren't reminder enough. She soon found herself in the courtyard – stepping into a small snow-covered gazebo.

"Merry Christmas," a Cajun voice called, stepping from behind her. Gambit grinned, wrapping his arms around her.

"Merry Christmas," Rogue replied, her gloved hand outlining his face. "Now why'd you insist we meet out here in the cold?"

"Gotta warm each other up, non?" Gambit winked, moving to the middle of the small platform where a small Christmas present lay.

Rogue grinned, stepping forward and picking the gift up from the ground. It was just big enough to have to use both hands and, after a nod, she began to unwrap it.

Inside the small box lay a single card – the Queen of Hearts.

Her grin grew as she pulled it from the box. "Cute, Remy…"

"Y'already the queen of my heart, Chere," LeBeau said, falling to one knee. "How 'bout we make it official?"

A thousand reasons to say no came to Rogue's mind as she watched him pull a ring from his pocket. They couldn't touch – they were X-Men – it was probably stolen…

But the one reason that weighed more than the thousand triumphed… she loved him, and couldn't have asked for a better Christmas present.

Their eyes met, Rogue's heart soaring, holding her blessings closer than her misfortunes once more as she gave him his Christmas present –