Written in a slight daze a couple hours before going to see X-3. Is likely canon-incompliant even as it's being written, but was a hell of a lot of fun to work on.

If it makes no sense, I don't care. It makes me happy.

Dedicated to every single person who went "WHAT THE HELL" at the Rogue/Bobby relationship. I feel your pain.

The nervous feeling in Rogue's stomach didn't dissipate during the taxi ride over to the clinic. It didn't go away as she ascended the stairs to said clinic, and still remained even as she approached the front desk where she was supposed to check in. She wasn't exactly sure why; this was what she wanted, wasn't it? In less than an hour, she would be able to touch.


Rogue blinked, pulled away from her thoughts by a secretary who sat poised with pen, some sort of legal form, and plenty of apathy to spare.

"Marie D'Ancanto."

The secretary nods as she scrawls something down. A couple other questions are asked-age, date of birth, address, that sort of thing-and Rogue is dismissed to go take a seat until she's called.

The waiting room is not a nice little place. The seats are the stiff plastic type that are hell to sit on (she sits anyway), and there aren't even the rudimentary out-of-date magazines. She's tempted to give in to irritation and make some glib comment to no one in particular, but instead leans back cross-legged in her chair and starts bobbing her foot.

"You're a long way from home, Mississippi."

It's the accent that catches her notice first. Southern, she notes. Creole. Warm enough to melt butter. A wave of homesickness threatens to throw Rogue off balance. It's been a while since she's heard a Southern accent other than her own. She looks towards the source of the voice, a man not more than three years older than she is. He's sitting across the room with an ease that's out of place in such an infuriatingly stifling place.

"Could say the same to you, Louisiana." She shoots back as he rises and walks towards her. His combat boots ought to be heavy against the linoleum floor, but they barely make a sound. This thought barely occurs to Rogue as she takes stock of the figure who is now taking a seat next to her.

"Louisiana's" long auburn hair hangs lankly about his cheekbones, and does a good job of hiding razor-sharp features. A pair of dark sunglasses hide his eyes (which lends itself to some suspicion considering it's not THAT bright under the fluorescent lights). A crooked grin is splayed across his face, all goofy ease and unnerving charm. He's dressed in a pair of baggy stonewash jeans, a fitted black tee-shirt and a jacket that looks as though he picked it up from the local Army Surplus. Her eye is then drawn to his neck where a thin silver chain hangs, displaying a medallion that looks oddly familiar. A saint's medal, she recognizes. The boy's a Catholic. She must have been staring, as the grin on his face grows wider as he fingers the medallion gingerly. It's then that she notices the gloves on his hands.

"Saint Jude. Patron of lost causes." He laughs at this as though it were some sort of private joke that had yet to get old. She merely arches an eyebrow.

"Lost causes, hmmm?" She does her best to sound noncommittal, but a cynicism inherited from Logan somehow manages to shine through. He shifts his weight around a little, grin never failing.

"That's why we're both here, isn't it? We're mutants. Lost causes."

She nods, her gaze falling down towards the hands in her lap, and out of habit she tugs her gloves a little tighter.

"Some of us more than others." She murmurs. An appropriate-feeling moment of silence passes between them before he speaks again.

"What's your mutation?"

She sighs and tells him, using the cold, clinical language that Professor Xavier always used when referring to her power.

"I absorb memories and physical strength through skin on skin contact. In the case of mutants, I absorb their particular talents for a time that appears to be dependant on the length of time that direct skin to skin contact occurred."

It's his turn to raise an eyebrow.

"Been practicing that speech, have we?"

She tries to go for a withering glare, but it likely only comes off as petulant. He throws up his hands in a gesture of mock surrender.

"Easy, Mississippi. You're not the only one who has to watch where they put their hands."

He pulls off one of the gloves to reveal a badly damaged hand. Vicious scars at varying degrees of recovery trace an erratic design all over the appendage.

"Things tend to explode when I touch them. Kind of inconvenient, really."

She reaches out a tentative hand and traces one of the older-looking scars briefly. Though her hand hardly brushes his skin (she's much too self-concious to be any more forward than that), she feels his hand tense beneath her almost-touch.

"Marie D'Ancanto?"

Rogue perks up at the mention of her name, turning towards the white-robed doctor who stands in the doorway to the clinic proper with a clipboard in hand.

"That's me." She says, more to herself than anyone else. As she makes to stand, Louisiana takes her hand and prevents her from going any further. His grip is firm, but not wrenching or painful. With his free hand he undoes the clasp of his medal and presses it in to her gloved palm. His face is sober now, a strange contrast to the grin that he had sported up until now.

"Saint Jude is patron of the desperate too. Take care of yourself, chere."

She doesn't know what to say. She can feel her mouth attempt to sound out a thanks of some sort, but she's pretty sure that nothing comes out.

"Miss D'Ancanto?" The doctor asks again, impatience starting to color his voice. Louisiana releases her hand and lets her go.. She offers a smile of sorts as she walks towards the doctor, her grip on the small medallion tighter than she would like to admit.

"Hey!" Louisiana calls. She glances back over her shoulder to see him flash that mega-watt smile one more time. "See you around, Mississippi."