Disclaimer: Shush! Don't Tell! I'm using them without permission!

It wasn't that he didn't trust Rogue.

He could smell it on him. Every time the Cajun looked at her, he could smell the lust, the possessiveness, and desire and it was so strong he found himself wanting to go visit a dump to get rid of it. But that wasn't all he smelled. He smelled last week's conquest and yesterday's flavor. He smelt cigarettes and bourbon and lies.

Really, it had nothing to do with Rogue.

It was that he knew men like Gambit. Had known men like Gambit for as long as he could remember, and longer.

Saw a man like Gambit when he looked in the mirror.

There was pain where that man walked. There was blood on his hands. His eyes were ruthless and his smile held cracked mercy.

He was a man whose best intentions would fall back on him, no matter how hard he tried. He was a man who would confront anyone about anything but the things that would allow him to live.

Rogue could take care of herself.

Gambit could slither and lie and insinuate and charm all he wanted. He could help Rogue crack a few smiles and take life a little less seriously. He could try to "turn his life around," and he could hold on to his secrets. He could laugh and joke and cheat and gamble and convince everyone else that it was just a façade, that the "real" Gambit was just trying to live as best as he could.

And when that snake hurt Rogue, he was going to use the bastard's hide to make new boots.

AN: Just a little one-shot to show that I'm alive, kicking, and doing my best to keep going. For posting, you can blame Ravyn, Eileen, and Whiteshadow.

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