TITLE: Stacked Deck

SUMMARY: Rogue. Remy. Vignettes.


DISCLAIMER: I just enjoy playing in other peoples' sandboxes. While making money off this would be nice, it's not happening. Everything you recognize (and maybe even some things you don't) belongs to Marvel.

AUTHOR'S NOTES: I had some time and some ideas. Therefore, you're getting the first of what will probably be a good deal of R/R flavoured vignettes. As you can guess from the title, there will likely be 52 when all is said and done.

This whole project is inspired by Lucia de Medici's "Arcana Catalouge", NessieGG's "Sides of the Same Coin", and all of the other amazing ficlet collections I've read. Thank you all for some fantastic reads.

This drabble in particular is dedicated to the ever-so-lovely GreenAmber. Miss you like crazy, dahling.

It was supposed to be an easy mission. But of course, whenever that particular cliché is applied, it never is.

Take out the sentinels, Xavier said. It shouldn't prove to be exceedingly difficult, he said.

Hah, Rogue thinks to herself from the small corner she's found to hide in. I call bullshit on that.

She doesn't swear often, but feels that today it's justified considering that her communicator is broken, she doesn't know where the rest of the team is, the sentinels are still out there, and her leg is cut wide open and bleeding like nobody's business.

What's worse is that she can't feel it. Oh, she knows that it's painful, but it's that detached sort of pain that's more a matter of the intellect than the physical.

Which means that it's going to hurt like a bitch tomorrow.

She bites back on a curse and down on her lip, trying to ascertain the damage. She guesses from the sheer amount of blood that it's a superficial wound, but damned if she has anything to clean it up with.

She prods at it without really knowing why.

Her makeshift examination is interrupted by a familiar voice.

"I leave you alone for three minutes . . . "

She looks up to see the latest addition to the X-Men roster and his trenchcoat.

"Hah, hah," she mutters, though honestly, she's grateful to have found someone. Or rather, to have had someone find her.

Gambit's eyes shift towards her leg and narrow critically. He's down on the ground next to her in seconds, shifting her leg so he can have a closer look.

She's expecting some stupid comment, a jab of some sort. Anything but what actually happens.

He's taking off his coat and ripping a long and wide strip at the bottom.

"I don't have a first aid kit," he qualifies, and for some reason it strikes her as odd that he's apologizing.

He rips open the leg of her uniform from the gash around her wound and she doesn't think she's ever been more thankful that he wears gloves.

He takes the strip and with a deftness that shouldn't surprise her (and yet it does), sets to wrapping the wound tightly in a rather professional looking field-dressing. He ties the 'bandage' off, and inspects his handiwork briefly. It receives a nod.

"This'll hold 'til we can get you back to the mansion. You good to walk?"

Rogue runs her hand over the bandage. It's solid, and she knows that this assessment of his handiwork is a little bit of an understatement. This thing would probably hold until the second coming were it given the chance.

"You've done this before," she murmurs, the name Etienne drifting lazily across her consciousness. A memory rises up, chasing the name like a dog might chase a butterfly.

A boy. Young. Thirteen, maybe? Blonde, blue-eyed. Cousin. Tilling. Accident. No! This wasn't supposed to happen. Blood, so much blood, oh God how do you stop it? Hang on Etienne, hang on! Blood, everywhere, red, red, so red just hang on . . .

Remy is looking at her blankly, his expression one she would expect were she to start speaking in tongues. His face falls.

It's then she realizes that she'd whispered the name aloud.

"Wasn't so fast that time," he says darkly.

She hangs her head too as the picture starts filling itself in. A tomb. Cold stone. A marker. Etienne Marceaux. Requisat In Pacem.

"I'm sorry."

She risks a glance towards him. His face has hardened now, and he waves her off as though it's no big deal before standing up and offering her a hand.

She wants to hit him for the lie. So much blood, red, red, Requisat In Pacem. . .

She takes his hand anyways, and the two of them hobble back towards the safety of the Blackbird.