It takes Two…to Practice


A Rogue in Rouge a.k.a. Silver Nitte iz on a Rogue 'n' Remy kick

I've always loved the idea of Rogue and Gambit, even though I never read many of the comics. Admittedly, I haven't seen too much of Evo either, though I did manage to see the infamous kiss and Cajun Spice (I can't believe it was just one episode!) – and after considerable perusal of the fanfiction world and personal hemming & hawing, here I am with my very own story.

This story will start out mostly drama and romance with angst (this is Rogue and Remy after all), only getting into action & adventure down the line. Yes, there will be an actual villain, etc. I'm considering a sequel, but that's still debatable, so loose ends should be minimal.

Warning: this is as much an exploration of the connections between sexuality and intimacy as it is between Rogue and Remy, the pre-sex stages versus actual sex. It will NOT be porn or overly graphic – sexual shenanigans are NOT the main focus. That said, given the subject matter, it will still be a somewhat graphic. You have been warned.

This takes place post-Apocalypse, ignoring the events of Cajun Spice unfortunately – I needed them not to have any special relationship, also I'm gonna take some liberties with the stage of Remy's relationship with the Guild.

Note: I have now combined chapters 1 and 2 to better fit the form of the rest of the fiction.

Now on to the reading enjoyment – I do not own X-Men comics, cartoons, movies, or any other connected franchise – like that's a shocker.

Patience was not a native virtue to Rogue.

It had been forced upon her, like so many things, with the activation of her mutation. Cautiousness had to become second nature. It dictated what she wore, where she went, how she moved, who were her friends, and redefined all ideas of 'risky' behavior. Vigilance, self-control, wariness of her every motion and every other's – there was always a forced distance as she forced herself to wait. Wait for the hope Xavier had thrown her way so long ago.

Wait for the day she could control.

Wait for the day she could touch.

Wait for the day she too could enjoy the simplest things others took for granted: wearing a bikini, play wrestling with her brother, not wearing gloves, kissing – anyone.

And so was it any big surprise that she was impatient when it was so damn close?

Rogue leaned sideways on the staircase, legs tucked to her side, forehead resting on the slats barring her from the open expanse. She was waiting, yet again. And inevitably her hands began to fiddle with her 'improved' gloves – open-fingered. Open-fingered was the most daring she would, could, go, a compromise almost more for herself than for Xavier. He warned her that she needed more time to practice her control. At the moment, she was still mastering intentional touch, by herself or by others. Unintentional or accidental was beyond her scope, thus the continued need to be covered up. But she wanted, no needed to experience some sign of progress, some sign that she was finally achieving what she'd ached after for years.

Thus the gloves, still most covered for others' protection – and her own fears, but with allowance for her to touch – and practice.

Practice was what she needed, now that Xavier had finally found the key.

"Ya mean ya've figured out how to turn mah powers off?" After ten minutes of hemming and hawing on Xavier's side, she had come to that conclusion. Even if it didn't seem possible.

Xavier steppled his fingers, undisputedly a sign for her not to overreact – not overreact to the fact she'd be free from the entrapment of her powers? She could feel something inside her shift, like the cornerstone of her world had just been inched out of place. "Like I said before, your powers are alike to Scott's in that they are permanently on, but since there is no corresponding physical damage, I have had hope that your powers' trigger was lodged in the psychological realm. It seems this is so, in fact, it is actually in the emotive realm."

"Emotive?" she echoed, confused. "Ya mean mah feelings make it work? 'Cuz it's not like ah usually eva want it tah work –"

"I know," Xavier intoned soothingly. "But in the first usage of your powers, the trauma of the absorption permanently switched the trigger to default."

"So then you can just turn it off?" Rogue felt light-headed. It couldn't possibly be that easy – and of course Xavier's brow wrinkled.

"I'm afraid it is not so simple. It is much more likely that you will need to put yourself into an emotional state that will disarm the trigger when and while you have contact," he paused slightly, but decided he needed to lay out the whole situation before gauging her reaction. "Because of the nature of your trauma, a jar to the emotional state will most likely automatically re-arm the trigger."

Rogue closed her eyes and took a deep breath. "So let me ge' this strayigh', if ah'm all calm and focused," she peeked open an eye to see if her interpretation of the correct emotional state was right. Xavier nodded encouragingly. "ah can touch, but if anathing happens, ah'll go back to absorbing."

"That's the theory." She looked at him, not able to reconcile the image of freedom with limitations.

"But ah'll be able to touch?" she whispered.

Xavier leaned over and reassuringly rested his hand on her gloved one. She stared, the thought of the glove not having to be there, almost too suffocating to grasp. "Yes Rogue. All you will need is practice."

Rogue bit her lip, shaking her head to rouse herself. She'd been practicing – with Logan first, as he could most quickly recover. Kitty and Kurt had soon followed, more than happy to help her finally attain her most coveted desire. Her relationship with Kurt was still strained post-Apocalypse, actually her relationship with the whole Manor had really been strained. She'd even briefly yet seriously considered getting away for a while, until the Professor had dropped this bombshell on her.

Kurt and she still had yet to really talk out their issues, but the intimacy the testings required was slowly but surely healing the rift. She actually hadn't expected Kurt to volunteer, but once news had spread across the mansion, as inevitably it did, he showed up, claiming he wanted her to finally experience 'the fuzzy man.'

Her lips quirked, but the smile slowly died on her lips. Kurt, Kitty, Logan were all good and fine to practice basic touch, but there was more, more than she would just feel downright weird asking them to help her with. She hadn't even considered it until Kitty had been joking around saying maybe she'd even finally get a boyfriend.

"Maybe you can even make time for a guy now–" she said cheekily, affably nudging her best friend.

Rogue snapped back with something snide about girls and independence and idiot guys. But the thought had stayed, vaguely hovering, taunting the edges of her mind…

To be able to kiss someone.

Touch someone intimately in the ways romance novels rambled on about, teenage girls giggled over, guys fantasized about when looking a pretty girl.

Freedom to be with someone and indulge in the million tiny careless caresses of lovers…

Rogue gave a deep sigh and returned to leaning against the banister. She just begun attaining control and now she wanted more. She wanted to scold herself for being greedy, but damn it she was tired of waiting and wondering.

"–though it might be a little hard to concentrate around him."

She could get that type of control too, but that would require different practice. A different partner even. Someone who was accessible, thus in the mansion. Someone who was reckless enough to risk it, perceptive enough to back off when needed, casual enough to just practice and not get attached…

"Ah, partin' so soon, petite? Remy's disappointed," his voice was slow and smooth, like the bayou mud he undoubtedly had crawled out from. There was a female titter and she mentally rolled her eyes.

Unfortunately for her, almost all the guys in the mansion were too old or too young, involved with someone else or at least already interested. Or Kitty had a crush on them…

Gambit was in the right age range and enough of a player that interest wouldn't be a problem, in either direction. His character was not the only reason she chose him though. Absorbing kinetic explosion ability could be problematic, but he'd grudgingly admitted to minor empathetic abilities when he'd arrived at the manor three months ago, leisurely strolling in with Colossus as if they would welcome him with open arms. Xavier had, if not certain others, namely Scott. She hadn't been too keen on him either, almost getting her hand blown off among other battles still vivid in her mind. But he was here and –

"'s shame 'bout the whole sans touche," he smirked down at her as she paused, frowning at him and denying the little tingle that went down her spine under the glint of his strange ruby eyes. "but y' know, Remy neva turned down a chance to be creatif

She'd given him a nasty reply at the time. She rolled her shoulders and stood up. Seemed like she'd have to eat her words, as distasteful as that was to her.

It was now or never; at the moment, she was roommate-less as Kitty had broken her leg and been moved to a downstairs room for convenience. (As ironic as it was, the Midwestern teen had embarrassingly enough acquired the injury by tumbling while showering. The rest of the Manor still had a hard time not cracking up when she entered a room.)

Still, Rogue couldn't help but hesitate…

"Why, if it ain't ma chérie." She wasn't able to keep from starting. Gambit was leaning on the banister, smirking in that irritatingly relaxed posture that made her just want to smack him. As it was, she had to bite back the urge to correct him – she wanted him to agree to practice with her, after all.

She gave her lips an artificial lift. "Gam-, Remy" she hastily corrected herself. He lifted an eyebrow. "Ah was just lookin' for yah." Her accent sounded contrived and she mentally winced, but started to walk down the stairs.

"Oh?" He watched her saunter self-consciously down the stairs. "There somethin' Remy cahn do for you?" His fingers flexed and his smirk deepened. "Or do yah for?"

She couldn't help an ironic smile as she leaned forward and pressed firmly on his chest. "Act'ally cher, there is."

-Making the Wager (previous chapter two)-

Gambit was not struck speechless often and Rogue reveled in the moment. The exact expression of surprise and confusion on his face was priceless.

Her lips settled into a smirk. "Yah gotta a problem with that, sugah?" The sweetness of her tone could've given Sabertooth tooth rot.

Gambit was not so easily played though and with ease, he regained composure. Easily grasping her wrist lightly and twisting it, he jerked her even closer. Her muscles stiffened reflexively and the smirk once again switched sides.

"Actually chérie, I don'. But funny t'ing is, Remy be t'inkin' he was de last homme Rogue wanted to play with." His fingers, fitted in those odd half-gloves, stroked her wrist as his eyes literally glinted. "If that is what the chérie be sujesting…"

"Ah need practice," she gritted out, wondering if reclaiming her arm would be considered hostile. She decided it would. Her decision, of course, had nothing to do with the little tingles his stroking was sending all the way to her spine.

"Practice," he repeated. "Practice Wolvie and Blue Boy, even de rest of de X-men could't help you wit'…" He seemed supremely pleased with whatever conclusions he was coming up with and she flushed.

"Don't tahke it so personally Gambit," she snapped, accent thickening defensively. "Yah the biggest player 'round here an' ah know yah can keep this quiet. 's not lahke we're gonna start datin'."

He raised an eyebrow and too late she remembered she was trying to be nice. D- it, she wasn't used to sucking up to people. It didn't help that Gambit, of all people, seemed to effortlessly get her riled. To her surprise though, he seemed to complete ignore the bite of her retort.

"What exactly would dis practice include, chérie?" He smirked at her hesitation. "Gambit be needing to know de terms before he takes de wager." Without warning, he released her arm and she was surprised at how acutely she could feel the loss of his heat. Resisting the urge to back away, she answered warily.

"Everything." It was said with more conviction than she really felt.

He seemed to ponder the word for a moment, letting his eyes take a tour down her body and up again. She felt the gaze like his physical touch and had to wonder how different the rush of heat would be in actuality. She couldn't help the blush that rose up unbidden.

"Everyt'ing?" he sounded skeptical and she swallowed, before lifting her chin firmly.

"Everything." Cocking his head, the intensity of his gaze remained constant and she spoke if only to convince herself that wasn't the biggest mistake she could ever make. "If ah'm eva gonna have a boyfriend, ah want tah be able tah," she floundered and felt like a complete idiot. "tah do everythang couples usuahlly do."

"And y' want Remy's help." Now, she was pretty sure he was just rubbing it in.

"Ah think we've covered tha' already." Self-consciously she crossed her arms and almost immediately regretted it as his eyes took a leisurely tour down to admire how it enhanced the scenery.

"Tempting," he drawled and she nearly jumped out of his skin as his right hand, which she sure as hell hadn't noticed get so close, dared to trace the curve of her hip with the delicacy of wind. The rush of uncomfortable heat was so intense, she nearly checked to make sure he hadn't accidentally charged her jeans. "But I don't t'ink de chere be ready."

She blinked. It took her a moment to register he was saying no, especially after the touchy-feely. But she had anticipated a possible negative response and she wasn't going to accept no that easily. "Ah am!" He raised a skeptical eyebrow and she knew her own tension was belying her argument. She raised her chin. "Ah'm ready."

"Gambit wan' ta believe yah, really ah do –"

"Ah'll prove it," the rash declaration came out without premeditation, but when his eyes glinted in what she knew was interest, she firmed her courage. Considering what she was planning on doing with him, proving it shouldn't be a big deal. It was just getting the show started a little earlier.

"A demonstration, petite? I've heard of yaur," he moistened his lips and she vainly told herself she didn't notice, "practice, but mayhap seein' be believin', non? Or guess it'd be experiencin'…"

She knew she was far too red, but honestly, she was amazed at just how dirty he made that simple word sound. "Yah ready Cajun?" She inched her glove up before remembering it was unnecessary. She had yet to get used to that. Straightening her shoulders, she looked him dead in the eye to cover her momentary slip.

His eyes did some bizarre flare-up that heightened their contrast and she felt a shiver go down her spine. "Remy always be ready for you, chere."

She lifted her hand to his face, deliberately losing eye contact. She needed concentrate and feeling self-conscious did not help her enter a calm and relaxed mental state. She breathed, focusing on that simple action as Xavier had taught her. Breathing was natural, but still able to be controlled – just like touch.

Her fingers brushed his face and she let herself appreciate that he didn't flinch, before focusing completely on his cheek rather than him or the fact he was the first one outside her core group that she was touching like this. Focus!

It was rough – not with the harsh, abrupt bristles of Logan after returning from a mission unshaven, but a fine, prickly stubble. Gambit seemed to maintain this permanent five o'clock shadow that somehow managed to avoid becoming a shade too early or too late.

She'd once heard that some people could read a person's character from their face, specifically by touch. Having lived with the blind Irene, she'd considered it more than once, but it seemed irrelevant after her power had manifested. Fleetingly she wondered how exactly it would work. And yet…

Logan had such a feral quality to him, a sense that sometimes he really was more untamed beast than human. His face unshaven was of such nature trying to force its way out – sharp and abrasive, much like the claws that ripped from his knuckles.

Gambit was no beast. He was charmer, seducer, thief, trickster. He shimmied in, schmoozed, and then simply slipped out without making a ripple. The bad boy with the moral code of shadows more than substance, dashing with the touch of mystery that could make any girl gush. His wildness was perfectly coiffed to pluck a kiss or diamond off a swooning socialite, the shadow that always strikes five.

A rogue in the truest sense.

Lost in her ponderings, her fingers wandered further down. Strong jaw, she noted. Determination. Might. Power. She brushed his lips.

He let out a short, quick breath and her reverie was broken.

She dropped her hand hastily, losing her focus with almost startling speed, even as her eyes flew up to his. The intensity already high was now super-charged, his iris a fiery red rim in an abyss. She swallowed heavily. But other than his enflamed eyes, his face was unreadable. It made her nervous, because Gambit was always easy to read. Easy to read what he wanted you to read. He was excellent at portraying exactly what he wanted people to see – ease, determination, seduction, confidence. His stock expressions made people's actions more predictable, just like how her unwavering antagonism ensured a certain kind of response.

Seeing him without emotion was almost as rare as seeing him with real emotion and it unnerved her.

"We ain't gonna be serious, just practice at naight. And if anaything happens, we can just stop, no strings or, or anaything." She felt like an idiot babbling, but anything if he'd just snap out of it already. Unconsciously, she tugged at her gloves. "Ah just need someone that ah can touch without it meanin' anaything."

"Practice," he muttered, finally giving a sign of life. Rogue looked at him a little funny, but nodded. Then, in a motion she couldn't quite follow, he palmed a deck of cards from his duster and was shuffling them with the ease of a Vegas dealer. Her eyes caught by the strange fluid motion, his question caught her off guard. "So none of Remy be trompin' through de chérie's head, non?"

She blinked. "Ah, no. Ah told yah, ah can control it." Realizing his meaning, she defended herself more forcefully, only for him to nod absently. It made her angrier, but she couldn't help but wonder: was that his point? For her anger to cloud his actual concern, the true issue?

Was he afraid of what she might absorb from him?

That had actually been the biggest obstacle she had foreseen to getting him to agree. Again, he and Wolverine were alike with a past cast in more shadows than substance. Only Gambit's dim past was of his own choice. The only reason they even knew he'd been, or was, a thief was because of Mesmero. And she had to wonder – what else was there?

Not that she was afraid. She'd absorbed Logan, Mystique, and Magneto at various times. Gambit had nothing she hadn't seen.

The shuffling stopped and with exaggerated care, Gambit withdrew a card. He offered it to her face down. Taking it, she flipped it over. Queen of Hearts.

"M' lucky lady," he murmured, eyes fixed on her. Rogue's gaze jumped up to his. "She be yaurs now. Your room, tonight?"

He was saying yes. She felt something tense inside her stretch, before curling up contentedly. He was saying yes. "Yeah," she said, striving for casualness.

He brushed by her, continuing up the stairs, and she felt her face flare as she felt the very tips of his fingers skim her as he replaced his deck. She stood there for a few minutes after he'd left.

"Yeah, I'll be there."

Hmm, I was just thinking, in 'Cajun Spice' it's Remy who uses Rogue – I've just reversed the canon. With some minor fun adjustments :smirk:.

Oh, just as a note: when sitting down, I realized I kinda need to use some comic cannon – how she absorbs Cody through a kiss. It'll be important later, also to compound the trauma Xavier talked about. Also for Gambit, I've unfortunately not seen him that much in Evo, so actually his character will most likely be a cross between Evo and the comics. (And the goatee is out, at least for this chapter. Didn't even remember about that 'til I was done with a description section).