Title: Dirty Socks
'Verse: Evolution, six months post "Ascension"
Completed: February 13, 2007
Disclaimer: I obviously do not own the X-Men. All are property of Stan Lee/Marvel.
Description: Getting the laundry done at the Xavier Institute isn't nearly as easy as it should be for Rogue. (Romy)
Word Count: 4,336
Author Note: This was a challenge given to me by the wonderful J, because I was dry for ideas when it came to updating Summer. And in this challenge, it was required to have Rogue doing laundry, being pestered by Remy (of course), but it had to end with her against the dryer and them kissing through something. The kicker - a dirty sock needed to be included somehow. Enjoy!
Rogue sighed as her gloveless hands reached into the washer and pulled out a damp sweater. She shook the black cotton turtleneck out of the clump it had become in the midst of the treacherous rinse cycle. Blowing a stray white lock from her face, she turned from the washer to place it amongst the other clothes that hung on the line across the other side of the room. However, she realized then that she wasn't alone in her laundry duties.
"Do ya mind? Ah did call the laundry room today," she groused to Remy, who stood with a few shirts thrown over his shoulder in the archway of the small room.
He tilted his head to the side, his coppery brown hair falling across his forehead with impeccable positioning that would've made any girl swoon and turn into a puddle of estrogen.
Unfortunately for Remy, Rogue was not swayed easily by the way the locks of hair just barely hooded his eyes, making them appear more mysterious than they already were. Nope, not at all.
"I didn' realize dere was a sign-up sheet in dis place t' get some cleanin' done," he drawled with a smirk, taking another step past the doorway.
With a scoff, she threw her sweater over the hanging line and turned back to the washer to repeat the action once more. Maybe if Ah ignore him, he'll go away! She thought desperately as her hand grasped a navy blue blouse.
"How much longer y' gon' be?" he asked, suddenly over her shoulder and peeking into the freshly washed items in the appliance.
She jumped back as if he'd burned her, the blouse clasped in her hand against her chest. "What is yoah deal?!" She backed into the dryer, feeling very vulnerable in the small room. "Ah called the room, ask anyone who's been here foh more than a month, an' you're invadin' mah personal space, which you should know Ah take very seriously, ya stupid Cajun!"
The same damn smirk played across his lips as he slid his dirty shirts off his shoulder and let them drop to the floor. "Y' know I jus' love de way de tip of y' nose gets bright red every time I corner y' like dis, chére." He ran a hand through his hair, brushing it out of his eyes momentarily so he could see the contents of the washer once more. "Got anyt'ing fun in dere?"
Aghast, she snapped her hand forward and slammed down the lid of the washer. "It's none of yoah damn business what Ah'm washin'!"
He snickered, soft and slow like molasses. "So y' do have somet'ing fun in dere." His fingers toyed at the edge of the lid. The deft digits slid back and forth, tracing the line of the lid's handle.
Dropping the blouse, she pointed a pale finger at him while her other hand stayed secured on the top of the washer. "Ah dare ya ta try an' look, Gambit. Maybe it'll be yoah lucky day an' Ah won't feel the need ta suck that memory out of yoah head if ya do."
He leaned forward, his hand inching towards hers on the washer ever so slightly, enough for the hairs on Rogue's arm to begin to prickle at the closeness. "An' jus' maybe," he murmured as his face dipped closer to Rogue's. "It'll be m'lucky day if y' decide to."
Rogue's hand slid back from the washer away from his and she pulled it close to her chest in case she actually had to use force against him. "What the hell are you doin'," she asked, her voice slipping past her lips in a softer tone than she imagined in her head. She wrinkled her nose, cursing her involuntarily reaction to his presence.
"I jus' want t' do m' laundry, Roguey," he whispered, wetting his lips as his hand braced the dryer, a breath away from Rogue's waist.
She eyed the hand, impulsively tugging on the hem of her mesh shirt, making sure there was no skin between the cloth and her low-cut jeans. "Ah think you an' Ah have very different definitions of 'laundry' at this point, Swamp Rat," she hissed as her eyes snapped back up to his. She glared at him and was only angered further by the nonchalant glimmer staring back at her.
"Why don' y' ever call me by m'name, chére?" he asked, expertly dodging her previous comment. The smirk broadened into something that could be described as more pompous to Rogue, though she was sure if Kitty or Jubilee had seen it, they would've been giggling obnoxiously on the spot.
Instead of countering him with another cynical glower, she painted a small smirk on her dark lips. "An' ya call me by mine when, sugah?" she drawled, poking him in his broad chest with her index finger. "Ah figure ya deserve cute nicknames too since ya like throwin' chére this, an' p'tite that," she mocked. "Swamp Rat suits ya well since Ah've seen where ya grew up, doncha think?"
His eyebrow quirked up, hiding underneath his shaggy hair. "An' maybe I'll drop de cute pet names f' y' an' t'row a River Rat in dere instead."
"Ah'd prefer it over that French crap ya throw around to anyone with a pair of long legs around here," she said with a gag. It was disgusting how quickly everyone had gotten over him being the enemy. He could say French sweet nothings to anyone there and instantly he'd have them wrapped around his finger!
But not her.
"Oh, I see. Y' want a name all f' y'self," he smirked. His thumb darted out and brushed against her waist ever so slightly before tucking it back with the rest of his hand. The desired effect was immediate; Rogue recoiled as if she'd been shocked, darting away from his hand as if it were on fire.
"Stop it," she growled, the venom back in her gray-green eyes.
He laughed, low and dark. "De tip of y' nose is red again," he pointed out with a subtle delight in his voice.
"The tip of yoah nose is gonna be red once Ah'm through with it, Gambit!" she exclaimed as she raised her hands up against his chest. She shoved him back roughly and bent down to pick up her fallen blouse. "Get out of mah space," she warned again, her tone ominous. She turned away from him, signaling she was through with his ridiculous game. "Ah'll let you know when Ah'm done in here," she threw over her shoulder dismissively as she hung up her blouse.
"Now, now, Rogue," he cooed, leaning against the washer with his arms crossed about his chest. "Y' sure y' don' want help seein' as how y' have so many clothes t' deal wit' in here…"
Her face snapped around, a scowl settling in her eyebrows. "Are ya serious raht now?" she asked incredulously. "Why are ya botherin' me?!"
"Y've been avoidin' me since I moved in," he admitted casually, once again tracing his finger along the lid of the washer. "I jus' wanna know why."
"That is what this is about?" she glared at him.
"It's an honest question, chére. I mean, if y' are gon' ignore me, how are we s'pose t' be teammates…"
"We are not talkin' 'bout this now…" she whispered harshly as she turned back to the dryer. She busied herself with locating a dryer sheet and tried her best to drown out his voice.
"How are y' gon' trust me wit' y' life if y' can' even let me help y' wit' y' laundry…"
She whirled around once more, loose dryer sheets clutched in her hand. The distance between them disappeared as she took the opportunity to back him into a corner and pushed him against the washer with her finger against his chest. "You have no room to talk ta me about trust. Last Ah remembered, you used me an' then you disappeared until ya decided ta show up on Xavier's welcome mat a month ago!"
"Y' don' know-"
"Ah don't care, Remy! You were gone foh months after the Acolytes disbanded – ya didn't bother ta stop an' think that hey, maybe Rogue would be concerned because Ah thought we understood each other. Obviously Ah was wrong an' that is why Ah've been avoidin' you." She snorted out the breath she didn't realize she was holding, but kept her glare steady on his red on black eyes.
He stared at her neutrally for a moment, absorbing her words. Suddenly, and much to Rogue's dismay, his eyes crinkled into a smirk, his lips following suit a second later. "Y' called me Remy."
To say Rogue screamed in frustration would be an understatement. To say that a shriek of total aggravation echoed through the halls of the Xavier Institute that was quickly followed by a hollered "screw you, Remy LeBeau!" would be a bit more accurate.
"Ah'm finished here," she announced evenly after she caught her breath, tearing her eyes away from his. "You can hang the rest of what's in the washer an' it's yoahs."
She glanced up to him. "Ah'm done, Gambit. Ah'll get outta yoah way so you can wash yoah precious shirts." She stepped past him and made her way to the doorway.
His hand found her covered wrist and he pulled her back as gently as he could. Of course, with the momentum she'd been leaving, it felt like he'd yanked her back forcefully. He spun her around and once again, she had her back against the dryer. "Jus' listen t' me."
"Why should Ah? An' let me go!" She wrenched her wrist out of his grasp. "You got what ya came foh so leave me alone."
"That's not all I came for," he murmured, resting his hands on either side of her on the dryer. "I came t' apologize."
"You're jus' sayin' that because you haven't won me over as quickly as the other girls here. Ah know how you work, Rem- Gambit." She reached up and tapped her temple. "You're still up here, in case ya forgot."
"An' y' still have m' card," he countered. "In case y' f'got," he added haughtily as an afterthought.
Her eyes widened and her back tensed up more against the warm metal of the dryer. "What?" This is ridiculous – how could he have known? Unless… Her eyes began to narrow once more.
"Oui, I went snoopin'," he explained before he faced another tongue lashing. "Sorta…"
"Oh, 'sorta'?" she asked incredulously.
"Please," he laughed as he rolled his eyes. "Y' act like I'm above spyin' on y', Rogue."
She stared at him, her mouth falling slack. This guy was unbelievable! Xavier had allowed him into his home and he was still up to no good! "Ah guess a leopard really can't change his spots," she scoffed. "You've got a lot of nerve…"
"It was only once," he told her, unwilling to let it go without explaining himself. "On m'first night here."
"Is that supposed ta make me feel better? Does this make you feel better? Confessin' ta violatin' mah privacy – will that help ya sleep better at night?" she sneered. "Thanks, but no thanks, Cajun."
"Y' keep it in a box at the base of y' closet," he continued, ignoring her voice. "Y' don' look in dere often – only when y' have a long moment t' reflect, hein?"
"You have no right –"
"I know, chére. De truth is, after dat moment – seein' y' sit on de floor wit' dat box of scattered memories, I just knew."
"Knew what?" she snapped impatiently.
"Dat in dat box lays who knows what – wit' whatever meanin' it has t' you. De t'ing is, I don't know why y' kept de card, but I know dat I made an impact on y', Rogue. M'not sayin' y' some love struck river rat or dis be about bein' eternal enemies, but dere's somet'ing."
She sighed, her eyes boring into his. "What, would you like me ta tell you why Ah kept it?" What the hell is he gettin' at?
"Non, I don'. It jus' means somet'ing t' me dat y' did, regardless of its meanin' t' you," he responded sincerely.
She pursed her lips. "That doesn't get you off the hook foh spyin' on me," she reminded him, refusing to let this sensitive side of him affect her.
"What if I told y' dat Petey threatened t' tell Logan if I did it again," Remy offered with a small smirk.
Rogue stared at him neutrally for a moment before laughing despite herself. It was a soft laugh – one that barely made a sound and caused her to drop her gaze from his. Her head shook lightly; her hair bounced slightly. "No," she said as she looked up again. "That only proves that Piotr is more likeable than you are."
Remy gasped histrionically and grasped at his chest. "Y' wound me, chére."
"Somethin' tells me you'll get over it," she replied flatly with a curled lip.
He released his chest and stared at her, shock dropping his jaw. "Are y' actually smilin' dere, fille?"
Her lip instantly ironed out. "No."
"Y' are allowed t' smile when you're around me, y' know. I won't tell anyone."
"It was in spite of you," she explained defensively.
"Our little secret," he whispered, dipping his face closer to hers again.
"You're doin' that thing again."
"Oui, I know."
"Can Ah ask why?" she sighed with a roll of her eyes.
"It's all f' de blush on de tip of y' nose."
"You're incorrigible, ya know that, raht?" she said, another smile defeating her stubborn frown. She couldn't help herself anymore.
"Been told dat once or twice, oui." She could see the smirk on his lips dance in the fiery embers of his red irises. He was enjoying this way too much.
"Ah seriously don't need ya this close ta me though," she said, the smile falling from her face.
Remy took a step back obediently, his gaze neutral but sincere. "Désolé, Rogue."
She shrugged. "Ya actually backed up when Ah asked – it's fine."
"I mean f'everyt'ing. Disappearin'… spyin' on y'… If y' got t' know me instead of avoidin' me, y' might know what happened and why I am de way I am," he teased, though she knew he was being heartfelt.
She quirked an eyebrow at him. "Besides foh the fact that you were adopted into a family of thieves with a rival family that has been killin' each other foh centuries?" she asked with a smirk.
He snickered. "That's part of it."
"Ya do realize that you're not gonna win me over that easy, raht?"
"An' here I t'ought we were moments away from kissin' an' makin' up," he replied hotly.
Her eyes narrowed. "Not funny, Remy."
"Yeah, yeah," he sighed, though internally he was smiling at her use of his given name. He reached into his back pocket and pulled out a silk scarf. "Guess I won' be needin' dis den." He shook it out of the crumpled mess it'd become in his pocket and then he threw it behind Rogue onto the dryer.
She glanced over her shoulder to get a better look at the red piece of cloth. "What were you gonna do with that," she asked innocently, picking it up. She fingered the soft silk between her gloved digits, peering up to Remy curiously.
He smirked. "Y' don' want t' know."
"Would Ah have asked if Ah didn't?" she countered.
"No, chére," he insisted. "I'm serious."
"What, you're done bein' honest with me today? Just tell me," she persisted, completely oblivious as to why he'd be carrying around a random silk scarf in his back pocket.
"Promise not t' hit me?" he asked sheepishly.
"One of your crazy plans is involved – Ah can't promise a thing," she teased.
"Fair enough," he sighed as he slipped his fingers around the red silk and slid it from her hand. "Close y' eyes."
"It'll be better if I show y'."
"Ah don't like the sound of that…"
"Ah already told ya-" she began, her eyebrows knit in frustration.
"An' I'm askin' you t' trust me now."
Rogue blinked up at him, her face and tense posture slowly relaxing. "Fine," she relented, her eyes falling closed. "This better not hurt," she muttered.
He chuckled, devious and low. "We'll see if it hurts one of us when I'm done."
Slowly, he raised the square piece of silk over her face. He let it hang between them for a moment before draping it over her. She made a small noise of concern only for a second but silenced as Remy captured her lips through the cloth with his own lips.
Rogue murmured in protest but stopped as Remy's hand found her hip. He gently ran his thumb along the mesh covered skin as he caressed her lips with his. After a long moment, he pulled away, dragging the now slightly moist cloth away from Rogue's mouth. Her eyes remained closed and her face was flushed. Her lips remained pursed, frozen from the shock of something so intimate.
Remy watched in trepidation as her eyes finally fluttered opened and her hand glided up and touched her lips softly in awe. At last, she rested her eyes on him, the initial shock and euphoria wearing off. "You kissed me," she breathed. If Remy hadn't known any better, he'd say she was accusing him of it.
He nodded, bracing himself for the moment that she came to her senses and began to beat him to a bloody pulp. Or worse, she started to holler and have half of the institute's occupants come down on him. Not that he couldn't handle them physically, of course, but it was hard enough being a former Acolyte in the midst of the X-Men. Gaining their trust had been a pain enough – messing with Rogue was just taking a step in the wrong direction.
"You… kissed me," she repeated, as if the words sounded foreign on her tongue. She touched her lips again and a small smile curled the corners of her mouth.
"Oui… I did." This was so not the reaction he was expecting. Sure, it was a bastard move to pull in the first place, but it was Remy! Girls either fell for him in an instant or slapped him. Seeing as how the latter had only happened once, he'd expected Rogue to follow suit since she was the type of girl that valued her personal space. Something told Remy that no one had bothered to get that close to her before and that was why she'd reacted the way she did.
However, he still took a step back, unsure of what to make of her smile. He'd never seen that type of smile on her and didn't want to be within arm's reach if it meant something painful for him.
"Why would you do that?" she asked him softly, finally lowering her hand from her mouth. The smile was still there, and her cheeks were still flushed. Remy graciously noted that the tip of her nose was bright pink.
"Well… turns out, it was m'diabolical plan t' corner y' in de wash room and kiss you all along?" he said nonchalantly.
The smile fell.
That apparently was the wrong thing to say.
"So ya didn't mean everythin' ya said," she said, her voice low. The slightly gleeful tone of her voice was gone.
"Non, I did. But do y' know how long I've been wantin' t' kiss dose lips of yours, chérie? Since de moment I saw y'."
Rogue was unimpressed. "Oh, the day you almost blew my hand off?" Her hand found her hip as she shifted her weight onto one leg.
He smiled warmly. "Yeah… dat was it. Den dat day at y' school when y' followed me t' de Brotherhood house… an' den of course when I snatched y' an' took y' t' Nawlins…" He got a faraway look in his eyes. "You are tres belle, Rogue. Don't let anyone tell y' otherwise."
"You're doin' that thing where you throw around French words an' are expectin' me ta fall over like every other female that crosses your path, Remy. Ya know that ain't me," Rogue sighed, leaning against the dryer once more.
"Dat's de t'ing," he began, taking a step towards her. He raised his hand, still holding the scarf. Deftly, he laid it across his hand and cupped her cheek in his palm. "I know y' ain' like every other girl, chére. An' dat is why I can' stop t'inking 'bout you."
Rogue had held her breath in hesitation as she felt Remy's thumb underneath the silk slide against her cheekbone, but she gasped silently at the last thing he'd said. She averted her gaze from his hand to his eyes, checking for sincerity in his words. She bit her lip, scrutinizing the emotion she saw deep in his unusual eyes. "Ah want ta believe you, Remy…"
"M' not askin' y' t' believe me, Rogue. I jus' wanted y' t' know," he murmured softly, before dropping his hand from her face. The scarf fell as well, gliding down her cheek and sending shivers down her spine. Her eyes followed his hand as it gathered up the cloth, crinkling it into his fist once more. "I'll let y' finish up in here now."
He took a step back from her and began to turn away. His hand slid to his back pocket, ready to shove the red scarf back into it from where he'd drawn it before. Rogue, in a moment of utter desperation that she couldn't quite explain, stepped forward and grabbed the hand before the scarf could disappear in the denim pocket completely.
Remy turned once more, noting Rogue's hand on his wrist. Another blush had settled on her cheeks as she gazed up to him through her thick eyelashes. She gently tugged on his wrist, willing him to turn back to her completely. He pulled his hand out of his pocket, red scarf in tow. Once more, she felt her back press against the dryer as she led Remy closer to her, her hand slipping down his wrist and taking the scarf from him.
"Ah want ta believe ya," she repeated gently, her empty hand trailing up his chest and up to his chin. She traced his jaw line with her gloved finger curiously, enjoying the confused look in his eyes.
"What are y' doin', chérie?" he whispered huskily, his eyes darting back and forth between her eyes, her lips and her hands. He watched as her tongue darted out quickly to wet her lips and involuntarily mimicked the motion himself.
"Close yoah eyes an' trust me, Remy." She wrapped her other hand in the scarf, feeling the material between her fingers as best she could. Slowly, she ran her silk covered finger across his cheek as his red on black eyes closed.
With a small smirk across her lips, she loosened her grasp on the scarf and shook it out gently so as to get the small wrinkles out of it. With her free hand, she guided Remy's head down towards hers, brushing the silk across his face. She watched with muted glee as the corner of his lip twitched into a smirk while he tried to remain completely still faced.
She stood up on her tiptoes, draping the scarf between them once more. She pressed her lips against his ever so softly. He responded immediately but she pulled away a breath, only to whisper, "Désolé, chér," as she slipped the scarf away from her face. Remy's eyes opened briefly, only to catch Rogue tiptoeing again and pressing her bare lips to his. For a moment, it felt wonderful – Remy could taste vanilla on her full lips before he could feel the drain of her powers that he knew all too well.
He groaned as his eyes rolled back into his head and began to collapse, but Rogue caught him and as best as she could seeing as how he towered over her, lowered him to the ground. With a sad smile, she tucked the scarf into his limp hand. She closed her eyes for a moment and pressed her hand to her forehead, sorting out the memories she'd gained from him.
She saw through his eyes as she sat with her back to him in her room as he watched through the corner of the window. She'd been going through her box with its obscure mementos and just slightly over her shoulder, she could see the Queen of Hearts.
So that's how he'd known.
She opened her eyes, a serene smile on her face. She knelt down on one knee and reached down to brush some hair from his face. He'll be fine, she told herself, noting his even breathing. She traced his jaw line once more, stopping to poke his nose. "Ah believe you," she whispered. "An' apparently it was yoah lucky day."
She whipped her head towards the doorway to the washroom and saw Jubilee standing there. The younger girl stood, frozen in confusion with a sock in her hand. "I, uh, think you dropped this on your way here…"
In an instant, Rogue was on her feet and standing in front of Jubilee in the doorway. "Thanks," she said, sighing with relief as she took the sock from Jubilee's hand. "Don't ya hate when ya go ta fold these damn things an' there's always one missin'?"
"Yeah…" Jubilee peered around Rogue's body to Remy collapsed on the floor. "What happened?"
Rogue followed Jubilee's gaze as if it were the first time she'd seen Remy laying there. "Oh, him?" She rolled her eyes with a slight laugh. "He couldn't wait his turn foh the laundry room. Ah figure Ah'll be finished when he wakes up," she finished with a sardonic smile.