Disclaimer: It's not yours or mine. But the dreams are.

Need to know: In case you haven't figured it out (or read any of them), my stories aren't exactly consistant with each other. I claim it to be flexible so I can write things with more ease. But anyway. Rogue's 18, my mental age for Remy is 21 or so (so it doesn't seem weird), story's set after the series #T$ing ended. X23, Remy, and Piotr are at the Institute but Piotr didn't make it into the final draft (sorry. I wanted him here too but it just wasn't relevant.). I think that's all. Enjoy. And COMMENT, for crying out loud.

The weather was unusually sunny and warm for April, and most of the residents of Xavier's Institute were taking advantage of it. Professor Xavier himself was enjoying a novel under a tree, while most of the female residents of the mansion were tanning or floating on rafts in the pool. Kurt and Amanda were goofing off in the clearing under Logan's watchful eye. Most of the males of the mansion were involved in an extremely masculine game of basketball, which meant that in order to play one hand to showboat often, overcompensate for a lack of prowess with an excess of enthusiasm, and above all never wear a shirt (excepting Laura, but she had a cutoff shirt on so her stomach was showing anyway).

Rogue wasn't sure how they remembered who was on which team. She'd been delegated to scorekeeper, since she was spread out with a sketchbook and her backpack on the bleachers. The scorecard was lying on the row below her, untouched. According to Scott's team, they were winning by at least twelve points. According to Bobby's, easily by twenty. And by Rogue's, it was tied at zero.

No one bothered to remind her about the scorecard. It was too warm for mesh and leather, so she had traded her tights and skirt for some of Jean's old sweat capris and her sheer shirt for a plaid button-up shirt with the sleeves rolled up. Her gloves were in her bag. Just enough of her skin was showing to warn people off. If the basketball went out of bounds in her direction, the players waiting for her to swat it back at them absently.

She was busy working on real life sketching for her advanced art class. The girls floating around sleeping on the pool had been subjected to her artistic whim for awhile, but they had gotten boring when no one moved. Basketball was just as boring to Rogue, but at least they did stupid things now and then that made her laugh.

None of them were the object of her current sketch, though. On the bleachers opposite Rogue was sprawled a certain infamous Cajun, who was taking a break from the game. The boys running around were too hard to draw, but Remy LeBeau was a perfect victim.

Rogue tucked some of her thick multicolored hair behind her ears and studied the Cajun from behind the anonymous safety of her dark-lensed sunglasses, her hands forming basic outlines on the page with a hotel pen she'd stolen some time ago. She added a few horizontal lines for the bleachers.

As she drew, she tuned out the sounds of the game, the pool water, and the breeze rustling things. The state was in while drawing was one of her favorite places to be, even though it never lasted. It was a reprieve from the world and all its insecurities, but unfortunately it wasn't a reprieve from the basketball that bounced off her head and snapped the point off her pen, spewing ink. Disgusted, Rogue dropped the pen between the bleachers, picked up the basketball, and chucked it as hard as she could towards the pool.

Rubbing her head and ignoring the complaints directed at her, she picked up a spare pen from her bag and sat back down on the bleachers. (In the pool, Jean shrieked as a basketball knocked her raft out from under her.) She glanced up at the opposite bleachers, but Remy wasn't there.

Just as a disappointed sigh left her lungs, a shadow fell over her paper. She hugged her sketchbook like a diary and glared at Remy as he sat down on the level below her, and stubbornly ignored the jump in her heart.

"What d'you want, Swamp Rat?" she snarled slightly. Remy just smiled pleasantly.

"Remy jus' saw his chere lookin' lonely, so he decided ta come over an' bug her."

"It's hard to concentrate when you're right there," Rogue complained, immediately knowing what Gambit's next words would be as soon as her own left her mouth.

"Remy distracts ya?" Sure enough. She didn't rise to the bait, instead starting a new sketch, but was painfully aware of how close the Cajun was to her. His bare arms and shoulders were so close to her own skin. She wanted to touch him so badly, but knew what would happen. It wasn't worth it.

The silence only lasted a few minutes.

"What'cha doin'?" Remy asked cheerfully, trying to peek over his shoulder at Rogue's sketch. She briefly entertained the thought of headbutting him and telling Logan that the Cajun was stalking her again. He'd fix that problem. Instead, she tried to do her sketch.

"What'cha drawin' Remy for?" he asked, twisting around so he could see.

"Because…why am Ah answerin' you? Look, bug me later. This is due tomorrow mornin'. And Ah'm still mad at you."

He paused, then calmly reached over and took her sketchbook out of her hands. She wasn't sure why she let him. Shutting it, he opened it to the first page and began flipping through, looking at all the pictures she'd drawn in art that semester. Rogue tried to sneak-lunge for it, but Remy casually slid down the row out of reach without missing a beat.

"That's mine," she reminded him.

"Dese is good," he said, sounding like he was enjoying himself. The sexy smug grin and lack of a shirt wasn't helping. Rogue settled for waiting until he lost interest, trying to watch the game.

"Why are you doing this?" she asked pseudo-patiently, folding her arms across her chest.

"Ain't buggin' you, chere. Like ya said."

Rogue wasn't sure if she wanted to jump him and suck his face off or kill him. But she was sure that she wanted her book back. He flipped to another page, paused as it registered, and then glanced at Rogue quizzically.

"Chere, what's dis one?"

A malicious grin broke out on Rogue's face now that the playing field was even. Leaning in, she pointed with a black-polished nail at a figure on a motorcycle. "This is me on mah new bike, and this," she moved her finger to a graphic mess with ruby eyes under the bike's wheels, "is you. Dying. Slowly." A small giggle came out as she visualized.

"Dat ain't nice."

"Ya stole mah bike, stupid! And not only that, but you didn't fill 'er back up when you got back. You know Logan's rules about leaving the tank empty, let alone 'borrowin' someone's brand new bike. And you'd done it with Scott's car, too. Ah swear, if you're not more careful you're gonna get kicked out." Rogue said angrily.

He stopped smiling and tossed the sketchbook onto the bench in front of Rogue, who'd moved down to the row he was sitting on while she'd been lecturing, and looked at her with a strangely serious look in his face instead of his usual slightly mocking one. She tried to resist, but found herself looking back at him. Green eyes watched red ones, and vice versa.

"Would ya miss me?" he asked.

Rogue pretended to think. "Ah'd have a full tank of gas."

He started to say something, but stopped. He looked…sad? Regretful? It was hard to tell. Rogue wasn't the best at interpreting expressions. Excepting Kitty, who wore her emotions like one of her pink cardigans, and Kurt, who was open about how he felt if anyone asked.

What she'd said had been sort of harsh, though. She sighed. Fine.

"Or maybe…maybe Ah would. Just a very very very veryveryvery tiny, microscopic piece of mah heart would miss you. Barely. If the planets were in alignment."

That worked. He perked right back up. Rogue had originally planned on dying alone and miserable with her crush on Gambit a secret, but he'd looked so miserable and she wasn't really as mean as she pretended.

There'd be no stopping him now.

"Microscopic," she repeated for good measure.

"So you like yo' Remy?"

Crud. "No, Ah hate you and Ah'm just saying this because…so you'll stop looking so pathetic."

Remy, spirits recovered with bipolar ease, smiled happily. Not insolently or suggestively like Rogue was used to, but for once like he was genuinely happy. Rogue wondered briefly how few people had seen that smile, and why she was one of them. Again, it wasn't helping that he'd been growing his hair out for awhile and it fell into his strange eyes just right. And the jeans and shirtless look had always been one of Rogue's weak spots. It was almost like he knew that.

He flipped the sketchbook back to the page with the half-finished sketches of him and handed it and the pen to her, settling back to idly watch the boys and Laura still stubbornly playing basketball make fools of themselves. As Rogue sketched various objects and people and Remy watched the game companionably beside her, her mind wandered. The silence was comfortable, but Rogue was used to communication. It was all she had. Even Remy's silence was still trying to talk to her- they both had unanswered questions. She guessed that he was trying to be nice, a trait that didn't come easily to him.

"So," Rogue finally said, after several moments frozen in animated thought, "why are you here, anyway?"

He raised his eyebrows. "We had a moment and Remy got comfy."

"No, I mean, at the Institute. You let yourself get caught stealing and jailed so the Professor would bail you out and bring you here. Why?"

"To be near my chere?" he guessed, comfortable silence long gone.

"No- well, apparently yes- but why really?"

"Does Remy need a reason other than love?" he batted his eyes at her.

"Well, yes." Rogue insisted.

"Den why're you here at the Institute?" he countered, "You was a bad guy once too."

Rogue shut her sketchbook, quickly coming to terms with the fact that her assignment just wasn't going to get finished. "To get away. It wasn't worth it. Your turn."

Remy thought for a moment, and when he spoke his eyes were firmly on the concrete. "Remy's always been a mercenary. It comes naturally and pays well. He's always been de bad guy. But it wasn't…" he waved his hands slightly, trying to find the words, "Ah wasn't ever plannin' on being bad forever. Ah wanted to be able to stop and go straight, but wit' Magneto Ah couldn't. Mah only way out of dat life- especially out of de Acolytes- was to be forced into rehab." He emphasized the last part.

Rogue nodded slowly as the realization his. "You let yourself get arrested doing something small and uncharacteristic so you'd be able to be bailed out. It was a total gamble that the Professor would be the one to do it."

"Dat and Remy worked too hard to become Le Diable Blanc to have dat rep ruined. So it was all Remy."

"It was a Kmart, Remy. That's so below you."

"Never say dat word again. It's an insult."

"But you let yourself get arrested and brought here so you could start over, all without ruining your rep as a mercenary and thief and whatever else. That sounds thought through."

The basketball players decided it was halftime and adjourned for some of Ororo's freshly-made lemonade, rivalries forgotten. Neither of the benchwarmers paid them any attention.

"It was," Remy admitted, "Remy been thinking about it since Apocalypse, but never got de balls to do anything. Goin' good's harder den it looks." He got up and stretched, adding as an afterthought, "Is it worth it?"

"Yeah," she said as he helped her up by one of her covered biceps, "It's worth it."

"Good," he smiled and mock-saluted her before running off to claim some lemonade before it was gone. Rogue found that she had gotten extremely thirstly and that despite the sunburn coving her forearms, shins, and face, that she was more at peace than she'd been in a long time. She watched Remy fighting off several Jamies for a plastic cup, the same man who just a year ago was one of the most respected names in the underground world.

"Maybe you're worth it," she whispered to herself.