"It's not what you think," is the first thing Rogue says when she finally finds Gambit.
To his credit, he doesn't seem angry or even surprised. With Rogue at his doorstep (as much of a doorstep as one can have in the Savage Land), he is unperturbed. Calm, solemn and quiet. Hands steady. His skin nearly flesh-colored with bare traces of cyanotic blue.
"I'm not here to find you, to come for you," she says. Her voice is strained, her face pulled taut, like too much cosmetic surgery. A botched facelift, sunken rhinoplasty, chin and cheeks too sharp and thin. She is wraith-like and pale. Remy can see right through her. He does not ask questions. He knows everything just by looking.
When he gestures for her to follow him, she moves like a marionette. Stiffly, with limbs strange and jerking, as though she is being manipulated. Remy turns his back to her and leads the way, unworried. He is not afraid of her, not of this strange, shuddering creature. After all, there's not a day gone by that he has not felt as though someone is pulling his strings, too.
He doesn't ask. He knows enough.
Remy leads and Rogue follows. He accepts her and she stays; for how long, Remy does not know. He stopped keeping track of time the moment Apocalypse changed the blood in his veins to fire. They move around the Savage Land complex like two satellites, he and Rogue. Two moons orbiting the same planet. They don't talk. There are no apologies. No explanations. No declarations. There's no need. Neither of them are what they once were. Rogue has so many parts now, swimming there beneath the surface of her skin, none of which are recognizable. Though Remy has put them together time after time, the sum of those parts do not add up. She is not the woman she was. But then, the man Remy was is dead, too. And even so, together they do not equal what they used to.
It's not a game anymore, not the way it used to be. The way they played with each other when the sum of her parts and his equaled something identifiable. Cat-and-mouse. Predator and prey. This second life is not a game, and Remy no longer likes to play.
The jungles of the Savage Land are a yawning morass. It is dank there, and dark. Wild vines weave through trees; their leafy canopy obscures the sky. Remy lets it swallow him whole, sometimes. Lets himself fall into the fathomless wild, and does not surface until he is gasping for air. It is there, at the heart of the jungle, deep and hot, that Rogue takes him by surprise.
It is unexpected, but not wholly unwelcome.
Rogue knocks him off of his feet, and together they fall to the ground. Remy is on his back, breathless as she writhes against him. Above him, her body twists, slithers along him like a snake. Beneath her, he is hard and damp with sweat and needing. Her mouth is so close to his that he can feel her breath lips, can taste her on his tongue. She turns his blood to fire again, and he gasps at the pain. Cries and begs for more. He feels her power, the pull of it like suction on his skin. It caresses him with oily fingers, slick and sleazy. He feels the hunger. Her hunger. She cannot resist it; it's so strong. Remy knows this, and in the moment, he does not care. He wants her to take it. Take what she wants from him. What she needs. She needs him, his life, and for a moment, he would gladly give it to her.
But the moment passes, and Remy regains his senses. He uses every bit of strength he has to heave Rogue away from him. She doesn't fight him, not once he resists. Instead, she lays limply where she is tossed, her keening wail destroying the jungle quiet.
"I'm a parasite," she sobs.
Remy doesn't argue. It's true, after all, and he no longer knows how to use the platitudes that will soothe her. He leaves her in a crumpled heap on the jungle floor, and doesn't bother hoping she'll find her own way home.