Disclaimer: I don't own anything seen or associated with X-men Evolution. Plus, I don't own any alcohol. I meant the brand names…
He didn't hear the person settle their weight on the stool next to his. Frankly, he couldn't have cared less. For the last five weeks he had been hopping from county to county, bar to bar in search of his next drink, his next easy fix and his next nightly festivity.
So in a way, he felt obligated to peruse the inhabitant of the seat next to his. Yet, he couldn't put the effort forth to move his head. Instead, he buried his head further into the cracked surface of the bar top. His head pounded and he knew he hadn't had nearly enough to drink yet. Raising a hand, he lifted his head slightly.
"Carl! Gimme another bourbon sil vous plait!"
There was a beat of silence before something shocked him. "Make it a double," a voice from beside him commanded, using soft elicit tones. He determined it was either a woman, or an extremely feminine male. Hopefully, it was a woman and he could satisfy the nightly activities portion of his night. He had little else to occupy his time nowadays.
Lifting his head, Remy looked over to discover something shocking. Sitting next to him was none other than the girl he had kidnapped only months ago. He wondered if maybe he should just leave her alone, not risk the easy out he had achieved when they last parted. But then again, this was Remy, and he didn't back down because of the threat of danger.
"What'cha doin' here chére? Y' a lil' young f' drinking."
She looked sidelong at him, as if not noticing he had been there before. Something flashed through her eyes before she sought out the smooth surface of her drink. "Ah'm doin' the same s'you," she managed to intake a rather large amount of the amber liquid.
"Looking for a chick to pick up?" he asked hopefully, offering up a lopsided smirk.
"Drowning my sorrows," Rogue gritted out, taking a drink immediately afterwards and draining the glass. He vaguely noted how his presence seemed to cause her to drink even heavier than was considered normal.
He propped his head on his hand, using the alternate to swirl a finger around the brim of his glass. He was somewhat disappointed that no sound emitted from the glass. "What ails mon chére?"
"It's nothin'. Deal with your own shit Gambit."
"Menteur," he muttered, returning to his drink. He had noticed how she had looked at her drink rather than him at the statement. It was a sure sign of her untruthfulness, if he had needed such trivial things as that.
"Ah'm not a liar!" she shrieked, looking up into his eyes while her own were a sea of frenzied green.
"Parlez-vous français?" Remy asked in disbelief. More often then not, students took no more then one or two years of rudimentary language or more with simply no mastery of the language. He should know, several women thought it alluring to try and say something to him in French when they could only remember the name for apple.
"Pour la plupart," she answered, smirking slightly at having surprised him at the very least. Her spine had straightened, alleviating her posture from the slumped position. No doubt she was proud of having figured out the minimal French.
"So w'at is it? S'not like Remy can run an' tell vos amis. Dey don't really trust Remy." He attempted to bring the conversation back to the original topic. He was genuinely curious as to how she had gotten herself into a bar, by herself and obtained a drink, but more pertinent was the reason for it.
"Wonder why that is," she drawled sarcastically sending him a look to say that she hadn't all together forgiven him for their lovely trip down south.
"Seriously chére," his eyes stayed focused on her and his face showed only faint lines of concern.
"Seriously? Seriously it's my friends that're the problem. They…They've all been acting different around me since the whole Apocalypse thing happened." Rogue got out hesitantly, obviously not completely comfortable with telling this to him. But apparently she wanted to talk to someone about it.
"Dey blame y' for it?"
"Not 'xactly. Ah mean, clearly some of them do, the younger ones mostly, but it's like they walk on eggshells around me. It's 'Oh sorry Rogue' this and 'Here let me help you' that. Like Ah'm just going to blow and the worlds most powerful mutant will shoot out of my ass and eat them," her body language was tense, the tips of her fingers had turned white from gripping her glass.
He laughed, and he noticed some of the lines on her face ease slightly. "Dat'd be a sight."
"Shuddup," she took another gulp of her freshly refilled drink. "Now that I think about it, they've been like this for quite awhile…probably ever since my powers went out of control."
"Why would dat be?" Remy had found out her powers had gone out of control while he had been checking up on her before their adventure. They at least had something in common, when their powers when out of whack, destruction followed.
Rogue made a face as if thinking of not continuing before draining her glass. She grimaced but continued nevertheless. "It's like they all saw the worst part of themselves when Ah pulled up their powers and their personality. Ah think it scares them to realize someone else knows all their innermost secrets."
"Dey don't have dat with de great spook dere?"
She smiled lightly. "Nah, the Professor has a strict moral code. He wouldn't look in our heads unless given permission or circumstances demand it."
"Well…den maybe s'cause de felt like de didn't help y' enough den. Dat dey weren't enough o' a friend. Maybe dey're guilty," he said as plainly as he could. Even though he knew that as this very moment, he could be headed back to some woman's room, particularly that brunette in the back who was giving him the eye; he didn't want to leave Rogue's side.
"Yeah, maybe. Or maybe they just realized that they shouldn't try to be my friend. Face it Gambit, Ah'm a freak even by mutant standards."
Remy inwardly flinched at the harsh treatment she offered herself. "Ah, mais y're a très belle freak," he praised while grinning like an idiot in an attempt to make her smile just a little more.
She rolled her eyes but the corners of her mouth tilted up a fraction of an inch and her cheeks darkened ever so subtly. Carl placed another drink before her and this time she took a small swallow before placing it between her hands. Her body swiveled to angle more directly with his. "So, your turn."
"Hmm?" He was too caught in the new view provided by her amended position to take notice of what she really said. She had wonderful taste in clothing, tight in all the right places while comfortably hugging the rest. Although the sliver of pale skin exposed between her hemline and jeans was driving him crazy.
"Ah said, s'your turn to fess up. What's eating at your tail Gambit?"
"S'nothin'," he admonished with a wave of his hand, quickly thinking up another topic that would satisfy her need to talk. Maybe if he brought up Mystique she would…
"Menteur," she mocked, offering him an impish smile while cutting off his thoughts simultaneously. She looked very coquettish with that smile, and he wished she would show it more often.
"Que je suis," he returned, now mirroring her grin.
"Gambit," she leveled her gaze with his, her arms coming to cross before her chest. The motion, whether meant to show her unwillingness to back down, or to hide the view, was working to aggravate him either way.
But he didn't show it. He tilted his head and reflected her look, small gesture by small gesture. "Rogue."
Something inside of him jolted at the sound of his name on her lips. He liked it but sighed all the same, she never used his actual name before. It seemed to have some adverse effect on him. "It's my family."
He didn't know what made him say it. Maybe it was how her eyelids lowered and her voice grew deeper yet quiet. Perhaps it was how she had just opened up a part of herself to him, showing the girl behind the mask. Or maybe, maybe it was because she had called him by his real name just this once.
She almost looked concerned, and he wondered why she would ever care about his family. She didn't know them, a fact for which he would be eternally grateful. "Did something happen to them?"
"Non, dey're fine," Remy amended quickly before she panicked more than she seemed to be. "Perhaps I should have just said dat its de whole o' N'awlins dats de problem."
"But you love New Orleans…"
"Oui, Remy does. Mais, some stuff happened dat…well Remy can't go back dere no more." He was looking back down at his bourbon again. He wasn't supposed to be talking. He wasn't supposed to not be able to look at her face. He was supposed to be in control here.
"S'not somet'ing y' want t' hear," he looked away from his drink, having been able to see her hand from the corner of his eye. His gaze fell upon the brunette, who winked. Quickly he set to staring at the bottles behind the bar, still unable to meet her eyes.
Her hand slid to cover one of his, and he looked up to see her understanding eyes. He knew they wouldn't be the same once he told her. He knew she would turn on him like everyone else, and she was one person he wanted to keep unaware. She was the one person he didn't want to know what a monster he really was.
Out of the blue, Rogue took the initiative to talk, uncoerced. "Ah killed Mystique. Or at least Ah would have if she wasn't with Apocalypse in actuality at the time."
"Still she was just stone den…"
She shook her head, clearly disagreeing. "She wasn't just stone to me. She was my mother, trapped under stone, still alive. Point is, Ah still would have killed her in that moment."
He understood why she had told him this. She wanted to say that whatever it was, she was just as much a monster as he believed he was. "Y' don't want to know, s'not nice chére."
"Ah got a whole lot of not nice up here," she tapped her forehead. "Ah'm not one to judge."
He sighed again. His fingers wove between her still present ones and he focused on the countertop surface below them. He couldn't, wouldn't look into her eyes while saying this. "I killed my future brother-in-law."
Remy grinned slightly, figures she picked up on that part. He noticed a small waver in her voice. "De whole reason I was working for Magneto was to postpone my wedding."
"You were getting married?" the other question had been confusion; this one was disbelief with what he sensed to be a little bit of fear mixed in.
"You remember de Rippers, oui?" Silently he hoped that she wouldn't and he could just lie. That, or refuse to explain the intricacy of the situation.
She took time to answer, and when she did the words came out hesitantly. If it was anywhere of a pleasant memory one could have mistaken it for savoring the memory. But the Rippers were never tied to pleasant memories. "Yeah, Ah remember them."
He frowned slightly that she remembered. "Well, dey're more formerly known as de Assassin's guild."
"Suddenly the giant bazooka makes sense."
His lips widened towards a smile. "As y' might have noticed de Assassin's and de T'ieves don't get along dat nicely." He ignored her snort as best he could. "An' when Remy came home one day wit' dis blond fille for a friend, both leaders saw a possibility."
"Ah'm guessing she was supposed to marry you?" Rogue interrupted, trying to help him along with his story.
"Exactement. Dey leaders, mon père and de girl's father decided dat when she turned eighteen we'd be married and be de heads of de 'Unified Guilds'. S' a load of bull."
"So you took off?" she asked, sensing where this was going.
Remy nodded before elaborating. "Basically. But running from an international collective is harder den it looks. I figured out a plan t'ough, as long as I had a standing contract to work for someone, I couldn't get married, eighteenth birthday or not. Both de Guilds value work above all else."
"What was the problem then?"
"Y' remember de Mardi Gras we spent in de bayou together? Well, mon père was taken in de first place because de Assassin's had found out dat Magneto was not wit' de livin' and derefore my contract was void. De were forcing me to come back. To marry Belladonna." He finally stated the name that had been haunting his life for years. Never would he have brought her for a drink that day if he knew how things would turn out.
"You were going to get married then?" This seemed pivotal to her for some reason. If the cause was for what he hoped, he could just manage a smirk.
"Not quite," he ran a hand through his hair. "Was tryin' to figure out a way to get out of it."
"Always the snake you are."
He winked, a grin almost forming. "Problem came was dat I was under house arrest and my family would be suffering if I left. I couldn't even leave to help with Apocalypse."
"You knew about it?" she sounded shocked, almost as if she had some illusion that he had been somewhere with his head buried underground like an ostrich.
"I made it a point to keep tabs on a certain travel partner of mine."
She hide her smile by taking another drink, but Remy still caught a glimpse of it. "So you were going to help?"
"I wasn't about to leave y' all by y'self chére," he confessed seriously, his eyes locking with hers.
Her cheeks flushed and she cleared her throat, trying to move away from that vain of the conversation. "What happened then?"
"De wedding was all set and I couldn't find a way out of there. An den…den Bella's frère, Julien, happened. Y' met him actually, en de club an' wit' de bazooka." Remy hoped that would be enough for her to figure out what had happened. He didn't want to have to say it.
"Damn, pick someone a little smaller next time," she was trying to lighten the tension between them caused by this conversation. It seemed to work slightly.
"Unfortunately dat wasn't de problem. De problem was when he pulled a knife on me in de dressing room before de ceremony started. I…I had no choice but to defend myself."
Her hand gave his a squeeze, silently encouraging him to keep going. He looked up at her for the first time throughout the entire ordeal of talking. It didn't matter that he could briefly meet her eyes when she would change the topic.
"I stabbed him. Wrested the knife away from him, wasted a few dozen cards and as I held the knife towards him, he just rushes me. I forgot I had de knife, I went to punch him…and de knife just went in. I didn't even know what happened. I walked out all bloody and Bella screamed bloody murder. M' not allowed back into de city if I want to live," he couldn't help but mutter the last part. His heartache at never seeing his city or his family again was rushing back to him.
"But why wouldn't your family protect you?" Rogue knew her family hadn't been satisfactory, but she knew enough that the families down in New Orleans were fiercely protective of their own.
"Non, dey're obligated to either kill me or bring me to the Assassin's for justice or dey forfeit leur vie. M' not doin' dat to any o' dem. M' not lettin' dem make dat choice," he said steely. There was no way that he would let anyone in his family die because he had been selfish and stupid enough to waltz back down there.
Her other hand moved over to cocoon both of his within her own. "Ah sorry, Ah'm so sorry. Ah know how much that city means to you, how much your family means to you."
He offered a false grin. "M' still alive t'ough."
"Take it from someone who knows, sometimes that's worse than being dead," she whispered, looking down at the tabletop once more.
"Look at us, both wallowing in our own pity. We should celebrate!" he suggested quickly, suddenly realizing how much information he had shared with another person. Perhaps if he got her to drink enough, she wouldn't remember their conversation.
"Celebrate what?" Rogue quirked an eyebrow at the random exclamation.
"Bein' young, bein' beautiful, bein' mutants, bein' southern. Y' pick!" he raised his glass mockingly towards her.
She raised hers in return. "How 'bout to being the best fakers these Yankees have ever seen?"
"To bein' a fake." Remy clinked his glass against hers and watched as the liquid sloshed high on the sides.
She hit the side of her drink against hers, parroting his actions and his words. "To being a fake."
They drained their glasses but refrained from motioning for another, already sensing they had both had their fill of the mind altering substance.
"As much as I enjoyed de heart to heart chérie, I need to go find some poor femme t' take me home." Remy offered her a bright smile with more than a little bit of mischief behind it. It was only a wonder how he was planning to convince the woman.
"You've got nowhere to stay?"
"Not exactly…I had an apartment that I had let go. An' den dere are always hotels but dat requires money an' I haven't worked a job for awhile. And…well m' not real fit to work in dis condition," he explained, a sheepish smile on his face. It wasn't like he couldn't just steal the cash from some unsuspecting stranger, but he didn't trust his reflexes with the alcohol.
Rogue bit her lip, thinking something over. "Well, how about you just come on home with me."
"Quoi?" He had been thinking of wandering back towards the brunette, letting his gaze wander that way when her comment finally dawned on him. His head had whipped around faster than should be capable.
"Ah'm a 'femme' an' Ah'm inviting you back with me." She emphasized each word, clearly taking enjoyment from causing him such confusion.
"Y' feelin' all right dere chére?" He placed the back of his gloved hand against her forehead, checking her temperature. She just swatted his hand away, giving him a look.
"Besides overly tipsy, Ah'm fine. An' Ah'm not offering you a bed, Ah'm offering you the couch in my room," Rogue felt the need to clarify for both herself and him. She figured that by inviting him he could talk with Xavier in the morning and resolve a few things.
"Y' sure?" he inquired, not sure if she held as liquor as she did.
"Abso-freakin'-loutely." She offered him a lopsided grin, acting far more drunk than she currently was.
Remy crossed his arms in front of his chest and peered down at her disapprovingly. "You're drunk."
She mirrored his actions, turning her back on him slightly and adding a little 'hmph'. "You're one to talk."
After measuring her eyes for several moments to determine whether she was being genuine or not, he came to a conclusion. "Fine, I'll come wit' you, mais s'only 'cause y' scarin' me right now."
"Whatever you need to tell yourself," she replied as she shrugged easily.
They stood up and she began fishing in her pockets for money to pay for her drinks. He slapped her hands away and took out a few bills, placing them down on the counter. "De homme always pays. C'mon."
"You have money for drinks but not a scuzzy motel?"
He grinned at her, while placing a hand on the small of her back and guiding her out into the early morning. "I said hotel chére, not motel." As they continued to walk, something occurred to his mind. "Rogue, what're y' goin' t' say if someone sees me sleeping on your couch?"
"That is something Ah'll deal with in the morning."
Author's Notes: Because a teenage girl cannot simply release the most powerful mutant of all kind and then put him back without some sort of social backlash. There are those that care, there are those that pretend and then there are those that understand. My reason for Remy slipping in and out of third person here is because he's drunk. It was an old habit that Tante literally 'beat' out of him. Affectionately speaking of course.
And for a french lesson on the fly...I chose not to write all of the ones that people commonly see, like oui, non and chére. A menteur, is a liar. Parlez-vous français?, is 'do you speak French?'. Pour la plupart, would be 'for the most part'. Rogue's vos amis is translated to 'your friends. And the ever cocky response of Remy Que je suis, is 'that I am'. Do you think my French is wrong? Well, I'm terribly sorry, but I don't even know how to say apple in French let alone formulate actual sentences.