Author's Note: Alrighty, so this is my THIRD attempt of keeping a username on this site in the last, what, five years? Hopefully nothing will go wrong and I'll finally… FINALLY… be able to post "Rishta" in its entirety. Hopefully some of the old members have stuck around!

This story deals explicitly with the rishta (relationship) between Rogue and Gambit. I've placed the story a few months after Gambit's Trial (Uncanny X-Men #350). This is BEFORE Rogue lost her powers and BEFORE she and Gambit actually had a real relationship. Like so many comicbook lovers, I'm assuming for this story that Rogue and Gambit shared a physical union in the Cell he was kept in during the trial.

Some characters are out of place, but I'm hoping you'll forgive me for that.

Chapter #1: Prologue

When two people meet, a relationship is instantly thrust into existence. It can last as fleetingly as that first encounter, or thrive for years with unbent determination. In either case, the power within the relationship stems from the involvement of the two individuals.

For the man walking casually down the street, his brown trench coat waving behind his sultry stride, a new relationship was formed only a few days ago. It was a fleeting encounter, but he has since then decided that he will nurture this relationship. Does he believe in love at first sight? Hmm… does anyone before it actually happens?

He pulls open a glass door and walks into a brightly lit shop.

Today, he's a believer.

The lady at the counter does a double-take. It's not often that a tall, russet haired man with strange, penetrating eyes enters the Jewelry Shop and makes her breathless at first glance.

He walks directly towards her and leans against the glass counter separating the two. Incased within the glass counter are some of the most beautifully cut diamonds in the world.

'Uhh… how can I help you, sir?' She tries to keep her voice calm, but his roving eyes are doing a number on her composure.

'I want a ring.'

She notices that his voice is deep, and there is the hint of an accent lurking at the edge of his words.

'Are you looking for something specifically?' She's hoping he'll say he wants a ring for his mother.

'I'm looking for an engagement ring.'

Damn. Her expression changes from rapt attention to disappointment. The handsome man is taken. Of course.

It takes hours. She pulls out different designs, different diamonds, different cuts. The man is very precise and very picky. He seems to know his diamonds very well. Seeing the curious expression on her face, he joking says that he'll pay this time.

If he hadn't been so charming, she would have sounded the alarm…

In the end, the man decides on a simple, delicate band design with a large, beautifully cut diamond. The woman behind the counter wraps it with jealous fingers.

'You have one lucky girlfriend there, sir.'

He smirks. 'Non, no girlfriend. Not yet.'

She raises a brow as she pens out his receipt. He's paying the entire sum in cash.

'Then…'

'I met someone. A few days ago.' He hands over a wad of bills. 'I've got de new gig now, and she be hanging out dere, too.'

The woman behind the counter is stunned. 'You met her a few days ago and you're going to propose already?!'

The man chuckles, taking the boxed ring from her. 'Non, not yet. De game hasn't even started.'

She raises a brow. 'And you know for sure she'll say yes in the end?'

He flashes her a dazzling smile. 'That be de gamble, petite. All I know is she be de one.'

He drops the ring into his coat pocket, gives her a wink, and saunters out of the shop.

Does he believe in love at first sight?

Absolutely.