Porch Swing by Máiréad Channing

She was sitting on the porch swing, holding a novel in one hand and a glass of red wine in the other. One leg was bent in front of her so that it rested on the swing, while the other was extended so that her bare foot could push against the worn wooden floor, to rock the swing back and forth ever so slightly. The novel, which was some random romance-adventure involving vampires and the like, barely held her attention, and though she was staring at the page, her mind was elsewhere.

The porch creaked slightly, and Rogue turned the page, though she was pretty sure she hadn't absorbed the last page at all. She was on the upper level porch, which like the lower level, wrapped around the entirety of the house. However, unlike the lower level, the floors on the upper level had not needed replacement, and thus every creak from decades of use still existed; the creaks were impossible to avoid, even for her, and she'd been trying to find a soundless pathway for two years with no success.

The porch creaked again, and Rogue's lips twitched upwards slightly in a small smile.

"Jean Luc, ya can try and use all those thievin' skills ya want, but ya can't win against my porch."

There was a chuckle to her right, which meant that he had likely come up the wrought-iron staircase that was the only stairway outside connecting the upper and lower levels. It wasn't often the man traveled inside the house without permission, because as a Thief, and the head of all Thieves in New Orleans, he understood and respected the need for privacy.

Not that there was much in their house to hide, besides the ordinary antiques that, while valuable, were nothing that Jean Luc couldn't obtain from elsewhere. Seeing as the man owned his own extraordinary mansion, he wouldn't, and hadn't, looked twice at anything in her home and didn't visit often.

It suited her and Remy just fine.

"Well?" Rogue didn't look up from her book. "Ya got news for me? Or am I gonna have to kick your son's ass when he gets home?"

Jean Luc snorted, and Rogue could tell he was smiling his half-smile without even looking at him. There was a silence for a few more moments, before Jean Luc finally moved out from wherever he'd been standing so he was leaning on the iron rail in front, and slightly to the right, of her and the swing. He gazed outward through the old trees, whose branches bent and cast slight shadows over the landscape in the early-evening light, and she too looked upwards from the book's pages and gazed outward across the property, which had been bought by Remy as a gift for her when she'd refused to live in the Guild's mansion.

There was a small green lawn, and various flower beds filled with perennials, but mostly trees, which provided a lot of shade in the merciless New Orleans sun during the day. She loved the trees, with their rough wood and twisting branches; they provided the property with far more privacy than any fence would allow, and with them also shadowing the long, windy driveway, no tourist was stupid enough to try and get to the house.

Not that they could; the Theives' security was top notch, and Emil had done wonders that had at first fascinated Rogue, who had never seen anything so sophisticated outside of Xavier's mansion and government facilities.

But Thieves would be Thieves, and she had found over the past two years that they never settled for anything less than the best obtainable.

A breeze blew across the porch, and Rogue pushed white bangs behind her ear, which had been sticking slightly to her forehead in the humid air. "Well, Jean Luc?"

"…He's gonna be another three days. Y'know how big de job is; couldn't be helped."

Rogue sighed, and snapped her book shut. In reality, she didn't know what Remy was doing, because as she wasn't a Thief she wasn't privy to that information, and Jean Luc knew it. Standing up from the swing, she set the book on it, and then took a few steps forward to lean on the railing near him, though she kept a safe distance from the Guild Master. She had enough people swimming in her head without him in there too, and her tank top and shorts left a lot of skin exposed. One wrong move, and there the Guild Master would be, passed out on the floor.

That wouldn't really be a good thing.

"Y'don't have to worry about touchin' me. My reflexes are fine enough, still," Jean Luc commented, sounding amused. "M'not that old yet."

"Ya know how wrong that sounds, right?" She couldn't resist saying it, and really, it came out before she could consider who she was talking to.

But as Jean Luc grinned widely in response, and she thanked whatever God was out there that he hadn't been offended, Rogue noticed once again how similar Remy was in appearance to his father, even though they weren't related by blood. She supposed it was mostly their mannerisms, but it was uncanny, sometimes.

"Ya pervert."

"Chere, y'about de only girl in de world that can get away wit' callin' me that."

"Mercy, too."

Jean Luc ran a hand through his hair. "Non, Mercy just glares at me and gives me de silent treatment. She's been 'round Tante Mattie too much, recently, I t'ink."

There was a comfortable silence for a few minutes after that, and Rogue ran her finger idly alone the railing and stared upwards. The wooden details on the edge of the ceiling were going to need repainted…

"Y'should be askin' me a question, Rogue," Jean Luc finally said.

Rogue sighed in mock exasperation. "So did ya come all the way here just to tell me that Remy would be gone a while longer? Could've called."

"Y'have this awful habit o'not answerin' y'phone."

Rogue grinned at him before looking away and towards the trees, not focusing on much in particular. "Ya have a nasty habit of callin' too much…and hittin' on me." She laughed.

"Not intentional. Came out wrong. It doesn't help that y'have a sick mind like Remy, either," Jean Luc said, and then paused in consideration. "And I'm pretty sure it's been Mercy callin' you. Henri mentioned to me that she was dyin' to take y'shoppin' for some nicer things."

"M'not into that lifestyle."

"I know." Jean Luc's eyes glinted. "But y' know that won't stop de woman from tryin' all de same."

Rogue groaned and leaned to the side, letting her head hit one of the large white columns that surrounded the house and helped to support the porch's roof.

"Tryin' to give y'self a concussion?"

"If it saves me from Mercy, yes."

Jean Luc sighed, and then folded his arms. Rogue met his gaze as he looked over at her thoughtfully, and then said, "Y'ever gonna marry him?"

"I don't know," Rogue replied honestly. It felt as if she was married to Gambit already, and she knew she'd never love anyone else like she loved him. They already shared a house. The only thing that didn't make it official was the lack of an official document.

"Would y'say yes if he asked?" Jean Luc persisted, and Rogue's eyes immediately narrowed with suspicion.

The two stared at each other for a long while, silent, though Rogue did open her mouth once before shutting it again, not knowing what to say.

"Be ready when he gets back," Jean Luc said, finally. Then, with a smile, he walked down the porch away from her and then disappeared from her view as he descended the stairs.

Rogue collapsed back down onto the porch swing after an indeterminate amount of time, smiling to herself. She drained the last small amount of wine in her glass, and then picked up her book again. This time, she definitely was too busy being happy to pay attention to the words. Laughing loudly with both excitement and disbelief, she tossed the book aside and pulled her phone out of her pocket, staring at it thoughtfully.

Maybe she would answer the next time Mercy called. Maybe. But for now, she was content to sit on her porch swing and relax until Remy LeBeau came home.