I wrote this for my friend on LiveJournal who asked for a Ryro story. This is movieverse, though I've added Gambit to the mix because they really should have put him in one of the films! At least he's in Wolverine. Anyway, I hope John isn't OOC, I just had this idea that he would have mellowed a bit since the events of the last movie. Also, I didn't have a beta for this, so please forgive any mistakes I made.

Disclaimer: I don't anything you recognize, that belongs to Marvel Comics and 20th Century Fox.

"God it's hot," Marie muttered as she trekked across the pale green lawn, past the empty basketball court and the full swimming pool, which reflected the day's unbearable heat. She carefully avoided the newly built cemetery and soon sat upon a bench, alone and feeling very much like the day Mystique masqueraded as Bobby and tricked her into leaving. Three years later and that urge to run was back.

A stray lock of white hair fell from her tight bun into her eyes and she brushed it away with an ungloved hand. She never regretted taking the cure, even though she and Bobby hand broken up not long after. It seemed their problems stemmed from things other than her mutation, like her trust issues and his jealousy of Logan.

The wind picked up and the faint smell of rain lingered in the air. She looked up at the impending rain clouds and smiled. She loved standing in the rain, especially now that she could feel it against her bare skin again. Shrieks of laughter and calls to come inside before it rained floated along the air from the pool and if she squinted Marie could see figures behind the hedges that lined the swimming area.

She could never feel at home with them, no matter how hard she tried. She would always have the memories of the people she touched; those would never leave even though she didn't have her powers any more.

Storm had graciously offered Marie a position as counselor and Marie's parents wouldn't return her phone calls though hey did return the letters she had sent, so she had no where else to go. But their abandonment didn't hurt as much as Logan's absence.

Two months ago he woke her in the middle of the night, bags in hand. He couldn't stay any longer, the ghosts of his friend sand almost lover were too much to bear any longer. He promised to return.

Marie looked down at the red rose in her hand and foolishly hoped it was from him. Bobby had denied it when she found the first one a week ago. They've appeared n her bedside table every morning since. Logan wasn't a romantic, she knew, but who else would send her flowers?

The wind tugged the rose from her limp grasp and she quickly caught it before it hit the ground. Now she could touch anything and not worry about harming it. She accidentally discovered she could extract the life force of plants as well as humans when Bobby had given her flowers for her anniversary. She touched a bloom with bare hand when no one was around. It withered instantly.

Plants worked differently than humans. She didn't wake with a sudden yearning for the sun or crave Miracle-Gro. She just felt more alive, more refreshed. The only downside was the plant had to die.

Rogue looked down at the live flower and sighed. If Bobby hadn't sent her the flowers, and odds were Logan didn't either, who did? Angel, perhaps? Jubilee had gossiped about making out with him in the jet last week, so probably not. Peter, maybe? No, he was clearly into Kitty, who wanted nothing to do with Bobby since Rogue returned, sans powers.

Maybe that new guy, the one with the playing cards. What was his name? He was French or Cajun or something. He had flirted with her (and very other female in sight) enough that she could see him trying to woo his new "chere" like this.

God, what was his name? He liked to speak in the third person, which was decidedly creepy, but she should remember his name. That and his red eyes unnerved her.

"Dammit," she cursed under her breath. "Gambit!" She cried triumphantly into the still raging wind. Now she remembered his name, but she still didn't know who had sent her flowers. They didn't have a note signed "your secret admirer" or a card or anything. Just red, orange and yellow roses. She had arranged them quite prettily in a vase the Professor had given her for Christmas just before his death and when the sun hit them just right, they looked like flames.

Flames. Fire.

No. Way.

"John?" She whispered, looking down at the rose as though it had mutated into something ugly.

"Finally figured it out, huh?" A familiar yet strange voice asked from behind her. Rogue spun around and gasped in shock at the sight of John leaning casually against the tree trunk.

"What the hell are you doing here?" She yelled more in shock and disbelief than fear.

"Shush," he said, placing a finger to his lips and smirking. "Wouldn't want to scare the neighbors, would we?" He pointed toward the pool where she could still hear some voices. It wasn't that far, maybe she could find Bobby or Storm and tell them he was here.

"I wouldn't try it if I were you," he said darkly, barely audible over the sudden rumble of thunder. "I'd be gone before you could find anyone."

"What, you read minds now?" She scoffed as she turned her back on him. The old anger, bitterness and hurt bubbled beneath the surface again. She thought she had gotten over this, he shouldn't bother her anymore. Thunder rumbled again and suddenly the sky opened up. She looked up at the falling rain and grinned, closing her eyes to relish in the sensation for a moment.

"Who's Gambit?" John's voice came from close beside her. She opened her eyes to find him sitting next to her, looking as though it wasn't pouring rain on them both.

"What? Oh, he's a new mutant, just showed up. He's a huge flirt and I thought maybe he sent the flowers. Only I couldn't remember his name." She replied, not sure why she was still so calm when all she wanted to do was smack him across the face. She hadn't seen him since that day on the jet, though Bobby told her what happened at the Cure center and at Alcatraz.

He looked…older, more subdued and less like the boy she remembered. Maybe it had to do with his dark hair more than with the sadness in his eyes.

"I thought you were dead," she said finally for lack of anything better to say. She had cried an entire day and mourned he friend for a week when Bobby told her he couldn't find John at any of the hospitals or the hangouts some of Magneto's followers had returned to after Alcatraz.

"Well, I'm not," he answered unhelpfully. Though she was pleased to see he looked a little uncomfortable. When they had been friends she sometimes though she knew him better than Bobby. Over time the memories had quieted but she never let go of John's. She knew of his abusive father, of his time on the streets and in juvie before ending up at Xavier's. But she wasn't sure she knew him anymore as he watched her with unreadable eyes.

"You left us," she said quietly, hardly louder than the still pouring rain. "You just walked away and never looked back." She wanted answers, wanted something to cool this fire of betrayal that slowly burned even after she thought he had died.

"I know." He said. It seemed she wasn't going to get many answers from him. "Where's your boyfriend?" He spat out the word as though it were something nasty. Then again, maybe some things would never change. Ever since the day he torched Bobby's lawn she knew of his jealousy towards Bobby and his relationship with her. Since her first day when he showed off in Storm's class with his fireball he had been trying to keep her from Bobby. Maybe that was part of why he left; he was done fighting for her attention.

"I don't have one," she answered shortly and looked down at the rose. This was getting ridiculous. "Why are you here? Why did you give me these?"

He shrugged and looked down at the wet grass. Before either could say any more, the rain fell harder and they could barely see. They had no choice but to try and find shelter under the tree since the mansion was too far away. Besides, she knew he would never go back there. She sipped on a patch of mud and he caught her by the waist. Once she steadied he didn't let go and part of her didn't mind.

"Come with me." He had to shout over the hard sound of the rain and still Marie didn't think she heard him right.


"Come with me. We'll go to Europe, I have the money. I've never stopped thinking about you Rogue. When I found out about the Cure I knew you would want it. When I saw Bobby at the clinic I knew you had gone through with it." His stare, which had kept her gaze dropped to the ground. "I was angry, I Thought you had betrayed us. Me." He looked back up at her with an intensity that caught her breath. "But I've had time to think and if anyone had reason to use it, it was you."

That was the closest to an apology she would ever get from him and yet she her anger still burned.

"It's been four years, John! Four years of wondering why you left, of questioning our friendship. Even after I thought you died I couldn't stop thinking about it." About you she wanted to say, but she couldn't let him off the hook that easily. "I hated you, hated what you became. Now you expect everything to be okay? For me to run off with you?" She stared into his hard eyes and was surprised to find hurt and regret there.

"I've messed up Rogue, I know you and you know it. But I realized something after Alcatraz. What good are my powers if I don't know how to use them? What good is terrorizing people if in the end I'm the one who ends up losing? I hurt you and I want to make right by you, Rogue. Now please, come with me."

The vulnerability in his voice and the frankness of his confession shocked her for a moment. She had been growing bored with her routine life lately, even asked Storm if the school would miss her services. Since Logan left she felt restless and the school hadn't felt like home to her for a while. But she still had responsibilities, everyone counted on her.

John held her hand, treading their fingers together in an effort to drive his point home. He had changed.

"Rogue, come with me."

"Marie," she answered. He frowned in confusion. "My name is Marie." A grin spread across her face and John shared it. The rain had finally let up and they ran together, disappearing behind the high moss covered walls of the school, their laughter echoing across the school grounds.

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