Author's Note: Okay, so this has been running around in my head for a bit. I may have to change the rating to M a little later on, just for future reference. I hope you enjoy. Please, please review. Criticism/encouragement/etc. is always welcome.
Rogue sat in the shade of a tree, watching some of the other students play touch football. It was hot. Very hot. So hot, in fact, that Rogue had abandoned her typical long black pants, long sleeved shirt and elbow high gloves. Instead, she wore khaki shorts and a black tee shirt—hence the observing football as opposed to playing it. It didn't matter that it was only touch football. It still required something that Rogue couldn't do: touch. The faintest contact with her bare skin could put one of her friends in the med bay, and that wasn't a risk she was willing to take. Not to mention, she didn't particularly want any more psyches inside her mind. It was getting awfully crowded in there.
So, instead of playing, she sat and watched, and tried to take joy in her friends' fun. She would be happy for them, and she would enjoy the game…even if it was miserably hot outside. She may hate that she couldn't join them, but she would be happy for them. She had long since accepted the fact that there were some things she was never going to be able to do. She would never run her bare fingers through a man's hair. She would never touch another's face barehanded. She would never make love, or have sex for that matter. No children. She would never feel another's bare fingers on her face…Rogue pushed the thoughts from her mind before the intense and sometimes overwhelming loneliness could set in and take over.
At least Ah can say that Ah've been kiss'd, she thought. Ah may die a virgin, but at least Ah can say Ah've been kiss'd.
With a sigh, she let her mind wander over the past few weeks, and the increasing encounters with Gambit. Ever since the thief had taken up residence in the mansion, there had been a tension between them, one that Rogue couldn't seem to escape, no matter how hard she tried. Yes, he flirted incessantly with any female that had legs, but it was different with her, and they both knew it. The tension had come to a head a week and a half ago when she had let him kiss her…now she was wondering if that was such a good idea. After all, she would never be able to actually touch him…not without putting him in the Med Bay.
"Chere?" A disembodied voice interrupted her thoughts. Her shock pulled her to her feet as she immediately began looking for the source of the voice. Knowing exactly who it belonged to, she looked to the lower branches of the tree. Sure enough, Gambit was perched on one of the lowest branches, smiling down at her. He was wearing his sunglasses, of course, and his long trench coat. How he could stand it in the heat was beyond her. She put her hands on her hips and frowned up at him.
"Git down from there, rahght now, swamp rat."
"Remy was jus' watchin' 'y," he said innocently.
"How long yah been there?"
"Not too long. Professor X is lookin' fo' 'y, chere."
"Dunno. He's wantin' ta see 'y."
"Well, yeah. He wouldn'ta sent yah if he wasn't." She turned and began to head inside the mansion to Professor Xavier's office. It wasn't until a few minutes later that she realized that Remy was walking along side her. "How d'yah do that?" she asked.
"Remy grew up a thief, 'member?"
"Rahght. How could Ah fo'get?"
Remy stepped in front of her and stopped her in her tracks. She tried to go around him, but he continued to step in front of her, blocking her path, until she finally resigned herself to listening to him. "Why 'y bein' so…cold, chere?"
"Don' call meh that."
"Just don', alrahght?"
"Seems 'y don' mind th' perks. Non?"
Yes, things were getting more complicated than Rogue had intended. After all, the only reason he wanted her was because he couldn't have her. She had hoped that maybe by getting a taste—a second taste—of the forbidden fruit that maybe he would leave things well enough alone. After all, he couldn't actually enjoy the splitting headache that came from that brief brush of their lips. Alas, no. Instead, it seemed to make him even more determined to have her, an impossible goal.
But the biggest problem was that it made her want him even more, too. Sure, she didn't really like having Remy's psyche tucked into the farthest corners of her mind, but she couldn't help but be attracted to him. He was charming and…kind, and she wanted him. Which was exactly why she needed to push him away. She couldn't afford to let him in anymore, because that was going to result in unpleasantness for both of them. If she killed him…the guilt would kill her, and death was not really on her list of priorities. She may have been a goth, but she really enjoyed breathing.
So, 'y'd feel bad 'bout killin' Remy? his voice said inside her head.
Ah cain't even get away from yah in mah head? Please, Gambit, go away, she answered his psyche.
Anyt'in' fo' 'y, chere. And then he tucked himself away in her mind. She sighed and began to walk faster, desperately trying to put some space between herself and Gambit. Unfortunately, he was considerably taller than her and could easily keep up. He didn't speak again, but she knew that he had that wolfish grin on his face. She could practically feel him smiling at her, but she kept right on walking.
As they approached the Professor's office, Remy ran ahead of her to open the door. She walked past with out a word, though her hands were itching to reach for his. If the Professor was shocked at the display of chivalry from Remy, he didn't let it show on his face. Rogue quickly sat in one of the chairs in front of his desk.
"Yah wanted ta speak with meh?" she asked.
"Actually, I would like to speak to both you and Gambit," the Professor answered. Remy took a seat next to Rogue, who was trying her best to hide her shock. She had been under the impression that Professor X only wanted to speak with her. Apparently, Gambit had left out some of the details. She glared at him, and he only smiled innocently in response.
"I would like to send the two of you on a reconnaissance mission," he explained. "Gambit, your experience in the Thieves Guild gives you plenty of training, and Rogue, you have proven many times your ability to hold your own on a mission. Also, I don't expect there to be any trouble. I don't want you to engage, just observe and report."
"Where are we goin'?" Rogue asked. Remy just sat silently and waited for all the details.
"The Friends of Humanity are staging a protest in Buffalo. I want you to follow them back to their headquarters after their protest. I have heard news of mutant disappearances in the city, and while I think it is far more likely to be someone else, I would like you two to do some investigating. Just to make sure."
"Meh? Ah don' exactly look lahke the type ta fit in," Rogue said. "Not ta mention, what 'bout Gambit's eyes? They'd notice 'em right off tha bat."
"Don' worry, chere, Remy already got a plan," Remy said, speaking for the first time since entering the office. Rogue rolled her eyes.
"'Cause yah're plans always go accordin' ta plan," she answered sarcastically.
"Rogue," the Professor said warningly.
"Alrahght. Let's hurry up an' do this so Ah can be home in time fo' dinnah."
Rogue rose from her chair and headed back towards her room to put on more covering clothes. After all, it wouldn't do well for her to accidentally brush against someone in a crowd and give them away. The Friends of Humanity—while not the worst thing she had ever seen—were not exactly about puppies and sunshine when it came to mutants. She also wanted to stay as covered as possible while working with Remy, because Lord only knows, he'd shown on more than one occasion that risk-taking didn't bother him a bit.
She quickly changed clothes and met him in the foyer of the mansion. He hadn't bothered to change at all, which didn't really surprise her. He could probably charm the birds from their nests.
"Yah wanna tell me what this plan is that yah've got?" she asked.
"Remy and Rogue are gonna fi' righ' in. Be part o' 'de protes' an' then follow 'em ta whereva 'dey be goin'. An' 'y a bit overdress'd don'cha t'ink, chere?" he asked, eyeing her outfit. She was wearing jeans and a white long-sleeved shirt [which she had to dig all the way to the back of the closet to find] and white gloves.
"Ah cain't jus' go without. If one of 'em bumps inta meh, it's all gone ta hell. B'sides, yah're in a trenchcoat."
"'Dat's 'cause Remy's go' style," he answered. He opened the front door of the mansion and stepped outside to where his motorcycle was waiting. He strapped his staff to the side, climbed astride it and grinned wickedly at Rogue. She sighed and smiled before climbing on the back of it, but only after donning a helmet.
"Don' 'y trust Remy's drivin'?" he asked teasingly.
"Don't wanna drain yah dry while yah're drivin'."
He smiled at her sincerely. "'Y no' gonna hurt Remy."
"Jus' drive, Cajun." He grinned, revved the engine, and they took off towards Buffalo.
The ride was fairly long and Rogue found it far too tempting to rest her head against his back and loll off to sleep. Only her fear of falling off the motorcycle and the deafening drone of the engine kept her awake. They were halfway there before she realized that at some point in time, she had wrapped her arms around him and was clinging to him for dear life. Upon realizing what she was doing, she loosened her grip. She felt him snicker.
"Don' be 'shamed, chere."
"Ah'm not. I just don' wanna strangle yah ta death," she shouted over the noise of the engine.
"Wha'eva 'y say."
Despite her best efforts, she found herself clinging again a few minutes later. Instead of loosening her grip, this time she just held on tighter and fisted her hands in his trench coat. Remy felt her fists tighten in the front of his coat, and couldn't resist a genuine smile. He knew she was only this close to him because she had to be, but he was enjoying it nonetheless. He knew it probably would have been more convenient to bring two bikes or a car, but he couldn't resist his hormones and had decided on one bike. So far, he wasn't regretting the decision.
He was regretting their arrival in the city. There was a large, rowdy crowd gathered outside the courthouse, holding signs with various anti-mutant slogans. There was a man at the back of the crowd handing out signs to those who approached. Before he could notice them, Remy pulled Rogue onto a side street, pinning her against the side of a building.
"What are yah doin'?" she asked, startled. It didn't help that his chin was practically resting on her forehead.
"We should ge' our stories straight," he answered.
"Rahght. We just moved here frahm…"
"N'Awlins…ta take care o'---"
"Yah're aunt Mattie," Rogue finished. Remy nodded and unpinned her from the wall. Before stepping out into the street, they did one more clothes check. Remy made sure his sunglasses were in place, Rogue checked her gloves, and with one last glance at each other, they stepped out into the demonstration. Rogue was completely baffled at first when Remy started using his staff to feel around in front of him. Then she realized what was going on: he was pretending to be blind. It gave him an excuse to have his staff, as well as the sunglasses. She smiled at her partner's ingenuity.
The man handing out signs noticed them immediately and made his way to where they were standing, towards the back of the crowd. "Hi, nice to see you guys out supporting our cause. How are you?" he said, offering a sign rather than his hand.
"We're doin' just fahne. How're yah?" Rogue answered, taking the sign, despite the many protesting psyches in her head.
"You're not from around here, are you?" he asked, giving them the once over.
"Nah. Jus' moved frahm N'Awlins," Remy replied easily. He took Rogue's free hand in his, and she let him. Butterflies fluttered in her stomach at his touch. "Tante Mattie needed takin' care o'."
"Oh, family man, then. Well, we're glad you're here, trying to protect our families from the mutant threat." Then the man left to distribute his signs to other people.
"See, 'dat's no' so hard," Remy said with a grin. Rogue scowled at him, but didn't let go of his hand. The irony of the "family man" statement was not entirely lost on her.
"We wait. Soon 'dis is gonna be over, and 'den we follow 'em."
"Ah mean, what do Ah do with this sign?" Rogue asked, holding up the sign that was in her hand.
"We try ta blend," he answered. He pulled the sign from her hand and held it up, looking just like the rest of the people in the angry crowd. Rogue didn't like it one bit. There was something strangely foreboding about seeing one of her own—a mutant—protest against mutants, even if it was for the sake a of a mission. She still didn't like it at all.
They were both hot and sticky beyond belief, and it seemed that this rally was never going to end. The longer it dragged on, the tighter their grip got on each other's hand. Despite the heat, and the fact that both of them were wearing gloves, they never let go. The biggest problem was that things were threatening to get out of hand, especially when one of the county council members and main proponents against any type of mutant registration exited the building. Things became even more heated. The crowd grew thicker and closer and more rambunctious, eventually spilling past the barriers that had been put up. Despite clinging to Remy's hand, they were pulled apart in the commotion. She tried to find him again, but couldn't. There was so much commotion and noise and it was hot. She hated herself for it, but she began to panic.
Calm down, chere. It's gonna be fine. Remy's voice echoed in her head. For the first time since she had absorbed him, she was glad of that voice in her head. She pushed back the rising panic and tried to find her partner.
"Remy!" she called. She got no answer. "Remy!"
"We've got us a mutie!" Suddenly, a few yards from where she was standing, there was a gasp and several shouts of alarm. Hoping that she was wrong, but knowing that she wasn't, Rogue ran towards the noise, knowing that Remy was at the heart of all the action. Sure enough, he was.
In the commotion, his sunglasses had been knocked off and crushed under foot. With nothing to shield his red-on-black eyes anymore, the crowd had immediately identified him as a mutant and turned on the man. Most people were keeping their distance, unsure of what to do, but others were up close, hitting and kicking at him. The man they had run into earlier, who had been distributing signs, noticed Rogue watching.
"She was with him!" he cried, pointing to her. "She was with the mutie! She's one too!"
Before she had time to register what was going on, someone grabbed her and threw her to the ground. The side of her face slammed into the rough asphalt of the road, and she could feel her skin tear. She quickly sprang to her feet and took a defensive stance against the encroaching crowd. Gambit did the same, pulling several cards from his pocket and charging them. He quickly threw them, hoping that the explosion would give them plenty of cover to make an exit.
The explosion was plenty large enough, and he grabbed Rogue's hand and dragged her along behind him as he ran towards where they had parked the bike. There were several loud noises, people yelling, cars honking…the noise of chaos. Before they turned the corner to where the motorcycle was parked, he felt a sharp, burning pain in his shoulder that brought him to the ground.
"Remy!" Rogue dropped to her knees beside him. He was curled on his side in pain, and she turned him on his back to see what was going on. She was completely disturbed to find that her white gloves were soaked red with his blood. "Oh mah Gawd! Remy!"
Even as the pain tore through him in agonizing waves, he tried to get to his feet, but was unable to do so. He was dizzy and in pain and Rogue was screaming…She shouldn't be screaming. That implied that she was defenseless, and his Rogue was not defenseless. What happened? Why was his shoulder…He reached up and touched his shoulder, and felt the wetness of the blood on his fingertips. There was a hole clean through his shoulder. Shot. He'd been shot.
"Remy! Come on, get up. We gotta go," Rogue was saying. She was trying to pull him to his feet, to get him on the motorcycle so they could get the hell out of here, but she couldn't get him up. He was trying, bless his heart, but his body didn't want to cooperate. "Come on, swamp rat. There's tahme for layin' around latta."
"'Y go. Can' seem ta…get up," Remy said from the pavement. He grabbed at his staff, but pain radiated down from his shoulder as he tried to hold the staff. In desperation, Rogue made one final attempt at picking him up, and succeeded. She slowly began moving towards safety, but it wasn't fast enough, and Gambit knew it. "Rogue, 'y go."
"Nope. Ah'm not leavin' yah," she answered, her voice determined. He could see the mob getting closer, and knew that if she didn't drop him, they were both going to get caught in the violence that was coming.
"Rogue, Remy's gon' be fahne. Go on back ta 'da mansion an' get help. An' Rogue…Remy lov—" Before he could finish his sentence, she brushed her lips across his forehead in a brief, gentle kiss. There was the familiar sensation of absorption, and his thoughts began running through her mind. One of those thoughts was pretty disturbing: he had no intention of getting out of this scrape. And knowing that, she couldn't leave him behind. Not that she would have left him behind. She continued trying to get him back to the motorcycle, but was stopped, when something hit her square in the center of her back. She kept moving until something hit her again. Worried for Remy, who was looking paler by the second, she gently set him down, propped against the side of a building, and turned to face their attackers, Remy's staff clutched in her hands.
"Rogue, damnit! Go!" Remy continued gasping.
She was trained in martial arts and self defense. She had survived thousands of Logan's Danger Room sessions, but still, it was a loosing battle. With Remy out of commission, there wasn't a whole lot that she could do. Her power required that they be close enough to touch her, and that meant close enough to hurt him. Also, somewhere, someone had a gun, and that was a loose cannon she didn't know how to deal with. But she did the best she could. She pulled off her bloodstained gloves and tucked them into her pocket before taking everyone that charged her.
Problem was, martial arts were no good against a taser. With a few shocks, she was unconscious on the ground, right next to Remy, and at the mercy of the most intolerant anti-mutant groups the world had ever seen.
Author's Note: So, there you have it. Chapter one. I hope you enjoyed it. Whatever your feelings, please let me know so that I can fix any issues. Thanks. Oh, and Happy Easter!!