Disclaimer: You know the drill, I don't own the X-Men and I will never own the X-men. But I do like playing with the X-Men. Hmm, that sounds a tiny bit dirty...
This opens up with Rogue and Remy just after their showdown with Vargas, which, as a result, leaves them powerless. What follows is a little dark, but not overly so, I don't think.
They've been on the road for several weeks now, bouncing from highway to highway, state to state, by way of Remy's Harley. They're traveling light but will send for the rest of their belongings when they get settled in. The problem is they don't know where they're going or how long it'll take to get there. So far it's been motel after seedy motel, diner after greasy diner, their direction aimless, left to chance. It makes Rogue edgy. She's eager to settle down with the man she loves after all the obstacles they've had to tackle. Fate has finally dealt them a good hand - she can touch, albeit without her powers, but the irony is that the man she wants to touch has been distant, distracted.
At first she thought his aloofness was the traumatic result of being ripped from death's door prematurely but now she's not so sure. The night they decided to take a break from the saving the world and have a go at a real relationship, she assumed they would spend the night together. Instead, he dropped her off in front of the bedroom door of her newly inherited Garden District home, chastely kissed her goodnight and told her to be ready to leave by daybreak.
She remembers walking into her room confused and a little put off. She always thought that if they ever got a chance to touch again, there would be a rush of coming together, that they wouldn't be able to keep their hands off each other. But Remy seemed content to keep a respectful, if not impersonal, distance. Despite the loss of her toxic touch, there were still miles between them. Now instead of physical space, there was just the emotional kind.
That night, the nightmares began.
In the dreamscape, much like how it really happened, she follows Remy on his journey to the white light. She's able to convince him to come back to her so they can live their lives together. As he walks towards her away from the beckoning brightness, Vargas appears from behind Remy and spears him, this time effectively killing him in an instant, taking him away from her forever.
This particularly night, however, the ghastly dream takes a turn just as Vargas's specter fatally impales Remy. But this time, Remy glances as the blood drains from his abdomen before returning his gaze to Rogue, his usually intense scarlet eyes dead of emotion.
"Dat's alright, chère, didn't really wanna be wit' y' anyway," he says callously.
She awakes with a start, gasping and clawing at the starchy bed sheets belonging to the nameless motel they were staying at. Next to her, Remy springs up, years of thieving and conditioning forcing him to be a light sleeper.
"Y' okay, chère?" he asks, his voice rough with sleep.
She looks at him, his handsome face etched with concern. "Yeah," she answers, willing her rapidly beating heart to settle. "Ah just had a dream is all."
He leans over to look at her in the darkness of the dismal motel room but she jumps out of bed to avoid his scrutiny.
"Ah'm gonna go ta the bathroom."
Once she crosses the threshold of the dingy bathroom, she splashes cold water on her face with trembling hands, still shaken by dream Remy's cruel words and wondering how much truth there was in them. She knows he resents her, just like she knows he still loves her. He's confused and she lets him be, unsure of the words to say to make it better when she knows she's the catalyst for his turbulent emotions. It's exactly how Wolverine said it would be - maybe Remy would never forgive her, but just the same, she would never apologize for saving his life, for bringing him back to her. Not when she'd decided that a life without him wasn't one she was interested in pursuing. They may have had their share of troubles - secrets and mistrust, insecurities and physical boundaries - but deep down, Rogue knows she'd only ever love Gambit and she wasn't about to let him go so easily without a fight. The way she saw it their loss of powers was a sign that they were meant to be a couple.
She coats her face once more with icy water, only to look back up and see Remy's reflection in the mirror, staring at her. Of course she doesn't hear him approach. She never does.
"Ah'm fine," she insists. "It was just a dream." She isn't ready to put words to her fears of losing him, afraid of a blasè reaction.
"Couldn't've been a good dream if it left y' gaspin' fo' air and sweatin' when y 'wake up. 'Less it was that sorta dream," he says with a leer.
She smiles. So there is a little bit of the brazen Cajun she knows and loves in there.
"What if it was?" she asks coyly.
"Den I'd say it was m' lucky day, chère."
"Didn't say it was about you, swamp rat," she volleys, happy to fall back into their bantering ways.
"Y' wound me," he says with a grin.
After a pause, he moves behind her, wrapping his arms around her front and pulls her into his chest, resting his chin on the top of her head. "Seriously, y' okay?
She tries her best not to stiffen at his contact, tries not to break the intimacy she's craved for so long. She wants to relish the feeling of his bare arms around hers.
"Ah'm fine," she replies firmly, her green eyes meeting his red ones in the cloudy mirror in front of them.
"D'accord," he says after a moment as if deciding whether or not to believe her. "Come back t' bed?"
"Ah'll be right there." She takes a few more minutes to compose herself. The thought of going back to sleep - back to the terrifying chimeras - unnerves her.
When she finally returns to bed, she lays down on her side with her back facing him, not wanting him to think her too needy for his comfort. She is surprised and relieved when she feels him move closer to her, his arm snaking around her waist, grasping her tightly. She feels his breath on her ear.
"I love y', Rogue," he whispers.
The next morning Rogue is roused from her sleep by a Remy-sized vacany in the bed. Since they'd taken off for parts unknown, he's always been there when she wakes up. For a split second, she worries that the worst has happened - that he's finally walked out on her. She walks to the window and sees his bike parked where he left it the night before. He couldn't have gone far, Rogue reasons. A few minutes later he strolls in, holding a cardboard carrier with two steaming Starbucks cups in one hand and a bakery bag in the other.
"Got y' caffeine fix, Roguey."
She makes a face at the sobriquet but lets it slide because he's bearing food and she's starving, all of which she tells him.
"I'd never starve y', sweetness," he says smoothly. "Y' get mean when y' hungry."
"Ya best not forget that, sugah," she responds sweetly, taking a sip of the coffee he's happily relinquished to her. She's pleased that for now they're back to normal, but she knows it'll past. Since the whole debacle with Vargas, she only gets glimpses of her Remy, but he never stays around for too long. At some point during the day, he'll become despondent, moody and terse with her.
After they eat, they take to the road again. As she anticipated, Remy's fallen into a sullen quietness, seemingly mesmerized by the endless highway they're traveling on. Later on, they cross the state line into California. It's night when they find another shabby motel to stay at, this time in a small beach town named Valle Soleada, and it only makes Rogue anxious to find more permanent digs. Once they have a place of their own, they can settle into their new relationship. The longer they uphold their rootless existence the farther Remy seems to drift away her, away from them.
Once they've settled into their room for the night, Rogue heads for the shower, feeling grimy from the day's travel. She tries to work out the knots her back muscles have twisted into from the long ride when she feels a rush of cold air penetrating the bubble of humidity she's created in the shower stall. Like the master thief he is, Remy infiltrates the bathroom before she even knows what has happened.
"Mind if I join y'?" he asks, stepping into the shower with her.
Since they left New Orleans weeks ago, this is the first time he's instigated any sort of sexual intimacy. It stuns her but she doesn't let it show. In fact, it excites her.
"Why, sure, sugah," she says, her voice dropping an octave as she presses up against him. She's immediately turned on, dreaming of this moment since their first time together in the Antarctic cave when their powers were negated.
He seals his lips over hers, crushing her slick, taut body against his. His hands roam over her lush hips as his lips move to her jaw and then fall to her neck. She wraps her arms around his neck, steadying his head as he continues to feast on her softness.
His arousal presses into her urgently. She boldly reaches for him, which elicits a groan.
"Do y' want it?" he mumbles close to her ear.
"Yes," she moans.
He lifts her up and roughly pushes up against the stall, positioning himself inside her. She tries not to wince as her shoulders slam against the hard ceramic wall. Although he enters her with finesse, his subsequent movements are jerky and mechanical, almost as if he's not really in the moment with her.
This coupling is drastically different than their first time together. Though there is a similar sense of urgency, he was gentle then, almost hesitant, and reverant of her body. Though her body is responding wildly to his ministrations, her mind is screaming at the inconsistency of it.
As he continues pounding into her, she's able to catch a glimpse into his eyes. They're vacant, much like they are in her dreams. It sends a cold shiver down her spine. She wants to stop this. She will not be the conduit in the exorcism of his demons.
"Stop," she says, feebly pushing at his shoulders and tries twists her body away from his despite being pinned against the stall.
He mumbles something in French and buries his head in her neck.
More forcefully, she yells, "Remy, stop!"
His movements halt and he throws an annoyed look in her direction.
She disengages her body from his.
He sighs. Loudly. The water cascades relentlessly down his body.
"Don' get y', Rogue. Y' send all de right signals, but when y' get down t' it, y' just a tease."
He yanks the plastic shower curtain back and storms out of the bathroom.
Shocked, she stays under the crushing spray even as the water grows more and more tepid.
His biting words resonate.
She exits the steamy bathroom with a towel wrapped around her body and her wet, stringy hair plastered to her face. She hangs by the doorway, unable to find the words to confront Remy.
"Jus' leave it, Rogue," he says sharply.
"What happened in there, Remy?"
"Obviously something y' weren't enjoyin'. Mebbe y' jus' can't tell a good t'ing when it's in front o' y'," he says snidely as he pulls his clothes on.
"Or inside y'," he adds backhandedly.
Rogue feels like he's punched her in the gut, and in a way, he has.
"What is wrong with you?"
He doesn't answer, instead yanking on his boots and duster.
"Where ya going?"
"Out. Dat okay wit' y'? I need y'r permission now?"
"We need ta talk about what just happened."
"Bien, Rogue. Y' really know how t' leave a homme hangin'."
"Stop it," she grounds out, her temper stirring. "Ya said in New Orleans we'd give this a try, but Ah don't really see a whole lotta effort coming from you. If ya feel differently now, then just say it."
"And if I have changed m' mind, y' gonna throw a temper tantrum y' so famous fo'?"
Blinking to keep the tears at bay, she whispers, "Just go."
The sun is peeking over the horizon when he returns. She's lying in bed, though she's been unable to sleep. He reeks of alcohol and cigarettes, but his smooth, steady movements indicate a cold sobriety.
"Y' awake?" he asks, already knowing she is.
"Yeah," she replies softly, unmoving.
He crosses the room to the bed, sitting down next to her. He lets out a defeated sigh.
She sits up. "No, Ah'm sorry."
He chuckles softly. "Why y' sorry, p'tite? Remy is the one who needs t' apologize. I was outta line last night."
"It's okay. Ya just goin' through some stuff."
"Oui, but it got nothin' t' do wit' y'." Lightly tugging on her arm, he says, "I wanna take y' somewhere. Get dressed."
He takes her two blocks from their motel to a beach front property.
As he leads her to the residence's private beach, she asks, "Are we trespassin'?"
"Never stopped me before," he says with a smirk. "But, non, we're okay here."
They stop right at the shoreline. The rising sun paints the morning sky an amalgamation of oranges and pinks as Remy starts to speak.
"'M so fucked up, Rogue," he says with a tight laugh. "I want y' more than anyt'ing and, for dese last few weeks, I c'n barely stand to look at y'." He takes a step back and looks down at the small waves crashing around their bare feet.
"I was dere," he starts, "after Vargas. I felt complete. For once, I felt like m' life was act'lly worth somet'ing...that I could die wit' a clean slate despite all de awful t'ings I done."
"Then why didn't ya, Remy? Why didn't ya die?" she asks, her voice constrained, her anxiety rising. He looks at her, his features softening.
"Couldn't, chère. Couldn't leave y'. That's what scares me. I been resentin' y' for bringing me back when I really blame myself."
Rogue looks at him, confused.
"Never felt like dis before, chèrie. Y' make me feel whole. I love y', Anna, more den anyt'ing - anyone - and that terrifies me."
She gasps audibly at the sound of her long lost name. "How did ya - ?"
"I know y', Rogue," he says fiercely, cupping his hands around her face, "Jus' like y' know me. Seeing dat light, chère, I never wanted anyt'ing so much in m' life before. I wanted t' go t' it and be complete for once. Den I saw y' face and I couldn't go. Couldn't leave y'. Realized y' happiness was more important den m' own."
"M' whole life I been livin' fo' me," he continues. "Doin' what I want, when I want. Den y' come along and set me on m' ass. And in some cases, I mean dat lit'rally."
"Ya better believe it, boy," she says with a smile, leaning into his embrace.
"Y' got dis Cajun wrapped 'round y' finger so tight, it's shameful," he murmers against her lips. She lets her body melt into his as they deepen their kiss. After a moment, he pulls away.
"What do y' think of dat house? he asks, gesturing to the residence they were interloping on.
Confused by his sudden shift of thought, she looks over at the modest bungalow a few yards in front of them. She likes the wraparound porch and the abundance of colorful flowers that are planted around its sides. For the first time, she notices the "for sale" sign that sits out front.
"It's nice. Cute. Why?"
"'Cause I was t'inkin' it might be nice t' live here," he says casually.
Rogue's face lights up. "What?"
"We said we were gon' figure out dis relationship. Dis be a good place t' do it, I t'ink."
"Really, Remy? Are we doin' this for real?"
"Oui. Be honored if y' live here wit' me, chèrie."
"Ah'll go anywhere you do, Remy."
"Famous last words, ch re. Y' mean it?" he asks, grasping her hips, bringing her to him again.
Rogue's lips graze his. "Proved it, didn't Ah?"
"Un million de fois," he says softly, sealing his lips over hers.
A/N: Ok, I don't know any French having studied Spanish in high school and college. Remy's last line, according to Babelfish (and we all know how reliable that website can be), translates to "A million times." So if you happen to know French and I've completely butchered the line, please let me know, k?
By the way, Rogue's line: "Ah'll go anywhere you do, Remy" is a play on what she tells him during their famous carriage ride (i.e. the date that doesn't get disturbed).