A/N: I'm leaving today for a five-week holiday Down Under (the Aussie relatives want quantifiable proof that I am actually still alive) so this could be the last post for a while, because A) I'm not sure if I'll have time to write (you know what family's are like!) and B) yes, the internet will be accessible (this is Australia, people, and not Antarctica), but the question is whether I will be able to access it, again with the family eating up all my time. Hopefully we shall meet again sooner rather than later, but if the latter is to be the case (sob!), I want you all to know that I love each and every one of you with all my heart …
That sounded so much better in my head. LOL
All were signed in so I replied to them personally, thank you to Abeytu, aiRo25, Green Peridot, coup fatal, alexmonalisa, RogueNya - you dudes rock my socks
Beta'd by WandaW
Chapter Six – Can't Speak French
Calamity is the perfect glass wherein we truly see and know ourselves
There was a splintering crash as the leader smashed an empty beer bottle off the edge of the table. Grasping the jagged half, the leader pressed it against Rogue's throat. "What did y' call me?" he snarled, digging the serrated edges into her flesh, and red blood dribbled down brown glass.
Then pink light blinded her and an explosion shook the room. There was screaming and breaking glass and thuds of furniture and bodies alike as chaos descended. Rogue slipped sideways off her chair and crawled blindly across the card-strewn floor, her ears ringing and her vision neon pink.
She howled in pain as someone seized her by the hair and began dragging her backwards. She saw a playing card flying towards her, pulsing with light. Who ever knew pink could be so portentous?
Rogue didn't need telling twice. She threw herself forward as the card connected with the goon's face. The result was not pretty. With adrenalin-fuelled agility, she leapt to her feet. A hundred different defensive manoeuvres, all taught to her by Logan, speed through her mind like a videotape on fast-forward. Are you girls trained or untrained?, he used to yell at them as they ran laps.
Rogue was trained.
Gambit was in trouble. He was wrestling with the leader, who was trying to force his knife towards his throat. They grappled with each other, locked in stalemate; the leader seemed to just absorb all the pink light without exploding. Pity.
But not for long.
Rogue yanked off her glove.
The leader slumped to the floor. Gambit bent over the body. He snapped his fingers and a single playing card appeared in his hand. The Ace of Spades. Grinning crookedly, he tucked the card into the leader's breast pocket, tapping his cheek twice. "Au revoir, mon ami. Pleasure meetin' y'. Don' bother t' keep in touch."
"When ya're quite finished sayin' goodbye tah ya boyfriend, can we go?" Rogue yelled at him over the anarchy, stealing a gun off the unconscious goon. How they had suddenly become a we she wasn't so sure. But she did know that if a horde of bloodthirsty gunmen came sprinting in through the door to avenge their leader's death, she would fare much better with Gambit by her side … And it was kind of fun. He was kind of fun. "The bartender ain't very happy with us rahght now. Ah think he's gone tah get his gun."
Gambit was on his feet in a millisecond, trench coat billowing out. He nodded towards the door. "Dis way."
They were a foot from the door when it burst open and horde of bloodthirsty gunmen came sprinting in to avenge their leader's death.
"Run!" Gambit yelled. He grabbed Rogue, forced her into a crouch and dragged her back through the mob, flinging a quartet of glowing Jacks over his shoulder. Rogue flinched as the explosion washed over her back, shockwaves from the earthquake. They crashed though a doorway, down a dank hallway, past the bathrooms and spilled out into the night. "Come on! Allons!" They hurtled down the alley, took a sharp left and emerged into harsh halogen light. They were around the back of the bar, armed and angry men hot on their heels.
"Tell me ya got a car," Rogue panted, desperately scanning the scanty parking lot. There was only one car of note, a sleek black Mercedes, and she was willing to bet that it belonged to their mutual friends.
"Ah was scared ya were gonna say that."
"But I got a bike."
"What?" Rogue looked up. Gambit was standing triumphantly over a motorcycle. It looked practically prehistoric, held together by spit and prayers. "Is that yahrs?"
He looked disgusted at the very idea. "Non."
"So you're gonna steal it?"
Gambit looked a little confused. "Oui." Only it came out like duh.
"Ya can't just go stealing otha people's bikes!" Rogue yelled. "How would ya lahke it if Ah stole yahr stuff?"
He shrugged. "I'm a thief, chère, jus' doin' what comes natural." He mounted the bike with a fluid grace and glanced over his shoulder at Rogue. "Comin'?"
Rogue stared at him, temporarily speechless. "Ya've got tah be joking meh," she spluttered. "There ain't no way in Hell Ah'm ridin' that thing! It'll break the moment ya turn the key. Oh, wait, Ah forgot. Ya don't have the key. Ya're stealin' it! … And, Ah don't have a helmet. And Ah'm in a dress. Are ya crazy? Ah'd kill mahself. Or, more correctly, ya'd kill meh."
Two gunmen, one of which was the goon missing his face, came barrelling down the alleyway, guns blazing.
"Changed mah mind."
Rogue leapt onto the back of the bike and threw her arms around Remy's waist. He chuckled, kicking up the stand, revved the engine and the bike roared into life. And then stuttered and died.
"Dis could be a problem."
Gambit revved again, this time more slowly, muttering sweet nothings in French to the engine, and it coughed and wheezed, and, most unwillingly, started. They trundled out of the lot, slowly gathering speed. "Rapidement, rapidement," Gambit pleaded with the engine. "Faster."
Rogue made the mistake of looking over her shoulder. A bullet cracked by her cheek, missing her millimetres.
"Get us outta here," she yelled at Gambit as the men rounded the corner. Her powers were useless at this range.
"Tryin', chère, tryin'."
"Well stop tryin' and start doin'!"
A volley of bullets came clattering after them as even more men came pouring out of the alley.
"Cajun!" Rogue screeched. "Can't you blow them up or somethin'?" She ripped out the stolen gun and retaliated. Nothing happened. She pulled back the safety and tried again. A shot sparked off and thudded into the dumpster the men were hiding behind.
"Give me de gun," Gambit ordered.
"What? No way. Ya've got the bike, Ah've got the gun."
"Gimme de gun."
Rogue squeezed off another round as the motorbike floundered through a series of potholes metres from the gates, and all the bullets thudding harmlessly into the dumpster. She swore loudly. She had only one bullet left. "It's yahr Goddamn drivin' Cajun! It's makin' meh miss!"
"Dere ain't not'ing wrong with Remy's drivin'," Gambit fumed. "Give me de gun."
"Gambit's got an idea."
Those words sent a shiver down Rogue's spin. But before she had time to make up her mind, the leader himself came charging down the alley, machine gun at the ready. Gambit tore the gun from her hands. "Pardon moi, chère, but sometimes a Cajun's gotta do what a Cajun's gotta do."
"Well then stop yahr talkin' and Goddamn do it!" Rogue yelled.
"Wit' pleasure." One hand still on the bike, Gambit fired over his shoulder. Mid-air, the bullet pulsed a vivid, livid pink, but it was obvious that it would miss the leader, who raised his gun and––
The charged bullet collided with the dumpster, which exploded, obliterating half the parking lot and all the men. Fire licked at their backs as they finally hit the main road. Rogue felt like cheering but the bike was rapidly picking up speed.
"Put y' feet on the holds and y' hands on y' knees, chère," Gambit instructed.
"What?" Rogue screamed, clinging to his waist for dear life. "Are ya crazy? Ah'll stay like this, thanks."
"No, chère. Y' gotta let Remy drive the bike."
"Ya are drivin' the bike, swamp rat."
"Can't unless y' let go."
"Uh-uh. No way."
"Let go, s'il vous plait."
"Ah told ya! Ah can't speak French!"
They thundered down the road. Rogue would have screamed had the bike's slipstream not raped her lungs of air; being too petrified to move was also a defining factor. Gambit leaned to a left as they swept around a corner and a great whoosh of air pushed past them, unsettling her. She closed her eyes tight, but the uncertainty of the blackness only heightened her fear. If she was going to die, Hell, she would look it in eye. Every cubic inch of her being screeched at her in bright neon letters to seize hold of Gambit's waist, never to let go, but a little voice in the back of her brain said snidely that if she did such a thing, with the shrieking and the grabbing, it was highly unlikely that she would ever, ever live it down. The more rational side of her couldn't help but to roar that this was not the time to develop an unsurpassable sense of pride.
Pride before the fall, it said in a sing-song voice.
Rogue was not amused by the irony.
It was at times like this that she had most appreciated the cast of psyches imprinted on her brain. Logan could have told her exactly what do when riding on the back of a tinpot motorbike down a potholed road out in the Bayou, Magneto might have had a few choice words of wisdom to calm her down, Bobby would have assured her that even if she was a hideous crippled mess paralysed from the neck down with a face like minced meat he would still love her, at which John would have cracked some sarcastic comment that would have made her laugh and temporarily forget her current predicament.
But there were no psyches now (except Frat Boy Jake, who was not helping matters by running around her mental cavity like a headless chicken screaming for his mother at the top of his lungs), and her current predicament was awarded top priority as they careened down a hill with all the grace of a drunken Irishman riding a unicycle balanced on the back of a equally inebriated sheep frolicking through a particularly treacherous bog. Rogue willed herself to stay calm. Her palms were slick with sweat and unable to find purchase on her knees so she held Remy's hips between her thighs in a death grip that would have made an anaconda seem as clingy as a dress fashioned from an entire hot air balloon on Kate Moss. As they swung around a sharp bend her hold felt as insubstantial as air, and she was positive it was sheer willpower that kept her on the bike.
"Hold on chère," Gambit yelled over the roar of the wind.
This comment could have been interpreted as cheeky, sarcastic, ungrateful, confused or plain desperation, but Gambit was too busy saving his behind to interpret anything other than the ancient bike's speed gauge, and Rogue was far to preoccupied with staying alive to care.
They plunged down a hill and Rogue slammed forward into Remy's back. Plastered against his duster, Rogue felt them become one, mould into each other, a single entity on a bike moving much faster than it ought to be moving. Remy's body protected her from the slipstream and their proximity to one other prevented any wind clawing in between them and unseating her. And Rogue had an epiphany. This was how to ride. Sandwiched against the driver, leaning as they leaned, swearing as they swore. She didn't need to cling to his waist to stay on at all. Rogue was very glad she had listened to the voice and not fallen to pieces. Now safe in the knowledge that she was not about to die a painful death, she was shocked to realise that she was actually having fun. If the ground had not been so horrifically near, she might have thought herself to be flying, such was the rush of speed and freedom.
Freedom had a taste: windswept air and diesel and the unique salty leather of Gambit's trench coat.
Gripping with her knees, little by little, inch by inch, Rogue raised her hands out by her sides until she was Kate Winslet standing on the stern of the Titanic. She threw back her head and let out a scream of pure, unadulterated delight.
"Dat's the spirit, chére!"
And then they started going uphill and suddenly things weren't so fun anymore and the feeing of impending doom returned with a vengeance. Downhill Gambit's body protected her from the rushing air and his presence prevented her from going head over heels over the handlebars. But uphill, she was on her own. No one separated her from the road. Images of her broken body lying sprawled in the dust, the back of her head ripped away by the impact, flooded into her mind. The bike groaned ominously and Gambit slowed. Rogue sighed. All the air left her body and she turned limp as a bonefish, slumped against Gambit's back, a little shell-shocked, a little dazed and very much relieved.
Then he accelerated.
Rogue was suddenly aware of a complete absence of anything. No Gambit. No bike. No ground. She seemed to hover, frozen in time, at a crossroads between the three, one of which would be making her acquaintance very soon. Falling upwards was impossible, so the bike was out of the question. Gravity was glaring at her, clearly saying, hey you, what do you think you're doing up there? Get your ass back down here pronto girl! and the ground was suddenly much, much closer and harder than Rogue was altogether comfortable with.
And that's when Gambit grabbed her, yanking her back onto the bike. Her knight in leather armour. Her third knight in leather armour. The third Musketeer.
Fourth, if you counted Bobby. Which she didn't. And either way, his jacket wasn't real leather.
"Remy told y' t' hold on, chere," Gambit exclaimed. "Mon Dieu! Y' got a death wish or somet'in'?"
Rogue was too busy rejoicing in her continued existence to retort.
Compared with her most recent near-death experience the rest of the ride seemed mundane. They were now trundling down lazy streets, skirting stray cat and potholes alike. Rogue could taste salt on the air; she knew they must be near the coast. Gambit pulled the bike into a swerve and a smart stop in front of a respectable-enough dwelling. At least, it had a front door. With a boneless grace he disembarked. Rogue remained on the bike. She felt as though she would be doing so for a long time.
Gambit chuckled. "Y' gettin' off chère?"
Rogue nodded listlessly. She didn't move.
"Here. Remy'll help y'. Never let it be said dat Gambit ain't a gentleman."
"No!" Her voice was surprisingly strong. She leaned back, warding away his hands. "No. Ah am perfectly capable of gettin' of this thang by mahself, though Ah thank ya for yahr chivalry. No doubt it was a traumatic experience." In her mind she rehearsed the disembarking routine: first she would swing her left leg over, then put her right foot on blessed terra firma, then finally her left. All in all, a thoroughly uncomplicated procedure, though dignified. However, the reality proved quite different: she did a little wiggle and flopped into the dust, somehow managing to snag her leg on the exhaust pipe on the way down. There might have been pain, but her brain was too numb to process it. She lay there, on the ground, breathing, soaking everything in, every last second of the most terrifying electrify experience in her life, until Gambit's hoot of laughter brought her back to life.
"Stay dere," he sniggered. "Remy wants a picture o' dis."
Rogue flashed him a most unladylike hand gesture.
"Oh chère! Such language from a belle femme like y'self. Remy's shocked."
"Oh, Ah'll shock ya alright," Rogue growled, clawing her way to her feet using the motorbike for support.
"Dat a threat, chère?"
"It's a promise."
She made to step forward, but she staggered and cried out in some inexplicable pain, and, because Fate is so very cruel, fell into Gambit's waiting arms. Rogue closed her eyes, preparing herself for the merciless onslaught of teasing that was about to befall her … but nothing happen. Gambit set her down gently on an empty keg and scanned her for injuries. Rogue did the same. They quickly found the culprit: an angry red splotch stood out where her leg had brushed the exhaust pipe. A contact burn.
"Ah," Remy hissed. "Dat's gotta hurt. C'mon. Let's get y' inside. Clean dat up." He swept her off her feet.
"Oh no! Put meh down! Ah can walk. Put meh down rahght now, ya stinkin' swamp rat! Argh!" Rogue screamed in frustration, kicking furiously. She had been the damsel in distress once before and it had not been a pleasant experience. Ergo, she disliked all things that reminded her of that experience, not matter how many white knights in leather dusters came riding by on prehistoric motorbikes. Even though said knight's arms were the perfect cradle, holding her snug against his lean chest, while his warm scent filled her nostrils. "Put meh DOWN!"
Gambit gave a liquid shrug. "As y' wish."
It seemed they were destined to be from the start of the evening, and you can't run from your destiny, so, without much ado, and at long last, Rogue thudded to the ground.
"Damn Cajun! Ah said–– "
"Put me down, so Remy put y' down," Gambit smirked from behind his sunglasses. "What? Y' wanna come back up already? Miss me, neh?"
"Ya dropped meh!" Rogue accused wrathfully.
Gambit held up his hands. "Remy was jus' doin' like y' said, ma chère. It was y' dat never specified how y' wanted t' be put down."
Rouge glowered up at him from the ground. "Ah took ya fohr a no-good flirt the moment Ah saw ya, Cajun, but Ah never took ya for a fool. What kind o' person lahkes being dropped?"
"Sorry." He sounded sincere and held out his hand, wiggling the half-clothed fingers. He looked so adorable, a cheeky puppy who's just peed on the new carpet, that Rogue grudgingly grabbed his hand and together they passed into the house. For its shabby exterior, the inside well exceeded Rogue's expectations. Gambit settled her in an armchair and ghosted away in search of a First Aid kit.
"Is this yahr house?" she asked, her eyes skimming over old photographs and a collection of china frogs all set out on the mantelpiece.
Gambit looked highly offended. "Dis? Gambit's?"
"Don't tell meh we're stealin' this too!" Rogue exclaimed, throwing her hands up in exasperation.
"Y' can't steal a house, chère," Gambit called, poking his head around the doorpost.
"So we're squattin'?"
He scratched his chin thoughtfully, head cocked to one side. "Remy prefers borrowin'."
"God give meh patience," Rogue muttered through clenched teeth. Gambit withdrew upstairs; Rogue could hear him rifling through the medicine cabinet, whistling tunelessly to Living On A Prayer as he fired out-of-date prescriptions over his shoulder into the shower. It was remarkable, she thought, that someone could be as slick and silent as mercury in their personal movements, and then so loud. Fearing for the shower, she clattered up the rickety stairs after him and limped into the bathroom. Perching herself on the toilet, she watched him attempt to open a roll of gauze with his teeth, tearing at the plastic.
"Ah always knew ya were a rat," she remarked as he spat out little bits of plastic. "But Ah nevah knew ya were a dog too."
He cocked his head, throwing her a wink. A frill of plastic clung to the stubble darkening his chin. "Gambit's whoever y' want him t' be."
God spare me – or that was what Rogue meant to say, with much eye rolling and heavy-handed sarcasm. What she actually did was giggle in a most Kitty-ish fashion. Gambit said nothing. He knelt down before her and slit open an antiseptic wipe. With the hands of a surgeon, he began to clean her wound, moving in small circles inwards from the dirty surrounding area to the burn, already blistering. She curled her hands up tight, determined not to flinch as the iodine played a grand symphony on her nerve endings. To distract herself, Rogue watched Gambit work. His tongue poked out as he concentrated; his touch was a light as feather. So tender Rogue almost wished that they weren't separated by a sterile wipe.
Sterile – the thought brought a smile to her face. This didn't go unnoticed by Gambit as he spread burn salve over the wound. "Voila," he declared, securing the bandage with the finesse of someone who's been there and done that. A professional. "Dat weren't so bad, non?"
"Ya can say that again when it starts peelin'," Rogue grumbled, poking nervously at the bandage. Free from blood and soot, the burn nicely concealed by a clean white dressing, her leg looked fine – not that she would tell him so.
He slapped her hand away. "Don' touch it, chére. Let it heal on its own."
"But it stings," she whined.
Gambit grinned wickedly. "Maybe Remy can make it better."
Rogue raised an eyebrow, her arms folded across her chest, a picture of scepticism. "And how, pray tell, do ya plan on doin' that?"
"Like dis," he whispered. He laid his bare fingers against her leg. Rogue felt the itch, the pull, but refused to scratch it. Slowly, he raised her leg upwards, and his face downwards, though his eyes behind the dark lenses remained fixed on hers. And he pressed his lips to her skin.
Instantly his skin drained white, blue spider webs crisscrossed his face, fanning out from his lips, the epicentre of the earthquake. Rogue began to shake and her fingertips pulsed with pink light.
She fell backwards, he stayed put. Her mind was reeling, a rollercoaster, somersaulting with screaming people. Why hadn't her guard stayed up for the kiss? True, she hadn't been expecting it, but Emma had taught her how to deal with the unexpected. She felt ashamed. Betrayed. All her hard work, and nothing. Once again, she was untouchable.
She forced herself to her feet, pushing past Gambit, still in a crouch but his normal colour returned, and out into the hallway. When she reached the stairs, she began to run, ignoring the throbbing pain in her leg. Kicking open the backdoor, she burst out into the night. She sprinted down the road, barefoot and away. She didn't know where she was, nor where she was going, but it was immaterial. All that mattered was that she got away, away from people whom she could hurt. People she loved.
The burn of her lungs, her legs, meant nothing. She had been taught to push past the physical pain. But from the mental, she could not escape. Her eyes closed, running blind, Rogue saw his face, over and over again, blackened veins capturing his face like vines, his normally sandy skin the wrong side of porcelain. Her brain conjured up the image of a tiny china doll and its face was painted in blue lines. Only they weren't lines, they were cracks, and the moment she touched him, he shattered, and when she went to put him back together, the pieces cut her and ran to dust in her bloody fingers.
Her feet met soft sand and she stumbled, falling face first. Rogue scrabbled about for a footing but her fingers slipped through the powder and she got nowhere; running to stand still. She clawed her way forward on her belly, egged on by the nearby throbs and rushes of the ocean. Ocean – water – washing – clean. Her thought process was fragmented yet so clear. It was so simple, so logical: she would scrub herself raw, scrub until there was nothing left because no skin meant no powers.
Cold water washed over her fingers and her knees grew damp, resting on wet sand. It was sudden, the cold, against the balmy evening, and it made her stop and look up. The caress of the warm wind against her face stirred up the memories of Gambit's lips and Jake's hand, of Logan and Pyro, the day outside Bobby's house when she grabbed hold of his ankle. These were the only true warmth she had experienced in years.
The wind stung her cheeks and that was when she realised she was crying. Hot salty tears, long overdue, splash down her chin and fell, unnoticed, into the surf. She fell backwards, her arms bracing her, and stared out across the universe.
Here was the sea, searching forever, black yet so blue, lights from late bedroom windows danced gold over the bay, seemingly beneath it, igniting that darkness from within, like a stained glass window on a summer's Sunday morning. But what was one drop of water in the ocean?
Above her was the sky, light by a thousand million stars, each and every one more beautiful and precious than all the diamonds in Tiffany's put together – but that was only at a distance. Maybe stars taught an invaluable lesson. Nothing is as it seems, beauty isn't everything, up close you can see the cracks. But what was one star in infinity?
She scrunched up her feet, a little chilly, burrowing them down under sand for heat. She could feel the grains beneath her nails, between her toes. A whole beach of sand. How many grains was that? More than drops in the ocean, stars in the sky? But what was one grain in the Sahara Desert?
Sitting here, amidst all those drops, all those stars, all that sand, Rogue had never felt so alone. So what if the stars were cold and hard; they were innumerable, they had friends and perhaps they talked to each other, perhaps meteors were messengers, paper aeroplanes that carried scrawled secrets from star to star. One drop of water did not make an ocean and one grain of sand did not make a beach, millions upon billions were needed, yet together they were one. And she, she was alone, an intruder on the beach, in the ocean, beneath the stars.
Way down at the other end of the beach, a fire was dying. Shadows hung about it. They were laughing, their songs riding on the soft waves. Just teenagers doing what teenagers do best. Hanging with friends, making bonds with words and alcohol that, in that moment, are indestructible.
Rogue was a teenager, just nineteen. Where were her friends?
The old ones, Logan and Kitty, Jubilee, Piotr, Storm and even Bobby? New York. And New York, only one flight away, felt like the end of the world.
The new ones? Emma Frost? Were they friends? Associates? Student and teacher? Or slave and master?
And what about the ones who were gone? What about the Professor, Scott and Jean, Kurt Wagner, the German teleport who had once saved her life. And John? Was he, by any chance, sitting just like her, looking up at the stars, thinking of just how alone he was?
"Y' not as alone as y' dink, chére."
Rogue jumped a foot into the air.
"Goddammit swamp rat!" she swore, stumbling away from Gambit, crouched beside her in the surf. She had been so deep in thought she hadn't even noticed him sit down; or perhaps it had been all him, his silent grace. "Don't do that! Sneakin' up on meh! Ya almost gave meh a heart attack."
Gambit smirked. "Jus' returning the favour, chère." There was something different about him, something was missing, but Rogue couldn't quite put her finger on it. Probably because she was too engaged in yelling at him.
"Ah thought Ah told ya not tah call me chère," she raged.
"What else am I gonna call y'?" he argued. "Don' know y' real name."
Rogue stopped dead. "Mah real name?"
"Oui. As in de name y' parents gave y'. Or de name y' gave y'self. Both are equally real, I dink," he added after a moment's consideration.
"Rogue. Mah name's Rogue."
He laid a soft hand on her shoulder. "Y're not alone … Rogue."
Rogue looked up into his eyes and saw that, even though he was a thief and a liar and more of a rogue than she'll ever be, he meant every word. His eyes were devil red on black.
And just like that, the stars didn't matter. Fireflies that flew too high, dreamed too big and got stuck up there, boiling balls of gas burning billions of miles away, old kings of the past, watching over us; it didn't matter. They were just stars. And the ocean, it was just an ocean. Cool and soothing over her feet, the constant wash of the waves a lullaby. But, in the end, it was only the bayou, the bay, nothing more. The sand gave way under her fingers as she leant back, slipping and sliding to accommodate her, rough yet smooth, still clinging to the heat of the long-forgotten sun, but it was only a beach. Something nice to sit on, to listen to the song of sea, to stargaze with a friend. A new friend, perhaps; a true friend.
"Ah'm sorry," Rogue whispered. "Fohr stealin' ya lifeforce and powers and thangs. Didn't get any o' ya memories, though. Lucky meh … Ya just startled meh. With the kiss. Wasn't expectin' it …" she trailed off lamely, shrugging, her cheeks a little pink.
Gambit's lips curled upwards into a crooked grin to beat all crooked grins. "Y' c'n drain my energy any time, chère. Gambit has plenty."
"Why thank ya," she returned dryly. "Gambit."
"Remy," he insisted quietly. "Call me Remy."
"Lahke ya friends do?"
A smile split Rogue's face. There are some things you simply cannot do without becoming friends, and participating in high-speed motorcycle chases is one of them.
"Ami?" she ventured.
It was probably the only word of French she knew. It made him smile.
Rogue held out her hand, no glove. Remy took it instantly. But he didn't shake. He pressed it to his lips, lips as smooth as spun glass.
So? What did we think? I'd love some good honest feedback.