Title: D├ęsespoir

Genre: Cartoon

Series: X-Men: Evolution

Characters: Rogue, Gambit

Spoilers: N/A

Rating: M for Mature

Summary: It was their first time and no matter how much they wanted it to be memorable, control over this, at least, was impossible.

It'd taken years of practice, years of harshly laid control, years of repression and numbness, but Rogue had finally accomplished what many had long ago lost hope that she'd achieve; control.

It didn't come in a lump sum, one day missing, the next there. It took practice, months of it, months of touch and go, hide and go seek with stray thoughts and luckily enough for Rogue the person she was imprinting, Gambit, made those thoughts enlightening instead of draining. She found out in the third week, when her control lasted only ten minutes before her senses grabbed onto his life force with all its might, that every time they had a sparring session he deliberately let her win sometimes just because he loved the feel of her on top of him. It made her work that much harder for a longer frame of control. In the second month, when her control lapsed at twenty eight minutes, she learned that sometimes at night, when she was asleep and his insomnia kept him from the same luxury, that he would come to her room and watch her, his red on black eyes memorizing every movement and soft breathe she uttered. Though she teased him mercilessly, it was just a bit unsettling, she couldn't deny that the feelings he felt in the act, the comfort he took from her dreams, made the action more meaningful than others would be willing to see.

In the fourth month, her control lasting 56 minutes, Rogue found out that he loved her. Yes, part of it was because of her ability and the very unattainable nature of her being. In being something he couldn't easily grasp Rogue took on objet d'art status in his mind, something he couldn't steal but wanted nonetheless. Her ability was what made him take interest in her but it wasn't what kept him coming. It was her attitude and her wit, her compassion and her empathy, her strength and her vulnerability. It was the things about her that contrasted, the two-toned hair, the emotions in her eyes, the deep burgundy of her lips to the almost translucent nature of her skin. She didn't say, couldn't say it, but she did love him too. The reasons were too many to list, and without knowing their future, if her ability would reach a limit that they wouldn't be able to cross, she couldn't say it, but she knew that he knew (without words).

The sixth month she relapsed, her control slipping down to only thirty three minutes and Rogue watched Gambit fall to the floor, unconsciousness sweeping over his features and stealing his demon eyes from sight leaving only a weakened angel in his place. Dr. McCoy had many explanations, that the lapse in control was due to stress, perhaps she hadn't practiced enough, or maybe just a fluke. It took Gambit three weeks to convince her to try again. She wouldn't meet his eyes when she walked into the examination room and found everyone waiting; Dr. McCoy and Professor Xavier near the machines, Kitty and Kurt for emotional support, and Logan there to rescue her in case something went wrong (and partially for emotional support though neither of them would admit it). Gambit was already sitting on the table, wires attaching him to the machine that would monitor his vitals. Rogue took her place beside him and watched as Beast struggled with the latex gloves he had to wear in order to attach the leads to her skin. Technically, she had enough control that she wouldn't imprint him in the ten minutes it took to attach them; technically no one wanted another accident.

The seventh month was hard; her control just wasn't what it could've been.

The eighth month was better.

The tenth month her control was holding steady at 98 minutes and Dr. McCoy was calling the stagnation of growth of the past few months a victim of her confidence. She'd never had copious amounts of it in the first place and her seeming random loss of control that had cost Gambit hours of unconsciousness had severely slashed at what little she had. Gambit grinned and blamed his excess of sensuality for distracting her but Rogue could only shrug off his easy acceptance of the simple explanation that McCoy hypothesized. Later, after another practice session, she found her way to Xavier's office. In the quiet comfort of his library, the only light coming from his desk lamp and the fire he kept stoked in the winter, Rogue did something that was very difficult for her. She was an introvert and explaining what she was feeling was difficult in general, but to explain it to someone who most likely already knew what she was feeling was redundant. She did it anyways.

The thirteenth month she refused to do any practice sessions. It felt like a dark cloud hovering over her, the tension of expecting something to go wrong had both Rogue and Gambit on edge. No amount of cajoling from Dr. McCoy would get her down to his lab. Despite that, her refusal to push her luck in the very unlucky month of the ongoing experiment, Gambit still found a way to push at her. He trapped her between his body and the wall in Danger Room sessions, his bare fingers (index and ring) sliding down her sweat-slick cheek with easy humor though his eyes reflected none of that. His eyes were heavy on her, she could almost feel the weight of them as they studied her face, the way her lip trembled when the rough lines of his finger pad swiped across the jutting pout, the way her eyelids fluttered as she struggled to push back the hunger under her skin that begged her to give in and imprint him deep. Logan glared at him from above, Scott called for his attention from across the simulation, and Kitty's giggle echoed over the audio piped in through speakers. It all seemed dull compared to this tension between them, she could hear the way his breath rushed in and out, the adrenaline from his sprint across the obstacle course trying to reach her strained even his fit body, but she could barely hear her teammates through her ear-piece. She could taste the sweat just above her lip but not the smoke and ash in the air. She could feel her heart pounding behind her breast, but not the vibrations of the simulation through the floor. It took too much of her strength of will for her to slide away from him and lope back into the action, his smile and eyes promised more torture to come.

The fourteenth month was a return to routine, no more sly touches as they passed in the hallways or sneak attacks in the Danger Room. They were back to the clinical hand-in-hand routine under Dr. McCoy and Professor Xavier's watchful eyes; it didn't feel like getting back to old times and it didn't feel platonic any longer. The sweeping motion of his thumb on the side of her hand made things deep inside her thrum with excitement and she couldn't stop the knowing smile from forming on her lips. Her nails dug into the skin on the back of his hand lightly and his soft chuckle reverberated in the room, the silence that haunted these sessions. Dr. McCoy looked up from the screens monitoring their vitals with a firm scowl and admonition on his lips but the way the two of them looked at each other, the quiet knowledge that flowed between them, stopped the words on his lips. It wasn't the look of young love. It wasn't fleeting and it wasn't shallow. There was a strength to the way they looked at each other, an intimate flavor to the way they held each other's hand that made Dr. McCoy feel like a voyeur and he turned his attention back to his computers before they noticed his stare. He glanced at Xavier and saw that he too saw what Dr. McCoy had seen. Who'd known the two men would be such good matchmakers?

The sixteenth month found Rogue's control lasting 178 minutes and both Dr. McCoy and Professor Xavier leaving her and Gambit alone for much of that time. Rogue's control was growing at a steady rate and she'd learned to acknowledge when her ability was about to kick in and be able to pull away before it started. There were no more unconscious spells for Gambit, and truthfully just sitting on an examination table for hours on end was growing more than a little tedious after so many months. It was with resolved sigh that Dr. McCoy informed the duo that the experiment was over and was deemed successful. As long as Rogue continued to practice, and Gambit wordlessly volunteered himself, there was no reason that she wouldn't soon have absolutely control over her ability. Dr. McCoy continued to extol the results he'd garnered over the last year and some change, but neither she nor Gambit continued to listen. McCoy's words hung heavily between them and wordlessly they joined hands.

Minutes later, moving upwards in the elevator towards the main floor, Rogue couldn't force the small smile at the corner of her lips to go away. Gambit's hand was rough on hers, his palm criss-crossed with scars from when his ability had first manifested and gone terribly wrong, but Rogue didn't mind the texture. She'd know the feel of his hand in hers anywhere, she'd memorized the niches and smooth lines until it was burned into her memory. She turned to Gambit just as he turned to her and without saying anything they both began to laugh, the sudden cessation of their teacher's vise tight hold on their practice sessions making both just a little giddy. The knowledge, though, of what this truly meant dawned on them slowly. When it did their eyes weren't happy anymore, happiness was too small an emotion to explain the sudden heat the quickened in their bodies. Their hands clenched tighter, moisture trapped between their fingers growing slick. The elevator was suddenly claustrophobic and both of them felt the weight of sweat form on their brows. They weren't anywhere near a semblance of privacy, they had to have control. Always controlling what they felt, what they did, how long they did it; suddenly control felt choking in their throats and heavy like shackles on their wrists.

"Wanna go for a ride, chere?"

She knew what he was asking, double entendres came naturally to the Cajun. There was only one answer she could give. "Yes."

The ride on his bike, too fast and too reckless, took them into the heart of Bayville. Gambit kept an apartment away from the mansion for times when he'd sought outside company (female) or just needed a break (teenagers). Rogue knew from the stray thoughts she'd picked up over the last months that he hadn't brought anyone (female) here since he'd begun the practicing experiment with her, and because of it he was just as tightly wound as she was. The ride over served only to remind her of her years spent alone, held apart of barriers of cloth, and she couldn't resist sliding one bare hand under his shirt. His stomach muscles jumped at the unexpected contact, her fingers chill from the wind against the warm taunt flesh. The bike bobbled under his hands and she heard him curse under his breath. He didn't want her to stop, she knew, and she scraped her nail lightly down the ridged definition under her hand. His chest moved faster under her ministrations and she unconsciously moved closer to him, the vee of her legs pressing tightly to his. She pressed her helmet to his back, imagined she could hear his heart pounding, and her touch changed, becoming a soft caress as opposed to a titillating attack. She didn't want to cause them to crash, didn't want to shake his own control as badly as hers was; she just needed to feel him, for a minute. Her hands were virgin smooth, her skin so pale that the veins were vibrantly colored decorations just under the surface. Her nerve endings were raw and sensitive to the slightest thing and she felt jumpy and on edge. She'd refused his offer of a leather jacket to cover her bare arms; she wanted to feel every sensation available to her. The heat from his skin, the cold from the wind, the bite of small debris in the air on her arms as she rushed past. She didn't want to miss anything.

The sudden scream of the bike's brakes as they skidded to a stop in front of his building startled Rogue and she jerked her hand from its place over his heart and looked around shyly. There were no witnesses to her weakness and though she wasn't ashamed of what they were doing, or who she was doing it with, this moment of arrival felt private. Gambit's hand closed over hers and with a flair of grace he helped her to stand beside the bike. His own climb from the seat of the vehicle was more panther than ballerina and Rogue suddenly became very aware of just how much taller than her he was. She wasn't small by any means, one of the tallest females at the institute behind only Jean and Ororo, but Gambit was a good four to five inches taller than she. Her lips curved upward as her gaze climbed from his chest to his eyes and the answering smile just below.

The move from the sidewalk to the elevator inside was a blur of details. The ride from ground floor to penthouse was no better. Rogue felt her body moving but didn't care where he lead her as long as he stayed with her. They didn't touch except for their hands, wound together like intricate lace. It was deja vu for them, months where the only touch they were allowed was under direct supervision and only the mildest contact of hand on hand. Rogue thought she knew how badly she wanted to touch this man, she thought the bite of lust in her chest was an old friend, but those sensations were nothing compared to what she felt now. She didn't have butterflies in her stomach, she had birds of prey diving low and pulling at strings tied to intimate things she didn't want to acknowledge. The only reason she was still breathing was because they stood so close that each inhale brought the heavy musk of his cologne deep into her, and she grew drunk on the scent.

His apartment was dim, his curtains heavy and closed, and he didn't turn on a light. Once the elevator closed behind them, taking with it the too bright fluorescent light, they were locked into the near absolute dark. Rogue knew he could see her, his very unique eyes were better attuned to darkness than light, but she was blind for the moment. She'd never been to his apartment, no one from the mansion had, and she didn't want to risk running into furniture and looking silly. As her eyes adjusted they sought his face immediately. The small sliver of sunlight that slipped between the curtain to shine on the high ceiling was enough for her to see the vague outline of his profile and she felt ridiculously grateful for the small light.

When he spoke, without warning, his voice was deep and gravelly and utterly somber. "I've thought about this before. What I would do, how it would happen, where, but...I didn't know."

Rogue felt nervous, her stomach clenching, and her hand tightening around his. "Know what?

"How...it would feel," he explained, moving infinitesimally closer. "We should go slow, make it memorable, this isn't something you get back, Rogue. I just...I can't-"

"Then don't," Rogue interrupted. "I don't want your control. I don't want this to be something expected. Just let it be what it is," she said in a rush, the words pouring out as she pressed her chest to his, her hand sliding from his to frame his face. "No control."

Their mouths met and for a few seconds it was what she'd envisioned as a girl, it was soft and quiet, a love that could last for eternity forming in their mixed breath.

It was what it was, however, and there was no room for gentility in the sudden spike of aggression the rose in their bodies. There was no time for breathing with the taste of the other on their tongues, no time for caressing when the feel of skin on skin was so heady on their senses. Gambit's fingers were rough on her bare skin as he fisted his hands around her shirt and dragged it over her head, the sudden movement yanking them apart momentarily and even it was too long for her preference. They stumbled through the living room, hitting a table that went crashing to the floor before steadying themselves against the sturdier couch. Rogue laughed against his mouth and felt an answering smile form under her lips and it was a peculiar but amazing sensation to feel the way his muscles moved under the layer of his skin. Her hands gripped his forearms and she pressed her hips to his, the zipper of his jeans creating a hard line against her hip bone and she pressed against him urgently. His breath rushed out in a soft groan and Rogue couldn't stop the answering one that flowed on her own sharp exhalation.

His hands slid over her back, easily unhooking her bra before sliding lower to cup her rear and impossibly press her closer. Rogue drew off her own bra before gripping his t-shirt in her hands. Her rough demand that he remove it was obeyed immediately and for the first time she felt his bare chest against hers. There were soft curls of hair over his chest that trailed lower until it thinned to a small line and disappeared into his jeans. She couldn't see it, not without more light, and Rogue promised herself that she would see the glory of his body in full light at some point. She deserved a treat after being so good at her control for far too long.

Her name was an benediction on his tongue and he pressed the word against her neck again and again. Her nails scoured his back as impatience rode her hard and she fought herself to make the beast inside her slow it's attack. There was something unknowable in the feel of him against her, a sensation she didn't recognize and an emotion she wouldn't name. Her back arched instinctively as his lips kissed their way lower and brushed over the vulnerable space between her ribs, as close to her heart physically as he would ever get. She wondered if he felt it jumping just under the sheltering bones, if he could taste the adrenaline on her skin as it jumped in her muscles and made her mouth tremble with need.

Rogue twisted her fingers in his hair (it was softer than she'd imagined) and drew his face back to hers. With only inches between them, his eyes locked with hers, she could see him perfectly. The need banked back and it was in a surreal moment that she felt his hands slide beneath the waistband of her slacks and draw them lower before their weight disappeared into the dark of the apartment. His own jeans followed and the moment disappeared. Rogue licked her lips and felt his eyes follow the movement. Her mouth formed a word and he swallowed the word with his lips before repeating it back to her. "Now."

Rogue pushed herself onto the back of the couch, her legs cradling him as he aligned their bodies just-so with the ease of experience. She grasped his shoulders with shaking hands and pressed her face to the tender skin the stretched from neck to shoulder, biting down slightly as she felt him invade her body so deliciously. Despite what she'd been told, it didn't hurt. There was a slight edge of discomfort as her body adjusted to his but the slightest movement of his hips sent her muscles into slight spasms of pleasure. Rogue gasped and her head fell back as he braced his body, the sensations she'd thought uncontrollable multiplying and racing along her muscles. His hands were biting into her hips, trying to hold her motionless when her instincts were screaming for her body to buck against him, to make him move, to make this terrible ache inside her go away.



"You okay?"

She knew how hard it was for him, even the effort of speaking was tearing at his edges. His body was stiff against hers, his muscles frozen in place and trembling from the effort of doing so. She didn't know how he could even form a coherent thought, let alone speak it. Her mind was static, a buzzing noise compared to the screaming feelings that swirled dangerously under her skin. She couldn't speak, couldn't tell him that she was fine, she was perfect, that it was more than she'd ever imagined, that his claims to being an excellent lover were clearly true, or that she didn't want to leave this moment ever. In the end the only thing that passed her line was a rough keen of his name. It was enough.

He grinned, his teeth sharp and bright in the dark, before pressing his mouth to hers and replying. "I like the sound of my name on your lips."

She wanted to reply, was really going to get up the strength to make a snarky return, but at that moment his hips undulated against her, minutely sliding from within her before pushing back in. The motion made her breath catch in her throat and she bit down on his bottom lip without realizing. It was a catalyst, a small push in the direction of utter destruction and the small control Gambit had reined in, for her, disappeared in a flash of sharp almost pleasurable pain.

Gambit gripped the back of the couch, his legs widening and hers around his and his hips began to move, his thrusts becoming longer and harder as her body shook itself apart around him. Her muscles alternately stretched tight before releasing with startling suddenness that made her incapable of true movement. Her body knew this dance, knew the rhythm he was setting with his body, and followed instinctively with no input from her mind. Her hips rose to meet his, her body arching as it tried to get closer, deeper, until they knew nothing but the breathless aching of their bodies. He didn't feel it when her nails scratched down his arms, searching for a steady place to grip in the twisting world of her senses. She didn't feel it when his teeth sank deeply into her neck, his mouth gentling the bite with a soft swipe of his tongue.

Gambit grew harder inside her, his movements growing stronger and jerkier and he visibly fought to control himself. His teeth were bared in a snarl as his eyes slid closed and his hips faltered slowly to a stop. Rogue moaned and struggled to mimic the motions he stimulated from her, eliciting a curse from him but no return to the exotic movement of before. Rogue shook her head lightly, words tumbling from her lips without meaning. Gambit's hand slid into her hair, tightly gripping until her eyes opened and she gazed at him. Together, without speaking, their bodies moved, he withdrew, she stretched around him desperate for his return, he pushed back in and her muscles shuddered around him in anticipation. Again and again, deliberate and tortuously, he moved. Rogue's legs gripped around him tightly, their bodies sliding against one another with a soft sound.

She couldn't breathe, couldn't make a sound, but something was happening inside her and he knew it. She could see it in the self-satisfied smirk on his face; he knew what he was doing to her. The muscles in her thighs burned with exertion, jumping at every slight movement of his, and her back ached from arching back against him for so long. Her arms, trembling, wound around his neck and she kissed him. If she couldn't breathe she'd be damned if she'd let him.

Her body was strung tightly enough that she felt sure the next movement would break something inside her, something vital that could never be replaced. She was right and wrong.

She didn't break, she shattered.

Her scream, short and succinct and muffled by his tongue, didn't echo through the dim apartment but his did. Her body tightened and released around him and he came shortly after she did, the aftershocks of her orgasm yanking his own control and drawing him to the same state of euphoria that clouded her mind and sight until she knew only the volcanically hot points of contact between them. Together they slid to the floor, his knees smacking harshly but gentling her own fall from grace. They didn't separate, could barely breathe, and together fought to find a semblance of themselves in the broken pieces of their culmination.

"I think I blacked out for a minute," she admitted when she had enough breath to do more than lay limply against him.

Gambit chuckled, the small hairs on his chest tickling her cheek with the movement. "You okay, Rogue? I wasn't...too rough, or too-"

"When can we do it again?"

This time his laughter was deep and resounding, drawing a laugh from her as well. "Anytime, chere."


"Give a guy some time to recover."

"You said anytime."

Review, please.