Author's Note: Yes, rewriting, reposting. A prequel of sorts to 'Homework' I'm slowing this down from the original version. Essentially? This germ of an idea took root in my mind after seeing X-men Origins : Wolverine, and my poor befuddled brain needed to come up with a way for Rogue and Gambit to be together once Remy charmed his way into the continuity. The more I thought about it, the more holes I saw, and the concept grew. The ROMY however will be a long time in coming, methinks. I refuse to rush this time around. I have written their first kiss, however, and the scene appears to take place in the later-middle stages of this story.
I might be persuaded, with pretty, charming words, to let you see it early, if you ask real nice and private like.
If you read the old version of this story, look through this reposting anyway. I've changed some things around, put some more detail in, and I'm focusing (for the most part, there will be exceptions) on one viewpoint at a time.
Thank you muchly for your patience, and I hope you enjoy.
I own Marvel underwear, but regretfully, I do not own Marvel.
Chapter One: Rogue
She hits the mat with a thud and rolls to her back. Eyes closed, she decides to focus on her breathing before attempting to gain her feet. Knowing he's going easy on her doesn't help her pride a bit. She tries to puff white, sweat dampened bangs out of her eyes and fails.
"Yer getting' soft on me, kid, thought you wanted to be a fighter." They're both barefoot, in white tanks, but he's wearing worn jeans opposed to her black sweats. It's almost become the uniform for this.
Pushing herself laboriously off the floor, the girl known as Rogue to everyone but this man shakes her head and rolls her eyes. Three times a week she dealt with his exercise program. Four times, they sparred. In spite of the humiliation, she prefers the sparring.
"Logan, we both know I can take just 'bout anyone here in a non-powered fight." Sliding into a defensive position, she eyes him warily over her fists. "Not that't matters, she won't put me on a team now that I ain't got mine."
She – Storm, leader of the X-men, had stripped Rogue of her uniform when the southern girl had returned with the ability to touch. System full of the mutant-suppressant known as the Cure, it was deemed too dangerous for the powerless girl to accompany the rest of the team on missions.
Initially, Rogue had been so relieved not to have been turned away from the Institute entirely, she'd taken the exclusion in stride. In awe of her new ability to touch, it took long weeks before the decision began to grate.
"When you can put me down, you're on a team, powers or no." He begins to circle her, watching with approval when she reciprocates.
She breaks the circle first, feinting a punch to his left and landing a knee to his right ribcage before he counters, pushing her off and back before circling again. They've both lost track of how long they'd been at it, but their best conversations tended to happen while trying to bruise each other.
"Y'all's team, and unofficial." He made that promise the first time she took him by surprise.
"Regretting your choice?"
"Nope - but I still wanna help folk. Still a mutant, even if'n it ain't manifestin no-more."
It's an old discussion, the lines barely varying since the first time he agreed to teach her to land a hit without breaking her hand. Sometimes, she suspects he's trying to remind her of her own reasons for taking the Cure in the first place.
He steps to her, throwing a punch she manages to duck under while stepping into his guard. But he recovers, arms wrapping around her torso, pinning her bare arms to her sides and back to his chest in a bear hug. Both are aware that not too long ago, this move would have been impossible, bare skin touching bare skin that would have triggered her now gone mutation.
She feels rage under the surface, swelling from somewhere she can't identify and pushes it down. The scent of their sweat seems sharper, sound of their breathing more clear.
Swearing, her head jerks back to connect with his nose as she stomps harshly on his instep simultaneously. He releases her, both warily circling again. His nose stops bleeding quickly as the mutant healing factor repairs what little damage she did, and she's rubbing the back of her head with one hand.
"Damn adamantium skull hurts like hell."
He grins, almost evilly at her muttering when he replies.
"You're learning to fight dirty though."
"Wonder whoda taught me that?"
He snorts, watching for another opening in her stance.
"Popsicle treating' ya alright?"
"Right enough, we've a date tonight."
"You let me know if he steps out of line."
"So you can threaten him again?"
When she comes at him next, he grabs the fist heading in his direction, uses her momentum to flip her back to the mat. Again. She is so going to be bruised in the morning.
"He started the macho crap."
Grinning up at her friend, Rogue stays where she is, eyes sparkling as she remembers her boyfriend trying to freeze his hand at their introduction. As he comes close, she uses her legs to swipe his from under him, wincing at the sound of adamantium laced bones thudding next to her on the mat.
"Where's he taking you?"
Instead of insisting she rise to resume their fight as she thought he would, Logan pulls himself to sit cross legged beside her. Calloused hands resting on his knees as he assumes a meditation position he'd long since taught her.
"Same as always, dinner and a movie in the city. I don't suggest waitin' up." She drags herself to mirror his position, stretching her back to sit perfectly straight beside him.
"Not the kind of details I want to know, kid. When are you supposed to be leavin?"
"Whenever you an' I are done." She leans forward, touching forehead to the mat, hands outstretched above her head. "Though there ain't no details to avoid knowin."
His eyebrows quirk at the lack of enthusiasm in her tone.
"What, in spite of. . .?" He doesn't have to finish the thought. She just shakes her head.
Once, her uncontrollable mutation made it impossible for her to explore the physical aspects of having a boyfriend. Rogue had assumed, wrongly as it turned out, that once she was able to touch, her boyfriend would be as curious as she as to what they'd been missing.
"We're through then, for today. You shouldn't have a black eye on a date, I don't want to deal with him thinking he has to protect you from me."
She laughs, a rich sound that forces him to smile back at her.
"That'd go over real swell. What're ya'll's plans tonight?" She asks, drifting to her feet and stretching her back, wincing in anticipation of where she'll likely hurt tomorrow.
"Got a training session with some of the newer recruits once you leave."
"Ah. So. . . A bar then?" Grinning, she ignores the light growl her friend issues before heading to the double doors with a wave.
Rogue stops by Bobby's room on her way to a shower, letting him know she's through. In spite of the teenaged boy video game session taking place inside, amidst shouts and cussing at the screen and console, he agrees to meet her in the foyer in an hour for their date.
She doesn't have the heart to tell him she'd rather join the Tekken marathon than endure another cookie-cutter, dinner-and-a-movie evening out.
As she steps under a hot spray of water to rinse off the sweat, blood, and grime from over an hour with the Wolverine in the Danger Room, she wonders as to what's gone wrong. Back before the Cure, before touch, when she swathed herself in layers for the protection of those around her, Bobby had captured her heart. No pressure, no judgments, the two of them had shared a connection from her first day at school. He'd been a warm source of welcome and acceptance at odds with cold he controlled.
Honeysuckle scented soap smells artificial and cloying for the first time since she bought it. Wrinkling her nose, Rogue returns her thoughts to her boyfriend.
It had to be love – what other emotion could it be when she felt so completely herself around him? Free, easy affection, he was the only one who could make her laugh before her morning coffee. When John left, she was the only one he confided in, how deep the hurt went. How angry he was and how conflicted he'd felt fighting his once friend on Alcatraz Island.
No, she didn't doubt that she loved Bobby, or that he loved her. It's just that. . . now able to touch and be touched, now that the one barrier that had stood between their relationship and a normal teenage romance was gone, she had expected. . .