Disclaimer: The wonderful characters, story and essence of all X-Menlyness does not and sadly never will belong to me. That privilege and honor belongs to Marvel Comics, Stan Lee and all the other creators.

CHAPTER TWO

It was after 12 o' clock when Rogue awoke. It was unusual for her to begin such a late start to a day. She quickly got dressed and headed down to the kitchen to get some food; she was starving. As she descended the stairs she could distinctly hear laughter coming from the kitchen; and not the laughter that invites you to join in on the fun, but the private, intimate laughter shared between a couple. Why in Sam Hill did Jean and Scott have to play happy newlyweds this early in the morning, she thought. Wait a minute, it wasn't early, she had woken up late; she had forgotten. Just great. See, this was the penalty for oversleeping, missing the solitude that the mornings at the mansion brings. She bypassed the kitchen and headed out the front door, there was no way she was going to start her day off with being in the middle of Jean and Scotts "together time." She'd rather get some grub from the nearest fast food place.

When she was just a few feet out of the front door she saw a silver Mustang Convertible zip around the corner of the mansion entrance gates, turning so fast she could have sworn she saw the right tires come off the ground, threatening to tilt the car over. Instead of going into the garage, the car stopped a few feet from her current position. She knew who the driver was before the car even turned the corner.

Remy brushed his windblown hair from his eyes as he opened the car door, giving his famous alluring smile at the sight before him. Rogue couldn't help the butterflies that filled her stomach the moment he stepped out of the car, and looked at her the way he did.

"Chere. Bout time you got up. T'ought you may like some brunch n coffee, non. T'ought you may like it even mo if you had it wit me. Gambit know he would."

Rogue hesitated a moment, partly flattered, partly frustrated but mostly hungry.

Gambit dropped his charming smile and looked at Rogue with sincerity in his eyes; almost a pleading. "Come on chere, give dis Cajun a chance."

She was hungry. "Alright swamprat, Ah'll eat wit ya. But only cuz ya asked so nice."

Gambit couldn't help but smile at the response as he grabbed a restaurant bag from the front seat and a cup holder containing two steaming cups of coffee.

"Come on chere, Gambit know da perfect spot."

Rogue followed Gambit with quiet contentment as they walked to the back of the mansion and neared a very large oak tree.

"Dis be da spot."

"Don't ya wanna eat inside sugah? We don't got nothin to eat on."

Gambit handed Rogue the bag of food and the cup holder, "Hold dis chere."

Het took off his brown trench coat, exposing his white shirt that seemed to cling to his chest for dear life, and his faded, worn jeans full of holes that had seemed the rough parts of life. He laid his coat upon the ground, spreading it out to its full capacity, taking up a large portion of grass underneath the Oak.

"You're table mon cheri."

A tingling feeling swept through Rogue as she felt herself grin at Gambits polite gesture. Rogue handed him the cupholder containing their drinks as Gambit held out his hand to escort Rogue to the table. She allowed him to do so and took his partially gloved hand in her fully covered one.

Once they were both seated, "So what's on the menu?"

"Patience chere, while Gambit sets the mood." Rogue eyed Gambit carefully and could see the playful gleam in his eye as he removed the cups of coffee from their holders and placed one in front of her and the other by his side. "First, da wine." He reached into the large restaurant bag and pulled out a small plastic sack containing packets of sugar and cream. He removed her coffee lid, enabling the steam to rise at full force. He poured in 3 sugars and 2 creams into the brew and stirred with a stirrer before he replaced the top. "Your usual, non?" Rogue didn't respond; she didn't need to. He could tell she was pleased by the smile on her face. "And now, da entre." He returned to the restaurant bag and removed a styrofoam container and placed it in front of her along with a plastic package containing a napkin, fork, knife and salt and pepper packets. Rogue reached to open the lid of the container, but Gambit touched her arm to stop her. "Wait chere." He reached in the bag for a final item, a long stem rose. "Compliments of da chef" he said holding the rose out to her. Rogue stared at it without moving. A streak of nervousness flickered across Gambits face as he waited for Rogue to respond.

"Oh Remy" she whispered as she reached for the rose. Rogue could not help the feeling of adoration she felt when he released the flower into her welcoming grasp. They held one another's gaze, until Rogue had to look away almost overwhelmed by the intense emotion she felt brewing not only behind Gambits stare but within herself as well. She had almost forgotten how hungry she was. She placed the rose beside her as she shifted her eyes to the Styrofoam box and slowly lifted the lid. The visual that met her transferred her back to her childhood days in Mississippi. A huge chesse omeatlete with the works seemed to consume the entire container, a side of grits with a melting hunk of butter that looked like a volcano with yellow lava flowing down its sides took up the left side of the container, and three of the fluffiest biscuits shed's ever seen smothered in thick gravy took up the remaining right side of the container. Her mouth watered from the sight and she instantly tore off the plastic holding the utensils and dug right in. Gambit watched amusingly.

"Hungry chere?"

Between mouthfuls, "Starvin!"

"Well, it was a good thing Gambit was here" he grinned.

After swallowing, "Easy, swamp rat. Don't want ya head getting any bigger then it already is."

"Gambit's head is fine chere." Before he could stop himself, "but Gambit's heart, dat be another matter."

Her forkful of omelet froze in midair, just inches from her mouth, but she quickly recovered and resumed eating. Uncomfortable silence filled the air between them. Gambit didn't care if she didn't' want to hear it; if she tired to push him away; he was going to tell her exactly how he felt and what he thought, once and for all.

"Rogue, you know how I feel bout you."

"Remy, don't"—

"No, chere. Dis Cajun got somethin' to say and he gonna say it."

He took a deep breath as Rogue focused her attention on him, not able to look away if she wanted.

"I care for you Rogue; moren I eva cared for any femme. You always in my head, no matter where I am or what I'm doin. You always dere."

Rogue turned her head, not wanting Gambit to see the tears that were glistening in her eyes.

"I don't care what you do, or what you say, or how hard you push, I will neva leave. I'm always gonna be here for you chere. I have to, I got no choice."

Rogue turned her teary eyes to look upon Gambit, no longer being able to conceal her true feelings. What was it about this man? What kind of power did he have over her? She wanted desperately to be with him, to love him, but fear still held her captive.

"I know you afraid; afraid you might hurt me, that you might get too close. But you only hurt me by not getting too close."

He reached out and slowly rubbed his hand up and down her arm, protected my the long sleeves. She gave him a slight smile. He shifted his position and took her hand in his and gently pulled her towards him, bypassing their plates and cups of coffee. She slid closer to him, causing his trench coat to ruffle and wrinkle in folds underneath her, as she came to be directly in front of him. He leaned towards her, as she became frozen under his gaze, holding her breath in sheer nervousness of his close proximity. Their noses almost touched, and everything was still and quiet as they shared this moment. She felt his warm breath on her face, wanting to breathe in its sweetness.

"Don't you see chere."

He pulled his head slightly back as he shifted slowly to whisper in her ear and his hand came up to rest on her right shoulder.

"I love you."

She gasped at the erotic feeling she felt as his breath left goosebumps on his neck; she gasped at the compassion, emotion and alluring sexiness behind the force of his words; and she gasped at the absolute and overwhelming joy she felt rush through her.

She fell into his open arms, laying her head on his chest as he lovingly stroked her hair. She wrapped her arms around him, squeezing tightly.

"Remy, I love you too." she nearly whispered.

He kissed the top of her hair.

"But…." she hesitated, but only briefly. "How is this going to work? How are we going to be together when there's so much against us? When we can't do what people in love are supposed to do? When there are barriers that we can't cross?"

"Da always be barriers. Not just in love, but in eveythin; in life. It's all a gamble chere, a gamble with heavy odds against us."

"But how we gonna beat the odds?"

"We gotta fight dem."

"But ah don't know how."

"Don't worry chere." He wrapped his arms around her, as if she was a prized possession, not ever wanting to let her go. "We fight dem toget'er."

"Together," she whispered, pressing her body closer to his, strengthening the hold. She would never let go.

The end

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