This is dedicated to Chica De Los Ojos Cafe for her lovely review of "The Rogue's Gambit." It is a gift to coup fatal, who needs a taste of some real Romy while her significant other is away, so I wrote this up. It is a tribute to Ludi, who pushed my muse along the more dangerous Romy fics running through my head and inspired me to pick this up again. It is the sequel to "The Rogue's Gambit." Please enjoy
The Gambit's Rogue
- 1 -
She's under his skin.
He can still taste her, still smell the hint of rain and sweat and sweetness like no fruit or flower he's ever smelled that coated her skin, still feel the heat of her in his soul.
"Was I that bad?" she asked.
He stared at her uncomprehending. That bad? She was the sweetest thing he'd tasted since Bella. She'd been perfect beneath his palms, her cries driving the beat of his pulse as she surrendered to him so readily.
He should have known.
He should have known he would eventually break every promise he has ever made to himself. The one that he'll stop caring, the one that he'll leave his past behind, the one that he'll never take innocence again.
He doesn't know what draws him back a year after the fact toward dusk as he ducks into his favorite bar. He pretends he doesn't know why the women throwing him lidded, seductive looks and heated stares don't draw him. He pretends this is any ordinary night when he wants to be alone with a game of solitaire and a shot of bourbon.
"See you in a year?" he asked. Not even a hint of emotion gave him away in his voice.
Her eyes slid away and she tossed back just as casually, "Maybe."
He pretends he isn't hot just thinking of her. He pretends she isn't under his skin.
A woman laughed once in his arms, accepted his ring, his touch. Blood on the sheets. She got under his skin, like an itch that wouldn't let go. Her blue eyes haunted him, the way they looked the day he took her innocence.
Not the innocence of her virginity.
Never again, he vowed the day he left New Orleans. Never again would he take that laughter away in the shedding of blood, the loss of innocence.
He deals the cards. Turning up aces. He stares at the red and black on playing cards.
Queens for a pretty lady. Deuces for choices to be made. Aces for death.
Blood on the sheets. Only twice in his life had he drawn it from a woman.
Her eyes went wide as he brought her for the very first time. She swallowed her cry, strangling for herself what he wanted so badly to hear.
He should have known.
In his mind, he touches her, is still touching her, and he hates himself that she is under his skin.
Blood on the sheets. Blood on white. Red on a white dress.
He checks the time. It's almost midnight, too late for an innocent to be walking the streets and meeting men in bars. Too late to take a gambit.
She had gazed at him coldly. "I don't owe you."
He pulled her taut against him and demanded, "Don't you?"
There was a certain carnal pleasure the second time he took her, in knowing he had taught her this. It was his as much as hers.
He took her innocence.
Bella Donna. Rogue.
It's why he sits here waiting, dealing cards, playing with hearts, even knowing she will not come.
- xx -
He doesn't return to his apartment until after one o'clock in the morning. He drank little, having spent most of the evening on alert for white hair soft against brown and a pair of glittering emerald eyes.
She did not come.
He runs a hand through his hair and opens a cupboard to pull down a bottle of bourbon and another to retrieve a glass. He sets both on the granite countertop.
A faint buzz tickles him under the ribs.
He slips out the phone and glances at the name on the screen. He feels something darken in him briefly, a tightening in his gut, but then smiles as he thinks of good times long ago. He flips open the cell and holds it to his ear.
"Stormy! Bonjour, chèrie." He's sure she can hear his smirk in the tone of his voice, and he keeps his voice light, despite misgivings.
The response is exactly what he expected, sharp and precise. "Do not call me that."
He laughs. "And what can I do for you, Stormy?"
A long pause of displeasure, a slight sniff, then she deigns to reply. "Remy."
"Remy LeBeau," he confirms. "The one and only."
"You said you'd consider my offer," she says, her warm dignity ringing through in the tone, as if knowing all friendliness between them will vanish with those words.
He flattens one palm against the countertop and clenches his teeth to restrain a growl. The X-Men. An offer he cannot refuse. One he cannot accept. And the very thing he had known she would call about tonight.
Ororo Munroe, Storm, weather goddess, queen of his heart, his mignonne, his little princess, had been gifted not only with the most beautiful rich brown skin, soft white hair like spun silk, like fresh fallen snow, the ability to control the wind and the rain and the elements, besides her unruffled composure, but also with the gift of remarkably terrible timing.
"I will," he says flatly.
She sighs and he winces, knowing she'll find some way to draw blood.
"We don't have enough people."
A reminder. A reprimand. Blood on the hands of a woman who had once been her dearest friend. The Professor was gone. Scott was gone. Jean was gone. And his mignonne needed him.
"Stormy..." he breathes out, running his hand through his hair again.
Her voice stiffens considerably. "Do not call me that."
He only manages a slight smile, the barest upward turn of the lips. "I don't want to do this," he says, openly admitting the truth for once in his life.
She accepts it, honors it with a moment's silence, before finally drawing the blood he's been waiting for.
"Neither do I."
- xx -
"This is Gambit," Storm says, addressing the gathered X-Men in Xavier's War Room around the conference table.
He cuts a long, lean figure in a trench coat, scruffy, handsome, dangerous. His eyes are a striking red on black. His casual smirk could be trademarked.
He's staring at her.
She recognizes him but does not allow it to show on her face when he catches her gaze and his smirk grows wider. She isn't even listening to whatever Storm has to say about the newest addition to their team because she knows him too on a much more intimate footing. Strangely, she has no desire at the moment to know his professional occupation or why he is here instead of there. She simply wants to escape his almost tangible gaze upon her.
"And that is Rogue," Storm says.
"We've already met," he says drily and tilts his head toward her for confirmation.
She merely smiles, a small, coy expression. "When I took the Cure."
The crimson irises flare, overtaking the black.
A few people glance toward her, not least of all Logan with his crossed arms and protective demeanor.
She shrugs. "That's almost over."
He is sitting down as Storm gives her a meaningful look.
"The Cure may be failing, but life is not over."
She narrows her eyes in anger. "It's not your life, Storm."
Storm hesitates, then draws the conversation away onto safer ground. It swirls and eddies into topics she doesn't bother to listen to. Instead, she finds herself all too aware of a heated stare directed at her from unique eyes, black and red.
- xx -
Bobby follows hard on her heels out of the meeting. "Rogue! You know him?" he demands, catching her by one arm in the hallway.
She rounds on him and grips his own arm hard, then carefully, deliberately removes his hand from her skin.
He has the decency to look chastened. She glimpses Gambit standing in the doorway, watching them, waiting to come out.
"I know precisely three things about him," she says, a fierceness sliding up under her skin.
Bobby pulls away from her, worry edging about his eyes. He has seen when she gets like this, when she lashes out for previous hurts. "Rogue..."
"Don't," she says.
He cuts off the words within him.
She studies her grip on his sleeve. Green eyes glance upward, catch against his gaze. He holds his breath.
"His name is Gambit."
She's going to do it. She's going to make him bleed.
"He keeps a tab at The Dragon's Nest."
A bar. Bobby hates bars. She can see him processing the information.
She leans in.
He draws back, eyes widening with realization.
"And he's good in bed," she whispers almost directly against his skin.
The knife goes in. It's only what he deserves. "Rogue..."
"Don't," she says, voice hard. "You did it first."
- xx -
She enters her darkened room with the shades drawn and the haphazard array of morning preparations still strewn across various items of furniture. The room is too warm. The scent of spices and cigarettes and bourbon wafts through the closed in space. She lifts one eyebrow at the unauthorized occupant of her desk chair.
Long auburn hair falls to his shoulders, framing the sharp planes of his lean face, the expression obscured by the dimness of the light. Dark eyes glow crimson against a black sea seeking to draw her in.
She casually continues into the room, shutting the door with the heel of her dress shoe and tossing her gloves onto the dresser.
"Stood me up." His voice is as husky and dark as she remembered. The kind designed to seduce, to tempt, to steal away a girl's heart when she isn't looking.
"I said maybe, Gambit." She keeps her own voice calm and even and begins to make up the bed. She deliberately does not look at him. "And maybe is exactly what I meant."
He is silent for a while. She can feel him watching her as she moves about her bedroom, cleaning up and straightening the mess she made. Heat coils lightly under her skin, as if feeling his gaze makes her feel other things. She ignores the warm sensation as firmly as she ignores what his tantalizing scent does to her nerve endings.
She does not speak and the atmosphere grows tense with something thick and almost painful between them.
"So what happens when the Cure wears off?" he speaks suddenly into the heavy silence.
She stiffens and turns toward him and the burn of his glowing eyes. He catches her gaze and she catches her breath, wondering if he's trying to drown her in them.
She retorts sharply, if not as sharply as she intended, "What do you want?"
He looks inordinately pleased with himself. He has achieved the effect he intended, and it irritates her to see his eyes dim and darken again, to see the way he flexes his muscles in shifting to a more comfortable position in the chair and it draws her attention, and to see the way he looks at her, as if in some small way he owns her.
But his words throw all of that into a glaringly different focus. "To get you out from under my skin." He flashes a predatory grin, but it is not enough to cast them into doubt. He means what he says.
She slows in her actions but refuses to remove the snap from her voice. "Why, of all the women you've had and bedded, would I be under your skin?" she asks.
He measures the distance between them, not large since she is placing clothes in the drawer about a foot from his head.
He shifts again and she glances over. Not in time to catch the motion as he wraps one hand tightly about her wrist and pulls. She yanks back, but he is stronger and she finds herself mere inches away from his chest, his hair, his scent, hovering over him in his chair, trapped in a way that is all too familiar.
His grip loosens and he brings up his other hand to trace one finger lightly around her wrist, leaving a trail of heat where he has touched her. She lids her eyes and leans back slightly from him, further from the smoldering fire in his eyes. When he speaks it is low and nearly rumbles through her.
"Because you're an innocent rogue who's used to danger. You're a girl and you're a woman. You're vixen and ingénue." He draws the words out in admiration. "The juxtaposition is..." He tilts his head at her as if searching for the word. The heady irises ringing his eyes flare into a brilliance of scarlet. He smiles on one side of his mouth, slowly, almost seductively. "Scintillating."
She yanks her hand out of his grasp, even if she doesn't back away. "Well, go be scintillated by something else."
He studies her with a frankly open expression. "What do you want, Rogue? For some reason, you seem to think everything's over once this Cure wears off." He pauses, leaving her an opening.
She does not speak, does not deny it. Instead, she focuses on rubbing the feel of him off of her wrist where it stubbornly remains.
"But you want something, chère," he insists, leaning forward into her personal space.
"I want you."
His breath paints her collar bone. She doesn't back away. She does want something, but he is a dangerous man, someone she should not, cannot give her heart to. So she falls back on her defenses.
"This more of your seduction techniques?" She lifts one eyebrow with practiced casualness and drops her hands to her hips.
His eyes flicker. "I told. Why don't you?"
"Because you're a predator." The answer comes easy.
His slow, steady smile, just edging into a smirk, tells her his comes easier. "And the Rogue isn't?"
She narrows her eyes at him. Two can play, she thinks viciously. "Because you're a gambit."
"You're used to danger," he throws her own words back at her from a lifetime ago, from the one compromising situation of her entire life...with him.
And unfortunately, he's right.
She glares at him. "Because I don't trust you!"
He lets out that same rich, rumbling chuckle that reeled her in the first time. His eyes coax her, beg her to tell. She feels her resolve wavering and she hates that he has such power over her. If her voice comes out more bitter than she intends, what is it?
"Touch that isn't a lie."
He is silent. He studies her as she studies him. He frowns.
"Yes," she says softly. "Touch." Vengeance flares within her and she leans in close to mingle their breath in the warm, dim space between them. She cants her head toward him and speaks out softly, fiercely, "He touched me when he didn't want me. He touched me like he cared. They touch me like they're not afraid, like they're not reaching for the most covered place they find. They touch me like they're happy when they're not. They touch me like they're playful when they're afraid. Touch, Gambit!" Her tone sharpens. "It lies more readily than the tongue."
Then she pulls away, turns her body toward the bed, her shoulder pointed toward him on the edge.
She can hear his even breathing, the harsh hiss of her own exhale.
"You want touch," he says. The meaning in his words is heady. Question. Answer. Desire. Want.
She shudders, realizing she is trembling, that the closeness between them is growing and intensifying. She can feel him like he was pressed against her and he still remains seated in her chair.
The silence stretches.
She squares her shoulders and makes up her mind. She turns back towards him, glimpses a flare of surprise in that heady, heated gaze. He tilts his head in question. She draws closer, slips her hands into his hair, pulling his head back so she can look at him directly.
She leans close to him and whispers. "No lies. No misleading. No implications that aren't the truth. I want you to be real with me." She draws a heavy breath and places one hand over his heart. The beat is steady, giving no indication of what he's feeling. "You can have me. All of me." The first quickening of his heartbeat. "But if you want me, I better feel it," she says harshly. "If you're angry, I want your anger. I want your touch, you, to never lie to me, Gambit."
She studies his face, the unreadable expression, the way the red in his eyes has softened and blended with the black.
She feels his hand move up her side and her breath hitches. She hadn't even felt him touch her and now he is moving. His other hand comes up to claim her waist. Slowly, he guides her closer until only her hand between them keeps her from having to sit on his lap.
"I promise you'll get the full, unadulterated version," he says, and somehow the words hold no comfort. No reassurance. He's leaning toward her, tilting his head, and this achingly close to her mouth when he whispers, "I don't promise you'll like it."
She tilts her head back away from his mouth, exposing her throat and allowing him access to devour her.
- xx -
A woman laughed once in his arms, accepted his ring, his touch. She got under his skin, like an itch that wouldn't let go.
As he loses himself in her green eyes, wide as he brings her, in her scent like rain and sweat and sweetness unlike any fruit or flower he's ever smelled, he finds she has displaced Bella from his heart, the first woman to ever make him forget.
He draws her out and shudders when she comes.
She stares up at him, her beauty too real, too innocent for him to speak. She's breathing hard and he suddenly wonders if she's done this with anyone else. Tentative fingers reach up to brush across his face, his skin. She closes her eyes and he waits.
"I like it," she whispers.
Bitterness taints his tone as with those three words, she has brought him back to what she had finally helped him to forget.