A/N: Re-done!

Beta-ed by Chica De Los Ojos Cafe- Thank you so much!!

I live my life in chains
Got my hands in chains
And I can
't stick with the cards
That I got with a deal
Like this

The young woman named Rogue sighed and stared at her hands. She knew that life never made anything easy. She was a slave to fate. It held her down by dealing her the worst of hands. Her back luck began at childhood when at the young age of ten her parents abandoned her and left her to fend for herself on the streets. Then while trying to pry some men—if you could even call them that—off of her, she got a stupid mutation at the age of thirteen. From then on she just stole anything she could, using her power to knock her victims unconscious. Soon after, she was offered a place at a school for mutants.

So Rogue stayed and lived in the school. While there, she'd fallen in love with the school's fearless leader, Scott Summers. Of course as fate would have it, he was in love with someone else. Little Miss Perfect. Of course he would be. Why would anyone go for the plain Goth when they could have the gorgeous red-head? So once again she lived up to her street name and disappeared as soon as she turned eighteen. But the need for food and shelter led Rogue to a strip club. She didn't want to work there but the owner had a solution for mutants, an inhibitor that came in the form of a simple bracelet. She took his deal. But while Rogue could touch, she felt disgusted that she had to show her body for a living.

At the age of twenty two, Rogue had outgrown the Goth look. Her hair was long and her two platinum streaks framed her face. She had also gone from a scrawny little girl to a curvaceous woman. Once when on an errand she stumbled across a man. He had said he recognized her from the strip club and wanted to help her. She was reluctant to accept his offer but went with what fate threw her way. He offered her any job she wanted in his New Orleans bar. She settled with being a waitress. But within one year he had grown to trust her and made her a manager. She organized events and never had to work nights. She still had the inhibitor. Her new boss had made some sought of deal with her old one. She didn't care what deal they struck, so long as she didn't feel like a slave.

I must insist
That a girl
's got more to do
Then be the way you think a woman should
'm taking it into my own hands
In this man
's land I can understand
Why I
'm taking command
Had enough of stuff
And now it
's time to think about me, me yeah

As Rogue's thoughts came back to the present, she checked the clock and realized it was nighttime. She grabbed her coat and looked around. This was when the gambling in the bar got serious. There were a few stragglers at various tables. One particular gambler caught her eye. He seemed to be in his early twenties. He had auburn hair, a pair of sunglasses perched on his face for some reason, and a brown trench coat. The other man at his table was portly fat and sweaty. The port man eyed the stranger carefully before throwing down his cards and heading out in a huff. The auburn-haired stranger leaned back in his chair and shuffled his cards absentmindedly. Rogue walked over to the bar. She smiled at Bill the bartender, the only friend she had in this place.

'Hey Roguey, can you pull an all-nighter?'

'Think so. Why?'

'Well, I got a hot date tonight, so Gary is going to work behind the bar and we need someone to do what Gary usually does.'

'And what does Gary usually do?'

'See that guy with the sun glasses?'


'Well, he's from a very important family. You need to keep him company. And make sure he doesn't do anything stupid.'


'Yup, stupid. Just make sure to take away his bottle and refuse to give him anymore drinks.'

'Ya want meh ta tell a grown man he can't drink?'

'Yeah, thanks for doing this.'

'Ah didn't agree!'

'But you will.'

'Ugh! Why is he so depressed?'

'His fiancé cheated on him.'

Rogue frowned and fell in silence. She looked over at the man. She couldn't read his emotions because of his glasses but the way he just stared at nothing told her all about his suffering. She sighed and Bill smiled.

'How bad?' she whispered.

'He tried to kill himself once.'

'How long do Ah have ta stay with him?'

'His brother is usually here by three.'

'Ya owe meh.'

Rogue rubbed her forehead and checked her inhibitor bracelet before heading over to the stranger's table.

And you can easily gamble your life away
Second after second
And day by day
You play the game or you walk away
's a new turn on a blue day
And a cool deal of life for me
And it
's all good

She sat down opposite him. He glanced over at her then continued to stare at the ceiling.

'Um…Hi, Ah'm Rogue.'

He nodded but stayed silent.

'Do ya wanna talk?'


'Glad to see ya have a voice,' she mumbled.

She noticed one of his eyebrows rose at her comment. She sat back and thought deeply. She studied his features, trying to trigger a memory at the back of her mind. Then it hit her.


This time he turned to look at her fully. She titled her head to the side wondering what was lurking beneath those dark glasses.

'Ah know ya. Some of the gals that come here talk about ya. Guess Ah've never seen ya 'cause Ah never usually work this late.'

Yeah. She'd heard all about him. Apparently he went from woman to woman, never calling any back, just sleeping with them and then disappearing like a ghost. If he wasn't doing that, he was out gambling somewhere. He was still staring at her. She felt as if he was examining her soul. She reached into her pocket and pulled out a pack of cards. She shuffled them and noticed him look behind her. She put the pack on the table and looked at him expectantly.

I know that the spades are the swords of a soldier
I know that the clubs are weapons of war
I know that diamonds mean money for this art
But that
's not the shape of my heart

'Let's play a game. We'll each pick a card. Highest number means that person can ask a question. Any question. Do we have a deal?'

She watched as he regarded her for a moment. Then he nodded. She smiled and reached forward to pull out a card. Ten of Spades. Spades were the swords of a soldier, she had high hopes. He leaned forward and drew a card. He didn't smile. He threw down his card. Five of Diamonds. She smiled and showed her card.

'Diamonds mean money, money helps ya win nothin'.'

'Y' gonna ask y'r question?' he muttered.

'What's yer name?'


'Short but sweet, cool.'

I've always played it safe nothing's ever safe
Give me the courage to back my own convictions
Every decision I make I pay it back and more
Now turn the cards and let them fall to me
Cos I don
't need to play on with the hand that they have given me
'll give it back cos it's not the way it has to be

'Y' don' 'ave t' d' dis Chere.'

'Ah want ta get ta know ya.'


'Because Ah'm nice that way. Ah know a lotta things about ya just by looking at ya but Ah don't want ta judge someone Ah've just met.'

'Y' jus' 'ere because it's y' job.'

'Ah'm here because Ah want ta be Swamp Rat.'

'Whatever, River Rat.'

She rolled her eyes and reshuffled the deck. She noticed his gaze landed on her bracelet. She shrugged her sleeve lower and carried on with her shuffling.

'Y' good wit' y' hands.'

'Pervert,' she muttered.

'Jus' tryin' t' compliment y' Chere.'

'Ah'm not yer dear. Now draw.'

He nodded and picked up a card. She picked up hers. Two of Clubs. Shit. She watched as he threw down the Jack of Spades. She sighed, wishing she had chosen a better game.

'What ya want ta know?' she questioned.

'Why d' y' work 'ere if y' hate it?'

'What! Ah don't hate it.'

'I watch y' sometimes, Chere. Y' smiles are fake and when y' t'ink no one is lookin' y' smile fades. Why not leave?'

'Because then Ah'd be alone and vulnerable. Ah like bein' safe. Ah accept the cards fate has dealt meh.'

'Y' shouldn'. Y' should gamble, play de odds.'

'Ah don't gamble. If Ah lose, Ah lose. If Ah win, Ah give it away.'

'No sense in dat Chere.'

'That's the way it has ta be.'

'What's dat bracelet f'r?'

'Ya haven't drawn a card.'

'Least I'm talkin'.'

She looked at her bracelet and sighed.

'Blocks mah mutation. Ah had a deadly mutation that worked when people touched mah skin.'

'Y' sold y' soul f'r touch.'

'No, fate dealt a card and Ah took it. This bracelet has been on fo' years but Ah still allow no one ta touch meh. Not in the way ya think.'

He fell silent again, regarding her through those dark glasses. Then he looked over her shoulder again. She looked behind her and understood why. He was trying to catch the eyes of other gamblers, trying to get them to challenge him. She sighed.

And you can easily gamble your life away
Second after second
And day by day
You play the game or you walk away
's a new turn on a blue day
And a cool deal of life for me
And it
's all good

'Why do this Remy?'

He gaze fell back on her and he raised an eyebrow in question.

'Gambling, drinking, sex. Ah know it's easy ta lose yerself but why?'

'Says de fille who walks away instead of playin' de game.'

She sighed and started laying the cards in front of her.

I know that the spades are the swords of a soldier
I know that the clubs are weapons of war
I know that diamonds mean money for this art
But that
's not the shape of my heart


'What!' she hissed.

'Y' deck, dere's no 'earts.'

'Ah know, Ah burned 'em all.'

'I see.'

'Ah don't need a heart.'

'But w'at is a deck wit'out 'earts?'

She looked up at him and recollected her deck. She laid on the table the Ace of Spades, Clubs and Diamonds.

'Spades are the swords of a soldier, clubs are weapons of war, and diamonds are money fo' this art.'

'Still need a 'eart.'

'Do Ah? Do ya? What's in yer heart Remy?'

That's not the shape
The shape of my heart
My heart
's not the shape of my heart

He stared at her and she glared back. She knew what betrayal felt like. It changed you. Cut away at your heart. Her heart wasn't warm and loving. It was cold. She used people when they used her, causing a balance.

'Y' scared Chere.'

And you can easily gamble your life away
Second after second
And day by day
You play the game or you walk away
's a new turn on a blue day
And a cool deal of life for me
And it
's all good

'What do ya know? Ya hide away from the world. Ya cower behind dark glasses and gamblin'. Ya try ta end yer life rather than face it. At least Ah'm still livin', even if it's a meaningless life.'

He lowered his glasses and she found herself looking into the most beautiful eyes she had ever seen. He moved to put the glasses back on but she snatched them away.

'No more hidin',' she whispered.

He nodded and pulled off a glove. She looked at the scars on his hand. She understood. He was a mutant. Like her his mutation affected his life. He reached his bare hand forward.

'No hidin',' he repeated.

She nodded and took his hand. He held hers, stroking her skin, caressing it gently with his thumb.

'Y' skin is soft,' he whispered.

'Yer eyes are beautiful.'

'I'm afraid of bein' betrayed again.'

'Ah'm afraid Ah'll be abandoned because Ah'm not good enough.'

Their eyes met again. And he smiled. She blushed and smiled back. Suddenly she felt her heart flutter.

I know that the spades are the swords of a soldier
I know that the clubs are weapons of war
I know that diamonds mean money for this art
But that
's not the shape
The shape of my heart

'Remy, temps pour aller,' called a voice.

She turned and saw a man waiting at the entrance. She guessed that was his brother. Remy nodded and stood up. He leaned over to her, lips a whisper from her ear.

'Until next time, ma Cherie.'

He kissed her lips and then before she could react was gone with the swish of his coat. She shook her head, dazed for the first time by a touch. She pulled her deck to her and was about to put it in her pocket when she saw a stray card there. She pulled it out and smiled. The Queen of Hearts.