Disclaimer: X-Men is not my doing, but that of Marvel Comics, Stan Lee and all the other creators.
Authors Note: So, I'm a true die hard fan of the 90s cartoon, "X-Men the animated series." That's what I grew up on as a kid and what I know best. I bought the series awhile ago, and rediscovered my love for X-Men which lead me to the discovery of the wonderful world of Romy! And what a wonderful world it is (sigh). Anyway, this fic is set in the wee hours of the morning after the episode, "X-ternally Yours." Rogue and some of the X-Men go to New Orleans to help Gambit get through some family issues he's facing. This is when Rogue is introduced to Bella Donna (much to her surprise). But now they have returned to New York, and are nestled safely in the mansion. Oh, and on the tv show Gambit never married Bella Donna, but you could tell that he cared a lot for her. I hope I explained that well. But guys, let me know what you think, I hope it's not too weird or confusing. Okay, here we go……
"Gambit's kissed many women chere, but he's loved only one."
The tall blonde stood before her, mocking Rogues weakness as she took pleasure in the pain that her words were causing. "Gambits kissed……" with a half smile shown on her face, "many women………many.............women…………many….....…." the smile was half filled with wickedness, "he's loved only one……….only one……..…" and half filled with hate, "loved only one….….…Gambit.…….….loved only one………..loved……..…one….……." The sultry female voice was relentless as her words rang throughout Rogues ears, each ring acting as a hammering on a chisel, piercing through her heart. Rogue felt defenseless, naked, vulnerable and sick to her stomach all at once, combined into an all too familiar feeling of abandonment. She turned to run, to escape the words from this crazed lady, this source of evil. But the woman grew taller and taller, haunting Rogues footsteps around every bend, becoming a thorn in her side, never relenting nor allowing Rogue a moments peace. The overbearing woman had become one with Rogue's shadow, all the time gnawing against her body and tearing her skin with her words, as if they were a double edged sword. Rogue could not hear anymore, could not listen, would not listen. She screamed out in agony, a painful, gut wrenching screech that would pause death above an old mans bed.
And then, she was falling, falling through a black abyss, away from the woman, leaving her looming shadow behind, but taking the sound of her voice with her. The words were now louder, stronger, commencing the cutting all over again, but now with a sharpened blade. And as she fell the cuts grew deeper, and she could feel the blood mixing in with the darkness, swirling around her in a red mist as she continued to fall into nothingness.
"He's loved only one."
Rogue launched up from her bed, like a shot from a cannon, knocking the pillows to the floor as her frantic pants filled the quiet room. Her hand leapt to her chest, as her head violently bobbed left and right, gazing around the room in urgency. Slowly, she began to gather in her surroundings, realizing that she was safely situated in her room and had left the troubling nightmare behind. She took a minute to control her rapid breathing as she slid a hand through her disheveled body of hair. She laid her hands on her forehead as she blew out a breath of air, still trying to shake the words out of her head. She turned to her right to gaze at her alarm clock, 4:37am; the sun wasn't even up yet.
She threw off the sheets that partially covered her body and made her way over to her dresser on the other side of the room. She should be tired because they had gotten back only a few hours ago from New Orleans; but, she knew she could not get back to sleep now even if she wanted.
Her room was completely dark except for the faint rays of gray light from the approaching dawn, cascading in through the French doors leading to her balcony. She groped around in her dresser drawer blindly, feeling around for her favorite pair of pants. She needed to go flying, and let the fresh air clear her head and erase the words that she could still faintly hear ringing in her ears. Finding the pants she wanted, she shut the drawer, changing from her pajamas into the dark pants and a long sleeved top. She grabbed her gloves from the nightstand and swung open the doors leading to her balcony, embracing the outside world head on as she took to the sky.
The early morning breeze ran through her wavy hair, causing her white bangs to lose themselves within the brown tangles mainly dominating the strands upon her head. She flew high and fast through the dark sky, trying to leave all thoughts behind. She didn't want to think about New Orleans, didn't want to see that woman, didn't want to hear her words, she just wanted to get lost within the clouds and not have to remember or hear anything. But there was one thing, one image she wanted to focus on at this point, one image alone that would be the soothing ointment she needed. If she blocked everything else out and put all her focus on this, then she would be able to relax. All she had to do was focus on him; on Gambit, the thief that had stolen her heart. She smiled as she imagined his face within the clouds, as they began to sculpt his masculine form right before her eyes.
He had come to mean so much to her and she hadn't truly realized it until yesterday, on their trip, or rather trip turned rescue mission. She got a chance to see firsthand where he had spent his youth, the kind of life he had once lived and the people associated with that lifestyle. It was as if a spotlight had been turned on him, revealing tiny details that he had kept concealed from her eyes, like the personal and intimate things about him that she had come to discover. It all aided in her realization of the high regard she held him in, and how important he had become to her. It was more than their established friendship, more than their casual flirtations, but something deeper was burning inside of her, that was perhaps there all along, but had only been brought to the surface the previous night. This would explain her reaction to the dramatic events in New Orleans, her reaction to the jarring nightmare. No, she didn't want to think about those things, those terrible words, the sickening feeling she got in the pit of her stomach when she heard them spoken hours ago in the swampy southern land and then again, minutes ago in the comforts of her own bedroom. But what did all this mean; these fears, worries, anxieties, feelings and emotions swarming around her like bees after honey. She had a thought, a small inkling of a thought that made its way from the depths of her heart to the forefront of her mind. Could it be possible? Could it really be possible that maybe, just maybe she was ready to say that she was in lov—
"He's loved only one."
She gasped the moment she heard the words; gasped as if she were suddenly punched in the stomach and all air had left her body. Who, who said that? Where did that voice come from? Was it in her head? Was she still dreaming? What was going on? She felt the clouds sweep past her, no longer amongst their comforting presence, but leaving them behind. She was falling; falling, just like in her dream. She was falling and didn't even realize it.
The large pine tree caught her body with opening arms as its strong trunk was split in half, and its many branches demolished upon impact as leaves and slits of wood went scattering in all directions. Rogue groaned aloud as she stood up, dusting the dirt off the back of her pants. She looked at the massacred tree with sympathy, and then turned her head to the sky with a questioning stare. What happened? One minute she was flying peacefully, and the next, falling uncontrollably. She knew she had to shake this off, whatever it was. She began to make her way back to the mansion, but this time on foot.
She headed towards the cluster of trees ahead, making her way through the winding trunks swiftly, ready to return to the mansion. The broken branches crackled under her boots and the leaves crunched, overpowering the otherwise silent forest. Although she liked being alone like this, in the stillness and peaceful hand of nature, she was anxious to get back to the mansion, and try to figure out whatever this was that was affecting her. She saw the clearing up ahead that led to the lake, and knew the mansion wasn't a great distance further. As she stepped out of the greenery of the towering forest, and entered the open field, she saw a lone figure sitting on a giant boulder in the distance, near the large, glistening body of water. She starred at the tail of the brown trench coat, flapping in the wind. There was only one wearer of that weathered coat, the coat stained with the blood of their enemies, soaked in the smells that embodied everything Cajun, and tainted with the unspeakable worries and unforeseen demons that he silently faced; it was the coat that she loved. It was Gambit's coat.
She felt her feet moving in his direction, being drawn to him like a moth to a flame. She knew he heard her coming, but he made no movement acknowledging her presence. His eyes remained fixed on the horizon and the disappearing dawn. She knew why he was awake this early in the morning, why he was alone in this place of solitude, and she knew what it was that he faced, with only the waters crashing waves to comfort him.
She stopped a few feet away, and stood there quietly while studying his appearance thoughtfully. His rumpled brown locks had been scattered mercilessly by the wind, and he had not taken the time to brush them out of his eyes and away from his face. She could see the tension in his body and took note of how taut and firm his neck and shoulders appeared, rigid and stiff as a thick board. He was very still and sat erect and attention like upon the rock, as if he were waiting for the announcement of a friend's verdict. She had never seen him like this before. In the last 24 hours she had learned so much about him and his life before the X-Men. She had learned things that he had shared with no one, things that he kept hidden, things he hadn't had to face for a long time. She knew that he was going over all those things, those haunting things, right now in his head, reliving their hours in Louisiana all over again, facing the memories alone.
She wanted to comfort him and hold him in her arms and take away all his concerns and regrets. She wanted to be there for him, like he was always there for her. She took a step towards him, concern written on her face, "Gambit?" He continued in his motionless position, frozen like a statue to the worlds eye. She walked around to stand in front of him, meeting his immobile gaze head on. His hair obstructed the expression on his face, prohibiting her from deciphering his thoughts. She hesitantly stretched her arm out, gently placing her gloved hand on his shoulder. "Gambit." Her touch accompanied with the distressed tone in her voice seemed to shatter the invisible force that held him prisoner upon the rock.
He threw back his head with a quick jerk and released a large breath of air that seemed he had been holding for ages. It was almost as if he had been somewhere else, some faraway land and was suddenly jolted back into reality. He shoved the brown tresses from his face, obtaining a better view of his surroundings with eyes hazed with surprise and aloofness, which finally came to rest upon the startled woman who stood before him.
"Rogue, what you doin woke?" His voice sounded stressed and exhausted, not at all glazed with the typical southern charm he usually manifested.
Worry brimmed her eyebrows, "Ah, ah, couldn't sleep" she admitted slowly. She reached out for the man once again, hoping her touch wouldn't repeat the surprising effect it had just emitted. "Are ya alright?" He released another puff of air, this time much more relaxed, and she could see a fraction of the tension leave his masculine frame, feel the tautness in his shoulder where her hand lay, begin to trickle away. And wait, was that the makings of a smile?
"Oui. No rest for the weary, non."
"Well it's kinda hard to rest when ya bein' haunted by nightmares, sugha."
An inquisitive eyebrow raised on his handsome face. "You been havin' nightmares, chere? Tell Gambit bout it, mebbe I can help."
That was the last thing she wanted, to reveal to him her fears and the pain that her first trip to New Orleans had brought. She would not allow herself to think about those gut wrenching words that had bothered her less than an hour ago, that shook her awake with fright, that snatched her down from her beloved sky. No, she didn't want anything to do with the amount of heartache and terror that accompanied that hellish nightmare of hers.
"Ah'd rather not relive it if ya don't mind" she said calmly, and then added, "But ah would like to sit here with ya if that's okay."
"Are you hear to comfort me, chere?" His words were full of his familiar playfulness and teasing banter; but his eyes did not hold their complete presence as of yet.
"Well, ya need someone to keep ya company" she stated firmly.
His smile was a little more pronounced now. "Dat I do." And growing stronger every second, "And I can't imagine no ot'er one I'd rat'er have den you."
He reached for her slender waist and gently pulled her down beside him. She could not stop the butterflies and their incessant fluttering in her stomach, but she could turn her face so he would not see the rosy flush of her cheeks. His words swept over her like a welcoming wave over a burning flower, nurturing every wound that had been cut open by her nightmare. Perhaps it wasn't true; that blond haired witch was lying. She was lying! Gambit did care about her, he did care, he did! She felt the moisture roll down her cheeks and buried her face into Gambits chiseled chest, wrapping her arms around his waist.
Her uncharacteristic move caught him off guard, and she felt his chest vibrate with light chuckles. "And I t'aught you were s'pose to be de one to comfort me."
He wrapped his strong arms around her body, his previous tightness and rigid demeanor, now completely gone, dispelled by her gorgeous, shapely body against his. He could get used to this. His right hand moved to stroke her long flowing hair, as his fingers paved their way through the strands again and again. He knew she was worried about him and he knew that eventually he had to talk to her about everything that had happened in New Orleans. He had wanted to on the plane, but he knew they needed someplace more private. He'd be damned if he'd have such a personal conversation with Wolverine being so close and able to overhear. What he had to say was only meant for Rogues ears. He glanced down at her, she was still buried in his chest. He knew that he should start up this inevitable conversation, but he didn't want her to leave his arms. He could hold her forever. He wanted to hold her forever. To be able to hold such a beautiful creature as her was something that all men dreamed of, but only few could achieve. And for some reason or another, he found himself in the position of possessing that rare miracle that most could not obtain: to be able to hold the woman that he lov—
Wait. Why did his shirt feel wet?
"Rogue." He gently pushed her up off his chest, tilting his head down to get a closer look at her face. Her eyes revealed it all. His two gloved fingers of his right hand brushed away the stray tears on her cheek. "Why are you crying, petite?" His voice was soft, full of concern like a parent talking to a child, wanting nothing more than to make everything alright and be able to take away the tears.
"Ah….. ah don't know." Her words were wobbly, and unsteady as if she may drop them at any moment. She didn't want him to see her like this, so defenseless and exposed. But she could not stop her tears from flowing. She instinctively buried her face into his chest and held on to him tighter, not wanting to leave his side for nothing in the world.
He was baffled, worried and flattered all at once, not knowing what to make of it all. He pulled her closer, wielding their bodies together, taking a better hold of her and trying his best to provide comfort and soothe away her tears. "Everyt'ing's gonna to be okay Rogue. I know N'Orleans was a lot fo' you to handle, but we made it through." He paused, trying to gather his words together and be honest with her. "I shoulda told you bout Bella Donna, and fo' dat I am sorry. Dere be so much I shoulda told you, bout my past, bout my life befo' de X-men. But you gotta understand it fo' what it is. It's my past, what used to be, and what neva will be again. I've left dat life, Rogue. I am an X-man now."
The stream of tears had finally stopped and she felt limp in his arms. She brought her face up, meeting the red glow of his eyes. In those fiery orbs she could see a wells depth of sincerity, compassion and confidence. But his face reflected guilt, shame and a sense of pain that seemed to seep from somewhere within that only she could erase. She unwrapped her arm from his torso and brought the gloved hand to his cheek, wanting to wipe away the emotions on his face and let him know that she understood. She understood the reason for such secrets and knew all too well the repercussions of being silent, and not to mention, the remorse of choices one makes; for they had been her dear friends for far too long, and she had learned as he was learning now, the importance of placing trust in the hands of another.
She liked the feel of his skin beneath the leather material that encased her fingers. She teasingly traced soft circles across the soft flesh of his cheek, closing the painful pores of sorrow embedded within the outer layer of his skin. She felt the contours of his muscles rise beneath her touch, forming the smile she loved so much. The smile coming from the man that she lov—
"He's only loved one."
The words spoken in her head caused her arm to recoil suddenly from his face as if it had been set ablaze. She whimpered as in pain and sprung from Gambit's side like a jack-in-the-box, throwing him off balance and causing him to nearly topple from his position on the rock. She shot several feet away from him, the wind thrusting her forward, but was jolted back to the ground by the sensation of nausea, threatening her stomach for dominance. Her hand grabbed her stomach as she dropped to one knee, releasing a cry in frustration.
Words, words, words swirling in her head. She felt a tremble surge through her body as she sank to the ground and closed her eyes. Why was this voice haunting her? She had not touched Bella Donna and absorbed her psyche, and yet, this memory was inside her head, consuming her thoughts. This one memory, this one occurrence that lasted only a minute, would not leave her. Why did it trouble her so? The words weren't true, couldn't be true, shouldn't be true. No, they were not, no they— But the twisted hand of doubt crept into her mind, and she wondered, wondered, wondered about the truth in the words.
She felt two strong hands come to rest upon her shoulders and she slowly lifted her eyelids, welcoming the image of his handsome face. It was as if they were replaying the scene from earlier when she first came across him upon the rock, but this time their roles were reversed. He was the one overcome with concern and worry for her current state. He was the one reaching out to take away any pain she was experiencing or regrets she was reliving.
He was kneeling beside her, "What's wrong Rogue?" His hand moved a stray curl from her face as his eyes bore into her own.
It was a lot different being on the side of the comforted rather than the comforter. She looked away momentarily, deciding how she should phrase the question she knew she had to ask. She felt the pressure of his gloved fingers gently guiding her chin upwards towards his piercing eyes. "Don't be 'fraid to talk to me, Rogue. Don't make de same mistake I did. Don't hide your heart from me."
She recognized the sincerity behind his every word, allowing them to give her the confidence she needed to reveal to him the fears from her nightmare that she had been hiding, that had been lying dormant, but now would venture to the surface.
"Ah keep hearing a voice in mah head" she confessed.
He stroked her hair, not quite satisfied with her answer, but glad she was opening up to him. "You got lots of voices in dat pretty head of yours."
She shook her head from left to right, "This ain't the same. A'm hearin a voice ah didn't absorb. A'm hearin the voice of Bella Donna."
Gambit's eyebrows drew closer together, enhancing the wrinkles now on his forehead. The lines on his face seemed to be pulled downwards and he suddenly looked older then he was. "But, you didn't touch her" he stated calmly.
"Ah know. But Ah keep hearin'," she paused for a moment and then said, "He's loved only one." She could not tear her face from his, wanting to see the truth in his eyes, not running away from it this time, but meeting it head on.
The redness of his eyes was dim, but soft. His brow was no longer wrinkled, but had become smoothed and relaxed. He released a sigh and dropped his gaze to the ground, breaking their eye contact. When he brought his head back up, there was a patient expression on his face. "I met Bella when I very young, chere. I may have loved her once, but dat be a long time ago, befo' I knew what love really was."
He stood up, turning from her with is head lowered, in search for something. He left her side for a moment in order to pick up two objects from the uneven ground. She looked on patiently as he soon returned to her side and offered a hand to help her up. "You see dis here lake?" He said nodding his head at the body of water next to them. "What I felt for Bella is like takin' dis here rock and throwing it in dat lake." He opened his right palm revealing to her a small bulky, jagged rock. With a snap of his wrist, the rock sailed through the air towards the lake, clumsily fighting against the wind because of its coarse, unrefined edges, and landed with a loud "plop," hitting the water hard and descending to its deep floor. "Dose feelings stabbed a hole through de surface and sank strait' to the bottom. Dey could not stay afloat."
He paused a moment, "Now, what I feel fo' you is like throwing dis here rock into de lake." He opened his left palm to her revealing a perfectly long smooth stone. He placed the stone in his right hand and with the same snap of his wrist, he sent the stone sailing towards the lake, the air giving it wings, blending with its perfect dimensions. The stone brushed against the surface of the lake, skipping a short distance away to another point upon the topmost part of the waters and meeting a brand new point again and again and again, touching new areas of the vast blue, all the time staying above the surface, until finally giving out and blending in with the water, gliding below its waves. He took her hands in his, protected by the gloved barrier. "Now, those feelings stay above the surface, touching the water with its smooth hands, covering many different areas of the waters vast whole. And then when its speed finally does die down, it doesn't sink, like the rock before it; but, becomes one with the lake, as it is guided gently to its final destination." His hand slid up her arm and rubbed the muscles on her shoulder, causing her to stop breathing. "You're de one I want Rogue, de only one I'll ever want, and notin's gonna ever change dat."
She smiled as his hand left her shoulder and the fingers found themselves in her hair, while the other arm wrapped around her waist, pulling her closer. She dipped her head back, to look at him with eyes filled of admiration. "Ah guess you were the one here to comfort me, this morning."
His eyes shimmered a bright red, thankful to be holding this beautiful woman in his arms; thankful for an opportunity to make her happy, thankful for the revelations of secrets and beginnings of trust, thankful for her. "Non, I'm de one here to love you. Dis mornin', and every mornin' from 'ere on out."
The glimmering rays of bright red infused with yellow and a hints of orange, rose from beneath the lake, overtaking the horizon. The colors of the welcoming sun that lit up the sky and reflected a tapestry of colors upon the water almost equaled the brightness lighting up in the hearts of Gambit and Rogue, as they basked in the beautiful beginnings of a new day and the shimmering happiness and fulfillment of their professed love.
Thanks for reading
AN: "Gambit's kissed many women chere, but he's loved only one" is a line from the episode of the 90s cartoon. I've always hated it when Bella Donna says that (hated it, hated it, hated it!) and I feel so much empathy for Rogue as she hears it becasue poor Rogue looks so tormented. It's a pretty cool episode if you haven't seen it before and I'm pretty sure you could find it on YouTube if you wanted to watch it (or at least that one part, which is at the end). Just type in X-men + X-ternally Yours and it should pop up.