Bonjour encore. I've already replied to all reviews personally, but I want to say thank you, again. It really was wonderful, getting such encouraging responses; and for such a short prologue too. You guys rock.

Couple things pointed out in those wonderful reviews: Rogue and Remy married (right off the bat) is not really an original idea. {hangs head} Actually, the first inspiration for this came from reading a not-so-great one of those married Romy fics, and thinking 'Yeesh. I could do so much better than that, and that is saying something.'

Additionally, I guess I wasn't being so subtle about the reasons for Remy's marrying Rogue. Heh. {rubs head sheepishly} Ah well; I will content myself with the many as-yet-unrevealed mysteries and plot twists that I have in store for you.

Ceasing rambling; sorry. Please enjoy.


"Ya caint be serious."

'Remy' only continued to grin.

Marie repeated herself, in the hopes that doing so would somehow dissolve this smirking stranger into harmless smoke, and that her world would reorient to its normal, miserable (but very nonthreatening) level.

"'Fraid I am, chere," he told her.

"Who- who are ya?" she demanded.

He moved forward, and she tried to back farther into the sink- futilely. She refused to cower back, however, when he rested a hand against the counter and leaned just a little closer than was appropriate for strangers. And not enough for her to have an adequate excuse for shoving him away.

"Ma belle Rogue," he said, "we got t' know each other pret-ty well last night."

She gave an outraged gasp, and shoved him after all. Well, that was the idea, at any rate- but he bent with the force, and her balance defected spectacularly.

It would have been an ungainly, very painful fall, except for the fact that he caught her. Sparing her one embarrassment only for one far worse.

"Claws in, chere," he murmured down to her, that smirk still twitching at the corners of his mouth, and his hand warm at the small of her back where he held her weight. "Don' want t' have t' go t' counseling before we even get to de honeymoon."

"HONEYM-! Let meh go, ya- ya filthy idiot!"

Remy laughed richly, and set her back on her feet. "Pas un probleme pour ma belle cherie."

Marie restrained herself with an effort. She closed her eyes, rubbed her temples, and tried to reclaim her scattered, battered wits.

This is what happens when ya go drinkin' in a place lahke that.

The thought wasn't especially comforting.

Remy seemed content to wait, observing her from behind his sunglasses with a faint grin.

"Okay," she said, trying to steady herself, and met his gaze resolutely. "We're really married?"

"Oui, petite."

She valiantly ignored the world ending implications of that. "Ah signed the papers?"

He nodded, his amusement increasing perceptibly.

"You did, too?" she persisted.

"Oui, fille. We married- de legal, 'til death do we part' kind."

Marie drew a shaky breath. "Okay. This ain't the end of the world," she told herself.

"Dat's de spirit, cherie," he encouraged.

"Right. Ah want a divorce."

Remy's grin faded. He tried a different tack. "Y' don't know dat for sure yet, hein? Remy-"

"Ah want a divorce," she repeated forcefully.

Remy's expression was now unreadable. "Y' got a lawyer, chere?"

Rogue paused. She didn't. And what was more, she couldn't afford one. (She couldn't afford more than one week's worth of motel stay and food, either, but that was beside the point.)

"Ah'll sign whatevah papers ya give meh," she said, less confidently.

"Ain't gonna give y' any papers, chere."

Marie stared at him, stumped, and came to the realization that the universe must be in the process of imploding.

Remy changed again, straightening. "Mebbe we got off on de wrong foot, petite. Bonjour. 'M name's Remy LeBeau, at y' service."

He extended his hand. She shifted her blank stare to the appendage, instead of his shielded face, and the universe wasn't improving any.

"Y' gonna shake m' hand, chere?" he asked patiently.

Marie didn't know quite why or how she ended up putting her hand in his, but suddenly he was turning it over in his grasp, and raising her knuckles to his mouth. A tremor shot down her spine as his lips brushed lightly over her skin, and she dimly registered somewhere that his eyebrows spiked above his glasses, in surprise at something or other.

But the next instant, she was far too muddle-headed to think about his eyebrows. More important parts of his face- which was all angles, planes, and mobile mouth- took up the majority of her now inexplicably steamy thoughts.

His husky voice interrupted them. "Dat's better. Now. Mebbe we go out t' breakfast, ma belle, an' we start over."

-

Half an hour later, freshly showered and dressed (albeit in her same clothes) and her headache vanquished with aspirin, she felt considerably better.

However, she still didn't know quite how she'd agreed to breakfast, or for that matter why she was in such a… such a placid mood.

She had the distinct impression she should be screaming, running, and/or hiding-- perhaps punctuated by hurling sharp objects in a trajectory that ended in this 'Remy's' head.

Marie was not certain how one should react in a situation such as this, although all the above mentioned options seemed entirely reasonable. What she did know, was that she should most definitely not be sitting calmly across from him, at a quaint little bistro, ordering breakfast.

There just really was something wrong with the situation. She couldn't put a finger on it exactly... though it might have had something to do with the (vaguely) alarming realization that she just wasn't caring much about anything- except for the fact that he'd looked at some other girl's butt. Which irritation then proceeded to fade as well, after a few seconds.

Didn't read about blind euphoria after a drunken binge.

Suddenly it hit her.

She jabbed a finger at him over the table. "Ya spiked the aspirin," she accused.

He looked genuinely puzzled. "Quoi?"

"The aspirin ya gave meh," she repeated, faltering a little for some unknown reason. "It was spiked?"

When, exactly, did her accusation become a question?

Okay, this is really outside of enough.

"What did ya do ta meh, swamp rat?" she demanded.

Remy was grinning again. "Nothin', chere, but remind m' to later. Y' look real belle when y' angry."

Unimpressed, and bolstered by the sensation of rose colored fog fading from her mind, she crossed her arms. "Rahght."

He blew out a breath. Impatiently- impatiently?! He was impatient? The nerve!- he said, "Look, petite, we got a lot t' talk about. An' Remy'd prefer not t' get thrown out o' his favorite café. D'accord?"

Marie crossed her arms belligerently, but subsided. It was a nice little bistro. The proprieter had greeted Remy on sight, leading them both upstairs to a private balcony. And all without even one high nosed look at Marie's casual (and somewhat rumpled) clothes, which she was acutely grateful for.

She sat and let Remy order coffee and crepes for the both of them while she looked over the street below. Marie watched the quiet bustle and hustle of people going about their business; smiled at a flower seller arranging bouquets on stands against her house, who went about her work oblivious to scrutiny; looked at the narrow cobblestone street below; and enjoyed the beautiful crème colored stucco of the nearby vine-covered buildings. A brief feeling of peace washed over her stomach, and she took a deep breath as she purposefully looked away. There was a very unpleasant reality to be dealt with; no time for admiring scenery. She tried to marshal her thoughts.

Once the waiter left, she looked up at Remy. "Ah really don't get it," she said, with careful neutrality. "This just don't add up, and not just because Ah caint remembah a thang after eight o'clock last nahght. Ya met meh at the bar, Ah gather. Why'd ya even want to marry meh?"

"Y' sellin y'self short, cherie. Yo' tres belle. Way Remy figures it, he's fortunate to've gotten y' before some ot'er lucky homme."

There was a flicker of something again in her mind, but she shook it off violently.

You ain't seriously considering letting this guy you don't even know get away with this because he's telling you you're pretty, are you?

That helped clear her traitorous head. "Flattery ain't gonna get you anywhere, Cajun. Ah wanna know why, an' Ah wanna know now."

He sighed and leaned back in the chair. "You a difficult femme when y' sober, y' know dat?"

"Ah got a feelin' that yoah infuriatin in any condition," she retorted.

He laughed aloud, which only piqued her further. "See, y' know Remy already," he said. "We practically soul mates, hein?"

Her hands clenched into fists. "Will you get off that already? Ah ain't gonna marry ya, and that's it!"

"Y' already did," he pointed out. Then he stayed the next outburst with a hand. "Listen, chere, what be so bad about bein' married t' Remy?"

She stared at him. For a long time. Then, she raised a hand and began ticking off points on her hand. "Ah met ya when Ah was drunk. Ah- Ah married ya when Ah was drunk. An' Ah don't remembah either of 'em happenin-- cuz Ah was drunk. On top of it awll, Ah don't got a clue who ya are- ya might just be some thug off the street, even. An', ya got the biggest ego Ah've evah seen, thinkin' that this whole thing should be perfectly okay with meh!"

Remy looked at her in turn for a few minutes, an expression on his face of indecision. Finally he spoke, "Okay, chere. I 'pologize. See, I got m'self a bit o' a problem. A problem dat I need yo' help t' fix."

"By my bein' married to ya," she said flatly.

He grinned and leaned back again. "Oui, cherie," he said, with the aura of a man beginning a tale. "See, ma famille has dis idea in deir head dat Remy should marry a certain femme, a femme called Belladonna." He shuddered melodramatically. "Beautiful fille, but de kind y' look at from a safe distance, hein? Anyway, marryin' a shrew on someone else's terms ain't de way Remy lives his life." He flashed a grin at her. "Much rather marry a shrew on my own."

She bristled. "If ya think ya're gonna get meh ta go along with this by insultin'-"

Remy cut her off, irritation flashing briefly on his face as though she'd missed the point. "Let m' finish, non? I don' expect y' t' do nothin' but keep up de charade for my family for a couplea months. We spend a month or so doin' whatever y' want- mebbe go t' an island; don' matter. Den we come back an' pretend t' shack up somewhere t'gether for maybe another six months- away from de famille… a year, if y' c'n put up wit' me. Den we separate, quiet like, an' y' c'n do whatever y' please from den on."

Marie found herself staring, yet again. "An' ya expect meh to agree ta this?" she demanded.

Remy shrugged. "Y' agreed last night."

"Ah was drunker'n two rats in a corked bottle o' whiskey!"

"Dat wasn' my fault, now was it?" he asked reasonably.

She scrunched her eyes closed, and fought the irresistible wave of anger swelling in her. It wouldn't do her any good. I need to calm down and figure out how the heck I'm gonna get myself out of this.

"Now, now, chere," said Remy, shifting a little, "dere really ain' no reason f' you t' be upset about dis. It not be such a bad idea for y'. Y' married money an' a decent 'mount of power to boot, when y' let Remy put dat ring on yo' pretty li'l finger. I more den willin' t' let y' have free rein on de spendin, even after we separate. If y' help me, y'll have earned it- an' whatever else y' may want, besides. Remy's a reasonable man, ma chere."

The battle with her temper was losing. "Ah caint understand how ya can be so horribly arrogant about this! What makes ya think Ah'll be so ready ta drop everythang an' take up- take up this business proposition at the snap of yoah fingers?"

"Because, chere," he said calmly, still refusing to be drawn into a fight, "Remy didn' swoop in an' compromise y'. I met y' at m' favorite bar, where I had ev'ry intention of drownin m' sorrows in bourbon. Mais, Remy never been one t' drown alone, if dere be a belle around. You got talkin', I got thinkin', and you kept drinkin'." An expression of amusement flickered over his face. "An' den y' went talkin' some more, fit t' run yo' tongue out. From what I gathered, chere, y' be pretty much at a dead end right now."

She stiffened in offense, and he sighed.

"Y' touchy, y' know dat? I didn' mean not'ing by it, an' it ain't nothin t' be shamed of. What Remy's trying t' say, chere, is dat dis be a win-win situation. You get a li'l bit o' revenge on dat Bobby garcon, dat Logan fellow don' get t' say I told y' so, an' you set, money wise, for de rest o' yo' life. All dat, for not'ing more dan a year's worth of actin'."

Marie was still silent, trying to take all this in; and by no means mollified by his brightly polished spiel. He was a bit too convincing, a bit too prepared...

Then, like a lightning strike, the way out of this entire fiasco presented itself to her. It was stunningly, beautifully simple.

"Ah'm a mutant!" she announced breathlessly.

And he laughed.

"Ouais, chere," he said lazily, leaning back; "I know. Y' told me dat too. Funny how dis time, y' didn' mention you're Cured."

Pink tinged her cheeks as she experienced the most unpleasant sensation- akin to the feeling of all the air going out of her. "Yoah- yoah family, then," she tried, desperate. "They won't lahke th' idea of the- th' gene pool bein' corrupted. Even if Ah'm Cured."

He chuckled again, and had she been paying attention and not mildly panicking, she would have detected an irony in the sound. "Not everyone be so mutant hatin' as y' seem t' think, chere. I be one, too."

For the umpteenth time, she felt reality shift and swirl around her mockingly- just when she thought she had uncovered the last of the grisly details.

"A mutant?" she echoed faintly.

"Oui," he said again, with great patience.

She sunk her head in her hands with a moan, and regretted not having puked on his carpet. Not only did he deserve it, but maybe she could've used that luck on this, since she had clearly by this point run out.

The food came, but she did not raise her head as the waiter set down the plates and cups, and left again.

"Here, chere," said Remy after a few minutes, and looked up to find herself presented with a coffee mug. It smelled really good, and looked like it was eighty percent cream and sugar- just how she liked it.

But taking it would mean a sort of truce. She resisted the siren call of the caffeine, and glared at him pointedly.

He snorted, and set the china down. "De sooner y' stop actin childish, de sooner y' can start enjoyin y' good fortune. Like y' said, dis ain't de end o' de world."

Her head snapped up at that. "Ah haven't said yes yet, swamp rat, and Ah wouldn't bet on it eithah!"

Remy met her gaze silently for a few seconds before he replied. "It's de only logical choice, chere. You c'n refuse, noting I can do about dat. But without me givin' y' access to m' money y'd be jus' as bad off as before- only still married on top o' it."

An expression of- something, disgust maybe?- crossed his face and he swore in French. "Listen, petite, don' let y' stubbornness or pride or whatever dis be get in de way. Dis is a good deal an' y' know it. Y' weren't so drunk dat y' couldn' make up y' own mind, as surprisin' as dat is." He sighed. "I don' like pushin' y' into dis, an I wouldn't be, if it wasn' de perfect solution for bot' our problems."

Marie fell silent, looking at the crepes on her plate, which by this point had stopped steaming. What else did she have to do with herself, anyway? What else could she do? She pinched the bridge of her nose wearily; trying to combat the headache that still was pressing past the drugs in her system. "Ah cain't believe Ah'm considerin' this," she muttered.

He leaned forward. "Y' agree den?"

"Slow down, swamp rat," she snapped. "Ah ain't said yes. Ah said Ah'm thinkin' about it. Lahke Ah said, Ah don't even know if Ah can trust ya. Ah met ya in a seedy bar where ya then went an' married meh- whahle Ah was drunk. Forgive meh if Ah'm a li'l skeptical of this whole deal."

She didn't even know who he was. There was a very good chance she should be worrying about her safety. For all he oozed charm and amiability, this 'Remy' was tall, lean, and well-built. Marie had recognized the grace of a wizened fighter in his movement right of the bat. And, she'd picked him up at one of Logan's old haunts. That little detail in itself was cause enough for concern.

But though he was undoubtedly a filthy swamp rat, too old for her, and definitely not the kind of company she would be keeping (much less marrying!) under ideal circumstances, he was still right.

Marie cast her glance out over the balcony, without really seeing any of the beauty the sunny city had to offer. She had absolutely nothing to her newly changed name. No money, nowhere to go, nothing to do, no way to support herself, not even a GED. She'd skipped out only two weeks before graduation, but she didn't have the diploma.

Going South- not home, but back where the weather felt right- had been a spur of the moment, spite-induced decision that hadn't been thought out. (At all.) If she didn't take what Remy was offering, she'd be on the streets in less than a week... even if by some miracle, she did manage to find a job. Which was doubtful.

She didn't have a choice.

"Ah want all the terms mapped out, and then Ah'll think about it," she said cautiously.

"D'accord, d'accord," he said amiably, resuming eating his crepes. "Anyt'ing y' like, chere. Like I said, 'm desperate. Y' pretty much get t' take whatever revenge yo' li'l coeur desires."

Marie was a little thrown by his- his laissez-faire. "Okay," she said awkwardly. She swallowed, feeling more awkward still, but the subject had to be broached if she was ever going to do this. "Ya don't expect anythang from meh. Ah, mean, Ah'll cook and clean Ah guess, if yoah gonna be payin' for mah food an' board," she amended. Her cheeks heated. "But ya don't ask anythang from meh in the- in the wife department."

He paused, looking at her with the first suggestion of a frown all morning. He put his fork down. "Y' t'ink I'd do dat?"

She flushed redder, and for the first time, admitted to herself what she feared the most about last night's blurred proceedings. Her tone was bitter as a knife's edge. "Didn't ya already?"

"Non."

It was flat, hard. Offended, even.

Marie closed her eyes in relief, as it swamped her. "Mah Gawd," she whispered. "Ah woke up in yoah apartment, the sheets awll messed up- you lookin' like the cat that ate the canary, me with a splittin' headache- an' Ah didn't remembah a thang-"

"Y' had y' clothes on, didn't y'?" he said bluntly.

Marie flushed again. "Ah wasn't really thinkin' clearly," she mumbled. "Was tryin' not to think about it."

He put down his fork. "Lemme set dis straight, Marie. Remy might be pretty unprincipled in some t'ings, but I ain' ever had sex with a fille dat was anyt'ing but sober an' enjoyin' herself thoroughly."

She blinked. He was angry.

He was angry?!

"Forgive meh for makin' the assumption, since ya took advantage of meh by conning meh into marryin' ya!"

She held his shrouded gaze for a while longer until his jaw unclenched and he conceded the point. "Guess it wasn' too far o' a stretch. Desolé, chere. I promise dat I didn' touch y'." Then mercurially, he flashed another grin. "Except, dat is, when I carried yo' drunken self through m' door. Y' giggled like a li'l fille, an' said y'd always wanted t' be carried over de threshold."

"Oh mah Gawd," she groaned; but couldn't help but see the ridiculousness of the picture. She fought a grin, and lost.

He smiled back at her. "Y' very pretty when y' laughin', chere."

She leaned back and raised an eyebrow, resisting the compliment. "Ah want to know more about yoah family, what exactly Ah'm gettin' into, an' what all Ah'm gonna have to do in terms o' actin for the year-"

"Eat y' crepes," he interupted.

She bristled.

Remy sighed, exasperated. "Mon Dieu, girl. Dey getting cold. Business can wait 'till later, we got weeks t' work out de details. Remy refuses t' talk any more about it 'till breakfast's done."

Business. Somehow, that had not been a word involved in her visions of her future marriage; visions she had only truly indulged in after the Cure.

For about a week.

"Fahne," she ground out. When he apparently was oblivious to her pointed ire, merely continuing to exhibit open approval of his meal, she turned her disgruntled attention to her plate.

She loved crepes. She loved good Southern cooking, whether Mississippi or Louisiana in origin. Nonetheless- food really, really sounded like a bad idea.

"Y' feel better after y' get some solids in y', chere. Believe me, I know."

Marie looked up at him resentfully, and picked up her fork. But strangely, after the first bite, she found he was right. She did feel better. And it tasted wonderful.

"Ah been up north too long," she muttered.

He glanced up at her, smiling slightly. "New York, oui?"

She nodded. "Westchester. It snowed almost every day this winter." Which might have had something to do with Storm.

He winced in sympathy. "Well, Remy's brought y' back t' de good ol' South again, so y' c'n rest easy an' enjoy de weather."

She rolled her eyes. "Ah don't think ya had anythang to do with mah hitchhikin' down here on a whim, swampy."

Remy shrugged, unconcerned. "Non, but Remy take care o' y' de rest o' de way, hein? I show y' all 'round Louisiana, chere." He locked her gaze. "Wherever y' want."

A smile crept over her face, despite herself. "Sounds nahce," she said softly.

What was with that?

A comfortable silence descended. Marie found herself in an incongruously good mood, and attributed it to the crepes. Once again, though, she was quite strangely disinclined to rummage around for any other reason. She frowned.

But then Remy grinned at her; and she suddenly didn't care again.


Remy, of course, used his empathy/charm liberally the entire time, which made his job- and mine- a lot easier. Too bad Rogue isn't as susceptible as most, or this would've been an easy, two to three page chapter. Grr.

So, feedback, s'il vous plait? I'd like to know what I should work on. For instance, were the accents too heavy? I always have a problem with Remy's- I know what I'm trying to have him say, and I hear it in my head, so I have poor judging ability on the amount of apostrophes I can throw in there.

This was a long chapter. It'll be a while before I work the kinks out of the next two to three- they're filler chapters, and I always have the worst time with those. So, sorry in advance about the wait.