le chat noir
Disclaimer: Not mine.
His body jolts awake at the barest hint of a rumbling that's coming from outside. Years of living as a thief have conditioned his body to be a light sleeper.
She's sound asleep when she feels the solid, familiar body encasing her side spring up, alert.
"Wha's wron'?" Her speech is slurred from a heavy sleep and she just wants him to lie back down beside her. Just a few hours ago, he was working her body to its highest peak, a precipice she would gladly fall from again and again. With her body in a self-imposed exile for so long, she finds even the barest hints of skin-to-skin contact liberating.
"Heard somet'ing outside." His response is terse and she feels his body tight with anticipation. "Stay here." He rolls off the bed and deftly slides on a pair of pajama pants. He's out of the room without so much a creak in the floor. His mutant powers may be gone, but the lifelong thief in him is a bit harder to bleed out.
She's fully awake now, adrenaline coursing through her body at the prospect of an intruder, and he expects her to stay here like a subservient little woman? Nope, not her style. Pushing the covers back, she reaches around the floor grabbing the first article of clothing she feels - Remy's T-shirt. Perfect.
She works her way through the darkened house, listening for any sounds of struggle or danger. She finds him, outside, at the side of the house where the outdoor trash cans are with a bat and a fight-ready stance.
He whirls around, the bat poised to strike. Recognizing her familiar face, he scowls in the predawn light and lowers the wooden instrument. His kinetic and kinesthetic abilities may be gone, but he has maintained his night vision.
"T'ought I told you t' stay put?" he asks, mild accusation lacing his Cajun-accented voice.
She makes a face. "Yeah, like Ah ever listen to that advice," she scoffs. "Find anything?" She looks pointedly at the bat and knows how out of his element he must feel. At the slightest hint of danger, he'd have at least a half dozen Bicycle playing cards out and charged; ready to hurl them at whoever dared mess with him. That was before they lost their powers; before they were even a full-fledged couple in every sense. Briefly, Rogue wonders why is it you have to lose one part of yourself in order to gain another?
"T'ink y' could've put some clothes on, chère?" he asks, taking in her T-shirt clad appearance. Since she was wearing one of his, it reaches above her knees.
"Ah thought you liked it when Ah wear your clothing?" she bristles, a hand finding its place on a cocked hip. She wants to keep her arms wrapped around her body - her only defense against the morning chill - but she is trying to make a point of looking annoyed. They're not themselves if they aren't butting heads about something or other. It's one of the finer points of their relationship. Since distancing themselves from the X-Men and the stresses associated with the vigilante mutant superhero group, their relationship has mellowed considerably. But it's still fun to pick battles with the one person who serves attitude back to her in aces. Masochistic, maybe, but she'd never term her relationship with Remy as easygoing. Ever. But Rogue has never done easy. She likes a challenge just as much as he does.
"Not that I don' appreciate de view, chère, but only when it's for m' eyes only. Y' gon' fight in dat, if need be?" The words themselves are condescending, but his eyes are twinkling in jest.
"Now, sugah, you know Ah've fought in more revealin' things than this. Hell, Ah used ta prance around the mansion in a lot less than this. Don't be silly." Lifting her chin, she gestures into the air, at nothing particular. "Again, ya find anything?"
"Non," he sighes. "T'ink it may have been the house makin' settling noises, y' know?" It's a pity, he thinks, he had been itching for a good fight. It's been... too long. Lately, he's even been missing the crack-of-dawn Danger Room practices.
"Could be," she agrees. "The mansion used ta make all sorts of crazy sounds. Guess we'll just have ta get used ta our noises."
Our noises. She likes the sounds of that. This is, after all, their house in beautiful and mutant-friendly Valle Soleada, California. Rogue has never had a place to call her own before. Now she has several, thanks to Destiny's generosity. But this place - this is all hers. And Remy's. They bought it together.
His eyes, that irresistible burning mix of red on black - a mutant trademark that thankfully stayed intact - rake up and down her body and zero in on her nipples, unabashedly attentive under the tee's cotton-thin material. "Y' lookin' chilled, chèrie. Y' need ol' Remy t' warm y' up?" He drops the bat completely and sidles next to her, pulling her into his warm embrace.
"Ah don't know, swamp rat," she says coquettishly against his chest, her voice muffled. "Ya just gave me a hard time about mah wardrobe choice when all Ah was tryin' ta do was give you backup. Next time Ah'll take a minute to organize a proper outfit." She nestled even closer into him. "Not sure Ah should be so willin' ta forgive and forget," she adds.
Resting his chin on top of her head, he murmurs, "What was dat, chère? I feel you talkin' but it sounds like a bunch of nonsense from here."
She playfully pushes against him, hearing the smirk in his voice. "Ah'll show ya nonsense, Cajun."
He brings her back against his chest. "Oh, I know all about y'r nonsense. In fact, 'm well acquainted with such... nonsense." His hands travel to graze her upper thighs. She happily leans back into his warm body and encircles her arms low on his waist.
"Haven't ya had enough, uh, nonsense for one night?"
"Chère, a man can never have enough nonsense."
"Ah'm realizing that real quickly," she says before her lips meet his. Just as they can settle into a deeper kiss, there's a rustling from the metal trash cans. The former X-Men break apart quickly and are primed for a battle with whatever foe is waiting for them. Just then, a small black kitten appears from behind one of the cans, its green eyes - not unlike Rogue's - peer up at them, curiously and cautiously.
Relaxing at the sight of the diminutive creature, Rogue is in awe immediately. "Oh mah Gawd, Remy, look! Isn't he adorable? Come here, sugah." She kneels down slowly before the animal, offering him her hand to sniff. "Are ya all alone, sweetie?" The cat, with a smattering of white on his chest, cautiously moves forward to investigate Rogue's proffered hand. Realizing she's not offering food, he backs off keeping a watchful eye on the strangers in front of him.
Looking up at her beau, she pleads her latest case. "Oh, Remy, he's all skin and bones. We have ta feed him. Go inside and get him a bowl of milk, would ya?"
"Chère," he starts gently, trying to craft the right words without sparking a debate. "Honey, he's an outdoor cat. 'm sure he knows how t' take care of himself. If we feed him, we run de risk of makin' him dependent on us. We'd be doin' him a disservice."
She gives him a tight smile and he knows she's gearing up for her next battle. "Doesn't look like he's doin' such a good job of survivin'. He looks like hasn't eaten in a while. Mah Gawd, he's picking through our trash. And he can't be more than a couple months old. Where's his mama? He probably doesn't know how ta care for himself yet." Her green eyes are pleading with him to just go along with it.
He wants to tell her that sometimes you have to learn to take care of yourself, that you can't depend on the kindness of strangers. Or loved ones. Like the fact he was just a pup when he was living on the streets of New Orleans as a petty thief, stealing wallets and scraps of food just to make it through the long, solitary days and the even lonelier nights. She's not trying to be insensitive, he knows. She's always had a soft spot for strays. Obviously.
Resigned, he makes a start for the back door. "D'accord, chère. Be right back."
He reaches for a small bowl from the cabinet and places it on the counter before he makes his way to the refrigerator for milk.
As dawn gives way to day, the waking sun casts a soft light on Rogue as she tries to encourage the kitten to come to her. Remy knows full well the cat will return daily if they feed him but he's not willing to disappoint Rogue. Certainly he would've appreciated someone helping him out in his hand-to-mouth days. Despite his differences with his adoptive father, the day he pickpocketed Jean Luc's wallet was one of the best days of his life.
"Remy?" he hears her call from outside. "Could ya get some tuna fish, too? There's a can in the cabinet."
As he locates the tuna, he realizes that he's been having a series of those so-called best days since settling down with Rogue in this small beach town. The recognition gives him pause. He remembers when he was seven, maybe eight, shivering in the New Orleans rain that, even though the humidity was dense enough to cut through it, it chilled him to the bone regardless. He was hungry and tired and not looking forward to reporting back to the cruel mob boss Fagan, that he had made no successful marks. He remembers thinking at that moment he'd never have a life like the one he was presently living.
When he discovered his powers vanished after his near-death encounter with Vargas, he had been listless and angry. Life dealt him yet another bad hand, a hand he felt Rogue helped facilitate when she yanked him back to life. But taking in his surroundings - their charming beach house - and peering once more at Rogue - her tangled bed head hair spilling over her shoulder and her curvy body wearing his shirt better than he ever did - fawning all over the stray kitten, he couldn't help but think that maybe, in the end, it wasn't such a bad hand after all.
The kitten returned every night from then on, as Remy predicted, knowing that he had a ready meal waiting for him. One night as the cat meandered to the house, the couple was sitting on the front porch after dinner, performing their daily ritual of catching up on each other's days.
It typically consisted of Rogue filling him in on the latest bike she was fixing up and other shop gossip and him giving her the Cliff Notes version of his day (Guild business and other "odd jobs," as he referred to them). At first, his retirement of his "retirement" had been a source of contention between the former mutants, but he successfully persuaded Rogue that a bored Remy was an unpredictable Remy. ("Best t' keep m' mind focus on de mundane inner workings of de Guild, yes?" he had argued.)
Even so, Rogue only agreed, albeit reluctantly, when he said that taking a more active role in the Guild meant more paperwork rather than onsite expertise. In fact, he had yet to actually leave the house to perform one of those "odd jobs." He knows she couldn't complain too much - he has dinner waiting for her every night when she comes home grimy and exhausted from work. He also rubs her tired feet before bed... and other places that make her blush when his experienced hands roam her body, unfettered after years of having to keep himself in check. Now, his mouth and hands freely roam her body most nights. And some mornings.
"What should we call him?" He turns to look at her, mildly amused but not surprised. He's been waiting for it.
"Chat noir," he says simply.
"Black cat?" she says, disbelief scribbled on her face.
Giving her a suave look, he purrs, "Oui, but in French. Everyt'ing sound better in French, non?"
She ponders it for a moment before answering. "Fine," she acquiesces, "but it's just a working name 'til we think of something else." She tentatively reaches a hand to pat the kitten's head. He continues to eat without acknowledging Rogue's affections.
"And here Ah thought creativity was one of your strong points," she adds casually.
"Chère, y' wound me with your negativity."
"Guess you'll just have ta remind me," she smirks.
"C'n certainly be arranged," he agrees as he leans into her.
She happily accepts his embrace as he wraps an arm around her and leans his chin on the top of her head. They sit there like that for a while, watching their newfound pet lap at his food dish. Remy thinks at this moment he's the luckiest man on earth with this beautiful woman at his side and their peaceful life in sunny California and this scruffy cat that is becoming portlier by the day.
He finds himself growing more attached to the mangy feline. Despite his aversion to cats, he feels a kinship with this particular one. Maybe it's because they're both wayward. Or maybe it's because they know the affection of a compassionate woman with the most piercing green eyes. Or maybe it's because they were both given a second chance. Because sometimes you need someone to take chance on you. This he knows most of all.
A/N: Pointless, yes, but I had to write it. Hopefully it wasn't a waste of your time. I've always been interested with their Valle Soleada time. We didn't see enough of their "normal" life there in the comics.