Here, at last, to tide over my 'And Three to Mess Around' readers: the five that might've caught on - and one who didn't... during It Takes Two.
Eyes and Ears
Because schools always have gossip...
Amanda was in the bathroom, just at the end of homeroom, taking advantage of the few free minutes. She'd had to care of, ehem, some feminine hygiene. She heard the door swing open as she finished up. Great, gossiping girls. Ever since Kurt's official 'coming out' as a mutant, she'd become just slightly less reviled, and after the little fiasco with Rogue yesterday...
The girls were talking loudly in front of the stalls, most likely touching up make-up.
"I swear it was that Gothic mutant, she was totally locking lips with this crazy hot guy on a motorbike!" Amanda froze, hand just brushing the stall lock.
"Didn't you hear what happened yesterday?" a second voice responded. "The freak can't touch."
"I'm telling you, it was her!" The first girl was indignant and Amanda could feel the blood pound in her ears.
"Whatever! With our luck, the guy was probably a mutie too."
The girls left as noisily as they had arrived, leaving Amanda frozen in complete shock. She'd heard all about Rogue's practice of course; Kurt was very hopeful that his sister would finally be able to put a lot of her personal angst behind her by conquering her mutation. Just the other day, he'd been exclaiming how her progress seemed to be coming even faster…
By the time she left, her mind was buzzing and she wasn't sure if she was relieved or anxious when she spotted her boyfriend.
"Ah, Liebling." (darling)
"Good morning." Given the public setting, she just kissed him on the cheek, the feel of his fur putting a small smile on her face as always. She couldn't say exactly why she liked it – but then she'd adored stuffed and non-stuffed animals since she was a child… "Rogue around?" she asked, trying to sound casual.
Kurt shook his head. "She didn't come down this morning – she probably didn't vant to face all this," he looked around protectively, aware of the glares and whispers being shot their way. But then the rather hostile sea parted, leaving a fairly large gap around an approaching girl – one with a very familiar streak.
Kurt straightened and waved her over. Rogue hesitated for a moment, before sidling beside them. The crowd gave them an even greater berth. "You came?" he asked, skipping any greeting, his body vibrating – and Amanda felt a whisper of a breeze as his invisible tail whipped agitatedly.
Her lipstick was smudged.
"Ve would have vaited, but-"
"Yeah, ah know the rules."
Her deep purple, keep-away lipstick was smudged.
"Did Logan give you a ride?"
Amanda involuntarily grimaced.
"Nah," her eyes skittered away, "Gambit was up-"
"Gambit?" Kurt's tail whipped again, his eyes clouding. "But-"
The bell rang. Kurt frowned, obviously displeased. Amanda tugged his arm. "We should go."
And hoping her voice was light as Kurt turned away, she added, "Oh and Rogue you should touch up your makeup." Rogue's eyes widened, but Amanda just turned away. It wasn't her business, not really. If anything, Amanda was just glad Rogue was finally getting over Scott. It was about time. But she did have to muse:
However was Kurt going to react when he found out his sister was sweet on the mansion's bad boy?
Because the mansion's halls are never really empty...
Scott was just walking down the hallway, his mind busy coordinating the details of a movie outing that night for a bunch of X-Men. He'd hoped to keep it a date between him and Jean, but Jubilee had heard and asked for a ride to the movie theater and it had snowballed from there.
"Had an idea f' tanight." He heard a certain sleazy drawl come from around the hallway corner, followed by the bare murmur of a girl.
"T'inkin' we'd go t' a club."
An echo was barely audible. Great, Gambit was plying his womanizing out on the younger students. He'd warned Xavier about this.
"T' célébre dis mornin'. An' it be a bon way ta try out yah control wit' distractions 'round, 'sides moi."
Control? Scott stopped, just ready to turn the corner. Unable to help it, he waited, instead of breaking up the intimate scene he anticipated. It was the next words that shocked him to the core.
"Ah, ah don't know."
He put his hand on the wall, his own words echoing in his head. …doesn't mean you can be all over her…
"Out o' de area, course. Get ta take my belle bike too."
She agreed. Rogue – agreed to Gambit's suggestion?!
He just stood there until Rogue all but walked into him. He swallowed and brushed her arm, trying not to react when she jumped. "Hey, some of us are going out to a movie tonight, you interested?" he asked with a smile.
"Nah," she dismissed, distracted. "I got plans." And she walked off, her mind a million miles away.
"Right," Scott said to an empty hallway.
Because the nose always knows...
X-23 hadn't actually known in the beginning. Rogue – and Gambit, for that matter, did a good job of disbursing their scents on each other.
It was actually the pheromones that did it.
X-23 hadn't had much, if any practice, with them. Joining the Institute had been a rude awakening in that respect. The pheromones that hung in the air, exuded by hormonal adolescents, made her nose wrinkle and her skin itch.
Logan frequently failed to take into account that her senses rivaled his. It took him a month before he finally sat down and talked with her about the pheromones (means kids want some action, ignore 'em 'less one comes up to you and then you nail 'em in the balls) – the Professor had explained a little more thoroughly, but it still made her uncomfortable. It made her just that much more aware of how out-of-place she was, though it had nothing to do with her mutation. She'd been raised to be a weapon, not a person. It was ironic then, that only Rogue, and possibly Gambit, could empathize with this.
Gambit was one of the worst offenders with the pheromones. She'd figured out quickly that his 'charm' also included the liberal dousing of his victim with pheromones. She doubted he realized that – or the fact that he literally seemed to be able to switch them on and off, unlike their besotted team captain.
So when she started noticing he kept exuding pheromones around Rogue, she brushed it off. He was interested in her.
Except he started exuding them when he wasn't trying to charm her – and it started to smell, different. X-23 didn't care for words. She knew instinct and strategy, which was all she cared about. He was targeting Rogue – and more interestingly to Laura, Rogue was reciprocating. It was fascinating to watch them – the little pool incident being a prime example. It was the first time she actually had the opportunity to watch a mating pursuit and so she distracted the other girls. Some things were still mysteries to her and she was sure she could learn a lot from Rogue and Gambit.
She'd had suspicions about them, starting to notice their scent lingering on each other – but she hadn't realized how far it had gone until she came across the scent trail of a sweat-ridden, sex-dripping Gambit. Rogue had slept with him.
It was then that Logan took her aside and told her to keep quiet, not that she'd needed the instructions. But weeks later, she came to realize that sex was more than just a physical release, as their scent meshed into their skins, as she'd read. It complicated things and – she kneed the first guy who made moves on her in the groin – she wasn't a huge fan of complications.
Because she was looking for Rogue...
Kitty had returned to their room, hoping that Rogue had perhaps returned from wherever she'd holed up.
"Rogue?" She didn't call loudly. The room was dark and undisturbed.
Sighing, she opened the balcony door more out of hopelessness than any sense she'd find Rogue out there.
And that's when she heard the murmur of voices above. She recognized Remy, and she figured, if he was up there then-
"I cin heat de air 'round m' body f' a bit, but you- ain't like y' dressed for de cold. Dat skin ain't-"
"Ah-ah, ah don'-" There was a hitch in her voice and Kitty immediately looked around for the best way to get t the roof. She could stand on a bed – inwardly, she frowned at the fact it was far easy to sink down then go up.
"Chere… Chere?" Remy's voice low and when she heard the shuffle of clothing, she frowned. What was going on?
"Ah, ah don' wanna rememba; ah jus', jus' wanna…" There was more rustling of clothing and Kitty began to feel faint. What- Were they-
"Dis ain't gonna make it go 'way. Trus' me on dis, chérie." How the hell had she missed this?
She could hear the suction of kisses, clothing shedding, and moans – it was the soundtrack of movies she'd never even been tempted to watch, but she couldn't move, couldn't leave.
It was the husk of a lover and Kitty could barely hear it and she closed her eyes.
"Ah, ah don't regret it. Oh God, ah don't regret it. If she was on that cliff again…It wasn't her, but ah thought- Ah'm sorry it hurt Kurt, but-" She began to sob. "She, she made meh open Apocalypse. Ah couldn't, couldn't-"
Kitty let the ground fall out beneath, sinking through it, unable to bear this last intimacy. She couldn't help but wonder if now Rogue was better or worse off.
Because a club's a public place...
Kitty may have dragged Tabby from the bathroom, but a quick look made her realize Gambit had made his getaway. She ditched the brunette and made a bee-line for the bar, flirting herself a shot. Turning back from the bar, she scanned the crowd for a distinctive trench coat. It was only the fact she'd gone to the end corner of the bar that allowed her to spot him.
At first she was surprised to find him locked, hot-n-heavy with some brunette chick. She really thought he was bottling up all that, energy, for Rogue. It took her another second to realize they were right by the bathrooms-
Her mouth curled into a smirk.
"Oh I just knew she wanted some," she muttered.
Her smile only lasted until Rogue stiffened against him. She saw them only in profile, silhouettes in the dark of the bathroom hallway. Their bodies remained tight, but their mouths were angry. After a long moment, she pushed him away and stalked off, no doubt to find her date.
Tabitha turned back to the bar, knowing she wasn't likely to be spotted anyway, but unable to stand it.
"Not good enough for the X-girl," she muttered to herself, pretending she felt no empathy for a certain red-eyed Cajun. "Too damn bad."
She got another shot and pretended she didn't see Gambit find a more willing blond partner later.
But she didn't meet Rogue's eyes on the way back home.
Because he did live just down the hall...
Piotr had had his suspicions. He'd always known of Remy's interest, but it wasn't until the date that he realized it really went farther than that. Rogue felt something too.
He slept poorly the next few nights, worrying about Remy, worrying about Kitty's leg, worrying about what it would mean to date Kitty. It was on one of those restless nights that he heard footsteps in the hall. It wasn't the muted thump of Logan's footsteps (a man with an adamantiam-lined skeleton simply cannot step lightly) and he moved to the door. He cracked the door in time to see a brunette figure stop at Remy's door. She rested her head against the door and a lock of pure white fell across her forehead.
She was in Remy's room in the next moment – Piotr was doubly shocked: Remy never unlocked his door that he was aware.
He couldn't sleep after that. The Mansion was solidly built and nothing permeated through the wall. Had she come to talk with Remy? But at night? The only other answer he could consider seemed preposterous, yet… Remy's powers malfunctioning – could Rogue have had something to do with that?
It seemed like hours, but probably only half of one that he heard the click of a door. His door still cracked, he saw Rogue adjust her pajama bottom. Eyes adjusted to the dim light, Piotr thought she looked tired – and a little sad. She pulled the door closed, but then paused, resting her head against it again and placing her hand against the wood. She wasn't wearing gloves and he was struck by the vulnerability in her pose.
But all too soon, she stepped away from the door and walked back down the hallway.
Piotr stood there and wondered inanely why Remy simply hadn't asked Rogue on a date first.