Teetering

Rogue hated Gambit.

Well…hate was a bit strong to describe her feelings toward him. But she definitely had strong feelings in regards to the man who insisted on being her paramour. Just what those strong feelings were…she was still figuring that out.

She was teetering on that proverbial line between love and hate, it seemed. Cliché as it may sound, that line existed and it was a very fine one indeed. There were so many things about Remy that resulted in provoking her ire, it almost seemed impossible for her to have any positive feeling about him. But the affection existed. Somewhere. Deep down.

Way down.

He moved about with that stupid lazy smile on his face. He moved as if he were never in a rush. As if the world moved at his pace and he never had to hurry along. Nonchalance just oozed from every pore in his body. He sauntered. Never walked. No. Walking was far too common for him. He had to grace the world with his presence.

The worst part was that it seemed like he never did have to hurry along. It seemed like as if the world actually moved at his pace and not a millisecond faster.

It had to have been the most infuriating thing Rogue experienced. But, conversely, that same nonchalance and ease—the way he seemed to just melt over whatever surface he was sitting, leaning, or lounging on and the natural swagger to his steps—is what she adored about him.

Her adoration seemed to further infuriate her.

Remy always seemed to infuriate her. If he wasn't stalking her ("Stalking is such a harsh term", he would tell her. "I just follow you in a manner that needs binoculars and inconspicuous clothing") he was doing something to irk her. The worst was when he started humming that god awful song by Miley Cyrus. He said it was an "innocent mistake" and that it just happened to get stuck in his head. But Rogue knew. Oh, yes, she knew. She knew he hummed, sang, and whistled it because he could see the irritation visibly paint her face. And for whatever reason, her irritation seemed to bring him an obscene amount of happiness.

Remy did not make sense to her.

She wished she could understand the odd jumble of thoughts that made up his brain. Honestly, how the man was able to function in normal society was beyond her. He was insane. He never made an ounce of sense to her. He was all smiles, lopsided grins, a muddle of barely comprehensible ideas that were his excuse for thoughts, and enough innuendos to make a twelve year old squeal with delight.

To put it simply, Gambit made her mad. Which is where the conundrum presented itself: for some unknown reason, Rogue tolerated it.

It wasn't because he was handsome. Oh sure, he could flash his (admittedly very nice) smile and waggle those eyebrow at her all he wanted but that alone was not enough to keep her around.

He was kind of fun to insult. He kept her on her toes. Always thinking of something to say that would abuse his masculinity, intelligence, appearance, or any of his many features was a good way to keep her brain stimulated. Her quick and biting wit was something that had to be practiced and honed. Insulting Remy was the best kind of brain exercises.

But no. Not even the unholy amount of fun she had abusing his ego was enough to keep him in her company. The fact was, she knew truth, for it was nagging her in the back of her mind. She knew it but did not want to admit it.

The reason she kept Remy around was because despite his cheeky smiles and infuriating nature, he really was quite sweet. He was also hopelessly infatuated with her. These two things combined usually resulted in a verbal sparring match that ended with him making her hard outer shell melt. Just a little bit.

Not that she would ever admit this to him. Hell no. He would enjoy that far too much. It was an unspoken understanding that they did have some sort of twisted, dysfunctional romantic(ish) relationship. But the moment Rogue let it slip that he was having a bigger impact on her heart that she was letting on would be bad. Very, very bad. Because then there was no unspoken understanding. It was spoken. Out there for everyone to see. Everyone being Gambit, of course. And if Remy knew, well then…things would happen. Their relationship would change. For the better or worse, she did not know nor was she willing to risk to find out. Things were fine the way they were.

Besides. He would be so damn smug about her possibly loving him it could make her scream. He was smug bastard in general. The last thing she was going to do was fall at his feet, admitting her love like some swoony, ditzy bimbo. No way.

If Rogue was going to fall in love with Remy, then dammit, she was going to fight him every step of the way.

She enjoyed taking his ego down a peg or two anyway. The brash jerk needed it from time to time. She liked to keep him guessing. It was obvious that despite his bravado, he really wasn't all that sure where Rogue stood in regards to her feelings for him. Feelings were there. It was whether they were good or bad that he was not so sure about. Which is how Rogue liked it.

She was in no rush to make the depth of her feelings known, but man oh man, she couldn't wait to see the stunned look on his face when he finally found out.

Rogue's cell phone buzzed loudly on her bedside table. She glanced at it with a roll of her eyes.

"Speak of the devil."

A moment later, a tiny pebble "clinked" softly against her window. Without leaving the comfort of her bed, Rogue flipped open her cell phone.

Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair

Smirking, she sent him a text right back.

No

She heard what sounded like a grunt from beneath her window. Her phone vibrated in her hand.

What light through yonder window breaks. It is the east, and you are the sun.

No

Another pebble hit her window, this time with a little bit more force than before.

Let me in, Cathy. Oh, my heart's darling.

Though Rogue could appreciate the Wuthering Heights reference (her favorite book and he knew it), she was still enjoying making Remy jump through hoops.

You misquoted. He wanted her to come in, not the other way around.

Is that a yes?

No

Three pebbles, one directly after another, bounced off her window. Each one was a little angrier than the one before it. She giggled to herself before throwing herself off the bed and sauntering over to her window. Pulling it up and open, she stuck her head out. She was surprised when she found herself face to face with a grinning Gambit.

"Hello, Rogue", he greeted, kissing her nose.

She glared at him. "Why do ya insist on these stupid antics when we live in the same house? Ya could just walk to my room. Or just open the doors from the balcony leadin' into my room."

"What antics might that be?" he asked, reaching out to stroke her hair. She swatted his hand away.

"Pebble throwin' in the middle of the night. A barrage of text messages quoting books."

"Midnight visits of the pebble throwin' persuasion are classic romance", he told her matter of factly. "And it was not a barrage of text messages. It was three."

"Four."

"You were countin'?"

"You're an ass."

"Do you love for or despite this?"

She kissed him on the nose, just as he had done to her, before she could absorb him. "Neither." Then she shut and locked the window…Remy still on the other side of it.

He pouted at her, looking very much like a three year old who had been told no. He rapped softly on the glass with his knuckle.

"That wasn't very nice, Roguey."

She shrugged her shoulders indifferently. Grabbing her computer chair, she pulled it to the window where her kind-of-sort-of boyfriend stood sulking on the outside. Channeling her inner Remy, she flashed a cocky grin his way before flopping in an unladylike manner (who was she trying to impress?) into her seat. He continued to knock on the window, calling out to her.

"Roooooogueeeeyy", he drawled in a sing-song voice.

She smiled to herself, relishing their typical back-and-forth. She so enjoyed watching him jump through hoops for her. She would let him in after a few more minutes.

But until then, Rogue put her feet up on the windowsill and opened her book back up.

"Why won' you let me in?" he whined.

"Cause I don't like ya."

"Yes, you do."

Rogue snorted.

"I hope you don't take this the wrong way, Rogue—"

"Do not call me 'Roguey'."

"-but your feet are quite ugly."

Rogue glowered. Gambit smiled. She got up to fetch a pair of knee high white socks, yanking them on angrily before returning to her seat.

"I never took you for the knee high sock type, Roguey", he mused idly.

"Stop calling me that."

"It's kind of endearin'." His crocked smile kicked up a notch. "Even a little sexy."

She did not have to look up from her book to know that he winked at her. Instead, she scowled heavily into the pages of her book and tried to concentrate on the words. Even outside a bloody window, he was still such an annoying, potent distraction. And it didn't help that-

Rogue froze, her thoughts stopping when she thought she heard something. Her ears perked up as she listened.

He was humming that song.

That horrible song. He was humming it. Not loudly enough for it to be very noticeable but clearly enough for her to hear. Peeking over her book, she saw him swaying to the music just slightly, looking grotesquely pleased with himself. So bloody pleased.

Fine. He could hum all he wanted. He wanted to goad her. Get a reaction. So she would not give him that satisfaction. She returned to her book, refusing to acknowledge him. But she teetering again. This time, toward the not so positive side.

"Rooooogueeeey", he sang softly, to the tune of that godforsaken song. "Roguey, Roguey, Roguey." He looked at her trying to ignore him. "You have an amazin' name. So fun to say. Roguey—"

Her eye twitched a little.

"Roguey—"

The sound of her name on his lips was like nails against a chalk board.

"Roguey—"

Yup. Definitely teetering toward hate on this particular night.

"Roguey, dear, I can see you tryin' to keep your cool." He sounded so satisfied about her anger. "I always know when you're upset because the tips of your ears and nose turn red. It's very cute. I love it when your ears turn red."

She finally lifted her angry gaze to his. She wanted to smack the gratified smile off of his (admittedly handsome) face. "Why do ya insist on botherin' me?"

"Because I adore you," he said simply.

Once again, Rogue snorted.

"Because your my Roguey," he added, lifting his fingers to trace a shape on her windowpane. His voice grew a little softer. A bit more serious. He tried to keep it light but she could sense the change. "And I'm your Remy. Ready whenever you want me."

She just looked at him, surprised by the unexpected sincerity in his voice. He did that sometimes. Got all sentimental and shit on her out of the blue. She never understood it and it always threw her off. It made her teeter.

"Why won't you let me in?" he asked her, eyes focused on whatever it was he was drawing on the window.

"Because it's almost midnight, god knows where ya been and what ya plan on doin' if I let you in."

He shook his head, dark hair almost hooding his eyes. "'S'not what I meant." He finished his drawing. It was a heart.

"Oh."

He met her eyes, the glass still between them. Rogue stood up and came closer to her still sealed shut window. His gaze stayed focused on hers before he glanced behind her. She did not have to turn around to know what he was looking at. He looked at it often enough. Never asked, but always looked.

Beside the mirror that was on her wall, there was a tack. And on this tack, the hideous necklace he gave her as a Valentine's Day gift dangled. It was just another example of Gambit's twisted sense of romance. She never wore it. Not only because of its repulsive nature, but because it held a deeper meaning. They both knew it but neither spoke of it.

"You may not think you're my Rogue, but I'm yours. Ready for you whenever you want me." He retraced the shape of the heart in her window idly, seeming to not even notice he was doing it. "I just don't know why you won't let me in."

She hesitated for a very prolonged moment. Rogue didn't know what compelled her to answer him candidly; perhaps it was how candid he had been with her on this night. Maybe sleep deprivation helped ease her fears about what could happen to their already complicated relationship.

"'Cause where's the fun in that?" she said at last.

He laughed a little. "Right. How could I forget? Rogue likes to fight it every step of the way."

"Gives me time to catch up with ya. Ya seem so sure. I'm still finding my footing." Her smile, though sweet, had a predatory undertone to it. "Besides. I like to keep ya guessin'."

"You like seein' me jump through hoops."

"Thoroughly."

They both took a moment to share a warm smile when, rather abruptly, Rogue leaned down to breathe on the glass. It fogged over where the heart Remy had drawn was slowly fading. Smirking somewhat cheekily, she drew her own tiny heart inside of his before unlocking the window. Not looking back to see what he would do, she went to her bed. Closing her eyes, she flopped backwards. And waited.

Gambit was going to continue to make her teeter, she knew. Tonight, he had pushed her close to murderous rage before suddenly making the hard shell around her heart melt. Just a little bit.

She could hear him enter the room very quietly. She felt his added weight on her bed. She could actually feel his presence in her room. As he neared, she could smell him; he always smelled clean and spicy. If she cared enough to consider it, she would say his scent was very reminiscent to his personality. But at that moment, she wasn't thinking too much. Instead, Rogue enjoyed the time she had with Remy before she had to kick him out. She wanted to bask in their unspoken romantic dysfunction. While she may not want to snuggle on her bed and whisper sweet nothings, she wanted to be with him. Be near him. Just enjoy his company for an hour or two.

Or three. Whatever.

Her happy and serene feelings ended quickly when he grabbed her ankle and yanked her down the length of her bed where he sat. When Rogue's eyes snapped open, she found herself seated on his lap, legs dangling over his and off the edge of her bed.

"Hello, Roguey", he greeted, kissing her nose. He trailed a finger up and down the length her ankle to the bend of her knees. "I would like to further discuss these enthralling little socks of yours."

In a response to his statement, Rogue promptly threw him on the floor. She felt her own satisfaction at the loud 'thud' his head made upon hitting the ground, knowing that he would continue to make her teeter and wondering which direction she would end up falling.