Challenge: Word #189 at 15_minute_fic LJ comm

Not beta'ed.

Thank you to everyone that's reading this little fic. Sorry to those who've reviewed fics that I haven't replied to yet. I'm more than a little swamped and just done some serious reprioritizing.

Lucky's Girl (:hugs to you, girl: Good to see you and thank you for all your loveliness. This was a fic that started out as an afterthought and it just sort of grew up on me and went places. I'll even get her cleaned up and beta'ed later [probably when it's done]. I am having fun with the backstory, but I admit, it's sort of just unfolding as I write it. This will be way better when I actually sit down and make it work instead of just as a 15 minute per chapter challenge.), ruroca57 (Yes, he did love Belle. Their story has always been sad to me. I just can't demonize. I can't. Hopefully, you'll like how this story turns out. It's starting to come together for me.), New Dawn Rising (Thank you!), Chellerbelle (He does need a hug. Or two. Or three. And in this chapter, so does Rogue, even if she swears she doesn't.), Indigo-Night-Wisp (Yes, yes, yes. Rogue belongs with Remy and Belladonna remains so tragic to me. I've got to do something for her this fic. Hmm...)

Thank you, everybody!


"Well, dat was interesting'," Jean-Luc told his younger son, displeasure clear in his tone.

Remy shrugged one shoulder—classic French shrug, probably learned it in Paris—and dropped into the short leather chair across from his pére's desk. "De council asked. I answered."

"And den some." Jean-Luc frowned. "What were y' t'inkin'?" he demanded. "Belladonna an' y' always were head over heels f' each other. Why y' claimin' now y' won't marry her."

Remy's jaw set in stubborn determination. "'Cause I won't."

Maybe...Jean-Luc leaned back in his chair and really looked at Remy for the first time in years. He wondered suddenly what had become of the little scoundrel he had always pretended he didn't like tagging about his heels. How did that small street rascal with the sticky fingers and grinning, endearing ways turn into this hard-faced, hard-eyed man staring back at him with no familial affection?

Something had changed. He took another tack.


"Gambit." The answer was clipped.

It rocked Jean-Luc back against his seat. "What are y' talkin' about?" he demanded, suddenly, harshly in return. "Y' my son. Y' de prince, de heir t' dis Guild."

Remy's expression remained smooth as silken night. He raised one eyebrow. "An' if I don't want it?"

Jean-Luc stared at this stranger in the seat across from him, wearing his son's skin and demon eyes. Maybe...

But he had no answer for the maybes.

Rogue chewed on her lower lip, trying to concentrate on the math quiz in front of her face. She couldn't. Never mind college entrance exams and applications and all the phone calls for Jean and Kitty being fought over by different high-brow academic institutions. Never mind that no one was knocking down Rogue's door to give her a scholarship. She simply could not concentrate.

Traitorously, her gaze wandered up to the card taped to her mirror and stayed there.

Maybe he was hurt. Maybe he had forgotten about her. He hadn't called, hadn't written; surely, by now he could have found a way to do so without stepping over any of his the-Guild-has-nothing-to-do-with-Rogue-and-Rogue-has-nothing-to-do-with-the-Guild policy.

Rogue chewed on her lower lip again and planted her wandering gaze back on a nasty algebraic formula.

Chasing maybes certainly wasn't going to bring Gambit back or make him call.

"Maybe we should look in Cerebro?" Kitty suggested.

"I don't see what the big deal is," Scott interjected. "She's eating again. She's being sensible about this. Gambit's never been reliable," he added darkly.

Logan, Kitty, Kurt, and Jean all gave him a look.

"She's not happy," Jean said.

Logan snorted. "Point out the obvious, Red."

"Maybe..." Kitty started again.

"Maybe I'd lahke to do mah homework in peace," Rogue yelled over the banister. "I can hear y'all in mah bedroom!"

The girls gave each other uncomfortable looks.

Logan shook his head and stomped away. "Still chores to be done while you're thinking on your maybes."