The Adventures of Shadowcat and Rogue

Part One: Absent with leave

Kitty got out of bed, stood up and stretched. She dressed quickly, went into the bathroom, combed her straight brown hair and brushed away her usually bad morning breath. She sighed softly to herself as she quietly opened the door and peeked into the guest room. The small bed was tidied up and empty, just like it had been every morning for the last two weeks.

Kitty went to the closet, pulled on a jacket over her blue pajamas, slipped her boots on and quickly made her way behind the house to walk to the abandoned quarry nearby the cabin. As she approached the quarry valley, the sound of violently breaking stones grew louder and louder.

Rogue's muscle shirt and boxer shorts were soaked with sweat, clinging to every curve of her body. Her shoulder length red hair stuck to her head, only the white streak seeming to have any life to it. She punched at the stone wall, her bare fists pulverizing the rock into so much dust. Then Rogue drew her arm back, and with a soft 'snikt' noise, bone claws emerged from her hand. She then ripped into the stone with them, cutting and shaping the bare rock with ease.

It still unnerved Kitty a little bit, seeing Wolverine's claws on Rogue's hands. It was an aspect of her powers that Rogue had only just discovered, and she was a little giddy about it. She had shown Kitty a few different tricks, each one seeming to delight her more. But Kitty did wonder what was going on under that cheery surface.

"There's coffee ready," Kitty called out to Rogue as she kept a safe distance from any of the flying rock shards. She tried not to stare at Rogue, at the sweat steaming off her sexy body in the cold morning air. Kitty had always envied Rogue her healthy good looks, truth be told. And now she was feeling other things too, when she looked at her old friend.

Rogue gestured to the sketched out beginnings of a human face and body that she had just carved into the rough stone wall. "What do you think?" she asked a smiling Kitty cheerfully. "Am I the next Michelangelo?"

"Not too bad," Kitty said admiringly. The face was only roughly marked out, the details that would define who it was were still mostly missing. "So who do you think it's going to be?" Kitty asked her curiously.

"To be honest, I'm not that sure," Rogue admitted. She smiled at Kitty happily and asked her, "Did you say there's coffee?"

They quietly walked together, enjoying the crisp fall breeze in New England. "Maine's lovely this time of year," Kitty sighed to herself happily as leaves fell around them, adding to the thick carpet beneath them.

Rogue chuckled softly, "Kitty, if I wasn't nearly invulnerable, this little ol' southern belle would be totally miserable." She grinned over at her, cheerfully adding "I guess I'm just a hothouse flower at heart."

Kitty stuck her tongue out at Rogue, who just laughed at her. "I'm just glad it hasn't snowed early this year," Kitty remarked, getting a look of pure horror from Rogue.

Rogue reached over to stop Kitty, a gentle hand placed on her arm. "Seriously," she said with a shy smile on her face, "thanks for letting me stay up here with you." Rogue then shrugged a bit, "Otherwise, I think I would have just spent my leave of absence working out in the Danger Room, or something, instead of out here with such good company."

"We don't get to see each other as much, since I left the X-Men," Kitty said softly. She smiled over at Rogue fondly as she added, "I've found I miss you guys, and I'm glad just to catch up with what's been happening with you."

They went inside, and Rogue went into her room to change clothes while Kitty went into the kitchen to get their breakfast dished up on the dining room table. The two of them had fallen into an odd pattern, these last few weeks here: Rogue had done the heavy labor jobs, Kitty the more domestic tasks. It was an oddly pleasant experience for both of them. Rogue walked out of the bedroom in one of her black bodystockings, a pair of shorts and a T-shirt over it.

Rogue had tried just to wear the black bodystockings alone at first, but somehow it made her feel too uncomfortable. It was a bit too much like being totally naked in front of Kitty. 'I wonder why that bothers me?' Rogue thought, then shook her head to banish that difficult question.

Rogue stopped in the doorway, sniffed at the air, and then she smiled very happily. "Have I said how much I really enjoy your pancakes?" she asked Kitty with a broad grin on her face. They sat down together at the cabin's dining room table and dug in with vigor.

The day passed like many of their others, with Rogue experimenting with her new abilities outside in the abandoned quarry while Kitty stayed indoors working on her many university courses. Kitty was already well on her way to obtaining one degree and was also considering adding another program, a thought that simply blew Rogue's mind.

Kitty brought a picnic basket full of snacks out for them that afternoon, and they shared it sitting together on a small hill that overlooked the quarry. "So when did your new gifts kick in?" Kitty asked, offering Rogue a sandwich.

Rogue took a generous bite and smiled happily, savoring the flavor. Taking a swallow, she shrugged as she explained, "I popped the claws in the middle of an emergency. As you can imagine, I totally freaked. As far as we can figure, I retain a... " she stopped, and tried to find the right descriptive word for what she had in mind.

"Imprint?" Kitty helpfully suggested.

"Imprint," Rogue agreed with a nod, "of each power I've absorbed over the years. And now I can call up those imprints at will."

"So what's the downside of this?" Kitty asked her. At Rogue's one raised eyebrow, a wryly smiling Kitty added "You wouldn't be out here practicing with your powers every single day if there wasn't at least one."

"All my regular abilities are now up for grabs," Rogue said with a small sigh. "I can't be sure if I'm actually invulnerable unless I make sure to turn it on, and so on and so forth. And I still can't touch anybody without risking stealing their powers or memories, maybe permanently," Rogue finally added sadly.

Kitty didn't add anything to that. What could she say, really? With Rogue's uncontrolled absorption power, the simplest human touch was just too dangerous for her to risk. About to say something, Kitty stopped dead, as an idea suddenly occurred to her.

'What if her power couldn't lock on to the person doing the touching?' a oddly wide eyed Kitty wondered. She began to run through the various possibilities of how to make the idea work, the math involved running in a stream behind her open eyes.

"Kitty?" Rogue asked her with a impish smile as she looked over at the zoned out girl sitting absolutely still beside her. She then waved her hand in front of her face, "Earth to Kitty, hello Kitty, can you read me? Hey, Kitty, are you there?" Finally, Rogue gave up on subtlety and instead pinched her in the side.

"Oww!" Kitty gasped. She looked over at the very amused Rogue, and realized what had happened. "Sorry," Kitty said, blushing.

Rogue just laughed, "I seem to remember one time you did that while you were piloting the Blackbird. Talk about complete and utter panic. I'm just glad that you remembered to turn on the plane's auto-pilot first." Kitty blushed even harder, and put a half of a sandwich into Rogue's mouth to stop any further teasing from her.

"How are things with your parents?" Rogue gently asked Kitty after finishing chewing up her mouth full. Kitty's parents had divorced shortly after she joined the X-men full time, and at the time she had really taken it badly. Kitty had been extremely angry with both of them, and it had taken her a long time to recover.

"I'm talking to them, they're talking to each other, but other than that, it's all status-quo," Kitty said with a shrug, munching on some chips. "At least we're not still fighting all the time." She looked over at Rogue and asked something she had been wondering about a long time, "What was it like, being raised by a lesbian couple?"

"Raven and Irene didn't really advertise it," Rogue said with a small, odd smile. She then laughed suddenly as she added "I just thought they were roomies and best friends until I accidentally walked in on them during a intimate moment when I was, oh, about ten."

"Oh my god," a blushing Kitty said with a broad grin. Rogue grinned impishly back at her, and they both shared a laugh.

"You would not believe how quickly two grown women, one much older than the other, can get themselves dressed when absolutely necessary," Rogue said, chuckling softly. "I think," she said with a smile, "that was when I got my very first real 'birds and the bees' talk, too." She grinned at the mental image of a blushing Irene and Raven, both in just their bathrobes, trying to reason with the little kid she had been.

Kitty passed the bowl of chips over to Rogue. "Speaking of the birds and the bees," Kitty said to her softly, "what's been going on with you and Gambit lately? I sort of expected him to visit you here, or something."

"We're done," Rogue sighed sadly. She smiled oddly, "To be honest, I think I fell for the image he generates, the charming thief, without really letting myself see who was actually underneath all that." She sadly munched a generous handful of chips and smiled wryly, "Not a lot of depth there, it turned out."

Kitty reached over to pat her arm a bit awkwardly. "I'm sorry I asked," Kitty said sadly, blushing a little. She brightened. "Is there anybody new, at least?" Kitty asked her hopefully, looking like a typical teenager grilling her friend.

Rogue looked at her, and Kitty was surprised at the depths she saw in her dark eyes. "Maybe," Rogue finally said to Kitty a few moments later, as she looked away from her off into the distance. "I guess we'll just have to see."

They finished their lunch, and as Rogue and Kitty packed up the containers, Kitty added "I just got a new video in the mail from a friend of mine today. Do you want to sit down and watch it with me later tonight?"

"Sure," Rogue agreed cheerfully, "I'd love to watch a movie." Rogue added silently, 'With you,' and wondered where that little thought had come from. Both in agreement, they separated, with Rogue returning to work on her only partially finished carving, and Kitty leaving to finish off her own equally incomplete homework.

They ate a light dinner together, and Kitty put the video on afterward. "I should warn you," Kitty said with a little smile as they settled on the oversized couch, "it's an anime tape. The title is "Read or Die", and Stevie says I should really see it, for some reason."

"I didn't know you liked anime," Rogue said, a bit surprised. "I've seen some stuff on T.V. before, like Digimon, Cardcaptors, and Sailor Moon, of course." She smiled, "I thought they were pretty cool."

"The English versions?" Kitty asked her with a little frown. At Rogue's nod, Kitty clutched her chest and groaned loudly, then said "You've got to see the originals! I'll ask Stevie to send them, maybe, when I write my thank you letter for this tape."

"Stevie Hunter?" a surprised Rogue said. She then shook her head, adding "Our old dance instructor likes anime too? Cool!"

"She's the one who got me into anime, actually. Stevie's a real old school Otaku, back in the betamax era!" Kitty said with a laugh.

After the jazzy starting sequence, Rogue took one look at the image of Yomiko's room and started to loudly laugh, even as Kitty blushed furiously. "See anyone you find familiar?" Rogue said with a soft chuckle.

"I wasn't that bad," Kitty protested, "even in my bookworm phase." They kept watching, and Miss Deep soon appeared to use her powers on the very startled Yomiko. "That's so cool!" a grinning Kitty exclaimed.

Rogue whistled softly as a sequence highlighting Yomiko's powers came on next. "I didn't think controlling paper would be a very useful power, but it is kind of neat," she admitted. Rogue smiled at the sweet scene where Miss Deep told Yomiko her real name, Nancy, and noticed that Kitty was getting a bit misty eyed as well.

They sat and watched all three episodes on the tape, and both sighed sadly at the ending. "That was pretty cool," Kitty said, getting up and stretching. Her back made a soft 'crack' noise, and Rogue found her eyes drawn to the graceful curve that Kitty's slim body made in the dim light of the setting sun.

'God, she's so good looking,' Rogue suddenly thought to herself, looking the pretty girl over. 'And I think she doesn't even realize it,' Rogue finished.

"I was a bit surprised by the romantic tension that developed between Yomiko and Nancy," Rogue admitted to Kitty aloud. Kitty smiled at that even as she picked up the remnants of their snacks that were scattered around the couch.

"It's not that unusual, really, in anime," Kitty pointed out to Rogue. "You know about Haruka and Michiru from Sailor Moon, right?" she asked.

"Who doesn't?" Rogue nodded with a smile. "So," Rogue asked Kitty teasingly, "do you think there's a Yomiko waiting for you out there, Miss Deep?" Kitty, surprisingly, blushed brightly and didn't answer the question. "Uhm, Kitty," Rogue asked her teasingly, with a impish smile on her face, "is there something you wanted to tell me?"

"What is this, a game of Truth or Dare?" Kitty asked, still blushing. Rogue smirked, and Kitty grinned back at her. "Ok, go get your pajamas on. If we're gonna do girl talk, I at least want do it as comfortable as possible."

A few minutes later, Rogue wore her long pajamas, and Kitty was in a nightie, sitting together on the large bed in Kitty's room. The walls bore quite a few anime posters, one of the few concessions to Kitty's relative youth. A good variety of pajama party style snacks are arrayed all around them.

"So, Kitty," an eager Rogue asked her with a little smile on her face, "is there a girl out there, just waiting for you to arrive?"

Kitty blushed as she protested, "I'm not totally innocent, Rogue." She passed the bag of chips over to her, and as they both munched, she said "Lately, I've had a bit of a crush on a close friend, and I did have a relationship with a girl a few years ago."

"Lady killer!" Rogue exclaimed teasingly. "So who were you involved with?" Rogue asked her curiously.

"Illyana," Kitty confessed very, very softly. Rogue looked over at her in surprise, and Kitty blushed and blurted out, "She seduced me, all right!"

Rogue thought of the pretty blond girl who had Kitty's best friend for so very long, and felt a sudden stab of jealousy that she struggled to push aside. "It must have really hurt, losing her," Rogue said softly. Kitty looked away, her eyes dark.

"It wasn't easy, when she was finally transformed," Kitty said softly. "She didn't actually die then, not exactly, but I still lost the girl I loved in every way that mattered." She roughly shook her head, and forced a small smile, "But I did get over it, eventually. My run of romantic bad luck still continued though."

"And now you've fallen for somebody else?" Rogue asked her gently. It hurt, to think of Kitty loving someone else, but Rogue pushed the pain aside.

"Yeah, but it's probably totally hopeless for lots of reasons," Kitty said with a brave smile on her pretty face.

"But if you don't tell her," Rogue said to her softly, "then there's no chance at all." Rogue looked at Kitty sadly, 'I'm glad she's in love,' she thought. 'She doesn't need a untouchable person in love with her, like me.' Rogue realized she cared for Kitty, maybe even loved her, and Rogue's heart ached in anticipation for Kitty's next words.

"That's... sort of what I'm trying to do," Kitty said to Rogue gently. She then reached out with her bare hand and lightly stroked across the shocked Rogue's cheek. She leaned in and kissed her cheek, firmly.

"How... how on Earth did you," Rogue started to ask her, and Kitty shushed her gently, a bare finger resting against her lips. Again, Rogue felt bare skin on her own, a expression she only rarely felt before.

"I'm phased, just a little bit," Kitty said, and kissed Rogue again, this time softly on the lips. "Just enough that your power doesn't register me." They kissed a few moments, then Kitty drew back, "Do you want me to stop?"

"Hell no," Rogue exclaimed happily. "I'm in love with you, Kitty, and I thought that I didn't have a chance with you!"

"I love you, Rogue," Kitty quietly echoed, and then she gently drew Rogue down on top of her on the bed.

Kitty stretched happily, as the dawn's light came through the bedroom window. She turned in the bed and stopped cold. She was lying there, alone. 'Was it just a dream?' Kitty wondered, but then she noticed a piece of paper folded on the pillow beside her.

Good morning, Kitty. I woke up this morning and I knew who's face I had been trying to carve. I didn't want to wake you (you look so cute while you're sleeping, you know that?) so please come out once you're up. Love, Rogue.

Kitty looked at the note, then hugged it to her chest.

Kitty quickly dressed, pulling on her housecoat and boots over her pajamas. A few short moments later, she headed out, carrying two cups of steaming coffee for her and Rogue to drink together. She heard a soft chipping then silence as she neared the quarry. Rogue came around the cliff face and smiled happily as soon as she saw Kitty.

"Kitty," Rogue sighed happily, walking towards her. Kitty put her cups down and they came together in a firm hug. "Good morning, sweetheart," Rogue said softly.

"It's good to see you too, love," a blushing Kitty answered, and kissed Rogue softly. "I missed you, this morning."

"It was worth it," Rogue said softly, taking Kitty's hand and gently pulling her along. They came around the corner, and Kitty gasped in astonishment.

The face was hers! Kitty Pryde gazed out of the wall with a mysterious smile on her face, part of her body emerging from the stone as if she was phasing through it. "I'm not that pretty," Kitty said in a soft whisper.

"You've always been to me," Rogue admitted as she answered her simply, taking Kitty gently into her arms. She kissed her gently, but lingeringly.

Kitty looked up into Rogue's eyes, her own brimming with tears. "Will you marry me?" Kitty asked, half in jest.

"Yes," Rogue answered Kitty in perfect seriousness, "I'd love to," and then she kissed her again, fiercely. She took a small ring from her pocket, improvised from some wire and silvery foil from the kitchen. "Until I can get you a real one," she said, slipping it on Kitty's finger.

Kitty chuckled a bit, pulling her own improvised ring out of her coat pocket. They shared a quiet laugh as she then slipped it on Rogue's finger. "And that brings up the next difficult question," Kitty sighed, relaxing a little in Rogue's arms. "Who do we invite to the wedding?" she asked with a little smile.

"What?!" Rogue asked, even as she gave her such a surprised look that Kitty couldn't help but laugh.