AN: This story is for JayCee's RedGold, who also betaed it.
The Kissing Booth
It was a sunny spring day and Rogue walked aimlessly through the faire. A few times along the way, she thought she felt eyes on her, but she brushed it off, it was crowded after all. There were rides, booths, and plenty of people in every direction. The X-men had decided to do their part for the charity event and help out, Rogue spending most of the day helping in the kitchen and now greatly relieved to be out of there.
Her wanderings happened to take her past Kitty's Kissing Booth and she wandered over to say hi. There was no line and Kitty's face lit up the moment she saw Rogue.
"Oh good, Rogue!" she exclaimed as her friend approached. "I'm really, really super busting to go. Can to hold down the fort for me?"
"Uhh, me at a kissing booth?" Rogue asked dubiously. "Are you sure that's a good idea?"
"If I don't go right now, I'm going to pee myself," Kitty informed her. "Yes, it's a good idea. Don't worry, no one's lined up for ages now. I won't be long."
And before Rogue could protest any further, Kitty zipped off, even phasing through people in her rush to get to the rest room. Reluctantly, Rogue sat down at the booth, telling herself that it was okay, she was only keeping an eye on the money, and if anyone lined up she'd just tell them to wait Kitty's return.
After awhile, Rogue started to feel less anxious. Murphey's Law hadn't kicked in, no one had lined up. Perversely, Rogue tried not to feel hurt that no one wanted to kiss her as there were plenty of strangers here that had no idea of her mutation. Surely one of them would... but no, it was better that no one lined up.
Rogue leaned on her elbows on the top of the table and rested her chin on her hands as she watched everyone go by. Kids holding balloons, families loaded up with food, cheap souvenirs, and prizes, couples walking hand in hand. The Ferris Wheel stopped and started nearby as people got on and off. Cute, kidsy music played.
She became so absorbed in watching it all that Rogue almost didn't notice the man approach her booth. She recoiled at first but relaxed when she realised that the man standing before her was none other than Gambit. He would know better than to try and buy a kiss from her, having been at the mercy of her touch before.
"Well now," he said in his sexy southern drawl while his eyes drank her in, "did someone go and get her powers under control while my back was turned?"
"No, someone did not," Rogue replied firmly. "Someone is just holding down the fort until Kitty comes back."
"Hmph. Pity," Gambit said, leaning on the table top. "So, what were you planning on doing if someone came along wanting to buy a kiss?"
"Tell 'em to wait for Kitty," Rogue said, shrugging and trying not to feel too flattered that the ladies man had expressed some disappointment at not being able to kiss her.
"What if they didn't want to wait?"
"What if they really, really wanted a kiss from you?" Gambit asked, lifting one hand to touch a lock of Rogue's white hair dangling in her face.
"They would either be very disappointed, or very unconscious," Rogue replied, flicking his hand away.
"Oh?" Gambit inquired as his hand slid something onto the table from up his sleeve. "So you would actually kiss someone?"
"If they gave me no other..." Rogue looked down at Gambit's hand and saw a dollar note, "choice. You have got to be kidding me."
"Actually I'm hoping to be kissing you," Gambit replied slyly.
"You can't honestly be that stupid," Rogue said, snapping her head back up to frown at him. "You know what happens when people touch my skin. First hand, I might add. Are you so eager for me to suck the life out of you?"
"Well, when you put it that way..."
It took Rogue a moment to process Gambit's comment and the devious twinkle in his eye. When she realised what he was implying, her frown turned into a glare.
"Filthy Swamp Rat," she said, swatting at him. "Go bother someone else."
"Okay, but I want my kiss first," he said, grinning at her.
"I'm not kissing you," Rogue insisted. "I've got enough of you inside my head as it is."
"But you're in charge of a kissing booth, chere, and I've already given you my money."
"I'm not accepting it. If you're really that desperate, wait for Kitty."
"I don't want Kitty," Gambit replied, and added seductively: "I want you."
Rogue shivered at his tone. Three little words and he made them sound incredibly hot. She bit her bottom lip and her eyes unwillingly fell on his mouth. He leaned in towards her slowly enough that Rogue didn't register that they were about to kiss until his lips were a mere quarter of an inch away, at which point she jerked back.
"Whoa, okay!" she exclaimed. "This is a really bad idea, Gambit."
"Aww, c'mon Roguey," Gambit said, winding his around the booth to stand beside her. "It's just a little kiss. It's not like you're gonna knock me out for that long."
"That's not the point!" Rogue insisted, stepping away from him.
"I really don't mind."
"Then you're a freak, and I do mind, thank you very much," Rogue said, wagging her finger at him. "What the hell are you even doing here?"
Gambit gave a half shrug. "Working."
"I'm sorry I asked."
"Ahem," and Rogue and Gambit looked to see a young man standing at the booth with a dollar in his hand. "You busy?"
Rogue opened her mouth to tell him he'd have to wait until Kitty's return, only for Gambit to swoop in towards the would-be customer.
"Not at all," he said. "A dollar a kiss."
The man paused and looked at Gambit skeptically, then pointed at Rogue. "I want a kiss with her."
"Sorry, no can do, mon ami," Gambit replied swiftly. "Ma chere has a cold. It would be terribly irresponsible of her to go around kissing members of the general public."
"I'm not kissing you," he insisted.
"Well, the only alternative is to wait for the other girl to return," Gambit said as a couple of women lined up behind the young man. "She should only be a few minutes. In the meantime, I believe I have other customers waiting..."
Gambit tilted his head and smiled at the first woman in line, the young man looking over his shoulder to see the growing crowd. Begrudgingly he got out of line and the first woman stepped up to the booth.
"Hey," she said.
"Bonjour cherie," Gambit replied in a low, seductive tone. "Normally kisses with me are priceless, but today, a bargain at one dollar."
Although initially relieved at having gotten out of having to kiss anyone into unconsciousness, Rogue rolled her eyes both at Gambit's little speech and at the giggle the woman gave in response. Her disdain was promptly followed by envy as she watched them kiss. It was only a short kiss, but it looked like it was a really good short kiss. A really good short kiss.
The line of women, young and old, grew and grew. By the time Kitty returned—which was only a minute later—the line was the longest it had been all day and was even constricting the flow of traffic.
"Okay, Rogue," Kitty said, sounding both amazed and concerned. "Where did Gambit come from and why is he working the kissing booth?"
"He just showed up while I was minding it for you, tried to buy a kiss from me, and when some other guy showed up to buy a kiss, he kinda...took over," Rogue said, then frowned. "Say, I hope he's not stealing the proceeds..."
"Well, I know how much I got before he showed up, so if there's any less than that come counting time I'm sure we can sic Logan on him if we can't track him down ourselves," Kitty said, watching as Gambit kissed another woman. "Wait... he tried to buy a kiss from you?"
"Don't ask me," Rogue said, shaking her head. "He's been a victim of my mutation before. You'd think he'd know better than to try and kiss me. Hey, did Lance show up?"
Kitty giggled. "Yup. Five times."
"And after each one he said 'come on, that's gotta be better than anything that Russian can give you'."
"So, so sad."
"Yes, it is."
The line of women continued to grow and each kiss started to feel like a cruel taunt aimed at Rogue. Gambit had come to her, wanting a kiss from her, and for reasons Rogue simply couldn't fathom. Going by the reactions of all the women after he kissed them, and the fact that some of them lined up again, Gambit was a pretty good kisser.
She was never going to experience that.
"Well, this looks like it's going to go on for awhile," Kitty said. "I almost want to join the line myself to see what the big deal is."
"Heh," Rogue grunted, the closest she could come to a laugh at that moment.
"I might go have lunch."
"It's almost closing time."
"And you wonder why I'm hungry."
Kitty took off with a promise to return once she'd eaten and Rogue went back to watching with envy, unable to tear her eyes away from it, even if every kiss was turning into a dagger that pierced her heart. Rogue tried not to let it bother her, she really did, but it was one of those things that was easier said than done.
The line finally started to die down with the closing of the faire. Kitty returned with Piotr as Gambit dealt with the last of his customers.
"Remy," Piotr greeted. "I did not realise you were back in Bayville."
"Just the other day," Gambit replied, shaking his hand. "Was planning on stopping by and found out you guys would be here. Where have you been all day?"
"Really? Even the women's toilets?"
"Not quite everywhere."
Gambit chuckled. "Well, I'd love to stay and chat, but I bought a kiss from Rogue I still haven't received yet, so..."
"Haven't you done enough kissing, Swamp Rat?" Rogue demanded.
"Yeah..." Kitty said glancing at Rogue. "Good luck with that. Oh, and thanks for your help, umm, Gambit."
"J'ai le plaisir," Gambit replied.
As Kitty and Piotr began packing up the booth, Gambit closed the distance between himself and Rogue. She glared at him as he took her hand and led her away from her friends.
"Now, Roguey, about that kiss?" he said, smiling winningly at her.
"You're crazy," Rogue insisted. "You've had a horde of girls of all ages do nothing but kiss you for the last hour and you still want a kiss from me? You can't honestly be that desperate."
"Who said anything about being desperate?" Gambit asked, his hands sliding onto her hips as he gazed into her eyes.
Rogue licked her lips. "I can't think of any other explanation."
"All the more reason for you to kiss me, Roguey," Gambit said, his voice lowering as he angled his head towards her. "Maybe then you find out, no?"
Rogue pulled her head away, but with his hands on her hips was unable to move very far. She supposed she could have gotten away if she really wanted to...
"You really want to kiss me," she said.
"Even though I'm only going to end up reading your mind and knocking you unconscious."
"Yep," Gambit said, tugging her gently back to him. "And after taking over the booth for you and taking in a crap load of cash, I really think you owe me."
Rogue closed her eyes and sighed. "Fine. Just... fine. But I still think you're stupid."
"I can live with that."
His hands slid from her hips to encircle her back as his lips pressed soundly against hers. Rogue's power immediately cut in and the first thing she picked up was either a memory or fantasy of kissing; a long, drawn out kiss of breath taking passion. This was followed by the realisation that Gambit, best thief in the whole Thieves Guild, had opted to give up the numerous contracts he'd been offered in favour of returning to Bayville just to see her. He'd seen her at the faire and had kept an eye out for her, looking for the best opportunity to approach.
It took a little more effort than Rogue liked to dislodge Gambit from her skin but when she did his body slumped heavily against hers, his head nestled between her breasts. She looked down at him helplessly for a moment, then carefully lowered themselves onto the ground in such a way that Gambit's head stayed on her chest. She should move him before he woke up or someone saw, but if she was honest about it she secretly liked his head there.
So instead she sat with him quietly on the ground, leaning against the side of a wall. After a few minutes Kitty appeared from around the corner and grinned wickedly when she saw how Gambit was positioned, the red and black colour of Rogue's eyes.
"So, he got his kiss, huh?" Kitty asked mischievously.
"Yes, he got his kiss," Rogue replied sharply, wishing now she had moved Gambit's head off her.
Kitty chuckled. "We're done. That booth is way easier to take down than to put up, let me tell you! Petey and I care going to catch up with the others."
"Okay. I'm umm, I'm going to stay here until he wakes up," Rogue replied a little awkwardly. "I think I should make sure he gets home okay. He shouldn't be out too much longer."
"Uh huh," Kitty replied with a smirk. "Just don't take too long. If Logan gets wind of this, he may decide Gambit's gone and kidnapped you again."
"I'll keep in touch," Rogue said dryly.
Kitty chuckled again. "Someone's got a cru-ush. Someone's got a cru-ush."
Rogue took a handful of dirt, charged it up, and tossed it at Kitty with Gambit's legendary precision. "Get out of here."
"Hey!" Kitty objected, then continued singing as she went back around the corner, "Someone's got a cru-ush!"
Rogue grumbled and settled back down. Breathing deeply his scent filled her nose and he smelled nice, really nice. And even with all the layers of clothing between them, he was really good to hold too. The prologued support of his dead weight was starting to get a bit much though, and as the minutes passed, Rogue started to wonder if she underestimated how long he'd stay unconscious for. The longer he slept, the more Rogue became convinced that Gambit would come to his senses about liking her, and go back to his glamorous life of crime.
At long last there was a sigh, a groan, and a lightening on the weight on her body as Gambit slowly lifted his head. He blinked and raised one hand to rub his temple.
"Welcome back, Sleeping Beauty," Rogue said cynically. "Was it everything you'd dreamed it would be?"
"You think I'm beautiful, chere?' Gambit asked, surprisingly quick for someone who was sporting a piercing headache. "I'm blushing."
"Yeah, a beautiful pain in the ass," Rogue retorted and started to stand. "You wanna get off me now, Swamp Rat?"
"Not really, but if you insist..."
The thief started to get up but his legs weren't quite ready for the effort and Rogue had to catch him before he collapsed again. He smiled fondly at her, willing the strength to return to his extremities.
"You came back to Bayville for me," Rogue said softly.
"I would have come back sooner if I could've," he replied gently.
"You absorbed me and you still don't know, Roguey?" he asked. "Or...do you just find it that difficult to believe?"
Rogue cleared her throat. It was so weird. She never expected that there might be someone who liked her as she had once liked Scott. She really wasn't sure how to deal with it, especially when Gambit was obviously well-liked by women everywhere.
"We should go," she said.
"So soon?" Gambit asked, his legs finally able to support his weight again.
"The faire is over. Everyone's packing up," Rogue said. "Are you able to drive home? Or would you like a lift? I know you came on your motorcycle..."
"And so eager to be rid of me. I'm hurt, Rogue. Hurt."
"You're full of it, is what you are."
"I'd rather be full of you."
"Call me Remy," Gambit said, taking her hand.
"Remy then," Rogue said as she watched him kiss her gloved fingers. "I really think we need to be going."
He kissed her wrist.
"Only if you promise," he said as he continued to plant kisses up her arm, making her blush heavily, "that we shall see each other again soon."
He planted a final kiss on her shoulder and Rogue stared at it for a moment.
"I guess I can agree to that," she said.
"Oh good. That spares me from having to kidnap you again," Gambit said with a twinkle in his eye, and Rogue knew he was only joking. Well, she was pretty sure he was only joking.
"You may have gotten me once, Swamp Rat," Rogue said, wagging her finger on her free hand at him, "but you're not getting me again. Got that?"
Gambit captured her finger and kissed the tip.
"Oh chere, I don't intend to rest until I've gotten you," he said.
"I see that," Rogue said, snatching her finger away from him. "And I suppose you think I should just bow to the inevitable and give in to your charms here and now?"
"Now where would be the fun in that?"
Rogue rolled her eyes and turned her back on him, pulling him along behind her with the hand he still held.
"Come on, Swamp Rat. If you're not right to drive, we can give you a lift, but I don't think we have any room for your bike," she said.
Gambit was about to protest that he was quite capable of getting home on his own, when a lovely thought occurred to him.
"Better idea," he said. "Why don't you just drive me home on my bike?"
Rogue paused in her walk towards the parking lot and looked back at him thoughtfully.
"You sure? A moment ago you couldn't even stand," she said.
"And now I'm walking just fine," he said. "It's just this headache..."
Gambit hid his grin as Rogue took off again, still dragging him behind. He quickened his pace so that he was walking beside her and was just a little perturbed that she knew where he'd parked his motorcycle, despite the fact that he knew she'd only absorbed him not that long ago. He was only slightly disconcerted when he told her which hotel he was staying at and she replied with "I know." They got on the motorcycle and Gambit smugly wrapped his arms around Rogue.
"Try not to get too grabby, Swamp Rat," Rogue said.
"I have to make sure I have a firm grip, Roguey," Gambit replied slyly. "Wouldn't want me flying off the end of the bike, would you?"
Rogue muttered something under her breath and they took off. Normally Gambit wouldn't even consider letting anyone else drive his ride but he was glad he made an exception for Rogue. They arrived at the hotel a few minutes later, Rogue parking in Gambit's designated spot.
"So, Roguey," Gambit said after they got off. "Gonna see me to my room?"
"I have a feeling if I follow you to your room, you'll find a way to keep me there," Rogue replied, pulling out her phone. "I need to call the others and get someone to pick me up."
"Aww, but you got me this far," Gambit said. "I really don't think you're completing the job if you don't escort me to my room."
Rogue didn't reply, devoting her attention to her phone.
"What if I have a relapse?" Gambit asked. "I really think I'd feel better if you came with."
Rogue paused just before she hit the dial button on her phone.
"Remy, we both know that's an utter load of hogwash," she said. "You're not going to relapse, and I sincerely doubt anything I can do will make you feel better."
Gambit's eyes glinted at her. "You sure? I can think of plenty of way you can—"
"Don't you dare finish that sentence," Rogue cut in. "Filthy Swamp Rat."
Gambit chuckled and slipped on hand onto her waist.
"C'mon Roguey, walk with me, join me for dinner. It's the least I can do for you making sure I got home alright," he said.
Rogue sighed and pressed the dial button on her phone.
"Hey Kitty, it's me," she said when her friend answered. She then indicated for Gambit to get going while she followed. "Yeah, I just dropped Gambit off at his hotel... Would you stop singing that? … Anyway he's invited me for dinner and... Kitty, I'm serious. Stop singing that!"
Gambit wondered what it was that Kitty was singing as he stepped into the elevator with Rogue, hitting the button for his floor. He couldn't help but feel a little excited about this. He'd expected them to part ways at the faire, not end up taking her home with him.
"Leftover night?" Rogue said and pulled a face. "Well, I was going to decline his invitation for dinner... What's that supposed to mean 'any excuse'? I'll have you know that... Oh, hi Logan... No, I'm fine... No, I'm fine... No. I'm fine! Really... I swear he hasn't tried anything... Kitty told you about what happened at the kissing booth right?... Well, what are you worried about? You think I'd be here if I saw anything in his head—you know, when I absorbed him—about him planning on kidnapping me again?... And can I just point out that last time he was trying to save his father. He never intended to hurt me..."
Gambit slipped the phone out of Rogue's hand and pressed it to his ear and she objected.
"Bonjour M'sieu Claws," Gambit said. "Roguey and I are just having a little dinner, and then I'll drop her home safe and sound, oh, sometime this side of midnight. Enjoy your Leftover Night."
He hung up and turned the phone off swiftly, handing it back to Rogue with a grin as the elevator doors opened on his floor. She glared at him as they walked out and headed down the hallway.
"How dare you—"
"And now they won't bother you for the rest of the evening."
"This side of midnight? Really?" Rogue demanded. "You said that to Logan?"
"Yes I did. What's your point?"
Rogue muttered something under her breath about having dinner with a crazy man; a stupid, crazy man. Gambit's room wasn't far and he opened up the door with a flourish. It was a small room with a double bed, a small table, a desk, and a TV. The mini bar was just across from the ensuite.
"Room service is fairly decent here," he said and gestured to the menu in the bedside table. "I figured we could order something."
They took a moment to decide what they wanted, then Gambit rang it up. Rogue walked to the window to peer out the curtains. Gambit's room was on one of the top floors meaning the view was pretty good.
"Half an hour," Gambit said when he hung up.
"Okay," Rogue replied, then felt Gambit's arms slip around her waist.
She would never admit it out loud, but she really liked standing with him like this, his front pressed against her back. It felt cozy, and more than that it felt like maybe, just maybe, they could actually have something real. He planted a gentle kiss on her shoulder. Rogue gave a light laugh.
"You know, Remy," she said. "It's occurred to me that we could have spared you an absorption today."
"I don't think so, Roguey," Gambit replied firmly. "I wasn't leaving until I got the kiss I paid for."
"Yeah, but where's the rule that says that kissing booth kisses have to be on the lips?" Rogue asked. "You could have kissed me anywhere else. Or I could have kissed you..."
"Anywhere else, chere?" Gambit asked pointedly. "Are you sure you want to phrase it like that?"
Rogue turned to face him, his hands never leaving her body. She grinned as her own hands pressed against his chest, he held her that little bit closer.