Chapter 4:  Charming Danger

By Vikki

Author's Notes:  Just be forewarned: Rogue reappears, but she's not really the Rogue you know and love.  She's kind of … she's kind of a jerk.  That's on purpose.  In fact, any OOCness in this chapter is on purpose.  Please remember this is AU!

Oh, and finally, a warning – implied rape/slash!  I do love Remy, but it's about time I gave you a glimpse of the reasons why he and his sister are so cautious.

*   *   *

            A week later, Belladonna flopped onto her bed, exhausted and wanting only to sleep for a month.  Maybe longer.  She sighed and rolled onto her side, curling around Monsieur Teddy instinctively.

            Movement in the doorway made her jump and jerk her head up.  "Oh.  It's just you," she sighed in Cajun, looking up at her brother who now lounged in the doorway.

            Remy smiled for her and sat on the end of the bed, removing his sunglasses.  "How is my little sister doing?" he asked with a tired smile of his own.

            "You shouldn't be here, you dork," Belladonna rolled her eyes, propping herself up on her elbow.  "You know guys aren't allowed in the girls' rooms."

            "No one sees Remy when Remy doesn't want to be seen," her brother smirked.

            "Oh, shut up.  You and your ego," Belladonna laughed.  "Besides, don't you mean Gambit?"

            Remy pulled a face when she referenced the codename given him by Professor Xavier.  "Gambit," he repeated.  "What the heck is that supposed to be?"

            "Hey, it could be worse.  You could be Cyber," Belladonna snorted, talking about her own codename.  "For a guy who can read minds, Professor Xavier's awfully uncreative."

            Remy's grimace faded into the concerned look she knew so well.  "Are you doing okay?  Has anyone … anyone—"

            "No," she interrupted, knowing where he was going.  She smiled reassuringly, stifling a yawn.  "Everyone's been wonderful.  Rogue seems kinda touchy, but other than that … anyway, how about you?"

            "Eh, fine," Remy said dismissively, which Belladonna knew was his way of dodging her question.  She was tempted to pursue it, but before she could he added, "The Danger Room.  That's really something else, isn't it?"

            Now he was sneakily trying to get Belladonna to admit to being tired after their first Danger Room session that afternoon, and she didn't disappoint him.  "Wiped me out.  It wiped you out, too; don't try to hide it," she smirked when her brother straightened, visibly trying to look less exhausted.  "Go get some sleep, there's no shame in that."

            Remy smiled.  "You know me too well, petite," he said, reaching out to ruffle Belladonna's golden curls before she jerked away.

            "I think it's best that way," Belladonna observed quietly.  She laid back down on her bed.  "I'm going to sleep.  If you see them, tell Kitty and Rogue that the next person who disturbs me dies."

            She was satisfied to hear Remy chuckle.  "That I will, Belle," he promised, but his weight didn't leave the bedside.

            The last thing she felt before she slept was Remy's warm hand on her cheek, and the last thing she thought was, He's too protective, but I wouldn't have him any other way.

*   *   *

            Remy didn't leave Belladonna's side until he was sure she was asleep and her breathing was slow and even.  Carefully getting up from the bed and slipping his sunglasses back on, he poked his head out the doorway and glanced around for possible observers before leaving the room (although he might not have minded if he ran into that Rogue character.  He didn't really know what she was like yet, but something about her magnificent pout and the white streak in her hair made him do a double-take every time he saw her.)

            Ah, Belle, you know exactly when I'm lying.  Remy smiled slightly to himself.  She'd known that things weren't 'fine' on his end of the social scale.  Actually, they were kind of awkward, although no one he associated with would have said so.  He'd quickly made acquaintances of nearly everyone in the mansion, and learned several of their mannerisms, so he felt that he could measure with some accuracy the normalcy of their actions.

            It was more the great potential for something to go wrong that was bugging him.  Especially because things were leaning that way.  Leaning dangerously.

            His charm power was getting out of hand.

            Remy's 'charm power', as his sister had dubbed it, was erratic but powerful – easily more powerful than his ability to charge objects with kinetic energy, which was almost useless on any object bigger than a bowling ball.  Remy wasn't even entirely sure the 'charm' was genetic in origin, because it was more empathic in nature.  It allowed him to fool with another person's emotions; it usually influenced them to 'fall in love' with him (more like 'lust', he thought bitterly), or become more open to his suggestions.  Unfortunately, although Remy was able to manipulate it to some degree, he had very little control over it, and he could not turn it 'on' or 'off'.  Sometimes his charm was surprisingly strong, drawing as many as five to seven people to him at once; other times its influence was miniscule and practically not there.

            His control usually decreased under stress, and currently his wariness of his surroundings was certainly stressful.

            And right now, that was causing … problems.

            For the first few days of their stay at the Xavier Mansion, Remy's charm had thankfully been 'low'.  The only time Remy had wished it stronger was when he was dealing with the Professor, but he suspected that the 'charm' didn't work too well on telepaths anyway.

            But over the last week, slowly but surely the strength was increasing.  And Remy had begun to notice some people acting … a little strangely around him.

            Bobby had done a double-take at him, then looked embarrassed and left the room.

            Kitty (whom Remy already had pinned as having a bit of a crush on Kurt), had given him a coy look before giggling like a schoolgirl.  Kurt looked hurt.

            And Hank McCoy had looked at Remy's body in ways Remy didn't want to contemplate before he had shaken his shaggy head and confusedly wandered off, his lunch forgotten.

            The main trouble, Remy thought, was that there was no way to shut his charm power off.  It was always there; Remy was usually able to sluice it off to safe avenues, but occupied as he was with Belle's safety and the question of what Xavier wanted, he hadn't been able to concentrate on it.

            Well, might as well make it work for me, Remy thought to himself, clamping down on the charm for the moment as best he could.  It won't be the first time I've used it to get what I want …

            He shuddered, remembering things best forgotten.  Or need.

*   *   *

            "Please!  Please don' tell 'im we're here!" he cried, desperate.  "I'll do anyt'ing!"

            The huge creature he pleaded his cause to was so mutated that he didn't even look human any more.  He raised an eyebrow.  "You are in no position to ask for a favor, and you have nothing I want," he reminded his prisoner, "And this client you so fear has promised a hefty sum for you two, although you are untrained."

            The prisoner cast a glance at his unconscious sister before turning his bizarre eyes back on his captor.  His decision was made.  He loosed his charm power on the creature, knowing what it would do, watching fearfully as the calculating look faded into dark lust.  "Please," he said again, frightened of the word even as it sprang from his throat.

            An oversized hand came up to caress his jawline.  "Didn't you say you'd do anything?" his captor asked throatily.

            The prisoner shuddered, swallowing convulsively.  "Oui," he whispered.  "Anyt'ing."

            The creature smiled crookedly.  "Done," he said, before roughly kissing the prisoner on the mouth.

*   *   *

            Belladonna really bothered Rogue.

            When Rogue returned to her room after the first Danger Room session she'd had with 'Cyber' and 'Gambit', she found the girl sleeping peacefully on her bed, her teddy bear clutched to her chest.  She occasionally muttered in the pseudo-French that she and Remy spoke as their native tongue, Cajun, and despite Rogue's knowledge of the dialect's mother language, she could not understand the speech.

            But that wasn't why Belladonna bothered Rogue.

            In some silly way, she was jealous.  Being intolerable of touch had been her department before Belladonna showed up.  Now people joked that they had found her twin sister.

            But that, too, wasn't the only reason Belladonna bothered Rogue.

            Rogue wasn't entirely sure of the reason why every time she looked at Belladonna, she became more annoyed than usual.  Being annoyed was the general state for Rogue anyway; most of the antics of Kitty got on her nerves, Jean's preppy attitude (and the fact that she had Scott's attention) bugged her, Bobby and Kurt drove her crazy, and Hank's efforts to placate only upset her.  Only Logan and Ororo didn't agitate her.  But Belladonna in particular bothered Rogue.

            It probably had to do with her attitude.  Belladonna was practically Rogue's antithesis; where Rogue was tough and independent, Belladonna was vulnerable and confiding; where Belladonna was friendly and smiling, Rogue was withdrawn and scowling.  And yet, in other ways, they were the same; Rogue liked to keep her secrets, and Belladonna definitely had some of her own, and both had a southern (or southern in origin) accent.  It was just the right combination to grate on Rogue's nerves.

            It didn't help that she had a brother like Remy.

            There was something about Remy that made Rogue both love him and hate him at the same time, and it went something like this: every time he smiled at her she went weak in the knees from attraction, and she hated him for making her feel that way.  But he wasn't around Rogue enough to really bug her.

            Belladonna, on the other hand, was always around, being cheerful despite her revulsion at physical touch, proving that if Rogue had made the effort, she too could have been friendly without expressing such an emotion with a hug or a pat on the back.

            Belladonna was what Rogue wanted to be and wasn't.

            That was why Belladonna bothered Rogue.

            Rogue 'harrumphed' and flopped onto her bed, flinging one arm over her eyes, and finally falling asleep from sheer boredom.

*   *   *

            "The boy isn't telling us something," Xavier said irritably.  "He's able to somehow … to somehow alter the chemical processes of the brain, making people around him feel attraction for him. How come I didn't know about this before?"

            His glare was reserved for Hank, who had been in charge of evaluating the LeBeau's mutant powers before they had entered the Institute.  Beast could only shake his head in response.  "I didn't detect it because it's probably not related to his mutative powers," he said apologetically.  "It seems to be more of a form of empathy, which is completely different from telepathy.  It's not the result of a genetic mutation at all."

            "This could be a problem," Xavier observed with a sigh.

            "Why?  This isn't going to affect your Dream at all," observed Logan.

            "But it could influence the people whom I hope to dedicate to it," Xavier answered, shaking his head.  "Logan?"

            "Yeah?"

            "Keep an eye on Remy.  And tell Scott to help you out.  He'll be joining us shortly as it is."

*   *   *

            Meanwhile, a dark-skinned woman with long, pure white hair and unearthly blue eyes looked up at the X-Mansion from her seat in the back of a taxicab.  She brushed a stray lock of hair behind her ear and smiled.

            "It's good to be back home," said Ororo Munroe.

*   *   *

Author's End-Notes:  And yes, in the next chapter, Ororo will make her real appearance.  I like Storm, but I don't know much about her, so bear with me.  I'll do some research, I promise.

Again, huge thanks for the reviews and input!  It affects me and encourages me more than you may ever know.  Yes, what you have to say about couples makes a difference to me, but I'd appreciate it if you'd tell me more than what pairing you'd like to see!  (Romance is definitely not going to be the concentration of this story.)

Please send more feedback!  :D  I love reviews!  ^^x

~~Vikki