Intriguing Possibilities – by Darlin

A/N – I just found this story, started in 2008, but never finished since I never knew where I was going with it. Now my goal is to finish all my recently found stories, as well as ASCW so I just finished this as a one shot and I think it works. I had a lot of fun writing this since the Avengers were my first team book as a kid and a long time love, favorites being Vision, Wanda, Hawkeye, Pietro and the Falcon. Although I doubt there are many who ship PiOro, if there's anyone who likes them or even just likes Pietro then this one is for you.

Disclaimer – Nope, not mine, no profit.


The drive back from a relaxing weekend in the city was slow and monotonous but Ororo didn't mind. Rogue's beautifully restored old convertible had soft seats and springs to match, something she recalled wishing for long ago in Sean's jeep on her very first trip to Scotland. She smiled at the memory, at all her memories of Banshee and the others on that trip. But her smile soon faded. Sean was dead as was Kurt and so many others they had known. Sometimes it was just peaceful to let memories, like the scenery, pass you by with no need to remember or rush. There was a time for everything after all so she put thoughts of departed love ones aside.

Rogue was driving and she was quiet for a change, lost in her own thoughts, possibly not willing to reveal them since it was Ororo's turn to choose the music and she hadn't chosen any of the country songs they'd listened to on the way up. Again Ororo didn't mind. The long holiday weekend in Manhattan with room service, museums, the lovely hotel spa, and delicious restaurant meals, was a rare treat, one that was made even sweeter because there had been no emergencies requiring them to go rushing back to Salem Center to play cavalry. That alone put a smile on her face and, now, listening to classical music playing on her IPod, wind blowing in her hair, Ororo couldn't ask for more. But isn't that always when you get more?

There was no warning. Ororo was flung forward and Rogue shrieked as she hit the brakes hard.

"Ah saw something! Ah swear ah did!" Rogue shouted, "Right in the middle of the road, standing there, a man! At least ah think it was a man, it happened so fast. But he's gone now."

Ororo felt a breeze ruffle her hair, circling the car, growing stronger. Something about it felt unnatural even wrong.

"Well, he's not there now; luckily no one was behind us," she noted as she looked around uncertainly.

"He disappeared just like that! It doesn't make sense!"

The breeze grew stronger. "What mischief is this?" Ororo murmured.

Laughter seemed to surround them and Rogue shivered as if spooked.

"Pietro?" Ororo chanced.

"Ah, Ororo you're quite perceptive," the silver haired speedster known as Quicksilver said as he slowed down, circled the car, then finally stopped, leaned in and folded his arms over the front passenger door all in a matter of seconds.

"Is there something we can help you with?" Ororo asked, wondering if he was actually smelling her hair because it looked as if that's what he was doing as he leaned closer to her while breathing in deeply.

"What the hell's wrong with you, Quicksilver? What were you doing in the middle of the road? Ah could've killed you!" Rogue screeched.

Pietro didn't bother to look at Rogue. He just said, "I hardly think you could've hit me if you'd tried with all your might." He chuckled, amused.

It almost sounded as if Rogue was growling very low to herself and her knuckles whitened as she gripped the steering wheel. Ororo imagined she was counting to ten.

Pietro grinned and said, "I had something to discuss with Xavier, we had lunch, and now I'm on my way to Avengers headquarters, however when I saw you, lovely lady, I circled back."

Ororo's brow wrinkled quizzically as she glanced at her watch. "But I thought your luncheon with the Professor was at noon, it's barely twelve fifteen."

Pietro shrugged. "He's a slow eater."

"Well, you can keep on moving, don't let us hold you up," Rogue said.

"But when I saw you I thought to myself you looked as if you could use some companionship."

"You were dead wrong, we don't."

"It's not as if you need a lift," Ororo added.

Pietro leaned closer, breathing in Ororo's fragrance again. Ororo leaned away from him a little, concerned because she didn't have perfume on today.

"Hey! What do you think yer doing?" Rogue cried.

He shrugged carelessly and smiled. "I might have stubbed my toe," he said.

"Huh? You stubbed yer toe? What's that got ta do with us?"

"A ride into the city would be very much appreciated."

"Wow, you appreciative? That's a first."

"I know how to appreciate a beautiful lady – or rather two beautiful ladies. May I?"

"All charm and grace," Ororo murmured as he leapt over the door and settled in beside her. She barely had time to scoot over to make room for him and even then they were still too close.

"I like to think so," he replied, grinning at Ororo.

"Seat belt," she reminded him, smiling back.

"Dag gone it, now ah gotta turn around an' we were almost home."

"Thank you kindly, Rogue. I really do appreciate the ride."

Rogue saw a convenient turn off that said no U-turn and, ignoring the sign, did a sweet U-turn, wheels squealing and tread marks marking the spot. She laughed, pleased with her skills. Ororo looked behind them worriedly.

"Ever the believer in rules, eh, Ororo?" Pietro noted.

"Well, Pietro I'd rather we didn't get a ticket and we do all stand out a little bit."

"Stand out a little! Ain't nothin' little 'bout our looks. We look like a bunch of white haired kooks."

"I resent that. Speak for yourself, moreover your hair resembles a skunk if anything and is nothing like ours," Pietro said.

"We could start a club you and I, Pietro," Ororo noted with a smile.

"You, Ororo, as the queen and I as the King – onward, Rogue." Pietro threw an arm over the back of the seat behind Ororo and pointed straight ahead with the other.

"Ah'll onward you, ya rascal."

"So I was thinking you should add some daisies in the front yard, I like daisies, maybe a few potted boxwoods on either side of the French doors on the terrace similar to the arrangement out front which has a nice effect, some fresh flowers on the entry table, they're getting a little brown, someone forgot to water them today I think, water level was dangerously low, and get rid of all those hideous plastic flowers on the dining room tables then . . ."

"Plastic flowers?" Ororo questioned.

"Just trying to see if you were listening, people often can't keep up."

"You should try to slow down."

His shrug brought his arm closer to her. She looked at it, at him, but he was staring at the passing scenery.

He continued, "I would have someone change the oil on that old Rolls Royce in the garage too. I took a peek under the hood after lunch. I remember that Rolls, wanted one just like it when I was a kid, thought there was nothing better than that car. Wanda loved it too."

"What does an oil change have ta do with flowers?" Rogue wanted to know.

"Sorry, sometimes my thoughts are a little . . . fluid."

"Well, how is Wanda?" Rogue asked.

For once Pietro was silent.

"Oh, ah didn't mean ta . . ."

"What you meant is clear, but I am sure Wanda is fine," Pietro said.

"Rogue meant no offense, Pietro. And you, my friend, how have you been?" Ororo asked.

"The usual. Life goes on, cripplingly slow, but it goes at least. What about you, Ororo? You're looking especially lovely today with that messy, windswept hair."

Ororo's mouth fell open for a split second then closed again as if she were restraining herself from commenting. Rogue imagined she was counting to ten as she'd so often advised her to do. She wasn't though. Her hair was up in a ponytail and she brushed a few stray pieces of her hair back into place with her fingers only Pietro stopped her, covered her hand with his, and shook his head.

"Well, ah guess an underhanded compliment's still a compliment," Rogue muttered.

"I meant it in the most flattering way, you hair looks almost perfectly mussed, the effect is . . . beautiful," he said as he let go of Ororo's hand.

"Did y'all have alcohol at this fifteen minute lunch of yers?"

"I doubt it was even fifteen minutes and yes, I may have had one or three drinks but my metabolism is so fast a few drinks would hardly affect me. Windswept is beautiful, what's wrong with that?"

"Uh huh," Rogue said, shaking her head.

"You smell good," Ororo commented.

"It helps since he's all up on you," Rogue growled.

"Jealous?" Pietro purred.

"What? Are you crazy?"

"Not any crazier than usual today."

"Well, that's somethin', you admittin' ta being crazy."

"I'm only half serious although crazy does seem to run in the family unfortunately. Thankfully my daughter, Luna was spared."

"You do smell good though," Rogue admitted.

"Cologne specially ordered from Europe. Not too much, certainly not too little. Women love it."

"Yeah, right. Well cologne couldn't cover up the stink you oughta have, why is it you don't stink, Pietro? Ah mean ah don't mean any offense it's just you runnin' all the way from the mansion an' we're like a hundred miles from there an' you don't stink at all."

"It's called deodorant, Rogue."

Ororo giggled quietly.

"There ain't no deodorant in the whole blamed world that's gonna stop you from sweatin' like a pig when yer runnin' at however miles per hour you run, Quicksilver."

"Well, perhaps that's part of my mutant abilities, to run super-fast while sweating like a pig all without stinking."

Ororo burst out laughing now.

"Ah'm just sayin' what anyone might be thinking. You don't have ta poke fun at me."

"You seem a little disgruntled today, Rogue, relationship problems perhaps?"

"Ah might be in a bad mood seein' as how ah gotta listen to this symphony music all the way back to the city while ferrying you back – an' speakin' of the ride back ah get ta listen to what ah want, Ororo!"

"I saw Gambit. He looked . . ."

"Remy's been gone all weekend an' he ain't supposed ta be back till tomorrow so ah know you didn't see him. You were probably racing through the school so fast you caught Scott puttin' on his visor an' mistook him for Remy," Rogue said, quickly dismissing his remark.

"That would imply I was peeking into bedrooms out of boredom I presume which I wouldn't do because I'm seldom bored. I did, however, see one Remy LeBeau running out by the lake," Pietro stopped and laughed then continued, "or what passes for running for one such as him. He looked . . . preoccupied."

Rogue flashed him an angry look, her hands tightening on the steering wheel again, knuckles draining of color.

"And what about you, Ororo? Are you seeing anyone?"

"No, no I'm not, Pietro . . . and you?"

"No. No, I'm not, Ororo."

"Ah can understand why," Rogue muttered. She missed the brief look of curiosity Ororo and Pietro shared.

"Well, Rogue I can certainly imagine why Gambit looked like he was planning on choking the very life out of you," Pietro said.

"Children please!" Ororo pleaded, trying not to laugh.

Pietro huffed but said nothing else and for some time there was welcomed silence as they drove on. Ororo closed her eyes after a bit, Rogue started to hum to Tchaikovsky's Sawn Lake, one of Ororo's favorites, Pietro bobbed his head in time to the calming beat. But every now and then Ororo felt a light touch on her shoulder. Looking over at Pietro she saw he was drumming his fingers on the back of the seat in time to the song, his fingers ever so often treading on her shoulder almost like a mischievous little brother might do to his older sibling. And yet his eyes were closed and there was no smirk or look of mischief on his face. He looked peaceful; something she'd never associated Pietro with.

"Am I disturbing you?" he asked, smiling at her as his eyes fluttered opened.

"No, not in the least."

They held each other's gaze for a moment without speaking and then he sighed with pleasure and turned his head further to the side so they were face to face.

"I like this," he said

"Windswept is beautiful, eh?" she asked with a teasing smile.

"I naturally admire my own windswept hair but anything that has to do with wind fascinates me."

"I'm not so sure if I can tell when you're teasing or not, Pietro."

"I'll tell you a secret then, Ororo," he whispered, leaning closer still.

She leaned in towards him too so that their foreheads almost touched. She waited, feeling like a little girl full of excitement.

After a little bit when he didn't speak she saw Pietro's eyes were closed and he looked as if he was smelling her again.

"Do I . . . do I smell?" she asked as she sat up straight.

He laughed, "Goodness no – anything but. You smell of wind and air in all its many facets. "

"How delightful."

"I'm glad you find me so."

She chuckled and sat back again, resting her head along the back of the seat only instead of feeling cool leather beneath her she felt a sinewy arm. She smiled, pleased at how fit he was. She couldn't see that Pietro smiled too. She closed her eyes again and relaxed for the first time since he'd joined them.

Rogue had succeeded in ignoring their intercourse and was driving as if she were trying to get her second speeding ticket that weekend all while wondering why Remy was back so soon. She glanced at Ororo when she heard her breathing grow heavy then turned her attention back to the road and thoughts of Remy but Pietro, who had cocked an eye open and glanced at Ororo as well, simply couldn't stop looking at the sleeping Wind-rider.

As she slept she was so quiet and still, only a few stray tendrils of her silver white hair blew in the wind and that, to him, only added to her peaceful aura. He'd always thought her lovely but watching her now he thought she was breathtaking. And he wondered at his foolishness, that he'd never spent this amount of time with her before, had never gotten to know her, never even considered it. In her he felt as if he'd found something new and refreshing, totally unexpected. Everything about her was peaceful and welcoming. He felt as if she and he were the center of the world, now, here, in the speeding car with trees and houses, barns and farm animals passing slowly by. Here was all that seemed to matter – this moment, this quiet time with this enchanting woman. It was something completely unfamiliar, something he couldn't put into words or thoughts but it was something he felt he had longed for all his life. And yet what it was he couldn't name it.

After a while the monotony of the car in motion or either Ororo's sleepiness was contagious and Pietro's eyelids grew heavy. But he fought sleep off because he wanted to keep watching her. And after a little while he found his breath had synchronized with hers and that made him smile.

Later when Rogue came to a stop at the end of an exit ramp before heading for a gas station Ororo woke up. Only she had little room to stretch with Pietro so close. She shrugged her shoulders a little to work the kinks out then covered a yawn. She saw Pietro had fallen asleep too. His head was resting on the leather upholstery, his lips parted slightly, and he was snoring softly. For some reason this made her smile and she said, very quietly, almost as if she spoke only to herself, "He looks so at home."

"He's a different person when he ain't talkin' or movin' ain't he? Kinda cute even."

"He's had a hard life."

"Like we ain't? Your parents were killed leaving you an orphan ta fend fer yerself on the streets in Egypt. It's a miracle you survived, an' ah had Mystique for a foster mama! Ain't much better 'n Magneto for a daddy."

"And how are you and Erik, Rogue?"

"Don't know most of the time. It's hard likin' a guy you can never be sure if he's gonna go crazy all of a sudden an' wanna take over the world again. Ah know he's had a real hard life too an' ah wanna believe he's changed but ah can't ever be sure with him. An' then there's Remy." Rogue paused and chuckled. "The life Remy's had, it was just as hard as ours, you know that. Boy, looks like ah really know how ta pick 'em, huh?"

"Many people have hard lives, mutants in particular, it's how we choose to overcome the difficulties that prove our merit," Ororo said looking at the sleeping speedster.

"Mine, however was particularly so," Pietro said as if he'd never been asleep and perhaps he was pretending there at the end, listening to the girls discuss him.

Ororo started then caught herself and chuckled. "You scared me," she said.

"I wouldn't think much would scare you, Ororo."

"But then you don't know me very well do you, Pietro?"

"No, I suppose I don't with no more than chance meetings between us and many of those times I was – well . . . I was less than pleasant I believe, not perhaps at my best. Something we should remedy don't you think?"

"You ain't askin' 'Roro out are you, Quicksilver?"

"If I am I don't see how it could be any of your business, Rogue, that is unless you're to become my stepmother."

"What? Why you little . . ."

Pietro laughed. His laughter was rich and full and it made Ororo smile. Rogue couldn't help laughing either but then she grew serious again.

"Well, funny guy, ah beg ta differ, it is mah business if you're in mah car hittin' on mah best friend. If you think ah'd let her go out with you, Quicksilver then you got another thing comin' buster."

"I don't think you have a say in this," Pietro said.

"You keep thinkin' that an' see where it gets you. Ororo ain't desperate! We barely know you and how would we know if you're crazy t'day or gonna be crazy t'morrow just like yer daddy? And believe me ah know yer daddy."

"I resent such an implication! The woman who dates me would be honored, fortunate even!"

"Yeah, you keep dreamin'. Yer gonna have ta go through me, an' Remy, an' Logan an' the entire team first before we ever let you date our Storm!"

"I-I think you're actually serious!"

"Ah ain't talkin' just ta hear mah voice! This ain't a joke! You got some nerve nearly causin' us ta wreck and then hitchin' a ride with us makin' me drive us right back from where we just came from – that's plumb near four hours just ta get back, an' here you are makin' goggley eyes at mah best friend thinkin' you got the right ta ask her out!"

"You were hours from arriving in Salem Center and I certainly didn't hold a gun to your head demanding that you take me, injured as I am, anywhere at all, Rogue. And I will gladly pay for your gas! "

"Ah don't need yer money, Pietro an' we'd just passed Poughkeepsie headed on to Kingston when you got in our way an' that's the half way point!"

"Half way point? That's hardly the half way point! Don't you have a map? Can you even read a map?"

"Better 'n most men," Rogue quipped.

Ororo closed her eyes, a smile quirking at the corners of her mouth. She listened to the music; Liszt now, the sound of passing cars, all the many busy sounds of the small shopping strip Rogue was driving through, and on the fringes of all this Rogue and Pietro's arguing barely registered. She wondered how much longer it would be until they got to the Avengers headquarters, hoped it wouldn't be too soon and that Rogue would go back to driving in silence after she gassed up the car. She liked Pietro with his strong self assurance and sense of fun.

"See, she ain't interested in you, look! Yer borin' her ta sleep again," Rogue said with satisfaction.

"She ain't - she isn't bored! She's . . . she's relaxing! I hardly blame her, the music, the company, some of us at least, it's all surprisingly soothing."

Rogue pulled into the gas station with unnecessary speed wrought from rage and screeched to a stop at a pump. She looked at Pietro angrily before getting out and he looked at her just as angrily. Ororo got out without a word, headed to the restrooms. Pietro followed, passed her, disappeared in a blur and was soon back in his seat tapping his fingers on the dashboard wondering if he should go back, see if Ororo wanted anything, walk her back, but by time he decided he should then second guessed himself and finally finished his inner debate Ororo was opening the door and he hurried leapt out to let her in.

Rogue came out of the store eating a candy bar as Ororo settled back against Pietro's waiting arm and they both automatically sighed then smiled, pleased with each other's company. While they waited for Rogue to finish he leaned his head back just as hers was then closed his eyes, once again unconsciously imitating her. The noises of people coming and going at the gas station, Rogue quietly talking to a guy who looked like he was interested in her as she filled the tank; all that was far off background noise to Ororo and Pietro who sat so close together, heads nearly touching, at perfect ease with each other. It seemed like a long time before Rogue slammed the car door shut and started the car. Possibly because of her admirer's flattering attention Rogue was humming and seemed in a better mood as she merely glanced at her passengers, shrugged and quietly headed back to I-87. They were both thankful for her silence.

"I've never done this before," Pietro murmured after they'd driven a fair piece.

"What?" Ororo said though she didn't open her eyes.


"It's a fascinating concept, one that you should consider in future," Ororo replied.

Pietro opened his eyes, stared at her. Was she teasing him?

But she looked at him serenely; spoke quietly, "I'd have no peace without the ability to relax."

"Peace is foreign to me," Pietro admitted. And then with this admission suddenly everything that had happened today with this woman made sense to him.

He saw clearly now why he'd had the urge to stop, why he'd stayed, why he'd endured the long, slow ride and Rogue's needling. It was more than the pleasure of a beautiful woman's company. But it was all about her too. Being near Ororo, even in silence was quieting, relaxing, fulfilling in a way he could never have guessed at. It was peace he felt with this woman. Everything about her screamed, no it didn't scream, it whispered, soothingly, refreshingly . . . peace – effortlessly, exquisitely. Being in her presence had given him peace. All his chaotic life he'd been searching for things that had never truly satisfied once found and now he saw it was peace that he'd really sought. Peace. And peace was Ororo.

"That is a pity," she replied.

"A pity?"

"That you have no peace," she said, looking at him with compassion, an emotion Pietro seldom experienced from anyone but his sister.

"I agree, it is, although I never knew this before," he marveled. "How is it you're so calm, so at peace?"

She considered how to answer something that was second nature to her but might sound incomprehensible, even strange, to many. He waited patiently, eagerly, just as she had when he'd promised to tell her a secret.

"She's gotta keep her temper or it'll rain like hell," Rogue spoke up.

"Thank you, Rogue but I can explain myself."

Pietro looked past Ororo and grinned at Rogue who scowled then turned her attention back to the road.

"Rogue's explanation is correct to a degree."

"Told ya!"

"I have a connection with this earth and oftentimes other planets. I can feel the earth, sky, sun as if they were all part of me. And perhaps because of this I can control the elements, but to control them means I must have immense self-discipline. My thoughts can bring fog, hail, snow, rain, lightning, wind. I can manipulate the air – the wind you love so much, and as do I, I can manipulate all this and more through sheer will power. But if my equilibrium is disturbed, through fear, anger, even sadness, the elements can sometimes rage out of my control. It can be a fine line." She shrugged. "I learned long ago to contain my emotions so I would harm no one."

Pietro nodded as he took this in. He envied her this, her control, but he also felt sorry for her. He often thought he was a bundle of raw emotions that unfortunately controlled him and oftentimes caused his erratic behavior. But he also wished he could one day see her let loose without worrying about consequences. To him it seemed a prison, never completely able to be yourself even if being yourself meant you did sometimes lose it. He looked at her intently as if studying her then suddenly, but slowly, he moved so that he was nearly hovering over her and his lips covered hers.

"Hey! Hey! Stop that!" Rogue hollered but neither white haired mutant seemed to hear her.

It was a long, soft kiss that turned more passionate than either of them could have anticipated.

"If ah had some water I'd throw it on y'all," Rogue said which made them both laugh and effectively ended their unexpected intimacy.

"Well, it didn't rain; no one was struck by lightning, were you controlling your emotions when I kissed you?"

"Controlling?" She laughed. "I think I forgot about everything except for the moment!"

"So then you can let go sometimes and just enjoy life?"

"Yes, it would appear so wouldn't it?"

He wondered if she was smiling because she was teasing him. Like her he wasn't quite sure if she was jesting or not. Unsure of himself now after their kiss and her answer he returned to a safer topic.

"How – how else do you relax?"

"Hmm. Well, gardening . . ."

"Gardening!" he scoffed.

"It's not for everyone," she admitted with a little laugh.

"I admit that I am fond of flowers because I've been told so often I should stop and smell them and when I'm at Xavier's I do stop to enjoy them. I like them arranged as they are at the school but gardening I think would be unbearably tedious."

"It's never tedious to me, even pulling weeds. It gives me great satisfaction and so much peace. Swimming, running, hiking, watching the sun set, a good workout in the Danger Room often helps me relax as well, a drive like this, a weekend in the city, classical music, music from my homeland, baking – I love to bake, all these things are very soothing to me."

"She's good too, makes the best damn chocolate cake you ever tasted," Rogue said.

"I bet you are the best. Perhaps one day you could save a piece for me? I've a weakness for chocolate," he said.

"Oh brother!" Rogue scoffed, rolling her eyes.

"Intriguing. I've a weakness for vanilla, vanilla bean, pure vanilla extract makes the best cakes, how could I not love vanilla?" Ororo said, "But chocolate can truly undo me."



"I'd like to see that, you being undone."

"Dinner then? Tonight?"

"Five too early? I'll have had my dinner but a snack and dessert will be in order then later a late supper – my metabolism you know."

"I'm intrigued," she said almost breathlessly.

"As am I," he whispered, truly as intrigued as she.

Ororo gave Pietro an almost girlish look, both shy and pleased.

"Shall I pick you up at the school then?"

"Ororo, you ain't really gonna go out with this polecat are you?"

"Rogue, have I ever questioned your decision to date Remy or Joseph or Erik?"

"Well, maybe though ah'm sure you kept it to . . . um . . . yerself. Oh alright, I know yer tellin' me ta butt out. Ah can take a hint. I'll just keep on drivin', just ignore me. You're a grown woman, do what ya want but don't say ah didn't warn you. Ah know these white haired, silver tongued Lehnsherr-Maximoff men!"

"I look forward to tonight, Ororo. I'll tell you that secret then," Pietro said with a grin and then he was gone, lightning quick.

"Dagnabit! See he's a tricky rascal that one. Ah just bet he stubbed his toe! Look at him! Well, if ya could. Ah bet he's probably at the Avengers by now an' now ah gotta find an exit ta turn around. We could've been home by now an' Remy's back too!"

"At least we didn't have to drive all the way back to Manhattan," Ororo said absently, smiling wistfully.

"Hell, ah kinda wanted ta know what his secret was," Rogue muttered.

And Ororo said, "Something tells me it's going to be a lot of fun discovering whatever secrets he has to share."

"Ah can't believe you fell fer all that garbage he was spewing, Ororo!"

"I'd be remiss if I said the same of you and Erik, Rogue. Perhaps those silver tongued men in that family are simply irresistible. And remember we were all on the opposite side of the law at one point or another, even I till given a chance to do what was right. Now choose your music and let's go home, I'm sure Remy's waiting for you and I've a date I need to get ready for."

"Yeah, whatever. Ororo, ah'm telling you ah wouldn't trust him as far as ah can throw him."

"I'm not quite sure of your meaning, because I know you could probably throw him a great distance. And truthfully that may have been what we thought when you joined us."

"Whatever. Just tell me you ain't serious about goin' out with him – are you?"

"I am indeed, Rogue. He's . . . he's sweet in his way. I like him. I like him very much. And he is cute, didn't you say so?"

"Humph, yeah ah did. Well, it's yer life but ah wouldn't go tellin' Logan an' Remy or any of the other guys. Don't reckon they'll take kindly to you dating a wanna be criminal."

Ororo laughed, keeping her thoughts about Rogue and Magneto to herself. And then she cried out as she felt soft lips brush against her cheek.

"You nearly gave me a heart attack!" Ororo cried.

"And yet no lightning, no earthquakes," Pietro said, now seated beside Ororo once again.

"She can't make earthquakes, hot shot."

"It was a joke, seeing if you were listening, Rogue. Private conversation, but I see you haven't picked up on that yet. Sorry I frighten you, Ororo."

"And sorry ah frighten you too, Rogue," Rogue grumbled.

"I think you coming up on me so suddenly might be affecting my so called peace, Pietro. Let's not make this a habit please," Ororo said.

"No, no I won't. I'm sorry. I just forgot to thank you, Ororo – both of you," Pietro said.

"Yeah, right," Rogue snorted.

"You mean you're welcome," Pietro told her.

"You weren't eavesdropping were you, Pietro?" Ororo asked.

"Oh, no. Of course not, Ororo. I caught something about me being a would be criminal yes, I am truly reformed by the way, but I most certainly was not dropping no eaves." He laughed now and remarkably Ororo laughed too.

"Lord of the Rings fan I see," she said with pleasure.

"Very much so. Wanda made me sit through a twelve hour long trilogy at the cinema one fall and surprisingly I enjoyed the movies immensely."

"A trilogy? All of them in one sitting? Oh, that sounds wonderful! Rogue, we have to tell Remy! He took us to see each of the movies when they came out, Pietro and I've loved them ever since."

"Ah ain't sittin' fer twelve hours in a movie theater," Rogue groused.

"Finally we agree on something! Once was enough for me as well, but, Ororo for you I'd make an exception, that is if you're interested. Perhaps we could watch them at my place, in three sittings, three separate nights?"

"That's really sweet of you, Pietro, I'd like that."

"I . . . I can be . . . nice. I can admit that I was somewhat misguided in the past and I can't deny that I have regrets of my past behavior, perhaps my treatment of my Luna is my biggest one. Well, there's no perhaps about it but I was not wrong about Wanda and the Vision; that still hasn't turned out well. But I'm also not the man I once was and when we go out to dinner I promise you I will not rob a store along the way, steal a butter knife whilst eating, or snatch some little old lady's purse after we leave."

"Aw, how romantic. See, that's what ah'd have to wonder about with yer father 'cept on a bigger scale – would he be planning ta kidnap, threaten, or maim an' kill the normal humans before we ate or after we ate? Lordy, we are somethin' ain't we – the three of us?"

Rogue laughed and Ororo laughed too. Even Pietro joined in briefly but he still wanted to press his point, he wasn't finished trying to convince them both that he was now a better man.

"You've just admitted that I may be a little less worrisome than my father and isn't that worth something, Rogue?"

"Ah don't know about that. Ah think its creepy how yer always comin' up on us, without warning, grinning cause yer so full of yerself. At least ah can see Erik when he's droppin' in an' ah can choose not ta answer the door if ah don't wanna see him."

"Well then perhaps next time I'll shout, 'incoming!' before magically appearing out of thin air alright? Oh, no, wait, this is better still, I'll shout, 'fire in the hole!'" Pietro said and chuckled.

"Oh I don't know, Rogue, if I didn't die from a heart attack it could make for an interesting relationship, never knowing when your lover might pop up. And he did promise not to kill me from fright."

"Lover?" Rogue and Pietro both said, although Rogue with outrage and Pietro with surprised pleasure.

"But I could see the downside too. If we fought I could never get rid of you."

"Why would we fight? And why would you want to get rid of me? I'm working hard to be the perfect gentleman, I'm quite reformed – didn't I come back to thank you?"

"That ain't what ah heard about you."

"Everyone fights sometime," Ororo said, ignoring Rouge as did Pietro.

"True. But making up can be so much fun," he said.


"Ororo, I'm already looking forward to dessert."

"Pietro, I thought it was dinner for me, a snack for you and then dessert."

"I'd give up dinner and a snack if I could just have dessert," he said quite smoothly.

"Ergh," Rogue groaned. "Y'all're makin' me sick."

Ororo laughed. "I sometimes like dessert before dinner," she said.

"Do you really? I do too."

"Are y'all talkin' about food or sex?"

"Perhaps a little of both," Ororo teased her friend.

"We think alike, Ororo, but please don't misconstrue. I would very much enjoy getting to know you before . . . dessert. I'm rather old fashioned. I don't have my dessert until I'm familiar with the recipe, studied it, memorized it and then I want to know how to make it exquisitely, not rushing, tend to it lovingly and dine upon it lavishly."

"Now ah'm gonna throw up," Rogue squawked.

"I think I'm looking forward to tonight even more now, Pietro," Ororo gushed.

"Myself as well. It makes my departure all the more bearable. I think I now know what Shakespeare meant when he wrote, 'parting is such sweet sorrow'. Farewell lovely Wind-rider," Pietro said with a smile, and he took her hand in his, held it a moment then vanished.

"Till tonight," Ororo called out.

"Till tonight," he whispered in her ear as a rush of wind seemed to caress her and then he was gone again, smiling as contentedly as Ororo was.