Title: Deuces Wild
Author: Lucia de'Medici
Spoilers: Ultimate X-Men Annual, "Date Night"
Warm Mississippi nights always seemed to Rogue to be much more vivid in memory than they were before she'd come to New York. The shroud that wraps around childhood softens their clarity with time – edges becoming less sharp the farther away you grow from evenings that seem more like daydreams the more time passes. Rogue can call them back to her easily. It's her mutation that allows her this small blessing, a silver lining to her curse; like the roughened sighs of those too weary to lift themselves from where they'd fallen, spent, the memories rise like unsettled dust motes from pieces of childhood overturned. Shaken out, they sparkle where the moonlight catches them – becoming gradually stronger when focused on.
Rivers in the south are the colour of watery chocolate, and truly, there's something sweet about the banks of the Mississippi beneath the drone of bullfrogs and the over-ripe scent of alluvial earth.
The grass beneath her shoulders, sliding against her bare arms when she stretched was cool; it left the seat of her denims damp from a combination of the soft earth below, her sweat and the balmy air. The latter tasted of honeysuckle and sweet grass if she breathed deeply enough, like mist that had yet to form, like the faded taste of tobacco he left on her mouth.
That was how she remembered him; cigarette smoke and warm bourbon, the lingering scnet of his aftershave that had dampened the white opera gloves she'd worn on the night that their world had ended.
"Y' know, chére, when y' said y' didn't want me t' leave you, this isn't exactly what I had in mind."
After a long pause, and a small smile, she scolded him softly, "Hush up, Cajun, 'fore you spoil the moment."
"I can only make it better," Remy purred, leaning over and blocking out the silver orb hanging over the large, moon-bleached banks. It created a corona of white around his tousled auburn fringe – making the ends a little more burnished where his hair stuck up in the back.
Rogue sighed, and gloveless, she pushed at his shoulder. Remy pushed back, still managing to be playful despite the circumstances. He settled against her side, like he always did, propping himself up one handed and insinuating himself in her line of sight where she couldn't ignore him.
How could she?
Unable to keep her hand from lingering a little too long on corded muscles and warm skin, Rogue blushed, running her fingers down the curve of his shoulder, into the dip of his collarbone and down between the valley of his pectorals.
She hummed, ignoring the ever-present guilt that seemed to settle around these encounters. It wasn't right, it wasn't how it should have been…
Remy smirked, peering down at her fingers with the sot of self-assured amusement that brought her blood to a low simmer.
…But they were making do.
"If there's one thing t' be said, it's that in these parts, there ain't no end t' a man's stamina."
"Oh, Remy," she said, chastising, though his expression finally broke her composure. Rogue drew a shuddering breath, turning her face away to look up at the canopy of stars dotting the Mississippi night and past the carefully detailed expanse of his chest.
"Care t' test that theory, Roguey?" he hummed, lifting a hand to brush at the hair falling into her eyes.
"It ain't fair," she whispered, her fingers trembling, pressing marginally harder against him, waiting to feel his heartbeat – as if there was still one to speak of.
Remy paused, quirking an eyebrow. "M' sure y' could keep up, beb, and it's nothing t' cry about if y' can't."
She batted at him, and though he flinched, chuckling, he didn't remove his hands from either side of her head, and made no effort to untangle their legs.
"Ya know that's not what Ah meant," she said weakly, peering up at him. "Besides," she sniffed, gesturing around them, "this ain't real." Though the weight of him pinning her hips to the earth certainly felt like it.
"But I am," Remy countered, leaning fractionally closer. "And what y' feel, I feel. I'm part of you now." He paused, smirking. His red eyes gleamed in the darkness in a way that she'd come to learn meant Gambit was angling for something; one eye on the pot, his concentration anywhere but on the ace up his sleeve. "S' like two for the price of one when anyone's dealin' with you these days."
Settling onto his elbows, Remy nudged her cheek gently, settling his weight carefully between her legs as the roughened stubble lining his jaw scrubbed against her face. It tickled, but with the way he lined himself against her, Rogue was finding it increasingly difficult to laugh. Or cry. She wasn't sure which she wanted to do more anymore, not when he was close enough to kiss.
"Can't y' feel that, chère?" he murmured, his mouth brushing against the shell of Rogue's ear as he spoke. The heat of his words warmed the side of her face, and from the point of contact, the rush of hot breath sent a ripple of pleasure down her side as her nerves sparked to life. For emphasis, Remy angled his hips, causing her to suck sharply where he insinuated his leg between hers, pressing down at the heated juncture between her thighs.
Instinctively, she angled away from him, finding his hipbone offered just enough pressure to make her squirm if she clamped his leg in place, the small of her back flattened to the soft ground. It was a feeble pause for something that felt so good.
"Don't tell me that ain't real," he continued, his self-assured drawl smoothing out the ends of his sentences. She sucked in a breath, trying to keep herself from wriggling. "Don't tell me that when y' get off y' bed after seein' me its not hard t' walk."
The muscles in her stomach quivered, her body responding to the truth in his words even though years of conditioning told her that even this brief meeting was a bad idea. This was an escape from desperate circumstances. In reality, Rogue was lying on her bed in her room at the Institute, trying not to listen to Bobby playing Quake at full volume down the hall. Remy – the real Remy LeBeau – he was three weeks dead.
All that was easily forgotten at the lightest nip of her ear between his teeth. So easy to forget everything when they were like this, when she could recall so easily what it felt like to be in his arms; protected, accepted, desired and unafraid. That made this more than a memory; more, since part of Remy lived in her still – and that part of Remy had the damnedest way of convincing her that being haunted by his psyche made her sleep better.
"Ah think if Ah told ya that, Ah'd do more damage ta your ego than ignoring ya," she exhaled, only half-joking.
He drew back, letting a cool draft of air slide between them as it rolled across the mindscape from the river. It prickled, leaving Rogue shivering where it lifted her shirt from her damp flesh.
"Y' couldn't ignore me if y' wanted to," he challenged.
Would she really want to, Rogue thought. Could she really give this up, even if it wasn't real?
The answer was as clear as the smouldering gleam of Remy's eyes in the dark. That didn't mean she'd let him have the satisfaction, of course.
Lightly, Rogue arched beneath him; letting him feel the hard pebbling of her nipples below the thin cotton as she brushed against his chest. Remy lowered his eyes, leaving a smouldering trail behind as he took her in beneath him.
"Care ta make a wager, Cajun?" she returned, running her tongue over her lower lip.
There was a way about Remy LeBeau that had an unsettling effect on those who caught his attention. She'd have liked to have said that you could almost tell that there was something turning over in the back of his mind; it showed itself in the carefully controlled way in which he would take her measure, appraise her like a particularly difficult piece of foreign artwork, and then, almost as if he was already fixing to liberate whatever it was he wanted, he'd have broken down the security and cashed his chips before anyone guessed what he was up to.
"Depends on the odds," he replied, his interest piqued, though he did a fine job of hiding it under his casual regard.
Rogue had seen him do it once, too, at a small casino on the Vegas strip. And again, Rogue saw it in his eyes every time he looked her way.
"Two ta one, I can shut you out and shut you down, saloon boy," she breathed, craning upwards and shutting her eyes once she found the hollow in his throat. Her mouth moved against the warm, faintly salty tinge of his five o'clock shadow and the overwhelming scent of skin musk – the smell of a man a woman only knows when she gets close enough to him for her eyelashes to brush against his flesh. "No problem," she assured him in a whisper.
"Didn't think y' were one for games," he murmured. She felt the vibration against her mouth. So real. So unbelievably solid. So easy to believe in and give herself over to... and why not? Was that such a crime?
"Must be your bad influence," she whispered.
Rogue squeezed her eyes shut, fingers finding their way to his shoulders, bare arms sliding against his back. Remy collected her to him, seeing no reason to push her away when their bed was as large as she could imagine. With a controlled, but gentle tug, he pulled her half astride him. Rogue propped herself on her elbow at his side.
Even here, the slight shift made her dizzy.
"I'll play," she assured him, brushing the hair back from his eyes. "Especially if it means you're feeling it too."
He raised an eyebrow. "Hard not to, chère – think it's part of the package when y' absorb someone fully. What you feel, I feel – being that we're sharin' the same body and all."
With a frown, Rogue stopped her ministrations. Funny how her fingers took on a life of their own when she was no longer fettered by her powers – not ha ha funny, not when he had to go and remind her that she'd contributed to his untimely demise.
As if she could think of anything else.
Seeming to sense the shift in her willingness to touch and to play, Remy twined their fingers together, stretching their arms across his chest so that she rested atop him – rising and lowering with each breath.
"There are worse things, Rogue," he assured her. Eyes half-lidded, he watched her through his lashes. He didn't release her when she tried to pull her fingers back. Instead, like a dance partner, he drew her arms beneath his head. When he was satisfied she wouldn't pull away from him, he slid his palms down her back – following the curve of her spine with his fingertips. Stopping short of the tops of her denim cut-offs, Remy splayed his fingers across fabric and flesh, running barely there patterns across damp flesh with his thumbs. Teasing as much as testing.
Rogue found her voice two beats after her brain decided she wasn't about to shudder to pieces. Normal bodies couldn't possibly be so sensitive.
"Worse things," she echoed vaguely.
"Mm," he said by way of agreement.
"Like what?" she pressed.
"Like your orgasm is my orgasm?" he volunteered. Startled, Rogue lurched backwards – kept only in place by the cobra-quickness of his grasp as he latched onto her wrists. "Awe. See, even in here, I can get y' blushin' like a school girl."
"Even in here, I can still slap ya down for bein' a pig, Cajun."
He jutted his chin, grinning. "M' willin' t' bet it works both ways: my sexual frustration is your sexual frustration."
Remy cocked an eyebrow. "So you're not using m' powers to their full potential? That's a shame, if I don't say so –"
"Bein' able t' throw a few playin' cards around doesn't seem like much of an improvement from the usual offense," she muttered.
"I think I might be offended by that, chére – I got range, I got distance, I got accuracy and I've got an explosive personality… and… you know the rest."
"I've got touch." She must have looked confused, because Remy tucked a lock of hair behind her ear and explained, "You have t' connect with your target to spark it up."
"What does that have to do with –"
Sighing, he lifted himself to press a lingering kiss on her mouth, striking her dumb momentarily.
"In here, your eyes are still green. But out there… you're showin' my moves, Rogue, my appearance in part, and my powers. What else of mine do you think you've got on standby, ein?"
In the next room, Bobby blew something up. He cheered.
"Go on, girl, and go make something good of y' bad self."
Remy pressed his mouth into her throat, sending shivers trickling from the spot.
Rogue opened her eyes to stare at the ceiling of her bedroom, the starry skies receding into stucco, her sheets damp and tangled around her legs.
"Remy?" she whispered to the room, like she could still feel his hands on her body, lighting up her skin like fourth of July fireworks. Electric tingles rolled through her bones, cooling with each moment that passed in silence.
Alone, she sat up. Untangled herself. Pushed her hair from her face and pulled sweat from her skin.
"Damnit, Remy." Why did you have to go
A glance in the mirror across the room stopped her cold.
Rogue stood, blinking, and approached.
She traced her reflection, the cool mirror a blessing for her burning skin. The smirk. A sly grin that knew too much. Her face, but smouldering irises lit like two embers set into black pools of night.
"Never been anywhere but here, chere."
His voice rose from the depths of her subconscious; not an echo, but a second presence that wrapped his arms around her and rocked her against him.
"Take y' gloves off."
Rogue wet her lips. Unbidden, she felt fingers dimpling the button of her fly into her stomach. She looked down to see her own fingers working it free.
Remy chuckled into her ear.
She used her teeth to pull the leather off, dropping them to the floor. Her fingers – his fingers – trailed the line of her panties, teasing.
"I want you to imagine me," he said in her head. "Doing this to you."
"Remy," she started, heat flushing her face.
"Hush, now," he murmured. She felt his hands rising over her stomach, lefting the fabric from her skin, fingers working under the latch of her bra and into the cup.
"It's not the same," she protested, unable to stop herself. His hands. Her hands pushing aside the lace and finding heat and warmth and wet.
"I know, girl. That's why you're going to go next door to say hello to Bobby."
Her heart pounded.
"You're just going to close your eyes. I'm gonna be here with you, doing this to you –"
"The whole time."