Whispers

 
 

charge

Piotr, Bobby, Sam, and Logan are engaged in a friendly card game in the media room on Saturday afternoon. Rogue has sprawled across the couch on her stomach, engrossed in last Sunday's comics, casually eating popcorn out of the bowl on Lorna's lap as the magnetic mistress enjoys her movie. The other girls are out shopping or keeping an eye on the overflow of students. Hank was puttering around in the lab last time someone checked. Remy is leaning against the wall, flipping cards through his fingers, having turned down an invite to join the game.

"So where you taking Kitty on your date?" Logan asks Piotr with a wink.

The Russian blushes when the table's attention turns toward him. "I haven't decided yet," he admits, a little sheepish. "I thought I might ask Rogue—as Kitty's friend," he adds, catching Bobby's look.

Rogue looks up from the comics at that. Remy's cards stop slapping together at the same moment as he looks up as well. Their gazes catch and Rogue forgets what she was going to say, lost in the brightening of crimson.

Bobby's voice breaks into the interlude. "She'll probably tell you Le Chateau." There's a slight edge to his tone, and Rogue turns to stare at Bobby, who continues. "That's where I take my girl." So lightly possessive, accepting of a given.

Even if it's jealousy that colors his words.

"Yours?" Remy asks casually.

The table falls silent.

Rogue stares at Remy, but his head is down just enough that she can't make out the expression in his eyes behind the auburn bangs. He merely continues to shuffle his deck. Fifty-two symbols of risky living and explosive power.

"Rogue is my girlfriend," Bobby replies icily, the challenge in his voice clear.

Remy looks up, smirks at him, and makes the cards vanish into his trench coat. "Whatever you say, mon ami." He slips out the door, leaving angry tension in his wake.

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"You could try to get along with the rest of the population," Kitty says, fully exasperated with Remy. She throws up her hands and snatches back her plate of insulted cookies.

Remy merely looks highly amused. "Désolé, chaton, mais your many talents..." He draws out the word while appraising Kitty indecently. "...do not include cooking."

Kitty huffs under her hot blush.

Rogue has been sitting quietly at the breakfast counter while they bantered. She suddenly reaches out and swipes a cookie from the plate, drawing both of their attention. She bites into it.

Remy's eyes never leave her mouth as she chews slowly on the awful cookie. It's brittle, overly crisp, with a faintly doughy flavor despite being burned. She finishes it and licks her lips to catch the crumbs. The scarlet irises flare intensely.

Kitty gives him a smug look of triumph, seemingly unaware of the rest of their interchange.

Rogue gets up from her seat, still looking at Remy.

"Jerk," she says.

He leans forward and whispers, "Vixen."

"Like you're complaining," she retorts. But it doesn't come out nearly sharp enough. He's too close, too warm, and he knows it.

He smirks at her.

Kitty's staring wide-eyed at the both of them. Now she gets it.

"Wouldn't want to do dat," he purrs and trails his fingers down the side of Rogue's arm.

Sparks heat and scatter beneath her skin, even if he only touched her through cloth.

She shoves him back.

He chuckles and salutes Kitty before vanishing around the corner.

"Jerk," Rogue mutters again to herself. She feels just like she did in the Danger Room, like he's charged her somehow with his powers and left her to burn in the aftermath.

Kitty raises both eyebrows. "'Thou doth protest too much'?"

"Oh shut up."

Rogue sits down and takes a bite of another cookie on reflex, then dashes from her seat toward the bathroom, leaving behind her bewildered friend.

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This Danger Room session isn't like the ones Rogue has been in before with her friends and fellow X-Men. This is a real session with the big boys, Storm and Wolverine, Beast and Dazzler, then Colossus, Gambit, Iceman, Shadowcat, and Rogue.

It doesn't take long to know other things are different too.

Iceman blasts a shield of ice to protect his teammates from Storm's lightning bolts. The ice begins to glow. A bright lurid pink infuses the crystalline wall. The ice intensifies the brightness until Rogue has to shield her eyes before it explodes.

Storm takes down Wolverine and corners Beast. Rogue tries to focus on her part to bring down Shadowcat.

But she catches the glare from Iceman to Gambit. The Cajun gives an amiable shrug with one shoulder and tosses the charged Ace of Spades behind him.

Iceman curses as it connects.

With him.

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A word. A card. A flick of his talented fingers. A brightening magenta glow.

Rogue knows he's dangerous.

His smirk. His ways. Devil may care. Gambler. Fighter. Thief.

She should be afraid of him and what he can, and will, do.

She should.

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He is the last person she expected to see.

Rogue discovered the little patch on the roof near her bedroom early on in her stay at Xavier's. A climb up the tree or from her window and there is the nicest, most comfortable bit of heaven, one gable providing some shelter from the wind, and a glorious uninterrupted view of the stars.

She's more than a little surprised to pull herself over the edge and onto the shingles only to be faced with glowing red eyes that burn in the darkness. She can just make out his casual figure, the way he's leaning arms on his knees, the glowing tip of the cigarette in one hand. He flicks off the ash, and she wishes she could read the play of red and black in his eyes, but it's just the crimson bright enough to make out.

"Uh...hah." Rogue swallows, more than a little uncomfortable.

"Bonjour." Of course, Remy is always comfortable, and it makes her just a tad bit irritated with his perpetual ease.

"You're in mah space, swamp rat." She pulls herself fully onto the roof and ends up having to rest her knees almost on either side of his boots. She crosses her arms and glares at him.

Her eyes are adjusting to the darkness and she catches the upraised eyebrow, the way he glances around, the small smirk as he says, "Don't see y're name anywhere, chérie."

But he shoves over just a bit, allowing her space to squeeze in beside him. She doesn't say anything, but he's smirking at her, crimson eyes glowing brightly, like he knows she's going to...

"All right," Rogue snaps at him. "Where is it?"

Remy laughs at her, a real laugh. It's a surprisingly bright sound, but still full and rich. He lifts one boot and she sees his initials carved beneath.

"Hand me the knife," she says with a resigned sigh.

"Non." His eyes are playful, daring.

She dares. She's quick to get her hands in his pockets before he can pull away from her. She nearly knocks him over with the effort.

"If y' wanted to touch moi, chère," he says, tone dripping with suggestion, "all y' had t' do was ask."

Rogue shoots him a glare, but manages to get her hands on his pocket knife. She retrieves it, gives him a smug look of victory, and is slightly surprised to find his amused pleasure, like he had intended for her to win. It irks her a bit, but she bends over anyway and flips out the knife to carve on the shingle.

Remy bends over with her, watching, and his breath blows warmly down the side of her face, her neck, and he's too close, too comfortable, but she continues what she's doing, like she doesn't feel him there. When she sits up proudly, he bends a little further, traces one gloved finger across her handiwork.

A.M.D.

He looks up at her, his eyes darkening, one hand reaching out to cup her chin. She can barely breathe.

"What's your name, Rogue?"

He's never called her Rogue, ever, and she doesn't understand the significance, not sure what this squirming feeling in her stomach means, or at least, not willing to look it in the face.

"Ah..." But it's too soon, too much, and she shakes her head helplessly.

He seems to understand. He draws away, lightening the tension dancing between their bodies in the close space. "Good class today?" he asks casually, giving her the barest of sideways glances before staring forward again.

Rogue nods, eyes fixed on the stars ahead. It's easier to ignore the heating between them, the sparks in her stomach at his closeness, if she doesn't really look at him. "Yeah." She rubs her arms in the slight chill.

Remy turns toward her. He runs a gloved finger down the light material of her sweater and stops, hovering, at the soft leather gloves underneath.

The silence is too thick and finally, she looks at him. Her breath catches slightly at the burning questions in his eyes.

"Why d' y' wear dese?" he asks, his voice soft, just above a whisper.

She shrugs. At least her body language hasn't betrayed her. "Used ta them, sugah." Rogue hasn't really admitted to anyone that taking the Cure hasn't taken away her fear. Not yet. Not really.

It's irrational, but part of her still wonders suddenly when her skin brushes another's if maybe it was a dream and her powers will abruptly return.

She doesn't like to talk about that.

So she rounds on him. "What about you?" she demands, lifting one of Remy's gloved hands.

Remy merely chuckles at her. "Wouldn't t'ink dat'd need explainin'," he says mildly.

"Well, explain," she demands with mock haughtiness.

He laughs, but obliges. He holds up the covered fingers on his left hand. "T'ievin'." He holds up the bare fingers where he cut away the glove. "Chargin'."

She stares at the juxtaposition of his power and his skill. Then she meets his eyes. "And what about when ya wear the ones with no fingers at all?"

There is no mockery this time, no humor or lightness.

Remy drops his hands to his knees and studies her, face unreadable. "Y' been payin' closer attention dan I t'ought."

She does not answer.

His gaze continues to burn into her, and she begins to realize that perhaps her question is as personal as his request for her name. She's about to retract it, anything to break this terrible tension between them, when he finally speaks.

"I was a pup," he says slowly, still staring at her, never breaking eye contact. "First got m' powers de hard way." He finally breaks her gaze to look down at his hands at he strips off a glove.

Rogue takes a breath she didn't even know she was holding.

He holds out his hand for her to see.

A web of scars, some red and angry, some mere silvery threads, crisscross the back of his hand, up over his wrist, and wreath the forearm. Her eyes meet his, filled with unasked questions.

"Wore de gloves t' keep from chargin' t'ings," he says evenly. "De charge doesn' go past dem."

"But the scars..." She furrows her brows, not quite understanding.

Remy's mouth tightens into a line and he looks away, clenches the ungloved hand. "Didn't always get dem off." It's a whisper. "Sometimes dey burned."

It's the most personal, intimate thing anyone has ever told her and she's unsure of what to say, to do. But then he's reaching for the glove again to put it on, and she stops him, takes his hand in hers, and lays her head against the palm.

"You're beautiful," she says, not certain what gives her the words, just knowing how much she means them.

He stares at her, naked surprise in his ruby gaze. For a moment, she wonders if he's breathing.

Then he's kissing her.

It catches her off guard, but her body leans into his and her hand weaves into his hair before she can think to pull away. It's a brief, gentle kiss, but when they separate, she's hot through her entire body and she can barely breathe.

A nagging, unwanted thought flashes through her mind.

Bobby.

Bobby, rubbing her back, looking at Kitty.

"Ah..." she stutters.

Remy releases her, suddenly, as if knowing she's going to run.

She does.

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She escapes back into her room, going almost headfirst back through her window, and shutting it behind her as if all the hounds of hell are on her trail. Rogue collapses onto her bed, her skin and face burning with her thoughts. Remy. Scarred, beautiful Remy who whispers to her, touches her, glances at her, treats her like a woman, someone special, challenges Bobby, only flirts with her like it actually means something...

She hangs her head into her hands and tries to compute what's happening inside of her.

He's dangerous. She knows it.

He's a womanizer, a gambler. Life is a game to him, and he plays the risks like it all means nothing.

And everything.

She sees the beautiful scars across his hand, the sign of a soul like hers, someone like Logan, someone who understands.

"Bobby, I'm sorry," Rogue whispers into the night.

They won't get the gloves off. She's already burning.
 


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