Whispers

 
 

Job Security

Day Two, 5th Hour, 30th Minute

Rogue woke to a pair of glowing ruby eyes staring at her from the foot of her bed. She screamed and nearly fell off.

"Easy, chère." His rich voice, smooth as honey, reached out to envelop her, calming her.

She narrowed her eyes at Remy Lebeau perched like a cat on her footboard. "What are you doing here?" she snapped.

A slow, easy grin spread across his face beneath those devil eyes. "Ah, chère, I figured if I was going to get tortured for wondering, I really should get a peek at your night clothes."

Rogue stared at him. He had to be kidding, right? But no. His eyes devoured her, wandering down the light T-shirt and sweatpants she wore to bed.

He clucked his tongue disapprovingly. "I'm thinking you're too uptight."

"I'm too uptight?" Rogue was beginning to feel dangerous.

Remy seemed to not notice. Kind of like Logan when he went off.

"What am I supposed to do?" she had asked the gruff loner a lifetime ago.

"Don't know."

"You don't know or you don't care?"

Logan hadn't even spared her a glance. "Pick one."

She crossed her arms at the present-day menace. "Maybe I don't like changing to grab a midnight snack," she snapped.

Remy raised both eyebrows. "Or maybe you're scared and they're all fools." There was a tight edge to his tone that hadn't been there a second ago.

She tried hard not to notice, not to analyze. "Out of my room, Swamp Rat!" She glanced at the clock. "I've got training."

Remy merely grinned again and a coffee cup materialized in his hands from seeming nowhere. "Firecracker asked me to give you this. It smells awful."

It smelled heavenly and Rogue snatched the chocolate cream coffee concoction she had designed alongside the other girls and held it close to her hands, grinning. Chocolate was truly the way to a girl's heart. And chocolatey coffee with Rocky Road ice cream was the way to Rogue's.

"Thank you. Now"—she waved a royal hand—"you may go."

Day Two, 5th Hour, 42nd Minute

"You're late." Logan crossed his arms at Rogue's hurried entrance into the Danger Room.

"Sorry. Small rat infestation." She limbered up quickly, before Logan's less merciful colors decided to show. "Had to take care of it."

He merely looked at her in disgust. "In your room?"

"Hey!" Rogue straightened indignantly. "It's not like I invited him in!"

Apparently satisfied, Logan nodded then tossed her a wooden staff. "How's Emma doing?"

Rogue froze. "Well..." She tucked some errant white strands behind her ear and fiddled with the tip of her braid. "Not so well. The Professor was so sure it was psychological, but Emma's having a hard time finding it."

"Really." He looked thoughtful. "She find the psyches?"

"Alive and well," came the dry response.

"Good." Conversation over. Logan swung his staff into her without warning and the session was on.

Day Two, 6th Hour, 45th Minute

Friday morning had definitely been Rogue's morning to take on Logan. Saturday morning had lost its charm. Rogue groaned as she settled her already aching body into a seat at the counter.

"Did you have to go so hard?"

Logan snorted as he poured himself a cup of java. "Payback, girl. 'Sides. You can take it and we both know it."

And that was supposed to be reassuring. Rogue shook her head at him. Then stared at the stove. "Is that...?"

She slipped down off the stool—wincing—and sidled over, leaning an arm on Logan. A covered skillet bore her name in some fancy script that looked like calligraphy and removing the top revealed fried catfish and johnny cakes. She squealed with glee—even if catfish didn't seem like a breakfast item.

"What is that, kid?" Logan eyed the food like it was going to wake up and start attacking them.

"It's real food," Rogue answered in bliss as she dished up onto a plate and poured the waiting berries over the corn pancakes.

Logan grunted, unconvinced.

She ignored him and savored her meal. She hadn't even asked Remy for breakfast, and she was fairly certain this was his handiwork.

"Of course, doll, you do know he left you the dishes." Logan smiled at her, thoroughly amused.

Rogue rolled her eyes. "Yeah. But he worked hard yesterday. And I don't regret it, but I can still be nice and let him sleep today." Especially after his description of why he hadn't gotten to sleep until late last night. She might be cold when necessary, but she wasn't cruel.

"Come on, Logan." She changed the topic. "Try a bite of catfish."

He shuddered. "I'll pass."

Rogue giggled. "Your loss." And then she dug into breakfast and polished off every last bite.

More surprises came later. She was startled to find a soft, tiny kitten cuddled up on her pillow, sound asleep and purring, when she returned to her room. The kitten's fur was a soft grey and striped with a slightly darker color. Rogue cuddled the sleeping cat close.

"What are you doing here?" she asked.

He sat up, opened his eyes, and let out a mewling yawn, showing tiny white teeth in a red mouth.

She nestled the soft fur against the skin of her cheek. Rogue had learned last year that fur seemed to protect animals and Hank from her powers. But who had thought to leave this cat here? Storm would probably have a fit.

She petted the kitten, then noticing a collar, read his name off the tag. "Scratch? Oh, boy. You're going to be a handful, little guy."

Scratch yawned again and started licking her gloves.

"You're kind of cute, you know that?" Rogue snuggled the kitten next to her chest and started in on homework.

Day Two, 8th Hour, 1st Minute

Rogue was just walking up to Remy's door when she heard loud shouting, small explosions, and something glass shattering. She paused startled. Emma was standing outside the door, arms crossed and grinning. Jubilee was also near (Rogue didn't stop to wonder why), aiming wide eyes in the direction of Remy's room.

Emma glanced at Rogue. "Logan wanted to stop and pick up Gambit for our Danger Room session."

The door suddenly burst open and Logan came stumbling out followed by a sizzling marble that exploded in a pink flash.

Rogue stared in amazement. Jubilee gaped. Emma giggled.

Logan's clothes had been damaged by more than a few explosions and his arm was just now finishing healing. His claws were out. His expression was murder.

He pointed at Rogue. "You tell that Cajun he's dead at 2:00. Meet me in the Danger Room."

Instantly indignant, Rogue drew herself up. "You can't kill him! He's my slave! For another thirty days! I've got owner's rights!"

"Storm's schedule first," Logan replied.

"This isn't X-Man," Rogue protested. "This is your personal thing."

"C'mon, Logan," Emma insinuated with a small smile. "We both helped her for twelve months for this. You can't hurt that now."

"Why were you fighting?" Jubilee asked, drawing everyone's attention.

Logan glared at the tiny, unfazed mall rat. "He was supposed to get up."

"Guess he didn't want to," Emma taunted.

"It's a Saturday." Rogue crossed her arms and glared back at Logan. "He's mine. You can't hurt him."

"Fine. Thirty days. Then he's dead."

Emma smirked. "He might survive. He's like a cockroach."

"He might try." Logan's look was dark.

Jubilee stared back and forth from Logan to Emma to Rogue, who was smugly content with Remy's current chances of life.

"I can't believe you're talking about this!" Jubilee began. "You're not seriously going to kill him, are you?"

Logan growled and stormed off.

Emma laughed. "Like killing a cockroach."

Rogue just shook her head and knocked on Remy's door.

It flung open again and she drew back startled from the Cajun's somewhat disheveled half-asleep appearance. He wore jeans. Nothing else. Just jeans.

She blinked.

"Chère?"

She leaned forward, peeking into his room. Looked like half a deck of cards had gone off in there.

"Umm. I just wanted to thank you for breakfast, and..." Rogue glanced around the room.

Remy gave her an amused smile. "And discuss further details on convenient timing for my demise?"

"No! I..." She stared at him, then broke out laughing. "I was going to ask you to take me somewhere tomorrow, then give you the day off."

He glanced at Jubilee then gave a long look at Emma. "Sure thing, chère. Call me when you're ready. Now—" His gaze narrowed in focus to include just Rogue. "Good night."

He closed the door. The girls exchanged looks, then broke out into giggles. Jubilee sat on the floor and let the laughter overtake her, shaking her entire frame.

"Did you see the look on Logan's face!" And she collapsed into giggles again.
 


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