It was time to take control of her life, her mutation, her powers. Rogue repeated this mantra to herself mentally several times. She was in control. This was her time.


She glared down at the self-help book in her hands, then launched it toward the door. However, instead of hearing a resounding—and satisfying—thump, she heard a sharp THWACK! and cringed at the sight of Logan's bewildered expression and the book falling to the floor from where she'd beaned him in the head.

"Rogue? What are you doing?"

"What are you doing?" she demanded. "I didn't hear you knock, jiggle the handle, nothing! What if I hadn't been decent?"

Logan gave her an odd look, but she just crossed her arms and huffed. Slowly, he stooped to pick up the book, then raised both eyebrows at the cover.

"'Powerful Words for Powerful People?'" He eyed her askance.

"It was a gift," Rogue bit out, absolutely not about to tell him that it had come in a package along with two hot romance novels signed rather cheerfully by burning with Pyro's name. She shrugged. "It's dumb."

"Ah." Logan set it on the edge of her desk and stepped a bit further away from it. "Well, just wanted to let you know we've got a couple volunteers for you to test your powers on."

"I'm not touching Kurt!" She had a good idea her friend would probably be open to the experience of having his life sucked out of him, but that didn't mean she was interested in suddenly turning blue and fuzzy and growing a tail, provided her new powers didn't kick in and simply modify his anatomy into something more...common.

Logan chuckled, catching the thought. "Nah, kid. Actually, we've got Piotr and that new kid."

Rogue stared at him in horror. "Remy?"

"We politely turned down Kitty, though she offered." Another chuckle. "Multiple times."

"Wait. The swamp rat?" Rogue persisted.

He gave her another funny look. "Didn't know you had a pet name for him."

"I don't! It's just..." She stopped. Just what? She shook her head. "He's a pain." Then she shook her head more emphatically. "I don't want him in my head."

"Well, sorry, kid," Logan said with a shrug, "but the Professor and Hank are already up for it. But if he gives you any trouble, I'll be happy to lay down some ground rules." His wicked grin told her he was more likely to lay Remy out on the ground, then give the rules.

Rogue scowled. "I'd rather do it myself."

"I don't doubt that, kid." Logan looked her over proudly. "Not a bit."

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Remy was laid out flat on his back on his bed, still on the phone after forty-five minutes of listening to his father's lecture. He tried counting to a hundred to help him get through. In Spanish. Since he already knew French, Nihongo, Cantonese, German, Russian, and Italian, he hadn't been left with a lot of options for his foreign language cred.

Uno, dos, tres, quat--

"Of course, I'm listening, Père. You want me to behave and not give the teachers any trouble. Which I'm not."

Of course, he wasn't. What no one knew, couldn't hurt them, n'est ce pas?

—ro, cinco, seis, siet--

"Oui, she called. I answered."

After twenty-five calls, but who's counting?

—e, ocho, nueve, diez, once, doce, tre--

"Sent Tante Mattie a big letter yesterday. And one for Mercy, before she asks."

What was it with girls and letters anyhow?

—ce, catorce, quince--

"Non, non. I had nothing to do with it."

Remy certainly hadn't gotten himself involved with blowing up that shed down the road. He had heard about some ambitious youngsters, including Jubilee and Hellion, and knew they were trying to see if using certain gifts in tandem could be explosive—which he wholeheartedly approved of—but he hadn't been involved at all. Not even a little bit.

Okay, so he had stated the amount of C4 necessary to actually blow said shed to kingdom come, but he hadn't yet known why they wanted to know, so he had plausible deniability on his side.

—dieciseis, diecisiete, dieciocho, diecinueve--

"Non! I wouldn't prank call Julian!" Now Belladonna might, but did Remy really look like he was about to go and get an Assassin and his fiancé in trouble? He didn't have a death wish. "I wouldn't! And I didn't!"

Someone knocked on his door.


"Père. I gotta go. It's for school. Non, I'm not making that up!" Remy groaned. Sometimes his reputation was a pain. "Oui, oui, I'll call you back. Bye!"


He breathed a sigh of relief and hit the door. After all, he had a date with his chère.

Hank's cheerful blue face met him on the other side. "Come, my most courageous of comrades! We have scientific Everests to ascend!"

"Uh...oui." Remy didn't have much choice though as one very heavy arm swung around his shoulders a tad too familiarly, knocking all the air out of his lungs.

"This way, my boy!"

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Rogue sat on one of the medical beds, arms crossed, glaring at the person sitting across from her. Stupid, stupid swamp rat, getting the Professor on his side, making friends and small talk with the big, blue doctor, keeping Kitty giggling and nearly swooning over him. Rogue's glower darkened.

Logan just chuckled at her.

"Hank, I'm really not sure—" She never had a chance.

"All right!" he exclaimed exuberantly. "All the monitors are operational and we are ready for this auspicious occasion."

Kitty rolled her eyes at Rogue, who giggled in response. Then scowled. She did not want to absorb Remy.

"Really, Hank, I don't—"

"Ah!" He waved Piotr in. "I was wondering when you would appear before us! Come in."

Piotr came politely, giving Rogue a small wave, and sat.

Rogue opened her mouth to talk and promptly shut it when Hank came forward with another monitor. "I am not sticking that in my mouth," she mumbled through half-closed lips.

"Nonsense," Hank said. "I must measure your alkalinity."

Remy gave her a cheeky grin, no doubt knowing just what she hadn't managed to say yet.

"Open up."

She shook her head, glaring.

"Just get on with it, please," Logan muttered.

"Ah, well." Hank gave up with a shrug. "Remy, please take her hand."

"It's what I'm here for, mon ami." He leaned forward to take Rogue's hand.

Despite all her squirming, Remy was always a bit of an operator and he managed to grasp her hand with his for just a moment.

She gasped, then glared at him.

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Remy's head was spinning or the room was—at about seventy miles an hour.

"Dieu!" She packed quite a punch.

"You no-good, thieving..." The epitaphs just rolled off her tongue for quite a few more minutes, but he couldn't really make them out through the ringing in his ears and the blurry vision.

Finally, he managed to make out a pair of red on black eyes staring at him from the most belle face he'd seen in a while.

"Love the eyes, chère," he slurred.

Rogue shrieked with rage.

He was pretty sure he was going to pass out. He tried to hold on, but then blackness took him.

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