The Gambit's Feeling

He wasn't really intending to sleep, but the darkness around him has shifted with the hours when he finds himself waking, cradled in her arms, head resting against the soft, warm skin over her heart so he can hear the steady beat of it. Her subtly sweet fragrance wraps its tendrils around him, and her fingers are woven into his hair.

Something in the gesture makes him shudder. He slides out of her embrace to look down at her.

Her hair is tousled and fanning out over the pillow, clinging to her luscious curves. The sheets have tangled about her hips. He studies the sweetness of her innocent sleep, the dark bruises marring her pale flesh, the way she has pressed close to him in the night. He touches the marks along her hips, just barely skimming, and he feels the tiniest pang of remorse.

She is so beautiful.

And far too innocent yet.

He leans in close to her, breathing her in and breathing out against her. He kisses her gently, tenderly, nuzzling her chin, her neck, her mouth. She whimpers in protest and curls a little tighter in on herself. He chuckles softly and continues to taste her, finally lightly nipping the soft curve of her jaw where it joins the neck.

"Mm." Her arms slide up around him, warmth against his shoulders and back, and her fingers tangle into his hair again. Her pulse quickens beneath him. She meets his kiss and he loses himself in her heat and flavor.

"Rogue..." he breathes.


Her grip on him tightens. One leg slides against his in a slow, trailing burn, and he has to pull away before she can distract him.

"Why were you there that night?" He wraps one hand in her long tresses, holding her as he stares down into her still sleepy emerald eyes.

They cloud over at his question. Her breath hitches, pauses, then resumes as her face closes against him.

Something inside him tightens at the expression.

"You asked for me," she told him. "Not honesty."

"I have my reasons," she says. The softness is gone from her voice.

He shoves her away, angry. She watches him throw his legs out of the bed and step onto the carpet, uncaring of his nakedness. He turns away from her and rummages in the drawer of his nightstand to pull out his cigarettes.

She sighs and he hears her move in the covers. Out of the corner of his eye, he can see her gathering them around her and sitting up on the bed.

Stormy doesn't like him smoking indoors, so for her, he opens the window and stands beside it before lighting up. He breathes in the smoke and the nicotine and lets the cool night air wash over him. He leans one arm against the wall.

He doesn't want to think about why it bothers him. He doesn't want to feel.

He curses.

"You're angry," she says softly, the faintest hint of wonder in her tone.

He turns to look at her then. He answers harshly, "You think?" He stares at her even gaze, the gleaming emerald eyes, like jewels in the darkness of the night.

"Why?" she asks, calmly, evenly, unmoved.

Dieu, he wants to move her. He wants to touch her, to get under her skin as much as she's gotten under his. And he wants her.

He turns back to the window and runs one hand through his hair, holding the cigarette away, muttering Cajun curses. He looks at her again with an intentness that finally draws a reaction. She inhales sharply, eyes widening. Realization flashes across her face. He draws his gaze deliberately, slowly over her body, drinking in the smooth, creamy shoulders, the fullness of her breasts, the tantalizing curve of her hips. His eyes drop lower and he can hear her catch her breath.

There is nothing soft or gentle about this and when he looks back up at her eyes, it is with hunger and warning.

Her eyes shutter halfway and the green beneath the lids is violent and heady.

"Do you feel it?" he asks as evenly as she had.

A shudder runs over her body from the crown of her silken hair and down through her shoulders and arms. She nods.

"If you want me, I better feel it," she said. So harsh. "If you're angry, I want your anger. I want your touch, you, to never lie to me, Gambit."

He studied her.

So harsh. So vulnerable.

He tosses aside the cigarette and goes to her.

He should have known.

He is not gentle as he leans in this achingly close to her mouth and whispers, "I won't lie."

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He takes her as roughly as he ever did a woman. He is angry at her. He's angry at himself for wanting her. But the need within him to move her, stir her as he is stirred, is feverish and he ravishes her thoroughly with his hands, his teeth, his desire, leaving no part of her untouched as she moans beneath him. Her arms and legs embrace him, and she responds, almost without thought. Her hips rise to meet his; her skin arches beneath his touch.

"Gambit," she gasps, her body tightening around him even more.

He groans against her. She's so tight, so close. She tries desperately to breathe. Her nails dig into his arms with a pleasurable pain. Suddenly, she cries out in his ear, sharp and loud.

Something loosens inside of him. He gentles then, whispering softly, murmuring against her hair. He continues to drive into her until he finds his own release.

They lie tangled together, breathing heavily in the still darkness.

Her hands reach up tentatively to smooth back the hairs that have fallen in his eyes, dark with sweat, and he cannot be angry with her, be rough with her any more. He kisses her tenderly beneath her chin, in the hollow of her neck, breathing into the silky smooth surface, then trailing back up to her mouth to linger there. She invites him in and they taste each other, mingling their tongues and winding their limbs together.

"What do you want, chérie?" he whispers against her.

She inhales shakily and he realizes she's still trembling. He soothes her with his hands, his tongue, his mouth. He holds her gaze and slowly her breath begins to even and the violent green of her eyes softens as she focuses on him.

He nuzzles her just below her ear. Her eyes close and she shifts closer to him.

"Tell me," he murmurs.

"Something real." Her fingers brush delicately against his stubble.

He moves lower and she makes a quiet, almost strangled sound in the back of her throat.

"And this," he says, "this is real?" He continues to stroke her, calming the tense limbs, then he draws his head up to meet her gaze when she does not speak. He pauses in his motion and studies her intently. Her eyes are hazy and unfocused, still caught up in what he was doing. "Chère?"

She looks at him, forces herself to focus on him. She seems to see so much more than he would ever want to expose with those wide, glittering eyes as they soften with meaning.

"You're real," she murmurs and draws him back into her arms, stroking his hair with her fingers as if offering comfort. "You are."

He cradles her gently, almost tenderly, and whispers to her in French, lulling her back to the peace he disturbed.

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He showers thoroughly.

"You break her heart, I'll break your legs." Wolverine meant it. The fierce look in the man's eyes was something he had felt before, something he could understand.

"Je comprends."

He'd rarely said it truer.

He swears as he lets the water wash over him, washing her scent, her flavor down the gurgling drain. What is he doing here, an X-Man? The thought is bitter, tainted with too much history with too many women and one almost intolerable wise old telepath.


He grinds his teeth together and wonders what it is that keeps drawing him back to this place. Sage, Stormy, Rogue...

"He's chosen me to betray," Sage told him, eyes hurt and uncomprehending. "Why? Am I not good enough or strong enough to be a hero?" she demanded.

He had no answer for her. If anyone knew how to betray, it was him.

Too much history.

Always the X-Men.

He slams the spigot to the right, not stopping to watch the water sputter into a few falling droplets, and steps out of the shower to wrap a towel around his waist. He doesn't dry his wet hair and skin, just steps out into the room and looks at Rogue, peacefully asleep again.

She's on her side, her face turned toward him, a soft smile on her lips as if her dreams are sweet.

His eyes darken on her resting form.

What he has with Rogue was his from the very beginning. Not Stormy's. Not the X-Men's. Not Wolverine's.

He mutters a curse, like a comfort to himself, and returns to the bathroom to pull on some clothes.

He'll keep it that way.

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She leaves an empty room and a cold bed in the morning. She doesn't stop to wonder where he has gone. Some things are too simple to interpret, some things too complicated to misunderstand.

She is glad she thought to bring a bag when she slipped into his room. When she emerges, she is dressed in her leather bodysuit, hair fresh, duffel bag slung over her shoulder, like she just came back from the Danger Room.

It's a short walk to her own room to drop off her things and take a long look in the mirror, freshen up, add makeup, all the little things that make up her morning. She tries not to think too much, too hard. She doesn't want to remember the look in his eyes when she wouldn't tell him why she sought him out the first time.

It isn't something she's really told anyone. The answer's all wrapped up in a girl that's forgotten how to meet another person on common ground, forgotten how to stop fighting. It's easier this way.

She double checks her lipstick and mascara, the fine little details that make up so much of the big picture. She tries not to think about the man who's forcing her to remember what it's like to feel, when she's spent so much of her time learning how to not. She sighs, closing up the open tubes and boxes and putting them away on the bureau.

One last glance in the mirror reveals a pretty face, a deadly smile, a tough girl in her fighting gear. Ready for the battle once more.

It's so much easier to keep forgetting, never looking herself at the answers to his questions, the ones he asks with his knowing devil eyes as well as the ones he asks with his tongue. It's easier, she thinks, to just keep fighting.

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Warren greets her with an easy smile at breakfast. She gives him one in return.

"Hey, sugar." She pulls out cereal from the pantry and joins him at the table.

He slides her the milk.

They are silent for a moment as she pours her cereal. It makes light pinging sounds in the bowl. She fills it with milk to the brim.

He chuckles at her.

She shrugs, but smiles, before taking a bite.

"Good run?" he asks, indicating her uniform with a nod.

She shrugs again.

It was a very good run.

"Hey," he says, looking as if he's suddenly remembered something. "Did you still need that time off?"

She swallows hard at the sick feeling spilling into her gut. She looks at him as if he's wounded her, even if he has no idea why.

He pauses, hesitates at the expression. "You all right?"

"No," she says, setting down her spoon. "I don't."

She gets up from the table, walks over to the sink, and scrapes the last of her food down the drain.

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He doesn't bother knocking.

It's too simple, and too fun anticipating the consequences, to do a quick job and pick the lock. The door swings open and he's stepping into the mansion's attic.

It is filled to the brim with an abundance of overflowing green plants and a few of other colors. He has to knock leaves out of his way to enter. The smell is fresh, clean, with faint traces of ozone. A cool breeze wafts through.

"Didn't your mother ever teach you that it's polite to knock before entering?" There is a slightly miffed note to the dignified tones.

He chuckles and moves forward. "Stormy."

He stops when she is in view, leaning over a plant to water it. He hooks his thumbs into his pockets and tilts his head, studying her. Time has treated her well. She's as beautiful as ever, as regal, soft white hair swirling against her dark skin, eyes bright and intelligent.

"Did you just come up to stare?" she asks while looking pointedly at a watering can. "Make yourself useful."

"Oui, Stormy."

She looks up sharply at his tone and finds the wicked smirk waiting for her. He dangles the can from his fingers.

"On second thought," she says as she eyes him warily, "don't."

He laughs out loud at that, and she gives him a tentative answering smile.

"You're doing well."

"Maybe." He drops into a chair and looks at her askance. "Just one little weather goddess takes care of all these plants, a team of mutant vigilantes, and a school? However do you manage it?"

"Don't start," she huffs. She gives a forlorn look around at her small, cozy jungle. "I don't know how he did it."

"He was a telepath, chère."

She sighs and wipes her hands off on a cloth, then joins him in the other chair. "I have an assignment for you."

"That so?" He lifts an eyebrow.

"Yes. That's so." She gives him a look to behave. "The security in this mansion hasn't been updated in over three years. I want you to go over it and tell me what needs fixing. Can you do that?"

He shrugs and slouches lower in the seat. "Oui."

"Okay then."

They both fall silent, and he waits, knowing she has more to say. She is chewing on her lower lip, twisting a strand of perfect white hair around her finger.

"Just say it, Stormy," he finally tells her.

She sighs and drops her hand to her lap. "Why must you be so trying?"

His mouth quirks into an amused smirk. "I'm pretty sure that wasn't your question."

"How exactly do you know Rogue?" She gives him a penetrating headlong gaze.

He immediately slips into his mask, that of the Thief that never gives a straight answer. He shrugs. "Figure that's hers to tell."

"I know you better," she replies stubbornly.

"Oui." He stands and fixes her with a pointed stare. "You do."


"Au revoir, chère."

She lets him go. She has no choice.

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    The Gambit

    STORY SUMMARY: Rogue enters into dangerous liaisons with a mysterious Cajun Thief. Both get more than they bargained for.

    DISCLAIMERS: All characters and organizations (with the exception of small, mostly unnamed minor characters) throughout the series are the product of Marvel.

    CANONICAL NOTES: This story arc follows X1, X2, and X3 as canon for characters and events. All else is pulled from comicverse and mixed heftily with my imagination. Origins is ignored, except a few situations and characters twisted to my happy use.

    LANGUAGE AND ACCENTS: French is courtesy of Heavenmetal and Wanda W, who is also my very wonderful beta (huge thanks!). I will not reproduce accents in this story arc. Imagine them in.

    (UNBOUND) entries are in drafting phase and are likely to change radically before complete.



    1. The Rogues Gambit
    2. Carnal
    2.01 The Gambits Rogue
    2.02 The Gambits Meaning
    2.03 The Gambits Feeling
    2.04 The Gambits Fire
    2.05 The Gambits Words
    2.06 The Gambits Seduction
    2B. Real

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