Chapter Eleven: Les Flammes des Ténèbres

"The Darkening Flames"

- Looks to me like Rogue's up to no good...but hey, I like that in a girl. -

Gambit to Rogue, X-Men Evolution, "Dark Horizons, Part I"

Chere wound her arms tighter around Remy's waist and pressed her cheek into the warmth of his body through the leather duster as he restarted the motorcycle at a green light. Her eyes drifted shut and she gave into the lull of the smooth ride, the hum of the engine, the warmth of his back, the scent of gasoline and cigarettes, and the comfortable familiarity of it all.

Night had fallen and they traveled silently through the blackness. She felt each slight movement of Remy's muscles and leaned when he leaned as they turned corners along their journey.

Despite staying for nearly twenty-four hours in the hotel room while playing for the contract, they had basically been on the road for five days now since first receiving word that Remy was wanted. She never thought she could get sick of hotels so fast.

Finally, Remy pulled up to a curb and cut the engine.

Chere didn't open her eyes. "If this is another cheap motel, Remy, I swear I'm gonna hurt you." Her own southern accent was back in full force.

His chuckle rumbled through her. "Non. Not a motel, Chere. And that last room wasn't either."

She cracked her lids ever so slightly, expecting to see a fancy hotel with suites and everything. Instead she found herself in a residential area with expansive lawns and huge houses. She closed her eyes again and tightened her grip.

"You going to let go of me?" Remy asked, amused patience tainting the tone.

"I don't think I can move," she admitted. Every part of her felt drained and exhausted.

She heard him sigh and then he gently peeled her arms off of him and slid off the seat, keeping contact with her waist so she wouldn't fall over. Then he surprised her completely by picking her up.

Chere's eyes flew open. His red eyes glowed in the darkness of the night and she couldn't help but feel his heat and taste his breath as it blew out in the chilled air. "Remy?" she asked, dazed.

He hushed her and moved up the long walk toward double French doors.

She settled her head on his shoulder and allowed her eyes to drift shut again.

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Remy enjoyed the warm feeling of Chere's body as she settled in against him. He held her carefully, like a china doll that would break if he dropped her. Instead of trying to knock or manage to get out a key, he leaned one shoulder against the doorbell and heard the echoing sound in the house.

The pitter patter of little feet, he thought with a grin as he heard a small child come running loudly down the stairs. A bit of...pink?...at the window pane and then the clanking, clicking sound of the deadbolt being pulled open. The door swung wide and a tiny, grinning ten-year-old girl child looked up at him with trusting blue eyes in her beautiful face.

Remy paid little heed to the bones protruding at irregular intervals from Sarah's skin, but he did pay attention to the hair.

"Dieu, petite! I leave you alone for half a minute..." he started in as he entered the house, still carrying Chere's now sleeping form.

Sarah didn't let him finish. "Do you like it?" She preened, showing off her pink hair that was supposed to blonde.

He sighed. "Oui, ma petite. I got to get her upstairs."

Sarah tucked her lip beneath her teeth, but didn't answer, just let him pass and go upstairs to the master suite. Remy figured he'd get the earful later.

He removed Chere's jacket and settled her on the king-sized bed. He carefully pulled off her shoes before reaching for the blanket. She shifted and her shirt rode up a bit. He got a glimpse of lacy pale green underwear peeking above her jeans and nearly groaned. She was going to be the death of him.

Emerald eyes opened and looked at him sleepily. "Remy?"

"Oui, ma chèrie?" He fiddled with a strand of white hair.

That seemed to draw her more alert and she pulled herself up onto her side and leaned on one arm. "This is your house, isn't it?"

"Oui." He failed to see the significance.

"You're not sleeping on the couch again." Her expression was firm, her mind clearly made up.

He chuckled and ran one finger down her rib cage on the side, drawing a hitch in her breath. "You offering to share?"

Something changed in those emerald pools and she became utterly serious. Remy wondered for a moment if they had switched powers and she had gained the ability to hypnotize him as neither looked away. His hands turned restless and he craved a cigarette. Instead he allowed the one hand to trail along her side.

"Chere." He steadied his hand against her.

"Yes?" she whispered. Was he only imagining she was breathless?

"I'm going to try something I think you're going to need to know later, d'accord?" He stared into her uncertain eyes expectantly as he wrapped his charm gently around her, urging her to trust him.

She licked her lips—part of him hated when she did that—but nodded.

He tugged off one glove.

Her gaze immediately fastened on his bare left hand. Remy sat on the very edge of the bed. She started to pull her legs away, but he leaned his right arm on the other side of her, trapping the curve of her hips between it and his body. She shifted in nervousness and he reached out with the charm again to calm her.

"Easy, Chere," he said softly.

Then he carefully reached out his hand to brush her bare arm. She shivered at the light contact, but he felt nothing. He brushed her again, holding the contact ever so slightly longer. He felt vaguely some of his energy drain out at the touch. He paused, waited for his body to rebound.

Not so long as those stolen kisses. Not so draining.

Chere studied him intently, still seeming unsure of him and what he was doing.

He slid his fingers along her wrist, pulled away for an instant, then lightly wrapped her up in his hand, then slid away, skimming, pulling up at intervals. Counting seconds. Feeling the pull. Retreat. Counting seconds. His gaze met hers again and found her eyes half shut. He reached out, felt her as he touched. She liked it. Counting seconds of touch. Counting the seconds of retreat. She licked her lips again.

He wanted more.

He was feeling lightheaded and drew away to rest his palms on his knees and catch his breath.

Chere's eyes closed and her head tilted back. Remy watched her. She was beautiful.

"I didn't know it hurt you," she murmured so he could barely hear her.

It was too much.


She opened her eyes and he could see the pain in them.

"Non," he said abruptly, roughly. He wanted to stop that look in her eyes. He reached for her, caught his hand against her.

Confusion chased away the pain in her eyes, and she sat up. "I don't—"

He kissed her.

She tasted sweet and spicy and he had to force himself to pull away in the seconds he had. He drew away for only a tiny fraction, not enough to let her speak, then kissed her again.

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He was warm, feverishly warm. His emotions poured over everything else more intense than the thoughts or memories or even powers. Chere gasped when he pulled away, reeling from the caring, protectiveness and desire that she felt. And then he kissed her jaw, then her neck, then her covered shoulder. Butterfly kisses. Brief kisses. No less burning for all that.

He kissed her down her arms, and she was surprised at how little she was absorbing until she realized he was measuring her mutation as fully as her internal self monitored the duration required for processing. She shuddered beneath his touch.

"Remy..." she whispered.

Red and black came up to meet her gaze. He kissed her mouth again, briefly, ever so briefly, but stayed away as briefly before kissing her again.

She wanted to touch him, really touch him. Instead, she slid her arms around his broad shoulders, dug her fingers into his long hair, tangling the auburn strands about them. It felt good and right as she pressed against his warmth and he continued kissing her across her face and neck in those taunting, tiny butterfly kisses.

She wanted more.

Her cell phone rang, jarring sharply, and she pulled away rapidly, her breath sounding harsh in her own ears. She realized he was breathing hard as well.

In fact, he looked drained as he withdrew and leaned hard against the bed.

"Dieu, Chere."

She stared at him. Then remembering the phone, she snatched it up and flipped it open. "Fatale." She managed to shift successfully into her French accent.

"La Femme Fatale," a somewhat harsh masculine voice said.

Chere didn't know if it was a question or a statement. She chose to remain silent.

"Sunfire," the word came out abruptly.

A tiny smile slipped onto her mouth as she felt some unremembered part of her rise up. A wary, liquid shadow in the back of her mind stayed at the ready.

"I was wondering when you would call."

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Remy watched as Chere went fully into her role.



He didn't think he could stand without staggering, but he knew if given the opportunity, he would take it again. His eyes darkened on her, remembering the flavor of her, all sweetness and fire.

His thoughts skittered toward Wolverine before fastening firmly, possessively on Chere.

For the first time, Remy realized he didn't want her to be found.

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