Remy Etienne LeBeau's voice is unique among the flat Midwestern accents and New York twangs or even occasional Scottish brogue that Rogue hears around the mansion where she lives with all the other students at Xavier's School for the Gifted. She's rounding the bend in a hallway when she hears it again, stops, and just listens to the smooth, rich sound of his low, husky Cajun patois.

"An' what would y' be knowin' about dat, petite?" he asks someone, probably a girl. "Now, I'd be more dan willin' t' teach y'."

Rogue can almost see the appreciative glow of his red on black eyes in her mental vision, and she rolls her eyes before continuing around the corner.

The flashy Dazzler is smiling dreamily up at Remy's tall, lean, and muscled form leaning against the wall, and his expression is almost exactly what Rogue thought it would be as he eyes down the girl's figure. He's wearing the same long, brown trench coat he always does and brown gloves with several of the fingers cut off. His tousled auburn hair brushes his shoulders, and the scarlet irises ringing the black of his eyes look positively devilish in his long, angular, and altogether too handsome face.

He glances up as she passes by them. She catches a whiff of his spicy, cigarette scent, mixed with other things she can't quite name and the overwhelming flowery aroma of Dazzler's perfume. She doesn't look back or pay attention to any more of his flirtatious banter with their fellow teacher.

She just lets his rumbling, smooth voice roll over her into an indecipherable if pleasant sound.

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"Bonjour, chèrie."

His voice is right behind her, whispering in her ear, and Rogue nearly jumps a foot, banging her head against the freezer door, dropping the milk, and cursing loudly when she pulls out of the refrigerator.

"Remy LeBeau, don't you ever scare me like that again!"

She whirls on him, but he merely chuckles as she suddenly realizes that turning around might not have been a good idea. She is a mere breath away from him, her skin suddenly coming alive with the awareness that any movement at all and she'll be touching him, chest to chest, body to body.

She shoves him back and Remy laughs aloud.

But then he leans in close and whispers warmly, intimately, "T'es belle, chère." He smirks and saunters out of the kitchen, shuffling a deck of cards as he goes.

And she realizes his whispers are even nicer than his normal speaking voice.

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"Y' t'ink he'll ever shut up and let us play?" Remy whispers behind Rogue, close to her ear.

She suppresses a shiver. "You shut up," she snaps, crossing her arms.

The soft chuckle behind her and the gentle slapping sounds of the cards sliding through his fingers assure her that he doesn't take it seriously.

Rogue, Remy, Jubilee, Sam, and Lorna are patiently—or not so patiently—waiting for Logan to finish his lecture on their last training session so they can get on to this one. The Danger Room training is generally fun, especially with Logan, especially when no one blew it the time before.

"Hey, Remy." Jubilee grins at him but speaks softly. "Think you can hurry him up a bit?"

"Sure t'ing, petite," he says back in a low, rumble, smirking and making his cards vanish in some sleight of hand. He whispers to Rogue as he steps past her, "Watch dis."

Remy is the only one brave enough to take on Logan and he does just that, simply launching into action and thus beginning the most grueling session the Wolverine has ever put their team through.

"Ah'm killin' ya later, ya swamp rat!" she shouts at his smirking face.

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She's starting to notice something.

From the first time that Rogue saw Remy walking around the mansion, he was flirting, arrogant, cocky, always at a volume that anyone handy could hear. His eyes glowed brilliant scarlet, heady and mesmerizing, whenever he turned them on a notable specimen of the opposite sex (some would argue any specimen would do).

But he's never whispered.

There's something different in the sound. Something that makes her stop and notice for once. Something urgent and full and somehow more serious.

He doesn't whisper to the other girls. Only to her.

And that scares her.

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Nighttime is playtime as far as both students and teachers at the school are concerned. Ororo Munroe, headmistress, takes the time to relax in her garden or attic, and pleasant winds embrace the corners of the mansion. Logan stalks off into the garage for some beer or goes out for some alone time, where nobody asks. Hank McCoy settles into his favorite comfortable chair in the library or the media room, wherever the teachers and not the students are, and catches up on his reading of the classics of literature or science. Dazzler takes off for parts unknown. Moira McTaggert holes up in her room and runs up the long distance phone bill. The junior staff usually congregate together: Bobby Drake, Jubilation Lee, Kitty Pryde, Piotr Rasputin, Remy LeBeau, Lorna Dane, Sam Guthrie, and Rogue.

With all the events at Alcatraz, rabid mutant hatred soared and so did the enrollment records at Xavier's School for the Gifted. Naturally, Ororo immediately sought to fill the teacher rolls as well, both recruiting from outside and persuading graduates to stay on.

Tonight, the junior staff and Hank are in the media room, television running some favorite program of Kit and Jubilee's, with at least a boy or two trying to steal the remote from them.

They should know better, Rogue thinks. Jubilee and Kitty can hold their own against anyone when it comes to their favorite show and manage it nicely without pausing once from their enjoyment.

She is curled up on the other couch with a new fat novel she's been waiting ages to read, denying herself until she can finish grading the slew of term papers her English students turned in. Bobby settles down next to her and tucks one arm over her shoulders. She leans against him and continues reading.

Out of the corner of her eye, she notices Remy leaning studiously over some papers on the coffee table, red pen in hand. Rogue doesn't often see his serious side, but she likes it, the way his head is bent down, the hair falling roguishly across his forehead and into his eyes, the way his scruffiness looks like something accidental, forgotten rather than foregone, and he seems so thoughtful. He must feel her staring, because he glances up at her, catching her gaze with those intense, heated red eyes burning into her. But the moment is brief. He is grading papers again.

Her gaze drops hard to the book in her hand and she feels heat under her skin. She's blushing, she realizes with horror. She looks at Bobby, wondering how she can blush at Remy when tucked under her boyfriend's arm. But he's not looking at her. He's looking at... She follows his gaze.


Rubbing Rogue's back, looking at Kitty.

She stares at him, brushes one hand against his chin, looking wistfully into his blue eyes as he smiles down at her. And she wonders when she lost his interest. Was it before or after he found out he could touch her skin?

Rogue drops her hand and gaze back to the book, pretending that nothing has changed within her. Even if it has. Even if she remembers that moment in the night when Bobby kissed Kitty, and the petite phaser didn't push him away, not until it sank into her just what they had done. Even if the only thing that Rogue remembers about his first gift to her, a perfect rose, is that it was as cold as ice and how fitting that is.

Her heart feels as cold as his ice.

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She regrets the Cure. Up until this moment, she has exulted in the freedom to touch without fabric to slip in between the skin. She's reveled in the heat of skin, the brush of another's smooth cheek against hers when she embraces a friend, and the quietness in her head.

Now, she regrets it all.

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Remy's whispering to her as she plays poker against Jubilee and Piotr, giving her tips while she tells him, grinning, to shut his trap. The girls and guys have gathered around and even Logan's having fun throwing in the chips at another table. They've brought in the coffee table out of someone's study to go along with the one in the media room and utilized one of the ottomans to make three tables and three games. Spectators lean over shoulders, closer even than Remy's leaning against her. Even Ororo herself is raking in the chips.

Kitty laughs. "You are so subbing for me in biology Monday, Sam."

It's a happy crowd and Rogue is never so conscious of her ability to touch as when she's a part of it and the crowd mingles freely against her as they drink their soda and eat their chips on the teacher's Friday night in.

"Bluff, chère. Y' can take dis one," he urges her in that soft, low sound that barely breathes across her ear.

She's blushing again. She can feel it. She throws more chips on the pile with a flashing grin as Jubilee eyes her own hand while biting on a lip.

That's when Rogue feels something else. Remy's hand trails slowly from her neck down to the small of her back, lighting a path of fire as it does.

She tries desperately not to hold in her breath, to keep it even, lest Jubilee know she's bluffing. She wants to curse Remy and she wants to beg him to do it again.

Jubilee folds. Piotr eyes Rogue suspiciously.

Remy's hand is resting at her waist and she's certain he's smirking at her opponents. Dazzler's reading Piotr's cards with a blank face.

The Russian sighs and lays down his cards. "Fold."

"Told y'," he whispers in his Cajun patois.

Rogue smiles coyly and rakes in the chips. "Again?"

She doesn't regret the Cure.

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The mansion would be so much better than this.

Rogue presses into a corner of the club, away from the pressing crowd of stranger's bodies and the humming thrum of the music and the pulse of the dancers and the chatter of people eating in the booths and the shrewd gazes of the pool players.

She feels a body slide up behind her and her heart clenches until she recognizes the warm, rich voice that's whispering in her ear. "Y' okay, chère?"

"Ah'm fahne," she says, a tad too loud. She winces.

"Of course, y' are," he purrs. "Course, y' are." His hands are soothing on her, rubbing chaste, comforting circles on her back.

The touch kindles a warm glow in the pit of her stomach and she catches her breath. He murmurs softly, in English, in French. She lets her eyes fall mostly shut so she can just listen to him whisper.