It started so innocently.

Rogue is in the gym, putting the finishing touches on her tables for their Thanksgiving Harvest Festival. She's decorated them herself without assistance. She selected and purchased the golden tablecloths, embroidered the fiery autumn leaves around the edges, scattered real leaves across the tops, designed the cornucopias with their overflowing nuts and squashes and turkey feathers. She picked the silverware, finer than the everyday ware they serve the students generally. She spent hours plotting the layout for the dishes, planning the seating arrangement, and making placecards.

She sighs with satisfaction and steps back to take a look at her work.

A hand brushes gently against her shoulder, and she turns to see who wants her.

It's Remy.

For some reason, his hand hasn't really moved yet. A small smile quirks at his mouth, and his fingers come away with a red maple leaf that was caught in her hair.

"Y' really get involved in your work, chère," he says lightly, a slight flirtatiousness in the words that starts her heart beating a little faster.

"Yeah." She brushes herself off, feeling awkward as other little bits of feather and leaves fall to the floor. "Did you want something?"

His eyes burn brighter for a moment, but he shakes his head and jerks a thumb toward the door. "'Ro wants y'."

"Oh." Rogue blows out a breath. "Thanks."

She heads in Ororo's direction. The weather goddess and school headmistress smiles at her approach. Rogue takes one last glance over her shoulder.

Remy's still holding the maple leaf. She can't decipher his expression.

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The actual day of the Harvest Festival is busy, hectic, and chaotic. It seems all of the two hundred and seventy-eight students are crowded into the gym, along with those whose families would come. There's laughter, talking, dancing to the music before dinner will be served.

Rogue smooths her dress nervously. She's wearing a simple green sheath, but it leaves her arms, legs, and shoulders bare. It's the first time since she's gotten the Cure that she has shown off so much skin in a crowded environment. She rubs her arms with her hands, hugging herself as she looks out her friends in the milling, seething, happy mob.

She catches a glimpse of Jubilee laughing at something Sam says, dark eyes sparkling over her crystal punch glass. Dazzler's trying to talk an immovable Piotr into changing the music from the upbeat classical probably to something more jazzy. Kitty's hanging on Lorna's arm as they drool over the passing guys.

Bobby is nowhere in sight.

Rogue was ticked when he said he had to catch up on a few things before he would come down, but his sense of responsibility as a teacher won out. He is off working on something or other for his class, and she is standing here, near a wall all alone with no one to dance with or show off her hard labor to.

A covered arm brushes against hers as someone slips by her, pressed up against her by the mingling bodies around them. She opens her mouth to excuse herself but stops abruptly when she sees who it is.

"Désolé, chèrie," Remy rumbles to her softly, then proceeds to continue on into the gym. He goes over to one of her tables and pours himself a cup of punch. He tastes it, turns back toward her, and winks.

Rogue drops her gaze to the floor. She's blushing again.

She curses.

She can still feel the heat of him on her arm.

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Logan runs them hard in the Danger Room. He tells them they can't afford to slack off. Rogue believes he really means, There won't be another Alcatraz.

She's teamed up with Sam and Kitty against Remy, Jubilee, and Bobby in the middle of a virtual battlefield, complete with mutant-hunting robots, innocent bystanders, and law enforcement with Cure guns to use on any person they perceive as a threat.

Rogue's in a tussle with Jubilee and winning when she suddenly finds herself yanked off of the smaller girl and all too incredibly close to the armored chest and hot breath and swirling trench coat and glowing charge and burning eyes of Remy LeBeau. Her head knocks into his with the momentum, and for just a second, it's skin on skin and feeling his stubble and sweat. She scrambles away, but she's too late.

Her clothes are charged, glowing brighter and hotter with the pink glow of his powers.

He smirks down at her as she stares in horror. "Désolé, ma chère, but y're dead."

Rogue crosses her arms. "Uncharge me already."

Remy slides his fingers across the shoulder of her leather uniform. She can feel the heat of his hand through the material, but she forces herself to roll her eyes.

The glow begins to fade.

He hands her a card and vanishes around the corner to fight someone who's still standing.

It's the Queen of Hearts.

Rogue stares at it for a moment, then tosses it aside. She leans down to brush herself off before going to the side of the room to wait with her "fallen" comrades. She hopes nobody sees her face.

And she thought it was all innocent.

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Jubilee, Kitty, Lorna, and Rogue all gather together in Lorna's room with their sleeping bags, funny romance movies, and favorite munchies.

"Hershey's kisses?" Rogue demands as she commandeers the best seat, in front of Lorna's bed, and tosses her sleeping bag on the ground along with a copy of While You Were Sleeping.

Jubilee grins, sitting beside her, and adds Sleepless in Seattle to the pile. "Check. Potato chips?"

"Check." Lorna snuggles into the pillows atop the bed and proffers You've Got Mail.

"Cheese dip, anybody?" Kitty surveys the supplies, hands on hips.

"Check." Rogue holds it up so Kitty can see it.

The phaser nods and then grabs her stuff to find a spot to sit. "You've all taken the good seats!" she huffs, then with a wicked grin, phases herself into a comfortable seat between Rogue and Jubilee. "I brought The Princess Bride."

"Hold there!" Jubilee raises a hand. "Who brought the soda?"

Kitty points at the bag by the movies. "Check."

Lorna raises her nose in the air as if testing it. "I vote The Princess Bride."

"Ah feel lahke Whahle Ya Were Sleepin'," Rogue says. "But first Ah wanted ta ask y'all about somethin'."

"Oooooooh! What's up?" Jubilee bounces a little atop her pillow.

Kitty and Lorna both look eager.

Rogue bites her lip, suddenly unsure if she should ask. "Well, is it just me, or...do y'all think Remy lahkes me?"

All four girls are silent for a long moment.

Finally, Lorna pipes up, "We've noticed. We just weren't sure if you were okay with it. You know..." She shrugs. "Bobby."

Kitty nods. "It's hard to miss, girl."

That's exactly what she's afraid of.

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The kitchen has lately become a dangerous place for Rogue to be. She's had several "encounters" there that she can neither brush off nor prove to anyone else.

But when she's thirsty, she's thirsty.

Everyone's outside, enjoying a bit of Indian summer with a game of football. Rogue sneaks quietly into the kitchen and opens the refrigerator door. She smiles upon seeing the cool jug of milk waiting for her. Just as she reaches for it, she feels the faintest touch on her shoulder, sliding forward down the curve to rest in the bend of her elbow for an instant. The feeling is familiar, lightly static, like the charge of Remy's power.

Rogue turns to catch the interloper.

The kitchen is empty, but for her, the open refrigerator, and the jug of milk in her hand. The faint scent of cigarettes, spices, and bourbon remains behind.

She shivers.

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As autumn progresses, Rogue and Bobby are drifting farther and farther apart. Both of them know it. They do everything separately that once they did together. Even grading papers or planning classes.

Rogue sighs deeply as she settles into her favorite table at the library to plot out next quarter's research assignment for English. She doesn't pay much attention to the others around the table, just buries her nose in the textbooks and legal pads she brought with her.

After a while, she admits to herself that this isn't going well. She's too preoccupied, distracted by the shambles of her relationship, by the fact that she's still in it.

She blows out a sigh and a thick strand of white hair flies up into her eyes. She giggles. Someone else chuckles with her, a deep, rich sound, and she looks up, thoroughly startled to realize that she chose a table with Remy. He's leaning back in his chair just a little over from being across from her and fixing her with an amused smirk beneath his dancing red on black eyes.

"Hah," she says softly.

They are both quiet, but his eyes remain on hers. She doesn't know why the brilliant crimson fire has dimmed into the black, blended into a softer hue. She only knows that she feels all too warm and uncomfortable under his gaze.

She shifts in her seat and glances over the books and scattered papers in front of him. Clearly, he is also planning classes, though from the looks of the maps and travel guides, his is geography.

He's still looking at her.

Rogue brushes back her hair and makes an attempt to straighten it a little. "Ah'm a mess," she says apologetically.

Remy leans forward suddenly, startling her into silence as he captures her hand with his own.

She stops breathing.

He brushes a light kiss across the back of her knuckles and whispers, "You're belle."

She stares at him.

He meets her shocked gaze with smoldering, burning eyes that nearly drown her. He releases her hand. It still feels hot to her, very hot.

"Did y' know dat Australia was once a penal colony?" he asks, giving her a casual glance and flipping through a page in his notes.

"No," she breathes. "Ah didn't."

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Whatever is going on between her and Remy is becoming much more real and solid. She's not the only one who's noticed.

Her hair issues apparently weren't the problem of a single day and then gone away. It continues to be nearly unmanageable, falling down from any kind of restraint she manages to get it into. Rogue is getting ready to go into her Danger Room session when she simply yells in frustration as it falls down yet again from her makeshift ponytail.

"Get it together, Rogue," Logan calls to her from across the room.

Bobby glances toward her, but then continues gearing up on his own.

She mutters unmentionables and yanks the hair back from her face.

She feels a light tug and catches her breath as a warm and spicy cigarette smell washes over her. Remy's fingers gently pull the hair away from her and takes her scrunci from her other hand. Slowly, his hands work over her hair and gently pull it up into a tight ponytail. He brushes the top back lightly like she would have done for herself.

Rogue turns around to face him, nervous, uncertain. Remy's eyes glow appreciatively.

"Uh...Thanks." She twists her fingers together.

He leans over and whispers against her, his breath warm and soft on her cheek. "Y're welcome." Then he whirls and enters the Danger Room, cards at the ready.

Rogue bites her lip and seeks out Bobby with her eyes. He's frowning at her.

But she simply can't feel guilty.

She just can't.