Remy doesn't see the movie on in front of them. His gaze is reserved for the belle femme in his arms on the media room sofa, the soft curves settled into his body, fingers trailing lazily over his forearm sending sparks and shivers through his entire body. He can't seem to notice anything outside of her soft, heady scent overwhelming him, her nearness, her trust.

She tilts her head back slightly, just catching his gaze with hers. He twirls her hair around one finger.

Pure white and rippling mahogany. The sparkle of emerald eyes. One slender, bare hand lying against his chest. Her warmth pressed into his.

Rogue knows about Genevieve, his betrayal of the only woman he ever made love him. Remy wonders sometimes if she ever realizes the similarities, if she wonders whether he would betray her.

She shouldn't trust him, look at him with that soft, reassuring smile, lean over to kiss him lightly, briefly, but so very warmly before turning back toward the television screen and nuzzling her head against his chest. He tightens his grip around her waist. There is nothing outside of himself to draw her, and yet...

He has never been someone to trust.

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Logan takes one look at Remy's agitated pacing back and forth in front of the library window. He closes the door behind him and gestures at a table. "Sit." The word is a command.

Remy sits, dropping bonelessly into a slouch and scowling at the empty table. Logan sits across from and gestures for Remy to shuffle. He does.

It's one of those odd half-hours that both men are well aware of when the students are in their last classes and any free teachers have other things to do. The library is empty save for Logan, Remy, and the pack of cards.

For a while neither speak beyond the game. It's a safe way for them to interact without Logan reaching out and tearing Remy a new one for stealing the heart of Logan's little girl without permission or regret. But it isn't Logan that initiated this encounter, and Remy knows in the unhurried ticking of a mental clock, he only has so much time to broach the issue before the library will no longer be abandoned, and his opportunity with Logan will be gone.

"Just spit it out, Gumbo," Logan finally says.

"How much y' know?" Remy tosses off the question carelessly.

Logan grunts. The question is anything but careless. "Raise ten."

Remy tilts his head, matches.

"I know you're running scared about this massacre thing." Logan levels a measuring gaze at Remy, who shrugs. "Got tangled up in something bigger than you?"

A harmless, innocent question. He's giving Remy a way out. I don't trust you. I don't like you, but you're hers and I'll watch your back if you give me a reason.

Remy has no reason to give. He shakes his head. "Didn' turn out, mais I shoulda been lookin' for de double-cross, neh?" His accent always thickens when he's agitated. Remy curses himself for the obvious tell.

Logan frowns, trades in a card. "Does she know?"

Casual question, casual answer.

Remy shrugs, an unqualified yes.

They finish out the hand, show their cards. Logan takes the pot. He glances sideways at Remy, but Remy doesn't respond. He feels too somber, too serious about what he's asking.

Logan gives a short, sharp nod.

Remy would let out his breath, but he isn't so far gone as that. He simply nods in return.

The men exchange handshakes, put their chairs in, leave the library door open, and go their separate ways. No one would ever guess at what had really just occurred.

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He finds her sitting up on a breakfast stool at the kitchen counter, reading a newspaper with furrowed brow. She's more addictive than cigarettes or drink or any other woman he's ever known, and instead of passing on, he pauses in the hallway to study the way she leans against the counter, one finger tracing delicately across the page. Her hair is down and falling over one shoulder and arm, pulled back on the other side. White tickles her cheek. He wants to brush it away. He wants to touch her, hold her. Instead of reaching for his cards, his restless hands reach for her.

He crosses the intervening gap between them almost before he realizes he has done so and certainly before she realizes it. She gasps softly as his arms wrap around her and he embraces her, holding her reassuringly against him.

"Chère." His voice is rough when he whispers into her hair. He's giving away so much again, those tells that scare him because he's never trusted anyone enough to be so obvious before.

Rogue pushes at him gently, twists her body around in his grasp, and kisses him soft and warm.

His hands tangle into her hair, pulling her fiercely closer, and he knows he should be more careful, but he can't. He has to reassure himself that this is real. She's still here with him.

"Remy," she says softly.


"Ah have ta get ta class." Her eyes are apologetic, but he wants to simply tell her no, he needs to feel her beside him because this can't be real.

He backs away. He lets her go.

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Belladonna Boudreaux was the kind of beauty that could take his breath away. Remy never once tried to win her heart. Somehow a few years of playing and laughing together on the streets of New Orleans, climbing a few trees, teaching him to throw a knife with deadly accuracy, fumbling with the excitement of discovery and teaching her just how he wanted her, her an Assassin, him a Thief, was all it took to bring together families that had warred together for centuries and now both wanted peace.

She was his.

Her laughing blue eyes. The golden curls that blew with the wind until she pulled them back in tight, tight braids, then swatted him like the fairytale princess guarding her geese when he tried to pull them down and run his hands through the waterfall of glorious silk. She loved him, Thief that he was, trusted him, fought for him when he killed her own brother in a wedding everybody wanted and yet nobody could save. She clung to him at the very end when he refused her request to join him in exile. Even if Remy wanted her to, the Guilds would never allow it.

He never had to woo her, never had to fight for her, never had to earn her trust.

She was his.

And then she wasn't.

A handful of cards. The deal of fate. Divorce. Exile. Blood. There was nothing he could do to hold her.

Fate wasn't on his side this time. Rogue was not his by right and with the blessing of their respective families. She wasn't his destiny, his childhood companion, the obvious choice at any level. When he first caught sight of her flashing green eyes burning into him, she had belonged to somebody else, never mind whether the homme deserved her.

There is no reason for Remy to have her, to keep her, except the reasons he gives her. Can he ever give her enough?

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"Her name's Callisto," she says softly, sliding into his arms after marking up her English papers.

He shrugs, still shuffling his cards with one hand to soothe his nerves. She studies him, frowning lightly as if trying to read him. She cannot know from his practiced mask that his mind is racing, sorting through the Morlocks, the Omegas, that offshoot group of survivors, and Gene Nation, children of the Massacre, trying to remember who Callisto was, is, and hadn't she--

Remy frowns. "T'ought she was dead."

"In the Massacre?" Rogue asks, all wide-eyed innocence.

He vehemently suppresses his wince and looks at her, wondering at how she says the words so easily. Callisto was supposed to have died when Phoenix killed her, but Rogue doesn't know that. She has no reason to suspect it wasn't Remy. But when he looks into those brilliant green eyes, he finds no condemnation. "Why y' okay wit' dis, chère?" he asks suddenly.

She catches in her breath sharply. Has she ever even thought about it?

He waits for her answer, hand still on the cards, on her. She shrugs one shoulder, hunches a bit, and tucks her head beneath his chin where she doesn't have to look at him.

A restless feeling dances under his skin, unable to be certain, not that he ever could be. His fingers glide through the silky white of her hair. He leans close to breathe her in. She clutches him close then. It takes his breath away how easily he could lose her. A moment. The wrong word spoken. He could never ask her to leave this place, not for the wretch that he is. He couldn't even ask Bella to leave with him when he was innocent, before he'd walked that damning road of pain and death and suffering.

"'M not a good man," he whispers.

"Ah don't care," she states stubbornly, all sassy, obstinate Rogue.

Remy wants to laugh, but he can't. Belladonna hadn't cared either. Instead, he holds her tighter, allows his hands to wander along her spine, sliding teasingly lower until he hears her breath hitch and feels her bury her face against him.

She should.

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Hands, legs, arms grasping, holding hard to each other as they fall into his bed at night. It's not about sex. It's not about their fears. It's not even about touch.

She's a loner, a belle, fiery, independent, and not quite his though he knows he's long since become hers.

He falls asleep in her arms. When he wakes, she's still there.

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