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Chapter 1

Dear Valentine - REVIEW THIS STORY

Written by Corina Borsuk
Last updated: 01/02/2007 02:01:11 AM

Chapter 1

Note: This story takes place after the X-Men return from their Shiar/Phalanx adventure in outer space. I am working under the assumption that everyone survived the experience and returns home a little over a month after they left.

Awakened by the cool breeze coming in through her partially opened window, Rogue opened her eyes and stretched leisurely before getting out of bed. Then she promptly proceeded to fully open her bedroom window and poke her head out. Deeply she inhaled the cool, crisp morning air, noticing the scent of pine carried on the wind. Tilting her head up slightly, she saw Storm soaring above her and almost considered joining her, but decided against it. Rogue had plans of her own for today, special plans. Today was Valentine's Day and she had every intention of arranging a romantic date for Remy and herself, one that neither of them would soon forget.

Slowly Rogue pulled herself away from the window and left her room, heading for the shower down the hall. While she showered, Rogue turned over and over in her head the events of the last month and her plans for today. Her adventure in space and the battle against the Phalanx had forced her to admit her feelings for Remy. She herself hadn't even realized how strong her feelings were for him, how much she cared, until that moment when the Phalanx was ready to absorb her and she found herself saying she loved him. In that moment she realized how true that was and that despite all their trials, despite all the problems, she loved Remy LeBeau. Rogue hoped that what she had planned for today would show him just how much she cared.

The only problem she could see was that she didn't know how willing Joseph would be to help her and a large part of her plans depended on him. Her and Remy's Valentine celebration would start this afternoon with a picnic out in the woods surrounding the mansion. She had spent most of last night in the kitchen preparing Remy's favorite foods and she was going to finish the rest an hour or so before the picnic. Later that evening, the two of them would enjoy a romantic meal at a little Italian place before heading to see Cats on Broadway. After that, they would head home for the big surprise - a goodnight kiss. That, unfortunately, was where Joseph came into the picture. Rogue hadn't told a single person about the gift Joseph had given her for Christmas, the gift of touch.

She felt badly using Joseph to get closer to Remy. She knew Joseph cared for her and to be honest she felt something for him. He reminded her of her short, but sweet time with Magneto in the Savage Land and she felt a kinship with him in his struggles to be accepted by the other X-Men. She remembered what it was like to always be watched and questioned and mistrusted because the people around you remembered you only for the sins of your past and not the good deeds of the present. It had taken quite some time for Rogue to be accepted and she wanted to make Joseph's transition easier. But despite all that, she had to admit that she didn't really love him.

"Rogue, will you hurry up. Some of us would like to get our shower in before noon," Betsy shouted through the bathroom door. Her voice broke through Rogue's reverie and reminded her that she had to get going before it got too late. Besides, she should have remembered that Betsy and Warren were back for a visit and Betsy hated to wait for the shower. Quickly Rogue finished up and threw on her towel. As she left the bathroom, Rogue saw that Betsy was still standing there, foot tapping impatiently. "And there better be some hot water left," Betsy admonished before she headed inside.

A few moment later, Rogue emerged from her room dressed in her X-Men uniform. She had a scheduled practice session in the Danger Room and she wanted to get down there fast. The sooner she got started, the sooner she could get on with the rest of her day. But first, she wanted to tell Remy about her plans, after all it wouldn't do to keep him in the dark forever and she figured he must be awake by now. Taking a quick detour through the men's wing of the mansion she stopped in front of Gambit's door and knocked.

"C'mon in."

Rogue pushed the door open and leaned against the door frame, striking what she hoped was a sexy pose. "So sugah, you up for a little picnic this afternoon and maybe a romantic dinner a little later tonight?"

"Can't chere, sorry, but I got somewhere to be today."

"Well, if ya got plans for the afternoon, we could cancel the picnic and just go out later for a little Valentine dinner," Rogue said hopefully, trying to salvage her plans for a romantic day with Remy.

"I'm sorry chere, but I don' t'ink so, I . . ." he hesitated for a moment and turned toward her. He opened his mouth as if to say something, but just shook his head and walked out of his room. "I'm sorry," he said again.

Rogue watched, heart-broken as he walked down the hall and out of sight, but she couldn't hear him as he whispered to no one in particular, "I wish I could give ya what ya want for Valentine's Day Rogue, but instead I'm gonna give ya what ya need."

Rogue trudged slowly back to her room. She'd just had one of the worst Danger Room workouts ever. She hadn't beaten a single one of the computer's simulations. Heck, in all honesty, the computer had kicked her butt good, mostly because she'd been preoccupied. All she could think about was Remy walking away from her this morning. She told herself she didn't have a right to be upset at him, after all she should have asked him sooner. Even though that sounded like a perfectly reasonable argument, she felt as if Remy had been doing more than attending to some previous plans. She felt like he was walking out on her. As she walked down the hall, turning the situation over and over again in her head, she noticed Joseph hanging around outside her room.

"There you are Rogue. I have been looking for you. I thought perhaps we might take in a movie this afternoon."

"Ah don't think so Joseph, ah . . ." Rogue stopped herself. She didn't have any other plans, at least not anymore. Besides, if Remy didn't want to be with her and Joseph did, well then, why not. "On the other hand, why not, except lets make it a picnic instead."

Not long after, Joseph and Rogue were sitting near the lake behind the mansion. Laid out before them was a huge spread of food. The two of them were enjoying themselves, although Joseph couldn't help but notice that the food had been prepared mostly cajun style and he thought he knew who this picnic had been intended for. The question was why Gambit wasn't here to share it.

"Rogue, I have been meaning to thank you for being there for me." Rogue began to shake her head and brush it off, but Joseph continued, "No, I truly want to show my appreciation. You have been very supportive of my being here. I don't think I would have made it this far without you."

"It's been mah pleasure an' it ain't no big deal, so ah don't want ya gettin' all mushy on me."

"I cannot help it," Joseph said, taking a deep breath to gather his courage before he continued. "I have feeling for you Rogue, more than simply friendship."

"That's sweet of ya, but ah have feelings for Remy, so ain't nothing but friendship is all we can have right now. Ah hope ya understand."

"I do, but I do not believe that Gambit does. It is quite obvious to me that this," and he gestured at the food spread out before them, "was intended for Gambit, but I see that he isn't here to enjoy it."

"Remy had some other plans is all, something he arranged before ah invited him," but even to Rogue this sounded like a pitiful excuse.

"If it had been me, I would have canceled everything to be with you. Please Rogue, you must face the fact that Gambit just does not care for you as I do."

"Joseph, please," but before Rogue could finish, the conversation was interrupted by a loud noise. The two looked up just in time to see Cannonball land a few feet away from them.

"There ya all are. Ah been looking for ya Rogue. Ya got a special delivery waiting for ya back at the house." With that Sam took off and glad for a reason to stop defending Remy to Joseph when she really didn't feel like it, so did Rogue.

Rogue entered the mansion and was greeted by Jean, who was wearing a mischievous grin as she handed Rogue a bouquet of roses. There were probably two dozen in varying shades of red, pink and yellow surrounded by hints of baby's-breath. The scent they gave off was wonderful and Rogue took a deep breath, inhaling the heavenly fragrance.

"It looks like you hit the jack-pot Rogue. After all, it looks like you're the only one to receive a Valentine's Day gift," Jean said as she gave Scott a sidelong glance. Scott squirmed a little and mumbled something that sounded like an apology under his breath. Warren, who was standing next to him, seemed a little nervous too, especially under the withering gaze Betsy was giving him.

"Ah contraire, my dear Jean," Hank explained from where he was sitting in his chair. "I did not forget the erstwhile pursuit of expressing one's affection toward their significant other on this special day. I had the foresight to send a box of chocolates to Trish at work."

This caused even sterner glares to be directed at Scott and Warren and just when the two of them were about to run for cover, Joseph gave them a reprieve by inquiring who the flowers were from. For this he received grateful glances from the other two men, while all other eyes focused on Rogue.

Carefully, Rogue removed the card from the bouquet and opened it. Inside was a hand-written letter on pink paper in the shape of a heart and another sheet of white paper that was folded and sealed. Glancing at the bottom of the pink stationary, she noticed RemyUs name scrawled across the bottom.

"It's from Gambit," she explained. This news produced a frown from Joseph, but he quickly tried to hide it, although several people in the room had already noticed.

"Ah'm gonna go put these in some water," Rogue said by way of an excuse as she hurridly dashed from the room. Once she had found a vase and put the roses in it, she went up to her room to read the letter.

Dear Rogue,

First off, I want you to know how much I love you. Even if things just started out as me flirting with you because you were a challenge, I can honestly say that now I love you more than the world and I would do anything for you. I can't stand to see you hurt and I know that all I'm doing when I'm with you is hurting you. You deserve better than that Rogue, you deserve better than me. Now I know you'll just say that's for you to decide and not me and you're right. So now I'm doing what I should have done a long time ago. I'm going to tell you my secret, the one that drove you from me when you touched me all those months ago.

Now, I know you're going to think I'm a coward for telling you this and you're right. I am a coward Rogue. I tried a dozen times to tell you and everytime I couldn't for the same reason I couldn't tell you when we were in Seattle. You have to understand that the reason I wanted you to touch me, to learn the truth that way was becuase I don't think I could stand the look in your eyes when I you find out the truth. The truth is you'll hate me when you hear the things I've done and I wouldn't want to live if you ever looked at me that way.

So I'm taken the cowards way out. When you're done reading the letter I enclosed with this one, all you have to do is tie one of the yellow roses to the entrance gate and I'll know you don't want to see me ever again.

If there's any chance at all that after you learn the truth you don't hate me, though I hold no hope of that, tie a red rose to the gate instead. I know I don't deserve it, but just maybe you'll give a second chance to prove to you how much I really care.



Slowly, Rogue broke the seal on the second letter. Then she took a long, deep breath to prepare herself before she began reading. What she read was a horrible tale of death and pain. The details were graphic and several times she had to stop and compose herself before she could continue. At times, what Remy had done made her sick and at other times, it tore at her heart with pity and sympathy. This wasn't just a set of facts, detailing the things he had done, but he had set down on paper why he had done them. It wasn't an explanation or an excuse, simply the truth of the man he was, but Rogue also saw it as a testament of the man he is now.

When she finished, Rogue's face was red, tears streaming down her face. The papers she was holding were wet with her tears and without thinking she began to dry them. She didn't think she would ever be able to forget or completely forgive some of the things Remy had done, but of one thing she was certain . . .

Digging in her drawer, Rogue pulled out a box of matches. Before she could change her mind, she lit one, holding it under Remy's letter until there was nothing left but ash. Then she picked up a piece of string and one of the roses from the bouquet and headed out to the front gate.

"Are you certain you wish to do this Rogue?" Joseph asked with uncertainty in his voice. "I do not want you to rush into this and then decide you made a mistake."

"No Joseph, ah'm more certain about this now than ever. This is what ah want and ah aim to get it." Rogue looked imploringly at Joseph before she continued, "Please Joseph, ah'm askin' ya."

"As you wish Rogue, as you wish."

Tentatively, Gambit entered the mansion. It was late and almost everyone had gone to bed, if not to sleep. Clutched like a talisman in his right hand was the single red rose that had been tied to the mansions entrance gate. The deep red color had stood out clearly against the black gate, even in the darkness of night and for Remy it had been like a beacon of light showing him the way home. It meant Rogue didn't hate him. Maybe she no longer loved him and perhaps they would never share the love he so desperately wanted to share with her, but at least this meant she could stand to be around him. Even if all it meant was that he could see her face every morning, he would be satisfied with that for now.

Suddenly, he sensed someone behind him. Tensing for an attack, he whirled around to face this unknown person. As he did he caught a glimpse of auburn hair with an unmistakable white stripe down the middle. "Rogue?" he whispered in both surprise and delight.

"Ah've been waitin' for ya Remy. Ah got somethin' to show ya." Without waiting for a response, she lifted him in her arms and flew to the roof of the mansion, just above Gambit's room. It was one of his favorite places to sit and think when he wanted to be alone. Rogue knew that and she had picked this place for a reason, she wanted Remy to know that he no longer had to be alone, that she was the one he should turn to when he was troubled and not his solitude.

"Rogue, I . . ."

"Shhh, Remy. I told ya ah got a surprise for ya. Joseph gave me a very special gift for Christmas and now ah'm gonna share it with the man ah love."

Remy was skeptical and elated at the same time. Rogue said she loved him. Even after everything she knew about him, after all he had done, she still loved him. But the other thing, her surprise? She said it came from Joseph and that made him nervous. Remy was many things, but he wasn't blind, he knew Joseph had feelings for Rogue and he also knew that she shared at least some of them.

All this flashed through Remy's mind in the fraction of a second it took for Rogue to lean in towards him. Before he knew what was happening, he could feel her warm lips on his. At first, out of sheer shock he didn't know how to react, but when he realized that he was still standing there, unaffected by Rogue's powers a tingle raced down his spine. Taking Rogue into his arms, he pulled her closer, returning her kiss with all the passion he had for this woman. She was giving him the greatest gift he could ever ask for, not her touch, but the trust that it signified.

Finally, regretfully pulling apart, Remy took a deep breath. The air had never smelled so sweet to him and life had never looked so hopeful. He gazed down into two beautiful green eyes and whispered softly as he leaned in for another kiss, "Happy Valentine's Day Rogue. I love you."


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