Home | Forum | Mailing List | Repository | Links | Gallery
Chapter 1


Written by Karen Bruce
Last updated: 01/02/2007 02:01:11 AM

Chapter 1

Over scorched earth, the air shimmered, like sweat-slicked skin, and even the movement of the sun from east to west seemed slower, more languid, as if it, like the inhabitants of the mansion, were sapped of energy. An Indian summer, the newspapers called it with scant regard for political correctness, an interminable spell of dry heat that frayed tempers as it withered plants. Sun-dazed, people were more irritable, less rational, quicker to anger and slower to think. Or so Remy LeBeau tried to convince himself, as he lay on the pier watching the stars bloom in the clear, night sky.

As a child, in the sultry, humid New Orleans' summers, he had slept outdoors on the small jetty that protruded from Tante Mattie's house in the bayou. She had made up a mattress for him on the bench, while clucking that he would catch his death of cold or that some assassin would carry him away in the night. He had never had any such fear. He knew he was safe and protected. The scent of drying herbs; the sharp, but not unpleasant, tang of the pine and tar of the quay; the soft lapping of the water against the poles and the rustling, secretive whisper of the wind in the trees had put him to sleep better than any bedtime story or lullaby.

At twenty-four, however, the combination was less than successful. He had been awake for what felt like hours, watching the remote, impassive stars scintillate and wondering what had momentary streak of cruelty had possessed him to snap at Rogue. Had caused him to clinically and mercilessly target the points on which he had known she was most sensitive. Her name. Her supposed lack of trust. Her momentary lapse in Antarctica. Dagger-like, his words had had an assassin's precision to them, had been calculated to hurt her.

"Who said I forgave ya?" he repeated with a groan, "I was lucky she didn' t' row a table at me."

"Was tempted," a rich drawl replied from behind him and he started, "But Ah didn't feel like payin' Harry fo' damages. An', personally, Ah didn't think yo' infantile, petulant fit o' bile was worth it. Anyway, Ah didn't come ta fight with you. Ah came because we needed ta talk," her voice took on an amused note, "Momma always said ta never let th' sun set on your anger. Of course, knowing her, she was probably talkin' about offin' yo' enemies 'fore they could ice you, but th' point is still valid. So, is there room on that blanket fo' two?"

"Always room for ya," he shifted over on the quilt as she stretched herself out beside him, clasping her slim arms behind her head. He glanced over at her and smiled at her attire. Barefoot, she was wearing an old, Saints T-shirt and a pair of black, silk boxers, both of which she had stolen from him. They lay in silence, the eloquent silence of two people who have much to say without the words to say it. Her breath, light and regular, was the only noise apart from the lapping and slapping of waves against the pier on a cricketless night.

"Ah was thinkin' about what you said at the bar," she raised a white-gloved hand to stall the apology that was on his lips, "And you were right. A right sonuvabitch, but right. Ah can't expect you ta tell me everythin' while keeping secrets mahself. It ain't fair. So, in answer ta yo' earlier question, mah real name is - believe it or not, sugah - Rogue Darkholme. Been called Rogue since Ah was all o' eight years old an' Raven adopted me. Any name Ah had before that . . . well, let's just say Ah don't think o' mahself as that person anymore."

He chuckled, "Polite way o' sayin' it was a stupid question. Especially from me, who only became Remy LeBeau at de ripe, old age o' ten. I mean, cherie, ya might as well ask me what my real name is."

"Ah don't ask stupid questions," her grin was wicked, but then she sobered, "Nor do Ah dump th' one person who might understand what Ah'm goin' through . . . ."

He was silent, feeling the excess energy shimmer beneath his skin as it had since he had returned from the past. Every cell of his body was on fire, every vein a rivulet of molten magma. It felt as if he had become the heart of the sun, burning brilliant after years of night. It was glorious and it was terrifying. Despite her comment about understanding him, Rogue could not know the sweetness of such power, could not know the thrill of using it and the fear of becoming addicted to it. She hated her natural, mutant ability, after all, almost as much as he loved his.

"No offense, mon amant, but I doubt dat ya do."

"Don't patronise me, LeBeau," she drawled, as she rolled onto her side to look at him, "Ah've been where you are more times than you've swiped diamonds. Let me guess what you're thinkin'. . . The good superhero in you wants ta gain control o' your powers, because it's th' right an' responsible thing ta do, but th' rest knows what a rush it is ta use 'em as they are. Am Ah close?"

"Very," he admitted wryly, "But ya left out de part about me bein' scared o' hurting ya wit' dem."

She laughed - somewhat inappropriately, he thought, considering his dilemma - and placed a gloved hand over his one, "Like that old excuse'd work with me, hon. Heaven knows Ah tried it a zillion times ta get you off mah tail. Sorry, Rem, Ah'm afraid you're still stuck with your same, old, dull girlfriend, although Ah'm sure Sek'll be heartbroken at th' news."

Enjoying their tentative, embryonic comfortableness with each other, her description of herself as his girlfriend and the warmth where their hands touched, he could not resist baiting her, "One plus one made two den?"

Sekhmet had told him about Rogue's comment, a suspiciously gleeful smile on her lips as she had repeated his lover's glib remark. He's a boy and he's a friend, but one and one don't always make two. He had never disliked the archaeologist more intensely than in that moment. Had disliked the calculating nature that he saw behind her words. She had planned to hurt him, but then to comfort him. Her manipulations and games were very different from Rogue's often brusque frankness and directness, and he preferred the latter. He was already subject to enough deceptions and plots in his life to avoid them where he could.

She groaned, "She told you, didn't she?"

"So she did."

"Ah don't need ta justify mahself ta yo' personal cheering section," her voice had a not unpleasing note of jealousy in it, "Oh, an' LeBeau? Ah have no idea what you see in th' girl. Never thought you were the type that liked mindless adoration."

"O' course not," he replied, tempted to add: "Why else would I be in love wit' someone wit' a mouth dat had been probably been classified as a deadly weapon in fourty-eight states?"

"Besides," her tone became decidedly mischievious, "It *was* fun ta watch her eyes light up. Th' poor dear didn't realise that one and one always make two."

He laughed, "Except when dey make eleven."

She punched him lightly on the arm, "Idiot Cajun. We'd have ta be Summers for that math ta work."

"Ya be sure ya not? Everyone else is," he teased, looking challengingly across at her. Her eyes were brilliant with laughter, her cheeks flushed, and she had a lopsided, sweet smile on her face. A few, vagrant strands of chestnut hair tumbled down a decidedly kissable neck and throat. The Saints shirt and black boxers were too large for her, hiding a body that was alternately soft curves and hard muscle. His girlfriend, he repeated, liking the sound of the word. His beautiful girlfriend.

"What, Cajun?"

"Jus' t'inking dat I have a beautiful girlfriend."

"Continue . . . ." her lips pursed in mock disapproval, "You forget a few adjectives."

"Beautiful, understandin', forgivin' girlfriend?" he suggested.

"Ah was thinkin' more along th' lines o' witty, gorgeous an' intelligent, but that'll do in a pinch," she seemed to sober, rubbing his hand with her own smaller one, "Seriously, Rem, Ah'm tired o' fightin' with you, when Ah should be there fo' you. Tired o' lettin' stupid things like our powers or our pasts or our mistakes wreck what we have. Sounds too Jean an' Scott fo' words, but . . . . they were married 'fore he got merged with Poccy an' we' re . . . well, we're about as steady as a boat in a hurricane. So, je suis desolee, Ah am sorry fo' hurtin' you. An' if you don't accept this apology, Ah'll dunk you in th' lake."

"Almost be a relief on a night like dis," he mused, pretending to think over her proposition. It had been a mistake, he realised, as Rogue's expression took on a decidedly naughty air. To his mingled horror and delight, because she was deliciously soft and warm against him, he found himself being grasped by a strong pair of arms and being tossed bodily off the pier. He hit the water with a painful splash, cutting down into the dark, green depths of the cove before emerging spluttering and spitting out water. His girlfriend was laughing, perching on the end of the jetty with her feet dangling in the water. Now, it had been one of the unspoken rules of childhood among Fagan's urchins when they swam in Lake Pontchartrain that anyone balancing on the edge of a quay was asking to be dunked and he assumed that the same applied to X-Women who were rather too literal for their own good.

"De water's nice. Wanna join me?"

"Naah, admirin' th' view. Th' drowned rat look suits you, LeBeau."

"An' who better t'model it dan de original, river rat herself, cherie?"

Chuckling, he grabbed a bare ankle and hoped that she was off-balance enough for her superstrength not to matter. It did not, as she tumbled inelegantly after him and broke the water's smooth surface. Disgustedly, she pushed her wet hair out of her eyes, across which it was darkly plastered. Other . . . things were well plastered to her too, he noticed with renewed interest.

"You're lucky Ah swore not ta fight with you, else Ah'd kick yo' cute tail fo' ya."

"Ya *have* been talkin' t'Sek, haven't ya?" Remy replied with a groan at the memory of archaeologist's endless rhapsodying about his 'tush'.

Rogue raised an eyebrow, "Th' girl was admirin' *mah* boyfriend's butt? Ah' ll have ta whup hers as well."


"Of her?" she paddled closer towards him, until they were almost able to touch, "Does she get ta do this?"

To his horror, she slipped her arms around his neck and kissed him soundly on his lips. The logical part of him that screamed to be cautious, that his powers were out of control and responded to emotional stimuli, was soon subdued by the libidinous rest of him. There was no static charge, no crackle of energy or burn of flesh.

"What? How?" he murmured, unwilling to let go of her in case the tenuous spell over them was broken.

"Th' what's a kiss, Remy LeBeau. A damn good one, but a kiss. Th' how is complicated," she brushed his lips with her ones again, "Suffice it ta say, we complement each other in more ways than one. Ah essentially absorb th' energy that your 'aura' gives off."

"One an' one makes one, henh?"

Rogue's answering smile was wicked, "We'll see about that."


GambitGuild is neither an official fansite of nor affiliated with Marvel Enterprises, Inc.
Nonetheless, we do acknowledge our debt to them for creating such a wonderful character and would not dream of making any profit from him other than the enrichment of our imaginations.
X-Men and associated characters and Marvel images are © Marvel Enterprises, Inc.
The GambitGuild site itself is © 2006 - 2007; other elements may have copyrights held by their respective owners.