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[personal profile] whipsy
Title: Star Gazing
Characters: Rogue/Gambit, Kitty, Jubilee
Rating: PG
Word Count: 3100
Disclaimer: Marvel and 20th Century Fox own.
AN: For [livejournal.com profile] 10_inspirations, Phrases #33- Seeing is believing. Follows this. Canon with all X-men movies.

Rogue walked along the narrow pathway adjacent to the school. The night was cold and she was regretting coming out at all. She could have watched the meteor shower from Storm's balcony like the rest of the school, but she wasn't great with crowds and it was going to get crowded up there. Besides, she wanted to enjoy the meteor shower and not spend her time worrying if someone was getting too close. Resolving it was definitely better that she was down on the lawn by herself, she walked on.

Around the corner of the school, she noticed a series of cottonwood trees lining the landscape. Perhaps in passing she may have seen them before, but it wasn't until that moment that she really took notice of them. Add to that that she was feeling lonely and her mind was made up for her: she was going to climb one.

As a child back in Mississippi, whenever she felt like the only child she was or so alone it hurt, she'd climb the trees in her backyard or more often, those along the river. While up in the trees she didn't feel so lonely anymore. It was almost as if the branches, thick and thin alike, came in close to form a protective cocoon around her. One that would block out all the sadness that the outside world made her feel. Nothing existing beyond the tightly woven branches and leaves could hurt her anymore. Even later, when she met Cody and they were inseparable, whenever one or usually both got in trouble, they ran up a tree to hide until things cooled down.

Feeling uncharacteristically nostalgic and in a good mood, Rogue walked over to the tree with the shortest trunk in the bunch. Shortest trunk meant the shortest climb up.

After two failed attempts, she stood back, hands at her waist, and wondered how best to get up there. It probably didn't help that she was wearing a pair of ballerina flats that had little to no traction. Kitty had tossed them at her trying to be helpful.

"Just put these on and let's go!" the petite brunette had said.

Well, much good they were doing her now. Rogue exhaled loudly, blowing a few strands of hair out of her face. Climbing trees had seemed so easy when she was young.

"Need a hand?"

Rogue did not need to turn her head to know who was walking up behind her. She was torn between her initial reaction (leave without replying and head up to Storm's balcony) or the latter (actually allowing him to help her, ugh!).

She's still not sure why she disliked him so much. Many of her students, hell, many of the X-men irritated her more than Gambit and yet she'd written him off faster than she could say his name. Sure she'd missed him at her table for a like a second, but she got over it real quick and was soon back to not giving a damn about whatever he said or did. Something about him just got to her. And that was despite the fact that there were X-men who were far more annoying.

Kurt was sweet with his kind understanding and deeply thoughtful words, but sometimes they were just too much to take and still, they had grown pretty close. Bobby's latent mutant power - pulling obnoxious pranks - had Rogue at wits end and yet, they too were still friends despite that messy break-up. Then, there was Logan and Kitty and really she could go on and on. The point was she'd decided to give Gambit a chance. If only to prove Jubilee wrong.

"He's nice and you know it!" Jubilee had insisted over an ice cream sundae. "And, girl, how do you expect your students to listen to you preach about getting along when you can't get along with your teammate?"

Rogue hated when her friends made sense.

Reluctantly, she turned to the Cajun. "Might as well make yaself useful," she said and noticed the way his expression changed to that of surprise for the briefest of seconds, but his trademark smirk was back soon enough.

"Just one hand, if ya don't mind," Rogue clarified. If the Cajun got grabby, she would be anything but nice.

"As the lady wishes," Gambit replied, tipping his head. Rogue could almost see the hat he could be wearing when he did things like that.

It took two of Gambit's hands, a knee, and two strong shoulders, but Rogue made it up. She couldn't stop smiling as she took in the thick branches, the many, many leaves, and best of all, straight above, a clearing wide enough to see every meteor that shot across the night sky if Storm kept it clear like she promised she would.

It was as if she had traveled back in time and was currently hiding up in a tree along the Mississippi. If only the air wasn't so cold and the sounds reaching her ears were different...

"You okay, chere?" Gambit called up and Rogue blinked in surprise, coming back to the present. She'd nearly forgotten he'd helped her up. Would it be rude if she replied, "Ah'm fine! Now get!" It would, she sighed. After all, she was attempting to be nice.

"Just peachy."

She'd just finished saying the words when he bounced up into her tree and nearly into her. Rogue lost her footing trying to step back, but Gambit caught her easily enough.

"Thought you said you were 'just peachy'," he grinned, "And here you are stumbling about." Rogue rolled her eyes. "You're lucky I was here to catch you," he added, still keeping his arms around her.

"It's ya fault Ah almost went over!" Rogue argued.

"Technically, you lost your footing, so I say those shoes are to blame."

He was right. She didn't admit it though.

"Ya can let go now, Cajun," she said instead.

"Just being helpful," he replied, then moved away and around her with such ease, as though they weren't up a tree in a tight space. "A gentleman always helps out a lady," he winked, sitting back on a branch. Rogue followed his movements with lidded eyes. He stretched like a cat and she turned away at the first flash of tan skin just about his jeans.

"Know when this gentleman will be arriving?" she asked, managing to make her voice and expression the definition of innocence. The blush that rose to her cheeks only helped.

"Chere," his hand clutched dramatically at his heart, "You wound me."

Despite herself, Rogue snorted in amusement. When she caught herself smiling at him and hoping he'd stretch again, she cleared her throat and moved to sit on the branch furthest from him. Luckily, it was a big enough tree that she could sit comfortably and still be far enough away.

The last bit of sunlight faded fast. To pass the time and try to ignore the way he was looking at her, Rogue took out the knife she started carrying in her back pocket only a few short months ago. It was the knife Logan had slipped into her bag without her knowledge sometime before she left the school. Apparently, he'd anticipated her runaway plans before she had. Rogue found the knife while emptying her bag in the third motel she stayed in. The knife itself was beautiful, a chrome blade and a black, smooth handle. The knife came in a narrow, black box with green velvet lining the inside and it was pretty, too, but it was the note that finally broke the dam and had her crying all night.

Don't forget who you are, kid. And remember that once you're ready, you have a place
to come home to. In the meantime, here's something to help keep you safe.

It was the first thing anyone, including her parents who never had a whole lot, had ever given her something just because and Rogue could feel the tears begin to fill her eyes now even in the safety of the tree. She spoke to keep from crying.

"Back home, Ah climbed all the time. Didn't need no help either." Gambit sniffed, she ignored him. "We climbed dang near everything in our path, we were like two bullfrogs high on caffeine." When she laughed seeming to remember an old joke, he watched her in amusement and smiled along. "Wanna hear our silly plan?" she asked without looking at him, her gaze was fixed on the branch she sat on and whatever she was carving into it with her knife.

"Sure do," he replied, wanting to find out more about this 'us' she was talking about. He didn't want her to stop smiling like she was; he'd never seen her look so happy. Remy took a mental picture unsure he'd ever see her this way again. The thought made him feel somber suddenly, but Rogue missed the frown that marred his handsome face.

"We were eight at the time, maybe nine, and we wanted to write our name on every single tree lining the Mississippi."

Gambit could almost picture a scrawny, little Rogue, big green eyes, and that happy childlike smile that both lightened up her face and made her look prettier than a magnolia after it rained.

"That right?"

"Yeah," she went on, her accent getting thicker with each word. "Cody and Ah had a wager goin' on, too. Whoever owned the most trees got ta keep the brand new bike we found near the river bank. It was a pretty bike, too. A metallic green with white handles and a white seat. It still had those colorful streamer things new bikes used to have, ya know, on the handles?"

Gambit nodded to let her know he knew what she meant. After a few minutes passed and she didn't say anything else, he asked, "So who ended up getting the bike?"

She looked up at him, a strange expression coloring her face. It was as though she'd forgotten he was there or rather, like she didn't recognize him.


She shook her head and when she looked at him again, she was smiling wistfully.

"Cody wasn't his real name." Rogue's not sure why she kept on talking, but she did. She had a faraway look in her eye and Remy stayed quiet, listening intently to everything she said. "His name was David, but he didn't like it. Said there was too many, but between you and meh, Ah have never, to this day, met another. Anyway, one weekend he went with his family over ta your neck of the woods." Gambit gave her a small smile when she looked up at him. "And Cody said there was a singer at this restaurant they had dinner at. Cody Armstrong. He sang like a bird. And danced like one, too," Rogue laughed. "Cody sang and danced like his namesake all the time. Even wanted me to learn piano, so Ah could join his band which Ah did..." She grew quiet then, even the knife in her hand stilled.

Gambit didn't like the sorrow that filled her eyes. Where did her bright, contagious smile go? It had made him want to smile along as she told her story.

He leaned forward to draw her attention.

"So, if I head down to Mississippi tomorrow...?" green eyes turned to him expectantly, "You're telling me I'll find all the trees with Rogue or Cody written on 'em?" He doubted she'd written 'Rogue' on any, but he was bothered to realize he didn't know her real name. Secretly, he was hoping she'd correct him and say, "Not Rogue, ya fool, but..."

She forced the frown away from her face, he could tell, and then she sighed, "Yeah, something like that." She grew quiet again and seemed to draw in on herself until she looked smaller than usual there perched on her branch.

The sky was completely dark now, but he could still see that the happy, childlike smile was gone, the brightness in her eyes had dimmed, and her brows were furrowed together in deep thought. Gambit watched her, wanting to know more of her, more of the small, happy Rogue running along the Mississippi getting mud all over her tiny feet and jeans. He was tempted to ask for more, but he knew better than most that there were things not at all easy to talk about.

"You done with that artwork of yours?" he asked instead, pointing at her branch.

She looked down at it.

"Yeah, Ah guess."

Out of thin air, a playing card appeared between his thumb and forefinger. Rogue nearly rolled her eyes at him, he was such a show off. Momentarily, she wondered if he'd always been. Maybe he had been a cocky eight year old, flirting with girls twice his age. She wouldn't doubt it. The thought made her giggle.

"What's so funny?" he asked, quirking an eyebrow in suspicion, but secretly glad she was smiling again.

She considered lying. "Ah was trying to picture ya as a little kid."

Gambit grinned, but he's not sure it was convincing enough to cover up the unease he felt suddenly. Unlike Rogue who at least had that boy Cody, Remy had had no one at eight years old.

"Ah'm sorry, Ah didn't mean anything by it, Ah just-"

When he looked up at her, she stopped talking. Her green eyes were wide and very afraid.

"Gambit," she swallowed. "Sugah?" she was trying to sound calm, "Ah think ya charging up the tree."

Somehow, he hadn't noticed the glowing fuchsia tree underneath his fingertips. For a moment he had been back on the streets of New Orleans, alone and cold and hungry, trying to fend for himself.

"Merde." He pulled the charge back and turned to her, "Desole." He stood quickly. "Best I be going," he muttered, his hair falling to cover his face. He needed a drink.

Rogue didn't want him to leave, especially since somehow she made him so upset he hadn't realize he was charging the whole dang tree!

"Wait!" she grabbed his hand to stop him.

Gambit looked down at her looking up at him, then at her hand holding his. Since returning to Xavier's and meeting Rogue, he had never seen her initiate contact with anyone, not even Logan. Perhaps that was why she looked nervous, sounded nervous, too, when she spoke.

"Ya can't leave without..." He could've sworn she was blushing. When she tried to pull her hand away, he held on. "Here," she managed to smile as she handed him the knife with her free hand.

"You gonna share your tree, chere?" Her hand felt so small in his and without giving it much thought, his thumb travelled back and forth over her fingertips. When he felt her tug her hand away again, he let go.

Rogue shrugged, "Ya did help me up, so..."

He took the knife, snapped the blade back into the handle, and returned it. "Got my own," he grinned, his finger glowing a soft fuchsia.

"Show off," she muttered and he winked at her while he crouched down closer to her branch to read what she wrote.

"Rogue was here."

She smiled, a little embarrassed, when he looked at her. She should have just let him leave.

Pressing his finger to the bark with enough charge to singe the tree but not charge it up, he began. Rogue watched the bright pink light play across his features. The glow brightened and ebbed causing small shadows to dance on his face. His eyes were intense, focused on whatever it was he was writing. The sharp angles of his cheekbones softened in the light and his lips looked so incredibly soft. He was beautiful, she thought with a smile.


He smiled up at her and she felt the flutter of something in the pit of her stomach. Quickly, she looked away from him and down at the branch. Rogue tried to make out what he wrote, but without the light he had provided earlier, everything blended in together in the darkness.

As if reading her mind, he held up a charged card to help her see better. His writing was so neat, it could be on an invitation. It only made her chicken scratches above his perfect penmanship look the more out of place. In her defense, she used a knife she had little practice with while wearing a new pair of gloves she had yet to break in. Oh, well, she could live with it.

"Looks really good," she admitted.

"Sure does," he replied, still looking at her. The strange fluttering in her stomach was back. She had meant his writing, but she got the impression he meant something else entirely. Before she could continue that train of thought, he spoke again, "Think your show's startin'."

She looked up through the clearing in time to catch a light flash across the sky before it faded off to a faraway place. Gambit sat down on the branch next to Rogue's. His coat brushed the side of her leg and she tried not to think about it as she watched the bits of light appearing and disappearing above them.


Later, when Rogue was in bed unable to sleep, she thought back to the few minutes she spent with Gambit. It had seemed longer than a few minutes. Maybe because she had talked and talked and told him things she'd never shared with anyone at the school, which was surprising in and of itself, but even more so, he'd listened. Hell, she'd even offered to share her tree. Now that might've been one of the nicest things she'd ever done. Not once in all the time she knew Cody did she ever offer to share a tree with him.

Rogue sat up in bed abruptly. Why had she done that? She stared at Kitty's side of the room, but it held no answers. With a groan, she fell back on her pillow.

She couldn't, could she?

Rogue thought back to what she wrote and then to what he added: Rogue was here, with Gambit. That strange fluttering in her stomach returned.

"Ah can't," she mumbled into her pillow. She shut her eyes tight. "Ah can't. Ah don't."

"You don't what?" Kitty asked, sounding groggy.

Great, now she woke up her roommate. They had an early morning Danger Room session and it would do no one any good if they both showed up tired and sleepy.

"Nothing, Kit. Sorry."

"'S okay," the girl mumbled. Soon her roommate was fast asleep and a light snoring filled their room.

Ah don't. Ah don't. Rogue repeated it over and over. She finally fell asleep trying to convince herself that she could not and did not, in any way, shape, or form, like Gambit.

on 2011-11-03 11:58 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] darthbatgirl.livejournal.com
But Rouge darling you do, you do. And he likes ya back sugar. (Couldn't resist.)

This was so cute and adorable you just want to smoosh them together.

And now I want to put in Wolverine just to see Remy.

on 2011-11-04 08:17 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] whipsy.livejournal.com

Thank you! These two won't leave me alone! (which I don't mind one bit! ;))

Watch it, watch it!! I like the movie despite the gaping plotholes, but I usually skip to the Gambit and Deadpool scenes! ;)

on 2011-11-04 02:52 am (UTC)
ext_11763: kate snark (remy: sin)
Posted by [identity profile] pervyficgirl.livejournal.com
Ah don't. Ah don't. Rogue repeated it over and over. She finally fell asleep trying to convince herself that she could not and did not, in any way, shape, or form, like Gambit.

A sure sign you've got it bad, girl.

on 2011-11-04 08:18 pm (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] whipsy.livejournal.com
*nods* She can try to fight it all she wants but... she's a goner already! ;)


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