When It's Love

BY : DrunkenScotsman
Category: X-Men - Animated Series (all) > Het - Male/Female
Dragon prints: 2757
Disclaimer: All X-Men characters and locations are the intellectual property of Marvel Comics. I make no money from writing this story.

Chapter 1: Defining the Problem

 

“Jean, could Ah ask you somethin’?  It’s kahnda personal, though.”

The redhead telepath looked up from her salad to regard her Southern companion across the table from her.  Against the backdrop of the mall’s bustling food court, Rogue outwardly fit right in, clad in a sunny, low-cut, long-sleeved top and short denim skirt; but the pensive expression on her face ill-suited the atmosphere of a fun girls’ day out shopping.  At the moment, the two mutant women were grabbing a bite while Ororo, the most patient of them, was helping young Jubilee navigate one of the most difficult tasks a woman could face – finding bras that fit comfortably.

“Of course, Rogue,” replied Jean amiably.  “What’s on your mind?”

Rogue poked at her stir-fry with a plastic fork listlessly, not even responding to Jean’s attempt at a joke.  “How did you know for sure when… when you ‘n Scott… when what y’all have was the real deal?”  She looked up at her companion earnestly.  “Ah mean, when you could feel it in your bones.”

Brow furrowed in thought, Jean mulled the question over.  Given the sassy Southerner’s usual carefree demeanor, this sudden-seeming melancholy could well have lain dormant for some time; so Jean wanted to give her friend the best answer possible.  Finally, she responded: “I’m not sure if I can say, exactly.  It just… felt right all along; or maybe it happened so gradually that I can’t distinguish between ‘before’ and ‘after.’  But it could also have been different for me than for most women.”  Here she tapped her temple meaningfully.

Rogue’s lips pursed, and her chin rested in her hand.  “Nevermahnd.  It’s a pointless question anyhow.”

Jean suppressed a smirk.  A few guesses about the origins of the question had immediately presented themselves, but now she could narrow it down to one: Remy LeBeau.  The Cajun’s pursuit of the untouchable belle, the ultimate quixotic quest, had become the stuff of legend and endless humor around the Mansion.  Unfortunately, the feelings of loneliness and despair caused by the pursuit were far too painful to be funny, at least to Jean, especially now that a particularly intense wave of both washed over Rogue and, by extension, the telepath.

“What did Remy do to you now?” asked Jean as she sipped her water.

“When we were in the Savage Land,” Rogue began, almost too softly to be heard, “and Mr. Sinister was about to start experimentin’ on me…”  She stared through the table, it seemed, to see the memory.  “He… He told me he loved me.”

Before Jean could respond, Rogue continued, the words pouring forth as if a dam within her had burst: “He even said he never said that to nobody before.  Then, then he kissed me, raht on the mouth.”  She looked up, eyes glassy but fierce.  “It was this big, romantic gesture; but Ah reckon it don’t mean nothin’ since we ain’t about t’ dah no more.”

The bitterness in her voice and in her psyche cut Jean to the core.  She knew Rogue had been ill-used in the past and didn’t trust easily; she also knew Remy was an incorrigible flirt, even making passes at her, despite her long-standing relationship with Scott, from time to time.  “Have you talked to Remy about it since we’ve returned?” she croaked, fighting back her own tears from sensing Rogue’s angst.

“Hell naw!” Rogue snorted.  “What’d be the point?”

“Honesty’s crucial to the health of a relationship,” Jean chided.

Rogue shook her head, her thick auburn mane whipping along with the motion.  “We ain’t in a relationship, Jean!  We can’t hold hands, or kiss, or… do other stuff couples do!” she complained, though the last one brought a flush to her cheeks.

Jean kept her expression carefully neutral.  In addition to loneliness, one of the consequences of Rogue’s inability to touch was a deep desire for physical affection, bordering on obsession.  Not just for herself, either – Rogue often alternated between states of unhealthy anguish and unhealthy interest when, for instance, Jean and Scott would cuddle or kiss.  The telepath had also become well-acquainted with Rogue’s active, libidinous imagination, thanks to the Southern woman’s intense projections during her frequent auto-erotic sessions.  Even though Jean didn’t enjoy feeling Rogue’s powerful, self-induced climaxes each morning and night, she never had the heart to confront her friend about it, to ask her to keep it down.

“Friendships are relationships, too,” the redhead finally pointed out, in order to avoid dwelling on Rogue’s personal habits.  “What he said to you clearly has you agitated.  Perhaps you should tell him how you feel.”  Jean sipped her drink again.

Rogue’s cheeks reddened further.  “How Ah feel?  That blamed swamp-rat drahves me nuts!  It’s lahk… he’s teasin’ me, pushin’ mah buttons, getting’ under mah skin till Ah can’t stand it no more!”

Jean nodded, noting once again how her friend’s accent thickened when her emotions ran high.  “Why don’t you tell him to stop, if it makes you uncomfortable?” asked the redhead.

“You know how stubborn Remy is,” huffed Rogue.

“Not really,” replied Jean with a faint smile.  “Out of everyone, you probably know him best.”

Rogue frowned.  “Ah reckon he don’t let many people in close.”

“A trait you both share,” Jean responded, “yet Remy, at least, seems willing to make the effort.  What’s stopping you, Rogue?”

“Mah dang powers!” Rogue exclaimed, as if it were the most obvious thing in the world.

Jean rubbed the bridge of her nose; she felt as if she were banging her head against a wall.  After a few moments, she decided on a new tack: “What do you want from Remy, exactly?”

Rogue opened her mouth to answer, but shut it again just as quickly.  Her face flushed until it matched Jean’s hair; the telepath caught a few scattered images projected from her friend’s psyche, images that got even the happily-spoken-for redhead a little hot under the collar.  Their proximity enhanced the emotional feedback Jean received, as compared to the usual circumstances when the two women were on opposite ends of the hall.

“I… I see,” muttered Jean as she sipped her water again, this time to cool herself.

“Sorry, Jean.  Lots of pent-up… frustration,” Rogue explained sheepishly.  “Ah don’t want… just that kahnd of thing, though.  If Ah let Remy in, Ah wanna…”  Here the Southerner flicked her eyes to highlight the innuendo: “Really let him in.”

Jean giggled briefly, but her expression returned to seriousness as she regarded her friend.  “I think there’s something else you’re not telling me.”

Rogue bit her lip and stared at the table.  “The other reason Ah let Remy get under mah skin,” she replied softly.  “What if he gets sick o’ waitin’ for me?  What if he moves on to the next gal before Ah’m ready to… or able to… y’know.  So Ah… string him along a little bit.”

Jean shook her head.  “Remy said he loved you.  He said you’re the only one he’s felt that for.  Call me romantic, but if that’s not love – the kind that will withstand time and trials alike – I don’t know what it is.”

Rogue sighed.  “Ah dunno.  Ah still think he just said it when it looked lahk our goose was cooked,” she argued.

“You don’t trust him,” Jean summarized from Rogue’s last few statements, feeling like they were on the cusp of a breakthrough.

“Maybe not,” Rogue admitted with a sigh.  “Or maybe Ah’m scared that he did mean it.”

“Love is a gift, a treasure,” Jean replied, “but it can also be a terrible burden, a responsibility difficult to think you can fulfill.”  A soft, wistful smile curled her lips, and her gaze grew distant, as if she were indulging in some fond memory.

Rogue stared at her friend with no shortage of incredulity.  “Gimme a break, Jean,” she snarked.  “You and Scott… y’all got this perfect li’l fairy-tale romance.  Ain’t no way it’s difficult for you.”

Jean’s green eyes – a trait she shared with her Southern friend – glittered with suppressed mirth.  “You already forgot about our sham marriage officiated by a shapeshifter?” the redhead teased.

Rogue chuckled.  “Okay – nearly perfect,” she conceded.  “Still, what y’all have is beautiful, stable.  Me ‘n Remy wouldn’t have that.”

“Of course you wouldn’t have what Scott and I have.  You’d have something special all your own,” Jean asserted.  “Love looks different to different people.”  At Rogue’s skeptical look, the redhead continued, “For example, Wolverine wants someone he can protect; Beast wants someone who accepts him the way he is; Jubilee wants someone fun, with a good sense of humor.”

Rogue pursed her lips.  “What do Ah want?”

Jean regarded her friend.  “I don’t know.  You and Remy are the hardest people to read I’ve ever met.  Besides,” she added with a wink, “you should probably answer that for yourself.”

Rogue stared at her cold, barely-touched lunch.  “Even if Ah figure that out, we can’t do anything about it,” she grumbled.

“You don’t think Remy could give you what you want?” nudged Jean.

The Southern mutant’s face reddened.  “Ah’m sure he could,” she answered, ghosts of Remy’s memories she’d absorbed surfacing.  She glanced up to see Jean also blushing furiously.  “He’s had his share o’ women.”

“I see,” answered the telepath, her mouth suddenly dry.  After another sip of water, Jean pointed out, “Yet it’s only you Remy’s told he loves.  If he’s as skilled as those thoughts suggest…”  She wiggled her eyebrows.  “I might be a bit jealous of you.”

Rogue giggled.  “Yeah, raht.  Besahdes, it’s countin’ chickens before they’re hatched at this point.  Before the eggs’re even laid, maybe.”

Jean’s gaze grew distant.  After several silent moments, the telepath returned to the present.  “Ororo’s in need of relief from Jubilee.  If you want my advice, here it is: Talk to Remy.  Tell him how you feel about him, whether or not that includes romantic feelings.”  She stood and gave her Southern friend a kind smile.  “Once you both know where you stand, you can decide how to proceed.” 

With that, Jean left to dispose of her trash and take over from Ororo the duty of riding herd on their young charge.  Once she’d departed, Rogue sat, alone and silent, deep in thought.  She completely lost track of her surroundings.

“Of the many wonders modern life affords, the brassiere is one I could live without,” grumbled Ororo as she sat down across from Rogue with her lunch, a serving of hummus and pita.

Rogue looked up, startled from her thoughts.  “Oh, hey, Ororo.  Didn’t notice you sit down.”

“Fortunately for you, I no longer steal purses,” commented the exotic woman with a wry smirk.  When that quip garnered no response, Ororo regarded her Southern friend with her electric-blue eyes.  “What has you troubled, Rogue?”

Rogue shrugged.  “It’s Remy, as usual.”

Ororo’s eyes glittered mischievously, and she barely suppressed a laugh.  “Of course.  I might have guessed.”

Rogue nodded.  “He said –“

“I heard,” Ororo interjected.  “I was trapped within the same cage.  Why would those words trouble you?”

“Under mah circumstances, wouldn’t hearin’ that bug you?” asked Rogue in response.  “Knowin’ that, even if Remy meant it, there ain’t a blamed thing ya could do about it?”

“I am unsure how I might respond in your situation,” Ororo admitted.  “However, what most would see as an opportunity, you shun.  What restrains you from accepting Remy’s feelings?”

“Mah powers,” Rogue replied, again with her “that should be obvious” tone.

“His feelings for you do not hinge on the ability to touch,” Ororo pointed out.  “Do yours?”

“A little,” Rogue replied defensively.

Ororo shook her head and nibbled some of her lunch.  “I think something else holds you back.”

Long moments passed while Rogue considered those words.  “Ah’m… scared,” she finally admitted.

Ororo fixed her friend with an intense, piercing gaze.  “Do not be,” she urged.  “I fear enclosed spaces, and I fear losing control of my powers, for the devastation they could wreak.  Even with that danger, I have never feared embracing love.”  Rogue looked at her skeptically, prompting the African mutant to add, “Without risk, there is no reward.  Do you truly enjoy remaining alone?”

The Southern belle’s eyes widened as the question struck home.  “Ah… Ah think you’re raht,” she murmured.  “Mahnd if Ah ditch y’all the rest of the day?  There’s a Cajun out there, and Ah got a bone t’ pick with him.”

Heedless of the short skirt she wore, Rogue flew back to the Mansion, intent on locating one Remy LeBeau.  After checking the basketball and tennis courts, the pool, and the garage, Rogue spotted her quarry in the game room, bent over the pool table.  The Southern belle stopped in her tracks as she took in the sight of Remy’s tall, lean frame in profile.

The black tee he wore fit snugly against his chiseled torso, also coincidentally displaying his well-muscled arms.  His jeans, in his current position, hinted at a taut, toned rear.  His hands deftly maneuvered the cue into just the spot he wanted, triggering Rogue’s imagination regarding what else he might accomplish with such nimble fingers.  He wore an intense look of concentration, his eyes – those crimson-on-sable wonders – seeming to burn a hole in the table’s felt.  Rogue’s face heated as she imagined tackling Remy, pinning him to the table, ripping off his clothes, and riding him until they were both utterly, deliciously spent.

The crack of the pool balls colliding into each other snapped Rogue back to the present.  She strode with purpose up to the Cajun as he lined up his next shot, seemingly oblivious to her approach.  Licking her lips and heaving a silent prayer that the signs of her arousal weren’t blatantly obvious, Rogue broke the silence: “You got a lotta nerve, Remy LeBeau.”

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A/N: Long time, no see, fellow X-aholics!  I thought it was high time to write another X-fic and realized, "I haven't done a Rogue/Gambit piece yet, even though they're my favorite comic-book couple!"  So here's the start of that.  Continuity is that of the X-Men Animated Series of the mid-90's, which is what got me into X-Men in the first place; Rogue was probably my first cartoon crush.

As always, I welcome and encourage feedback, in the form of ratings, reviews, or PMs on the forum; additionally, the review reply thread is open on the forum (link: http://www2.adult-fanfiction.org/forum/index.php/topic/62144-when-its-love-review-replies-and-discussion/ ).



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