Disclaimer: I do not own the X-Men or X-Men films.

Chapter One

Rogue faced a superficial decision. This had become a daily event, yet, she could never come to a final conclusion.

Did she let her curls run wild or straighten them?

After many years of letting her disorderly hair be unruly, Rogue relished in the feeling about making such a simple, mundane choice. The Sanctuary had been a place where survival took precedence to beauty. Practicality beat materialism every time.

After a grueling day in the garage, she had more or less bolted to the shower with eagerness. She had a funky smell that was an atrocious combination of motor oil, grime, and pickle juice. Though she couldn't fault herself on the last one, the sandwich practically challenged her to devour it in one bite.

When she finally emerged from the humid paradise called a shower, she looked at the ringlets cascading down her naked form. As a child she didn't care what she looked like. It wasn't until her teenage years, when peer pressure and boys were more noticeable, that appearance became a dominating factor. It started with hair, then clothes, and later, skin.

Walking into the vast expanse of her room, Rogue eyed the black dress she'd chosen earlier with hesitation. The truth was, she once, not so long ago, did not have the option of having things like an abundance of clothes to choose from or even the ability to ponder over frivolous matters such as a hairstyle. The Sanctuary provided her with basic necessities: food, water, shelter, and maybe a good pair of underwear or two. In turn, it was her job to help keep the place safe and to provide those necessities to people in more of a dire need than her.

Looking at the dress, Jubilee the Shopping Dictator, had haphazardly chucked into her changing room on an endeavor to the mall, Rogue felt something she hadn't felt in years.

Peace and anticipation.

She picked up the dress and admired its satiny quality. Unclasping the collared neck and tugging it over her head, she put the metal pieces back together and smoothed her hands down the rayon fabric. Rogue gazed into the mirror, a smile tugging on the corners of her lips. She turned around and looked over her shoulder, the sight of her exposed velvety back greeted her sight. Her back dimples peeked out from under the black, making her grin grow. If only she could show her younger self this dress; the girl would practically faint with the amount of skin showing.

Rogue swung around to sit at her desk and pulled out the hair straightener. Though it was a tedious, even grueling process, she took her time. When she finished, her hair in a high ponytail and the final touches of makeup and shoes completed the look.

She was ready and more importantly, she felt it too.

Gazing into her reflection, her red pouted lips formed the words, "That will do pig." Rogue grinned and sashayed out the door.

Logan was sitting at the island in the kitchen, nuzzling a beer, when she walked in.

"Friday already?" He tipped back his Molson, glancing at her as she made her way to the "special" pantry. The thumb print scanned hers and a door to the left of her opened with a click. Rogue gazed at the contents before resting on a half empty tequila bottle.

"Ya know it," Rogue replied back. She grabbed a case of shot glasses and the alcohol. "Will you be joining us tonight?"

Logan let a smile appear, his blue eyes crinkling in laughter. "I think I'll pass." He raised his beer in her direction then took a sip. The Wolverine was never one to socialize much.

Rogue grinned back at him before leaning over the counter to give him a quick kiss on the cheek. His face was full of scruff and it tickled her chin. As she departed the room with her alcoholic paraphernalia, Logan's eyes widened at her retreating back and choked on his beer. "You're spending way too much time with those damn telepaths," he mutters loudly enough for her to hear.

Rogue's laugh echoed down the hall behind her.

Coming upon a corridor that stretched into an elegant foyer with two wooden descending staircases merging into one, she could hear a shriek come from the right. Two entryways occupied opposite sides of the opulent room. The one housing some rowdy residents was the destination. Her heels clacked against the marble before coming to a stop outside of the doorway and Rogue watched as a petite brunette in red strapless dress phased herself through the couch before screaming, "Butt out of it, Jubilee!" Rogue's head moved in sync with the brunette's pacing body as she moved back and forth the length of the couch.

"C'mon, Kitty! Did you see the look on his face when he saw you? He turned beet red!" The black haired Asian woman, decked out in a pink sparkly dress, was grinning ear to ear.

"The last thing I need is to be taking romantic advice from is a person that men practically running away from! And he did not turn 'beet red' because of me, he was embarrassed that you laughed at him like that." Kitty's face was red in anger and her arms crossed over her heaving chest as she phased through the couch again, coming to a stop in front of Jubilee. Her digit pointed at Jubilee with a furious shake.

Rogue looked to the other occupant in room, a purple haired vision sitting on an adjacent couch to the bickering duo. The naturally poised woman's violet eyes sparkled as she glanced at Rogue. She knew that the woman was enjoying the show despite Betsy's perceived indifferent demeanor.

"Just ask him out already! The worst thing he could say is no." Jubilee turned to look at the other Asian woman questioningly. "Right?" Psylocke merely shrugged then glanced to with Rogue an impish smile.

Kitty bellowed out, "That's what I'm afraid of!"

Rogue smirked while joining Betsy on the couch. Reaching out and lacing her hand around the other's arm, Betsy gave her a coy smile and melted into Rogue's touch before turning back to the scene before that. Leaning in, Rogue whispered, "How long have they've been going at this?"

"Just a few minutes. Piotr walked in and started stuttering, asking if Kitty could join him for a painting session tomorrow. He did, in fact, turn 'beet red' after Jubilee laughed at him." Betsy muttered before rolling her eyes. Her smile grew a little wider which caused Rogue to grin in return.

It wasn't unusual for some quarrels to occur amongst the youngest of the team, particularly when Jubilee liked to provoke Kitty in all things Piotr related.

She decided to break the tension and placed down the shot glasses onto the ottoman. Instantly, crazed eyes turned to the glasses.

Kitty reluctantly sat down next to Jubilee and looked distastefully at the tequila. "Oh boy, Storm is not going to like this one bit."

"No, she will not," Jubilee gleefully agreed while swiping the liquor into her hands. She ripped off the top and poured the liquid into awaiting shot glasses for everyone, including the absent Storm. They all looked at each other and picked up the awaiting doom. A moment of silence was held before they downed it.

"Yuck!" Kitty was trying hold back a gag.

"Holy cow," Rogue gasped out. She pinched her nose and watched the gagging Kitty with some mild amusement.

The two of them had come a long way from where they once were. Rogue was friends with her, closer than she would have guessed after Kitty became an item with Bobby. They had made amends with each other, as had she and Bobby.

Kitty was not the girl Rogue had once thought her to be. She was fierce, loyal, and smart; something she had proved to Rogue time and time again since her return to the X-Men.

"So, when are you going to tell Petey how you feel about him?" Rogue inquired.

Kitty still recovering from the tequila, sputtered out, "Not you too!"

Rogue fixated Kitty a look, then smiled before stating, "It's obvious how you feel about him, Kit. Everyone, and I mean everyone, but you can see that he feels the same way."

Rogue felt Betsy nod in encouragement beside her. Jubilee looked at Kitty and exclaimed, "I told you so!"

Kitty ducked her head in embarrassment before peering up at the group. She spoke quietly, "Really? You think so?"

"I know so, Kitty. He's one of my best friends. Plus, he does ask for you to pose for him. You're his muse." Rogue paused and smiled suggestively. "Even the ones of me don't quite have the same emotion behind them."

Betsy began to chortle behind a hand and Rogue knew what her friend was thinking of.

"Okay, see, that's what makes me think he isn't interested," Kitty muttered. "He asks you to pose for him more than me."

Rogue looked at the brunette sympathetically. "I know it isn't ideal considering your feelings, but Pete's helping with my therapy." She had speculated how the mandatory painting sessions would affect Kitty. It was obvious the brunette thought something more substantial was going on behind the scenes. But Rogue knew Piotr and despite what was reflected on his canvas, she could see the differences in her art versus Kitty's.

"Is that tequila I see?" Storm's voice cut through the room. She somehow made the risqué blue halter dress elegant and edgy simultaneously.

Jubilee beamed up at their team leader, answering the weather witch's question with an enthusiastic nod before pushing a full shot glass in her direction. Storm walked over and downed the alcohol with a gulp. Her head shook, her mohawk white hair flowing back and forth.

"Atta girl!", Rogue hollered and Jubilee clapped her hands together gleefully.

Storm sat on sofa the next to Kitty, pouring herself another and Jubilee took the cue to begin to refill the glasses afterwards.

The women picked up each their shots. Jubilee raised hers up and the others followed suit. "Ladies! Here's to us and our continuous badassery!" The women swallowed back the drink and simultaneously blanched.

After composing herself, Storm declared, "I've asked Logan to drive us tonight." Rogue's eyebrow popped up in response. Considering her previous conversation with the man, she was somewhat surprised.

Jubilee made hand motions resembling fellatio and Storm turned to her with look. Jubilee raised her hands in mock defense. "What? We all know how much he hates joining us, much less driving. Logan obviously needed incentive." Jubilee winked and Storm's demeanor continued to be unfazed.

The doorbell rang, the sound echoing off the walls. Rogue got up, raising a hand to Ororo who had begun to rise. "I'll get it, no worries." She turned from the room and her back was greeted by enthusiastic hollering.

"Oh luv, you look delectable!" Betsy belted out while Jubilee screamed out, "I knew you would look good in that!"

Rogue grinned over her shoulder and ambled to the front door, the sounds of her friends raised voices and laughter following her. Rogue turned the door handle and was greeted by a sudden red flash accompanied with low grunt.

"Mon dieu."