AN: Real quick, this was something that I wrote up because I'd been trying to take a break from my other fic and get some new ideas floating around in my head. Right now, I have no real plans for this and may just leave it as is. But hey, I figured as long as I wrote it, I might as well post it. Oh yea, and this is my first attempt at accents. I suck. Badly.

Rogue huddled on the ground, fighting the tears that threatened to break her hard won control. Normally she didn't care what people said but their newest nickname for her, whispered just loudly enough for her to hear through the halls, had hit a soft spot.


She knew that they were referencing her clothes and make-up but what they didn't realize was how close to true that was. She was a vampire. But instead of blood, she took peoples souls. She was a parasite, needing others powers. And that was what scared her the most. She was beginning to need to touch. It was like a drug, that heady rush of memories and feelings flooding into her. Touching a mutant was particularly intoxicating, the power rising through her giving her a sense of control that she never had with her own powers.

She was beginning to feel like some sort of mutant junkie. She would find herself staring at people's skin, wondering what their memories were. What their powers would feel like. The more she thought about it, the more she would play with her gloves, snapping and unsnapping the buttons that kept them on.

And it seemed like the more she fought it, the more the temptation to touch was there. If she did actually touch someone it was only a short release from the craving and when it returned, it was worse than ever.

She was sick of always fighting. Fighting the voices in her head, fighting her emotions, fighting her peers. Sick of fighting for control over her own thoughts and body. She was even sick of fighting the 'enemy'. They weren't really the enemy. They were just soldiers following orders. Like her. After all, it was hard to hate anyone you really knew. And Rogue knew her enemy all too well, having been most of them.


But Rogue knew herself too well. She was too stubborn to simply stop fighting, no matter how much she may have wanted to. But she was beginning to question what she was fighting for. Mutant rights? It sounded all well and good but occasionally, seeing the kind of destructive power that some mutants wielded, she wondered if the bigots weren't right. Maybe mutants were too dangerous to live with humans. She didn't want mutants locked away or anything but she had seen too many people get hurt to truly believe in Xavier's dreams of coexisting.

But Xavier's mission was still the best option she had. Magneto had yet to realize that he had become the very thing that he feared and hated. He was the cruel suppressor of a group of people, based purely on their race. He had become so consumed by his hatred that he could no longer see himself clearly. Rogue occasionally wondered what would happen if Magneto ever did realize what he had become.

As for the Humans First and similar groups, they were just as scared. They saw the world around them changing and spinning out of their control. They desperately were fighting to get that control back and, like most creatures, they were at their most dangerous when they were feeling threatened. They weren't evil. Just horribly scared. And that fear had taken over them until they didn't see the people they were hurting, only symbols of that fear.

Rogue sighed and stared at the ground. She wasn't sure if she could keep doing this, keep living like this. Her heart wasn't with the team like it seemed to be for the others at the Institute. People like Scott and Jean never seemed to doubt that what they were doing was the right thing. But Rogue knew that there were other paths. Evan had taken one. It had hurt the X-Men to watch one of their own turn down another path, walk away from them, but Rogue understood. The Moorlocks were able to give Evan the feeling of protection and belonging that he had wanted. Underground, in the sewers and subway tunnels, there were no humans to worry about upsetting or hurting when one couldn't control ones power.

It was a testament to Dr. McCoy's inner strength that he hadn't gone into a similar hiding. He still was willing to risk dealing with normal people, risk their fear and hate because of his appearance. Even Kurt, for all that se loved her adoptive brother, didn't have that kind of strength. But he was slowly building it. His faith in God and his friends support was beginning to build up that kind of inner strength that would someday allow him to walk down the streets without his image inducer on.

Rogue didn't have it. She knew it. Late at night, when she was being honest with herself, she admitted that she was hiding more than Evan or Kurt ever would. They at least let people know why they were hiding. Rogue lied to those around her, telling them that she didn't want human contact, physical or emotional. But the truth was she craved it. Obsessed over it. Needed it. But it was forbidden fruit and so, by pushing the others away, she protected both them and herself.

She grabbed the crumpled piece of paper out of her backpack and looked at it.

Her GED. She could end it all now. Stop going to school. Stop forcing herself to deal with the snide remarks and vicious whispers. All she had to do was tell people that she had this. She had gotten it a couple months ago, at the same time when she had gone through the courts to get herself declared her own guardian and an adult. The Professor was the only one who knew about any of it, since he had helped her understand the legal paperwork and processes. He had simply accepted her need to be independent, to sever any ties to Mystique or Destiny, and offered her a place to stay. Technically, there was nothing but bad memories tying her to Bayville these days. But she was still reluctant to cut ties here. Even bad memories have a certain comfort when compared to the unknown.

She was both free and tethered here and the tether was beginning to chaff.

She needed to get away from here. Get away from all these memories, all the temptations to use her powers. She needed a chance for some peace in which to find out who the Rogue really was and maybe gain some of that control that she had been fighting for for so long.

Without even realizing it, she had made a decision. One that had been in her mind for a long time. But it had taken a stupid, childish taunt to finally push her into making it.

Standing up, she stretched, feeling muscles popping in her back after being tense for so long. It was like a huge weight had been lifted from her and she felt a smile trying to push its way on to her face for the first time in a long time.

The Professor listened to his student as she explained herself. He had known this was coming for awhile. Rogue was like a daughter to him and, like any father, he hated to see her grow up and face the world on her own. But she was about to do that and he wasn't going to stop her. Like Logan, Rogue had to fight her own battles herself and stand on her own two feet before she would ever allow others to help her. In many ways, those two were two sides of the same coin, sharing similar, tormented souls. He knew that in each other the two had found unexpected friends and wondered how Logan would take Rogue's leaving.

But Xavier had faith that Rogue would return eventually. This was her home, where her family was and he knew Rogue too well. She may try to be distant but she had a fierce streak of loyalty in her for anyone who she decided to call friend or family. The others may not have seen it, but it was Rogue who defended the X-Men from abuse and Rogue who checked up on people when they were in the sickbay. And as much as she may fight with Kurt over being his sister, Xavier knew that Rogue had considered Kurt her brother for a long time and loved him.

"We will miss you, Rogue. You will always have a place here, should you choose to return." Xavier said, trying to convey the truth of his feelings through the oddly formal words.

"Thank ya, Professor." Rogue said, and offered him a small smile before leaving his office.

Xavier wheeled himself over to his window and stared out at his Institute, contemplating mutants, their powers and the sacrifices they were forced to make, his hands resting on his useless legs.

Remy grinned happily at the fille behind the counter, ringing up his purchase. Three packs of cards, two packs of cigarettes and a bottle of bourbon. Ah, the life of a bachelor. The cashier handed him back his fake id after barely glancing at it and Remy quickly stashed the cards and cigs in the different pockets of his coat and grabbed the bottle.

Tonight was a night for celebrating. It was Mardi Gras and since he was persona non grate back where the party really was, he was going to have his own party. He was going to pick up a fille or two, maybe a couple of hommes and celebrate till he passed out. Maybe, if things got really fun, he'd get in a fight or two.

At least, that had been the plan.

The plans changed the moment he saw her walking down the street. She looked so confident and sure of herself and for the first time since he had met her, she looked happy.

"Bonjure, petite!" he said, moving to walk beside her and on the look out for one of those nasty left hooks of hers. Instead, she surprised him.

"Hey Swamp Rat." She said, flashing him a dazzling smile that left him more stunned than any blow could have.

"You feeling alright, petite?" Remy asked, confused.

"Of course. Why?" she said, walking into a store, letting him follow in her wake.

"Well, usually you've yelled at Remy by now or tried to rearrange certain key parts of his anatomy." Remy admitted frankly.

Rogue turned and laughed at him, and that laugh did weird things to his insides, "Sorry. I'll have to abuse you later. I'm busy right now."

Remy's curiosity got the better of him as he turned to look at what Rogue was buying. She was looking at several large, surplus military canvas duffle bags.

"What ya up to there chere?"

"Need something to pack all my stuff up in." Rogue muttered, looking critically at a large black bag.

"Ya goin' somewhere."

"Mm hmm." she said, looking at the tag before heading towards the counter.

Remy sighed. This was worse than twenty questions. And the fille wasn't even paying attention to him. At least when she was yelling at him, he had he complete attention. It wasn't all that flattering to be ignored in favor of a bag. So much for his being irresistible to the fairer sex.

Remy continued to follow her around to different stores for awhile until she suddenly spun to glare at him, "What the 'ell ya tink you are doin', Swamp Rat?"

Remy grinned, now here was the Roguey he knew and loved, "Followin' ya, of course."

"Why are ya followin' meh?" Rogue ground out, familiar anger leaking into her voice.

"Remy follow all de belle femmes." He said, "And you are a tres belle femme."

Rogue blushed slightly before pushing past him, "I don't have time for this."

"Why don't you let Remy buy ya dinner, chere. Call it a goin' away gift."

Rogue glared at him but before she could reply Remy added, "If ya don't, Remy just be forced to follow ya everywhere."

Rogue blew at her white bangs, which had once again fallen in her eyes and glared at him, "Fahn. Anything to get rid of ya, Swamp Rat."

"Anythin', chere?" Remy couldn't resist.

Luckily, Remy could dodge.

"So, where are ya goin'?" Remy asked as they waited for their food.

After much debate, they had ended up at Perkins. It was the place you went when nothing else was appealing or open. Which meant that people ended up there all the time. Rogue had the menu memorized.

"Why ya wanna know?" Rogue asked, a touch of suspicion coloring her voice.

"Maybe Remy wanta know where he'll be living next."

Rogue laughed. She couldn't help it. The man was a charmer and a flirt. But there was something about his flirting that, instead of making her uncomfortable like it did with others, set her at ease. She could laugh at him and fight with him and still talk to him normally the next day. That wasn't something she could say about anyone else.

"Well then, I guess its a good thang I haven't decided yet. If I don't know, you can't follow." Rogue said with a smile.

"Den why ya leavin'?" Remy asked, a note of concern creeping into his voice.

"Haven't ya ever wanted ta just get away for awhile, see knew places and faces? I just need to get out of this town for awhile." Rogue said, allowing herself to be honest with the man if front of her.

"I understand, chere."

Rogue looked up and searched his face. He never referred to himself in first person unless he was serious. And she could see it in his face. Something was going on behind those demon eyes of his, some old pain was being remembered and for a moment Rogue was tempted to touch him, skin to skin, and share that pain.

She shook her head, as if the physical action would shake out the thought. This was why she had to get out of here. Too much temptation.

She looked up at Remy and saw him looking at her. Saw the way his unruly hair fell in his red on black eyes and the way his trench coat hugged his upper body, highlighting firm muscles.

Yep. Way too much temptation in this town.

Somehow Remy convinced Rogue to go out to a club with him after dinner. It hadn't actually been that hard. It was as if, now that she was leaving, she didn't feel that desperate need to keep him at a distance. He was no longer 'the enemy' since she was no longer an X-Man. She wasn't betraying anyone's trust by liking him and hanging out with him. She was finally free to like or dislike people based upon her own feelings rather than the feelings of her team.

They eventually ended up laying outside on the grass overlooking the city. They had finished off Remy's bottle of bourbon and played several hands of high-stakes go-fish before eventually falling asleep together, Remy's coat pulled over the both of them like a blanket.

In the morning, Remy slipped something into Rogues hand as they parted. After he was gone, she finally looked down at the scrap of paper.


Don't forget to come home eventually. And drop me a line once in awhile to prove you're still alive.'

Underneath was scribbled an e-mail address.

Rogue smiled as she looked at it.

"Dumb Cajun." she muttered, carefully folding the piece of paper up and putting it in her wallet.

Guess this meant she had to get a computer.