Sorry for the wait. Holidays became filled with preparation for the New Year. You all know how it goes.

So I hope this chapter isn't too boring. It's full of dialogue because I realised my brain was moving faster than my pen, and that some explanations were in order. Hopefully this chapter answers some questions and makes some more.

I don't own anything but the car, which isn't even that well described- all we know is that it's easy to hotwire. Marvel owns everything else.


The first thing Gambit realised was that he was uncomfortable. His head pounded as he opened his eyes slowly, wincing as the sun partially blinded him. He was stuffed into the passenger seat of a small car, his neck locked in an awkward position as it balanced against the door.

He stretched uncomfortably and took note of his surrounding, checking for an escape. The car seemed to be parked on the side of a gravel path set between a few trees. More importantly the car was empty and there was no one around. Gambit tested the door and to his immense surprise it popped open easily. "Worst kidnapping ever' he mumbled stumbling out of the car and flexing to get the blood circulating again. He tried to remember what happened. The last thing he could remember was the feeling of the belle femelle's soft hand on his face, a strange tugging sensation, and then waking up in an unknown car in the middle of nowhere.

Gambit frowned as he looked around. The femelle...Marie. Where was she? He considered his situation for a moment before slipping around the car, settling himself into the driver's seat and fiddling with the controls. The keys were obviously gone but any idiot could hotwire a car, especially the piece of tissu de crêpe that this was. The car chugged to life and he set off down the road, still deep in thought. So the goddess...Rogue... had more than one power. Shape shifting, telepathy, and some bizarre ability to knock people out with a single touch. That particular talent, he mused, could be a problem. It was obviously that power which had put that Cody boy in a coma. Gambit didn't think he had been out for more than a few hours. He was obviously lucky.

But the most bizarre thing was why she had driven him out to the middle of nowhere and left him. Where could she have gone? Just as Gambit contemplated this dilemma the car screeched to a stop, the metal groaning around him. "What the...!'

His mouth fell open as Rogue fell from the sky gracefully to land in front of the car, her face fuming. "Swamp Rat! What on earth do ya think ya doin! How dare ya try and steal ma' car!' Remy twisted out of his seat to stand and face her, his hand reaching instinctively into his back pocket for his deck of cards.

"I'm sorry chere, but I think you'll have to agree that if anyone should be upset here, it's Remy. This old Cajun was just coming for an innocent visit at a respectable hospital when he was knocked out and left alone in the middle of nowhere." He smiled at her charmingly as he readied his cards deftly behind his back. "Of course being a respectable hospital, Remy can understand why you may have wanted somewhere more secluded to continue our conversation."

Rogue rolled her eyes, but dropped her defensive stance. 'All right Cajun. I get ya point an' I'm sorry. Can we jus' talk for a bit? No innuendos or anythin'. Just talk." She cocked a hip and looked at him steadily. Gambit met her belle eyes with his own and immediately dropped his cards back into his pocket and bowed. "Of course chere."

"Don' call me that", she muttered half-heartedly moving to sit on the bonnet of the car. Gambit followed her example.

Rogue peeked at him sideways before letting her hair fall down like a silky brown waterfall between them. Gambit fought the urge to run his fingers through it, to twist the unique white strands and... He stuffed his hands in his pockets and grinned winningly at her. "Well chere, what do you want to talk about."

Rogue swallowed before twisting to meet his eyes. "Who are ya? What's your power? And why were ya following me?" Remy chuckled shaking his head. "Now that's hardly fair. Letting you in on all my secrets and not knowing any of yours! How about a trade. You ask me a question and I'll ask you."

Rogue scowled but nodded. "What's ya power then?" To answer Remy picked up a stray leaf from the car window and lit it with his power, tossing it into the air as it exploded. Rogue bit her lower lip frowning slightly. So ya' can blow things up." She picked up another leaf and played with it thoughtfully. "That and more chere. So now my question. What is your power other than the ones I already know? Are there more?"

Rogue smiled secretively before lifting the leaf she had been playing with. Gambit stared in shock as it glowed a familiar magenta colour before exploding. "There is more sugah, much more." Gambit raised an eyebrow.

She sighed. "Mah power is to steal the powers of others. Ah absorb their life force, memories, personality, and powers. It happens through skin to skin contact. Ah didn't have it under control for years but a few months ago I finally managed to organise mah mind. Now ah can take only what ah want. Just powers or the lifeforce. Or nothin. Ah can take nothin'." She beamed at him suddenly. "Ah can take nothin' now as long as ahm concentrating."

Gambit considered this, a million question bubbling through his brain. "So when you touched me..."

Rogue blushed. "Ah needed to know if yah were a threat. Why yah were following me and how ya knew so much about meh. Life force and memories come together so I had to take both." She grinned in embarrassment. "Ah did warn ya!"

Gambit swallowed. "So you know all of my memories now. Everything inside my head?"

Rogue scowled. "Ah should!" She burst out. "Ah was jus' goin' tah absorb you, see if yah were a problem, park you in a hospital bed and leave. But for some reason ah got nothin' from yah. I got your life force, yah powers obviously even though I couldn't figure out what they were, even your blasted psyche which has been making the most disgusting comments for the last few hours! But your memories have all slithered into the back of mah mind and I cant reach them! It's never happened before! I also got your eyes. It was the most bizarre feeling, seeing your eyes on my face and knowing instinctively I had another power, but without yah memories ah had no idea what it was. Yah could have been a teleporter for all ah knew! And ah couldn't jus try them out coz they could have been dangerous, and besides ah wasn't sure if it would be instinctive control or not. "

She finished her rant and continued to fume silently while Gambit pondered this. "When you say psyche, you mean...?" She glanced at him still annoyed. "Everyone ah have ever touched is still in mah head. It's hard to explain but think of them as mini personas. They give me trouble sometimes when they won't be quiet." She frowned. "Yours has been hard to control, constantly begging to..." She blushed and looked away.

Gambit grinned. "That doesn't sound like me!" He protested. "I would never bother a beautiful femme. Maybe this psyche is just someone you dreamed up to fulfil your own desires..." He chuckled at the look on her face. "Alright, just one more question. Where are you taking me?" Rogue sighed. Not absorbing you properly may be because of a defect in my powers, or just another power of yours. Either way I am taking you back to tha' institute. It is a school fah mutants where ah live. I want the professor to meet yah and to help me figure out what is goin' on."

She slipped off the bonnet and turned to face him. "So now I jus' need to know if yar goin' to come willingly, or if ahm gonna have to give ya another tap with mah powers." Gambit got to his feet, casually feeling for his cards again. "Well chere I would prefer to remain conscious. But I have to ask. Where is this mystery institute? A little birdie tells me it's up north near New York? Bayville? As beautiful as you are, this Cajun does not enjoy the climate that far north. It's too cold."

Rogue narrowed her eyebrows. "It wasn't a choice swamp rat! And how did you know where it is! How do you know so much about meh and the institute! This is why ahm tak'n ya whether ya like it or not!" She moved into an offensive stance.

Gambit considered his options as he casually shuffled his cards. He could reassure her that he didn't know anything about this institute or her other than what he picked up in the hospital records and through local gossip. She would still probably try to get him to go with her though, just to be sure. They could fight. He was reasonably confident he could take her. Her hold over her borrowed powers seemed shaky and he should be safe from her true power as long as he avoided skin to skin contact.

But looking at her angry face; her emerald eyes flashing, her cheeks flushed... mon dieu... this was the girl who he had hunted for weeks and now she was offering to let him go with her! So why shouldn't he hang around, maybe visit this institute. Gain her trust. He could leave whenever he wanted and meanwhile he could attempt the ultimate heist. Touch the untouchable girl. From the way she wore those gloves, Gambit could tell that her newly acquired control of her abilities was still too raw for her to have touched many people. She had barriers up that screamed stay away even as her beauty shrieked come hither. It was a delicious combination.

Making his decision, Gambit pocketed his cards and smirked at the surprise on Rogues face. "Remy just can't refuse a belle femelle any request. Remy will come with you to the institute." He took one of her hands in his own. "It's a bit early to meet the parents but Remy's more than willing to speed up the relationship." He delicately placed a kiss on one of her gloved hands admiring the blush that heated her face.

Rogue snatched back her arm. "Good. Now get in the car swamp rat. And keep your hands to yourself. Ah have more than enough of you in my head, I don't need you annoying me out here as well...


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