A/N Hello all! I know it's been a ridiculously long time, but I finally have the time to start posting regularly again. Actually, that's a total lie, I have absolutely no time at all, but I'm going to do it anyways! Because as the saying goes, I don't write because I want to, but because I have to.
So this is pretty self-explanatory from the title, each chapter will focus on an aspect of the lovely Rogue and Gambit and because I love playing with forms, it'll be alphabetical. I love this fandom, comic fans along with sci-fi are the best fans in the world and they make the best fan fiction readers.
A is For Arkansas
Rogue had been to Arkansas dozens of times, mostly when she was a kid whenever her parents started to feel in need of a break. Rogue had dreaded these trips, they meant she'd be stuck for at least a weekend at her dad's sister's house. Aunt Millie was at least 60 years old, loved cats, and forced a young Rogue to drink tea and watch hours of I Love Lucy reruns. Rogue had never hated the show before Aunt Millie but now, even when she turned 25, the theme song was enough to drive her from a room. Jubilee noticed, found a recording of the theme song and blasted it over the school's speaker system. Rogue had recruited Logan and the two of them had stolen Jubilee's door in retaliation.
When Storm had assigned Rogue a solo mission to a small town in Arkansas, she was less than thrilled. Especially since it was twenty minutes from the home of her Aunt Millie, who had told Rogue's dad that she should burn the mutant out of her after the David incident.
The mission had gone well enough. The family of the young mutant girl had been very receptive to the idea of a mutant school but were unsure if they wanted their little girl so far from them. It had brought a smile to Rogue's face. She was quite proud of her fellow southerners. She'd promised to give them some time to think about it.
There wasn't much to do in the town. Its downtown area consisted of a church, gas station, two bars, a store, and a strip club. Rogue had gotten the desire for bars out of her system when she turned 21, but there was a small casino attached to the side that she figured might be a good place to kill a few hours. All she had to do was hope Storm didn't look too closely at her expense account bill.
A man greeted her at the door with a smile and $5 in chips, a sort of welcoming promotion. Rogue was feeling extremely overdressed in her black business pants and form fitting emerald scoop neck long sleeved shirt and dainty gloves. She didn't particularly enjoy dressing this nice, but she wanted to make a good impression on the girl's family. Everyone else in the miniature casino was wearing jeans.
The man took her blazer to the coat room and wished her luck. She thanked him and made her way to the small row of slot machines but was intercepted not even halfway there by a man with slicked back hair and a toothpick in his mouth. He bit a cherry off the end of the toothpick, rolling the fruit with his lips before winking at her. Without speaking, Rogue turned on her heel and made her way to the poker tables. Poker wasn't really her favorite but she'd absorbed enough of Logan to be a decent player.
"Is this seat open?" she asked, approaching the closest table. She glanced over her shoulder at cherry-boy who had his eyes fixed on her ass. The two men at the table chuckled.
"Take a seat little lady," the older one said. He tipped his hat to her, revealing a bald head. "My name's Rex, don't mind Toby over there, thinks he's a ladies' man. Some guys got no shame." Rex shook his head. The other man chuckled and nodded in greeting to her.
"The name's Gambit," he said.
"Well in keeping with the nickname theme, I'm Rogue," she said.
The man, Gambit's, lips quirked. "Can't imagine why."
Rogue slightly narrowed her eyes at him, unsure if that was sarcasm or not. "So, Gambit. Why exactly are you wearing sunglasses inside?" she asked, teasing edge in her voice.
"Unnerving as hell," Rex muttered.
"Eye injury," Gambit said dramatically. "Light gives me a hell of a headache."
"Sorry to hear that," Rogue answered, still unsure if she should believe anything he said.
The dealer dealt and conversation momentarily ceased. Rogue appraised her cards, bets were placed, cards were exchanged. Rogue happily ended up with three aces but thanks to Logan's psyche, she merely raised an indifferent eyebrow. She didn't see Gambit's eyes focused on her from behind his glasses. He hesitated, then placed his bet.
"So chère, what is it you do for a living?" Gambit asked.
Rogue called before answering. "Well, at the moment I seem to be in acquisitions, "she said, thinking of the little girl she was trying to convince to come back with her.
Gambit smirked at that. "What a coincidence, so am I. In town on business?"
"Yep," she said. The bet was to Rex, who sighed and folded. "You?"
Gambit shrugged. "Just passing through on my way home."
"You have an ear for accents, Ms. Mississippi," Gambit said, earning smile and a nod of acknowledgement.
"I'm a farmer!" Rex piped up, feeling a little left out.
"Your hand has been called," the dealer said. "Show your cards." Rogue laid her cards down. "Three of a kind, aces. Sir?"
"Very nice," Gambit complimented her. He laid his cards down, causing her to sigh.
"Four of a kind, queens, your win, sir."
The three of them played a few more hands and made light conversation, giving Rex a chance to talk about his farm and his love of his home state of Arkansas. Rogue folded a couple times, won twice, but Gambit wiped the floor with her and Rex. Partway through their last hand, angry voices from the bar drifted to them.
"…should just get the hell out of our country!"
"Man, don't go picking fights with mutants, it won't end well!"
"Screw that, the freaks…"
Gambit stilled at the conversation and noticed Rogue's jaw clench, her eyes sliding in the bar's direction. Her hand twitched on the table. Gambit managed to catch her eye and subtly shake his head, unsure if she would listen.
"Don't mind them!" Rex roared loudly. "Bunch of nasty, old, cousin-marrying bigots! Giving Arkansas a bad name!"
"What'd you say to me, old man?" the guy at the bar hollered back, walking up to the table with his nervous friend behind him.
Rex stood an inch from the man's face. "I said you're a cousin-marrying bigot," he spat. Just like that the fight was on. The dealer jumped back as Rex threw the man onto the table. Rogue backed up, reading to jump in but Rex seemed to be handling himself just fine.
Gambit was suddenly next to her and offered his arm. In a mock formal voice he said, "Shall we retire from this tom-foolery, ma'am?" He tipped an invisible top hat to her.
Rogue laughed and carefully took his arm, making sure no skin was touching. Luckily this was easy as he was wearing a trench coat over his magenta silk shirt. Gambit led them to cash in their chips then out of the little casino.
"Look at us, all this in front of us!" Gambit said, gesturing to the open highway punctuated by a small gas station.
"Yes, beautiful asphalt!" Rogue said drily.
"We could go somewhere else," Gambit suggested, waggling his eyebrows suggestively.
Rogue rolled her eyes. "Nice try, swamp rat."
Gambit laughed. "Swamp rat? That's not very ladylike. Especially coming from such a river rat."
Rogue clutched her chest. "You wound me!"
Gambit eyed the closed gas station then pulled Rogue by the arm. "It's closed, Cajun," Rogue pointed out. Gambit just pulled her harder. He let go of her arm when they reached the side of the building. He cracked his knuckles then hopped on top of the locked ice chest before pulling himself up to the roof. His head popped over the edge, a grin covering his face and offered a hand.
Rogue rolled her eyes and jumped up, swinging onto the roof next to him. Gambit's eyebrows rose. "I don't get to say this often, chère, but I'm impressed."
Rogue settled next to him. "You must not meet very interesting women," she said with a smirk. "I'm not just another pretty face."
"I would never assume so," Gambit said. He lay back on the roof and turned his eyes to the clear sky. "It's beautiful, no?"
Rogue lowered herself reluctantly next to him, making sure to keep a safe distance between them. She had to agree, out in the country the sky wasn't poisoned with city lights and you could actually see the swishes and patterns of the twinkling clusters of billions of stars. Moments like this she could truly feel how miniscule and insignificant the world really was in the universe. It was unreal, breathtaking.
"This is incredibly cheesy you know," Rogue said after a few silent minutes. She could see Gambit's profile grin.
"Oui. But that's the thing about good cheese, it makes the best things in life even better," he said.
Rogue laughed, one of the most beautiful and carefree sounds Gambit had heard. "Like wine?"
"Oui, and toothpicks."
"Toothpicks are one of the best things in life?" Rogue asked.
"No, but you have to admit they're a lot better with cheese."
Rogue laughed again. "Okay, I'll give you that one."
They stared silently up. Occasionally, there would be a burst of sound from the casino but for the most part the night was mercifully silent. The buzzing hum of the insects swept over Rogue who suddenly felt the sting of homesickness. She hadn't realized quite how much she missed the country until she ventured back.
"There's nothing quite like it, is there?" she muttered.
"No, there isn't," Gambit answered, voice equally low. He sensed a romantic mood, one he'd not-so-sneakily created, and leaned over to kiss her.
It turned out he'd sensed the mood incorrectly. Rogue violently jerked away from him. He threw his hands up in surrender as Rogue scuttled away like a crab as fast as she could.
"Whoa, whoa chère! Wasn't going to hurt you," Gambit said, trying to calm her.
"Well I would've hurt you!" Rogue hissed, adrenaline pumping through her body.
"I don't follow…"
"And you don't want to unless you're a fan of comas," Rogue snapped.
"That's what happens to people who kiss me," Rogue said, sitting with her knees tucked to her chest.
Realization dawned. He'd suspected in the bar, but now…"You're a mutant."
"Grab your torch and pitchfork," she muttered. Gambit moved to sit next to her and tipped his sunglasses, revealing his eyes. Bright red swirled over the black sclera.
"If you wanted to fork, all you had to do was say so," he said with a wink.
Rogue managed a hollow laugh. "Sorry, didn't mean to freak on you."
"It's fine. Not the best reaction for a man's ego, but I'm sure I'll survive."
"I doubt ego is something you're short on," Rogue said with a snort.
Gambit was about to respond when his phone rang. He glanced down and cursed. "I need to take this." He took one of her gloved hands and delicately kissed the back of it. "Until next time chère." He hopped down and out of sight, answering the phone and listening to his brother's fast voice. He grunted and muttered answers, all the while his mind resting on the strange yet enticing woman he'd met in a miniscule town that he hadn't even intended on visiting in the first place.
Rogue never expected to see the man known as Gambit again. When he showed up at the mansion months later looking for Storm, Rogue's brain just about seized from shock. Gambit was stunned too but recovered quickly.
"My Rogue!" he cried, kissing her hand with a wink. "I haven't seen you since our night under the stars!"
The snikt of Logan's claws welcomed him to the mansion.
A/N I have absolutely nothing against Arkansas. It just happened to be the state that began with A that I chose.