Title: Something About the Rooftops
Author: Katt Solano
Characters: Gambit, Rogue
Category: humour? bit o' angst?
Rating: pg-13 for language
Archive: LeBeau Library, Down-Home Charm, Heart of a Hero; anyone
else, please ask first
Summary: The roof of Xavier's School can get pretty crowded
especially when one wants some time alone.
Disclaimer: They don't belong to me. But don't worry, they soon will.
It's all part of The Plan. BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!
Further Hoopla: Oodles of thanks to my betas. Kisses, kisses, hugs,
hugs. Feedback, as you all know, is craved; lots of feedback results
in spontaneous applause and a spot on a super-duper, nifty keen-o
ultra-kewl and lovely pedestal.
There'd always been something about rooftops that made Remy feel
relaxed. Maybe he felt safer above the ground. Maybe it was because
the streets where he lived were always so full of... of... well, just
full. He never bothered to analyse it thoroughly; it was there and it
didn't hurt him so he could live with it.
Almost from day he could move his shoulder without feeling as if it
would fall off, Remy had staked out one portion of the Xaviers' roof
as his own. The ones on the towers were too easily accessible and, as
Remy discovered inadvertently one evening, the closest the students
got to the mile-high club. Ix-nay on the western roof where Ororo
Munroe had her suite although he'd been highly gratified to learn
that the gorgeous African woman had a thing for watering her plants
in the nude. As she had a veritable jungle up there, that was a good
long time to spend dressed only in what God gave you. The eastern
side was no good either; it faced the driveway and the basketball
court; too noisy and too likely to get brained by the ball. The
students had a tendency to improvise rules when using powers.
No, the best roof to relax on was the northern one. It was upwind
from the stables but gave a great view of the acres of pasture and
woodland. It collected warmth like you wouldn't believe, something
that Remy appreciated much more than Munroe's nudist tendencies.
Okay, maybe only slightly more. It wasn't as picturesque as the rest
of the grounds and there were better lawns to play soccer or
volleyball on so there were never that many people around during the
day. At night, it was so isolated it sounded like the crickets used
megaphones. Getting there required a gymnast's dexterity (check), the
patience to weave around the creepy storage attic (check), and an
expertise in lock picking (check).
Because of this, Remy was completely surprised to find an intruder in
his haven. Midnight was just a few minutes ago and he was just about
to settle into a nice long nap to ease the tension that always seemed
to accumulate around his shoulders and the nape of his neck around
this time of the night. His usual cure was two aspirins and/or a beer
followed by stretching out on a warm, quiet incline eighty-five feet
above the ground.
But not tonight. Tonight, there was only crap beer, ibuprofen, and a
trespasser on his roof. The first made him gag, the second sent him
into a bone-shaking fever, and the last of them... well, that was
just too much.
"Hey, curfew was two hours ago," he said none too gently. "Get off my
The intruder sniffled and looked up. To Remy's sensitive eyes,
Rogue's white bangs shone like a spotlight.
"I didn't see a sign," she retorted with a small hiccup. "And senior
curfew is midnight."
"Mais yeah, you seven minutes late." He braced his feet, his arms
crossed. "Do I have t'count to three?"
Her hazel eyes wide with mockery, she said, "Wow! You can make it
that far now?"
Remy didn't bother to stifle his impatient groan. "It's too late for
this type o' shit."
"I'm not the one getting all possessive about a roof." She shuffled a
few feet to the right. "There's got to be a hundred square feet up
here; I'm sure you'll be able to find someplace to practice counting
all the way to ten without worrying that you'll get girl cooties."
Remy really *was* too tired to argue. He made his way easily to the
closest gable and spread out on it with a sigh. With luck, the
crickets would be so loud tonight that when he closed his eyes, he'd
be able to forget that his worst enemy was close by. It would have
worked too if it wasn't for the sniffles.
Oh, she might have thought she was being discrete but to Remy, who'd
lived and breathed by the quiet of this particular roof, each sniffle
was tantamount to a gunshot. His eyebrows slammed down.
"Just blow it out into the snow. It can't possibly sound as annoying
as you snorting every two seconds."
Oh, no... she wasn't... she couldn't possibly be
Remy lifted himself up by an elbow. Rogue was curled up into a little
ball again, hugging the next gable over like it was a teddy bear,
hiding her face in the corner. It certainly looked as if she was
crying. Remy's bowels clenched. He'd never been able to stand the
sound of crying from guys or girls.
"Ah said, fuck off!" She almost screamed the last word. "Ah'm not in
the m-m-mood tah be y-yoah en-en-entertainment t'night, s-swamp rat!"
She hiccuped again, then turned her head to sniff none too daintily.
Remy would have turned away, he really would have, but it sounded as
if her crying was getting louder. And, whether he liked it or not, he
was leaning on the side of the teachers nowadays.
"You want to talk about it?"
"Hah!" Like you'd (hic) be interested."
"I can pretend real well."
Something almost like a smothered giggle came from the next
gable. "You w-wouldn't understand."
Rogue shook her head.
Shrugging, Remy went back to lying down. "Suit y'self." He crossed
his hands behind his head and closed his eyes. Sweats were great for
absorbing warmth from rooftops. Layers of sweats were better. The
crickets *were* pretty loud tonight, celebrating the spring. He could
almost doze off, almost forget that Rogue was close by crying her
eyes out, could almost pretend he didn't give a shit.
"TV sucks!" Rogue suddenly burst out emphatically.
Remy bolted straight up. "Why?" he asked with a calmness he didn't
She sat up properly, leaning up against the gable but still keeping
her face away from him. "All those dumb high school shows where
you're supposed to graduate with all your school problems solved, the
cute guy takes you to the prom, and the blonde bitch who's been
tormenting you gets thrown into the Port-O-Potty. It's all bullshit."
Remy nodded then, realising she couldn't see the movement,
"Yeah." She dragged a sleeve across her nose. "It's all a load of...
of steaming, putrid bullshit. Why do they have shows like that
anyway? You grow up with them and they're all the same and you start
thinking that maybe it's always going to work out that way. Maybe you
aren't a big a loser as you think you are 'cause in the end, it's all
gonna settle itself, right? Everyone always thinks they're the main
character but in reality you're really just one of the extras. You
walk back and forth the halls and no one talks to you and no one
really cares and your problems couldn't be worth *shit* compared t-t-
All throughout her tirade, Remy unconsciously moved closer. He was a
bit surprised to see his hand reach out to pat her shoulder
awkwardly. He was even more astonished when Rogue didn't pull away.
Mentally, Remy flipped through the rumours than Jubilee fed him on a
twice-daily basis. "You an' Bobby have a fight?"
"No, we b-b-b..." Her breath hitched up, sounding like she was
Remy's hand eased down from her shoulder to rub her back in big,
Her breathing eased and Rogue continued. "We b-broke up." She snorted
derisively. "Actually, *he* broke up with *me;* he was just too nice
to put it that w-w-way."
Remy inhaled through his teeth, shaking his head. His hand rubbed
harder but slower as though he could massage her hurt away. "I'm
"That m-makes two of us." She sniffed-- actually this time it was a
loud, long snork. She'd gotten beyond caring now. "The stupid thing
is *I* was going to break it up."
Remy's hand paused ever so briefly. "Hein?"
"Not 'cause I didn't like him," Rogue said. "I've never met anyone as
nice as Bobby, y'know. Guys hate being called nice but he really is
even though he does get all caught up with his pranks and stuff. And
I..." She shrugged, looked down. "I was having this stupid martyr
complex and wanting to sacrifice our relationship 'cause he'd never
be able to touch me and he deserves better and... oh, I don't know
why I fucking *care* so much!" She slammed her fist on the
shingles. "This was my plan all along!"
"Still hurts all the same," said Remy.
Rogue sat quietly for a few minutes. "Yeah. Yeah, it does." She
giggled then, sounding on the bad side of hysterical. "Wanna know the
best part? He said everything I was going to say. Almost verbatim!"
More giggles. Remy briefly contemplated running down to get Rogue a
pill in case she was starting to go over the edge but she caught
herself in a few seconds.
"Should've known I was in trouble when he started talking about how
beautiful I was. He never said that before." She took in a ragged
breath, hiccuped, went on. "Then it was all 'you deserve someone
better' and 'you're a special girl' and all that crap. Stupid,
fuckin' crap! What he was really thinking was that he wanted to have
a girlfriend that he could screw without dying."
"Easy, chere." Remy wasn't used to hearing such crude words from
her. "You two been together for two years, right? He must've seen
something pretty special to hold out that long."
She sniffed again but said nothing.
Remy let out a deep sigh. He hated swallowing his own words. "You
"Yeah, like the kids in Special Ed back home," she interrupted
He ignored it. "You're smart; you pick up languages faster than
anyone I ever met. You managed to hold all those personalities in
your head without goin' insane an' without losin' yourself. You know
what you want outta life an' you do your best t'make 'em come true.
You think quick on your feet an' you're a hell lot more sensible than
a lot of the girls 'round here. They make up so many problems for
themselves, you think they tryin' t'do their own version of Dawson's
She tried not to chuckle but the statement was just too true.
"But you don't do that, not often, not without reason. An'... well,
you're... you ain't... lots of people would call you beautiful."
Now, Rogue pulled away, hunching her shoulders as she
"You are!" Remy protested.
She shook her head violently. "Tabitha's beautiful. Dani's beautiful.
"They're pretty," Remy corrected. "They look good now but give 'em
ten years or so an' it'll pass. They a fad, chere. You, you're gonna
be a beautiful thirty year-old, a fantastic forty year-old, an' a
damn sexy grammy."
The giggles came up again. "Gawd, you're so full of it. No wonder
you've got all the girls around here eating out of your hand."
"It's a gift," Remy admitted with very thinly veiled arrogance. He
buffed his fingernails on his sweater.
She let out a sound that Remy translated as scornful amusement
directed at him. At least she didn't seem to be wallowing in self-
pity any more. He stopped rubbing her back but kept his hand there,
resting between her shoulder blades in silent support. She didn't
protest, just kept staring out into the nearly barren pasture.
"You know I almost got married?" Remy said after more than ten
minutes had passed.
Remarkably enough, she didn't say anything more than "Yeah?" and then
not even in a contemptuous tone.
"Yeah. She'd just turned seventeen so I ain't sure how legal it
woulda been." He took a deep breath. He hated talking about his
past. "Well, Belle an' me, we practically grew up t'gether. It was...
well, it was screwed up was what it was but the only way we thought
we could get away from our lives was t'get hitched an' move away.
Like those TV shows you talkin' about; thinkin' hormones was enough
to solve everything." His throat seized. "Guess you're smarter than
"What happened?" she asked quietly.
"Well." Remy shifted his legs in discomfort. "We got as far as Baton
Rouge before our... our guardian caught up with us. Not that I was
sorry; by that time we'd been on our own for near two days an'
drivin' each other crazy. I guess we were too busy doin' the bumpin'
ugly to realise we had absolutely nothin' in common." He smirked. "I
went my way, she went hers, an' I ain't seen her since."
Somewhere in the middle of his narration, Rogue had placed a hand on
his shin and was stroking lightly. In fact, her touch was so light,
he didn't feel it but it was... well, it was nice was what it was.
"One of the..." Oh, shit, his throat was gonna collapse on him again.
Remy gritted his teeth and forged on. "She said that the only reason
she stayed with me was 'cause she liked the respect she got for
havin' the guts t'fuck le diable blanc." He shook his head violently
as though he could shake away the memory of what the words felt like
at the time. "We were both sayin'... both sayin' a whole lot of
bullshit t'each other an' I said worse things about her--"
"It still hurts all the same," Rogue whispered.
Remy shrugged. He ran those circles on her back again, for no reason
that he could come up with other than it took his mind off of the
memories. Rogue's hand stayed on his shin just a little above his
boot not really moving.
"Your hand's real warm," she said.
"Yeah? They always feel cold t'me nowadays."
"You'll get used to the weather here soon. You might even like it."
"Ha!" Remy's lips twisted into a grimace. "Not likely. That ski trip
was enough to make me paranoid about snow. Last time I ever do
Rogue tried to cover up her laugh. She failed miserably. Nothing
would ever wipe out the memory of Remy shooting over a hill, hanging
on to his snowboard for dear life then landing on a snowbank with his
limbs bent in ways that they really shouldn't be bent. It was amazing
he didn't break anything.
"Well, do you want to come back inside? There's this Black Adder DVD
that Mr. Summers borrowed that I haven't watched yet."
Grinning wide, Remy said, "So, Summers got you all hooked on Rowan
Atkinson, too, hein?"
"Can't help it. It's a requirement for passing his classes."
Remy took one last look out into the woods. "Byen sho', cherie, let's
go. Gotta warn you though, I get a little lost on the history
Rogue smiled. "Just as long as you don't laugh like Kitty does."
"Why? What she sound like?"
"It's a toss up between a dying donkey and a seagull on speed."
"You gotta listen in one day. I guarantee you can't forget it. It's
something so disturbing you think it's cute then change your mind
"Uh, I look forward to it?"
"No, you don't."
You know that point just after you wake up when you're not really
sure if you're awake or asleep? I go through that almost every day
until I get my first cup of coffee. When I stumbled on Remy and
Rogue, I'd already gotten my first cup but it was little more than
coloured water-- Ms. Munroe must've made it-- and so I really wasn't
sure if what I saw was real.
They were arguing. Yes, typical, I know but get this: Rogue was
leaning back on the armrest with her legs on Remy's lap. On Rogue's
lap was a plateful of buffalo wings. Rather, the remains of them; the
last two wings were being devoured by the erstwhile archenemies.
"Ella Fitzgerald all the way," Remy was saying. "She practically
"You're certifiable." Rogue countered. "Don't get me wrong; I love
Ella Fitzgerald but Billie Holiday's voice is made for jazz. If she
hadn't died so early, she'd've been better known. Hell, she died
early and she's *still* world renowned."
Remy shook his chicken bone at her. "You need a bit more culturin'.
Couldn't expect any less from a Mississippi river rat."
"Yeah, yeah, N'Awlins always tries to take credit for jazz and blues
to cover up the stench of the rotting mudbugs on their houseboats."
With a roar, Remy upended the plate and Rogue over the couch. She let
out a screech but fell properly and rolled back to her feet only to
meet with a Cajun determined to tickle her until she peed her pants.
I looked at my coffee mug then back at them then at my mug again.
"This is what you get for reading one of those romance novels,
Katherine Pryde," I muttered to myself as I made my way back up the
stairs. "Maybe a long shower will wake me up."