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"Growing Up"

Growing Up

Chaper One: Despair
Chapter Two: Regret
Chapter Three: Guilt
Chapter Four: Fear
Chapter Five: Shame
Chapter Six: Love
Chapter Seven: Bliss

Growing Up

Chapter 6: Love

Among those whom I like or admire,
I can find no common denominator,
but among those whom I love, I can.
All of them make me laugh.
- W.H. Auden

"Ah love yah so much (sniffle)."

Wrapped in the warmth of his arms, Rogue had been sobbing tears of sorrow and happiness into his chest for well over an hour, ever since they'd started this discussion. Sometimes she finally seemed to be all cried out but would suddenly began bawling and clutching him again for what appeared to him to be no good reason.

It was one of the happiest moments of his life. He wished it would never end.


Note: Oh an' while I'm askin dumb male-type questions, God, why is it dat women can cry at de drop o' a hat but never carry handkerchiefs?

"Uh, (sniffle), yah gonna need tah wash this shirt, shugah."

She hiccuped. He laughed.

"What? Wash dis shirt? It be a memento o' one of de happiest moments o' my life. May be I could be havin it bronzed?"

She laughed too.

"As Jubilee would say 'That's gross'."

"Love is blind."

"It ain't that blind. If yah don' wash it, ah most certainly will."

"Well, what evah ya want p'tite. Ya wish is my command."

She giggled happily clutching him tighter as he chuckled.

"Darn well bettah be shugah. Yah jus bettah be rememberin who's man yah are. Ah got an image tah protect."

"Ya mean dat image o' you wit ya skirt halfway up ya cute li'l rear?"

Looking down, Rogue pulled back and blushed. Sitting on the bed, absorbed in more important things, the bottom of the dress had worked its way toward her waist. You could most certainly see the edge of her panties. She jumped up and started tugging the dress down.

"Ah hate this dress."

Remy, on the other hand, was beginning to have great affection for the particular dress in question.

She smoothed it out and wiped at her eyes as he stood up and pulled off the damp t-shirt to change it.

She blushed again and leered at him.

"Hey, no peakin at de merchandise, chere. I be seein dogs look at pork chops wit less slobber."

She stuck out her tongue at him and struck an indignant pose.

"Y'all wish. Sides, if yah can ogle mah butt, ah can ogle yah body."

He pulled on another shirt and grinned wickedly at her.

"Trust me, chere. I have a list o' much better t'ings for ya ta do wit my body sides ogle it ... Perhaps ya'd like ta schedule some time ta try a few? I might be able ta .. slide ya in"

He smirked as he gracefully pulled on a pair of leather gloves.

Rogue turned two shades of red, but sniffed.

"Don' ya evah give up?"

"Don' know de meanin o' de words."

He slid up to her and wrapped her in his arms.

"Ah'm glad." she smiled.

He hugged her and she moved in his embrace to look out the window.

"Looks like thah rain is mellowin out, shugah. Thah thunder an' lightning have moved on. Now it's jus ah cleansing rain. Maybe we'll have sunshine soon."

"I already do."


"It's sincere, p'tite. Ya bring ah brightness to my world."

"An you, mine. Ah don' know how ah thought ah could evah be happy witout you. Ah owe Bishop one. He helped me see what ah really wanted. Yah think he'd get all embarrassed if ah hug him?"

"Probably. O'course I could be takin his place tah save him de embarrassment."

"Letch." She turned to look at him shaking her head.

He got that 'I am not (most of the time),' innocent look on his face, and she smiled.

"An ah love that letch."

He grinned but looked nervous.

"I've missed you so much chere."

She heard the faraway pain there and pulled him even closer.

"So Bobby tol me."


"Mmmm. Along wit all mah othah travelin this mornin, ah flew out tah see him an' his daddy. Ah shoulda been theah at thah hospital. He's mah friend too an' ah ignored him cause ah was too wrapped up in mah self an' mah problems. Thank goodness his daddy's doin much bettah. He even apologized tah me bout what he said last time we met. Ah think he an' Bobby are startin' tah come tahgether."

"Dat's nice."

"Yeah, it is. Only now he's startin tah match make foah Bobby. Ah had tah tell him yah were mah guy tah get him tah let up. He said 'well seein it was you' ... Ah think Mr. Drake likes you .... Speakin o' which, Bobby said tah say 'thank you'."

"Thank you? For what?"

"Foah bein theah. He said he tol Storm, but in thah crisis, he forgot tah tell you. Ah think yah winnin him ovah too. He told me he was sorry foah some o' the things he's said bout you. That you were theah when he really needed ah friend."

Remy shrugged feeling uncomfortable.

"Jus bein a teammate."

Rogue lifted tear filled eyes at him tightening her grip on his shirt.

"Shugah, don' put yahself down. I know bettah than anybody how much yah doubt yahself, but you listen tah me. Yah are ah good person. Yah've made mistakes. We all have. Storm, Wolverine, me ... Especially me. Ah truly didn't want tah hurt Ms. Marvel but ah did. Ah nevah wanted tah kill Dazzler like ah said. Ah was doin what momma wanted, protectin mah family, an' tryin ta beat an' scare thah othath side so much they'd quit. Ah know ah acted tough, smart mouth an' all, but ah was scared tah death. I mainly absorbed powers tah protect mahself. Ah use tah throw up aftah each skirmish."

"Even Scott ain't thah saint everybody acts like he is. He didn't have the gumption tah break it off clean an' right wit Madelyn. Look at all thah pain that's caused. Yah did bettah by Belladonna."

"So ah don' believe yah meant tah cause whatever hurt yah did. Cause if yah meant to, why are yah so guilty bout it? Magneto didn't care who he hurt when he blacked out thah world. Babies in incubators died cause they didn't have power an' that was jus too bad. Thah cause was more important. That was thah price they had tah pay foah bein in his way. He knew what he was doin an' didn't care."

"So maybe yah were wrong, maybe yah were selfish or foolish foah a moment or protectin yah own, but ah don' believe yah didn't truly care."

"Ah also know not meanin to don' make someone less responsible, but yah owe yah apologies an' penance to tah people yah've hurt, not me. Yah've nevah not been theah for me. Y'all are the best thing that evah happen to this southern gal."

"Ah can't forgive yah sins Remy. It's not mah right. Nuthin can bring back someone lost. But maybe you'll, we'll get thah chance tah help, or pay back in some small way thah people we've hurt. All we can do is try an' remember ..., but ah can let yah know that yah aren't thah monster yah think yah are. From thah moment we met, if ah jus needed ah shoulder tah cry on, someone tah scream at, ah person tah laugh wit, yah've been theah. Yah were theah for Storm. Yah've gone tah help yah family ovah an' ovah when they've shown they wouldn't do thah same foah you. Yah were theah for Bobby, foah Bishop, even foah Joseph when he was hurtin durin Onslaught. Remy, yah are ah darn good friend."

It didn't seem enough to him.

"Don' mean much when ya can't help or fix things."

She smiled but a tear rolled down her face. She took his hands in hers and squeezed them.

"Yah are wrong, lovah. It means a lot. Bein ah good friend ain't about blowin in an' simply fixin somethin cause yah can. If someone runs out an' pushes a kid out o' thah way o' a speedin car, he's a hero, right? He risked his life foah someone else. Not everybody would do that. But what if he failed? They both got killed or somethin? Was he any less heroic? An what about when yah know yah can't change what is at all? Do you desert yah friends ta be alone wit theah pain? It takes a lot o' guts tah stand by and be supportive when someone else is hurtin an' theah ain't nuthin yah can do tah change that."

"Marriage vows say bettah or worse. Well, that's what true friendship is too. If yah only ah friend durin thah good times. If yah only theah when it's easy, yah really ain't ah friend. Friendship is abut bein theah whether yah can fix it or not. It takes ah lot more strength of character tah be by someone's side when things ain't going right than it does tah be theah cause yah know yah can make it bettah. Yah've done that more times than ah can count foah me. It'd didn't matter how tough it got, an' ah know ah've hurt you, but yah didn't give up on me. Yah are the best friend ah've evah had."

"True love is built on friendship not jus attraction, on commitment not lust. Ah forgot that. Ah want tah be theah foah you too, Remy. Ah want us tah try. Ah've found that true love of mah life, an' what we have is bettah than anythin someone could jus grace me wit. We'll deal wit thah rest an' find a way tah make it work, tahgether. Yah don' have tah carry thah whole load anymore. We're partners ... Ah mean, if yah want tah be."

He smiled at her innocent dimples, and kissed her gloved hand.

"Very much, chere. I be searchin all my life for a place ta fit in. Some one ta be wit. Ya everythin I ever wanted chere. Intelligent, passionate, caring. I want more dan anythin ta be wit you. Sides," he smirked. "Pushy broads turn me on."

That got the right reaction.

"Pushy broads? ...... Ah ... am ... not ... ah ... pushy broad ... ... ... .... Am ah?"

His eyes only sparkled in response. She tried to snarl but only managed a giggle.

"Well, um, yah can't tell anyone else though. Ah don' like thah initials. Bobby'll be callin me ah 'perfect bitch' in no time."

"Not through a fat lip he won'."

"Oooo. Mah hero."

They laughed holding each other as much as they dared to. Her power still a stone between them but now they carried it together.

"Remy, ah tol yah ah'd been thinkin a lot bout what ah want in mah life. Where an' who ah want tah be. Most of all, ah wanted tah try tah work things out between us, tah start ovah. But besides coming heah tell yah how ah felt, theah was somethin else ah came tah tell yah .... Ah'm movin out."

His body went numb. He knew this was too good to be true.

"Ya ... leavin de X-Men?... But ..."

"Shhh. Please listen first. Ah'm not leavin you, or even thah X-Men ...completely. But ah am leavin thah mansion. Ah realized while ah was away, ah don' have any normal friends. Ah dream of ah normal life but don' know what that is. Y'all have friends outside thah mansion, but ah've nevah had any."

"I wouldn' be callin most o' my friends de normal upstandin citizen kind."

"No, ah don' suppose so, but yah've still had ah life outside ah heah. Remy, if ah asked yah who yah are, what would yah say?"

"Dunno ... Remy LeBeau, son o' Jean-Luc, t'ief, gambler, mutant, X- Man,... de man who's hopelessly in love wit Rogue."

He smirked.

"Gawd, y'all are awful. But see, bein ah mutant doesn't totally define yah. If ah asked Hank thah same thing, he'd say Doctor, etc. like you, but Cyclops would jus say mutant, leader ah thah X-Men. Ah don' want that. How can ah espouse cooperation between humans and mutants when ah don' even really have any human friends. Thah Professah worked wit humans. Hank has lots ah science buddies. Wolverine has othah friends. You do too. Ah need that as well. Ah don' want thah t'ink ah mahself as jus ah mutant anymore but as ah human being who jus happens tah be ah mutant too. It's one ah my big gripes about this place. We've got tah be accepted as people, friends an' neighbors."

"Ah got mah degree in humanities, human relations, an' history. Maybe ah could be ah teacher, or public relations person or somethin."

"So ya leavin."

"Not leavin really, jus not livin heah. Ah still plan tah work wit thah X-Men. Wolverine's goin tah do thah same. He tol me thah othah day. Get ah place near heah an' ah job. Have ah life."

"An us?"

She gave him a shy smile.

"Well... Seein as we were talkin bout ah commitment tah us ah few minutes ah-go, ah kinda thought... maybe ... well,.. yah might wanna come live wit me. Yah can still work full time wit thah X-Men if yah want o'course."

Remy's eyes sparkled, and he got that smirk she loved so.

"Let me get dis straight p'tite. Are ya askin me ta move in wit ya?"

His face switched to the most innocent of expressions.

"I don' know chere. I mean, what would my pere t'ink? Me living wit a women like a common Lothario. What about my reputation?"

She looked at his sparkling eyes and started laughing. She pushed his shoulder enough to make him sway.

"Yoah reputation? Get outta heah! Yah daddy'll probably think yah finally came to yah senses, yah big swamp rat. An' ah'm thah one who needs tah worry bout mah reputation, livin wit ah man like yah"

He really smirked now.

"Still chere. All alone under one roof? No Cyke tah chaperone us? Ya could be takin advantage o' poor li'l me. Do all kinda o' naughty things ta me I ain't never dreamed of ...."

She rolled her eyes and smirked at him with an "oh please" look. Then they both started laughing.

"Ok. Who'm I kiddin. Dere ain't no things like dat I have dreamed of. But seriously sweet, ya really want ta do dis?"

"Yes ah do. Ah need tah do this. Do yah... want tah come?"

"Never should be any doubt, chere. I'd go to de ends o' de earth wit ya. Down de road a ways hardly seems like a lot ta ask. Sides we said we were startin over, committin ta each other. Might as well go all de way an' jump in head first. I love you, Rogue. I want my life ta be wit you."

"An ah want tah be wit you, shugah."

She cuddled in his arms.



"Oui, chere?"

"Ah want ah real dog."


Continued in Chapter Seven.


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