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Stories by Karolina K. Phillips

"Minute Change"
Occurs circa the Uncanny X-Men 320s, before the mess with the Shi'ar and the Phalanx. With the Professor gone and unable to help her, Rogue desperately needs help dealing with the more unpleasant side-effects of her absorption powers.

"Sleepless Nights"
Karolina tries to answer the age-old question "Why does Rogue always dis' Gambit?"


Web site: Karolina's Art Page

Characters belong to Marvel. I'm not profiting by this.
In honor of the person who asked: Why does Rogue always dis' Gambit?

Sleepless Nights

Rogue leaned against the facade hiding the laser canon mounted on the mansion roof. Sunset was always the best time of the day. Neither too hot nor too cold. At least down south that was true. This was New York and the middle of winter. But she was numb to any drastic changes in temperature unless she chose to feel them. It had snowed earlier. A brief dusting that had begun to melt and was now in the process of freezing again. She slumped further down against the fiberglass panel and hooked her thumbs in her jean pockets.

Brooding was habit she had picked up when she was younger. Running with Mystique had quite thoroughly eliminated any opportunities for friendships. Avoiding the FBI and CIA, dodging the KGB and various other organizations almost became games. Killing people, blowing things up, stealing this and that. For a while she'd thought that was perfectly normal. By the time she realized it wasn't, she'd been indoctrined. Trust no one, share no information, always suspect the worst. If someone gives you a hard time, smile and blow their head off. Mystique had been slick if nothing else. In between all that a great deal of time had been left over for thought.

Currently, as usual, her subject was Remy. Jean had assured her that it was perfectly normal to have him on the brain but it still got tiresome on occasion. Noble, chauvanistic, sexy, dangerous and seedy. Just the type Momma had warned her of. She snorted. And just the type I grew up around. She actually understood him better than, say, Scott or Bobby. It was almost embarassing. 'Roro understood at least. Right now though, she was speculating on his "big dirty secret".

Well whoop-di-do, it's not that hard to figure out. She had read the mission reports. The way Sinister catered to him, Remy's constant comments about being guilty and sorry, the blocked and shadowed memories from him. Sinister did his job well. Even more slick than Momma. He uses someone and makes them feel responsible. Then he uses that guilt and obligation to ensure their future cooperation. Morosely she kicked some loose shingles. Looks like Remy fell for it like a load of bricks.

That oversensitive fool. I was a terrorist, Logan was a spy, 'Roro was a thief, Bishop was a supercop and Jean destroyed a couple of galaxies. All things considering, I doubt whatever he did was that bad. And if it is, so what? Of course the X-folks would give him a hard time. That was their way. But right now no one was going to fuss too much. Not with Zero Tolerance in full swing. Besides, if we kick him out he'll probably just turn into the Witness. Worst comes to worst I can knock a few heads. Blinking at the final thought she realized it was true. Sure she believed in Xavier's dream if not always his methods. But the original reason she'd joined was purely self-serving. He was a telepath and her mind was being put through a meat grinder. Not to mention the Prof wanted to take a powerhouse away from his enemies. They had made a deal. I play nice and by his rules. Pull my punches and keep my ideas to myself when I thought the field command was lousy. In return the Prof straightens out my head. She shifted uneasily at the next cynical and almost traitorous thought. He never did really though. He could have easily. But if he had he'd have lost his only bargaining chip with me. Yeah, great man. He may have a grand dream but he's still only a man like any other.

Honesty, there was an idea. Something to be abhorred and yet respected. How can you ever be honest when you've grown up lying with a smile on your face? Remy's smile never fooled her; she understood it too well. As a result, she trusted him. So why wouldn't he tell me? Does he really think I'll drop him if I know what he did? This was the root of the matter. Remy had been too much of a chicken to look her in the eye and tell her. Instead he tries to force me to take the truth from him; tries to make me the aggressor. Coward! Why pick such a mutually painful way to reveal the truth? Would it really hurt that much to just say it? She couldn't stand people who insisted on being victims, herself included.

All in all, the particulars of his secret were a moot point to her. The nightmares had actually bothered her more. Putting up with someone's fear and pain without at least having something to point at was unnerving. Sometimes it was hard not to be angry at him. Floating memories were an occupational hazard she accepted. The problem was she couldn't find the root of these. Before, she could always trace the memory back to its origin and extract it thereby allowing it to fade. If she didn't, her own mind would eventually absorb the memory and make it hers. That was a side effect of her powers to prevent schizophrenia. Remy's memories came complete with blocks and a lifetime warranty. She had enough nightmares of her own to deal with. Especially now that the Prof isn't here to rebuild the blocks.

"Penny f'ya t'oughts."

Great. Just who I need tripping over himself trying to apologize. She sent him an expressionless once over as he strolled to her side. He braced his arm on the adjoining panel and leaned his side into it. That's right, hide behind the corner. She slid her eyes over him and, properly distracted, scowled. Subtle, real subtle Cajun. You try and get those hips any closer to me and I'll smack you upside the head. Why could't he be ugly? Or better yet, a dull "boy next door type" like Cyke or Bobby? I'd even settle for safe like Joseph.

"Chere- " Remy saw the scowl and bit the inside of his cheek. "Look, I know dat mebbe I. . . not tellin' y'everyt'ing you wanna know but - Dieu. . . . "

Very unusual for him to be tongue-tied like this. Hmph. Probably trying to find a new way to say the same old hash. Either that or he was trying to confront her about Joseph. Talk about pessimistic assumptions there. I mother Joe more than anything else.

He swung around the corner to face her.

Shit. Not again. Same reaction every time he gets within a foot of me. And he's so much the gentleman that he never follows through. Jerk.

Seeing her lip curl and her eyes narrow he stopped and ran his hand through his hair. He bowed his head and continued. "I sorry 'kay? But belie' me, you don' wanna know what's hidin' in my head."

Of course I don't you idiot. Do you really think I'm that intrusive?

"Ah know Remy. Y'already tol' me that. Ain't mad at you, but 'less ya got somethin' to add, lea' me alone." She hated being so callous. If she told him the truth, made him believe that she trusted him and didn't care about his past, he'd take advantage of it. Not intentionally, still, it would be precedant. Pretty soon he'd start lying about this and that and hiding things to "protect her". Worse, he'd expect her to forgive him. I will not allow anyone to take me for granted again. Not even him.

He sighed and she watched his ribs shift. Dammit, I don't need this. My night was perfectly fine. If I fly now he'll think I'm dumping him or something equally dumb. Remy said something else about Joseph but she wasn't listening anymore. Like the proverbial blind man her senses had developed to compensate for her lack of physical contact and right now they were working overtime. She made the mistake of taking a deep breath to calm down and immediately let it out between her teeth.

He stopped talking when he heard her hiss. Her shoulders were hunched and her hands were fisted. She stared resolutely at the roof in front of her. It was hopeless; she'd never give him another chance. It was no less than he deserved. Silently, he dropped his eyes. "Huh, guess I know how y'be feelin', non?"

Horny. Rogue glowered. Not that she couldn't deal with it, but sleep would be nice for a change. She started tapping a finger against her leg.

"Never min'. We talk later." Remy scuffed the toe of his boot on the shingles before turning and walking off with a dejected air.

As soon as she felt his body heat dissipate, Rogue let out a huff and sank down to sit. Why, oh why, does everyone assume I'm some kind of innocent? She gave a shaky laugh as she observed her hand trembling where it hung over her knee. Lord, why don't I just tell him? It's not like we need to have sex to get some kicks. But the thought of any intimacy further than what they had now created a cold clammy fear in the pit of her stomach. And an odd sense of shame she couldn't quite place. Caught for a second, unwanted memories, her memories, flickered to the surface. Quickly, she crushed them back down and gave a weak chuckle. Girl, you've been brooding too long for one night. After a moment she put her palms on her knees and rolled to her feet. It was time to find something else to do.


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