As a professional thief, sneaking was a key weapon in his arsenal of many. Sneaking, lurking, lingering and Wolverine favourite, being a god damn creeper, were as ingrained in him as the marrow in his bones.
Slipping from one shadow to another between pools of moonlight in a sleeping mansion was child’s play.
Holding on the banister, Remy flipped himself over the ledge, the rush of air buffeted him for a wild second before landed onto a hunch with bent knees against the marble hall of the foyer. Somewhere nearby the ticking of a grandfather clock hummed undisturbed. Fainter still was the distant tinkle of music.
Ghosting along the hallway, Remy traced the sound, the tinkles melting into hesitant notes then smoothing out into a melody. The song was barely familiar. Perhaps something he heard on the radio in passing. But this was no radio.
In the distance he could see a slit of light cut from the end of a familiar hallway. The music room was not a regular haunt for most of the student body. Its contents were of the highest quality. A room full of polished brass, hollow wood and a ringing silence that begged to be filled. The reigning queen of the space was the Professor’s ivory grand piano. An intimidating great lady that few dare coax into song.
She sang tonight, in the moonlight under unfamiliar fingers.
He slipped in through the sliver of light into the room. His shadow cast but for a second before he slid back into the darkness that edged the room. His red gaze flickered through the room, roaming over the wooden shelves and cupboards before landing on the ethereal creature perched at the piano.
The high windows were bare to the night and her stars. No lights dulled them and no darkness tainted them. The fey creature sat in a pool of moonlight like Morgana herself. Keys pressed down with long graceful fingers, smoothly moving from one perch to the other without a glitch. A well-practiced routine.
From the ebony on ivory keys a deep haunting melody surfaced, simple in its essence but haunting in its intensity, like a hazy memory, never forgotten but not fully remembered either.
The moonlight dulled her hair, pulling redwood from fire, carving ivory from white bone.
He never knew she could play the piano. But that didn’t surprise him. She was a many faced die. An unspoken word. The bending willow, the tempered steel. She was the rage of a storm and its temperance. She was the breath of his lungs and the beat of his heart.
She was his as he was hers.
She was his addiction.
Breathless, Remy could only stare at her. Taking in every detail, every line every shadow; he saved the images for latter inspection.
Burnt ochre lips pressed together in concentration, occasionally parting for the flick of a tongue in frustration. Elegant brows furrowed in concentration, thick eyelashes pressed down, shielded her eyes from his gaze.
He wants to touch her, demand his attention. Pull her pigtails, and ruffle her skirt. Pout at her until she looked at him with eyes the shade of green that painted his dreams. He nearly snorts at himself. Some things never changed, and watching Rogue pay attention to anything but him, still brought out the toddler in him.
From that very first moment he saw her, during the battle by wreck that was the dam, something about her called to him. Hard as rock and brittle as plaster, he saw in her the same steel that sang in him. The warm south was in her blood as it was in his. He heart, battered but all the purer for it. She stood in the ash and smoke with the grace of a goddess and the vulnerability of a child. He wanted to shield her, he wanted to unleash her. To warm himself by the fire of her grace and perhaps be a better man for it.
Then the situation changed, he needed her help, he needed to use her to save a man he considered a father. He rarely ever needed anything, his stubborn pride insured it. It was not easy, using her as he himself was used. She surprised him. Even after finding out his betrayal, of his blatant and heartless use of her gift, she still stayed; she saved him when she shouldn't have. He didn't deserve it
But she did, and that made all the difference.
Moving slowly, he carefully edged his way towards her. The music embraced him like a cloak as he moved towards its source.
"Y' know the sneakin’ don’ work on me. Been immune for ages.”
Her fingers never faltered in their precise movements across the polished keys.
Her words should have surprised him, after all he was the prince of thieves and being caught red handed spying should have shamed him. But it didn't. She probably knew he was coming there even before he stepped into the room. The same way he knew she was the one playing the piano before hearing the first note.
Slipping out of the shadows, Remy moved towards her seated form.
"Chere' when y' suddenly up an' disappear do y' expect Remy to let y' go just like dat'?"
Coming up right behind, her he slipped his bare arms around her slightly rounded waist. Resting chin on her shoulder, Remy savoured her jasmine and rich earth scent.
All at once the music stopped.
He didn't have to see her face to know she was smiling.
“If ah' wanted a bodyguard, this here ring of mine would have come from Logan." She tapped her ring. Platinum with a jet lined ruby.
"Don' even joke chere, Remy'd have to try to kill de’ wolf man just for de' thought. And then he’d kill me, caus’ ya’ know he’s just been waitin’ for de chance." He smirked and dutifully dodged the inevitable swat that came his way.
“After all, chere’, Remy already had to beat on fuzzy blue, ice man, dat boy down at the pizza place. Will dere be no end to the beatin’s? Plus dere be someone else’s opinion to take, no?”
Pulling her close Remy gently brushed his palm possessively over her slightly rounded belly. The thin muslin nightgown encasing her did little to hide the tell-tale bulge.
"Remy don' t'ink dat' she be too happy wit' any changes."
"Don't put yah' hopes up swamp rat, it could a boy." Rouge sighed with a rhythm that spoke of frequent reminding.
"Oui, it could be, but Remy still t'ink dat' its' a girl, Remy's never wrong about these things"
"Oh yeah? What about the time yah' said that Jean was gonna' have a girl?"
Pulling away from his embrace, Rouge gracefully stood up and stretched out the kinks in her back. The pregnancy was beginning to take its toll on her. Idly her fingers bushed against the nullifier that encircled her wrist. When she first put it on, she fussed with it once every few minutes. Making sure that it worked, checking its charge.
Now, with years of practice and her powers all but under control, it acted more as a redundant system, a touchstone. One more important now than ever as no one was sure what her powers would do to a pregnancy when unchecked.
Turning around, she came face-to-face with the man who went through hell and back to win her affections, and ultimately her hand in marriage. The very same face she fell in love with all those years ago.
Remy had changed little over the years. If possible he looked even more attractive now than he ever had before. His crimson black eyes still made her catch her breath. Secretly, Rouge hoped that her child inherited its father's eyes.
Boy or girl.
"Dat' chere was a fluke"
"Whatever yah' say swamp rat, but ah'm tired and your son…"
"Or daughter" he quipped in.
With a glare at Remy for his interruption she continued,
" has had his or her lullaby and hopefully will let mama' have a good night’s sleep." Ending her words with a yawn and a slight pat of her rounded belly, Rouge turned away with every intention of going her room for a blissful night of slumber.
Her husband had a better idea.
Caught off guard, Rouge suddenly found herself swept off her feet and into the arms of her grinning Cajun of a husband. Shock melted into irritation. That man was begging for a beating, his smug grin didn't help either, Rouge found herself torn between the urge to pinch his cheeks or to punch him in the head.
Taking the incentive to distract his wife from her violent thoughts, Remy drew her into a tender kiss. As always he succeeded. Rouge relaxed in his hold, sliding her arms around his neck. She made a mental note to shove him off the bed tonight. She did not enjoy being treated like an invalid simply because her husband had ego issues. But for now she gave in. After all, it saved her the trouble of walking up two flights of stairs. And anything that kept her off her feet was more than welcome
After all in less than three months, there would be another LeBeau in the world, and if Remy's child was anything like him, Rouge would be in for trouble.