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"Free for a Second"

Free for a Second

Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 8
Chapter 9
Chapter 10
Chapter 11
Chapter 12
Chapter 13
Chapter 14

This story is still in progress.

Disclaimer: Not ours! Marvel's!

Free for a Second

Part Seven

They made a pit stop in the small town of Vienna, VA. He gassed up the car, and made a quick call ahead to reserve rooms at the hotel they would be stopping at further along the way. Then he drove across the street to the nearest fast food joint. Pulling into the drive-through he gently nudged her.

"Rogue. Roguie....wake-up."

He continued to shake her gently until she responded.


"You wan anytin' to eat?"

She had shut her eyes already.


She rolled her head toward him but kept her eyes shut.

" hungry."...and she was asleep again.

Slipping on his shades he ordered something for her anyway. They wouldn't be stopping for a long while.

The monotonous scenery of farms and cows had given way to an even more stimulating ceaseless procession of trees. At least for awhile he'd had a rather wide array of radio stations to play with, although the country selection was still crap. Flipping between two rock stations and the local alternative one, he came across some nostalgia inducing songs from the 80's around noontime and gladly lost himself in old hedonistic memories. But eventually those stations faded out and only finding something barely tolerable once every 10 minutes he decided to just turn the radio off all together.

Sabine moaned in her sleep and Remy shifted his attention to her. A frown hung on her face but within seconds, disappeared as she settled back into rhythmic breathing. Remy turned back to the road, yet the image of her visage remained foremost in his mind. She was, simply put, beautiful. The most breathtaking woman he'd ever seen, and he'd seen more than most men alive. Her face was almost perfect. But it wasn't the near perfection of her features that occupied his thoughts at the moment, but rather, what made them fall short. The swollen eyes, gashed forehead and split lips. Unconsciously he gripped the wheel tighter in anger, grinding his teeth as he thought .

From that moment they'd shared in the senator's mansion he knew that whoever she'd been working for, she had never stood a chance resisting them. Somehow he had felt the years of intimidation, of threats and bullying and worse. He'd felt her hopelessness, her acceptance that maybe there was no way out but death. He also felt her strong, though fading, desire to keep on living, despite the hell that was everyday life. He could identify with that pain all too well. Maybe that was why he wanted to help her, because he had once known the situation she was in. But even though those days were past for him, he would do everything in his power to help her, because if he managed to escape, she had that ghost of a chance too.

Inwardly he laughed at himself. What made him so protective of this woman? A capable and lethal assassin? Maybe it was just that he felt she'd been dealt a rougher hand than he had. She was so distrustful of good intentions, illustrating that she had never been witness to them before. The bruises that marred her face and body, which he guessed were not the first, mirrored her abused and wounded soul. She'd never had a prayer and it made him sick. He reached over to stroke her cheek. He would get her out of this somehow, if it was the only worthwhile thing he ever did.

With a little under 3 hours left to go, Remy found himself left with little distraction. His mind drifted back to the times when he was like Rogue, forced into a situation he didn't want to comply with...He'd been a thief, all his life. His clan, his family; they were all thieves. But they were different, they stole from the rich, and helped the poor whenever they could.

Kind of like Robin Hood.

Remy smiled at that little term that his father always used. He changed gears and went a mite faster. There was a time when he'd hide in the alleys and shiver in fear, both for himself and his family. For a moment, a flash of cold hatred grazed past his eyes, but the venom disappeared as soon as he remembered that his family was safe, and he had made sure that things would stay that way for a long while yet.

Nothing else mattered...

There it glittered before them, a glowing glass city that shimmered like molten gold against the backdrop of an indigo blue night sky and the black shadow outline of the Smoky Mountains. After over 10 hours of driving, Remy was never so glad to see Knoxville in all his life. Approximately the halfway mark to their final destination, Knoxville was ideal for hiding out in.

He was familiar with the city and though it was not as southern as he liked, it offered a nice mix of urban and Southern culture. But more importantly, it was big enough to get lost in, and if somehow Portman found them, it was too public and populous for him to risk making a scene in. As they drove down Henley Street towards the hotel, Rogue began to stir awake.

"Perfect timing petite," he informed her as she came fully awake.

She stretched painfully and looked out the window.

"Where are we?"

"Knoxville, Tennessee. We gon' stay here for a spell."

"Stay? Where?"

Remy responded with a grin and pointed out the windshield. Towering in front of them, sparkling like a disco ball, stood the Knoxville Exposition and Convention Center.

Having pulled the car into the safely of the parking garage, he carefully unpacked a few items from one of his duffel bags. They changed clothes in the car. He into a black silk shirt, velvet jacket and leather pants, Rogue from his tattered trench coat she'd been wearing over her underwear to a long black dress coat with a hood. It was a man's coat, but cinching it at the waist, one could hardly tell.

Remy slipped a spare pair of sunglasses on her, and stepped back to access their appearance. Now they resembled young spoiled celebrities rather than a couple on the run. Satisfied, he returned the duffel bag to the trunk and began rummaging through what looked like the world's largest billfold. In it Rogue saw hundreds of what looked like fake IDs, counterfeited and stolen credit cards and wads of cash. Finding what he was looking for, he produced a smaller wallet and inserted a driver's license, social security card, 2 credit cards and a handful of bills.

She favoured him with a questioning look.

"De license and social security card is fake," he told her "Dey made to match de credit cards which is real."

He drew up beside her and encircled her waist with his arm.

"I know dis gon' be rough, but you gon' have to try and walk normal as possible once we git inside de hotel ' til we reach de room."

"Ah can manage. " she informed him. "Ah feel much better than Ah did this mornin'. That sleep did a world o'good."

Still, she leaned into him lightly as they walked, just to be safe.

"Dat's good chere. At most dey tink you jus bin hittin de sauce."

"Marvellous." she said, dead-panned. A question tugged at her mind, and chewing her lip, she decided to voice it. "Are those cards gonna work? Ah mean wouldn't they have been reported stolen or something by now?"

"Nah. I took dem from de mansion of some rich bastard on vacation. He had so many damn cards, he left dese and bout 10 others behind." He shook his head in disgust. "He ain't even gon return from Europe for a month and it probably be another month fore he even notices de tings I stole. But don' you worry, I only use de cards once. Keeps trails to a minimum dat way. You talkin' to a pro here,"

They reached the lobby and Rogue relaxed in a plush chair while Remy checked them in. Boarding the elevator they began to ascend to their floor.

"You really gon like dis. I got us VIP treatment 'n everything,"

She gave him a look that read 'You must be out of your mind'. He beamed back at her nonchalantly.

"But chere, it be de only way to go!"

Remy slid the electric key into the lock and opened the door . They both let out a deep breath upon entering and Remy swept Sabine up into his arms and carried her through the parlor and into the bedroom.

"Ah do have feet, ya know."

"Don tell me you not enjoyin dis." came his quick retort and she shut up.

Though she was feeling much stronger now, the trek to the room had tired her a bit and she was grateful to be reclining again. Remy strode to the phone and called the concierge requesting a bell boy.

"What's the game plan sugar?" she asked as he hung up.

"I figure we hol up here for a few days. You heal and git a bit more rest. I gotta contact some people, send word back home."

A knock at the door heralded the bell boy's arrival. Ushering him in, Remy told him where they were parked and the make of the car and sent him to retrieve the rest of their "luggage."

"Don't worry, de doors be unlocked. De bags are in de trunk, jus lock up when you done."

He handed the boy a fifty dollar bill. The young man's eyes widened and with an enthusiastic "Yes sir!" he was gone.

"You hungry petite?"

"A bit, yeah."

Inspecting the contents of the room's refrigerator, Remy returned to the bedroom with some fresh fruit and juice. Stiffly he sat down on the bed.

"Man, I'm sore. Anoder hour in dat car an I wouldn't be able to move."

He handed her some food. She thanked him and they ate in silence. The bell boy returned shortly and Remy tipped him again.

"Thank you sir."

"'Tink noting of it." He replied smoothly. "We 'preciate good service."

"If there is anything else you require further sir, don't hesitate to ask. Just call the concierge and ask for Jonathan and I will be more than happy to oblige."

"Tank you Jonathan. I remember dat."

With the boy gone, Remy finally removed his sunglasses and Rogue followed suit. She could see through his sluggish movements just how drained he was. He had pushed himself and his resouces to the limit to save their asses, and now he seemed to have one wheel down and the axle dragging. Sitting down on the bed, his back to her, Remy leaned over rigidly to remove his shoes. Rogue felt a frustrating guilt for not having been able to contribute, even more so because she was responsible for this situation. She watched as Remy arched his back uncomfortably, a sharp intake of air punctuating his pain. There was something she could do for him, if she could muster up the determination.

Pursing her lips, she decided he deserved some quid pro quo. Cautiously she reached toward him, experimentally moving her hands around his back. Surprised at the unexpected contact, Remy did his best to kept from starting, not wanting to scare her off. Her touch became increasingly firm as she became more comfortable, her hands now running over the full length of his back, expertly seeking out the tensed muscles. She found the main culprits just above the shoulder blades and masterfully began to knead at the knots. He let out a murmur of approval, visibly relaxed.

"How you know how to do dat so well, chere?'

"Was trained how." she began in a soft low voice, her eyes overcast in thought, words spilling out of her unconsciously. "In case we got a cramp in, or a partner did while on a mission. Had to know how to get rid of it immediately, before it cost us. Occasionally we used it on our..."

She stopped abruptly, her eyes now clear and focused. She had been about to say "targets," but had caught herself before it slipped out. What in the world had made her tell him all that? She'd been paying to much attention to what she was doing and not enough to what she was saying. Or thinking for that matter. She forced herself to pull away abruptly and cleared her throat.

"Why don'cha get some rest, Remy? You look beat."

"Oh, I be plannin on it Rogue. But der be a few tings I gotta get squared away first."

He exited into the parlor and Rogue could hear him talking on the phone to what she could only assume were his contacts. She also heard him call the concierge and ask for Jonathan, but she couldn't make out what he was saying. A short while later he returned to the bedroom.

"Well now , if you 'cuse moi, I believe I'm gon freshen up." He turned on the TV and handed her the remote. She flashed Remy a grateful smile which seemed to please him. With a fresh change of clothes he headed for the bathroom.

Sabine finished off her juice and raided the fridge for more food. She was happy to have gained her appetite back. It was a good sign that she was healing quickly. She was eager to be self-reliant again. Sitting back on the bed she flipped through the channels letting her mind drift.

Remy emerged from the bathroom in a pair of jeans and a simple white tee shirt that, though not skin tight, could not conceal the well toned muscles of his torso. As he toweled off his hair there was a knock at the door. Grinning he put on his sunglasses.

"Wait here."

She heard Jonathan's voice from the other room and became quite curious as to what they were discussing. She put on her sunglasses.

"Oui, dat's magnifique,. You do good work, mon homme." She heard the rattle of dishes and Jonathan became visible in the doorway pushing an overstocked tea service into the parlor. He smiled at her and disappeared. Pushing the tea service to the bedside Remy handed her a gift box.

"Figured maybe you might want to freshen up as well. Dis will have to do 'til we can git you some more clothes."

She opened the box and pulled out an elegant silk night gown and matching silk robe. It was a deep violet and sleeveless to provide easy access to her wounds.

"It's...nice," she murmured in a odd tone he couldn't quite figure out. She rose and held the garment somewhat unfemininely up to herself. He frowned and asked, "What's wrong?" "Nothin'." She couldn't recall having been given a gift before besides her gun and she had to earn that. She didn't know quite how to receive it. Remy took her silence to mean that she was uneasy with the intimacy of the gift. He hadn't meant to imply anything by it, just wanted to give her something as lovely as she was, something he thought she'd appreciate. Maybe it had been a bad idea.

"Look, you no like it you I lend you one o'my tee shirts and a pair a sweatpants and I'll wear it. Violet is one o'my best colors." He reached to take the gown but she snatched it away, pressing it close to herself. She looked like a child who was ready for someone to try and take her favorite toy. SO she does like it he thought amusedly, pleased.

"With those broad shoulders? It just wouldn't look right on you. Not to mention the chest hair."

"And jus what about my chest hair,'tite?"

He had her smiling again and she decided to end this silly conversation.

"Thank you." She picked up the robe and spoke hastily. "Now Ah believe its my turn to go get cleaned up . Wouldn't wanna get this dirty."

She shrugged off his help as she limped to the bathroom. With great difficulty she washed her hair in the sink, gritting her teeth against protesting muscles. Wrapping a towel around her head, she hesitated, debating what to do next. She couldn't imagine how she would get out of her sports bra. Pulling it off over her head would be next to impossible with her injured shoulder and ribs. Cutting herself out of it seemed to be the best solution and rummaging through Remy's toiletry kit she found a pair of scissors that would do the trick.

Carefully she began to cut at her sports bra. Once fully disrobed she removed the rest of the bandages and turned on the shower. She relaxed on the seat built into the wall of the shower letting a light midst run over her body for a few moments. Taking the soap and a washcloth, she bent to scrub away the accumulated grime from her body.

By the time she was dressed in the night gown she found herself thoroughly exhausted. Water ran freely from her now loosened hair and dampened he silk. Grabbing a towel and brush she exited the bathroom. Remy having eaten his fill, was stretched out on the bed watching a late night talk show. He turned toward her, the corners of his mouth curving up as he caught sight of her.

"Feel better?"

"Yes, much," she replied, sitting down on the bed and clumsily attempting to dry her hair.

He snickered at her antics.

"Here, let me do dat." "Ah'll do it mahsalf, if it's all the same to you" she all but snapped, indignant at being treated like a child for the hundredth time that day.

"Fine, you go 'head then."

He sat there, a smug look on his face, as she tried to no avail to dry her hair with one arm.. Her aggravation increased as she dropped the towel several times. Remy had turned back to the TV, pretending not to notice, but she knew he was enjoying this. Failing one last time to ring out her hair and only succeeding in creating more tangles, her temper erupted.

Dammit!" she hissed and he laughed aloud.

She glared daggers at him.

"Fine! You do it!" she pegged the towel at his head. His smile faded. She was like an abused dog that snuggled up to you and then without warning snapped for no reason. And he was losing patience.

Slowly he moved into a sitting position behind her. Though irritated at her attitude, he took the towel and brush, and gently massaged her head, ringing as much excess water from her hair as he could. Then he tenderly brushed her hair out, never once pulling it. Though she sat with her arms crossed defiantly over her chest, she closed her eyes, privately enjoying the tingling sensation his touch caused her. Her anger abated a bit.

"Why do Ah git the impression ya have done this before?" she mused.

"I don't know what you mean choue," he said with mock innocence.

She let out a soft chuckle. She really had no call to treat him so harshly. If only the jerk wouldn't baby her so damn much. He rose and retrieving his medical kit, redressed her wounds.

"Dey look good. Healin' well," he managed between yawns.

"Remy, you are too much," she breathed sleepily, by way of an apology as she slid under the covers.

"I take dat as a compliment," he said as he switched off the bedside lamp.

"That's how it was meant sugar."

In the dark she could hear the rustle of cloth and assumed he was changing into his sleepwear.

"You almost friendly when you fed and clean." he yawned. "Almost. Tink I like you better dat way." he chided, slipping into the bed.

"Ah'll be freakin' Barney in a week you keep this up, Cajun." She retorted sarcastically.

"DAT may be goin a bit far." he answered and snuggling beneath the covers he whispered a soft goodnight.

"Sleep tight, Remy." she whispered back, secretively ashamed that treating someone with respect, the courtesy they'd earned and deserved, was so difficult for her. Silently she pledged she would try and ease up on him a bit. Then closing her eyes, fell into a light slumber.


Continued in Chapter 8


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