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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: Vicki and I do not own Gambit and Rogue. Marvel... er.. uh.. Toybiz, or whoever, I don't really give a crap, does. We are using them without their permission, or frankly their knowledge. And that makes it ok. What they don't know can't hurt them, unless by chance they happen to come across this little "work". And even then, worse-case scenario, they'll suffer mild brain damage and a phobia of reading and the internet. And really, what are they gonna do to us? Come to our house, take us outside and shoot us in the street? I mean, let's be real here. No one could even find my house. I can barely locate it. Are they gonna sue us? Go right ahead, take all I got. You can't even buy a gumball for two cents anymore. Take my "assets"? I only got 2 assets; the one I'm sittin' on and the one on my shoulders. I'm not quite sure which is more valuable. I'm pretty sure they're chaulk-full of asses already. But if they want my head, feel free. Fat lotta good that'll do 'em. Only thing mine's good for is, possibly, an old fashioned game of soccer. For the first 10 minutes or so. Then it gets all mushy. Not to mention the disentigration. That's how that soccer started y'a know. With heads.
Vicki: Uhmmm...Thank you Caroline. You can step off the soapbox now. Teehehehehe ;)
Write to Caroline at Vicki at

Free for a Second

Part Nine

"Where are we goin'? Aren't we headed ta a hotel or somthin'?" Rogue asked, her eyes soaking in the sights of New Orleans in the late morning hours as the car cruised along the busy avenue...

They had received word the previous afternoon from Remy's associates that the road ahead was clear. Hastily, they had packed and checked out of the posh hotel, much to Jonathan's disappointment. By early evening they had bid the city of Knoxville adieu. Driving all night, they wove a tangled trail down to and through Louisiana, trying to make their path as difficult to follow as possible.

Though Rogue had insisted upon keeping Remy company during the entirety of the trek, 5 hours into the drive; she could no longer stave off her body's need for some healing sleep. With a quiet insistence, the car's motion lulled her away. Daylight had awoke her just outside of New Orleans.

"We goin' shoppin." Her companion said casually. "Need ta get you some proper attire. We got a dinner tonight. Gotta look good, neh?"

She blinked her eyes, simultaneously raising her eyebrows.

"Shoppin'? Dinner?"

"Dere be an echo in here? Oui, tonight you goin' meet my clan and dey goin' meet de woman who dey be helpin'. Wanna make a good impression, n'cest pas?"

She swallowed hard. She didn't want to make any impression at all. Truth be told, Rogue didn't care much for people. 99% of all the people she had met were complete and utter bastards. Manipulative creatures that used false sincerity to get what they wanted. Socializing and relationships were a burden that the Organization had rid her of. The prospect of meeting a whole clan, to whom she was already indebted, was wholly unappetizing.

However, she guessed she owed it to them. And some part of her wanted to express her gratitude for their aid, but...

"A CLAN? How BIG is a clan??"

"Relax chere, it's a clan o'people, not 'gators. Dey ain't gonna eat'cha."

"Says you. Ah don't like it. Ah ain't got no people skills. An' this shoppin' and eatin' in a restaurant don't sit none too well with me either."

"Shit, you always dis much fun girl? You tellin' Remy here dat that you go round de world on life -t'reatnin' missions on a whim, but you 'friad of sittin' down wit' ma famille? Chicken."

"Ah am not a coward. It's asinine to be jaunting around in public places. Why don't we just paint nice, bright bull's eyes on our foreheads?"

"Rogue....Sabine, relax. First off, we ain't goin' to no rest'rant. We eatin' in de family home. Second, we bein' watched out for here. Ma family make sure dat no harm come to us."

He pulled into a back alley and up to an iron wrought gate. Retrieving a small remote from his pocket he pressed a button and the gate opened. They pulled into a small carriage house hidden from the street. He turned to face her as he unbuckled.

"We safe. Now stop worryin'." He said confidently, oblivious to the dark shadows that had already invaded the Big Easy.

Operation Executive Portman cleared his throat, annoyed. He'd received notification earlier that morning that the powers above requested a meeting with him.


That could only mean they had learned of his incompetence in dealing with Sabine. There were few in the Org. that held a position of greater power than Portman. Those who did were capable of making him disappear before he could draw a breath of protest, should they deem him unfit. Their power was awesome. In fact he wondered why they hadn't taken the initiative in going after Rogue in the first place. Obviously they had thought it a trifle not worth their priceless time. Portman knew in his gut it was also a test.

To prove his worthiness and ability to them. And he was eager to please.

He coveted a place not only at their side, but one day, above them.

Rogue. What a fitting codename. he thought bitterly. After all he'd done for her, this was how she repaid him? His position in jeopardy, his pride wounded, he decided it was time to take matters into his own harsh steel hands. He wanted no more fuck-ups.

There was a knock at the door.



His secretary stepped through the doorway and halted sharply.

"Sir," she said stiffly, her communications headset still adorning her head.

"Yes, report."

"Operative Stein has acquired the information on the unknown male accomplice you requested."

"About damn time."

"I know, sir. He apologizes. Apparently this man virtually doesn't exist. Stein had to go above and beyond normal procedures to..."

Portman cut her off harshly.

"Enough. I don't give a rat's ass how hard it was. Just give me the information."

She quickly strode forward, unfazed by his tone, and handed him a green dossier full of printouts. As he scanned them she gave him an overview of their contents.

"His name is Remy Lebeau. He's a member of the Thieves' Guild of New Orleans."

He looked up, arching a brow.

"Thieves' Guild? I thought that was just a myth."

"As did I sir. But apparently some other agencies have had run-ins with them before. That is primarily how Operative Stein was able to compile most of his information."


"Age approximately 26. Height..."

"Unimportant. Have they located them?"

"We sent tracers down to New Orleans yesterday. Had them locate a few known members and associates of the Guild already on file and trailed them. Most leads were dead ends, but one led us to Knoxville, Tenn. There they delivered a car and some suitcases to a hotel."

"How are you certain they're connected?"

"Though was no actual visual confirmation, after interviewing the hotel staff, one employee did mention a peculiar detail about one of the guests he'd been serving." She stopped, smiling proudly.


"It was a woman with a white streak right down the middle of her hair."

Her mood was infectious, and Portman found himself smiling too.

They'd found her.

"The car was seen headed south last night. Despite their best efforts to throw us, it was tracked to..."

"Let me guess... New Orleans. Stupid bastard's looking for home court advantage."

"Sir, we have already dispatched several more operatives. It's only a matter of time..."

He rose, again interrupting her mid-sentence.


"Tell our operatives I want them found, but not, I repeat, not confronted. Trail them."


He donned his suit jacket.

"I'm going down there personally. You know the saying. If you want it done right...I'm taking no chances this time. In the meantime, you're in charge of the office."

"Yes sir!"

"Notify all those necessary. My meeting may have to wait. Dismissed."

As she exited he prepared himself. It would be foolish for an all-out confrontation . The Organization was powerful but there was too much of a chance of something going wrong if they engaged the Thieves' Guild in their home city.

He had to get Sabine alone. Convince her to leave the protection of the the Guild. A cruel smile distorted his features.

And he knew just how.

They ate a quick breakfast which Rogue all but swallowed whole as she slumped half-way down in her chair, throwing rapid glances over each shoulder every couple of moments.

Remy simply laughed at her behavior and waited for her to give herself a good case of heartburn.

That'd learn her.

'Ya know,' he leaned towards her speaking in a confidential tone. 'Ya keep gulpin' dat down like ya are, it goin' make your nose get real athletic.'

As to confirm his words she abruptly began to choke on her last bite. Quickly she took a huge swig of Chicory coffee and forced the whole mess down.

"Tol' ya."

She wiped her mouth. "Ah can take the hot, smartass. It's the not chewin'."

He laughed.

"So slow down den stupid. We got time."

"Ah told you Ah don't like bein' out in the open. Makes me nervous. We're bound to be noticed."

"Well t'ink about how much attention we gonna get if I have ta give you de Heimlich right here."


She slowed down bit by bit and began to enjoy the taste of the meal. She even seemed to relish the coffee, he noted with surprise. Outside of Louisiana, Chickaree was not a popular coffee flavor. As he had, she wore sunglasses, and with a bit of make-up, they had managed to almost entirely conceal her bruises.

Not that it would have mattered. They were in New Orleans. Sabine could have run through the streets naked if she wanted and not caused many an eye to bat.

Remy looked her over again, as she finished her last bite.

OK, maybe not naked...

He smiled at his private joke.



Her expression clearly revealed that she knew whatever he wasn't letting on, was at her expense. However instead of persisting, she chose to give him a nasty look over the rim of her coffee mug.

"Like dat coffee, do ya? Not most everybody takes to it chere. It's a hard one to love."

"Sugar, Ah can eat grounds. This is much more pleasant to swallow."

She set the empty mug down.

"You finished?"


"Bien. Den let's go spend some money."

They strode up and down the banquettes pressed closed together. Their proximity, however, wasn't due to lack of room, but rather Rogue's efforts at trying to conspicuously play bodyguard. If he was unwilling to heed her insistence that they were still in danger, then she would watch out for the both of them.

At first a bit reluctant and not in quite the right mood or frame of mind to shop, Sabine stood just inside the entrance of each store, arms crossed over her chest. With an undiscriminating glance she swept her eyes over the contents of the store, selecting nothing. By the fifth store Remy lost his patience with her and muttering something under his breath, quickly lunged forward, grabbing a tasteless dress that seemed to be about 2 parts leather and 3 parts mesh.

"What are you doin?" She asked, eyeing the sleazy garment .

"Well, if you ain't gonna choose nothin', den I chose for you."

He walked towards the cashier.

"Oh no you don't! Ah ain't wearin' that shrimp-net!"

"Den you better start shoppin' for yourself. Otherwise it's up to me. And you not gonna like what I pick, I guarantee."

"Fine." she replied curtly, grabbing the dress from his hands. She made to return it, but when he turned his back she tucked it under an arm and quickly hid it under a few things she found to her liking.

She wouldn't let him win so easy.

She tried on a few shirts and pants while Remy sat in a chair outside the dressing room waiting patiently, basking in the smiles women flashed him as they passed by.

"How's it goin'? You find anythin' you like?" he called out.

"Yeah, a few things. But I'm not so sure about this one. Don't know if I should get it or not..."

She was glad he couldn't see her face and the large devious smile perched there.

"Let me see, chere. I help you make up your mind."

"Well...okay," she cast a last look in the mirror. The garment could basically be described as an ultra-short, long-sleeved, ring-necked, red mesh dress with a hint of leather. It clung to her body, closer than a second skin and just barely came below the line of her buttocks. The dress was completely translucent, save for where someone had a modesty attack at the last moment and stitched a piece of leather to the thin material. The amoeba-shaped leather wrapped around the entire creation, starting thin under her left arm and widening to just manage to cover both nipples, letting the rest of her abundant breasts spill out on either side.

Again it shrank at her waist as it wrapped down and around increasing its girth to almost cover her rear. It finished its last turn creating a wiggle of fabric across her lower abdomen, a good 7 inches below her bellybutton. She looked like she was wrapped in a red orange peel.


It was ugly…

It was tacky…

It was perfect.

She walked out.

"Remy, tell me what ya think of this."

He turned towards her, his mouth open to make a reply that never came. Open it hung as he sat, stone cold eyes locked onto the vision before him. She swore she could see his eyes burning hot right through his sunglasses.

"That's what I thought." She smiled.

Noticing she had unwittingly attracted the attention of the store's other customers, she quickly retreated to her fitting room and scrambled gratefully back into her underwear. She suspected that Remy had never enjoyed watching a femme walk away from him so much in his whole life.

They returned to the sidewalks after their purchase in which the little red number was not included, much to Remy's chagrin. After a while the beautiful scenery and easy going people of the city worked its charm on Rogue. She ceased to dart her head about, looking for something unseen.

Instead she chose to admire the iron-wrought balconies, the street car which passed by occasionally, or the musician that had set up shop right on the banquette. Giving in to the humidity in the air, she slowed her pace.

New Orleans was not a place where you wanted to move too fast, unless you had a particular fondness of being sticky and sweaty. Absent-mindedly, she hummed a tune that she'd picked up from a street musician as they wove their way in and out of boutiques. For his part, Remy genuinely seemed to enjoy showing Rogue a bit of his hometown. Telling her small tales of things he'd done in his youth, stories that were connected with shops or people they passed by. About night life here, and gator-hunting. What were tourist traps and what were real points of interest . Bags in hand, he finally led Sabine to a couture.

"Pick out something for  tonight chere. Nothin' too ritzy, but elegant none de less. Somethin' special."

With that he left to go find something for himself. She wandered amidst the sea of fabric, lost, until she spied a beautiful black gown hanging on a rack in the corner. It was exquisite.

With Remy nowhere in sight, she hastily grabbed one in her size, wanting it to be a surprise.

"May I start a fitting room for you, miss?"

Rogue jumped and whirled to face the petite sales attendant .

"Uh..yes. Please." Rogue all but threw the garment at the woman, keeping an eye out for Remy.

"Certainly." The sales attendant responded, making no attempt to hide her curiosity at Rogue's unease. "I will hang it outside your room. When you're ready just go right in. My name is Mirette. Let me know if I can be of further assistance."

Sabine watched her withdraw. Taking a few moments to ascertain where Remy was, she covertly discovered him examining several suits. Satisfied that he was occupied with his own purchase, she all but sprinted back to the dressing rooms. Snatching the dress from the hook, she began to push open the door when a rough hand grabbed her wrist and violently pulled her inside. She found herself locked in the embrace of someone larger and obviously much stronger than herself.

Her mouth covered painfully tight, she didn't dare struggle as she suddenly felt the all-too-familiar prodding of cold metal against her spine. Her blood froze within her veins. Looking in the opposite mirror she stared calmly at the visage of her unwelcome visitor.


"Hello Sabine." he spoke smoothly in his irritatingly fake upper-class accent. "Miss me at all?"

Her stomach threatened to dispel its contents but her expression was void of her distress as he released the hand over her mouth.

"Not at all, now that you ask."

Portman gave a snicker. She'd always been a smartass. He ground the gun into her injured ribs purposefully.

"Always the same Rogue. Obstinate. Too much so for your own good if you ask me. Look at the cluster fuck you're in now."

The young woman narrowed her eyes and stared coldly into her mentor's icy gray ones.

"Yeah, well you know what they say: You live what you learn."

Again he jabbed her forcefully with the gun muzzle. She bit down on her lip.

"Let's cut the small talk and get something clear, Sabine. I've always treated you better than the rest and this is how you show you gratitude? I should have left you to rot in that cell. At least 'til they put you to death because it looks like that's how you're going to end up anyway. What a waste of my time. What the Hell were you thinking you stupid girl? No one leaves the Organization. Not alive, anyway. You know that perfectly well. The ones that did are out there somewhere, nothing but abandoned mutilated, putrid carcasses. Is that how you want to end up?"

She kept silent.

Eyes burning, Portman brazenly lifted her clear off the floor and gave her a bone-rattling shake.

"Is it Sabine?!"

"Maybe it's what Ah've always wanted," she hissed through clenched teeth.

"I knew you were going to say that," he replied, proud yet annoyed at his pupil's defiance. The expression on his face grew more serious than death.

He was ready to pull his trump card.

"This little game has gone on long enough. I won't have you discredit me any further."

He gripped her arms tighter and brought her face closer to his. He knew somewhere in there Sabine had a conscience and he was relying on that to be her undoing.

"You listen to me and listen well. I know who your little savior is. And I know all about his 'family'. More importantly, I know how to get to them. It's going to be easy, really easy."

He studied her face closely. There, he saw what he was searching for. It existed only for a nanosecond, but something akin to concern had flashed in her eyes. Inwardly he smiled.

She was his.

"You know what we're capable of Rogue. You've seen it. Felt it. You put up any more of a struggle and we'll not only come after you, we'll round up the whole lot of the Thieves Guild. Let you and Remy watch as we put them all to an agonizing death. Let you hear them as they writhe, cursing the day one of their own was given life. And then, before your own death Sabine, you will have the distinct honor of watching as Remy Lebeau is tortured until his heart gives out. He'll go to his grave, his last thoughts in this world of suffering and hatred. Hatred for the one who brought this fate upon them. You, Sabine. Do you really want to be responsible for that?"

She remained quiet, face completely stoic. Then slowly her eyes lowered and her head bowed slightly. She knew this wasn't a threat. Portman spoke the truth. He'd won.

He set her down and smoothed out the wrinkles he created in her clothes.

"I see we have reached an understanding. You are to make an exit tonight. You're a capable assassin, I will leave the how up to you. A car will be waiting in front of 939 Esplanade Avenue to take you to your fate."

He said this as he regarded his reflection in the mirror, straightening his own attire. As he turned to leave, he gave her a final warning. "And Sabine, if anyone is the wiser you know what will happen. Take great care."

With that, he was gone.

Her knees, fighters to the end, gave out seconds after Portman's exit. Her mind was no longer in New Orleans by the time her butt hit the floor. She was beyond thought. It took every ounce of concentration and strength she had just to keep breathing. In and out and in again, she just simply sat there.

"Chere?" Remy's voice jolted her from her shock. "Sabine, where you at, girl?"

Shit, she had to do this right, she couldn't flake out now. If he detected the faintest hint of her distress, if anything roused his suspicions, they were worse than dead. A brief mental image of a man she'd watched Portman torture flickered in her mind, only this time his face was Remy's. It was his blood that surged freely down his crown, mingling with the red and drowning out the black in his eyes. His voice, hoarse from hours of screaming, that begged her without care for dignity, as he lay unable to rise from a pool of his own urine. His voice that damned her when she refused. It was his bones that she heard shatter with every blow, his scorched skin she smelled every time the electroshock gun made contact.

His nails that were wrenched from their lodgings and forced down his throat. And that was before Portman had gotten into it. With palpable force she slammed that memory back into the vault where she'd locked it away with infinite others. Recalling that would do no good now.

Somehow she would have to hide every iota of her anxiety from him.

Not for the first time, she found herself grateful for the acting lessons she had been put through by the Org. She could pull this off; she had been trained to.

"Ah'm in here, Remy." she called back with forced but believable cheer. "Gimme 5 minutes, then Ah'll be ready to go."

"Alright, no rush. I jus' go chat up de sales ladies." he half-joked back and she heard his footsteps tread away.

She quickly tried on the dress, no longer concerned with its visual appeal, only with its fit. Satisfied, she hastily redressed and then sunk to the floor again. Settling into a lotus position she proceeded to meditate, something else she'd picked up from the Org. Slowing her breathing, she settled on a soothing image, usually a warm bath, and pushed all thoughts of Portman and her impending escape to the far recesses of her mind.

Concentrate. she told herself. Concentrate on control.

After a few moments, she had managed to shove Portman to the back of her thoughts and sealed him off. There they would wait until the time came to deal with them. For now she would have to act as casual as possible with Remy. Or at least as casual as was normal for her. Rising to her feet once more, she studied her image in the mirror, tidying her hair and clothing. Then she flashed herself a couple of practice smiles.

She could do this. She had to.

Portman had already begun barking orders at his awaiting operatives before he even reached their car.

"Get me H.Q. on the phone!"

"Sir we have them already. Chief Stark called a few minutes ago requesting to speak with you sir. He said it was of the utmost importance."

Of course it was if it was Stark calling. He was after all, the head of the Organization.

Shit, what does he want?

Portman was glad that he could confidently reassure his superior that he would have Sabine by night's end.

Slowly he entered the car and reached for the phone.

"Portman here, sir."

"Update, E.O. Portman," came the gruff reply. This man was all business.

"I have made contact with our quarry. Rest assured sir, she will be ours before dawn."

The news that Rogue remained at large after a personal confrontation would have vexed Stark had it come from anyone other than Portman. He had never known Portman to not make good on his promises. If he said Rogue would be theirs shortly, Stark wholly trusted that she would be.

"I have every confidence in you, Portman."

"Sir," Portman continued, asking a question, though he did not relish hearing the answer to, knew the grave necessity of its purpose. "What are you recommendations for the disposal of Operative 357?"

Stark cleared his ancient throat.

"There is to be no disposal at the time of capture."

Portman blinked, stunned. "Sir?"

"You are to bring Operative 357 home, Portman. What happens to her between New Orleans and here is entirely in your hands. However, understand that she is not to retain any severe damage. I want her secured when you arrive. She will be properly dealt with, have no worries. But not until I deem it is the appropriate time. You are to report to us once she is safely in custody. We have an important matter to discuss with you. It involves your protege."

So that was it. They needed something from Sabine. And she would remain alive until they had gotten it.

Lucky bitch. Portman thought incredulously. Then again, Stark had stated she would be "dealt with". Maybe she was not so fortunate.

"Am I understood?"

"Yes, Sir."

"Good. We await your arrival."

Portman hung up the phone. He had a good amount of time to pass before Sabine was to deliver herself. His mind began to race furtively as he leaned back into the plush interior, trying to unravel the mystery behind Rogue's stay of execution.


Continued in Chapter 10.


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