'The heart has its reasons that
reason cannot know'
Mistletoe. Or the approximation thereof, fashioned out of
filigreed gold and studded with diamond-berries. Rogue traced
the delicate lines of the brooch, holding it up indecisively
to her neck, where the high-collared dress gave way to skin.
Eschewing her traditional cloth of green, she was dressed
simply in a black sheath with a chiffon overdress that melted
from scarlet to gold, broken by the occasional, dark flourish
of a rose. A daring outfit by her standards, Gambit thought,
that left much of her arms bare, despite the obligatory elbow-high
gloves. The rest of the team, who could rival Tante Mattie
and her coterie when it came to gossiping, were delighted
with this particular morsel. Bobby's reasons for sticking
close to her had grown thinner as the evening had worn on,
Wolverine had been grinning knowingly and Henry had moved
into the realms of words like: 'postulate', 'posit' and 'hypothesis.'
"C'n I pin dat on f'r ya?" Remy asked casually,
seeing the hesitation on her face, and berating himself again
for the inappropriate nature of the present. Mistletoe, with
all its connotations of fertility and sensuality. Mistletoe,
under which couples kissed. He should have gotten her gloves,
he thought despondantly, or soap. There had been a lovely
set of magnolia-scented soap in the mail order catalog...
"Please," she grinned, "Ah'm scared o' jabbin'
myself an' snappin' th' pin. Mah eyesight still ain't what
it used ta be."
Taking the trinket from her, Remy eased out the pin from
its latch and slipped it through the chiffon and silk, before
fastening it. The fabric slipped against his fingers, but,
thief-nimble, they were able to fasten the brooch without
difficulty. Throughout the proceedings, Rogue had remained
impossibly still, betraying her incredible self-control. The
beat of her pulse and movement of her throat were the only
signs that she was not an elegantly carved ice-sculpture.
He stepped back to admire his handiwork, swallowing as he
did so. Against the rich, fiery fabric, the gold and diamonds
caught alight, burning in the hollow formed by her collar-bones.
A slight, skewed smile touched her lips, her eyes were invisible
behind the dark glasses.
"So? How does th' rock look?"
"Suits ya," he replied flippantly, grasping for
the rags of his devil-may-care facade to cover himself, "Ya
outshine it though."
Rogue laughed, diamond-brilliant, "Flattery'll get you
To his surprise, she handed him back a slender package, before
walking off to rejoin Ororo and Jean's speculation on what
Scott had gotten his wife for Christmas -- inevitably a household
appliance, socks and/or rose-scented soaps from the famous
catalog. Wrapped in prismatic, green paper and frothy with
silver ribbon, it had an envelope attached to it. Not of the
old school who believed that cards should be opened first,
Remy pried off the sticky-tape and ribbon, acknowledging the
absurd instincts that led him to disturb the condition of
the gift the least but unable to defy them. Inside, a slim,
leather leash was curled around an old newspaper. Untwining
the two, he spread out the newspaper, finding no clue to the
nature or purpose of the present within it. Perhaps this was
Rogue's way of paying him back for the diving-board incident,
confusion for confusion, a lesson for a lesson. Perplexed
but too proud to ask her for explanation, he turned to the
card. On its front, a golden labrador of excruciating cuteness
and resplendant in reindeer horns wished the recipient a Happy
Grr-istmas. The inside was occupied by her nigh-indecipherable
scrawl and two slips of paper.
'To my personal guide-dog,
Thank you for being my eyes when I was blind -- in more ways
than one -- and seeing where we should go. What path we should
take. What our destination should be. Although I've had my
doubts about us, I think its time to follow you, even if it
is into Breakstone Lake. Can we walk our road together?
P.S. If you'd opened this first, cajun, the present would
have made sense.'
Too numb to comprehend the significance of the note, he examined
the enclosures. There was a letter from a Cajun restaurant
confirming that reservations had been made for two, as well
as a double ticket for a jazz festival happening in Central
Park. He had attempted to buy one on markets of every available
hue to be informed by both the snootiest of clerks and the
scuzziest of felons that it was fully booked. How had she
His surprise at Rogue's skills at ticket acquisition was
subsumed by a sudden realisation of what the card's message
had meant. You and I. Us. We. Shocked but profoundly
happy, Remy turned to find her among their friends. She and
Ororo were teasing Jean about the electric can-opener with
which Scott had just proudly presented her. Lifting her head
from the conversation in which she was engrossed, Rogue turned
to face him with a secretive smile on her face, hand touching
the mistletoe at her collar.
"Can we?" she mouthed.
Wryly acknowledging the pun inherent in the word, the stem
from which all meaning and action proceeded, "Oui."
1. For those of you who read 'Strangers in Paradise', the
Pascal quote is the one with which the first book opens. The
only one I've read to be honest, but it's good.
2. For more on Scott's inability to buy gifts, read one of
last year's X-Mas stories by me - Gold.
3. I made up the sad, labrador card, but ... I've seen worse.
4. Oui is pronounced 'we' for those who do not speak le francais
at all, and have never seen a Warner Bros. cartoon with Pepe
5. Continuity-wise this fits somewhere after Rogue was blinded
by Strobe and X-Men #17.
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