Disclaimer: Rogue, Gambit and other mentioned X-men characters are property of Marvel. The crazy Gallianos are mine. I've said what I should, so y'all can't sue me. I'm clean! :)
Her breath formed fluffy little clouds before her face as she walked briskly down the cement sidewalk. Stopping occasionally to glance into the display windows, Rogue was relatively on her own this wintry afternoon; she liked to refer it as her day off.
The sunlight bounced off the snow in an annoying glare, causing her to squint every once so often. Other than that, she wasn't bothered by much, considering how her powers made the meteorlogical temperature the least of her grievances. Rogue could, however, feel, to a minimum extent, the frost in the wind that caressed her rosy cheeks. Not so much as to make her shiver, but enough to remind her that she was alive and human.
Stuffing her gloved hands into the pockets of her bomber jacket, she walked on, trying to mingle with the people in the streets, trying to pretend that her life was as normal as the person who had just rudely bumped into her without apologising. She didn't even mind. She was getting away with it, and even those few occasional stares from passers-by; it was because of that unusual streak in her hair.
Yes, today was her day to be free of her duties as an X-woman, and a day to indulge in simple normalities.
Kids played with the slush along the sidewalks, only to get reprimanded by their parents for playing so close to the road. Friends stood outside their doors, talking about just everything under the sun. Lovers strolling towards the park nearby, with their hands entwined together.
Her footsteps slowed to a stop as she stared wistfully at the couple. She wished she could've shared this day with Remy -- it would taken the pretense a step further. Unfortunately, he was away on a mission. As like other occasions, he would be free from duties, but she would have hers to see to and vice-versa. Come to think of it, she found that she really didn't mind that much. Remy would've probably laughed at her silliness.
There weren't many people at the park today, thanks to the weather. Rogue was about to settle on a bench when a loud yapping startled her. She grinned when she saw that she had nearly squished a chihuahua pancake-flat with her butt. The little critter stared doefully at her with its big, brown eyes, wagging tail a blur and tiny forefeet up in a begging stance.
"Hi there, ya cute l'il thing," Rogue gushed as she picked the dog up into her arms. "You must be freezin' out here!"
There was a shiny little tag around its neck, so it definately wasn't a stray. Rogue looked around, hoping to find the chihuahua's owner.
"Well, looks like your master's not here, sugar. Let's just take a look-see at your tag here..."
E-101, SE 177th Street.
That was just on the other side of the park. Not far...If she flew there. "Now listen here, Frankie. We gotta have a mutual understandin' here, okay? Ah don't like bein' licked 'cos ah don't fancy getting your doggie powers and growin' fur in funny places, y'hear?" She looked sternly into the dog's eyes. "So don't touch me, Frankie. Or ah'm gonna have to whupp your butt. You got all that?"
Rogue didn't really expect an answer, but to her surprise (or imagination), Frankie actually nodded. With a smug look on her face, Rogue smoothed the dog's coat and decided to walk instead.
"Ah used ta have a doggie too, Frankie. A silky terrier, we called her Mudpie 'cos she was a gorgeous chocolate all over...Then she ran away an' ah never saw her again," A trace of sadness lingered in her voice as she spoke quietly to the chihuahua, in an attempt to keep him entertained. "Y'know, ah haven't thought of Mudpie in years. Ah still miss her,"
Rogue stopped and looked at her surroundings. The sidewalks were free of litter, the walls clean and void of graffiti. The blocks of apartments showed little signs of wear and tear; they were well-maintained. This was definately the upper-class residential area.
She winked at Frankie and commented, "You, sir, are one lucky dog!" Jogging lightly to the door labelled E-101, Rogue knocked on the door and waited for a response.
"FRANKIE!!!!!" The feminine shriek of joy resounded in Rogue's ears, and left her a little stunned. "My baby!! I was so worried!!"
Watching in amusement, Rogue smiled as Frankie's owner, a lady in her early forties, pranced and danced around with her precious dog in her chubby arms. It felt good to have helped; and she didn't even use her powers!
The bubbly woman looked up at Rogue with tears in her eyes. "Bonjourno, bambino! You are so kind to bring my baby home...Come in, come in!!!" Rogue found herself scurried into the cozy hall of the luxury apartment, where a whole horde of people were gushing over the formerly-lost chihuahua. "You must stay for dinner, call home, call home! I must thank you much, my friend!"
"Uhm, yes ma'am..." The overwhelmed X-woman picked up the receiver off the phone that had been pushed to her and dialled back to the mansion. "Hello? Remy? You're back early, sugar...Uhm, ah'm not comin' back for dinner, ah--"
"You must be her amore!! Come, come and have dinner with us, I insist!" The lady prattled enthusiastically into the phone. "Tell him to come, girl, come!"
A little shudder escaped Rogue as she glanced at all the people who were staring at her eagerly.
While waiting for Remy to show up, Rogue was patted on the back and showered with praises for her good deed. These Italians here were indeed scary; Southern hospitality didn't even begin to tip their scales. There were easily about fifteen people in the big apartment, all talking at the same time.
Rogue began to fear for her hearing.
Oh, but they were lovely people. They didn't stare, they didn't pry. All in all, they were practically worshipping her for the simple act of bringing their lost chihuahua back. Freda, as Frankie's owner was called, had brought her round to everyone, introducing her as 'The Angel'. How she wanted to giggle at all the attention she was getting!
"Now, dear, you've been here for ten minutes, and we forgot to ask for your name, and you forgot to tell us. But now we remember, so..." prompted an old man called Antonio. Everyone turned and stared at her again. They seemed to like doing that.
Rogue faltered a bit; she couldn't say, "Hi, ah'm Rogue,"; that would freak them out and spoil everything.
'Heck, just use your name, girl. It's a nice name, 'cept that you wanted to forget everything that was from the past...' she cursed inwardly.
"Sabine. Ah'm Sabine, and y'all are just too kind t'me, thank you," she smiled winningly.
There was a huge chorus of her name after that, comments on how pretty it was and everything. It wasn't that bad after all.
Until the doorbell rang.
"Oh no...Remy!" Rogue was momentarily mortified.
"Ah, the bella's man has come!!" Freda rushed to the door, pulled Remy in and dragged him into the hall like a rag doll, all in one smooth action. Rogue sniggered at the shock on the Cajun's face; he was about to suffer the same fate of overwhelming hospitality as she was! "Eh, we must see a kiss!!"
'Uh oh,' The two mutants thought simultaneously.
The next thing she knew, the handsome man scooped her gloved hand up, his thumb moving in a seductive caress, and kissed the back of it. Rogue wanted to burn up in spontaneous combustion with embarassment; Remy just smiled knowingly and put his arm around her waist.
"Everyone, this is Remy LeBeau, my...Uh...boyfriend," The infuriating man smirked and held her all the closer. Not that she was complaining, mind you.
"Bravo, Sabine...Very nice!" Freda gushed as Remy kissed her hand too. "Lucky girl, no? Come, dinner!"
As the others flocked to the dining area, the two X-men lingered back, hands entwined, broad smiles on their faces. The Gallianos knew enough to see that they were mutants, but they didn't even mind. It was as if they'd been neighbours for years or something. The acceptance was so comforting, and for Rogue and Remy, the presence together as a couple was sheer heaven.
For now, this was their little bit of normality for the day.