saga/title/fandom: Homecomings

author: Alex L

rating/genre: (R) - Drama/Angst

warnings: Het, language, adult situations, attempted rape

summary: Not all homecomings are happy ones. R for language, disturbing imagery, and references to attempted rape. Featuring Iceman, Wolverine, Gambit, Jubilee, Rogue, and Storm, as well as other favorites.

comments/disclaimers: While I don't own any of the characters (Marvel), this story is mine, mine.

Chapter Eleven: Bad Reputation

The mansion was in the midst of preparing for the upcoming holidays. With the upcoming holidays came a relaxed atmosphere, which had eluded the mansion for some time. Classes were winding down at the school. Many of the students were enjoying the goodwill of their instructors, who were using the last fifteen minutes of their classes to enjoy some down time. First there was Ororo, who brought her class freshly baked sugar cookies and fruit punch from Cook. Jean showed holiday themed movies, such as "A Christmas Story" and "It's A Wonderful Life" (her personal favorite), to her class. Meanwhile, Warren allowed his students to sneak time in the Blackbird simulator. Kurt brought his class trinkets from a recent trip to his native Germany. Then there were Bobby and Hank, who took the children on a "nature expedition" to build snow forts and engaged in some winter warfare.

Scott, Warren, and Bobby had left several hours ago to buy a tree for the mansion. Rather than wait for them, Rogue and Kitty decided to proceed with their mission of decorating the mansion. They had recruited the help of some of the students in getting the storage boxes from the attic (thanks to promises of Cook's gingersnaps). The two friends were now sorting through the various decorations before hanging them up. Meanwhile, many students were piling into the living room, assisting in the decorating project. In the background, a CD of jazz-flavored holiday songs was on. Rogue's favorite song on the album, Chet Baker's horn-infused version of "Winter Wonderland" was currently playing.

Kitty had just finished setting up a silver menorah on the mantle of the fireplace. "There," she said with a small smile of satisfaction, "just like how Mom and Dad used to do it."

Rogue pulled out a worn, baseball cap with mistletoe hanging from the brim. Her brows furrowed together in confusion. "What in the world.."

Kitty rolled her cat-like brown eyes behind her square, black-rimmed glasses. "It's Bobby's, remember? That Christmas before he left, he was chasing all of us with it." It puzzled her sometimes how Bobby could keep his inner child alive for so long. Maybe this is why he doesn't have a girlfriend, she observed inwardly.

"Then it goes in the trash. We have enough mistletoe hangin' in this place." Rogue tossed it behind her, shaking her head. A couple of days ago, Jean bought several bushels of mistletoe and hung them in the doorway of each public room of the mansion.

Her friend grinned as she eyed a large star pendant Rogue was now holding. Intrigued with the intricate, shimmering gold and silver printing over the thick, rice paper of the star, she said, "I haven't seen that before."

"That's because it's new," Rogue informed her, suddenly looking wistful. "Joseph left it here before he went to Guatemala."

Having heard about the earthquake that devastated the Holy Sepulcher Orphanage, he traveled to assist in the relief effort. He had told Rogue about his feelings of guilt from killing the criminals who had kidnapped Sister Maria and the children from the orphanage. By helping them rebuild, he thought he would be atone somewhat for the violence.

While Rogue understood and empathized his intentions, she could not quite feel disappointed. She had been looking forward to spending the holidays with him. Even though he was a grown man, the amnesia he had suffered made him childlike in many ways. This was going to be his first Christmas and Rogue wanted to teach him everything about the holiday, from the religious to the secular.

Maybe next year, she told herself. For a moment, she found that she was trying to convince herself there was going to be another chance. Angry with herself, she quickly pushed her uncertainty from her mind.

Kitty patted Rogue's sleeved arm gently. "Well, it'll just be us girls for the holidays then. We can make potato latkes and sing carols by the fire, you know."

Rogue's hazel eyes were surprised. "Ya not goin' home, sugah?" She knew that while things were less than functional in the Pryde home, Kitty longed to put her family back together. There were many nights Rogue remembered consoling her good friend over her parents' divorce and later, her father's violent death.

Kitty sighed, shrugging. "My mom's spending the holidays with my brother and his wife. And, unfortunately, Marla isn't too fond of mutants. It's just as easy for me to stay here." Despite her sunny smile at the end of her sentence, there was something in her eyes that spoke her disappointment.

"Ah'm sorry."

"Don't be. It's her loss, you know. Besides, I'm looking forward to catching on some shopping."

"Don't worry, sugah. Ah haven't even started. Maybe we can go out to the mall tomorrow and check out the sales, y'know."

"Sounds like a plan." Kitty opened another box and lifted several strands of red pepper berry garland. "Oh, this would be perfect on the railing, wouldn't it?" Then she removed a strand of sparkling bay leaf garland and tilted her head slightly. "But this one is nice, too. Which would you choose, Rogue?"

Rogue was about to voice her preference when she noticed a woman saunter in from the foyer. She was curvy, wearing an outfit that accentuated her figure-tight, white pants, a zipped-up bodice, and a white blazer with white stiletto heels. Around her neck was a choker with a gold X. Golden tresses cut in stylish layers framed nearly teal-blue eyes, refined yet delicate bone structure and silky, translucent skin. Her face reflected a mixture of boredom, coolness and detachment-an expression she often wore.

"I see that Frosty is back," Kitty observed, following Rogue's gaze and invoking Jubilee's nickname for Emma Frost. Like most of the other women in the mansion, she had rather mixed feelings about the former Hellfire member. Emma was icy and reserved towards many people, especially women.

In addition to her psychic abilities, she frequently and freely used her sexuality as a means in getting what she wanted. This was not only true with adversaries, but with many of the male team members. Related to this was the fact that Emma continued to dress provocatively. This would not be so bad if she wasn't an instructor at the school. Kitty recalled recently observing some of the male students and Bobby gawking at Emma, who was wearing her usual white field uniform-long leather pants, platform boots and leather trench coat with strategically placed scraps of fabric on her breasts and neck that left enough of her chest and stomach to form an X.

"What Ah want to know is how she ain't cold in that get-up," Rogue whispered, feeling somewhat frumpy in her black, drawstring leggings, gray, zip-neck sweater, and white sneakers.

Kitty pursed her lips, peering down at her own jeans and University of Chicago pullover. "More importantly, how does she keep everything so white?"

"Ah guess all that bleach isn't only used for her hair." Rogue raised a brow at her friend. She had her own reasons for disliking Emma, many of which stemmed from the way the White Queen treated Bobby in the past. Being a close friend of Bobby's, Rogue hated how Emma would tease and lead him on. She thought of the blonde as a predator of sorts, preying on Bobby's loneliness and using the promise of sex to manipulate him.

The two of them immediately burst into a fit of giggles. For her part, Emma did not seem she was paying any mind to the two women in the living room. Not that either Kitty or Rogue cared.

Suddenly, Kitty turned her eyes briefly from her friend to the doorway where Emma was standing. There, she saw the tall, lean form of Remy LeBeau next to her. He did not seem aware that Rogue was in the next room since he was smiling flirtatiously at the blonde Emma. His red-on-black eyes flicked to the hanging mistletoe over both their heads, then back to her.

While Kitty could not hear what the Louisiana native was saying, she was sure what he wanted at that moment. Emma, usually immune to his charms and wiles, seemed receptive as she was continuing to listen to him. Ever so slowly, the Cajun thief flashed a seductive smile and leaned over, pulling Emma close to him. He then planted his perfectly sculpted lips over hers for a kiss.

Oh, noooo. This is the last thing Rogue needs to see... Even though her friend was involved in a new relationship, Kitty couldn't help but sense that Rogue still harbored feelings for Remy. Kitty's head quickly whipped around to try to distract Rogue from the scene unfolding. She found that her friend had disappeared; leaving the star pendant in the spot she had been sitting.

On Sub-Basement Level Two of the mansion was the Danger Room. The area had recently been enhanced by Shi'ar technology as a result of the Professor's relationship with the Empress. The revamped training facility now used highly advanced robots and sophisticated holographic projectors in many of the training simulations.

This late evening found Jubilee, Tabitha, and Sarah exiting the Danger Room after a particularly rough session. This was thanks to a physically exhausting simulation Sarah had programmed. The three young students were leaning against the wall outside of the training area, panting and wiping sweat from their brows. The girls were dressed in the standard attire for the students-form-fitting, black leather uniforms with black combat boots and padding around the elbows and knees. Needless to say, their clothing forced them to sweat even more.

"Okay, who's gonna tell Scott about those broken robots?" Tabitha asked, her wide aqua eyes sparkling. She was a wiry teenager with blonde hair that was cut into chunky layers around her edgy, but cherubic features. The girl was a recent recruit at the school, leaving an abusive home life behind her.

Sarah made a face at her, absorbing the bone structures back into her forehead. A Morlock whose abilities included generating blade-like bone structures, she had worked for many months at the school to gain control over her powers. Her rugged but arresting features became more visible, which were framed by her magenta locks, now pulled into a ponytail.

"Why don't you do it? You're the one who fried them. I saw you." She was referring to Tabitha's ability create balls of explosive and concussive energy, which earned her the nickname, Boom-Boom.

Tabitha smirked, sinking to the floor to sit. "How do we know it wasn't one of your bone spikes that didn't do it?" she asked, eyeing the holes in the other girl's black, leather uniform.

"I was on the other side of the room!" Sarah turned her pale blue eyes to Jubilee, who was moving her head from side to side in an effort to stretch out her neck. "Why don't you tell him? You live with him and he treats you like his kid. He can't be too mad."

"Since he treats me like his kid, he can punish me like his kid," Jubilee pointed out. She could almost picture Scott having a fit about the equipment being broken-especially since the girls did not have one of the instructors with them. "Maybe we should tell him together. That way, Tabitha's not completely on the spot."

Tabitha nodded slowly, fingering her choppy hair. "Do you think we should have Jean around? He wouldn't flip out too much if she were in the room with us. Maybe she can zap his head or something."

Jubilee was about to respond to this suggestion when she heard a loud crash. "What was that?" she asked, straightening her posture.

The other girls frowned as they peered around. While the sound was loud, they were not able to discern where it came from. Immediately, shard-like bone spike sprang from one of Sarah's arms. She pulled one of them out and gripped it tightly. Tabitha followed her teammate's move and summoned several balls of energy into her hands.

Just as Sarah was about to dismiss the event and tell Jubilee she was hearing things, there was another crash followed by the sound of breaking glass. This time, the noises could clearly be heard from the doors of the women's locker room. Tabitha tossed one of the balls at the steel doors that led to the women's locker room. The doors immediately blew open with a thundering boom, which was not loud enough for the rest of the mansion to hear, given the soundproofed walls.

Jubilee was the first one to race to the doorway, summoning sparks from one of her hands. The room was dark, which made it hard to see anything. However, as the light from the hallway and her sparks poured into the room, she was able to discover the source of the loud noises. Quickly, flicked on the light switch, and slowly walked inside.

There, slumped against a row of lockers outside the shower stalls was Rogue. Her eyes were closed and her chin was pressed against her chest. The woman's hair was rumpled, as were her clothes. Despite the doors being blown open, she appeared oblivious, almost appearing as if she were asleep.

"Rogue!" Jubilee raced to her side, her eyes darting around the room to see if any possible attackers were present, which there was none. She absorbed the sparks into her hand. "Are you OK? What happened?"

"Mmmph." Rogue waved a hand at her, disoriented. Her hazel eyes were heavy- lidded. Smiling widely at Jubilee, she patted the young girl's head. "Ya grew up, didn't ya, Sweet Pea?"

Sarah was several inches from the two of them, crouching. "I would say this happened," she said, holding up an empty bottle of Southern Comfort and pointing at shards of glass in a pool of amber liquid, presumably remnants of another bottle Rogue was in the midst of consuming.

Tabitha peered at the bottles and then at Rogue, who was flashing her a lazy smile. "Oh, man," she cried, almost with glee, "Rogue's totally wasted!"

Jubilee rolled her eyes at her, then looked over at Rogue. Relieved not to find any cuts on the Southern Belle, she asked, "How long have you been here?"

Rogue placed a gloved hand on Jubilee's cheek. "Long enough, Sweet Pea. Don't ya worry. Ah can handle my liquor." She tilted her head back and closed her eyes.

"Rogue? Rogue?" Jubilee started to shake her shoulders to wake her up. When the other woman opened her eyes, Jubilee turned to Tabitha and Sarah, who appeared fascinated with a drunk Rogue. "We have to get her upstairs."

"And get this place cleaned up," Sarah added, standing up again. "Scott's going to flip out more if he sees this."

Tabitha crossed her arms over her muscular chest. "You know, we could just leave her here and pretend we never found her. Why should we have to do anything?"

"Because she'd help you if you were in the same situation."

"Fair enough."

Jubilee bit her lip as she bent down and placed one of Rogue's arms around her shoulders. "Come on, Rogue," she coaxed, trying to pull her up. Being smaller than the other woman and not having super strength made the task more difficult than she thought it would be.

"Yeah, come on," Tabitha grunted, taking Rogue's other arm and trying to prop her up on her feet. "Ugh, she's heavier than she looks. Must be all that fried chicken and grits she eats."

"Hey!" Rogue suddenly exclaimed, then rested her head on Jubilee's shoulder.

Sarah watched the two girls successful raise Rogue to her feet. Then she sighed as she stared down at the bottle and broken glass at her feet. "I guess I'll take care of this then." Her pale eyes then looked rather amused, as if she got the better end of the deal and knew it. She decided not to let the other two on.

"Good luck," Jubilee told Sarah, now dragging Rogue to the door with Tabitha.

The girls decided it would be easier to take the elevator from Sub-Basement Level Two to the second floor, where all the private living quarters were. During the elevator ride, Rogue became increasingly alert. Her eyes remained open and she was able to stand. However, she still required the assistance of the two girls to keep her gait steady. In addition, she started to talk-or rather, babble. Much of what she was saying either came out of left field or was unintelligible altogether, expressed in a series of grunts.

"Finally," Tabitha said as the elevator doors open. She wasn't sure what was more burdensome-carrying Rogue or listening to her babble on and on about country back roads.

Jubilee glared at the taller girl, assisting Rogue out of the elevator. "We have to do this quietly. Some of the kids are already asleep." She nodded towards a row of closed doors down the hallway.

Tabitha scowled, but then gave Jubilee a resigned look. They proceeded to lead Rogue to her bedroom, which was at the other end of the hall. Rogue was being cooperative and surprisingly quiet. She simply rested her head on Jubilee's shoulder, eyes dazed at her familiar surroundings. However, their trip to her bedroom wasn't going to be as effortless as anticipated. Without any warning or provocation, Rogue threw herself on the floor and buried her face in her arms. The girls immediately raced to hoist the intoxicated woman to her feet. This time, Rogue was not easily moved.

"Rogue. Come on, Rogue, get up." Jubilee pleaded, struggling to pull her up. "We're almost there."

"G'way. Ah like it here." Rogue mumbled, kicking the hardwood floor with one foot.

"Rogue!" Tabitha hissed. She peered around frantically to see if anyone heard. The last thing she needed was to be associated with another disturbance. She was still serving out her punishment, cleaning out the Blackbird after every field mission, for tossing a handful of energy balls into the men's locker room.

Unfortunately for the two girls, someone did hear the commotion. A light flicked on in one of the bedrooms. The occupant was definitely an instructor or simply a field team member since most of their rooms were located at the end of the hall. Footfalls could be heard sauntering across the hardwood floors. The mahogany door slowly swung open very slowly, pouring light into the dim hallway where the three women were.

Tabitha quickly rose to her feet, shaking her head and throwing Jubilee a sympathetic look. There was no way she was going to be written up again. "That's it. I'm outta here." She then sprinted down the other side of the hall, towards the room she shared with Sarah, Theresa, and Dani.

Great, Jubilee groaned inwardly, her eyes on the belligerent figure next to her. Still on her knees, she gave up on trying to help Rogue to her feet. Then she heaved a sigh and waited for the reprimanding adult to ask her what was going on.

Who confronted her was the antithesis of a stern, reprimanding adult.

"Petite, what's goin' on?"

Her eyes stared up at the tall, lean Cajun thief. Despite the fact he was dressed for bed in only a pair of black, silk pajamas pants, Remy LeBeau appeared as if he had not been sleeping for long. His red-on-black eyes were alert, surveying the scene in front of him. The usual amused and smug expression he wore was missing, replaced by one that communicated concern.

He raked a hand through his thick, wavy reddish-brown hair and knelt down by Jubilee and Rogue. His nostrils were already filled with the strong smell of alcohol, permeating from Rogue. He shook his head in dismay. Then he turned to Jubilee and asked, "Well, Petite?"

"I found her like this," Jubilee explained, sapphire eyes widening. She decided to leave Sarah and Tabitha out of the entire situation. No sense in making things any more complicated.

He nodded, knowing the little one would not lie to him. With a swift and rather graceful move, he scooped Rogue into his arms and rose to his feet. To his relief, she did not stir. "Come, Petite," he whispered, watching the young girl stand up. "Help me wit Rogue, huh?"

Jubilee nodded and followed him to Rogue's door quietly. As they made their way down the hall, she realized this was the closest Gambit had been to Rogue since he returned. She kept her questions to herself, knowing full well the Cajun never shared his feelings with anyone. Once they reached the bedroom, she moved past him to open the door and flicked on the lights.

The room was composed of a palette of delicate pinks, soft greens, Gustavian blues, and champagne and gold. Painted, timeworn furniture complemented a patchwork of florals, aged damasks, glistening beadwork, and dressmaker details. The smell of fresh pears wafted in the air faint, but strong enough to detect.

Remy strode inside, surprised that nothing had changed. He remembered spending many nights here; some good, some bad. All that time in Antarctica, he could have never predicted he would have ended back here. There were many nights he dreamed about being here with her. Needless to say, he was not expecting that he would be under these circumstances.

Then he stared down at the sleeping woman in her arms. Rogue's comely features were peaceful, making her appear innocent and unassuming. Gently, he brushed a lock of white hair from her cheek. There was so much he was thinking, feeling, and wanting to say. For now, this was fine enough for him. He knew if she were awake now, she would never allow him anywhere near her.

Remy found the king-sized sleigh bed in the middle of the room. As he laid the still sleeping Rogue over the luminous Odelette quilt, he saw Jubilee walking out of the private bath with a glass of water, a trashcan and a bottle of Advil. She placed the water and Advil on the classical, iron- wrought night table, a piece reminiscent of Pompeian-inspired and Napoleonic campaign furniture with its lion's paw feet and lion's heads with rings capping each leg. Then she placed the trashcan by Rogue's bed. Surprised that the young girl knew what to bring, Remy looked taken a back.

"My last foster mother was a raging alcoholic. I always had to take care of her after drinking." Jubilee explained, her blue eyes reflecting a hint of sadness and pain. Then she quickly changed the subject. "Is Rogue OK?"

Remy nodded. "I t'ink so. She be sleepin' it off." He paused, and then asked, "Petite, you know how much she have?"

"Maybe a whole bottle of whiskey and a half? I don't know. The other bottle was broken by the time I found her."

"How long she be drinkin', Petite?"

"I don't know. By the time I found her, she was already like this."

"When dat be?"

"Almost twenty minutes ago."

The Cajun's thief's mouth formed an uncharacteristically grim line. He peered down at Rogue, who looked rather comfortable. Hard liquor consumed in large amounts for an indeterminate amount of time. Who knew how much damage Rogue had done. As much as he hated to do it, he knew he needed to wake her up. However, he did not want to do so in front of Jubilee. He had figured she did not need to see that.

He turned to the concerned face of the young girl. Touching her cheek with slightly calloused fingers, he leaned towards her. "You did good, Petite. Gambit take care of Rogue from here, huh? You go home and get some rest." Then he craned his neck low and placed a soft kiss against her forehead and her cheek.

Jubilee immediately turned beet-red, realizing she was living out the fantasy of almost any woman in the free world. She smiled weakly and slowly walked toward the door. "Good night," she murmured, rubbing her cheek as she left the room.

Remy smiled fondly after the girl. Gone was the irresponsible child, replaced by a thoughtful young woman. Scott and Jean had done a good job, indeed.

"So, now ya moved on to little girls?"

He turned around to find Rogue, sitting up in bed with the quilt thrown off of her. Her hazel eyes were blazing with a mixture of anger and confusion. She straightened her position, her mouth curled in a seductive sneer.

"Chère," Remy drawled, his demon-like eyes filled with concern. He walked by her bedside. However, he stopped short of sitting next to her. I'm not going to push.

"Ah swear, ya touch her again, ya won't need to worry about Logan. Ah'll take care of ya myself." The last statement came out in a slur.

Realizing that she was not herself, Remy decided not to acknowledge what she was saying. Instead, he picked up the glass of water by the bedside table and offered it to her. "Here, chère. Drink dis."

She pushed his hand away and scowled. "Get the hell away from me," she snapped. "Ah don't need your help and Ah certainly didn't invite ya here."

Remy winced. He placed the glass back on the bedside table and sighed. "Chère, you don' know what you sayin'," he whispered huskily.

"Oh, Ah know, swamp rat. Ah know someone like ya can't nevah be trusted." Her head rolled to the side and she closed her eyes. Then she laughed. "But who can blame ya, sugah? We all have needs."

He gave her a quizzical look, watching her open eyes, which were now heavy- lidded. "What does dat mean, chère?" he asked, edging closer to the bed.

"Ah know what you want, Remy. Ah know what you always want."

"And what dat be?"

"Don't deny it, swamp rat. Ya always were a lousy liah."

"Chère, please. You need to drink some of dis water. You not goin' to feel so good if you don'."

Rogue smirked at him. "Know what ya need?" When he did not answer her, she continued to speak. "All those years in the arctic made ya lonely, didn't it? Lonely enough to sneak kisses from Emma and Jubilee?"

Remy bristled, eyes narrowing. He understood she was drunk, but for some reason she had hit a nerve with him then. His lips pressed together in an effort to keep himself from saying something he would regret. In their previous fights, he had never seen this side of her. This was someone who wanted to do her best to hurt him now.

In her drunken haze, Rogue winked at him seductively. "Ah know what ya wanted since ya got here," she said, her voice soft and whispery. "Ah've always known."

"So what is it dat I wan?" He hoped that by participating in this drunken conversation, he could convince her take some Advil with the water. She was going to be in bad shape the next morning if she did not.

Her gloved hand took his arm and guided him to the bed with her. Then she removed her sweater, leaving her with only her bra and leggings on. She ran her slim fingers through his wavy hair, remembering how she had done so many times before. She was now close enough to smell him-cigarettes and pine.

Remy found himself transfixed with the half-naked nymph, tempting him. His red-on-black eyes were smoldering as he stared at her. Even disheveled, she was still beautiful to him. There were many thoughts racing through his brain at that moment. So intent on his thoughts, he did not even notice her gloved hand traveling from his bare chest, down his washboard stomach toward his tapered waist.

Suddenly, he inhaled sharply and pulled away. "No, chère," he said quietly, placing her hand back in her lap. Abruptly, he turned his back to her. His heart was now thudding in his ears loudly.

"What's the matter, sugah?" Rogue cooed, her gloved hands now roving over his muscular back. "Ah'm here for the takin'. Don't ya want me, sugah?"

Remy jerked away, jumping to his feet. He shook his head and said quietly, "No, chère. Not like dis." He was almost insulted that she could have such a low opinion of him to think that he would even.

Her face flushed red as she glared at him. Then she threw herself back down on the bed, flipping on her side to face away from him. For his part, Remy approached the bed again. Wordlessly, he draped the pompadour cotton paisley jacquard flat sheet over her. Next, he moved the trashcan to the other side of the bed. He noticed that Rogue had passed out again, her mouth wide open as she slept.

He decided to sit with her for a couple of minutes, in case she needed anything. The water was a lost cause, but he thought she would probably drink it when she woke up next. From his experience of alcohol-induced slumbers, they never proved to be restful. Sinking into an overstuffed armchair with floral prints, Remy sat across from the bed. He leaned back, watching his former lover sleep. As he sat, he realized how shockingly different things now were.

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