SEQ CHAPTER h r 1Wow. This is the latest ever update. First I want to say, I am so sorry. I never meant for this to take sooo long. This is probably going to be the last chapter, I'm going to write it like that anyway. I've got way too much going on to write much more, but the story was winding down anyway. Crazy person that I am, I decided to start a freelance business on the side of my full time job, joined the local Arts Council and I had a show to paint for. First show's done, but now there's another smaller one (thankfully) and everything else is still there, I typed up half of this on a plane coming back from San Franciso, and the rest in between designing websites and user interface icons. I'll try and wrap up the loose ends. Of after this long, anyone who was following the story, might want to reread the last few chapters. Thank you so much to everyone whose read and/or reviewed. If it wasn't for you guys, I would have given up on this a long time ago.
Shards of looking glass...
"You sure you want to do this?" Remy's voice was only a little above a whisper, even though, technically he didn't have to be quiet. Professor Xavier was psionically masking their presence. Gambit could shout if he wanted too, but that just seemed silly and more than a little disrespectful. This was a hospital after all. Marie hadn't wanted to here come at all. Had no intention to, until that popsicle kid had talked her into it. Try as he might, Remy couldn't break the habit of thinking of Drake as 'that popsicle kid,' whose sole purpose in life was to destroy the landscaping. He still couldn't believe Marie ever went out with him, She has so much better taste than that.
And in all honesty, 'Bobby' didn't actually try to talk Marie into going to see 'Carol.' Just said something to the effect of, So when is the Professor taking you to see Carol? Oh you're not going? Oh no, that's ok nothing wrong with that.... Which of course, got Marie thinking of her 'running away' issues and so she let her herself get convinced that she should see Carol, someone else Remy tried to, but for obvious reasons, couldn't quite bring himself to like, for the sake of 'closure' or whatever. Dumb popsicle kid...
He really was tying to be nice to the guy because, well, for obvious reasons. 'Robert,' though everyone called him Bobby was here at the hospital as well. In the waiting room, the Professor didn't really want to sneak in an entire boy scout troop into a military hospital. Jean, Logan and Bobby were all milling about the lobby. Jean as telepathic back up, Logan, because he was convinced that anything involving Marie was somehow his business, and Bobby for moral support. Personally, he thought Rogue just felt guilty and let the kid tag along. The Professor may have wanted Remy to stay back as well, but that just wasn't going to happen. He may feel sympathetic toward 'Carol', but nothing good ever seemed to happen when she was around.
The hum of Xavier's wheelchair stopped suddenly in front of an entirely non-descript door. Marie, directly in front of him almost stumbled at the abrupt stop. She also appeared to have stopped breathing. Silently, Remy rested his hands on her shoulders in what he hoped was a comforting way. This must be the place. He also silently wished to himself that this went better than when she first 'found' her X-Men friends. But she, they, had made it through that and things had gotten better since then.
Most of the mansion was dark, but the light from the kitchen glowed softly. Without even thinking about it, Rogue had walked straight to the kitchen from the Medlab. Through all the myriad rooms, hallways and levels, never once did getting lost. Her memory really was back, she thought as she turned through the doorway. Mixed blessing as it was. It had been a few days, two maybe three, the hours and days all ran together, since Remy'd been hurt. She'd spent the whole time in the MedLab, carefully avoiding everyone else in the mansion. They were being very good about giving her 'space', probably afraid of triggering another breakdown. She would see Jean from time to time, who was no doubt scanning her brain. Really, she just needed some time to decompress. A person should only be allowed to have one major life altering event a year. And even if there was more than one, they shouldn't be allowed to contradict one another.
Remy was sleeping at the moment, he did that a lot. Rogue briefly wondered if there was a sedative mixed in with the morphine in his I.V. Then she decided, even if their was, it was probably a good thing. It would keep him in one place until he got better.
So being that he was asleep and it was the middle of the night, she felt safe venturing out for some real food. She'd been telling Remy he was exaggerating about the 'hospital food', but he really wasn't. Just because someone is sick, doesn't mean they should be forced to eat nothing but chicken soup and Jell-O. How could that make you healthy? She'd have to sneak him back something good.
As she rounded into the kitchen, she faltered a bit. Just her luck, Bobby was sitting at one of the tables, eating ice cream. He was does that when he can't sleep. The thought came unbidden and she twisted her ring on her finger, apparently that was now a nervous habit. She'd spoken to Bobby for maybe thirty seconds total since their last 'conversation'. The one where she'd ripped his heart out and tapped danced on it. Regardless, she knew she couldn't keep acting this way around him, so she continued into the kitchen and casually, she hoped, said hi.
"Hey," he replied, still sounding awkward. "How's your...friend doing?"
Rogue stared. Bobby was sitting in the kitchen, sounding just like himself, doing just what he would be doing... "What are you doing here? What are you playing at?"
"Bobby" smiled, she was quite proud of Marie for catching her so fast, "I didn't fool you for second, did I?"
"I'm used to your faces. Whadda ya doing here?" she repeated and had to deliberately stop herself from saying 'Momma'.
"I came to see if you were alright," she looked sincere, sounded very sincere...
"Right, because you care so much-,"
"Yes, I do. If I didn't, I wouldn't be here. If I didn't, I wouldn't have bothered trying to find you in the first place-,"
"You helped Magneto try to kill me," She couldn't let herself forget that. Couldn't, even if she wanted too, which she desperately did. The memory of seeing her mother stand by, unfeeling, while a madman tried to kill her hurt more than anything else that had happened in the past few days. With the exception of seeing Remy in that hospital bed. Her mother had never pretended to be saint, Marie had always know Raven worked on both sides of the law, but the coldness of that memory...It was much more than she thought "momma' was capable of. What else was 'momma' capable of? "You didn't have anything to do with what happened to Carol, did you?" she asked hesitatingly, somewhat afraid of the answer.
"You know I didn't," Raven said quiet but forcefully. "You know why I did everything, Marie." Raven didn't have to explain it to her daughter, but she started to anyway. "Irene saw what-,"
Not this again... "I don't want to hear it. Literally, Momma," Drat, let that one slip. She kept going, trying to ignore the light that went up in Raven's eyes when she said that. "What good ever came outta trying to figure out Irene's books? Seriously, all they've done is make you and the people you love," she paused, "miserable. Let it go. Get rid of those books. Or at least lock 'em back up in attic, you can't..." she trailed off, knowing it was useless trying to convince her mother. Raven didn't say anything, but it wouldn't have mattered if she did. "You should go, someone's gonna find you."
"Bobby" pushed away from the table and stood up. This conversation was as much as Mystique could have expected. She turned at the doorway, looking back, "They were your friends, but that doesn't mean you still belong here, Marie. You or Remy. You know what happened," that was the closest thing she had to an ace in the hole, playing her daughter's boyfriend off of her old friends. "You know where to find me," she gave a knowing look, "The both of you."
Rogue sighed dejectedly as Raven vanished from the kitchen. If nothing else, Raven did provide something useful, and Marie scooped up the abandoned tub of cookies and cream.
More broken glass...
Inside the room seemed nice enough, for a hospital, but Marie sounded as if she might stop breathing again at any moment. There was a hospital-looking bed, the type that Remy remembered far too well, but Carol wasn't in the bed. Instead she was sitting in a wheelchair stationed near a window. She might have been looking out of it, except that she didn't seem to be looking at...anything at all. Her head lolled slightly to one side, a few blond strands of hairs hanging over those glassy, empty eyes. Xavier had said the woman was improving, was catatonic really an improvement over comatose? This was a bad idea. Remy thought to himself.
Nevertheless, by the time he had turned to Marie, she was already walking, shakily, towards the window and the woman in the chair.
Carol, should I call her that?, had been in the hospital long enough that someone had brought her a real robe instead the standard hospital variety. It looked nice, it was even her favorite color. Did she know she was wearing it? Did she realize when someone brought it to her? Should I say something? She already decided what to do and say before they left the mansion, but all her plans had vanished right out of her head as soon as she stepped through the door.
More unexpected visitors...
Another dark hallway, this one leading to an equally dark doorway. After the kitchen and her 'conversation' with Raven, she wasn't quite ready to go back to the Medlab. The Professor had told her that Remy was actually an empath and sensitive to emotions, so she should try to be calm and soothing around him, at least while he was still recovering. She knew he could handle her all of emotional quirks just fine when he was healthy. So a nice stroll to calm down would be a good idea, even if the ice cream was going to start melting.
In her wandering, she found the hallway leading to her old room and couldn't resist taking a look. Walking in, she reached to the side and flicked the light switch, as she simultaneously dropped the ice cream carton on a night stand that she just knew was next to the door. Incandescent light flooded the room. It seemed unbearably bright and harsh, but that couldn't be. Muttering under her breath as she squinted, "The lighting in here's probably perfect...just like everything else...perfect lights, perfect decor-,"
"Perfect landscaping. Don't forget the landscaping, chere," a slightly raspy voice chimed in from the other side of the room. There, of course, was Remy lounging on her old bed. If not for the bandages and hospital clothes, he would have looked right at home. So much for him staying in one place. " 'Cept for those sprinklers your boyfriend broke...I haven't gotta around to fixin' 'dem yet. Been busy."
Ignoring the boyfriend comment, she walked quickly over to the bed and knelt down beside him to make sure he was all in one piece. "You're not supposed to leave the MedLab yet," she should have said it in a disapproving way, but couldn't bring herself to. Not as long as he was still wearing those bandages.
He rolled his eyes toward the ceiling, "I'm sick of dat place. And I think that blue doctor's been doping Remy up." Marie smiled. He was cute when he was tired and started talking in the third person. Almost unconsciously, she started brushing back his hair and stroking the side of his face. She didn't even bother asking him how he knew where her old room was. He had spent the past months memorizing everything about of the entire mansion, with special consideration for rumors about the mysterious girl who 'disappeared.'
"What are you doing in here, anyway?" she asked, not realizing she had posed almost the exact same question to Mystique, but in a very different tone.
"What are you doing here, chere? Leaving me in that lab all alone..."
"Aww...poor baby, ya miss me that much? I was just walking back from the kitchen and got kinda nostalgic, I guess." she shrugged. "Oh, I found some ice cream," she said nodding over to the night stand where she had deposited the carton. He smiled, not exactly caring as much as she did, or any women did, about ice cream. "Wanted to see if my room was still the same." Looking around, it was exactly like she'd left it. That was sweet and creepy at the same time. "And you didn't answer my question, what are you doing here?"
"Just wanted to get outta that place," he said with distaste. "This seemed a good spot to hide. And thought I might run into a cute girl here," he lifted his eyes to look at her and gave his 'innocent' smile.
She her smile widened, feeling silly because she started melting like the ice cream. She couldn't help it, it felt so good to hear his voice.
There was a crash as the door suddenly slammed opened. Instinctively, Rogue leapt up, hovering above the bed. Next to her Remy bolted up and she winced for him, knowing it had to hurt. Wolverine stood at that the threshold and immediately rushed in. "Rogue, I just caught a scent, Mystique's here. You have to come with me-,"
"She's here?" Remy said with disbelief. And Wolverine immediately glared at him wondering how the cajun knew who Mystique was. Before he could say anything though, Rogue broke in sounding very tired.
"No, Logan, it's alright. She was here, but she's gone now." Marie said. She better be gone.
"She's gone?" he repeated with a very healthy dose of disbelief.
Remy shook his head ruefully, "Your mom's got a pair, that for sure."
"Yes. The professor knows all about it, you can ask him," she didn't really feel like explaining all of it again. Especially to Logan, she was still mad at him, him and that white lady. Strangely, she thought Xavier would have told everyone, all of the senior teachers anyway. "She just came to check on me."
"So she was the one behind all this?" Wolverine quickly jumping to another wrong conclusion.
Rogue had floated back down to Remy's bedside, "No, she knew about it, but not until after it happened."
"A lot of people seem to know about this, but have nothing to do with it. They just happen to be in right place at the right time-,"
Remy only lifted an eyebrow at Wolverine's not so subtle insinuation, not terribly phased. Marie on the other hand... "Don't. Start." she said in a very deliberate way.
"Think about it, Marie...,"
Marie might have been thinking, but mostly she was just glaring. When she did respond it was very, very quietly. "Logan. I know that when you first 'met' Remy, he wasn't very cooperative, and that is the only reason I haven't thrown you clear back to Canada for what you did to him. You have the word of two telepaths, three if you count that Frost witch who I know's been snooping around, that Remy did nothing wrong. If you so much as mention your little paranoid delusions again, I will toss you back to the great white north and forget that X-Men don't do things like that. Kinda like you did when you practically killed him."
Still looking and sounding unapologetic, "I was trying to protect you-,"
"I know. Like I said, that's why your still here. I ain't that scared little girl that needs you to protect her. And I don't need you deciding for me who I can be with. So either you accept that or-," she hesitated. She had raised her hand while she was talking, and now it hung there clenching in and out of fists out of frustration, unsure how to finish her threat. Her voice was near a whisper, "I can't make everything how it used to be again." She looked directly at Logan through shuttered eyes, "I don't really know that I want to." Remy was being uncharacteristically quiet through this exchange, saying nothing, only watching Marie.
Without acknowledging anything she had just said, he merely grunted, "I'm going to make sure Mystique's really gone," and Wolverine stalked out the door he came in.
Marie closed her eyes and exhaled slowly, counting backwards from ten in order to keep herself from making good on her threat to throw Wolverine into Hudson Bay. She turned back to the bed and was also overwhelmed with the feeling that she would spend the rest of her days explaining, arguing or apologizing to someone in the crazy place. Remy was watching the door where Logan had just left and was still quiet.
"Marie," he said softly, finally breaking his silence, "If you want-,"
She put a finger on his lips quieting him, she recognized the self defeating look he had at the moment. "Don't you start too," she said in a tired whisper.
He gave her a small smile, "You're beautiful when you're irritated."
"That line never works," she again tried to sound disapproving, again, not succeeding well.
"I mean it, chere, if-,"
"I said, Don't start. I'm not listening." He stared at her, wanting to say more and wanting not to at the same time. Instead, he took the hand that still rested n his face, pulled her forward and kissed her fiercely. Much of him still couldn't believe she could still want to be with him now that she could have her life back. How could he let her do that without knowing everything? How could he look in those eyes and pretend? He could only stay comatose in that lab for so long...
"Before you say that-,"
"Remy, I said-,"
"I have to tell you something-," There was urgency instead of defeat in his voice now. And finality...
She looked away as she spoke, "It's about him, isn't it?" He inhaled sharply, holding his breath trying to go on. "The red eyed man from Momma's book." She looked up again, but her eyes were far away. "I still have your nightmares sometimes." He had always wondered how much she remembered from absorbing him. "All I really see are his eyes. He did this, all of this, didn't he?"
"I swear I didn't-,"
Quietly she interrupted. "I know. But you figured it out, and he came after you, didn't he?" she glanced side long at the bandages.
"He was 'warning' me to keep quiet. He will come after you again, maybe the kids here, if they're handy... I didn't want to risk...I want to do something-,"
"But you don't know how to stop him." she summed up his greatest failure succinctly.
It was his turn to look away. "I never have. I was hoping I'd never see that-," this he was cut off as Marie kissed him.
"We'll figure out something. You're not alone anymore."
Kneeling down by the chair, "Hi...," Marie stuttered out in an utterly stupid fashion. Shaking her head, she started to rise, turning her eyes away. This was the real Carol, not the ghost inside her head. This person probably didn't even know Marie, did she?, this was pointless...
"Can you hear me?" Rogue froze. "Can you hear me, kid?" it was her, Carol was speaking. The real Carol and her voice sounded flat and her eyes were still glassy, but she had spoken. It was like a recording, playing back from a different time. The room seemed to go black, a memory flash like she'd had before. Carol's memories were her memories, too after all.
It was the dark place, the one she could never remember, Carol did remember, at least this much. "She" was having a hard time keeping her eyes open, probably some kind of drugs. No other way she could have been captured so easily. One minute she was in her apartment, just home from work, thinking about Chinese take out and now...what was this place? Trying to move didn't work, because of the drugs and what felt like some kind of restraints. No restraints could hold her for long, she thought to herself. As she tried again, she noticed someone else to the side. Only a few feet away, although the drugs were making her vision hazy and dark. Was it a woman... looked like only a kid. She was strapped down as much as Carol herself. Did that mean she was as strong, too? She might helpful in getting them both out of this place. Straining against the bonds again, she felt a little give, she was getting through, drugs or no drugs, it would only be a matter of time. A little help would be nice though, "Can you hear me? Can you hear me, kid?" No response, or...did she twitch a little? "Kid? My name's Carol, I work for the government. I'll can get us out of here..." There was another sound "...wait, I think someone's coming...Don't worry..."
"I'll get us out of there," her voice faded even more and trailed off completely. Her breathing even and regular, like she was sleeping, but her eyes didn't shut all the way. Marie's own eyes darted to the Professor as the memory faded away along with Carol's voice.
Just as quickly looking back to the woman in the wheelchair, "Carol?" Rogue asked again hesitantly, no response. But she held her breath for another few seconds anyway, waiting. A light pressure on her shoulder made her flinch.
"Chere," Remy's voice said softly, sympathy radiating from his dark eyes.
"She remembers," her words had an odd pleading to them. Silently, he nodded and squeezed her shoulder reassuringly. Psychically, the Professor interrupted, saying they should probably let Carol rest. She had regained much strength in the past months, but still tired easily. He himself had actually already seen that memory, there was no more to it, Major Danvers had obviously been sedated again. But he didn't say anything to ruin Rogue's moment.
Marie was reluctant to stand. The lab was the only gap left in Rogue mind. Because of Remy, she was knew what it was, but it was still a yawning black hole in her mind. But more importantly, Carol was remembering, there was half a light in her eyes. She called her 'kid,' maybe there was still hope. "She remembers me." Remy nodded softly and the Professor smiled as reassuring as ever. "Carol? I can hear you." Carol's eyes had shut the rest of the way and she really was sleeping now. There would be no more conversations today. Marie whispered quietly anyway 'You did it. You got us out," somehow she had done what she had promised, Marie convinced herself. She felt a hand under her elbow as Remy gently reminded her they had to leave.
"C'mon chere, let's go home."
I am truly sorry to anyone who was disappointed in how long this took. The story was only going to be a few chapter longer anyway, so I squashed them all into one. And I'm not sure how happy I am with the ending. A little cheesy, but wraps most everything up. One last shout out to everyone who reviewed, if you even remember what you said last time. :) Thank you soooo much. Now I have to go design icons for point of sales software, (not nearly as much fun.)
ishandahalf- Wasn't trying to give you a heart attack there. An I wasn't really to make it a surprise that the new patient was Remy. And Rogue was calmer than expected because she had sitting with him for a while and he was talking to her, (well a little bit, he was still pretty out of it), before she talked to the X-Men. So she'd had time to deal with it. I made Sinister a very manipulative type, he was more or less behind most of it. Because really, how likely is it that Rogue would just happen to bump into Gambit halfway across the world? I thought there needed to be more of a reason. I thought the manipulative bit fit with his 'evil genius character. I never thought he was sneaky enough in the comics. :) And Yeah, Sinister was basically telling Remy to kept his mouth shut because he didn't want any X-Men interference. And I just want to say thanks, ishandahalf, you were a die hard and kept me going. Even if I never lived up to the bunny on crack label. :)
Star-of-Chaos - No really Gambit/ Wolverine confrontation, but Rogue almost kick Logan's butt herself. That could have been a lot of fun, but I figured Rogue had enough of violence for a while.Pixie Flyer -Thanks for reading.
Kryptonite-Don't know what's up with the review problem. Sorry about that. Hey, you were surprised by the bad guy. Cool. Sinister is a comic book guy, of course, he's a mad scientist type. Comicverse wise, who he is and how Remy knows him, it's a really long story. Really short version, Remy got mixed up with him when he was younger and his (Remy's) powers were going haywire, and has regretted it since. Although by now, I'm sure you already know this, you've had ample time to look him up. Poor Bobby, I didn't do much with him in this chapter, he's been through enough. :p
zeelee()-I've got lots of sympathy for Bobby, mostly because I just destroyed the poor boy. I do like Remy better, obviously. I was gonna break Bobby and Rogue up before she disappeared, but I figured that was cheating and taking the easy way out.
Girl number 1-Yeah, I get wrapped up in the Rogue/ Remy stuff and leave out some of the other characters. Should work on that. Technically, Kurt isn't in the story, because I started this story before the second movie came out, (yes, its taking me a long time to finish :) ) That's why Jean's still around. Was going to try and work him and Storm in more, but just ran out of time .
A.M.bookworm247 -Thank you so much. That means a lot.
Jukebox-Yes, Rogue and Remy should always be together. Now if I could only convince Marvel and Fox of that.
Tayrion -Yeah, I always thought Sinister could be a much more interesting villain. Like a mix of Mengela, Dr. Frankenstein, and Hannibal Letcher. Glad you liked my 'version' in his brief appearance.
RoguesHeart -Thanks for reading and your comments. I hope you liked the ending.
millie()- I'm really sorry I kept you waiting for so long. I do like writing, but like I said before I just didn't have the time. The reading chapters over again will probably help you remember what happened in story, six freaking months ago, so the ending will make sense. The Jabberooky, or Jabberwocky (honestly I don't remember how it's spelled) is another Alice in Wonderland/ Through the Looking Glass reference. They've been a recurring theme through the story. The Jabberwooky is basically a monster, and there's a little poem about Beware the Jabberwooky/ With claws that catch, etc.... It's just referring to Sinister as the monster to watch out for. And I did like Remy/Rogue angst, it's tradition, but in small doses. The comic go way overboard.
- I think Bobby's been avoiding Remy for the most part. Ran out of time for
much Bobby interaction. But even in my
sort of planned longer version of the story Bobby didn't do much more than
that. It's not like he can make Rogue
feelings return and if he said the wrong thing to Remy, he'd end up in Hudson
Bay with Logan. ;)
Jeanne Marie-I know, those never updated stories bug me too. ;p. In my own defense, when I started writing I was pretty good with updating, usually twice a month, then it went to once a month and after December, it apparently went to once every six months. My life just got to crazy too do anything. And fanfiction is the one thing I wasn't getting paid for. That's why I figured I'd end it now rather than drag the poor thing out for another year, or so. I don't think I've read Ramos's X-Cursions, but Prodigals is brilliant. Thanks for putting me in such good company, hope you still think that after reading the end. ;)
FireBringer - Thanks.
Alwaysright1- Ok, I got the message, thanks for the wake up call. Thanks for following my story. I hadn't exactly given up on the story, just had no time to do anything about it. My sort- of- planned -out- ending was a little longer than this, but at the rate I was going, it wouldn't have been done until the next X-Men movie came out. Hope you don't feel gyped by the somewhat abbreviated version, but the poor story needed closure. :)