Disclaimer:I really should steal Evo from WB and Marvel since they are retarded and didn't renew this excellent show for another season. But stealing is illegal. So is copyright infringement. That means I don't own the show, and made no money off this story.
AN:First of all, I'd like to thank everyone who reviewed for the encouraging feedback! I really appreciate it--y'all rock. I hope you enjoy this chapter as well.
Secondly, I must apologize for the long wait for this chapter (and all my other stories). I have no excuses really, except a combination of work, life and laziness. And an unhealthy addiction to Naruto. Oh well, I'm trying to get back on track, I swear! But in the mean time, I hope you enjoy this conclusion. It's nothing too deep, because Gambit kept insisting that I keep him away from too much angst. How can you argue with the Ragin' Cajun? Maybe I'll sucker him next time.
And remember, reviews are a girl's best friend.
His focus shifted away from the red head, to the smaller, angrier spitfire. Rogue. The name was appropriate. She'd be easier to capture, since her powers required touch to work. He could easily avoid skin contact with her. Her fighting skills were good, but his were better. If she wanted to tussle, he could take her out in his sleep.
All he needed now was to formulate a plan. The telepathy and telekinesis being out of the picture made his job easier, but there was still the matter of school security. And the fact that the X-Men traveled in a pack. He continued watching, waiting for his window of opportunity.
She walked home from school everyday, sometimes alone, sometimes with the hyperactive brunette Shadowcat. The smaller girl would rattle on and on about her day, the mundane gossip of the school, and her annoyance at a boy named Lance Alvers. Rogue wouldn't contribute to the conversation, and when Kitty Pryde tried getting her to speak, she was met with an awkward silence.
The days Rogue walked alone, she would stop at the small grassy outcropping right before the mansion, and sit against the same oak tree. Most days, she would pull out a black and white speckled composition book and scribble in it. Most likely a journal--the tortured and misunderstood ones usually kept a diary for dramatic effect.
He'd considered just grabbing her right there, but the proximity to the Institute made him wary. Xavier would easily sense her distress, and the X-Men would be on him in a second. And while he could easily take them all, he wanted to avoid a direct confrontation if possible.
She seemed to have the same idea as far as contact with the X-Men was concerned. In the first week of observation, she interacted with very few of her teammates. Wolverine had tried to talk to her a few times--the obvious soft-spot the big man had for the girl amused Gambit to no end--but she didn't seem very interested in what he had to say.
The only person she seemed slightly inclined to talk to was the blue teleporter. He, however, didn't want to have anything to do with her. During one of her sittings under the oak, Nightcrawler had accidentally teleported to a branch above her. The wood hadn't supported his weight, and he'd plummeted right onto her lap, winding them both. Her face had been angry at first, but soon softened when she realized who'd dropped in on her unexpectedly.
The boy's expression had hardened when heard her voice, and he quickly pulled himself up, muttering an apology and something about a training session. She stood too, trying to say more to him, but he'd bamfed away before she could get the words out. She'd stood there, mouth open for a few minutes, before opening her book bag roughly and tossing her notebook into it and heading for the manor.
He frowned at her retreating back.
It didn't take him long to find out what the tension between the two was. Their mother, Mystique. Causing trouble even from beyond the grave. And Rogue had been the person to put her there. He guessed this was part of the reason she kept herself so isolated; the guilt was driving her insane. He saw it on her face, in her eyes. There was so much anger, so much resentment, so much sadness. Few of her teammates seemed to understand the torture she was going through. Those who did, didn't know what to do about it. He supposed it was because they didn't know what it was like, having a parent who saw you as a weapon, not a child. As far as he was concerned, she'd hadn't done anything wrong. There'd been plenty of times when all he wanted to do was toss Jean-Luc off the nearest cliff. Sure, when he was younger he'd done anything he could to make his father proud of him. Scamming, stealing, fighting-- it was the least he could do for the man who'd taken him in. It wasn't till later that he'd realized his surrogate hadn't taken him in out of sympathy. Remy was a tool that Jean-Luc had used to his advantage for years. He'd fallen easily into his father's mind games, and he was in so deep that there was no clear path out.
So in his fury, he'd tried to branch out of his family. He'd done freelance work, first anonymously, then once he'd gotten a little more confident, under his own name. He left his home, making pubs and clubs his new life. But no matter how far he got, he could still feel the tug of Jean-Luc's leash. Whenever his father called him back, he couldn't help but comply. It made him sick. It made him furious. It made him rebel against everything else to compensate for his one weakness.
When Magneto offered him the chance to spit in the face of the world, he'd jumped at it (the fact that the pay was good was an added bonus). It gave him more freedom, and it took him away from everything that he hated in Louisiana. And while Magneto had been "the boss," Remy had felt more like his own man with the Acolytes than he ever had before. He was fighting because he chose to, not because he had to.
But even though his situation with Magneto had been comfortable, he kept himself distant and flighty. It was his insurance that he wouldn't be trapped again, like he had been before. Things with the Master of Magnetism had fallen apart, but it didn't matter much to him. He'd taken what he needed from the opportunity, and had no strong attachments. The world wasn't going to do anyone any favors; luck took you no where without independence and strength. And now he had that power. He'd do whatever he needed to make sure he stayed on top, even if it meant knocking a few wayward mutants and humans down along the way.Even if it meant using her.
Like you were used.
He knocked that thought out of his head. But he couldn't knock the uneasiness out of his stomach.
It had been five weeks now since his father's capture, and time was running out. He'd upped his surveillance, shadowing her everywhere she went. He'd even stayed during her therapy sessions with the professor--quite a large risk. Surprisingly enough, the telepath hadn't detected his presence. He made a note to figure out why later.
Rogue's sessions with the professor were conducted outside in the gazebo outcropping. It was the scene of the crime, and Gambit wasn't sure if Xavier was smart or stupid for forcing her to be in the place where she killed her mother. Either way, she wasn't making much progress. After one failed session, she remained at the gazebo after the professor had left, looking out beyond the cliff. Her grip on the railing was so tight that her bared knuckles had whitened.
Then suddenly, she had dropped her arms and thrown her head back. Her throaty voice cut into the air, echoing against the rocks and trees with two simple words. "I'm sorry!"
It had taken him by surprise, as had the fact that she was crying. The hair on the back of his neck stood on end as she bowed her head and her shoulders began to shake miserably. He should have left, he knew. He'd done enough reconnaissance for the day, and staying further would jeopardize his operation.
But he stayed and watched the tears roll off her shadowed face and splash against the railing. He watched her torture herself over a mother who'd barely cared about her, friends who didn't understand her, teachers who couldn't help her, and guilt that would always haunt her. His lips thinned, and he found himself frowning at the tension in his muscles. He'd seen girls cry before. He'd made girls cry before. It had never mattered to him before, and it certainly didn't matter now.
She had slowly pulled her leather gloves back on, wiping roughly at her eyes. Her face was obscured by the shadows of her hair as she ran back for the mansion. He stared blankly at the trail she'd made on the evening grass.
It doesn't matter, he'd reiterated to himself, closing his eyes and looking away from the now empty field. He'd never told a less believable lie.
She'd barely gotten the protest out of her lips before the gas knocked her unconscious. She collapsed against him, and he caught her with his left arm, guiding her gently to the cement. He'd swiped a bike earlier-- their transportation to the train station, and needed to get her there unnoticed.
Pulling his trench coat off his shoulder, he wrapped it around her smaller body. That would be able to hide the laxness of her frame while they were on the motorcycle. Retracting his bo-staff and fastening it to his side, he gathered her up, preparing to throw her over his shoulder. Her head lolled against his chest as he picked her up, and he stopped, looking down at the girl in his arms. Her lips were slightly parted, and her eyelashes rested lightly against each other. It was the most at peace he seen her in...ever. He had to admit that she was quite attractive, in an unconventional sort of way. It was more girls weren't very interesting.
Readjusting her weight, he decided to keep her in her cradled position. She seemed comfortable like that, and it was the least he could do for knocking her out.
He shook his head at himself. Henri's words came back to him. Yo' a fool, Remy. But this time, they seemed to be talking about something else too.
"Maybe you're right, Henri," he said, casting a quick glance at Rogue again. "Maybe I'll always be a fool."But maybe the end result of all this would be worth his foolishness. Her white hair bounced lightly against her forehead. He found himself hoping it would be.
And who knew, perhaps he'd even grab some gumbo with her later. He smiled. Yeah, this would be very interesting…