This story takes place right around the time on the animated series that the mutant plague was going around… just think, what if Bishop or Cable never came back in time to stop the plague? How would it affect the X-Men?
(I pretty much took the idea of the plague and went to hell with it :o)Close My Eyes Forever
Rogue stared out the window while sipping her coffee. The snow kept piling up and she wished it would stop. She always enjoyed a blanket of white on the ground, but not when it was three feet deep. "Storm, why cain't ya stop the snow? It's been goin' nonstop for days now." She whined.
Storm looked up from her tea. "Perhaps tomorrow. I really do not wish to confuse the people of Westchester. It is supposed to stop tonight."" She smiled reassuringly.
"The only person enjoyin' this blizzard is Jubilee. She's been sleddin' every second she can."
"Maybe you should join her? You look like you could use some fun." She brought her mug to her lips and took a tiny, dainty sip.
"Ah dunno. Ah'm thinkin' of goin' flyin'… just ta get outta here for awhile. Care ta join me?" She pushed her chair away from the table and stood up.
"No thank you. I have some matters to attend to here."
"All raht." She took her coffee mug from the table. "Consider some sunshine please? Ah don't know how long a Southern gal can last in this cold," she joked. Storm smiled once again and then turned her attention back to the newspaper she was reading.
Rogue walked out of the kitchen, sipping her coffee. She silently wished Gambit was back from the mission he, Wolverine and Cyclops had gone on last week. Something about the snow was romantic and she wanted to spend some time with him while she was in this mood. Show him how much Ah've missed him… She smirked to herself.
A wave of warmth ran through her after she finished the last bit of her coffee. She hugged herself to hold the warmth in. It didn't last long though.
Jubilee came running in the door, leaving a trail of snowy footsteps behind her. "Hey Rogue!" She stopped short in front of her.
"Hi sugah. How's the snow?" She helped Jubilee dust off the extra snow on her yellow winter jacket.
"It's great! You really should come out and try sledding. You would, like, love it!" She smiled cheerfully.
"That's all raht, hun. Ah was plannin' ta go flying." Rogue motioned to the window, seeing the snow had stopped falling from the sky.
"Oh…" she pulled off her bright pink hat. Then she shook her head to get the rest of the snow off her short jet-black hair. "Could I come?"
Rogue thought for a second. Then she figured it wouldn't hurt to have the company. "Sure. Ah'm gonna get some warmer clothes on," she tugged at her robe. "So Ah'll meet ya down here in about ten minutes."
Jubilee nodded. "Thanks. Yer the best!" She giggled.
Rogue smiled back and then turned to head up the stairs.
Ten minutes later, as Rogue promised, she was back downstairs. She zipped up her forest green jacket and looked around for Jubilee. She caught a glimpse of her yellow jacket in the kitchen.
She made her way into there and saw Jubilee sitting down with a mug of hot cocoa. "Hi, sorry, something inside me screamed 'give me cocoa!'" She laughed as she saw Rogue in the doorway.
"It's all raht, sugah. Take yoah time, Ah can wait." She smiled as she took a seat at the table as well.
"Did ya want any?" Jubilee asked before she took a big gulp.
Rogue shook her head. "Nah, Ah had mah coffee a lil' bit ago."
"Oh yeah…" She smiled and then took another sip. She was in a hurry to finish. She felt bad about holding Rogue up for their flying.
"Ya haven't burnt yoah tongue yet?" Rogue asked, noticing that the cup was more than half empty.
"Nope. I usually don't either." Jubilee beamed and then took another sip, but slower this time.
Rogue glanced to the clock. Only 11:30. She turned back to Jubilee, who had just finished her cup. "Do ya know when the others are due back from the mission?
"Umm…" She looked upwards thoughtfully. "Sometime around four, I think. You'll hafta check back with Jean."
"Maybe when we get back." Rogue dug around in her pocket and pulled out her fuzzy yellow earmuffs. She put them on and made sure they were comfortably resting on her ears. Then she stood up and watched Jubilee put her cup in the sink. "Ready?" Rogue asked.
"Yup! Let's go."
Rogue led Jubilee to the balcony of her room. She found it much easier to take off from a high place rather than on the ground with the three feet of snow. "Ya ready, sugah?" Jubilee nodded. She stood in front of Rogue.
She wrapped her arms around the young girl's waist snuggly, but not too tight. And then she took off.
Jubilee was happy she brought along her sunglasses. The wind from their speed was making her eyes water. She flicked down the bright pink specs and squinted the water out of her eyes. "How do you not let the wind bother ya?" She called up to Rogue.
"Ya get used ta it." She smiled. Then she gasped. Once thing she loved about her ability to fly was the incredible view. The countryside covered in the pure white of the snow was absolutely breath taking. "Ah'll never get tired of seein' things from up here." She sighed. She slowed down to Jubilee could look.
"Yeah… this is great." She said, lifting up her sunglasses to see things without the pink hue. "I could stay like this all day."
"Ya bettah sprout some wings or learn ta fly then, gal. Cus Ah ain't hangin' up here that long." Rogue laughed. She started to fly again, still heading away from the mansion.
"Where are we going?" Jubilee glanced to the moving ground below them. She was still astonished by the beauty and tranquility of the scenery around them.
"Ah was wonderin' if we could go inta town an' do some shoppin', seein' as the boys won't be back till later," Rogue suggested, while sighing sadly.
"Yeah! Shopping! Ya gonna be able to carry all my stuff?" Jubilee was internally happy since she had her money in her jacket."
"Oh ya're carryin' yoah stuff an' mine, Jubes," Rogue laughed in response.
Jubilee was about to snap something back when they heard a place approaching. Rogue stopped flying and squinted to her left, from which the sound was coming. A smile formed on her face. "It's the Blackbird," she whispered, sounding as if she was revealing a secret. She turned and headed back to the mansion.
Jubilee checked her watch. "It's not even one o'clock yet. Wonder why they're home so early," she mused.
"Ah don't care raht now, sugah. Let's get goin'." She started to fly faster.
"Hey! What about shopping?" Jubilee complained.
"Ah promise ta take ya tamorrow. Ah haven't seen Remy in a week!" The thought of Gambit made her fly even faster.
"I haven't see Wolvie either, yanno." She mumbled. Rogue heard her slightly but decided to let it go. Kids. She laughed.
She saw the mansion appear in her line of view and she sped up even more. She almost dropped Jubilee out of excitement, but Jubilee held on tightly. "Wouldya watch what yer doing?" She yelled. Rogue noticed her mistake and held onto her better.
A minute later, they were over the school grounds. They landed on Rogue's balcony just as the Blackbird pulled into the hanger. She ran past Jubilee in her room, quickly apologizing for rushing and being rude. Once she was out in the hallway, she leapt up and flew the rest of the way.
When she reached the door to the hanger, she landed and composed herself. She smoothed down her gray sweater as he had thrown off her thick jacket along the way. She ran her hand through her hair, which was a mess since she discarded her earmuffs along the way as well. She pulled at the turtleneck of her sweater and took a deep breath.
She reached for the doorknob to open the door, but it flung open before she could touch it. On the other side stood a weary looking Cyclops. He saw her and his face went even paler.
She noticed the sickly look on his face. "What happened? Where's Remy an' Logan?" She glanced behind him and saw only Wolverine. He looked tired as well. He didn't appear a sick as Scott, but his eyes stayed downcast and avoided her wide eyes. She glanced beyond Logan and didn't see Gambit.
Logan made his way up to the door and leaned against the doorway after Scott moved into the hallway. He slowly walked away, looking like he'd made the biggest mistake of his life. Logan spoke up as he watched Scott trudge away. "We had a run-in with Apocalypse in the last few hours of our mission, darlin'." He said quietly, still avoiding Rogue's gaze.
Rogue put her hands on his shoulders and forced him to look her in the eyes. "Where the hell is Remy?" Her tone was cold and demanding.
He took a deep breath. "Sick Bay… we had Kurt come on the plane and 'port him ASAP."
"Ah see…" She fought the urge to cry. "An' why is he there?"
Logan sighed loudly. He was actually scared for his life right then. Rogue had her arms on him and she could easily take him out. Thankfully, he had his adamantium skeleton and healing factor. Rogue couldn't kill him, no matter how much she may have wanted to when he was about to say what he did. "He got sprayed with something… didn't look so great afterwards." He held her gaze and grimaced inwardly when he saw tears tremble in her eyes.
"Oh mah gawd…" she whispered, almost inaudibly. Her hands fell from Logan's shoulder and fell limply to her sides. The only thought that ran through her head was the mysterious plague that was affecting mutants only. "Ah hafta see him." She turned away, somehow remembering how to walk. Logan watched hopelessly as she plodded away. He hoped the Cajun would be in a well enough condition to see her.
Rogue ran her hand along the wall to keep her balance. She wanted to run, even fly, but her legs wouldn't pick off the floor nor would they move faster. She somehow held back tears, but the ones that had welled up in front of Logan still held in her eyes. Her vision was blurry and she blinked numerous times to get them out, but they wouldn't fall.
Storm saw her in the hallway and tried to stop her, but Rogue ignored her completely and continued on her slow but steady journey to the infirmary.
Storm glanced around suspiciously. She found Kurt coming from the direction where Rogue had been heading. He kept a fixed glare on the maroon carpets of the mansion. He almost ran into Storm. "Entuligung, Storm." He apologized as he looked up. Despair filled his yellow pupil-less eyes.
"Kurt? What is happening around here? Rogue walks by like a zombie and you are doing the same."
"You haven't heard?" Storm indicated 'no' by shaking her head slightly. Kurt took a deep breath. "The team ended up facing Apocalypse… und Gambit got in the vay of the airborn plague he created." He paused as Storm gasped and brought her hand to her face in shock. "They had me teleport onto the plane and put me in this suit and then I saw him." He stopped, trying to block the image out of his mind. But he felt obligated to continue his explanation. "He vas sehr pale und coughing a lot. Wolverine caught it from him vhen he transported Gambit on the plane, but his healing factor helped. Cyclops just steered clear of him, which I vould have done myself, and flew the plane. He's probably quarantining it now." He sighed at the completion of his story and averted his eyes to the ground once again.
"Goddess… no wonder Rogue was walking as blindly as she was." She also glanced away, but to the window. She felt the snow inside her rise up. Flurries began to fall from the sky, but she made herself stay calm so she wouldn't cause a blizzard. She shut her eyes and briefly chanted in her head to soothe the elements within her. She breathed richly and no longer felt the snow blowing.
She opened her eyes to see Nightcrawler staring out the window as well. His eyes met her and they exchanged a look of sadness, knowing the residents of Westchester were going to have strange weather coming.
Rogue stopped short of the infirmary. The tears that threatened to fall finally did, followed by a downpour of new ones. Her knees shook violently, tempting her to sit down, to fall, but she kept a steady hand on the wall. She didn't want Gambit to see her like this. Not if it was going to be the last time he did…
Thinking that made her lose control of her body. She couldn't help but collapse. She sobbed loudly and didn't care who heard her. She was only half surprised to see Storm running to her side. "Come on, you have to get up, Rogue." Her voice was pleasant, but internally Storm wondered how she kept it from cracking.
Rogue allowed the weather witch to lift her up, but she hastily pulled out of her reach. Storm understood completely and let her arms fall to her sides. Rogue looked up at her, tears glazing her emerald eyes. "Why, 'Ro? Why did this hafta happen ta him?" She choked out. She turned to head into the infirmary. Storm stopped her by gently placing her hand on Rogue's shoulder.
"Be strong, child. It would pain him even more to see you hurting." She gave her shoulder a tiny squeeze and then let her hand slide off of it. Rogue nodded weakly. Then she walked away, rubbing the tears out of her eyes and off her cheeks. "Goddess," Storm whispered after Rogue was no longer in hearing distance. "How will she go on?"
Rogue made her way into the infirmary, almost blinded by the bright lights and the white walls. She wiped one more tear from rolling down her face and then took a deep breath. "Gotta be strong, gotta be strong…" she chanted, remembering Storm's words.
She looked to her left and saw Beast scurrying about in a white suit, covered head to toe. He moved in and out of a white curtained part of the room. Rogue took in another long breath, almost gagging on the antibiotic smell of the sterilized room. She coughed lightly, but loud enough to get Beast's attention.
She started to walk in his direction, but he held up a hand. "Rogue! You must stay away! We are not yet sure if the virus spreads from person to person through the air."
Rogue ignored his warning and kept walking. She heard a mild groan from behind the white curtain. "Chere?"
She walked even faster and pushed aside Hank, who found it would be useless to try and keep her away from Gambit. He walked to the other side of the room to check his data, praying that if the virus was indeed spread through the air, that Rogue's invulnerability would protect her.
Rogue took a seat in the chair next to the bed, holding back tears. Gambit's skin was sickly pale and dotted with sweat. His usually warm red-on-black eyes were distant, but he held his gaze with her. Be strong for him, gal. She told herself.
"Hey chere." He smiled the best he could, which was only a degree or so lower than his normal grin. Rogue still found her heart being melted.
"Hey yoahself, Swamp Rat. How ya feelin'?" She mentally cursed herself for asking such a dumb question. She felt horrible for bringing it up.
"Great," he whispered. She attempted to grin at his lightheartedness, but it came off as a weak, shaky smile.
She tried to act at ease by brushing a lock of hair away from his face. The strands clung together in matted sweat. She gently tucked it behind his ear.
As she was pulling her hand back, Gambit intercepted it with his own. He brought her suede-clad fingertips to his lips and kissed each and every one. When he was finished, he delicately pushed her hand back to her. She got the message and touched her fingertips to her own lips. She closed her eyes and held her hand to her mouth, savoring the momentary warmth.
She opened her eyes again to see Remy smiling back at her. He tried to smile even brighter, but in the middle of doing so, he coughed and then he winced in pain. "Shh… it's okay, sugah." She reached for his hand and he grasped onto her tightly. "Ya don't need ta smile for me. Ya could charm me with yoah pinky finger." To emphasize her point, she balled up his hand, but kept his little finger straight. Then she smiled at him with as much warmth in her eyes as she could. "See? Ah'm surprised Ah'm not a pile o' Rogue raht now."
"Merci, chere." He took his hand out of the fist and held Rogue's hand as steady as he could. "Gambit gonna miss dese t'ings."
Rogue's smile faded almost instantly. "Don't talk like that, Remy. We're gonna get through this." She said that, barely believing it herself. She brought her other hand up to their already clasped hands. She held his hand in her two trembling ones. She knew the tears were coming. She leaned her face against her hands in a small attempt to hide her pain.
"Don' cry," Gambit said softly. "I hate seein' y' cry, chere."
"Ah know." She got up from her chair and sat facing him on the bed. "Remy… Ah'm just so frightened. Ah don't know what Ah'm gonna do without…" She froze. She was contradicting her words from before and was no doubt not making Gambit feel better.
"Is okay. Gambit ready for it," he said bravely, almost seeming like he read her thoughts. "Jis stay here wit me?" His voice cracked slightly and it sounded as if he was going to cry. He knew in his heart that he had to keep his poker face for Rogue. If he were to break down and cry, she would no doubt crumble into her own bout of tears. But he didn't want that. He wanted, if this was going to be their final moments together, her to remember him as the smooth talking Cajun. He didn't want her to think of him and cry. He wanted her to think of his name and smile, remembering all the good times. He smiled at her then, hoping she would smile back. She did, privately wanting to run from the room so he wouldn't see her weak. But this could be the last time ever that she could see him…
She breathed in suddenly. "Remy, there anythin' ya want? Hank is probably gonna wanna run some more tests. An' Ah would just be in the way…" She then added quickly, "Ah promise Ah'll be back quick."
Gambit's smile dissolved. He didn't want her to leave but he understood why. "How 'bout some bourbon, den?"
"Yanno Hank isn't gonna want ya ta drink that." She laughed. It felt good to laugh. It reminded her of all their flirty quarrels. It felt so good she held her smile. "How s'bout some fresh water?"
"Sounds good, chere." He watched her turn her back to him and walk away. Before she walked to the other side of the white curtain, he said, "Gambit be here when y' get back."
She stopped and turned. "Ah know, sugah." She smiled once again. Gambit was happy to see her smile. She had the most beautiful smile in his eyes. She then left again, to be stopped again by Hank.
"Rogue, I cannot allow you to leave the infirmary. You could possibly be carrying the virus with you and not know it." His breath fogged his clear facemask.
"Ah really need some air though, Hank. Ah'll go out the window at the end of the hall. Please." She begged.
He reluctantly nodded. "You're coming back, I presume."
"Yah. Ah just need ta do some thinkin'."
"Alright. But do not come in contact with anyone. I have the feeling that your invulnerability will keep you safe but there no telling if you may transmit it to someone else."
"Sure Hank. Thanks." Then she quickly walked out of the room. She looked back once before reaching the window, thinking it was a mistake to leave Gambit, even for a short while. But she made up her mind and opened the window. A blast of cold air came in but it didn't stop her. She flew out and headed for the roof.
She found her favorite spot and sat, facing east. The snow crunched under her as she settled in her seat. The cold ran through her body, but in a way that was inviting.
The countryside was covered in untouched snow still. She remembered that only three hours or so earlier the snow reminded her of Gambit and how she wanted to spend time with him. At that moment though, it hurt too much to be around him. She couldn't watch while he just silently wasted away.
"Damn you, Apocalypse." She whispered. She pulled her knees to her chest and hugged them tightly. She breathed in deeply. The cold air burned her nose and lungs, but she could take all the pain in the world now. "Ya hear me?" She said louder. Then she looked to the sky. "Huh? Why do ya do this! Why cain't ya leave everyone alone!" She shrieked this time. She let the tears flow like a river down her face.
"Because he's bent on hurtin' people, darlin'." Rogue whipped herself around. She wasn't expecting an answer to her ravings.
She saw Wolverine leaving against the bell tower. She sniffled and wiped her tearstained face. "Hi, Logan." She whispered hoarsely.
He took a few tentative steps towards her, unsure of whether she wanted to be alone or need the company. He decided to go with his instinct and take a seat next to her on the snowy roof.
Without words, he put his arm around her and pulled her into a hug. Rogue allowed herself to curl up in his embrace. Logan noticed she was shivering. She didn't have a coat on and her only defense against the cold was her ever present gloves.
Rogue cried freely, feeling a slight embarrassment from doing so on the shoulder of the 'tough guy' of the X-Men. "It's okay." He murmured into her hair.
"Everyone's a telepath today." She said, not bothering to conceal her sarcasm.
Wolverine almost gave her a confused look till he understood what she meant. "I guess people just know what yer goin' though."
"People don't know what Ah'm goin' though. When was the last time someone on this time had ta sit around an' watch the love of their life slip away slowly?" She snapped harshly. She almost pulled out of his grasp, but she needed the indirect human contact. All she could think of was how she was endlessly being deprived of happiness. First her power, and now Gambit.
Logan looked down to his left arm, remembering a test Hank wanted to try. He could only hope it would work or Rogue would shut people out more than she ever had in the past.
He loosened his hug on her and looked down into her weary, red-rimmed emerald eyes. "You should go see him now." Rogue nodded, he vision once again blurry from all the crying.
"Can ya get me a cupa water ta bring him? Beast told me not ta go anywhere in the house 'cause Ah might be carryin' the plague with me an' not know it."
"Sure." He stood up and then helped her up. "God knows I won't spread it."
She halfheartedly giggled. "Yah, an' Ah can always fight it off with yoah powah too."
"Yep. Now get goin'. Don't wanna keep Gumbo waitin'."
She shook her head sadly. "No, Ah don't." She walked past him and jumped off the roof. Logan's heart almost skipped a beat when he saw her jump, but then she flew back up so he could see her. In all her misery he'd forgotten that she could fly. Of course he felt stupid, but shrugged it off. She gave him a winning smile, the best he had seen from her since before her left, and then descended again.
She flew back through the first story window and shut it behind her. The hallway was clear and also cold, since she had left the window open mistakenly. An eerie chill ran up her spine. She hugged herself and rubbed her arms to get some warmth. She brushed the rest of the snow off her legs. It soaked into her jeans, making them cling to her legs. She muttered a curse under her breath. Then she stiffly walked the few steps to the infirmary.
She peered in and saw Hank checking something in the microscope. "Fascinating," he said, beaming with pride.
"Hey Hank, found out somethin' good?" She strolled into the room completely and was by his side.
He saw her and cleared this throat. "Possibly." He tried his best not to smile, but the corner of his mouth could not help but turn upwards into a grin.
Rogue gave him a strange look. "What is it?" She asked, her excitement raising at his good mood.
"We may have a treatment for Remy."
Her eyes lit up. "What? How?" A huge grin spread across her face.
"Rogue?" His voice echoed in her ears. "Rogue? I have the feeling you were daydreaming."
She blinked a couple times. "Huh?" She looked at him questioningly.
"You've been standing by the doorway with a glazed over look in your eyes for several minutes. Is something wrong?"
"Oh," she looked to the ground in embarrassment. "Ah was thinkin' how great it would be if ya found some sort of cure for Remy." She sighed. "But Ah know how unlikely that is. Ah feel foolish for even picturin' it."
Beast walked over to her and placed his plastic coated hand on her shoulder. "Don't give up hope yet. I'm trying everything possible." He said reassuringly.
"Ah know, Hank." Her gaze held fast to the ground. "How much longer do ya think he'll last?" She regretted asking, but she had to know. "Without any treatment Ah mean."
He inwardly winced at her question. But he felt required to tell the truth. "In most cases that I've researched, the victim lives a maximum of 30 hours after contamination."
Rogue gulped and slowly shut her eyes, trying to take in the news. "How long has it been?"
"Approximately five hours." He wanted to lie. He wanted to tell Rogue that Gambit would live and it would seem like nothing happened at all. But he knew it was his duty, no matter how much it grieved him.
"Ah see." She exhaled softly, but the awkward silence of the room made it the most prominent noise. It rang through her ears. And by the look on Hank's furry face, it pealed through his too.
"Is it all raht if Ah see him now?" Beast just nodded in reply, relieved to see she was this well, physically. And it was one of those times he didn't secretly wish for telepathic powers like Jean's.
Rogue started walking past him. But she halted, thinking of something. "Be raht back."
She rushed out of the room, back to the end of the hall where the window was. She opened it and flew out of it enough to get a handful of snow from the trees. She smirked weakly to herself as she pulled herself back in.
She ran back into the infirmary, where Hank was waiting curiously. She held up her hand and showed him the already melting glob of snow. Beast decided it was best not to interrogate her of what she was planning. He stepped aside and cleared the path to the curtained corner of the room. Rogue nodded in gratitude and scurried past him.
She peeked around the curtain. She almost ran frantically to Gambit's side seeing his eyes shut, but the heart monitor to his left beeped steadily. She sighed with relief, realizing he had simply dozed off.
This is gonna be even funnier than Ah thought. She smiled evilly. Besides him being attached to a heart monitor and breathing tubes, she completely pushed the thought of him dying out of her head. She imagined him just laying there, sleeping peacefully, just asking to be woken up rudely.
She crept up next to his bed and snickered softly. The melting snow absorbed into her glove, but a few drops hit the bed as she trailed it up to his face. She lowered her hand a few inches above his forehead. Then she flipped her hand over and dropped the slushy snowball on his face.
He shuddered awake, shocked by the sudden coolness splattered on his face. He tried to sit up, but the pain overcame him and he slammed against the pillows.
"Ahh!" Rogue gasped. "Ah didn't mean for ya ta get hurt, Remy." She reached down to his forehead and wiped off the melted ice.
He grabbed her wrist gently before she pulled her hand away from his face. He smirked. "Dat wasn' nice, chere." With a forceful, but soft tug, he pulled her onto the bed so she could sit next to him. Rogue giggled as he slid her onto the bed. "Now why y' get Gambit all wet?" He pouted, his red eyes warm and full of life as ever. Just like they always are. She mused.
"No reason, sugah. Just ta see ya smile." Her wrist glided out of his reach and was replaced by her hand.
"Y' jus' hafta ask, chere." He smiled. Pain rang through his body every time though, despite his outward spiritedness. He felt the sickness surging violently though each part of his body, attacking each nerve it seemed. He kept it calm; he didn't want Rogue to worry. He knew his time was slowly ticking away and he wanted to see her deep green eyes smile as much as they could.
"If you don't mind me intruding," Hank started, peeking around the curtain. "The other wish to say something via the video camera located in the war room."
Remy smiled. "Sure. Gambit want t' say 'bonjour.'" He laughed. Hank nodded and disappeared behind the curtain once again. Rogue moved to the chair beside the bed, but still held Gambit's hand.
Hank returned moments later, wheeling in a monitor with its own video recorder mounted on top of it. "Here we go," he chuckled as he pressed the power button. The plastic of his full body suit crinkled under the pressure of his big blue finger on the button.
The monitor buzzed on and soon the remaining of the team could be seen. They all happily greeted him, trying to stay as upbeat as possible. Jubilee warily asked him how he was doing.
"Bon, petite. Gambit be outta here by mornin'." He winked at her.
"Really? That's great." Gambit couldn't help but lie to her. What Gambit supposed to say? He mentally scoffed. 'Not too good, petite. Gambit's insides gonna be blowin' up soon. Y' can have my hidden stash of bourbon now.
He felt Rogue's hand squeeze his tightly. He looked back to the monitor, out of his inward sarcastic trance. The camera now focused on Storm only. Through she looked as serene as ever, Gambit could faintly see red rims around her sky blue eyes.
"Hey, Stormy." He grinned.
She only smiled back.
"Y' not gonna yell at Gambit for callin' y' dat?" He raised an amused eyebrow, the smile not leaving his face.
"The thought of it crossed my mind, but I decided against it." She stated, a small smile appearing on her face.
"Fair 'nough." They continued small talk for a few minutes. It was as if they were conversing normally, like nothing was changing. But each other could see the fear in the other's eyes.
"You should rest now, Remy." She concluded.
He nodded. "Bye, Storm," he said with all sincerity.
"Goodbye." She replied in a hushed tone, as if lulling him to sleep.
Everyone each then took his or her turn saying goodbye in his or her way. Jubilee said hers and left the room, on the verge of tears. Reality had just sunk in for her, and she couldn't stand the thought of losing her second favorite guy. Scott gave Gambit a stern nod and said goodbye. He also thanked him. Rogue questioned this, but decided she would find out later. Gambit replied to him by apologizing about being such a smart-ass sometimes. Cyclops just laughed it off and said, "It's no problem."
Jean was next. She simply said, "We'll see you soon, Gambit." She smiled, though she felt the tears burning in her eyes. She stood up from her seat and was escorted out of the war room by Cyclops.
Kurt smiled sadly. Gambit thanked him for helping him out earlier on the plane.
"You would have done the same thing for me, mein freund."
Gambit nodded. "Merci, dough. Gambit is tres grateful."
"Anytime." He smiled brightly this time, looking more like his happy self. Then he bamfed out of sight and left the room so the others could have their time.
Storm just curtly nodded, already having said what she needed to say. As she left the room, a single tear dropped for her old friend.
The only X-Man left in the room was Wolverine. He looked as he did normally, though he was always good at hiding his real emotions. He held up a glass of water. "Rogue asked me ta get ya this, Gumbo. But, I, uh, figured you two wanted ta be alone. So I'll bring it up later."
"T'anks, mon ami."
"One more thing," then he paused and took a deep breath. "Yer not one of my favorite people, Cajun, but yer a good guy. Things ain't gonna be the same."
Gambit laughed at Logan's sudden seriousness. "'Coure dey gonna change. Y' gonna have t' fight wit Cyke a lot more."
"Don't let that get ta yer head." He joked back.
"I'll be up later probably."
Gambit nodded. "See y' den." He motioned to Beast, who turned off the monitor.
"I will also be back in awhile. I want to give my tests a chance to react." Then he laughed. "And this suit is killing me, honestly." Then he left, leaving Gambit and a teary-eyed Rogue.
He turned to her and saw her tears. "What's wrong, chere?" He knew, but asked anyway.
"Just all of that, Remy. It was so final…" she cried. She covered her hands over her face and sobbed quietly.
Gambit looked away from her. It was final. Everything that had to be said was. He had no reason to keep fighting. Seeing Rogue anguished as she was kept making the pain more intense. He couldn't imagine leaving her. From the way she was acting now, there was no way she would be "just fine" after a couple days. After everything, this was how it was going to end.
With his head still turned away, he shut his eyes. And for the first time since he could remember, he cried. He kept it quiet so not to discourage Rogue even more, but the tears rolled silently down his cheeks.
He kept his head turned away. "Oui, chere?" His voice was shaky, indicating his now overwhelming sadness.
Rogue heard it clearly. Wordlessly, she took her seat facing him on the bed once again and wrapped her arms around his neck. He sat still for a moment, relaxing under her embrace. He soon slid his arms around her waist and pulled her closer, burying his face in her hair.
Rogue stopped her crying and concentrated on holding him close. She occasionally choked on air as a result of holding back sobs, but Gambit didn't care.
He was silent as he held her, small tears splashing down his face and dampening her hair. With every few tears he would hold her even closer.
They sat there many long moments in silence, except a random intake of breath from Rogue. Gambit's pain was growing more than ever however. A sudden jolt of pain seared through him and his skin felt tingly. He pulled his hand away from Rogue's hair, which he had entangled his hand in during their hug. He glanced reluctantly at his hand. They were checkered, not with boxes, but… shapes. Like a computer virus. Yellow and black. He gasped and checked his other hand. It was there too.
Rogue pulled away when she heard Gambit gasp and felt him loosen the close embrace. "Remy?" Her voice was tired and hoarse from crying. She got a look at his face and then brought her hands to her own face in shock. "Remy! Yoah skin!" She exclaimed, muffled from behind her gloves.
Gambit nodded ruefully. "Dey're de last stage. I heard Henri mumble it."
"So what does that mean? Do ya know how much longer ya have?" She asked, finally lowering her hands from her face.
"Don' know exactly, but it can' be good." He frowned. He coughed roughly then and new sweat dotted his brow. "But dere's some'ting Gambit need y' t' do, chere."
"What? Anythin' Remy."
He took a deep breath. He had wanted it to end this way. Jis get it out. "I want y' t' kiss me, Rogue."
"What?" She asked shocked. She wasn't sure if she heard him right. "But Remy, in the condition ya're in now –"
"It'll finish Gambit off." He completed for her. "I'm gonna die anyway, chere. An' I can't die wit'out knowin'…" He trailed off, but still remained in eye contact with her.
Suddenly though, she turned away. "Ah'm gonna hafta deal with ya in mah head." Gambit physically slumped. "But Ah can't letcha die without touchin' ya." She whispered, looking back at him with tears and passion in her eyes.
He smiled again. "Okay, chere." A haze covered his eyes, but the red pupils shone through.
"It feels weird plannin' it like this, sugah." She giggled gently.
"Oui, it does. But I t'ink is necessary, non?" He chuckled.
"Yah…" She said slowly.
"Ah dunno… Ah'm feelin… guilty Ah guess."
He took her hand in his. "Don' feel dat way."
"But it's gonna haunt me… all the time ya're gonna be screamin' in there… wishin' ya were alive, an' not trapped in mah head."
"Gambit promise it not gonna be dat way. Jus t'ink of it as doin' him a favor." He said soothingly. "An' I won' scream." He brought her hand to his lips. "I jus talk t' y'. Whisper." He breathed as he brushed his lips against the base of her fingers.
She blushed. "All raht." She took a deep breath. The tears that had been forming in her eyes fell down her cheek, but no more followed. "Are ya ready?"
"As ready as Gambit ever be, chere." He slowly slipped his arms around her waist again. He hesitated before pulling her closer. She ringed her trembling arms around his neck. Once they settled comfortably, they ceased shaking. Then their eyes met for a final time.
Gambit looked as handsome as ever, with a few strands of hair dangling in front of his blazing red eyes. Rogue ignored the odd colors speckling his skin and concentrated on not crying so her eyes would be clear. Despite her green eyes being red and puffy from crying, she was still the most beautiful woman Gambit had ever seen. Her hair flowed behind her in a silky tangle. Her full lips formed a tiny pout. "Ah love ya, Remy." She whispered, her warm breath tickling his face. Her eyes locked with his, for once not shaking with forming tears.
"Je'taime, ma cherie." He murmured back.
Rogue faintly smiled at his words while she closed her eyes. She slowly leaned in.
Dis is it, mon ami. He gulped inwardly and closed his eyes. He pulled Rogue into him and made contact.
At first, they only felt their soft lips touching. Gambit partially opened his mouth to deepen the kiss. But soon the pulling came. Gambit fought the urge to open his eyes in pain. He just focused on good thought and held onto Rogue as long as he could.
Rogue, on the other hand, wanted to push away. She couldn't stand hurting him. She slowly felt his memories poking their way into her mind. She pressed harder though, feeling Gambit's lips move. Not long after that, his arms loosened their hold around her wait. She instinctively pulled away. She opened her eyes, trying to focus on Gambit. His eyes were closed and his skin was looking ever more 'checkered' with yellow and black.
She lowered him slowly onto the bed and then pulled her hands away quickly. She didn't bother checking if they were glowing, because she knew that it was inevitable that they were.
She hovered herself above the bed. "Ah'm sorry Remy." She attempted to cry, anything to get the pain out. But nothing fell.
Gambit okay, chere. He keep y' safe now.
She nodded, not comforted at all by his smooth voice in her head. If anything, made her more depressed.
She flew down to the chair by the bed. She sat and hopelessly gazed at his still body. Then, a sudden wave of nausea hit her and she keeled over onto the floor, trying to keep the bile out of her throat. She wiped her forehead with the side of her arm. She was sweating. Only one though ran through her head. Ah have it now. It took me kissin' him ta get the virus. She actually smiled.
"Hey, Rogue. I brought ya yer –" Wolverine stopped as soon as he turned the corner around the curtain. He dropped the glass as his eyes darted back and forth from Rogue, who was looking very sick and pale with a strange smirk on her face, and to the Cajun, lying prone on the bed. "Darlin', what's goin' on?"
She looked to her hands that were still dimly glowing. "Ah'm sick. Ah caught it from him." She nervously giggled as her excitement heightened. "He's takin' me with him." That made her smile even brighter.
He started walking over her, not bothering to watch for the glass. It crunched loudly under the pressure of his foot as he made his way over to Rogue. Her skin was pale and dotted with sweat and a haze had begun to dim the vibrancy of her eyes. Just like Gambit. "What did ya do?" He glared at her.
She didn't seem hurt by the harsh tone of his voice. "He wanted a kiss." She said proudly.
Logan just shook his head. "Dammit, Rogue." He muttered. Then he said louder, "You do realize ya have the plague now, right?"
She nodded. "Yah. Ah'm gonna be with Remy soon. Ah'm not gonna be alone anymore. An' neither is he!" She sounded insane. The severity of the situation didn't seep through to her. A twisting pain shot through her, but she ignored it, trying to act as nonchalant as Gambit did.
'Chere, I didn't mean t' get y' sick.'
'It's okay, Remy. It's bettah this way.'
'Gambit can' let y' stay dis way.''But, Ah'm gonna be with ya, Rem. Things are gonna be –'
Her conversation with the Gambit inside her head was cut off by a pair of large muscular hand cupping her face from behind. Her eyes shot open, gazing around wildly.
"I'm sorry, darlin', but we ain't losin' two of ya." Wolverine grumbled from behind.
"No!" She shrieked. "Don't take me away from him!" She felt Logan's healing factor rush through her body, eating away the virus.
A blur of blue fur appeared at her side, that could only be Dr. McCoy. He quickly, but carefully injected something into her neck. "My apologies, Rogue." He whispered.
Before her eyes rolled up, she felt the burning of the tears finally come. She quietly whimpered before she lost consciousness.
Beast looked around the room. Logan lay limply behind the chair that Rogue was sprawled over. His biggest surprise wasn't Gambit still and deathly pale body, but his heart monitor to the side of his bed…
"Remy?" Rogue gazed around at what she thought was the infirmary for a moment. But it wasn't a room at all. For miles she could see sky blue and puffs of white. She looked down to her feet; she wasn't flying through the air. She felt something solid under her feet, though she appeared to be standing on a cloud. She took her attention off her feet, which were wearing strappy green stilettos, to the rest of her clothing. Emerald green silk fell just below her knees, matching her shoes exactly. Her bare hands traveled up her midnight black top that rested comfortably on her shoulder in the form of thin straps. She enjoyed the feel of the silk beneath her fingertips. She rubbed the hem of her shirt, still curiously peeking around, trying to look through the clouds for some answer of where she might be.
"Hey dere." She whipped around to see Gambit standing there, grinning.
"Remy?" She peered at him inquisitively. He looked completely normal. His face was pleasant, without a trace of sweat or yellow and black shapes. His skin was back to normal; slightly tanned and flawless. He was wearing loose fitting blue jeans with a navy blue shirt, complimented greatly by his ever-present brown duster. The luster was back in his eyes, inviting her.
"Y' jus gonna stand dere all day, chere? Or are y' gonna say hi t' Gambit?" He smirked.
Rogue smiled back just as brightly. She ran over to him, a little unsteady on the thin heels of her shoes, but she quickly solved that problem by flying the rest of the way. She stood awkwardly in front of him, unsure of any words to say. She just stared into his eyes, his warm and loving red eyes.
"Is it really you, Swamp Rat?" She managed to say.
He laughed. "Could dere be any ot'er homme who love y' as much as me?"
"Ah wasn't sure…" She glanced around. "This ain't a usual meetin' place, sugah."
"Don' worry 'bout dat." He casually placed a hand on her naked shoulder. She jerked away. "Y' don' need t' worry 'bout dat eit'er, chere."
She looked at him questioningly. "This ain't real, is it?"
"T'ings don' need t' be real t' feel dem." He once again relaxed his hand on her shoulder, this time she didn't pull away.
Baby, I get so scared inside, and I don't really understand.
Is it love that's on my mind, or is it fantasy?
She closed her eyes and muffled back the warm feeling rushing through her body. "Ah miss ya already, Remy." She swallowed down the lump of guilt and pain in her throat.
"Gambit always gonna be here, petite. Dere's no reason t' be missin' him."
She nodded, slowly opening her eyes. It took her a second to focus on Gambit's outreaching arm that was slipping around her waist. The hand on her shoulder slid up her arm and clasped her hand.
Heaven, is in the palm of my hand, and it's waiting here for you.
What am I supposed to do with a childhood tragedy?
Rogue resisted the urge to fall limp against the feel of his hands against her skin, but she instinctively stiffened to hold herself up. He sensed her uncertainty and pulled her closer to him so he could hold her more steadily. She leaned her head against his chest, hearing the gentle beating of his heart.
If I close my eyes forever,
Will it all remained unchanged?
If I close my eyes forever
Will it all remain the same?
Her hands fell down to her sides, while one still grasped Gambit's hand. His other hand gently crawled up her back, sending exhilarating sensations through her. It traveled up into her hair, his fingers twirling around the soft strands of auburn and white. She shivered under his touch, pushing all thoughts of this being an unreality out of her head.Sometimes
It's so hard to hold on
So hard to hold on to my dreams
It isn't always what it seems
When you're face to face with me
His heart thumped in sync with hers, though her heart rate was growing. His free hand explored her silk covered body, while the hand holding her delicately tickled the palm of her hand with his deft fingers. Rogue sighed into his chest, never wanting to ever be out of his hold ever again.
The clouds dissipated and faded away slowly, while the sky blue turned as dark as Rogue's shirt. She lifted her head from Gambit's chest and looked around. His hands found their way around her hips and he pulled her in close. "I'll keep y' safe, chere."
She leaned against his chest once again, staring off to one side of the darkness. "From what though?"You're like a dagger
And stick me in the heartAnd taste the blood from my blade And when we sleep, would you shelter me
In your warm and darkened grave?
Her arms wrapped around his waist snuggly. She was scared. The blackness started to spin and Gambit instinctively held her even tighter. "Shh…" he murmured into her hair. "It be over soon."
Rogue nodded, completely oblivious to what was happening.
The darkness spun around and around them, enveloping them in darkness and small streaks of white from the motion.
If I close my eyes forever
Will it all remain unchanged?
If I close my eyes forever
Will it all remain the same?
"Remy, what's happening?" She looked up to him. He was staring out into the darkness, his red eyes blazing, searching.
He heard her soft voice and glanced down to her. "Don' know. Jus be brave."
She nodded, though she couldn't find any courage locked up inside herself. She didn't know where she was, and if it was a nightmare, she wasn't sure if she wanted it to end or not. She looked up to him.Will you ever take me?
Gambit once again tilted his head down to lock eyes with her terrified emerald eyes.
No, I just can't take the pain.
Her bottom lip trembled. Speechlessly, she brought her hands up from his waist and ringed them around his neck.But would you ever trust me?
He breathed in hard and unsteady. A swell of emotions was starting to build up inside him. He knew it was going to end soon.
No, I'll never feel the same.
She gazed deeply into his eyes. She fought back the tears. "What's gonna happen ta us?"
"Not'in' gonna happen t' y', chere. It ain' in y' anymore." She nodded sorrowfully. He gently swiped a piece of white hair away from her eyes.I know I've been so hard on you
I know I've told you lies
If I could have just one more wish
I'd wipe the cobwebs from my eyes
She whimpered as she let a tear roll out of her eye. "Shh, ma cherie. Don' cry. Not now."
"Ah don' want ya ta leave me, Remy." She whispered.
"I'm never gonna leave y'."
"Ah want ya here though. Where Ah don't hafta talk ta ya in mah dreams. Ah want ta be able ta feel ya undah mah gloves if it hasta be that way… this isn't real."If I close my eyes forever
Will it all remain unchanged?
If I close my eyes forever
Will it all remain the same?
His hand entangled itself in her hair again. She nodded once again. He drew her into him and their lips found each other's. It only lasted a moment however.
Rogue snapped up out of her sleep. She glared into the darkness, realizing she was in her room. She pulled her knees into her chest and buried her head into them. She cried freely.Close your eyes
Close your eyes
You gotta close your eyes for me.
Rogue found the strength to get up and lock her door. Then she returned to her bed and leaned against the headboard, staring off into the darkness. Sometimes she saw two red, beady orbs watching her back, but the moment she blinked, they were gone.
She didn't even cry anymore. Her energy was completely gone and she couldn't find any to help her sob. So she sat in darkness, and sometimes the light leaked in from the new day. But she didn't feel like bathing herself in the warm, happy sunlight. She knew the snowstorms had ended, but she had no idea why it was sunny. It didn't feel right that it should be sunny. So she kept her shades drawn and remained curled up on her bed.
Sometimes someone would come to the door. Rogue heard Storm outside a few minutes, hours ago, whatever it was. But she remained quiet, not even acknowledging that Storm was heard.
"I'm really worried about her. It's been two days and she has yet to come out of her room." Storm said to Jean, stirring her tea.
"I know. But we really didn't expect her to handle this well. Has she taken any of the food you've left by the door?"
"Not at all. I do not think she has even lifted herself from her bed." She paused to take a drink from her mug. "Have you sensed anything from her?"
"It doesn't seem like she's doing much of anything, not even thinking. She's just sitting up there, content, in a way, in being alone."
"Yes, but I fear that if we don't intervene soon, she may do something drastic. Which reminds me… why hasn't anyone told me about the funeral plans? I don't think I have heard anything about it yet."
Jean shrugged. "I haven't heard a thing either."
"Because our Cajun friend is not deceased." Beast piped up, appearing in the doorway. The two women turned their heads quickly to look at him.
"What do you mean he isn't dead?" Jean asked accusingly, her voice edging with disbelief. Storm gave him the same look, but felt a great swell of relief rise up inside her. Jean felt it radiating off of her and she felt the same thing, though she was rather confused.
He walked in and took a seat across the table from Jean and Storm. "It is quite a miracle that has happened." He smiled.
"Get to it already!" Storm exclaimed. Then she clapped a hand over her mouth. "My apologies, Beast. I'm anxious to know what has happened."
"Understood, Ororo." He smiled again, his fangs peeking out of his big blue lips. "It appears that Gambit has had a couple of things that have helped him recover. When he was first brought back to the mansion, Wolverine had caught the plague from him, and his healing factor cured him. I proceeded to take some of the antibodies that Logan had created and inject them into Gambit, just as a test. I feared for the worse though, because it didn't seem to be working.
"But then, Rogue kissed Gambit, which did one of two things. She either absorbed the plague out of him, which I see a bit unlikely, or after taking Gambit's energy, it cued the antibodies to work harder. After I found Logan passed out behind Rogue, I could only deduce that he had given his healing factor to her so the virus wouldn't spread in her body as well.
"Then I saw Gambit and figured him for dead. But then I saw his heart monitor. It still had a faint heartbeat and some brain activity was being picked up. I quickly checked the rest of his stats and it appeared that he was in a coma."
Storm finally found the words to say after staring at Beast with disbelief. "So he is alive?"
"Yes, though he is still in the coma."
Jean giddily shrieked. "Wait till we tell Rogue!" She got up from her seat and headed for the door.
"Wait, Jean. I feel that we should wait till he is out of the coma, or has some progress. People can be in comas for months at a time. If she were to see him as he is now, she may get her hopes up and for all we know, he could never come out."
Jean nodded. "Am I allowed to tell Scott?" She sounded like a child asking an adult for permission.
Hank chuckled. "Of course. But keep it between you and him. I'm not sure how to address the rest of the team with this news."
"Great!" She rushed out of the room.
Hank turned his attention back to Storm. "How are you feeling, my friend?"
"I am not sure, Beast. I indeed feel happy, but what if he never wakes up?"
"He is strong. I have only the slightest doubt that he won't make it through."
Rogue opened her heavy eyes for the hundredth time. She couldn't bring herself to sleep. The same dream ran through her head and went further. In the dream, after they kissed once again, he slumped to the ground and melded with the darkness. Rogue was left alone in the rotating blackness.
After waking up after that, she refused to sleep. She would drift off for a moment and appear in the sky scene again, and then she would shudder herself awake. Maybe Ah should take a shower… that might wake me up some. She agreed with herself and slung her legs over the side of her bed. She grasped one of the end post of the bed and brought herself to her feet. She wobbled a little bit from her lack of movement in the last couple days, but after standing for a moment, she felt more comfortable.
She took a tentative step and was still steady. She released the bed and took another step. Without the support however, she lost her balance and landed on her stomach. "Dammit," she said under her breath. She pushed herself up again and onto her knees. She figured giving up would be really stupid, since she was on the cold, hardwood floor and not on her comfortable bed. She hovered her body above the floor, stretching out mid air. "Ya can do this, gal." Suddenly, there was a knock at the door. She fell against the floor with a loud thump. "Who is it?" She said, realizing it was the first time she had bothered to answer the door since she locked herself in there.
No one answered, though something was slid under the door. Rogue didn't bother to get to her feet and just crawled over to the door and picked it up.
It was the two of hearts.
Her eyes widened at the sight of it. She glanced from it to the door. "Nice joke." She said, her voice dripping with sarcasm. Her hand trembled holding it, the memories of Gambit peeking their way back into her mind.
She reached up and clutched the doorknob for support. She pulled herself up and prepared herself to yell at the person who would do this to her. Everyone knew she was hurting. How could they want to dishonor him in this way.
She unlocked the door and cracked it open. She peered outside and her jaw dropped. She blinked twice to make sure she wasn't dreaming. "R-Remy?" She stammered, letting the door swing the rest of the way open.
He smiled faintly as he leaned against the doorway, his full strength not back to him yet. He had woken up only minutes before and noticed that Hank wasn't in the room to stop him. There was only one place he wanted to be. And Rogue's arms hadn't been in the infirmary.
She stepped out of her room and quickly helped his stand up fully. She gave him a quick glance over. She could feel the fabric of her gloves and his trenchcoat beneath touching, casting away her disbelief. She internally laughed at the sight of him. It looked like he had hastily put on his coat over his infirmary gown. "It's really you, isn't it?" She looked up at him.
He smiled down to her. "'Course chere. Could dere be any ot'er homme who love y' as much as me?"
His words sounded so familiar to her. Then she remembered. The dream. She grinned. And he smirked back, knowing she had realized.
She ringed her arms around his waist and allowed him to pull her close. She could hear his heart again. Normal. She sighed. "Thank gawd, Remy. Ah missed ya so much."
"Y' helped me get back, chere. An' for dat, I will always love y'."
She snuggled even closer against him. "Ah love ya too, Swamp Rat."
They stood there, not interrupted by spinning darkness, not being distracted by endless skies. They held each other close, now knowing nothing could ever separate them.