A/N: Alright, here we go again! Life After Death was intended to be a stand alone, one shot, and I plan on keepin' it that way. That said, I had more ideas to further the story, so figured I'd just set up a sequel to it. I have no set ending to this story, nor do I know if it'll ever end. When I get inspired with a new moment of the healing road Rogue and Remy are embarkin' on, I'll jot it down and post it up. Their story is far from over.
I do better with dialogueless stories, but this chapter just had a lot to say.
In the dead of the night, a figure bathed in flame streaked across the starless sky. Like a shooting star, the burning light arced downwards toward the large mansion set alone on the vast grounds. Touching down lightly on a balcony of the Xavier Institute, Rogue opened the door, the fire surrounding her dying as she stepped inside.
Moving quickly to the nearest closet, she removed a large duffle bag and began stuffing it, haphazardly, full of clothing belong to both her and Remy. So focused on her task and so determined to make haste, she didn't realize that she was not alone in the room.
"What do you think you are doing?" a very familiar and disturbingly icy voice shattered the near silence. Startled, Rogue spun to face the figure just as the room was suddenly awash with light.
"Mama!" she exclaimed in surprise, her wide green eyes falling on Mystique's blue form standing stiffly by the door. Recovering quickly, Rogue's shock gave way to annoyance. "This is my room, so maybe Ah should be askin' you that."
Moving her hand from the light switch and placing it on her hip, Mystique's golden eyes narrowed at her adopted daughter.
"That is hardly the point, Rogue. I came here to stop you. You are making a big mistake," she replied, coldly.
"Oh, this is rich!" Rogue laughed, humourlessly, shaking her head. "Just 'cause they let ya in on tha team, don't mean ya know what's right. Ya got no right ta tell me what ta do."
Her expression suddenly softening, Mystique stepped toward her daughter, one hand outstretched. "I still consider myself your mother, and I just want what is best for you," she said, laying her hand on Rogue's arm.
"No, ya want what's best for you," Rogue spat, knocking Raven's hand away violently. "Ya snuck in here, disguised as someone else ta try ta seduce my boyfriend and break us up. Oh, and when that didn't work, ya made sure ya had a ticket back in here before waltzin' back in with some snivellin' coward claimin' he was tha perfect guy for me like some kinda arranged marriage! Did ya ever once stop ta think about what Ah wanted?"
The instant her offered comfort was dismissed, the hardened expression returned to the shape shifter's face.
"Your relationship with Gambit is destructive, but you're too blind to see it. I'm not. Augustus would have been able to offer you something Gambit never – "
"Is that what you think of me?" Rogue suddenly cut in, her voice incredulous. Shooting daggers at Mystique with her eyes, she furiously started packing again. She needed to distract herself or else she'd have to fight harder to keep from hitting the other woman. "Ya think all Ah care about is touch? That Ah'd throw everythin' away for some guy Ah don't know just 'cause he could touch me?"
Mystique couldn't believe they were having this conversation after what had happened only hours ago. Rogue was no only defending the monster that had killed Pulse, among many other people, but she was running off with him! By staying with Gambit, she was throwing everything away, just like he had done when he'd decided to join Apocalypse. Something Raven would never understand is how a piece of gutter trash like that damn Cajun could maintain such an unbreakable hold over her daughter. It was almost like he had her bewitched.
"At least he wasn't a murderer," Mystique's words stabbed like a dagger through Rogue's heart, causing the younger woman to immediately stop what she was doing. Slowly, she turned to face her mother, green eyes narrowed dangerously.
"How dare you..." she growled, her face etched in anger. "How dare you call him a murderer? Tell me, Mystique; just how many people have ya killed? How many lives have ya taken in cold blood, in your own right mind? Hell, ya even killed a dear friend'a tha X-Men, and they still voted ta give ya another shot. How dare ya judge him for somethin' that was beyond his control?"
She wanted to hit her. God, how she wanted to just throttle the woman she called 'mama' until her blue skin got bluer. How dare she have the audacity to call anyone else a murderer?
Clenching her fist, Rogue was practically shaking with rage, but somehow she managed to turn away without acting on her urges. Making a point of grabbing the framed photo of her and Remy from the top of her bureau, Rogue turned back to the balcony.
For a moment, Raven was silent as she absorbed all the mental blows Rogue had rained down on her. Everything that was said about her was true, but that didn't make her any worse than Gambit. He was a liar, and although he had managed to resist her, she was certain he was still a womanizer at heart. He would allow Rogue to leave her home and her family to be with him, and as soon as she'd helped him past all his 'issues', he would leave her. He was scum, and the bottom line was that he didn't deserve her daughter.
"How quickly you forget that he joined Apocalypse of his own free will. For that reason alone he should be held accountable for his actions, yet you still blindly believe that he's a good person and that you can save him," Mystique replied, bitterness creeping into her tone. "You know as well as I that this cannot end well, so why are you willing to give up everything you believe in and everything you fight so hard for just for him?"
Looking down at her bloodstained clothes, Rogue remembered the heartache she felt as she had helped gather the wounded; how hard it was to keep down the contents of her stomach as she realized there wasn't enough remaining of the dead to send home to their families; her indecision as she'd gazed upon Remy's huddled form. With her back still to Mystique, the southerner glanced at the photograph in her hands and smiled resolutely.
"Because Ah love him," she stated simply and honestly. "But Ah wouldn't expect you ta understand that."
Walking slowly out onto the balcony, there was no more protesting from behind her as she took to the air. Not once did she look back, for if she did she would have seen the completely stricken look upon Mystique's face. Rogue could not have hurt her more if she had slapped her across the face.
She did understand.