Fic: Folie a Deux
Authors: Bastet and Lady Macbeth
Genre: angst/romance/dark
Rating: M for sexual situations and language
Inspired by Vladmir Nabokov's 'Lolita'

Summary: Before joining Exiles, Gambit witnessed the death of his wife, Storm. Months later, he finds himself the obsession of a teenage Storm from an alternate reality. What started out as cruel game quickly spirals out of control, neither party getting what they bargained for.

Storm

I am a goddess. I am mistress over the elements. I am Storm. These are not words I need to consciously think about, as I believe them. They are as stamped into my being as my mutant and magical abilities. They are me.

Having manipulated the weather since emerging into adolescence, ruled the entire continent of Africa and been worshipped by my subjects despite not yet reaching 16, one can imagine I am not used to being denied. Yet, all he sees is Ororo, the child. The fledgling member of Weapon X. The thought adds venom in my veins- I was here first.

As we hop from reality to reality, setting the timelines back on track, I have proven myself more invaluable each time, yet all HE can do is criticize my methods. I get the job done, that should be acceptable as it always has been, before he joined our ranks.

The name of my problem? Gambit.

I study him as he consults the Tallus regarding our current reality. He is slightly taller than me at 6'1", significantly older though not quite three times my age, and auburn hair that falls just below his ears, some gray strands at his temples. He is dressed in black body armor, a tattered red bandana around his neck and an ancient dark brown leather duster that bears the scars of many rough encounters. Come to think of it, I do not think he has ever removed the worn artifact. He probably showers in it… if he did shower- he has this rich, heavy musk about him that I can only describe as cedar and clove.

The man always has a permanent 5 o'clock shadow and eyes of red irises on obsidian orbs, that burn bright when he is angry, which appears to be frequent when I am present. He is unpleasant in the least, his aura oozing contempt towards me, and it is probably why he exhibits the worry lines in his brow, although I have noticed tell tale laugh lines as well in his visage- he could not always have been so bitter.

Gambit is the leader of our group, taking orders from the Time Broker via the Tallus and passing them on to us. Make no mistake I follow him out of duty, nothing more. Despite being my overseer, it does not ease my distaste for the wretched man.

Of course, Gambit is not his real identity. He has never told me his first name, tearing himself away from the familiarity that could be developed from first names. Never a kind word leaves his mouth to acknowledge me, even in a job well done. He is Cajun and occasionally mixes heavy French with his words, usually swears directed my way.

Anger and spite have shored up within me towards this man, my self-control threatening to release my rage in a tidal wave; how dare he address Ororo Munroe, Queen of Africa, like a mere human?

Gambit closes the Tallus and silently walks toward his room, barely casting a glance my way as I stand to ask him of what the Tallus had to say.

I watch through narrowed eyes, trying to will the poisonous rage within me into his body only to end up scorned by the closing of his door. Perhaps a lightning bolt would be more effective in the future…

Then, Spider and his big mouth opened my eyes.

A gravelly voice above my head breaks my concentration "Nice look of death you have going there, young lady."

"I loathe that man with every fiber of my being- Nothing of my contributions is ever satisfactory."

Spider laughed darkly and fell from the ceiling, turning deftly to crouch on his feet. "Are you in the business of satisfying our leader?"

"Hardly. Any words would be more acceptable than the cutting barbs that roll off his tongue. I have seen and done more than he could ever dream of in his miserable existence, where does he have the nerve giving me the cold shoulder like a disobedient child?"

More of that annoying dark laughter. "You know Gambit was married right?"

I arch a white eyebrow. "Was?"

"Oh yeah. Watched her die too, was not a pretty sight."

"You were there?" It is more a demand than it is question. I am intrigued but try not to sound too interested.

"No, but you were." He snickered cruelly. "Get it? He was married to Storm of his reality? I imagine she was less gangly or ill tempered."

"Yes, I 'get it'." I say with the disgust I am used to volleying his way, actually chagrinned to admit that I am taken surprise by this revelation. The wheels in my head begin to spin wildly.

As my mind wanders through a myriad of thoughts and possibilities, I am suddenly stricken with the idea if he is angry more with himself than me. My only crime has been to resemble a woman who was foolish enough to get herself killed. Perhaps... he has thought of me as he did his wife, even briefly. And why wouldn't he? I am a goddess in more ways than one: Kings waged wars for my hand in marriage; Gambit should be no exception.

The thought enchants me, the idea of testing this theory to place the strings on Gambit, transforming him into my puppet. Being a widower, I would still have to go about this with cunning.

Death of a marriage is never easy, yet death of a spouse doesn't kill the marriage, but rather places it in limbo. You never fell out of love, there is no hate to salve your heart or justify your position. You remain a hollow shell committed to a ghost.

Despite that, he is just a man. This will not be so difficult after all

Staring at the ash-stained door that separates us, I realize with imperious satisfaction I may have an upper hand to torture him as he has me these past months. I will show him what it means to treat Ororo Munroe like a common dog. When I am through, he will be on my leash.

Gambit

Again. As my eyes open to the light I realize once again I'm awakening to face an empty bed. I can't help but feel the exasperation building. I guess I grew so accustomed to this feeling that sometimes I forget the "why"…Maybe the reason I forget "why" is because I still don't believe it…I know, in a conscious level I know it…But sometimes my mind tricks me.

Sometimes, waking up, I automatically expect to be confronted with a pair of blue eyes and hear a dusky, voice still heavy of sleep, tired and satisfied from pleasure, greeting me good-morning. I automatically expect to have her arms wrapped around me, to smell the perfume of fragrant herbs I don't even know the name (since I was too lost in contemplation of that sweet, half-veiled smile of hers, when she told me), to feel as the generous curves of that warm body I know so well, mold themselves lazily to my own body, awakening it, making it alive, making me want her, making me overflow with this calming, comforting feeling that is to know I have her and that she has me… unconditionally.

And every time I wait in vain, the illusion of it taking a minute to vanish…one minute too long, a minute that feels like a century disguised in the seemingly innocuous guise of sixty seconds.

I sleep much less now. I don't have the time; neither do I have the will. If I sleep I may find myself lost in those same dreams that repeat themselves over and over again, and once I wake, once it's over…I couldn't be sure I wouldn't finally break…

So I became afraid to sleep, to rest… And forcing myself to stay awake throughout life, unable to avoid every and each painful day that follows a night, I keep myself busy…one reality after the other, one universe after the other, one life after the other, not only because I have to…But because I need too.

I'm afraid if I ever have a minute to think, to awake from this mindless movement, then, in those fateful sixty seconds, I'll see with the clarity that only a calm reflection can have, that she's not here anymore… So I keep going, trying to trick my mind, trying to avoid the awakening…just because I'm too afraid to wake up and find myself confronted with the fact that…

She's just…not here…