Woah, this is it. The end of this fanfiction. This is actually the first long one I've finished – I think that's a tad sad. Ironically, I started this fic in another country – which I will be returning to in under a month. Perfect place for starting the sequel I guess. Don't it expect it until at least mid-October though. Lots will be going on. I will have an in-between fic coming out in the next few weeks. It'll be something like an epilogue, from Kitty's p.o.v., very similar to the Interlude: Date With an Angel – but this time with a Diable. As to the content of the sequel, well you'll just have to wait & see…
You all assume it was Riptide who injected Rogue… (-mwah,hah,hah-)
Everyone got that John Greycrow Scalphunter. It was his real name, a name Remy knew him by back in the day with Assassins in New Orleans.
I love that thought the p.o.v.s were weaving and a little confusing, you all figured it out by the end and I got compliments as how it built suspense – I was trying to! Thanks ishandahalf!
Thanks to all my readers and lovely reviewers! It's been quite a ride!
Seren McGowen (yes, so now they'll have to strengthen it), jasmine3883 (thanks!), unknown, just a little note (oops! have to do more research, drat!), lovestoread, Wiccamage (Hide & Seek - you're right!), Ashley, Bellasaurs (lol), Doesn't Matter (yoah, thanks for the definition!), X-Storm (yup, more scars. thanks!), coldqueen, Roguechere (thank you, I loved that line too!), romylover, deadsnowwhite (-guilty giggle- and yeah, isn't it lovely?), tfobmv18 (you will see him again!), ShadowFax999, New Moon Night, Mokana-chan, greykupo, dreamschemer (LOL!), cream tea anyone (I was hoping the pace was okay), ishandahalf, and allyg1990.
21) All's well?
Cyclops could be patient. His priorities always put the members of the team first. So he waited to voice the questions clawing at his brain.
He waited as Shadowcat, Rogue and a blood-flecked Nightcrawler were carefully checked over by the Morlocks' appointed physicians. Shadowcat was warned not to use her powers for a good forty-eight hours at least, as well as getting fed painkillers to ride out the last of the nerve damage. Nightcrawler's wounds were all wrapped and, after trying to bolt from his bed upon hearing Rogue had been injected with some kind of hallucinogenic drug right into the muscles by her spine, he was ordered to remain as still as possible. Rogue had been forcefully knocked out; the drug they'd identified from the syringe left at the scene would take a while to dissipate from her system. Her leg had also been bandaged.
He waited as Spyke explained how Gambit had called him on the X-Men com-link, identifying himself as an X-man and warning him of the Marauders' plans. Marrow and he had cleared out the most defenseless of the Morlocks, then set up ambush points where they would engage the Marauders. The team Rogue and Nightcrawler had 'rescued' was one such group.
He waited as Morlocks trickled in, reporting that Harpoon had been found trying to drag himself out of the sewers. He was put in with the specially trussed up Riptide and Arclight to wait for judgment. Vertigo had disappeared, as had Scrambler. Scalphunter was found dead.
He waited as one by one, the X-men were deemed able, if not fit, for travel. Spyke wanted to keep them longer, but Cyclops insisted that Dr. McCoy was more than up for taking care of them.
He waited as carefully the patients were placed aboard the jet, taking up three of the four built in beds housed within two cabins in the back.
But as the X-Jet rose into the air, he could wait no longer.
"But the hell did you think you were doing?" he demanded, nearly wrenching his harness out of alignment as he snapped it off and towered over Remy.
Force never worked well with Remy. "'s mah own business."
"The hell it was! You practically blew apart the Medlab – and then hook up with this completely psychotic psychic, before dashing away to do his bidding-"
Remy bristled. "I knew what I was doin'-"
Scott was on a roll though "-leading us to the Morlock tunnels, getting Kitty, Kurt and Rogue hurt-"
Despite the fact Remy had known her name was coming, it still sparked off like a live wire inside him. He threw off his harness as well, to join in the shouting match.
"I didn't ask y' t' come!"
Scott scowled. "Yeah, well Rogue wouldn't be convinced otherwise-"
Remy hadn't been expected that. "Why de-"
Scott threw his hands up. "I DON'T KNOW! You tell me!"
The two men's voices had steadily risen and the outbreak of silence was staggering. Kurt was the one to break it, despite the fact he was supposed to be resting in one of the attached rooms.
"I vould like to know too."
Scott turned, feeling his exhaustion really begin to weigh on him for the first time. "Kurt, you're not supposed to be moving around."
"I can hear from here." Kitty's equally interested face could be seen peeking out next to him.
Scott sighed. "You two just stay in bed." Remy had slouched back into his chair and Scott crossed his arms. "I want some answers Gambit. I'm not sure how you ever considered Sinister a good option, but we could've handled the issue."
"Setting off anythin' in de area of m' is more den 'an issue' One eye."
"We still could have dealt with it." Remy just withdrew his cards, shuffling them with one long thrum. "And as for the Mauraders-"
"I ain't stupid Boy scout, I knew Sinister was up t' not'in' good – even coordinated with Spyky. De job was handled." Remy spoke in an iron tone, leaving no argument. Scott felt otherwise however.
"You should've alerted us."
"An' bring in more players? Non, j'ai imagine dat dat'd just screw t'ings up an' get someone hurt!" The fact his actions had led to Rogue's injuries was distressing enough without adding another two.
"If you had just-"
"An' if y' hadn't-"
"Will yah two jus' shut up!" Logan finally snarled, getting tired off the about-to-circle argument. Both men shot him mutinous looks. "Card Boy should've clued up in, but he's a loner con who doesn't think like an X-Men. Yet," he added cutting off Scott's desire to pick up that line of thought. "But he still managed to pull it off while we rushed in like a pack of newbies."
"And we had to go through Sinister." Scott had no shortage of grievances.
Remy curled his fingers around his cards, inwardly cursing. "Didn't intend f' any of y' t' get involved wit' dat."
"Bit late for zat," Kurt grumbled.
"You should be apologizing to Rogue," Scott said, already having an idea that putting her name in would make it mean more to the insolent thief.
His head come up like a blood hound. "Rogue?"
"She had to absorb him, to find out where to find you."
Remy snapped the pack, feeling most definitely ill. Dieu, he could go for a smoke – but his hands still ached like the devil after Scalphunter's little skewer-Gambit stunt. Sinister, in Rogue's mind, she'd had to deal with him, sort through him, to find him.
Emil whistled appreciatively, bringing attention to the group who'd honestly forgotten his presence. "Dat is some femme y' got cousin."
"Je ne leur ai pas." (She ain't mine, lit. I don't have her) Remy corrected him reflexively, mind still reeling.
Emil raised an eyebrow.
"C'est vrai? Last time I checked, femmes don't zig-zag de country f' just nobody."
Scott's jaw hardened. "You know, that's a really good observation Lapin – and as much as I'd like to credit X-Men loyalty for Rogue's determination, I really, really don't think that's it. Just what is going on between you and Rogue?"
Remy's eyes hooded. "Dat'd be 'tween me an' Rogue, hein?"
Scott crossed his arms. "Not anymore," he snapped heatedly. "You touched Rogue when she was clearly out-of-control – and this time, you even walked away without even a stumble."
Remy's jaw took a stubborn set.
"'s time Cajun."
Scott's eyes flicked back and forth between Logan and Remy. "You know about this?" Scott's hands fisted. "I want to know what's been going on, NOW!"
Remy had a blatant glower, but finally – reluctantly, "She came t' me for some practice, d'accord?"
Scott, by this point, didn't seem terribly surprised. "Why wasn't it during her regular practices then?"
Twitching in agitation, Kurt cut to the next, more important question in his mind. "Vhy'd she need you? She vas practicing with me and-"
Remy let out a snicker. "I didn't know you swung that way."
His tail in full twitch mood, Kurt straightened. "Vhat, I don't swing anyway!"
Kitty bit her lip, "Uh Kurt, you swing at least one way."
Scott ignored the interruption. "So you and her–" he waited for the fill-in.
"De chérie wanted to know what ta do wit' a boyfriend. So she came ta Gambit." Remy looked fixedly at a wall, falling to a display of relaxation to cover his agitation.
"Looks like Gambit taught her more dan dat if she got unda y' skin," Emil grinned as Remy shot him a glare.
"I'm still confused about something," Kitty finally piped up. "When did this practice start?"
Remy shrugged. "'Bout de time yah broke y' leg."
"That long?" Scott blinked.
Kitty didn't look too surprised. "But it stopped for awhile though, didn't it? Rogue didn't start sneaking out of the room until after you came back from retrieving Joseph." Remy could only blame the painkillers they'd put her on for her actually saying that in front of the eternal boy scout.
"Who's Joseph?" Emil was ignored.
"Sneaking out?" Scott sounded horrified. Kurt's facial fur took on a somewhat purple tint.
Remy answered her question instead. "We had a small," he paused for the slightest moment, "difference in opinion."
Emil snickered. "What she kick you afta de nuit première?" Remy's hands froze and Emil fairly cackled with glee. "De King o' Hearts kicked t' de curb – wait 'til Henri hears 'bout dis!"
"What are you doin' here anyway?" he finally asked. He desperately wanted to light up, but everytime the charge tingled through his hands, it immediately rebounded into a deep throb.
Scott's lips compressed. "We needed to find Sinister's location, so Rogue pointed us to New Orleans and scrounged up him."
"An' yah came jus' like dat?" He wanted to snap his fingers, but he had to settle for an eyebrow quirk.
"Y'are mon favori cousin," Emil shrugged. "Besides de chérie be pretty persuasive," his eyes slanted slyly. "Y' could jus' ask Bella. Gave her one right t' de jaw."
Remy went rigid. "She WHAT?"
"Fantastic right cross." Remy barely heard him. Belladonna and Rogue, together.
"Mon Dieu." He sat down.
Scott's jaw tensed. He'd only heard about the punch after the fact – it galled him, but it was irrelevant at the moment. "Back to the point, you've resumed practicing," he said the word like he was in the middle of a storm in a leaky boat, "to this current time. And that's it, just 'practicing.' And you allowed this?" He turned to Wolverine, unable to fathom the idea. Wolverine's jaw ground, but he kept his eyes on flying.
"Chuck thought it'd be best to keep out of it."
"Professor X knew too?" It was too much. Scott collapsed defeatedly into his chair.
"De tops do keep tags, don't dey?" Emil gave a whistle. He hadn't imagined Xavier would be so laid-back.
"Hard to keep things from a high-level telepath," Kitty said vaguely.
"I can't believe you're just using her-" It was the wrong word to use – but no one had ever accused Scott of being too sensitive/perceptive. Remy straightened as if stung by a swarm.
"Don' be pointin' de finger jus' at me. It takes two, mon ami. An' de femme came t' me."
"So who's usin' who?" Emil sounded amused. Remy wouldn't look at him. "For what's 's worth dough, she seemed un peu (a little) mo' concerned den you'd t'ink, given all."
Remy didn't say anything.
Scott looked ready to take back up the argument, but Logan caught his eye in time and gave him a decisive head shake.
"I'm goin' t' check on her." No one expected him to come back.
Scott frowned, but didn't stop him. "Just don't disturb her."
Remy sneered at him. "Got practice wit' dat."
As soon as he pressed the door closed behind him though, the attitude fell away. He leaned back, just looking at the resting figure on the bed. Her face was too pale, her uniform still smudged with dust, the pure white of her bandages contrasting strongly with the black. She looked like a china doll that had been handled too roughly. A wry smile creased his lips. She wouldn't appreciate the thought. A china action figure perhaps.
Stepping closer, he slid into a crouch, ignoring the ache in his knees. A finger ghosted her face, just barely brushing a stray lock of hair from her forehead. Her breathing was calm and even – and he felt his throat choke.
She'd come for him.
"I knew it wouldn't transfer," her voice whispered in his brain.
She'd come (back) for him.
The other bed was too far. With the gentleness he could muster, he scoped her up in his wounded hands and slid into bed next to her. He kept himself near the edge, keeping her nestled between him and the wall. It wasn't too comfortable, but her very proximity was its own balm. He placed his nose in her hair and for a moment, it was almost like they were back in his bed – except she'd never slept – her bed.
He shut his eyes.
I think you can do much better than me
After all the lies I made you believe
Guilt kicks in and I start to see
The edge of the bed
Where your nightgown used to be
--I told myself I wouldn't miss you
But I remembered
What it feels like beside you
I really miss your hair in my face
And the way your innocence tastes
He watched him as he said goodbye. Remy had ventured to the bottom of the gangplank, stepping gingerly onto the ground he'd been exiled from years ago. Emil could only imagine the thoughts in his head as he looked on the bright lights of his former home. He'd borrowed a light from his cousin and now he stood, blowing smoke into the darkening twilight.
The reverie seemed sacred and Emil hesitated to interrupt – but even as he paused, a slim brunette figure descended the steps carefully. Scott immediately moved to stop her, but Emil managed to catch his arm.
"Give dem a moment homme." He was sure that Scott would ignore him, but Wolverine grunted something about checking on the others and the boy leader reluctantly returned inside the jet. Emil lingered.
She wrapped her arms around him, probably using it as a way to anchor herself as well as comfort him. He missed what Remy said first.
"Ah'm fine, sugah," her voice was smooth as molasses – and Emil smiled at the fact she still had to be a bit high. "Know yah miss heah – 's all I could think when weh firs' stopped here. De sights, de smells…" She lapsed into silence and looked rather dreamily into the Big Easy.
"Yeah," he murmured, almost too low for Emil to catch. He knew how he'd have finished the sentence though.
"Yah afraid of meh Remy?" Remy straightened at the abrupt question, turning to her.
"Non chérie. Alors pas," (Of course not) his hand intertwined with Rogue's bringing it up to brush his lips, despite the fact it was gloved. The two faced each other – and in the last fading streaks of sunset Emil felt like a voyeur.
"Ah ain't afraid of yah either." Emil could see she'd taken his other hand and he, of all people, knew the significance of that simple gesture.
Rogue turned away first. "Now ah know ah gotta be high, but ah want t' share a bed wit' you f' some more 'fore we end up at the Mansion." Remy was smiling when they both noticed him.
He pretended not to have heard as Rogue flushed quite attractively. "So cousin, looks like y' got in an' outta trouble wit' jus' like always – dough usually de belle filles be de ones gettin' y' inta trouble, not outta it."
Remy's smile curled into a grin as he loped his arm around Rogue. "Qu'est que je peux parler? (What can I say?) Rogue's a special femme."
"So I cin see," Emil said, unable to resist lifting her hand to give it his own kiss. "It's been a pleasure toujours." (always) Remy rolled his eyes and Rogue did likewise, before plucking her hand away.
"Yeah, yeah bayou bunny. Now scat 'til we next see yah."
Emil's eyes went to his cousin. "Hope it won't be too long," and they shared weak smiles.
And he left them there – but not before hearing. "Bayou bunny?"
D- it. Now he was never going to live it down.
And I think you should know this
You deserve much better than me
Hinder, Better Than Me
If Remy closed his eyes, feeling her head rest on his bare chest, fingers lingering at the edge of her hip, he could imagine that it had all been a nightmare – and he had awoken in her bed.
But he had never slept in her bed.
He opened his eyes, staring at the ceiling. They were in his room. All Rogue needed was rest and he'd managed to wrangle it could be done in his room. At least for this night. Xavier had been clear that they would no longer have free access to each others' rooms.
"I'm hoping you two will come to a final resolution," Xavier said with a look Remy could not mistake.
Rogue shifted in his arms. Her hair brushed against his face and he let his fingers ghost under the sheer undershirt she wore. It was his – she'd said something about bras being too uncomfortable and had slipped into it instead. The tightening he'd felt in his chest at the sight of her in that and her dark panties, he couldn't explain.
Her hand brushed by the waistband of his flaming cards boxers – they were his favorite, and comfortable, but then slid away. He understood though.
Tonight wasn't about sex.
It was just – them.
She leaned toward him, her nose coming to rest on his chest. Her breathing began to even and he could tell she was near sleep.
"I love you," she whispered, impressing the words into his skin like ink to parchment, even as she completed the slide into sleep.
He wasn't surprised; even knew she'd intended for him not to respond. Had she slept that first night to avoid this moment, as well?
He stayed awake far into the night, pondering the gambit.
I was blown away.
What could I say?
It all seemed to make sense.
You've taken away everything,
And I can't deal with that.
--I try to see the good in life,
But good things in life are hard to find.
We'll blow it away, blow it away.
Can we make this something good?
Well, I'll try to do it right this time around.
--Let's start over.
'Cause a part of me is dead and in the ground.
This love is killing me,
But you're the only one.
It's not over.
Daughtry - It's Not Over