I am the Invisible Woman...
Disclaimer: I do not own Marvel, The X-Men or any of the characters you see here.
They stood on opposing sides of the ring, eyeing each other off, Remy harbouring his usual playful smirk while Rogue just rolled her eyes. The agreement had been for a no powers, physical fight- at Remy's suggestion, of course. Not that Rogue could make any promises, considering the nature of her abilities. Remy raised his brow in a manner that could be considered either challenging or flirtatious. In his case, it was probably both.
"Ready, chere?" he questioned, and Rogue shifted her feet in an offensive position.
"Ready to kick your ass, Cajun!"Rogue teased, raising her fists ready. Gambit imitated her stance. With a wink of his eye, the fight had begun but Rogue moved in fastest, lunging forward with a well-delivered punch to the shoulder, followed closely by a kick to the shins, sending him onto his knees. She made a movement to bring her elbow down to his collarbone but Gambit reacted too quick and managed to evade the attack and rolled to the side. Put off balance, she stumbled forward slightly and he took this opportunity to easily kick her legs out from under her. As she fell, she managed to sloppily flip back over and just managed to landed on her knees, quickly getting back up again. The fight escaladed to Rogue throwing a collection of speedy punches in a row, all of which were blocked by Gambit's flat palms until she pulled her fist further back and around toward his side. Unfortunately, he saw it coming and managed to duck down and retaliate by barging forward and tackling Rogue. She staggered backward but as she came crashing to the ground, she managed to swing her legs up and, surprising herself with her own strength, throw Gambit to the other side of the ring, where he landed heavily and ungracefully. Catching each other's eyes, they both raced to get back to their feet while trying to regain their breath. Gambit was fastest and threw a roundhouse kick in her direction, which Rogue tried to deflect but failed and went crashing into the side, grabbing onto the ropes that fenced them in to stay on her feet. An idea lighting up in her head, she leaned back against the side, and by putting all her weight against the ropes, managed to scissor kick her legs into the air hit Remy below the jaw, sending him stumbling backwards. Rogue then rushed forward to deliver another punch to his stomach, forcing him onto the ground. The triumphant gleam in her eye was only momentary until Gambit, in one lightning-quick motion, managed to grab a hold of her covered wrist and swing her to the side. Spinning around, and trying to stay balanced, she raced towards Gambit, lunging forward, her fist raised and ready, but by reacting quicker than she could, Gambit managed to grab her arm and flip her right over, making her land hard against the mat, and then quickly pinned her down, while she struggled to escape his grip. She tried kicking her legs at him but he had her in a good hold until finally, she relaxed slightly as they both took a moment to slow their heart rates. Her line of sight raised to meet Gambit's scarlet gaze, and they both fell quiet.
"Don't." Rogue said, completely aware of the closeness of their faces and hoping her voice didn't quiver as she said it. Remy's face remained emotionless as he stared and she took a long breath, but still felt out of air. "Don't." She repeated, her voice stronger this time.
"Don' what, p'tite?" Remy growled quietly, a different spark in his eye than what she was used to. There was a pause in the air as Rogue didn't say anything, but she was sure his face was edging closer. "What're y' afraid of?"
"It's not me who should be afraid" She managed to breathe out, almost coolly, but still not wavering her gaze, as if their battle had turned into a staring contest instead. Before either of them could decide what to do next, there was the sound of the door opening and Tabitha's voice carried through the basement.
"Remy?" She called, "Remy, you down here?" with something to finally break the silence, Rogue began struggling beneath his grip again, almost guiltily but Remy didn't move, still watching her eyes.
"Remy, I know you're down here! Come on, Cable wants to talk to you!" Tabitha's voice had been quick to grow irritated, "I don't want to have to come down there!"
Finally, Remy let Rogue go and she quickly clambered to the other side of the ring, taking slow breaths as she ducked under it to get her things.
"Looks like we gon' have t' finish this anot'er time, cherie" Remy was back to his playful self again, and Rogue looked back to catch his no longer intense, but now innocently flirtatious eyes. She didn't say anything and he shrugged, grabbed his coat, and turned to wander up the steps. "Relax, Boomer, Remy's comin'" and he disappeared into the light of the doorway. Finally alone, Rogue sat down, took a deep breath and flopped back against the bench. She was really beginning to wish she could make herself hate that thief, but he was making it harder and harder.
Like bad habits die hard, Rogue couldn't sleep again. Tossing and turning in her bed, every time she closed her eyes there was no peace, only dark and disturbing images of blood, bodies and screams, so brief and blurred that she couldn't piece it all together or even work out where in her mind it was coming from but it still troubled her enough to keep her awake. She gazed helplessly up at the ceiling, afraid to even blink, her hands shaking slightly. Her room seemed suddenly darker and smaller and the moon was making strange shapes through her window. She shuddered. Remy's soft voice floated through her mind "What're y' afraid of?" and she couldn't help but wonder the same thing herself. Where had all this fear come from? What had happened to the Rogue who had hijacked the X-Jet to try and be a hero, the Rogue on all her missions and Danger Room sessions, Rogue the X-Man? She didn't even know who she was anymore but she was sick of asking herself these questions. She clenched her eyes shut, but again she was met with violent images that turned her stomach and snapped them open again. "Torturin' them, tearin' 'em t' pieces. It was... it was a sight t' see, tha's f'r sure. Horrifyin'. Trust m', Cherie, it ain' like nothin' y' ever seen." Remy's words found there way into her head again, something that seemed to be happening a lot lately. She looked at the clock. It was just before midnight, early as far as she was concerned, but the house had fallen completely quiet within the last half hour. Stealing one more glance at the odd shapes taunting her from the light hitting the wall, Rogue got out of bed. There was no use waiting for sleep that would never come when she had other ideas about how she could spend her night, and she decided to take action for once rather than spend another hour obsessing over the idea. Quiet as a mouse, she tiptoed into the hallway, which was dim with light coming from one bedroom down the hall- she didn't know whose- and a light from Cable's office, which she ignored. Creeping silently further down the hall, she stopped before the door that she was sure belonged to Remy's room. The lights were out but the door was ajar so, very cautiously, Rogue pushed the door open and peeked in, trying to ignore the doubt that was welling up in her chest.
She saw a glint of bright red, which she recognized immediately to be those hypnotic eyes of his and her suspicions that he was the type who didn't get a lot of sleep were confirmed.
"Remy?" She was barely even whispering but she'd figured he'd already noticed her there. At her voice, he turned to face her, a ray of light catching half of his face, which was mingled with a mixture of surprise and curiosity.
"Rogue?" he questioned, as if it could be anyone else. She stepped further into the room and as she did the light got better and she could just make out his whole face, and the fact that he wasn't wearing a shirt. Her cheeks felt hot but she was sure he wouldn't notice in the dark.
"Hi." She said, uncertainly followed by a pause. Then, because she couldn't think of what else to say, "I was worried I'd wake you."
"What're y' doin', cherie?" he sounded a little amused now "Remy don' think y'hre in here fer th' reason he'd like y' t' be."
She ignored him.
"I wanted to ask you something." She went on, slowly, "Earlier today, when we were at that diner and you were talking about that thing that happened in the sewers? That massacre?"
Remy's smirk disappeared and his face grew dark again. "Yeh." He grumbled, as it clearly wasn't his favourite topic of conversation. Rogue took a deep breath and continued
"I wanted…I was wondering… if you could, if you wouldn't mind… take me there?" She breathed out the last three words as if they were a sigh of relief but her shoulders still tensed up when Remy leant back and his face disappeared into the shadows so she couldn't read his expression. There was a long pause.
"Why?" He finally growled, not as though he was angry with her for asking, but the humour had definitely disappeared from his tone. Rogue shifted uncomfortably.
"I've just got… I mean, I want to… to…" she stuttered with her words before taking a big gulp of air. "I just can't explain it. But it's something I want… no, not want, no. Something I think I need to see." There was another long pause.
"I've told y', cherie, y' don' wanna see." His voice was softer now, as if he could sense the nerves she had from asking. Rogue hesitated
"I know it must be awful and I'm sorry to even be asking you but…" she shrugged helplessly "I don't know how to explain it. I just had to ask." Silence hung in the air once again and she quickly added, "I can handle it."
"I know." He said, quietly, and Rogue wondered if it was maybe he who was the one who couldn't. Neither of them said anything until, finally, he shifted from his position and stood up. Rogue took this as a yes and quickly looked down so she wouldn't be caught staring at his chest. He grabbed a shirt thrown carelessly over a nearby chair and put it on and throwing his trademark brown trench coat over his shoulders before turning to face her again and sighing.
"C'mon then, p'tite. But don' say Remy didn' warn y'." Rogue nodded quickly and holding her arms close to her chest, followed him quietly out the door.
The streets were dark, lit only where streetlamps hit the sidewalk with dim light but Remy and Rogue were walking down the middle of the road. It was cold and the silence surrounding them had an eerie feel to it. Rogue shuddered.
"Not so many people out tonight?" she murmured, nervously. She was already on edge; the lack of noise didn't help.
"Mos' people are scared." He said without looking at her and Rogue shivered again. Something just didn't feel right. Maybe this was a bad idea but it was too late now. They walked the rest of the way in wary silence, around several turns and down a few alleys.
It felt like forever until Remy's pace finally quickened, as if he was walking with much more purpose and he led her to the middle of the road and stopped in front of a covered manhole. Rogue stared down at it as Remy knelt down and began to shift it from its place.
"We're going through there?" Rogue failed to stop herself from blurting out. Remy just shrugged
"Shortcut" He uttered, not even sparing a glance.
"No kidding" Rogue muttered but knelt down beside him anyway, helping him push the manhole cover aside. A thick, putrid odour had already began emanate from the circular opening, as if foreshadowing what was to come. Rogue recoiled slightly.
"How do we go down?" She asked, peering into the darkness enough to notice the railings of the ladder that came up the edge.
"Ladies first, cherie" Remy suggested, smirking playfully and Rogue felt a hint of relief that he was back to acting like the Remy she'd been growing fond of, rather than the dark, sullen type.
"I don't think so!" Rogue protested, "You're the one who's leading the way!" Remy gave a low chuckle and shrugged before turning to lower his legs down the hole, finding the ladder and beginning his descent into the shadows. Rogue watched him, biting her lip in hesitation until he was several steps down and turned his head up to face hers, eyes shining bright in the dark light.
"What y' waitin' fer, p'tite?" He called up at her and Rogue took a large gulp of air before cautiously turning and dropping herself down the manhole, managing to find the appropriate steps on the ladder and slowly following Remy further down into the abyss.
The lower the got down the ladder, the closer they were to their destination and the worse the smell got. Even when she wasn't taking her tiny, dreaded breaths, the stench still filled her nostrils and suffocated her with its unpleasantness. The air around them grew hot and Rogue suddenly felt very unwelcome. Her stomach was doing uneasy back flips and her eyes grew watery and itchy. But she just clenched them shut and continued on.
Just when Rogue was beginning to think the atmosphere was becoming too much for her to handle, she heard the light thud of Remy's feet hitting concrete ground, meaning they must have arrived. She stepped down the last few steps before stopping completely, as if frozen to the ladder, heart pounding in her ears.
"Rogue?" Remy's voice was soft and even a little afraid. Rogue finally blinked her eyes open and they stung in the thick air. She realised that was a little more light than before and her eyes quickly adjusted but all she could see was the concrete wall she was still facing.
"Rogue?" Remy repeated and as if coming back to her senses, Rogue began a clumsy exit off the ladder before feeling his thick hands on her waist as he lifted her and brought her down beside him. Rogue went to murmur her thanks however her words were drowned by the scream that erupted from her throat at the scene that lay before her. She quickly slapped a hand to her mouth to silence herself, her eyes round with shock.
"Told y', cherie" Remy breathed and Rogue turned to face him. "It ain' pretty."
Rogue had seen a lot of awful things with the X-Men but none of them came close to the horrific sight before her. With rotting flesh, bones, and guts crowding the concrete floor and blood smeared across the walls, visible even in the dimness. The river of sewerage that ran through the tunnels was full of body parts. There were stains of red, black and brown everywhere and what looked to be a decayed corpse was pinned up against the concrete wall, an array of bones and organs, dripping some sort of rotten fluid down the wall.
Rogue's heart had plunged to her knees. Her head was spinning and she felt like she was going to be sick. The air wasn't just full of awful smells anymore; it held a sense of disturbance and evil. She was shaking; she wish she'd never even asked Remy to show her this. If she'd known… she should have known better.
Suddenly, she felt Remy's hand wrap around her gloved one in a calming manner. Her shivering subsided a little bit but she still felt ill. She clenched her eyes shut and all of a sudden, the rest of the world seemed to slip away as her mind was obscured by a series of images and sounds and thoughts that didn't belong to her.
'In horror, he watched as mutants were being slaughtered left, right and centre. Over in the corner, a large animal-like man broke the neck of a young, black-haired woman, her scream vibrating off the concrete walls. Light suddenly flashed through the room as an electricity-powered mutant was thrown into the river, his powers rising beyond control. The place was filled with yells and shrieks. Pain and regret and shame and disgust plagued his insides till they hurt.
What had he done?
The head of a young, decapitated mutant rolled his way in a trail of blood and that was when he turned and ran, further through the tunnels, toward even more chaos and hatred. Something hit the back of his neck and it burned with pain but he just ran faster, the sight of Morlocks being cut and hung and pounded and tortured passing by him. His breath was caught in his throat and he spluttered, stumbling forward. What was he doing?
He had to do something. He had to stop this.
He'd progressed through the tunnels and there was no change, just the same killings and terror everywhere. Pulling out his deck of cards, he glanced around for a target, the cards already glowing in his hands. However, before he could even make one hit, something large and hairy barrelled into him, crushing him against the wall. The malicious face of Sabretooth filled his vision, teeth bared.
"What do you think you're doing there, Gambit?" He said viciously "Wouldn't be trying to be a hero, would you? Wasn't it you who led us here in the first place?"
"No!" He breathed, furiously "I didn' start this! Sinister…" But Sabretooth just laughed in his face, spit flying into his eyes.
"Who're you trying to convince here, me or you?" He laughed louder, the sound booming around them. Gambits face grew hot but he took this chance to flick the still lit playing card, into the air. It exploded just as it went by Sabretooths' ear and the blast knocked him back enough for Remy, almost blinded by the light, to kick him off. He didn't stick around; he knew this wouldn't be a fight he could win, especially with the new mind blocks he had to keep his powers in control. So, he ran again. He hated himself, hatred tearing through his every emotion, but he knew there was nothing he could do. He would never win, he was just one man. One stupid, stupid man. But as he ran, he heard a sound that couldn't be ignored. The high-pitched screams of a little girl. Stopping and spinning around, he caught sight of one of the marauders holding a lit up sphere to a young Morlock, tears streaming down her face, which was decorated with an array of pointed bones. He knew he couldn't just leave her to be brutally killed so, quick as lightning; he skidded up behind the Marauder and grabbed him from the neck, pulling him back. The girl was released and fell to the ground, while Gambit tightened his grip around the enemy's neck, another playing card already a lit in his hand. The Marauder went to raise his weapon, his mouth open as he made choked-up gasps for air. Quickly, Gambit shoved the playing card down his throat and threw him head first into the stone wall, the sphere cutting his side slightly, but he just turned around, grabbed the girl and ran. And he didn't plan on stopping until she would be safe. That was all he could do.'
"Dis isn' even the worst of it," Remy's voice brought Rogue back to her own body and suddenly, she jerked her hand away from his, taking a large breath of air, then choking on it. Remy looked at her in surprise, but she just stared back in fear and horror. Neither said anything for a moment until finally;
"C'mon, cherie, let's go. Remy don' like bein' here…"
"Remy, what did Sinister ask you to do?" He froze at her hushed and frightened tone. Just stared at her, perfectly still, eyes round and shaken. Opting for a change of attitude, Rogue stepped forward and placed her hands on his forearm.
"His favour, Remy. What was his favour?" She whispered, softly but seriously. Remy didn't move, not the slightest for several minutes until finally;
"How d'y'…" his words trailed off and his eyes fell to the ground.
"You can trust me, Remy" Rogue said, tightening her grip on his arm, "You can't hate yourself, this wasn't your fault!"
"No, Rogue," his tone dripped with sadness and pain and he didn't look up to meet her eyes. "It is. I jus' didn' know what I was doin'…"
"Remy…" Rouge said, gently, stepping closer, "It's ok. You can tell-"
Her words were interrupted by a shriek that bounced against the walls, making both of them jump in fear.
A shape emerged from the shadows, emitting tortured and whining sounds of pain. It limped closer, shrieking and snarling and as a ray of dim light hit its face, Rogue screamed and grabbed Remy's hand again.
It seemed to resemble a person, but disfigured and grotesque, limps sticking all over the place, twisted and scarred. Its face was a mangled mess of features, blood and all twisted into an expression of agony. Its eyes were mere slits and their head was bruised and swollen as if it had been severely beaten. It stumbled closer and closer while Rogue and Remy backed away, her grip so tight on his hand she was sure she'd break it but she didn't let go.
"H-h-heeeeeeelp" the thing rasped, desperate. Remy made a noise of surprise and Rogue noticed its face was stained with what might have been tears of despair. It began to reach a twisted and mangled arm out and Rogue recoiled.
"Pleeaasee…" It spluttered and the two of them stood in uncertain silence. Then, before they could even think of what to do next, there came a blinding flash of orange light and a cracking BOOM! Rogue almost jumped out of her skin and they turned to face another shadowed figure, wielding a ball of flames, dark hair flying everywhere and a look of pure malice on their lit up face.
"NO!" Their voice boomed with hatred and the fire struck the disfigured monster that had been pleading for help. It released an ear-splitting scream and Rogue threw her arms up to shield her face. She peeked over just enough to see Remy pull half a pack of cards from his trench coat pocket, light the entire thing and throw it with all his might toward the blazing stranger. He didn't even pause to see what happened just pulled Rogue toward the ladder out.
"Y' don' wanna stick 'round fer this, cherie!" he said, lifting her up to the ladder where she climbed as fast as her hands and feet would move. There was a large explosion from Remy's attack that brushed past her ears, followed by a furious yell but the two of them just kept going until they reached the road and Rogue lifted herself clumsily onto the asphalt, lying down for a few moments, staring up at the starry sky.
Remy kicked the manhole cover back over the hole and came to stand over her. She looked up at his face, which displayed a look of concern, and took a deep breath
"Whoa." It was all she said and Remy gave a forced sounding chuckle.
"C'mon. Better clear th' area" He said, helping her to her feet so they could start the walk home.
"I thought you said the morlocks didn't want help?" Rogue asked after a short pause, in which they'd mulled over what had happened. Remy was staring thoughtfully at the ground, as though he too had been pondering the monsters pleas for help.
"Didn' think they did" He admitted, doubtfully. Rouge remembered the dramatic scene that had occurred in town with Siryn, Boomer and Domino. She had a sense that something just wasn't right.
"Maybe there's more to it than you think?" She suggested, not even completely sure what that could mean. Remy gave a slow nod
"Maybe…" he trailed off distractedly and their previous silence resumed. Rogue was shivering again; the events of the night had shaken her to the core. Noticing her distress, Remy reached and grabbed a hold of her hand again and she instantly felt herself calm down. She took a deep, cold breath. She knew she could spend the rest of the walk home trying to analyze Remy's motive with this simple gesture but she was too tired and sick of over thinking everything. She just accepted it as a sign of comfort and allowed herself to move a bit closer and relax. They didn't say a thing the whole way back and they didn't need to. There was nothing else to say, for now.
Once they were back at X-Force HQ, they each uttered their goodnights and Remy disappeared into his bedroom while Rogue instead found the bathroom and with a rush of all that happened, threw up into the toilet.
She lay on the ground for about an hour, eyes half-closed trying to keep her mind calm and her stomach settled. Once she'd finally decided she'd got it all out of her system, she washed her face and brushed her teeth and returned to her bedroom
She'd gotten this idea in her head that facing her problems would help her through them but the only difference made was that the images of blood and guts that flashed behind her closed eyes were no longer someone else's. They came directly from her own memory, along with screams and mutilated figures. A shiver ran down her spine and she prayed for these final two days to be over quickly so she could be cured of this mess. She was confused and alone and had no idea what she doing.
Then she thought of Remy and felt a little bit better. She knew her emotions were mixed up at the moment but she didn't want to obsess needlessly about them anymore, or about Bobby. She didn't want to think about anything for a while. Everything was changing around her and she pushed all her usual questions and doubt aside and told herself that all she really needed was a sort of reassurance, like what Remy gave her and it was time to stop resisting his friendship. That was all. Wasn't it?
With these thoughts in mind, it was enough to numb all the bad stuff that was trying to crowd her head. With these thoughts in mind, Rogue finally managed to close her eyes and fall into an almost decent sleep.
It's 1 a.m., why do I never update at a reasonable hour?
Once again, I apologise deeply for the usual. Gambits accent, any editing mistakes I may have missed and the eternity that comes between my updates, which go beyond any sort of schedule or pattern. I am so sorry, I adore writing this story and I get so many absolutely lovely reviews (thank you so much!) but this story serves as my writers block/boredom cure so I never know when the Romy plot bunny will strike :/
But I really hope you enjoy it anyway (: Leave me a review to tell me what you think, offer some constructive critisism if you'd like or just a nice message telling me if you liked it, they always brighten my day just a little (:
Lady Hand Grenade