HOPE


"There is a grander purpose here," the woman called from behind him – but her words fell on deaf ears.

The day Remy LeBeau started listening to what Raven Darkholme had to say would be amidst a blizzard in Hell. And he'd survived enough blizzards to last a lifetime.

"No words, Gambit?"

"None t'you," he replied softly – his eyes never leaving Rogue's closed set. Her skin was so beautiful – he wanted to touch it. He wanted to hold her. To apologize.

Why couldn't they just be together? He hated everything – to think that his life had led to this, working with a new group of Marauders against the X-Men – well, it was disconcerting. To say the least.

Though depressingly unsurprising.

"Do you really want her to wake up and see such a somber face?" Mystique said with a curled smile, taking a few steps toward LeBeau. He turned instantly, extending his staff into her neck, forcing her back.

"My face is de last t'ing I'm worried 'bout Rogue judgin', Mystique. Look around you."

"Afraid you'll be left in the snow again?"

Gambit's eyes burned red.

Mystique sighed, taking a seat next to the standing mutant and her daughter's makeshift hospital bed. "I don't want to be here much more than you, you know."

"If yer lookin' for sympathy…"

"I look for sympathy in no one, least of all you. We've a common interest here, Gambit, whether either one of us likes it or not."

"Heh."

"Something is funny?"

"You can't manipulate me, woman," he nearly growled. "I ain't de one who shot her."

"They may have done worse."

"May have."

"Last I checked, LeBeau," Mystique stood defiantly, "you nearly killed Rogue yourself the last you two met."

He was silent for a moment – whether or not he was under Apocalypse's control, she was right. And he hated that.

All of the regret in his life, everything he'd ever done wrong… how had he managed to find a way to top it?

"Must be part of m'charm," he thought bitterly.

"This uneasy alliance, Gambit," Mystique said lowly, "is one for the future. For Rogue."

"For you."

Mystique glared at him before simply giving up and turning her back. "If at all possible, LeBeau, let me know when she wakes up. Before you alert Sinister."

"Top of my list," he muttered.

Mystique left the room, leaving Gambit to his misery yet again. He ran his gloved finger over Rogue's face.

"Fight, girl. Fight."