Disclaimer: Not my characters (mostly), this is just for entertainment!
They stared at each other for what felt infinite; Rogue's heart was racing as she watched him with a furrowed brow, she observed his expression go from surprised to confused with a pause somewhere in between that resembled something in the way of an accusation.
"You should rest..." Rogue broke the silence with her cracking voice, she placed her other hand on his and gently peeled his fingers off her arm.
"Kid..." She tried to place his hand back on the bed but he adjusted his hold and grabbed her gloved wrist so that she couldn't go, it hurt a little. "You have to tell me, who was I-" He started coughing violently again. Logan held her wrist tight until he stopped, wrenching Rogue's arm accidentally.
"Logan!" She reacted. Rogue jerked her wrist to free herself; Logan let her loose without hesitation. She rubbed her shoulder.
"Sorry..." He apologised and tried to move to get up. "I didn't mean-"
"It's fine..." She brushed it off quickly and the room filled with silence.
"I just... I need to know..." Logan told her, his voice low.
She opened her mouth to say something but stopped herself and looked away. He kept staring at the side of her face, watching her jaw flex.
"You think I shouldn't know?" He whispered his realisation. Her silence was all the confession he needed. She turned to look back at him. He was staring through his feet at the end of the bed with his shoulders slumped. "That bad?" Her wings flinched at the words and tone. She stared out the window into the hallway beyond, though the blind was closed. He waited for her response, to hear her defend herself.
"Sometimes..." She bravely whispered her voice thick with emotion, "It's nicer in the dark..." She breathed shakily.
Logan stared dumbfounded. He knew from her tone that that was that. It wasn't a decision that she had made in the room there and then; she had made up her mind about it months ago. She wasn't going to tell him anything, never planned to. Logan breathed heavily, trying to control the rising anger.
"Not your place..." He replied deadly low as he shook his head; a mix of resentment and grief struck him hard in his chest.
"Not yours either..." She stated hollowly.
The rotors started to slow; Storm jumped out first and pulled back the sliding door. Hank ran out to meet them. A shirtless guy appeared out of the chopper before she saw him. She saw the wings first as they pulled him out. She could see his face and though he was unconscious, she felt paralysed. She wanted to scream to them that it might be a trick, and that he might strike at any moment but she felt voiceless. Then something metallic glinted.
Suddenly Marrow was on the floor under the window sill, cowering.
It was stupid; she knew it was only the armour on his wings catching the light from the front of the mansion but she couldn't help it, she was back in the sewers; she could feel the pain of losing her friends all over again and being poisoned. She had never experienced physical pain of the magnitude she experienced when she lost control of her powers, and she had known pain...
She stopped shaking long enough to put her hands out on the floor beside her, her nails scratched the surface of the varnish on the wooden floorboards, the texture making her body realise that she wasn't in the sewer. But this wasn't home either.
She stood up eventually. When she looked outside again the rotors had stopped and there was no one to be seen.
The door opened behind her.
"Sarah?" Xavier entered his office. "You were looking for me?" She turned and nodded. Xavier moved to the centre of the room where Marrow met him, leaving her spot by the window. "How can I help you?" Marrow hesitated before stating her request.
"I heard you're a telepath?" She asked. Xavier nodded for her to continue. Marrow folded her arms. "I want you to erase my memory..."
He tightened the straps around his arms and legs as Hank tightened the ones around the apex of his wings. Angel's metal armour looked like it was purely decorative, Essex hadn't surgically attached the plates to his wings; they were just a part of the uniform. Hank didn't see a need for them so he began to remove them to allow him to check Angel for any other injuries.
He was still unconscious and Gambit was starting to worry that he had kept Angel in contact with Rogue's skin for too long. Hank set up the equipment to monitor his vitals while Gambit watched.
Storm stood guard outside the door in no doubt that the news of Angel's arrival would bring unwanted attention. Once he was secure and set-up, Hank checked his pupils before stepping back.
"He gonna wake up?" Gambit asked the other man.
"Undoubtedly." He had already told the man what he had done when he met them outside. "Less contact time would have been better for both of them. Rogue's powers could have killed him, but his healing factor will compensate sooner or later..." Gambit nodded. "I'm more interested in what Essex did to him." Gambit felt uncomfortable being in the room with Hank and his curiosity. Gambit edged his way back to the door. "Wait a minute..." Gambit froze.
"Qu'est que c'est?" He enquired and realised that Hank had been talking to himself as he examined the back of Angel's head.
"There's something here..." He muttered as Gambit stepped closer. The Beast had taken off the hood of his uniform to reveal a device at the base of his skull. Gambit's hand instinctively went to the back of his own head, his heart rate increased slightly. Hank readjusted his glasses and moved the light overhead closer. He looked up at Gambit. "Help me sit him up."
Gambit adjusted the table he was lying on to sit Angel up as Hank held the man's head forward. Gambit could clearly see scorch marks on the device, it looked clunky but dead. Whatever it did, he was sure it had stopped doing it. His powers had made sure of that.
"Must be how she was controllin' 'im..." Gambit had pieced together. Hank looked up at Gambit's quick conclusion.
"What makes you say that?" He asked him. Gambit thought back to Rogue's reaction to touching Angel.
"Rogue, when she thought she was him, she couldn't remember us fightin', last thing she could remember was DC. Means the Angel Ah fought was being controlled." Hank nodded, hearing the new information, and agreed with the conclusion.
"What happened to the Morlocks wasn't his fault then..." Hank breathed, studying the object trying to determine how to remove it. "That's some consolation..."
"What happened?" Remy asked with dread, he had seen Callisto in Brooklyn, he figured that Angel had retrieved her for Essex but Storm hadn't told him the rest. Hank looked up again, pausing.
"He murdered most of them when he took Callisto." He stated, looking at Gambit seriously. "Only three were found alive in the tunnels, and now Callisto is safe." Gambit was stunned silent; he thought Essex had exaggerated her plans. He stared at Angel as the red in his eyes grew hot.
"Gambit, it wasn't Angel's fault." Hank tried to placate him.
"Non, it's Essex's..." He replied, his knuckles were white from the thought of how he had let her live. It was his fault.
"I'd have to agree." Hank replied but he was only half listening. Gambit tried to calm his mind, conscious of the potential energy that surrounded him and the number of people he could hurt if he lost control again. He breathed slowly, trying to block out his emotions. "What did she do to you?"
That got Gambit's attention. Hank was standing in front of him, ushering him to take a seat by the lamp.
No point hiding what was obvious...
Gambit sighed and sat obediently slightly anxious to hear the Beast's appraisal. He turned so the man could see the back of his head.
"I take it that this is also her handiwork?" He asked as he lifted the bandage. Remy stayed silent on the matter. Hank hummed at his tough customer. "Do I need to ask?"
"Ah wasn't under her control..." Gambit was quick to say, though it would have been easier to blame the destruction of a sizeable portion of Brooklyn on Remy being controlled versus the scarier reality of Remy being out of control.
"Hmm, exactly what someone under her control would say..." Hank hummed, trying to add misplaced humour to the situation as he disinfected the wound and cut fresh gauze for him.
Gambit paused, taking in his comment seriously.
"Ah didn't feel like Ah was. Ah was out of control, if anything..." Remy answered feeling like confused teen all over again. "She did somethin' to mah powers... Amplified 'em." Hank re-bandaged his incision. Gambit breathed, feeling more open out of necessity. Hank silently dressed his other wounds, which were minor in comparison. "Changed 'em..." Hank paused.
"Changed them how?" Hank sat in front of him giving him all of his attention. Gambit leaned forward, resting his elbows on his knees.
"Ah don' have to touch somethin' to charge it..." He told him the most noticeable change, though he had never told anyone the limits of his powers before. He brought his hands together in front of him, not touching anything else. He felt like he was a young teenager again, too afraid to touch anything in case it would explode except now that wouldn't be enough to keep everyone safe. "An' Ah can charge livin' tissue." He thought back to how Rogue was burned by his powers when she tried to get close to him in the chaos in Brooklyn. He shook his head looking down at his hands. "Could never do that before..."
"Oh my..." Hank comprehended and inhaled deeply as he started to try to understand how it was possible to-
"Undo it..." Gambit asked. Hanks eyes snapped back to Gambit. "Please..." He asked deadly serious, but then, Remy saw the look in Hank's face and shrugged looking away. "If you can..." He added quietly.
"We'll take scans; see what we're dealing with..." He tried to placate him while his attention went back to dressing the last of Gambit's wounds but, to Remy, it felt like the clinical way of saying what he didn't want to hear. Hank finished up and started tidying away to items he had used around him. Hank cleared his throat. "It's late now, perhaps you should rest." He suggested. Gambit looked at Angel and Hank picked up on the question. "I'll stay with Mr. Worthington." Gambit nodded and headed up to what he hoped was still his room...
She walked out of the room; she was trying to stop shaking but failed miserably. She felt hot and claustrophobic. She needed to get out. She pivoted to go to the elevator, the stairs, the hangar, but she couldn't decide, no route was fast enough. She squeezed her eyes shut.
For a split second, she wasn't moving and she was somewhere very cold. Then gravity took hold...
She fell backwards at first then slowly turned into the hammering air, the mist felt like stings on her cold blue skin as she reached terminal velocity. She fell for at least ten seconds before opening her eyes. She could just make out the Institute far below her and the ground rapidly approaching. She waited a little longer. Just a little longer...
She stretched out her wings just as she was almost too close to the ground and changed her fall into an almost parallel run along the ground. Her toes scraped blades of tall grass before she went over the cliff, catching an up draught she flew higher to fall again...
He dried off his clean shaven face. He threw the towel over his right shoulder and tied his belt on his untorn trousers that he had left behind him when he left. He looked in the mirror, he was all cleaned up but still bruised and bandaged across his bare torso, back and arms. He had a t-shirt next to the sink which he picked up but discarded it on to the bed.
He walked into his room, closing the ensuite door behind him. He had nothing else to do now other than sleep but his mind went back to Brooklyn...
Suddenly, his eyes felt red hot and his head started splitting with the anger. He didn't want to lose control but he was so angry at himself for letting her live. He didn't let her live for his morality, he let her live because she was right, he might need her. He did the right thing for the wrong reasons. And now he was indebted to her once more.
He crossed the room and opened up the bay windows to feel the air, fresh and cold on his clean skin. He felt hot and angry; but the night air wasn't going to cut it. He felt too unstable.
He looked around. All his belongings that he had left behind, which weren't much, were still there undisturbed. He hadn't even packed a bag when he left the last time, he had just left. But this time...
He grabbed a bag and threw his stuff together, clothes, cards, razors, a book; it wasn't safe for him to be there, not until he was sure he had it under control.
His mind wandered while he packed and searched the room for any more items. Gambit thought back to how he had gotten caught up in this mess in the first place. Suddenly, he was back in Louisiana. Rogue had left with the X-men; he had brought Jean-Luc home...
"'S just one job, Remy!" He hadn't been home for an hour and already Jean-Luc was trying to talk him into a job.
"Ah'm out, Jean-Luc!" He yelled at him, his father had already managed to drive him to the door.
"You owe me, boy!" Gambit stopped and turned.
"Ah just saved you from de Rippers! Even before dat, ah didn't owe you anythin'!" He shouted back.
"Oh yes you do! Dey took me to get you! Ah shoulda let the Rippers have you for what you did to dat poor girl Bella!" Gambit felt the sting in his chest but he wasn't going to let that slow him. "All dis time, Ah been keepin' 'em off yo' back, and dis is de tanks!"
"You didn't have to do anythin'!" He shook his head in disgust. "Ah left, remember!"
"De Rippers were catchin' up on you, boy!" Jean-Luc came over close to him, his voice had dropped to a deadly whisper so the rest of the house wouldn't hear. He grabbed Remy's upper arm hard. "Ah had to make a deal wit de devil to stop dem gettin' to you!" Gambit stared at him afraid of the lengths Jean-Luc had been known to go to. "Dey wanted powers, your powers, an' Julien wouldda stopped at nutin' til he could beat you!"
"What did you do?" Gambit asked, his face paling.
"Ah made a deal wit' de only person dat couldda helped him." Gambit remembered the stories, the tales. There was only one person he could think of that could have possibly been capable of doing what Julien needed...
He remembered the first time he met her, it took him a long time to track her down. He was knocked out then too. When he woke up she was standing over him, admiring him, cigarette in hand.
"So you're her?" He asked the older woman, his lungs burned.
"I am me..." She replied throatily. "What brings you here, my boy?" She tilted her head sideways in casual anticipation. He breathed slowly, rethinking what he was about to do. But there were too many things that weren't adding up for him. He stared at the ground feeling like a part of his soul was about to be sliced off.
"Ah'm here to buy my father's debt..." She hummed at his request and he looked up. "But first, Ah want the truth..."
"Remy?" He was pulled back to reality by the sound of her voice. He turned to see Rogue landing on the balcony. Her hair damp and ruffled in the cold night air and moonlight illuminated her still blue face. Even though the blue skin hid any redness, he could tell that she had been crying. She was taking him in as well and started blushing. "Sorry, Ah should've knocked..."
"Non, c'est bon." He left the bag on the bed and took a few steps towards her.
They stopped an arm's length away from each other. She took hold of her left arm in front of her and shifted her weight as neither of them knew how to start the conversation and there was so much to be said. He expected questions about Brooklyn, about his powers, about Essex. He wanted to ask her how she found him and why she hadn't told the others that he had left. Why she was here now? Though he hoped he knew the answer to that one...
Gambit sighed and reached out his hand. Her wings twitched but she stayed still. He touched her cold, wet hair and let his hand cup her face through her tussled locks. She closed her eyes and leaned into the touch, her wings sagging slightly.
Without saying anything, he slowly and carefully wrapped her up in his arms; she rested her head on the towel that was draped over his shoulder. He felt her left arm snake around his waist and her hand bunch in the other end of the towel at his back. Her other gloved hand rested flat on his chest; she was pulling him tightly to her. She buried her face in the towel on his chest, inhaling him. Her body was cold as the night, cooling his hot skin. Her wings folded around them, blocking out the world.
They stayed like that for a long time, Remy wasn't sure who was comforting who but he realised that he didn't care.
End of Chapter 73
A.N. Hi guys! Don't you just love bank holidays! Allows for publishing! And got my 400th review this week, absolutely loving the feedback by the way, makes me think I could write this stuff professionally, super inflated ego :) I think I'm gonna start using my twitter account to keep people up to date on my projects, this and artwork, rather than just having the account to stalk Nathan Fillion :) You can find me as rioghnachsreign on twitter, same user name for deviant art too. Next chapter is not started yet but the end is writ...