|Blowing in the Wind . . . .
It's not New Year's Day but this story came to me while I was . . . of all things . . . writing a biology essay on human reproduction. Don't look at me like that - it's clean and completely devoid of any sex, lies or videotape. Have a very happy Gambit Day! Oh yeah, all characters belong to Marvel, blah blah blah. All comments to me at the usual address: firstname.lastname@example.org Notes: ::: your words here::: are thoughts.
Blowing in the Wind . . .
A Tale by RogueStar
Through the dark corridors
Thomas Hardy, 'After the Visit'
New Year's Day. A time o' new beginnings. O' hope an' promises. O' silly resolutions that'll be broken within a week. Ah swear Ah'll never eat chocolate again. Ah swear that Ah'll not lose mah temper so quickly. Ah swear that Ah'll be nice ta Bobby. Yeah, sure, whatevah . . . .
This New Year's Day is different somehow. Guess Ah know why, though Ah'm not admittin' ta myself. It's mah first without Remy. It's been a year aftah Antarctica an' th' trial. A long, lonely, difficult year. A year that Ah'd rather not have endured. Th' polite concern, th' hushed whispers that always stopped when Ah came near . . . an' worst o' all - th' damnable pity!
"Oh, Rogue - this must be so difficult foh you."
"Child, if you ever need to talk about what happened . . . ."
"I know how much you must be hurtin', darlin'."
Maybe that's why Ah stayed at home - volunteered foh th' watch when everyone else went inta New York ta celebrate, ta watch that huge, glitterin' ball bring in another year o' broken promises an' shattered dreams. Didn't feel much like tryin' ta be cheerful, havin' ta put up with their transparent attempts ta make me smile. It's almost worse than th' pity. Almost worse than th' pain. Almost. Ah'd rather be here with mahself an' th' wind that sings than with them. Rather be alone. . . .
The electronic eye of the camera watched the grounds, ever-vigilant, tireless. Connected to it is a vast series of defensive - and offensive - measures designed to keep intruders out of the mansion. A movement, like a leaf blowing in the wind, is noted. An infrared scan is taken instantly and an anomaly noted. Inside the mansion, a klaxon sounds . . . .
The intruder, who the alarm had so dutifully noted, is standing in a shady patch of the darkest thicket in the mansion grounds. His eyes gleam with some indefinable emotion, as he notes a light in one of the windows. Someone is home tonight when he had hoped that none would be. Some things are easier done alone, done in secret. Mourning, revenge, bitterness, betrayal - all these want no audience. A cold wind pierces to the marrow of his bones and he pulls his coat closer around him. Time to do the one thing which has dreaded - and wanted - the most. Time to come home.
Rogue attacks like a bolt out of heaven. A green streak that comes like a whirlwind, leaving destruction in its wake. Warned by some mysterious sense of his own, the intruder dodges her initial onslaught, but fails to avoid the second. The blow to the small of his back winds him and he falls to his knees, gasping for breath.
"Get up," he hears her bark through the ringing of his ears, but fails to recognise her voice.
It is strange with anger, with repressed pain.
"I'll do more dan dat," the stranger whispers, grasping a handful of dirt in his gloved hand, using the mutant powers that are his to command.
The landscape flares suddenly with red light, illuminating the scene. Shadows, cast by the tall trees, dance like wind-spirits, flickering and changing.
"Mah gawd . . ." Rogue murmurs in horrible comprehension, "It can't be . . . ."
The stranger turns and a slow smile spreads across his handsome face as he sees her.
"Chere, we gotta stop meetin' like dis."
A shared memory. A thought that flickers across the mind of two people at one instant. Some might call it coincidence, others kismet and, even more, a bond that transcends the physical.
The day was beautiful - a moment of relaxation before a storm. Something so completely alien to both of them; to their harried, hurried lives. Rogue executed a perfect dive into the lake from a tall tree branch and emerged, shaking bright drops of water from her striped hair. Gambit lay sunbathing by the side of the lake, like a lazy cat curled up on a rock.
"Enjoyin' th' view?" she asked wryly as she saw him watching her.
"Is dat an invitation or a question, chere?" he replied with a grin.
"Hmmp," Rogue grunted, ducking beneath the water again to hide her answering smile.
"I guess," Gambit continued when she was once more visible, "Dat de view is equally good from ya side?"
She splashed him, laughing when he yelped as the icy water touched him. "Now it is. Nothin' like a scared Cajun ta perk up any scene."
"Ya little river-rat!" Gambit stood, dripping water, disgust written across his face.
"Not mah fault that you were lyin' too close to th' edge," she said in mock innocence, eyes wide.
"Den ya won't blame me if I do dis," he picked up a handful of dirt, charging it with explosive energy.
"Ya wouldn't, would y'all?"
Gambit nodded, releasing the glowing mud. The water exploded on contact with it, creating a tidal wave which swamped Rogue. She emerged, spluttering and choking, hair plastered to her face.
To his surprise, Rogue began to laugh, pushing her wet hair out of her eyes. "Sweet lawd - it's been too long."
"Quoi?" Gambit asked in sheer confusion.
"Since someone actually treated me like a fellow human bein'," the X-woman explained, picking up her white, fluffy towel and drying herself, "Usually people pussyfoot around me - too scared o' hurtin' me an' being hurt themselves. End up feelin' like a sideshow freak."
"Know de feelin'. Eyes like dese, people never goin' t't'ink ya human," he grimaced.
"They suit you. Th' eyes of th' devil an' th' charm ta match."
"Pere Francis used t'say dat de devil was de fairest of all God's angels fore he fell from grace," Gambit looked thoughtful, wistful.
"Ain't disputin' that either," Rogue's smile was as ambiguous as the statement.
"Don' suppose it's any use askin' ya how ya feel 'bout me," he folded his arms across his chest.
"Cajun . . . ." she shook her head, correcting herself, "Remy. Ah don't know how Ah feel."
"Guess dat's a start," Gambit grinned, "A few more years an' ya might actually like me."
Rogue returned his smile with interest.
"Maybe not that long," she said, "We'll just have ta see where th' wind takes us . . . ."
Rogue folds her arms across her chest, trying to keep the discomfit from showing on her face.
"So, what are you doin' back here, Cajun?" :::A year later. When Ah'd given up any hope o' evah seein' you again.:::
"Ya know me, mignonne, always been too stubborn t'listen t'anyone. Even ya," Gambit replies. :::Mon Dieu, but she is beautiful. Seems sad though . . . . m'fault?:::
"Ah see." :::He hates me.:::
"Bien." ::: Well, *dis* is certainly uncomfortable.:::
A tangible silence hangs in the air between them, broken only by the rustling of wind-blown leaves, yet it is better than the polite, impersonal conversation. Than the words that would be spoken between strangers, that have no place on the lips of lovers. The breeze blows Rogue's long hair across her face and, out of stubborn habit that knows no polite conventions, Gambit brushes it back behind her ears. Her green eyes widen in surprise.
:::Done it now, Remy. De femme's ya ex. No pun intended.:::
:::Did he just do that? Does he care?:::
"Sorry, Rogue. Old habits die hard I guess," his expression belies his words of apology.
"They do," she looks at the leaf-covered floor, "Guess that's why Ah can't get you outta mah head."
:::Quoi?!? Did she jus' . . . . ?::: "Now, chere," Gambit smiles brilliantly at her, the same, charming devil's grin of old, "Why would ya want t'do dat?"
Rogue returns his smile, relishing the familiarity that exists between them at that moment, "'Cause you'll get exhausted if'n you keep runnin' through mah dreams."
"Small price t'pay."
:::What d'ya do now, Remy?:::
:::Lawd, Rogue, this is a nice mess. . . :::
Another uncomfortable second as both of them stare at one another, hoping that the other will make the first move.
"Ah'm sorry, darlin'."
"Me too, mon coeur."
In one of those moments that cannot be planned, scripted or foreordained, he took her into his arms, feeling the beat of her heart in time with his. "Where to from here?" Gambit whispers.
"Ah'm not sure," Rogue replies softly, "Should we see where th' wind takes us?"
Nota Bene: The interlude is worked out of X-Men #12 - it's not accurate, but it was inspired by that issue.