|Sun, 15 Nov 1998
This is my first story post, so I'm a little nervous. I hope you enjoy it. It doesn't really fit into the X-Books right now, but at the time I wrote it, it could have been a possibility. It takes place roughly after, Gambits return. Once again, Enjoy!
Disclaimer: Ah don't own any of these characters, and Ah ain't makin' any money off a them. They all belong ta Marvel. 'Nuff Said.
The Ultimate Suffrage
As she descended the last stair, she knew that her life would be irrevocably changed. The X-Men, her teammates and friends, seemed to wall in this new visitor. But she was Rogue super strong, and nearly invincible, and she was going to see who had come to visit. She pushed her way between Maggot and Psylocke; the rift between the two in their normal lives manifested itself as the weak link in the X-Men's barrier.
Now through the wall of X-Men, Rogue looked to the center of their circle, trying to find what they didn't want her too. At first she saw noting unordinary. Two men stood motionless watching her watch them. She was use to men staring at her. She wasn't vain or conceded; she just knew she was nice to look at. But there was something different in the ways' these two men looked at her. The one on the left looked on her as if to say, "I'm sorry, I tried to protect you. Please forgive me." She didn't understand why he was looking at her that way. She smiled reassuringly at him, then looked to the other man.
His expression was different, though also the same, as the other. The man's whole body conveyed his message of sorrow. Shoulders slumped; head slightly bent downwards, the man looked to say, "I'm so sorry, please don't hate me. I need you." It was that last thought that caught Rogue's attention. Why would anyone need her? She wasn't anybody. She didn't even know how to forgive. And suddenly, she realized that she could never forgive these two men that stood in front of her; not because she didn't want to, but because she didn't know how.
She closed her eyes to that thought. Sweet blackness enveloped her body as she shut out this horrible world she couldn't control. She thought of all the hardships that had befallen her in her short lifetime; and then she opened her eyes, and recognized. Rogue recognized Joseph watching her. His worried and yet kind expression betrayed him, and proved to the world that he did indeed love this woman who stood before him. It was a love that Rogue realized; she was incapable of returning.
Moving her head slightly, Rogue recognized the "needy" man. In the back of her mind she understood the wall of X-Men, and their role to protect her. Remy was as handsome as ever. He seemed a little too skinny, but it was understandable after spending-God knows how long-in Antarctica. His eyes took the sight of her in. Following every curve of her body, he seemed to be committing her form to memory. He never spoke, just watched her waiting for her to make the first move.
Silence and tension settled around them like a thick fog, and for a second, Rogue thought Storm's emotions had gotten the better of her powers.
Memories that seemed like life times ago floated in Rogue's mind. The day she and Gambit had met. The basketball game that caused their first date. Her total anger and sorrow that he was a married man. Jean and Scott's wedding where he had blown a dozen men into the air just to catch Jeans garter. His determination to bring Belladonna back from the dead. The night she had almost told him her real name. The way he had held her in his arms as she tried to decide how to save Cody. Their kiss in Israel that seemed to span across space and time. The fear and agony that consumed her when Remy would not tell her his secret, the one that was slowly destroying her. And finally the day his terrible secret had been reveled to her--and her soul lost--as she flew away from his freezing body She looked at Remy, and realized that she had every right to hate him. Hate what this man had done to her in the name of love. Wish him dead for the pain his presence in her life had caused her. But she didn't, she couldn't, just as she knew now, she could never forgive him either.
Perhaps the X-Men weren't ready for her to speak yet; so when she did the group seemed to jump to attention; and Joseph sought the comfort of the rest of the circle around her. "Sarah, please come here." Maybe it was the way the older X-Men were acting, or maybe a note in Rogue's voice, but the mutant know as Marrow stepped forward and moved to Rogues side. A sense of anticipation settled over the X-Men. They understood what Rogue was doing. Sarah was one of the few surviving Morlocks. The Marauders had killed most of her people. Gambit had formed the Marauders, and shown them where the Morlocks could be found. Then knew that when Marrow heard what this man had done to her people, she would have his life for their honor.
For his part, Remy seemed to understand that this girl who stood before him was indeed a Morlock. He also seemed to understand what Rogue was about to do. However his expression never changed, he still needed Rogue, with all his soul.
Rogue looked Marrow in the eyes, "Sarah, do ya know who this man is?"
Marrow turned her head to look at Remy. She studied him from head to toe; she understood that Rogue wanted a definite answer. Finally, she shook her head. "No. I don't know who he is. Why?"
Rogue looked almost sad for a moment as she stared at this violent teen before her. She thought about just how similar she and Sarah really were. Both destroyed at a young age, both taken in by a kind woman with ulterior motives to make them powerful fighters. Rogue thought about the pain that it caused Sarah to use her extra bones; and thought about the pain her own powers had caused. But that was the past, and Rogue was here to correct it all.
Finally nodding to Marrow's question, Rogue continued, "Sarah, do ya know who saved ya from dyin' with the rest of the Morlocks?"
An iciness fell over Marrow's face. The girl stood motionless as she sized Rogue up, trying to figure out why her questions were stalling the X-Men like this.
But the X-Men weren't unthinking, if unmoving. Most were in quiet contemplation as to whether to save Gambit when Marrow attacked, or let her finish the job they themselves so desperately wanted to do.
Options still ran through their minds as Marrow answered, "I don't know how it's any of your business, Surface dweller, but no, I don't."
Rogue sighed openly, and closed her eyes again. Was it right to go through with what she had started? In the long run would it ease the pain in her chest? Could her confession to Marrow perhaps ease this troubled teens'? Is this what those that died in those tunnels, all those years ago would want? In the end, she decided the answers didn't belong to her, they belonged to time; and in the end, time would tell.
She looked at Sarah. Sometime during her reverie the girl had lost her edge, and was now awaiting an explanation. Rogue gave it to her. Rogue looked once to Remy, and when their eyes met, nothing passed between them. She looked back to Sarah, "Sarah, a long time ago this man witnessed the death of the Morlocks." The girl seemed stunned before a quick flame of anger ignited behind her eyes. The X-Men unconsciously took a step back. Rogue continued, "His name is Remy Lebeau, and he's a thief, a con-man, and a scoundrel." As Rogue took a breath, Marrow's anger--stoked by Rogue's words--grew.
"Hidin' in an out of the way corner, he watched as Morlock after Morlock fell to the grip of the Marauders." Remy didn't move, but his expression became a complete and total blank one.
Marrow was now staring directly at Remy, "Is what she's saying true? Were you there?" Her voice commanded an answer, and Remy's nod, gave it to her.
"Why you son-of-a----," Rogue's arm stood between Marrow and her prized coward.
"Ya haven't heard the whole story yet, Sarah. The rest-Ah think-ya'll will find more interestin'."
The X-Men's decision had been made. Standing on the sidelines, they had come to a silent and final agreement, they would not help Gambit.
But Rogue wasn't finished, "As Ah said he was in the corner tryin' ta decide the best way ta get his pathetic self out of those tunnels, when he saw somethin' that made him stop. Only a few feet in front of his hidin' place was a female Morlock tryin' ta flee with a child in her arms. However the Marauder, Sabertooth cut off their escape. Takin' the defenseless child mutant from its mother, he proceeded ta rip it ta shreds as the mother could only watch an' scream."
A blinding rage had come over Marrow as Rogues gruesome tale continued. Her body trembled with barely controlled anger. Gambit just stood there. "Sarah," the mutant looked at Rogue, "This man," she motioned to Remy, who didn't move. "This man saw everythin' Ah jus' told ya about; but he saw it from a run. Ya see the moment Sabertooth got a hold of that little baby, thin's changed. Ya see, ta Remy-because of how he was brought up in the Thieves Guild-a child is the most important thin' in the world. The minute that little baby was in danger, Remy left his hidin' place, and attacked Sabertooth."
The X-Men were stunned; this wasn't the angle they expected Rogue to tell the story from. Marrow's anger seemed to lessen, and her shaking all but stopped. Gambit still did not move but his eyes now watched Rogue instead of the ground.
"What Ah said was true, the baby was killed by Sabertooth, but the mother was not. Instead, Remy attacked Sabertooth, both woundin' the killer and himself in the attack.
"When the other Marauders saw what was going on, they too attacked Remy. That was when most of the other survivin' Morlocks got away. Remy was hurt very badly in the battle; Sabertooth had managed ta get his claws inta Remy's side. The wound later cost him thirty-six stitches an' a month in the hospital.
"When the Marauders thought him dead, they returned ta the terrified and confused Morlocks. However they hadn't killed Remy, he was still tryin' to make up fer the mistake of not comin' ta the defense of these people sooner.
"Crawlin' away however, he heard a small cryin' sound from under the rubble beside him. Riskin' his life, he pushed the rocks aside and pulled out a small frightened child, with pink skin. Bones protrudin' from that skin, Remy's total concern was that these were her broken bones pushed through by the force of the collapsed wall. He lifted the child inta his arms and stumbled the rest of the way out of the tunnels.
"On the surface, in the back of an alleyway, he saw the woman whose child he did not save. Placin' ya, Sarah, inta the woman's arms he stumbled into the night."
Finished Rogue held a subdued Sarah's eye, "This man saved the lives of the few Morlocks that did escape; and he also let many others die. But fear ain't a crime Sarah; it's a way of life. In many respects, he's the villain and the hero. Only history will determine his fate."
Her peace said, Rogue turned and exited the stares of bewildered X-Men. As she ascended the stairs she hear Marrow speak to Remy.
"Is what she said true?" He nodded. "Then you saved my life?" He nodded again. "And when you made it through the tunnels, after saving me, you gave me to the woman who had lost her own child; you gave me to Calisto?"
Again. "Then my life is yours. You saved my life, now I owe you mine. So says Morlock law."
Remy's reply didn't surprise Rogue. She had turned him from the witness that did nothing, to the witness who became a hero. She knew Remy's conscious wouldn't be able to handle it.
"Dat be de dumbes' t'ing, Remy ever hear! You be owing Gambit nothin'. T'ink girl, jus' t'ink! W'at Gambit be doin' down in dem tunnels in de firs' place?! Well?!"
He was trying to escape, trying to find a way to ease his own suffering.
He didn't realize that that was not what his cards read. Rogue answered the question for the girl as she ascended the stairs; "He was mappin' the tunnels fer an escape, Sarah. Remember I told ya, he's a thief. He was mappin' an escape route for a later job. Good try Remy, but she needs ta know the truth about you, it ain't fair ta make her suffer any longer." With that she disappeared into the hallway at the top of the stairs.
Gambit's desperate eyes following her until the last strand of her auburn hair vanished.
She wanted him to suffer, for the rest of his life, and what a better way, then total peace of mind? Time would tell, of the ultimate suffrage.
If'n ya liked the story, drop me a little note at firstname.lastname@example.org Hope ta hear from some of ya, ya swamp rats.