Down-Home Charm Photo Album Songbank Fan-Fiction History Books Fan Art Miscellania Links
Fan-Fiction >
After Gambit's Return

Stories in this series

A series of three stories written as a gift for the Rogue mailing list Southern Comfort and the Gambit mailing list Gambit Guild.

featuring Gambit and Bebete (the green mist lady)

featuring Cyclops and Phoenix

featuring Rogue, Gambit and Nightcrawler

The snowflake falls from the heavens, turning in ever-widening gyres as it loses altitude. Buffeted by the winds, it glides from the clouds to the earth. It seems insignificant, a speck of white from a slate-gray sky, yet is unique. In the drifts of snow that settle over the world at Christmas time, it is as individual as a thumb-print or a retina.

Its long journey completed, the snowflake lands on the floor, assimilated into the mass of white that blankets Salem Center. A gloved hand scoops up some snow, molding it into a ball.

Laughingly, a voice yells: "Think fast, Cajun."

The snowball flies through the air, forming a perfect arc, but her target dodges and retaliates with an icy projectile of his own:

"Ya still throw like a femme, chere."

His assailant, a brunette with a white streak to her hair, sticks out her tongue at him as she flies above his shot.

"Ah'm glad ya finally noticed," she teases, "Thought ya would have realized long ago that Ah ain't a man, Remy."

Remy grins, his unusual eyes brilliant with pleasure. Dressed in the burgundy sweater, which she had given him for Christmas, and black jeans, he stands out against the white, like a robin in a snowy field.

"Known dat f'r quite a while, Rogue," he replies, scrambling for another handful of snow, "But don' expect m'innate chivalry t'save ya now."

"Ah don't," her green eyes sparkle, "That's why Ah brought back-up."

She puts her fingers to her mouth and blows a piercing, unfeminine whistle. Nightcrawler emerges from behind the tree - a snowball in each hand and a smirk on his face.

"Where would you like these, liebchen?"

"Use yoah discretion, sugah."

Kurt's smile becomes broader.

"On de count of t'ree?" Gambit grins at the blue German.

"Three!" Nightcrawler cries as he throw his two snowballs at Rogue. They explode on impact, showering her with powdery snow. She splutters, pushing the hair out of her face. She regards her brother with a look that is a cross between anger and amusement.

"You double-crossed me, fuzzy elf?"

"Nein, Rogue. I simply used my discretion," Kurt splutters.

"Shoulda seen de look on ya face, mon coeur," Remy laughs, "Dat be a Kodak moment if I ever saw one."

She brushes the last snow-crystals off her Fair Isle pullover, "Enjoy it while y'all can, y'two, could be th' last thing ya ever see."

"Could t'ink of worse sights," Gambit shrugs, then begins to shiver, "Dieu, is it jus' me or is it cold?"

"Wouldn't know, hon. Mah mutant power keeps me warm, but not dry," Rogue makes a face, "Ah got snow down mah back an' it's meltin' fast."

"As for me, I'm blue with cold," Nightcrawler chuckles, then ducks as Rogue lobs some snow at him.

"Dat's de sort o' t'ing I'd expect from Drake," Gambit remarks, as he begins to make his way back to the mansion, closely followed by the others.

"We goin' inta town, sugah?"

The sentence is more a statement, than a question, and Remy has no choice but to agree.

Snowflakes settle gently on the skyscrapers of New York City, New York, blanketing the city that never sleeps in a feather duvet. Through the streets, taxi cabs compete with automobiles to grind the snow into slush. The mob on the pavements jostle each other for the same privilege; for the privilege of planting the first step into the untrodden white. Here, he is anonymous, a single snowflake amid a flurry. Only noted and cursed when he gets in the way of an angry, busy pedestrian. The freedom makes him giddy, so he whistles a Christmas song.

"Come on," Rogue holds Gambit's hand tightly as they cut through the crowd, like the runners of a sleigh, "We don't wanta be late."

He groans, lengthening his strides to keep pace with her. The crowd forms an almost impenetrable barrier, broken only by the power of pleasantries.

"Excusez-moi. Pardonnez-moi. Desoles. Excuse me, m'sieu."

Two women, dressed in matching parkas, spin out of the way just in time. Their angry expressions soften when they see the young couple, then harden and become brittle once more.

"Reminds me of myself and Ned before the divorce," one whispers, "Jerk."

"Dis better be good, chere," Remy says as he elbows his way past yet another person.

"It is," she assures him, "It ain't every day ya get ta hear an Intergalactic Superstar singin' th' Seasonal Favorites. Ah pulled a few strings jus' ta get us here."

Finally, they come to a clearing in the mass of humanity where two chairs remain vacant. Rogue sits, exhaling in a puff of water vapor, her long legs curled beneath the seat. Gambit takes the place next to her, removing a pack of cigarettes from his pocket and extracting one. On the stage, a dark-haired woman makes her entrance from behind the velvet curtain, microphone in her hand.

"Ladies and Gentlemen," the compere introduces her, "The fabulous Lila Cheney. . . ."

Nightcrawler watches from further back in the crowd, a smile playing on his lips. Despite his sister's protests to the effect that 'he should join them', he would have felt uncomfortable doing so. A third-wheel. "Ja, Kurt," he thinks, "So you are spending Boxing Day alone? With only the fabulous Lila Cheney for company?"

He directs his attention to the stage. Lila - the consummate show person as always - is dressed in a body-suit of reflective silver. Her dark hair is wreathed with tinsel, framing her heart-shaped face. She looks like an angel out of some science-fiction writer's notion of heaven.

"Beauty too rich for use, for earth too dear," (1) he quotes, feeling the joy of Christmas overwhelm him, overflow in expansiveness as she begins to sing. He is not alone. He is one of a crowd of millions; a single electron whirling around a world-nucleus; a snowflake blown in a drift from the sky.

'Jouez, hautbois, resonnez musettes' (2)

Lila stands on the stage, mentally taking a deep breath as she surveys the crowd. Teenagers, children, adults all seethe beneath her, like a million-million ants. She is simultaneously their queen and their slave. Their goddess and their acolyte. She closes her eyes and lets the feeling wash over her. Performing never fails to uplift her spirits, be her audience Shi'ar, Kree or human. The song draws to an end.

'Chantons tous son avenement.' (2)

Her mouth shuts, drawing the last note out like a silver thread on which the public dangles as would beads. Lila moistens her frosted lips and segues into the next number.

He pauses outside Central Park, his tune dying on his lips as he hears her - her exquisite contralto that soars above the crowd, like an eagle, before diving back to earth. The entire audience is silent, lost in wonder. The songs Lila sings are old, yet she lends them freshness and grace. Tears trickle down his dry cheeks at the beauty of her voice; at the promises of hope and peace contained within them.

'How could a freak sing like an angel?' he wonders, as he stands at the gate, sorrow coursing down his face like a cleansing glacier.

All too soon, Lila bows in a shimmer of mercury and prepares to exit. The audience is silent in her wake - a tribute to her skill that is beyond applause.

"Wow," Rogue whispers, as she stares at the slight figure on the stage. Suddenly, glitter explodes behind Lila, blowing in the gentle wind like the tiny sparks of a campfire. Only dancing gold remains where the singer was standing and the crowd bursts into spontaneous applause.

"Ya were right, mon coeur," Gambit admits, "Dat was good."

He wipes his cheeks and bloodshot eyes, half-ashamedly, feeling the rough stubble of a half-formed beard against his palms. Faking his own death had not been easy, but he had always had the solace of his beliefs. Now, as mysteriously as the symmetry of a snowflake, those had been ripped from him as well. How could he hate a species capable of so much beauty? He shakes his head to free his hair of the powdery snow that had settled there during the performance. When he looks up, his eyes catch those of a woman standing a few feet away.

Her white-streaked hair is piled atop her head and she is dressed in a purple, chenille sweater. She looks at him with horrified, incredulous recognition. Her companion - a handsome man in a cardinal pullover and black jeans - asks her a question, obviously having noted her surprise.

"Qu'est-que ne va pas?"
[What is wrong?]

He turns away and hurries into the crowd, but hears the remainder of her conversation.

"Nothin', Remy. Just thought Ah recognized someone."

"Qui, chere?"
[Who, dear?]

"Creed. Graydon Creed."



Gambit, Rogue, Nightcrawler, Lila Cheney and Graydon Creed belong to Marvel and are used without their permission for non-profitable purposes. All comments on this story to

(1) From Romeo and Juliet.
(2) A traditional French Carol - 'Il est ne, le divin enfant'.


Down-Home Charm / Fan-Fiction / Fan Artwork / History Books / Photo Album / Songbank / Miscellania / Links / Updates

Legalese: Rogue, the X-Men, and the distinctive likenesses thereof are Trademarks of Marvel Characters, Inc. and are used without permission. This is an unofficial fansite, and is not sponsored, licensed or approved by Marvel Comics.
Privacy Policy and Submission Guidelines