Disclaimer: The X-Men characters,
and all other recognizable characters are copyright to Marvel
Entertainment Group. This work of FanFiction is not meant
to infringe on that copyright or defame Marvel Comics or the
X-Men and related characters in any way.
Copyright: This work of FanFiction and the original
characters described within are the intellectual property
of K-NICE and her IRL persona. No copying, distributing or
editing of this material is permitted without the express
permission of the creator, K-Nice, under United States copyright
Continuity: X-Men return home after the Phalanx in
Space ordeal. Xavier comes out of incarceration shortly afterwards.
NO OZT etc.
© K-Nice 1999
Falling in Love:
Once More for Old Heart's Sake
Ranged around the table were the combined might of the X-Men,
Excalibur, X-Force and X-Factor. At the table's head sat the
guest of honor: Professor Charles Francis Xavier. Recent events
had pushed a wedge between Xavier and his extended family
and this evening out as a group was the first step in repairing
the relationships that had been damaged by Onslaught.
However, one of his former students was no longer enjoying
this welcome home dinner. Her eyes flashed and saline solution
began its trek down her cheek. She felt an unbound pressure
building behind her eyes. A surging pain ran through her.
There were voices in her head, though unintelligible that
were forcefully crowding out her happy thoughts. She was losing
control of herself and she didn't like it.
She looked across the table at Tabitha Smith's fair hair
and pink cheeks. But just as Tabitha's appearance hid raging
powers, Rogue's own rosy skin was concealing her inner warring.
No one seemed to notice the slight paling of her forehead
or the flush leaving her cheek as she sat at the dining table.
She could feel herself spiraling into darkness.
Her hand leapt out at her left. Rogue felt the warmth of
his hand through the lace evening gloves she wore on her fingers.
She still could not touch his flesh but she was thrilled to
even feel the warmth of another person's body. Even after
her precious moments with another, his touch still had that
power over her.
Remy had noticed the minute changes in her appearance.
He suspected Rogue was not quite herself and the desperation
of her touch was proof: Rogue never tried to touch him, especially
not since Joseph, or as Bobby once said, "The-Mutant-Formerly-Known-As-Magneto",
had shown up. Remy and Rogue's relationship had become more
than awkward, as relationships tend to when old flames appear
out of nowhere, stoking old fires back to life. Remy's heart
was still hers, even with the ever present questions as to
where their relationship was heading, if it was heading anywhere.
He quickly rose to his feet, at the same time hoisting her
into his arms. On the other side of Rogue's place, Joseph's
face registered total shock. He was already miffed that Rogue
chose to sit between himself and Gambit but now these theatrics
on Gambit's part were the last straw.
Storm, who was seated across the table from Remy, was the
first to react. Ororo turned Sam, who sat at her left, and
said, "I may be leaving shortly." Unlike both Remy
and Joseph, Storm had some insight into to what Rogue was
going through. But before she could offer them her assistance,
Remy was walking out the door of the private dining room.
None of the other guests really registered the scene as Remy
shifted Rogue in a fireman's hold and strode across the elegantly
carpeted floor. It was just too bizarre to be really happening.
Remy made little noise, he just moved toward the door without
saying a word. Logan was just turning to Jean and Scott, who
occupied the seats near the head of the table, to comment,
"Now, what is that crazy Cajun up to this time."
Bobby heard and was about the crack one of his inane witticisms,
when the door slammed.
Bishop half rose out of his chair but Shard pulled him down
into their conversation. Scott was too dumbfounded to react
but one look at Storm told him that whatever was up, was not
an issue for the whole room to discuss. In fact, it seemed
that most of them were not aware of the little drama that
had just taken place. Scott figured he would leave things
as they were and went back to his discussion with the Professor.
Outside the door, Remy bent to catch Rogue's shawl in mid-air
as it floated from her pale shoulders. The door had barely
closed behind him as Remy started stalking through the restaurant
toward the outside doors. Even the officious Maitre D' realized
this was a man on a mission and stayed away from those glowing
eyes and grim visage. The patrons of The Arbor, Salem Center's
trendiest continental restaurant, gaped as he marched past
them and into the night outside. The incident was the subject
of much conversation, at least until a busboy dropped a tureen
of bouillabaisse on the floor, creating a whole new buzz.
As they crossed the parking lot, Rogue's breath became labored;
her body trembled. Remy kept her over his shoulder even as
he boarded the Harley he'd seen parked near the edge of the
lot. He set her gently on the bike behind him. She shook violently
as he removed the kickstand and up-righted the bike. In that
instant he realized it wasn't Wolverine's bike. He shrugged.
It was very convenient that the bike's ignition wires were
exposed, making it easier to hot-wire it, since he had no
idea whom it belonged to.
Rogue realized they would soon be on the move and wrapped
her arms around his waist with all the strength she could
muster. She was temporarily bereft of her super-strength due
to the lingering effects of Joseph's Z'noxx neutralizer. She
hoped the results would be temporary.
Blue-white smoke covered the ground behind them as he roared
the bike out of the parking lot. They hit the road driving
around 40 mph. Remy kept the bike under control while looking
to the sides of the road for a very specific place. Rogue
just struggled to keep her grip.
She pressed her face into his back as the pain shivered through
her. Yet, even as it intensified, she grew more optimistic.
Rogue's trembling lessened as they got farther from the restaurant,
farther from Joseph, but she was starting to shiver. She was
wearing a sheer long sleeved jacket over a sleeveless dress
and the wind was whipping through her clothes.
Remy drove three miles down the road before he found what
he wanted -- a deserted but well lit parking lot.
He pulled into the lot of a Dairy Queen that was about to
close for the evening and parked the bike near the back of
the parking area. He twisted around to look at her. Though
the maintained their strict silence, he could see that she
had been crying. He had seen her blind, and even near death
but he had never seen her look so physically and emotionally
weak. Holding her steady with his arm around her waist, he
sat down facing her with the bike throbbing and purring beneath
She saw his black leather driving gloves as he crooked his
finger under her chin and asked softly, gently, "Do you
wanna talk, chère?"
As his words reached her ears, she again began to cry. No,
Rogue didn't want to talk but this situation would force her
to explain herself. She didn't know how to tell him that she
was losing her mind. So, she said nothing.
Remy didn't draw her to him but he hesitated, questioning
whether she would welcome the gesture of comfort, seeing she
had pretty much taken up with Joseph of late. He knew that
she was trying to keep it from him but he knew she could touch
Joseph, just like she could touch Magneto. And Joseph had
manipulated the Z'noxx technology in the Mansion's sub-basement
to make a device to help Rogue with her powers. Remy knew
these things but he was leaving it up to Rogue to tell him
what that meant for her. For them.
The instant that he waited was enough for her to seek refuge
in him, specifically in his shoulder. Her head rocked against
his shoulder for about ten minutes and in that period of semi-silence,
the front of his suit jacket became as wet as the back.
She stopped crying but did not remove her head, or take her
hands from gripping his shirt. She was panting, but she didn't
say a word. Remy pushed her off of him without a word.
Remy moved so that she was sitting up front on the bike.
He placed his hands over hers and revved the motorcycle's
engine. Even though he knew she had probably ridden before,
he kept his hands on hers to help her steer the bike as they
pulled onto the roadway again. She seemed so shaky that he
didn't want to take any chances. They drove on for a mile
like that, hand over hand, back towards the restaurant.
Suddenly, she spoke. Clear as a bell, her voice never faltering,
she tried to joke, saying, "Ah hope they don't think
we ditched them back there at dinner. How embarrassing! I
wonder what Joseph would have thought of this ride. I bet
he would have enjoyed it too."
The awkwardness that followed was brief but telling. Remy
tried not to show it in his face or his body language, but
he couldn't care less about what Joseph would enjoy. He turned
the handles abruptly and slowed the bike. He guided them into
a small clearing near the side of the road.
He whispered to her, "Look." She was staring back
at the road, thinking about Joseph, when he tenderly put his
hand on her neck and turned her head so she could see what
he was looking at.
She gasped almost silently. From the clearing, the Hudson
River looked only a few feet away. A barge chugged along in
the night air. On either side of the river, houses snuggled
in for the evening, their warmth welcoming their families
home. The surrounding countryside sloped toward the river.
Farther away, they could see all the towns surrounding it
were laid out before them. It was beautiful.
It reminded her of the mighty Mississippi River, so many
hundreds of miles away. There was a cruise boat moving through
the water, making the water sparkle around it, so much like
the river boats of Mississippi, cutting through the cool night
air. The splendor of it offered Rogue strength in her time
of need. She was haunted by her own indecision, and she could
not forgive herself if she hurt either of the men in her life.
She had experienced so little love in her life that she couldn't
bear to break another's heart or to lose the attention Remy
and Joseph showered her with. Yet, she knew she had to make
the decision that was right for her. And that might hurt them
Looking at the Hudson, she remembered the way the Mississippi
River had appeared in her childhood. Through the ear of her
past she could hear the raging of that river and its swift
tributaries, only a few miles from the house she grew up in,
the house she had fled when her family rejected her and her
powers. She shivered wordlessly when she thought that, at
the same time she was finding out how hard life can be when
you're different, down-river in Louisiana, Remy had been learning
the same lessons, only in vastly different, and more dangerous,
ways. She had only and inkling of what he had gone through
from the memories that were floating in her head. His was
one of the voices that had plagued her at the restaurant and
she could feel the echoes of her absorption of his mind.
Remy sensed her pensiveness, and it came naturally to him,
like a well-honed reflex, to rouse in her a physical way,
in a manner that would put him at an advantage over his rival,
if only for the moment. Joseph was at least two miles away
while Remy was right there, close enough to touch. It was
almost an unconscious motion when he placed his hands on her
bare shoulders, the tips of his gloved fingers barely caressing
her skin. He felt her shiver with pleasure at the gentle contact.
The feeling was electric as it passed through their bodies.
Rogue closed her eyes but did not respond.
He was looking down at her neck, like a vampire planning
his next move, when her head shifted so she could look into
the woods around them. He too turned his eyes toward the forest,
as his hands drifted down her arms then caressed her sides.
She seemed to be feeling better and for once they weren't
fighting. He felt a measure of peace come over him.
They sat like that, watching the trees stand confidently
around the flicker and motion of forest creatures. A deer
darted through the clearing, startling them both. Rogue gathered
her courage and decided to wade into the shattered silence.
This time, when she spoke her voice was shaky but her words
were sure and from her heart. "Ah'm afraid to tell you
this, but this touching thing, Joseph can give me that. Ah
haven't touched another human being since Ah was a little
girl." She would always remember that last touch.
"Remy, it has nothing to do with how Ah feel about you.
I still love you, Ah want you to know that foh sure, but .
. . Ah have this need, the same need you have: to
touch, to hold, to love and be loved, to feel it in every
part of me. And theah's just no other way for me to get what
She sighed and watched at his troubled face. He was taking
this very well, considering. "Don't hate Joseph foh this.
It's my choice and I choose to touch him. Ah cain't . . .
Ah cain't stay with you bahcause eitha Ah'll hurt you or you'll
get tired of waitin' on me. Ah want to end this thing now--while
we can still be friends, instead of lettin' it drag out and
destroy us both. Ah need this and raght now, Ah don't need
you. Ah love ya, but Ah don't need ya."
She stared into his smoldering eyes, "You understand,
don't ya?" Her voice faded away petulantly. He was still
not responding to her. She expected him to get angry, to rage
against her decision, but he seemed calmer than she was. She
let her emerald green eyes search his face, waiting for either
an outburst or some kind of acceptance. She was hoping for
He looked at her with none of the sympathy or understanding
she had been aiming for. For once in their relationship, he
said what he really f elt, the only honest thing he could
say. He told her the truth, the truth she was always demanding
of him. As he spoke the anger in his voice was nakedly apparent.
"How dare you?" The three words were ground out
underneath his breath. Rogue's eyes were riveted to his. He
was bitter. It was one thing to break up with him. It was
a whole other thing to delude herself.
"Oh, all of a sudd'n you love me? Ya spend all ya time
saying 'you can't love me if you can't trus' me,' that 'you
don' t'ink you can trus' me if I don' tell you everyt'in,'
'you don't t'ink I know what love is.' And all along you've
been de one wit' de misconceptions. You t'ink not bein' able
to touch each odda is our problem?" He grunted. "Il
n'est pas. If only you were willin' ta touch me . . . "
He broke off wistfully. There was so much she didn't know
and it seemed she didn't want to know those things anymore.
She had made her choice and it wasn't him. But, her decision
was about more than their relationship. It was about her life
and he hated to see her make a choice she would regret later.
Even he could see that everything with Joseph was not as it
seemed. He had to let her see what this was really all about.
"Ya so afraid a' ya powers dat ya'll never let yaself
She broke in, somewhat defensively, "Remy that's a lie.
Ya see what I'm tryin' ta do now. Ah'm trying to learn to
deal with mah powers, ta learn to live with 'em. You're just
upset because Joseph can give me what you cain't no matta
how hard you try. He can give me a chance at a normal life."
"Ha," Remy barked, "Normal Life!
Are you serious, Rogue? Chère, lissen ta me: Theah's
nothin' normal about dis power neutralizer he got rigged up.
You'll be dependent on it. You'll nevah learn ta control ya
powers on ya own. Dat's wha' I want foh ya, not ta
be controlled by some alien machine, but to be in control,
of yaself. I care a lot foh ya, and if I t'ought you'd bahlieve
me, I'd tell you que je t'aime, mais I know ya don' wanna
heah dat from me." Now he sighed. This, what would the
last of their long string of arguments, was getting them nowhere.
"You're right, ya know. I got no idea how ta love you
'cause I got no idea who you really are. You don' know who
you are. And ya won' botha tryin' ta find out as long as ya
got yah powers to hide behin'." She flinched. He had
hit too close to the heart of the matter. Lately, she literally
didn't know who she would be from one minute to the next.
Like that day Storm had caught her trying to pee standing
up. She had thought she was Scott, just one of the many she
had absorbed in the past. Remy's words were true in more ways
than one. She turned away as he continued.
He paused, disgusted with the whole situation, himself especially.
"Look, we need to get back. I saw ya in pain an' I t'ought
I could help, mais, it just not possible for us at dis point.
We just too far 'part now. You take de bike back, an', ya
know, explain t'ings to everyone . . . especially
to Joseph. I guess we can' break up since we nevah officially
been togedder." That hurt, both to say and to hear.
He shifted his weight behind her. "I . . . I'm gonna
need some time . . . to t'ink. I'll see y'all as soon as I
figure t'ings out." Remy was in anguish. She didn't want
him, or his love. No matter that he had begun to invest all
his hope in her, that she was one of the things that kept
him sane. He needed to hurt something as badly as she had
hurt him. He also needed to get as far away from her and "Joseph"
as possible. He couldn't stand to lose her and he couldn't
stand to watch her lose herself.
He was off the bike and leaving through the woods, heading
away from the road, before she could say anything. That was
a shame since she had realized that in some ways he was right.
She couldn't tell him how right but he had hit the proverbial
nail. Besides, she had a great rebuttal ready, about his lies
and self-delusions, but he gave her no opportunity to deliver
it. He was lost among the tangle of branches and limbs in
She started the bike up and looked around one last time.
For the second time in their relationship, she knew she was
losing him but this time there was something she could do
about it. She would take his words to heart and see what could
be done about her powers. Only, this time she would turn to
Joseph for help.
Then it came to her: She hadn't turned to Joseph when she
felt herself passing out. She had gone to Remy, instinctively
knowing he would help, as he had helped so often in the past.
She didn't know what he would do, but she knew he would find
some way to make it better.
Her physical pain stemmed from the neutralizer yet she still
believed it was the only way for her to gain control of her
curse instead of letting it control her. Remy had at least
reopened her eyes, reminding her of the future possibilities
they had both dreamed of, dreams she was trying to reject.
Rogue was willing to go through the pain and insanity of the
Z'noxx chamber if it meant she would ultimately be able to
regulate her powers, even to a small extent. She was tired
Yet, what made the pain of the Z'noxx chamber, and the every
present threat of losing herself in the souls within her,
more desirable than the pain of trial and error, the agony
of gaining true control of herself, of knowing herself? Rogue
stared into the night, until she made her decision, freeing
herself from life as human ping-pong ball, bouncing between
Remy and Joseph, ad infinim.
Rogue straddled the bike for a minute before riding onto
the road. Alone. She was not like Remy, however, who was too
proud to act on what was in his heart. Rogue was ready to
live her life and she knew who she wanted to live it with.
She just hoped that he would be ready when she finally returned
Gambit watched her go from a thicket. He would have lit a
cigarette if it wasn't for the threat of forest-fire. It might
not have mattered. The tears falling from his eyes would have
put the fire out. He should have felt something else other
than this hollow, aching grief. He imagined he would rather
any other feeling than this breathless pain in the heart.
But it was better than the guilt of lying to her, the shame
of dissembling every time he looked in her eyes.
She had meant it when she said she loved him. And he had
known he would have to let her go. Because he loved her too
much to hurt her anymore.
He walked to the road, aimed himself toward Graymalkin Lane
and wept in the still of the night.
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