Home | Forum | Mailing List | Repository | Links | Gallery
Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 8
Chapter 9
Chapter 10
Chapter 11

Mending Fences - REVIEW THIS STORY

Written by Karen Bruce
Last updated: 01/02/2007 02:01:11 AM

Chapter 3

The sunlight through the open window refracts off the dust-motes in rays of red and green. A wind blows the 'curtains' - two sheets nailed to the wall - out over the sleeping couple like two great bird's wings. Rogue murmurs into her damp pillow, clasped in her arms for comfort. Nearby, in another pile of bedding on the wooden floor, her lover is lying asleep, snoring inelegantly every few seconds in time with the rise and fall of his chest. Far from being disturbing, the sound soothes her - it is so normal. If Rogue ever though about it, this is the reason that she fell in love with Remy leBeau. His own extraordinariness aside, he has always treated her like every other woman. And, while not the stuff that plays like Romeo and Juliet are written about, it is something that this woman appreciates. She has always been her powers to everyone else - to herself. Rogue awakens, squinting against the light which floods in through the chink in the 'curtains'. She stretches, painfully self-conscious of mussed hair and torn uniform. Fortunately, for her sartorial confidence, Gambit is still asleep, a worried furrow in his forehead. Rogue stands, wincing as the stiff muscles in her stomach and leg stretch to their full length. The loose bandage, that Gambit tied on her last night, is stiff and black with blood.

"Gawd. This is nasty." She whispers, untying it and praying that the wound has healed enough to not bleed again. She had said similar prayers in her childhood when drink had made her father cruel. When she had hoped desperately for the bruises and cuts to fade before Monday, before any embarrassing questions were asked. They usually did, or, if they had not, she would feign sickness to be kept home from school.

"Time ta rise an' shine." She tells herself in a desperate attempt to inject levity into her somber mood.

She picks up Gambit's comb from the floor where it lies scattered among cards and clothes. Slowly, methodically, she runs it through her hair, smoothing out the kinks and wilder curls that formed in the night. Tiny sparks fly out as she braids it, tying it back with an elastic band.

Rogue walks over to the small mirror in the corner of the room, almost hidden by the rest of the clutter, almost as if the owner does not wish to see his own reflection. Her eyes are puffy and red-rimmed but she smiles at herself.

"Remy'd say ya look gorgeous even if'n th' Bride o' Frankenstein would beat you at Miss America." She laughs, "In fact, even Ah'd say you're quite pretty, sugah."

Walking to the door, Rogue opens it.

"D'ya make a habit o' leavin' b'fore I wake up?" Remy asks teasingly from his bed, "Dis be de second time now."

"Ah didn't want ta wake ya," She explains, "Bad enough that Ah did it last night."

"Don' worry," He throws the covers off of himself, "I be awake now. Ya want t'get breakfast? I'll cook."

"What? Granola au Coco Krispies?"

"Better dan Boysenberry Pie."

She laughs then sobers, "Actually, Ah think Ah'd like ta go out today. Might be easier foh you."

Gambit looks at her carefully, at the nervous anticipation written over her features. She needs him to say yes, but for her sake.

"Ah'll pay?" She adds, smiling apprehensively.

"Well when ya put it dat way . . . where d'ya want t'go?"

"Don't mind."Rogue shrugs, "Actually . . . anywhere as long as it isn't that Cajun place or even *mentions* gumbo in th' menu."

"Bien," he grins, "Ya pay. Ya choose."

"Ummm . . . when in doubt, go ta Harry's?"

"Give me a few minutes t'get dressed."

"Don't worry - I need some time as well."

"More dan some time, cherie," he teases.

"Ha! Ya ain't exactly Prince Charmin' at seven o'clock in th' mornin'," Rogue opens the door and exits. A few minutes later, Gambit follows suite, dressed in some of the few clothes that he could afford to buy with the remainder of his money. They are clothes - a Saints' Jersey and black jeans - which hark back to a past before he met Sinister. A past which he cannot fully forget. Or if he could, would not be allowed to.

"A gift, traitor." Marrow's voice rasps from where she is perched on the windowsill, like a bird of prey or a vulture. She drops something on the floor where it lies in harsh relief to the wood.

It is a tattered Tarot Card - the Queen of Swords, but it has been sliced in half and combined with another card - the Queen of Cups - in horrible synergy. On it is scrawled in thick black print - 'We all have two faces.'

Marrow laughs and is gone.

We all have two faces. Joseph knows this more than most - once the greatest enemy of humankind, amnesia is a blessing to him. It has allowed him to live his life, unencumbered by his past sins, free without atonement. This may be why Gambit hates him so much - that it stems from something much deeper than the petty jealousy that arose over Rogue. Joseph was given his chance for free, Gambit paid for it with the trust and love of Rogue. And, while everything turned out for the best, Gambit resents all for which Joseph stands. The hypocrisy of his team-mates. The ability to be given another chance by simply forgetting. Joseph sighs, his mind confused. Had Remy told him the truth or were his words those of a bitter man designed to wound and hurt? Designed to pour salt into raw wounds? Joseph is not sure. If he was such a megalomanic and despot, why would Rogue take pity on him? Why would she try and help him? Perhaps she is the only one who really knows the truth. The young man with the white hair walks to the door with new purpose. He must confront Rogue, must find out the truth, for good or evil.

The air is crisp ribbon of blue over the green valley. In the distance, the perfect sky is torn by the New York skyline, by a gathering storm approaching over the horizon. Storm soars in this blue wasteland, a white speck of ash blown by the wind. She can feel the rain in the air, its presence soaks into her bones.

"There will be a storm soon," she says, "Of what nature is still doubtful."

The tension had been mounting in the mansion ever since Gambit's return. Marrow had slunk away into the shadows after her initial outburst as had Warren. Joseph had been walking around like a man before an execution who had been denied his last cigar. Rogue's whole manner had been too manic and too brittle, almost as if she was scared of standing still and thinking. Gambit seemed not to have noticed. Or had he?

Storm rises in the air, letting the gentle upper currents tickle her face. She, like the sky, is torn between vastly differing emotions. Remy had always been like a brother to her. Now the brother had betrayed her, had turned out to be everything which she had always detested. How could she reconcile such vastly differing emotions? She does not know the answer, but she will try. . . .

Storm plunges from the heavens to earth.

Harry's Hideaway has witnessed several turning points in the lives of the X-Men - some more important than others, some more dramatic than others. And, always, there has been Harry - a sturdy, New Yorker with the accent to prove it. A wise, grizzled man who has watched the lives of his patrons unfold. Sometimes Harry is witness to triumph - the birth of a child, a wedding anniversary, a birthday. Sometimes he is witness to sorrow - lover's quarrels, funerals, divorces. Always he has carried on with his life, wiping the counter clean and serving drinks with a smile and a few words. Harry is a philosopher. But unlike Plato or Socrates, Harry's forum is his bar.

"Go serve the two over there." He whispers in the ear of a peroxided waitress.

She is young and no philosopher. Her guru is the editor of Vogue. Today, however, she will witness a miracle. She will not recognize it and will carry on with her life unchanged. Her drawl is bored as she asks the young couple what they would like for breakfast, tapping her pad with her stubby pencil.

"So?" Tap tap tap. "What's it going to be?"

The man regards her through dark sunglasses and a shiver passes up her spine. There is something different about him - something more than the exterior to him.

"Ya choose, cherie." he says to his companion, a gorgeous woman with eyes like twin emeralds and a white streak in her dark hair.

"Gawd. You're the culinary expert in our relationship, Remy."

"F'rgot ya came from somewhere where 'fried' is a food group," he grins, "C'n we have a menu, mademoiselle?"

The waitress hands two from beneath her arm, other hand resting on her ample hip.

"So . . . are you two new in town?"

"It's the accent, isn't it?" the woman laughs, "No, sugah. Been here a while now. Ah'm from Mississippi. Remy here is from Louisiana."


"Wow. Whereabout in Mississippi do you come from? I have family there."

"Ya'll not have heard o' it. It's a small town . . . ."

"Town, chere?"

The woman laughs, "Fine. It's 'bout th' size o' a suburb really."

"Maybe I've heard of it anyway."


"You're kidding! That's where my family comes from as well."


"Dieu. She'll go on f'r hours now. It be some sort of inbred Southern trait."


The woman went pale, "As in Cody Robbins?"

"Poor guy. Some heartless mutie witch killed him." The waitress sniffs, "He was my cousin. Did you know him?"

The man called Remy tightens his hand protectively over his companion's one. Slowly, she nods.

"Maybe it wasn't her fault. Maybe she didn't know what she was doing."

"Schyeah, right. Tell that to someone who didn't visit him every day while he was lying in a coma."

Tears gather in the beautiful woman's eyes.

"Don't ya think she feels bad enough already? That she has ta live with the consequences of her actions every day?"

"No. She didn't go through the hell that I went through, wondering if Cody would live or die. She never even came to visit him."

Remy regards her with dislike on his handsome features.

"Mebbe she did, but didn' want t'be seen by people like ya who'd judge her."

"Whatever." The waitress flippantly raises a shoulder, "Anyway, can I take your order?"

"Pancakes wit' maple syrup."

"Ah'll have th' same."

"Café latté. An' f'r ya, belle?"

"OJ. Ah need th' vitamin C," her voice is falsely bright.

"Sure. Hold on and I'll bring your order in a few minutes." The waitress sashays off into the kitchen, notepad in hand.

Remy looks sympathetically at the woman sitting in front of him. She is trying to keep a smile on her face, despite the fact that her bottom lip is trembling with repressed emotion.

"I'm sorry, Roguey."

"It ain't your fault." She looks down at the wooden floor, "Ah sometimes think that someone up there must really hate me. I thought Ah left mah past behind me when Ah left Mississippi, but ta meet Cody's cousin here . . . . "

"Ya know as well as I do dat dere's no escapin' our pasts. We have t'live wit' dem. Have t'accept dem."

"Ah'd like ta think that Ah can," Rogue sighs, "But Ah know Ah'm just foolin' mahself."

"Ya need t'talk?"

"You know how you asked me in Antarctica ta trust you just foh a little while?"


"Can you do th' same foh me?"

"Ya know I will. I always have trusted ya."

"An' Ah've always betrayed that trust."

"Chere - ya said dat self-pity doesn't really suit me back dere in Mag's citadel. It suits ya even worse."

"Ah said a lot of things then. Didn't mean all of them."

"I know." He leans over the table and rests a hand on her shoulder, "Said a lot of t'ings I didn't mean m'self."

"Maybe we should put it behind us. Forget about it."

"Non, can't do dat."

"Why not?"

"Chere. We've tried doin' dat before an' it jus' tore us apart again. We have t'deal wit' it."

"Y'all said it didn't matter a few night ago."

"It didn' then - it does now."

"What's changed?"

"I wasn' sure if we had a chance then - I know we do now. Dis means t'much t'me jus' t'sabotage it again before it even really gets started."

"You're right. We do need ta talk." She looks somber, "Put our cards on th' table so ta speak."

"I'll start wit' mine," he delves into his pocket and pulls out the Ace of Spades, hitting it onto the table.

"Th' card o' death?"

"Or hope. Depends which way it is."


"So . . . ."

And thus, without any fireworks or grand parades, the miracle begins . . . .

He walks through the tunnels, oppressed as much by memories as by the slimy, close walls. His feet squelch through the combination of water and mud. His mind maps out the pathway - taking left and right turns almost as if he is hypnotized. In a sense, he is. At last, he bends to pass through a particularly low tunnel, cursing as his wings scrape the stone. There before him is an altar to a dark god. A self-created deity who believed that he had the right to decide who could live and die. The rack where he lost his wings. The rope, though rotten, remains on the hooks - stiff and black with dried blood. Fear still permeates the humid air. But something is different . . . something changed from when he last came. A box has been set up before the rack with scattered implements and items on top of it. A bone knife. A pack of Tarot cards. A small, wax candle. A doll of an angel. A tattered photograph of a young girl. He walks closer, seeing a glimmer of metal from the muddy floor. He bends and picks it up, shaking off the encrusted mud. He drops it almost as soon as he sees what it is: a metal flechette from his old wings. . . .


GambitGuild is neither an official fansite of nor affiliated with Marvel Enterprises, Inc.
Nonetheless, we do acknowledge our debt to them for creating such a wonderful character and would not dream of making any profit from him other than the enrichment of our imaginations.
X-Men and associated characters and Marvel images are © Marvel Enterprises, Inc.
The GambitGuild site itself is © 2006 - 2007; other elements may have copyrights held by their respective owners.