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Although Mary Purcell was little more than a dim and painful memory, the couple still seemed to be unable to reach any sort of permanent or real understanding. As Gambit #16 wryly comments, "since returning to the X-Men, they (were) ‘on again, off again’ more than a faucet in a Madison Square Garden Men’s Room." Consequently, it is difficult to provide any real synopsis of the period, beyond highlighting one or two of the key moments.

Among them would probably be the painful test to which Xavier subjected the team in Uncanny X-Men #375. In order to determine that none of them were an outsider who had infiltrated the team in disguise, he forced them to undergo a harrowing, psionic scenario that tested their loyalties and their attachments. As each person was proved loyal, they were removed from the simulation by being "killed". Interestingly, the last two people to be taken out of it were Shadowcat and Gambit, who, in marvellous parallel scenes, both had to say farewell to their beloved. In Gambit’s case, what Rogue said to him was particularly telling:

GAMBIT: Rogue, c’mon, chere - hang in there. Don’t die, girl! Y’can’t die. Not now. Not when we were just . . . We could’ve...

ROGUE: Don’t do this, Remy. . . Don’t go gettin’ all sappy on me now. We had our moments, sure... Plenty of ‘em. . . an’ Ah loved every single one of them.... but it never would have worked... We know that. . .

GAMBIT: I love you, Rogue. I’ve always loved you. You need to know that.

ROGUE: Never have worked. Move on, Remy... justmoveon . . .

Why does Rogue repeat over and over again that it "never would have worked"? Various interpretations are possible. It has been suggested that she was trying to spare him the pain of an imagined future - that there might have been a possibility of them being happy together and that that unfulfilled hope would have burdened him all the days of his life. On the other hand entirely, it has also been hypothesised that Rogue genuinely realised that it would not work, that one or the other of them would probably die (perhaps by her powers or through the sheer danger of the life they led?) and they would not find happiness, that they had no right to ask the other to accept that risk and that pain. A combination of the two seems probable, especially given their conversation in the following issue:

GAMBIT: Hey, chere. Long time, no see.

ROGUE: Gambit...?

GAMBIT: A guy could get the idea you’re avoidin’ him, Rogue. Maybe feelin’ kind o’ awkward after dat psychodrama nonsense Xavier put us t’rough to test our loyalties. Dose mind-games o’ his messed wit’ our heads big time, girl. I’m guessin’ we both might’ve said some t’ings we didn’t mean.

ROGUE: Yeah, it was pretty intense, all right. But...Ah think maybe it clarified a few things ‘tween the two of us. What Ah said . . . It really never will work, Remy. Maybe it’s time we both admit that.

GAMBIT: Hang on dere. Are y’... y’mean, y’really t’ink... it’s over?

ROGUE: I...

Before Rogue could answer, the conversation was interrupted by Kitty Pryde calling them to the Briefing Room and they never seemed to mention it again. Certainly, Gambit never explained what he meant by both of them saying things they did not mean, although he was probably trying to be tactful, and Rogue never gave a conclusive answer about whether or not they were finished. Gambit #16, however, seems to suggest that they were anything but over . . .

Onto next part...

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