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Unsurprisingly, everyone believed that Rogue and Gambit were dead, when they heard her calling for help from the rubble of the temple. It turned out that Rogue was stabbed straight through her heart, but she survived thanks to Wolverine's healing factor. Gambit was also in bad shape but still breathing.

Rogue was furious, and decided, despite her life-threatening wounds, to hunt down Vargas and exact revenge for what he did to Gambit. Her access to all the powers she had ever absorbed did a great deal to boost her confidence that she could defeat him. Before, she did, she said her farewells to Remy:

Rogue: Listen up Cajun, Ah won't be long. Meantime, Don't you die on me, hear? Ain't your time.

Gambit: Ain't you call t' make chere.

Rogue: Don't sass me none Gamit.

Gambit: Den you remember-- ain't your time, neither.

So Rogue took off after Vargas despite the protests from the X-Men. She chased him down and attacked him in various personae, her appearance shifting as she did so. She especially attacked as Psylocke in order to avenge her death. Unfortunately, she could not keep this up for long, as Wolverine's healing-factor was all that was keeping her alive and using the other powers negated it.

Using her own skills at hand-to-hand combat, she defeated Vargas and was about to stab him through his his sword. Even on the brink of death, however, Vargas challenged her and told her to fulfill her destiny.

And that gave Rogue pause, because she was doing exactly what Destiny's books said she would do. In the end, she chose not to kill him, because that would make the future the past, and take away all the creative options and hopes which the X-Men embody:

Rogue: Destiny was too close. She never understood. The books make things easy. They take away all responsibility, but they make us slaves. These books represent the death of hope. Only hope is what the X-Men are all about. We're not your enemy, Vargas. We are Dream made flesh. We walk through walls. We dance among the stars, not to scare people, but to show them what's possible ....

Then Vargas made his escape, the rest of the X-Men magically appeared, and Rogue, still suffering, collapsed on the chest of a labouring Remy.

(Thanks to Vikki Aino for the summary from which this part adapted, Mara for the quotes and Leigh for the scan!)

Onto Next Part...

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