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Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5

Always Coming Home - REVIEW THIS STORY

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

Chapter 3


False though she be to me and Love,

I'll ne'er pursure Revenge;

For still the Charmer I approve,

Tho' I deplore her change.

In Hours of Bliss we oft have met,

They could not always last;

And though the present I regret,

I'm grateful for the past.

"He's been here the last two nights, Ronnie. Always alone, always orders the same thing. I think he's trouble."

"I don't care if he is the devil incarnate as long as he pays." The man shrugs his shoulders, "I'm running a business, not a courtroom."

"You're being ridiculous, Linda." He says, "Last time I checked, being single and liking double lattes wasn't a crime."

She looks at him, trying to work out what it is about him that gives her the creeps. Shortish auburn hair, eyes hidden by dark glasses, expensive suit by the looks of the fabric and the cut. Nothing out of the ordinary.

"If you've finished playing Agatha Christie, table four needs to be served." Ronnie says impatiently.

"Yeah. I'm on it." She fakes a smile, although she is disturbed. Scared. Mainly because she has no idea why . . . .

New York, New York. More specifically, Poppa Gumbo's Cajun Cookout. Best cajun food out of New Orleans, or so Gambit used to swear. Not much has changed with the cuisine. He stirs his double latte and remembers the person he most wants to forget. He doesn't know why, of all the restaurants in New York - in Chinatown, in Little Italy - he chose this one with all its memories. Not painful in themselves, but painful nonetheless.

"It be bout time I stopped runnin' an' started facin' up t'what I did."

He pushes the half-empty latte away from him and leaves a crisp dollar bill on the plate. It is time to face the jury. . . .

The water flows around her body, eddying around her ankles as she kicks. Arm up. Arm down. Leg up. Leg down. The repetitive strokes relax her, provide her some respite from thinking.

"Enjoying the swim, traitor-lover?" A voice pulls her back to consciousness.


"Look how pure the water is. How clean. How transparent." Marrow cups water in her hand, "So different to the effluent that we Morlocks swam in. Brown until it ran red with blood on the day of the Massacre."

"Ah don't know why you're tellin' me this." Rogue climbs out of the pool and wraps a towel around her body, painfully self-conscious of Marrow's probing stare, "Sure. Th' massacre was terrible, but Ah - we - did everything we could ta stop it."

"Did you?" Her blue eyes flash, "Did you really?"

"Ah don't like where this is goin' . . . ."

"Tough, traitor-lover." She approaches Rogue, drawing a bone knife, "If you don't like it, you'll have to shut me up yourself."

She drops the blade at the Mississippian's feet.

"Back off, Marrow. You'll be glad ya did."

"Maybe you should have done that with leBeau, before falling in love with him. People like him don't deserve to be happy. People like you."

"Shut up."

"Not that I blame you." She smiles, "I know from first-hand experience exactly how . . . charming Mr leBeau can be. How he makes you believe that everything turns out for the best. He makes you think a miracle is a wish away. But you realise that he is lying when you wake up cold and afraid on a New York sidewalk. No family. No friends. Nothing."

"How dare you?" Her green eyes blaze as she steps closer to Marrow. "You don't know him. You nevah have. Ah've been inside his mind, Ah know what he's made of."

"Which is why you left him to die."

"It ain't your place ta judge me . . . any more than it was mine ta judge him."

"Yet you did and I will do the same."

"Believe in capital punishment, Marrow?" Rogue bends and picks up the knife.

"Do you?"

"Push me an' you'll find out."

The thrust of the knife is sudden and tears through Rogue's bare leg. Blood streams down and pools on the tiled floor. Her green eyes narrow as she looks at the Morlock.

"I don't take to being threatened by anyone." Marrow says, "Especially not traitor-lovers."

"SHUT UP." She flies at her, knocking her to the ground.

"Oolmph." Marrow gasps as the wind is forced out of her lungs. Scrambling back to her feet, she extracts a bone-dagger.

"Ah've defeated assassins without mah powers. What makes you think that you stand a chance?"

"Assassins have honor. I don't."

The knife flies at her and Rogue catches it, crushing it into powder beneath her fingers.

"Nice try. Take more'n that ta defeat me though."

The powder begins to glow in her hand, exploding as she throws it at Marrow.

"Even use his powers?" Marrow's breath is ragged. Painful.

"If'n Ah have ta."

Marrow lashes out with a leg, connecting with Rogue's lower back, and swears softly as she realizes that she has hurt herself more than the other woman. A hard punch to her jaw. A kick to her head. Nothing. Pain explodes behind her eyes as Rogue uppercuts her then dissipates into darkness. The young woman bends over the Morlock's silent frame.

"Ah'm sorry, Marrow, but this time ya went too far."

No answer. Rogue dips her wounded leg into the swimming pool and redness spreads over the transparent surface. . . .

"My dear, you have sustained some damage to the quadraceps." Beast peels off his surgical gloves and throws them in the trash, "Fortunately, it seems that it will heal by itself and not need surgery."

"Thanks." Rogue replaces the towel around her slim waist and jumps off the table.

"Not so fast, Rogue." Beast smiles, "I still have to suture the wound."

"Great." She sits down again and stretches out her leg, "Go for it, Hank."

"Now that you are at my tender mercy, I would like to ask you a few questions." He pauses, "Starting with why you'd attack a woman who evidently is a few molecules short of a polymer."

"She provoked me. Ah snapped - it won't happen again." She says curtly, "Frankly, Hank. Ah'm surprised y'all agreed ta see me aftah what Ah did. Ah know you didn't approve o' mah choice."

He inserts the needle into her skin and begins to close the wound, "Even if I did not believe in the sanctity of all life, my encounter with my deplorable doppelganger has shown me that Gambit could very easily be me. None of us are above making mistakes. Not even you."

"It wasn't a mistake, Hank."

"Wasn't it?" He looks into her eyes, seeing the false brightness that is there.

"Ah'm not so sure any more." She says quietly, "Ah loved Remy. Ah nevah wanted ta hurt him . . . but . . . but . . . he used me."

"Used you?" Beast bends back over his suturing.

"Th' ol' shrink's trick o' repeatin' th' last words of a sentence, Hank? Ah thought that was beneath ya."

"Ya?" He repeats, grinning.

"Forget it. Ah'll get Reyes ta finish th' job." She stands.

"Sit. I will not let that barely-competent surgeon lay her hands on you."

"Professional jealousy?"

"Not in the slightest. Just because she has more experience in emergency medicine than I have is no reason to envy her." Beast says, hastily, "But you were saying that you felt Remy used you?"

"Ta judge him, like he wouldn't judge himself." She sighs, "He controlled me. Made me leave him behind ta die. Made me say Ah didn't care."

"Do you?"

"Hank. He's everythin' ta me." Tears fill her eyes, "An' Ah'm scared that he hates me. That he can't forgive me. That . . . ."

He takes her in his arms and comforts her, blue fur preventing any contact with her bare skin.

"Shhh . . . . Although I cannot give you assurance that his feelings now are not as you described, I can say that he indeed did love you. May still love you."

"Now . . . Ah feel like Ah'm losin' control, Beast." She sobs into his chest, "Attackin' Marrow like Ah did."

"She's hardly Miss Morlock Personality, my dear." Beast replies, "Even I sometimes feel that I should create a need for my surplus Plaster of Paris."

"But . . . but . . . it coulda been anyone. Scott. Storm. Bobby. Joseph." Rogue says, "An' Ah wouldn't've cared that they were my friends."

"Rogue. Everyone goes through periods in their lives where they feel that they are losing control." He strokes her hair, "I went through my personal crucible when Infectia caused the reemergance of my hirsuite condition."


"When Infectia caused me to once more become hairier than an English Sheepdog on Rogaine."


"Dry those eyes." Beast passes her a handkerchief, "One pair of red ones per couple is usually enough."

Rogue laughs weakly and dabs at her eyes.

"Is that a smile I see on that beautiful face?"

"Thanks, Hank." She squeezes his hand, "Ah don't know what Ah would do without you."

"See that quack by the name of Cecilia Reyes?" He suggests.

"You *are* jealous, Hank."

"Get going before I decide that you need a tetanus shot to go with those stitches."

The smile fades off his face as he closes the door behind her and sits down, face in his clumsy-delicate hands. Talking to Rogue has reminded him of his own pain, which he thought he had forgotten. Exorcised. And while he may hide it, he knows that it is still there, lingering on the borders of sensation, waiting for the moment when he lets his guard down to cripple him again.

The young man stands on the doorstep and looks up at the mansion. He is wearing a dark suit and darker glasses which hide his unusual eyes. He runs a nervous hand through his shortish auburn hair, as if improving his appearance might change the way they feel about him. Change the outcome of the trial . . . .


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