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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 5

I who have died . . .

(i who have died am alive again today,

and this is the sun's birthday; this is the birth

day of life and love and wings:and of the gay

great happening illimitably earth)

From i thank You God for most this amazing by e.e. cummings

Central Park is dark. People walk through the sheltered lanes, brightening and fading as they walk in and out of the lamplight. Dark, but not completely so. Gambit looks at Rogue as they stand in silence. Her green eyes are preoccupied as she watches the moonlight on the lake; her lips curved in a half-smile. Her free hand hitches up her long, white dress, preventing it from trailing on the ground, revealing a few inches of ankle. He bends and picks up a stone, throwing it into the lake. It skips across the water, leaving ripples as it does, before sinking. He suddenly remembers walking with his father on a night similar to this one. A night where there had been no stars. He remembers the light of the windows of the French Quarter spilling golden across the street, and walking in the shadows, as all thieves did. He remembers wondering why his father had avoided the light. He had been fifteen then - it was the night he had been told about his arranged marriage to Belladonna. His father had looked so old and sad as he had put his arm around Remy's shoulder and said: "Ya may laugh wit' a woman, marry her, have t'ree children an' a mortgage, but don' call it love until ya've cried wit' her."

He had not meant Belladonna, Gambit realises, his father had always known that their feelings for each other were more out of duty, than any deep affection. He had even managed to deceive himself into thinking that he loved her. That their marriage was more than a hollow sham. That the price he paid for her resurrection was worth it.

"Penny foh your thoughts?" Rogue's voice is quiet, as if she is scared of intruding again.

"Jus t'inking bout mon pere." He smiles, "An' de way he said dat it wasn't love unless ya've been t'rough bad times wit' a femme."

"Remy . . . Ah . . . ."

"Shhh . . . I know ya weren't yaself de night o' de trial. Heard a lot o' m'self in what ya said, truth be told."

"Still doesn't make anything right." She sits, long skirt spilling across the grass, "There's been too much bad blood between us ta go back an' start again. Pretend nothing evah happened."

"Oui." He nods, "But mebbe we c'n move forward."

"Yeah, ya were wrong ta pretend that you didn't have a past, an' Ah was wrong ta care that you did."

Gambit grins, "Can't help t'inking if I had told you about it before, we wouldn' be havin' dis conversation now."

"Maybe not, but we are." She plucks a piece of grass and twirls it around her finger like a ring, "Maybe we need ta."

"Oui." He says, "Needed t'have dis conversation months ago, when t'ings started fallin' apart. When ya came back from North Carolina . . . ."

"With Joseph on mah arm." She finishes quietly, "Gawd only knows how sorry Ah am foh not seein' how much Ah was hurtin' you by bein' with him."

"I was jealous." He admits, "Told Drake in Seattle dat ya'd come back t'de X-Men, but not t'me. Never really believed it until I saw ya with him."

"Ya didn't seem ta need me." She says, "Heck, you started actin' like you didn't much want me."

"Christmas Eve?" He asks, a secretive smile playing across his lips.


"Ya t'ink I wanted t'spend it alone, chere?" He turns to face her, "Dat I didn' know what Joe had planned an' how much it would mean t'ya?"

"You knew bout th' Z'noxx chamber?" She is incredulous.

"Oui. Knew dat Joe could give ya de one t'ing I couldn' - de ability t'touch wit'out fear." He becomes somber, "Part o' de reason I backed off later. T'ought ya'd be happier wit' someone ya could touch dan someone ya couldn'."

"Someone Ah once knew said that we needed ta learn that love is more than the physical." She smiles, "Ah've believed that evah since."

"Have ya, chere?"

She nods, "Ah've also learnt that there's more than one way of touchin' a person. You've touched me in a way that Joseph nevah could - no matter how many Z'noxx chambers he had."

"Caused ya a lot of pain as well by not tellin' ya bout de massacre." He says, "I t'ought dat if ya didn' know, ya would be safe. Guess de trial proved dat theory wrong."

Rogue is silent, rembering something she would rather forget. The touch of his lips on hers. The memories that flowed as if through a conduit into her mind. The pain and guilt she knew he had been living with ever since the massacre. A guilt which she now shared.

"F'r de record, I don' blame ya. Can't say I woulda done much different if I was in your shoes.", he continues.

"Ah always thought that when it came right down to it, Ah'd be understandin'. Forgivin'. An' then when it did, Ah wasn't." She sighs, "It seemed at th' time like every man Ah'd loved had betrayed me in some way or another."

"I don' understand."

"When Ah was a kid, mah daddy beat me." Her voice is hard, emotionless, "Told me he was doin' it because he loved me. Said he did it ta get th' wickedness out of me."

"Chere . . . ."

"Let me finish first."

Gambit nods his consent.

"Then Cody came along . . . made me fall in love with him. Touch him. Discover Ah had these blasted powers." She looks at her hands, holding them up as if they contain something poisonous, "Nevah thought Ah would love again. Knew that Ah couldn't." She pauses, "Ah suppose Ah was a bit of a flirt aftah that . . . used ta lead men on, an', whenevah it threatened ta turn serious, Ah pushed them away. But it was all different with you . . . . Foh th' first time in mah life Ah was honest with a man, an' when it turned out that you lied ta me bout your past, Ah was furious."

"I wanted t'protect ya from it. Was scared dat Sinister would use ya t'get t'me."

She laughs, "Sugah, th' sentiment was noble, but Ah *am* old enough ta take care of mahself."

"Know dat, chere." He smiles, "Ya seemed t'do pretty good while I was gone."

She snaps the grass blade that lies curled in her hands, "Seemed bein' th' operative word. Inside Ah was a wreck."

"Kinda like me when ya went away." He comments, "Makes me wonder why we put each other t'rough dis."

"Don't know." She shakes her head, strands of white hair falling across her face like a veil, "Ah'm pretty sure Jean an' Scott don't have these sort of problems."

"Oui. But who'd want t'be Jean an' Scott?" He jokes, "Almost fell out o' my chair when I heard Scott standin' up f'r me."

"Good thing he did, sugah." She smiles, " Cause Ah sure don't want ta lose you again."

"Don' ya see?" He says, "Ya never did."

"But . . . ."

"I've loved ya from de first time I saw ya, Rogue. Dat hasn't changed." He grins, "Never will."

"You know how Ah feel about you."

"Now *dat* sounds like me." He teases.

"Okay." She lifts her hands in mock surrender, "Ah love you. Is that what you wanted ta hear?"

He nods, "Dat an' whether ya t'ink we can move forward from dis - together?"

"You realise that it won't be th' same?"

"Don' much care as long as I'm wit' you."

"Then who'm Ah ta disagree?" She extends her hand for him to take it, "Should we go home, Remy?"

"Been waitin' all m'life f'r dis moment, chere." He stands, hand-in-hand with her, "Let's go."


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