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"Death of a Dream"

Death of a Dream

Chapter 1: Homecoming
Chapter 2: Old Ghosts
Chapter 3: Strange Bedfellows
Chapter 4: Melancholy Memories
Chapter 5: Of Love and Betrayal
Chapter 6: Innocence Lost
Chapter 7: Of Friendship and Discovery
Chapter 8: First Blood
Chapter 9: Cast Out
Chapter 10: Revelations
Chapter 11: Of Love and Hope
Chapter 12: Stolen Lives
Chapter 13: Bad Dreams
Chapter 14: The Ties that Bind
Chapter 15: A Hero's Life
Chapter 16: Old Wounds
Chapter 17: A Time of Last Things
Chapter 18: The Final Countdown
Chapter 19: Battlezone
Chapter 20: Zero Hour
Chapter 21: A Glimmer of Hope

The sequel to this story is "The Resurrection Gauntlet."

Death of a Dream

Chapter 11: Of Love and Hope

Gambit resembled nothing so much as a dying fish in that moment as he gasped for air, mouth opening and closing helplessly. Rogue idly mused that the illusion would be complete if he were to fall to the floor and begin flopping around, and she chuckled at that thought, despite the severity of the moment and the state of her current situation.

He seemed to regain a bit of control as he heard her stifled laugh, mouth closing with a snap of finality. "You mean...I'm goin' to be a daddy, chere?" he asked, his voice still weak and thin despite his regained composure.

The moment of humor fled, and she tensed again, knowing that this moment was crucial, both to her, and her children's lives. His poker face had returned, offering her little comfort and reminding her that she had no idea how he might react to this news. She simply nodded in response, not trusting herself to speak.

He stood up, rising from the bed as if rising from a dream. One hand rubbed his angular, stubbly chin thoughtfully as he turned away from her, letting the news sink in.

Rogue's heart sank as she watched him, the silence between stretching out into long minutes of agony. Her eyes followed him as he moved to the window, leaning down and placing his hands on the sill to support himself. She could see that the sudden announcement had held no less surprise for him than it did for her, and perhaps even less joy. Her own happiness seemed to depend on his reaction at this point, though she knew that even if he turned his back on her now, she would go on and raise the children by herself. The very thought frightened her, and again, she was ironically amused that after all she had been through in her life, all the times she had stared death in the face, that this, the simple thought of bearing children, shook her to the core of her soul. Still, the silence stretched on, and finally, she could bear it no longer. "Remy...Ah know this is--"

He turned back toward her, shaking his head. " words now, petite." He moved back to her side and sat down on the bed again, placing a gentle finger upon her lips. "You let ol' Remy have his say 'fore you be goin' on about anything."

She met his eyes tentatively, nodding as she tried to read the expression within them.

He let his fingers slide from her lips then, coming to rest on the thick comforter she had wrapped herself up in. His gaze fell to his hand as well, staring at it as if he didn't really see it, as if he were gazing off into some distant, far away space. He began speaking, slowly at first, as he struggled with the words.

"Ain't no secret, chere, dat dis cajun ain't never been one much for settlin' down. All my life, I been without much in the way of family, running from one caper to the next without a care. I never wanted to care, chere. Carin' never brought me anything but hurt. So I threw myself into a life of thievery, becoming one of the best at what I did. I concentrated on it to the exclusion of almost everything else in life. Den Belle came along. I was promised to her, I never had a real choice. Within de guild, you have responsibilities, duties dat have to be fulfilled. What was between us...dat was never really love, now dat I look back on it. It was simply a necessity to bring peace between two guilds. Dere were other femmes, of course, over de one Sabretooth told you about," he visibly winced as he mentioned that, as if the memory caused him physical pain, then pushed on. "And others, lots of others. But love...? Dat was the one thing dat always seemed to escape me." He broke of momentarily then, shaking his head, and she resisted the urge to reach out and comfort him, determined to hear everything he had to say before making any kind of decision.

He sighed heavily, and continued. "So I did what I did best all those years, livin' off whatever I could steal. I convinced myself dat I was happy with dat, jus' me an' my money. But all dat changed de day Stormy came walkin' into my life. She showed me dat life could be so much more, dat dere were things in this life worth believing in, worth fighting for, worth dying for, even. It didn't happen right away, but over time, de more time I spent with de X-Men, de more I came to think the same way." He paused then, lifting his eyes to meet hers finally as he spoke his next words. "But it wasn't til you came along, chere, dat I started believin' in love."

Her breath caught in her throat for a moment, and she almost reached for him again. Then she shoved away the urge, reminding herself that for all that he had said, he had really told her nothing yet. For her sake, for the babies' sake, she had to be strong. She couldn't afford to waste time on a man not willing to make a commitment to his own children, more than that, she didn't want to waste time on a man like that. She steeled herself as she waited for him continue, preparing herself for the worst even as some distant part of her hoped against hope, praying for him to speak the words she longed to hear.

"I love you, chere," he repeated, affirming his declaration of a moment ago. "I think I always have. It was like I never had a choice, from de moment we first met. But dis time...not havin' a choice seemed like one of de best feelin's in de world. And still, for all dat I had found love, for all dat I had found dis wonderful thing...I couldn't believe in it enough to be straight with you." His gaze dropped again, as if he were ashamed of his admission. "I should have been...I know dat now. I knew it den, truth to tell. But I was afraid to tell you...afraid it would make you turn away from me. Dat I would lose de one woman in de world dat I could truly love. And in de end...I did. But not for de reasons I thought. If I had told you, if I had just been straight with you, things might have been different between us." He shook his head again, seeming to come back from his reverie, eyes taking on a more focused look as he looked to her again.

"Can't do nothin' bout de past, chere. If anyone knows dat, it's me. I can't erase what I did for Sinister all those years ago, and I can't change what happened between us in Antarctica, either." He reached out, taking her hand in his, leaning close to her as his eyes searched hers, seeming to look deep within. "But I can decide what happens right here and now. I got a chance to get all dat happiness we had once, back again. An' dere ain't no way I'm gonna screw it up dis time. I love you chere, more dan anything else in dis world, an' be damned if I'm gonna walk away because our love brought a child into dis world, even if I don't think I'm ready for dat."

"Children," she muttered numbly, still shocked by his words.

"Children?" he repeated dumbly, that stupefied, blank look beginning to settle onto his face again.

For a moment, she thought he would faint as she nodded in answer, and then, a bright smile began to spread over his face. "Twins?"

She nodded again, afraid to speak, afraid that somehow it might shatter the moment, or wake her from what she feared might only be a dream.

He laughed aloud then, throwing his arms around her and surprising her with the intensity of his embrace. Nuzzling his head against hers, the smile was evident in his voice as he spoke. "Hard as I find it to believe chere, I think I must be de happiest man alive right now. Imagine...we gonna have a family."

She smiled at last, wrapping her arms about him tightly and squeezing him hard against her. Tears of happiness welled behind her eyes as she heard him speak. At last, at long last, she felt some hope for the future again; hers and Remy's, their children's, and the entire world. "Remy...Ah don't even know what to say...," she trailed off, surprised again as he suddenly drew back from her embrace. She watched curiously as he fiddled about the pockets of his trench coat, seemingly searching for something.

"Drat..where did I...," he muttered, frowning, then smiled as he seemed to locate what he was looking for. "I was hopin' to do dis proper, chere...sometime after all dis nasty war business was done, preferably. And when I got up de nerve...," he added, voice lowering for a moment. Then his smile returned, and he slipped from the bed, sitting on his knees before her. "Took me some time to procure dis from de X-Men's storage basement, but I managed." He pulled a small pouch from his trench coat pocket and opened it, pausing before drawing out whatever hid within it as he looked up at her again. He leaned up to kiss her then, lips meeting hers in a gentle, lingering moment, barely drawing back as he pulled away and stared deep into her eyes. He reached for her hand and pulled it up just below his chin, eyes not straying from hers as he leaned down to kiss it and slipped something onto one of her fingers. " cherie...will you make me de happiest man in de world an' marry me?"

She gasped, eyes filling with tears as she looked down and saw her mother's engagement ring upon her finger, the emerald and its surrounding diamonds blurring as her tears finally spilled over. He must have gotten it from the things I left behind at the mansion, she realized dimly.

"Sabine...mah name is Sabine, Remy...and yes, Ah will."

Later, as they lay entwined in each others arms, Gambit watched her as she slept cradled against him, eyes closed peacefully in contentment. He stroked her cheek softly with one finger, drinking in her beauty with his eyes as he let his thoughts drift. For all that the news had come as a surprise, he found himself genuinely happy at the thought of raising a family with Rogue, of finally attaining the happiness they had always longed for together. What he did not relish, was the thought of raising those children within the Brotherhood. True, he had come here on the pretense of being an ally to the Brotherhood while actually spying on them for the X-Men, but his true motivation for coming here had been her. It had always been about her. This woman whom he loved so fiercely, with everything in his soul. He would die for her, he knew...and for their children, doing anything he could to protect them. And letting them remain here, with the Brotherhood, was not his idea of protection.

She stirred slightly, and he snuggled close against her, soothing her back into deep sleep. Holding her close, his eyes stared off into the darkness, beginning to glow intently as he plotted.


Continued in Chapter Twelve


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