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"The Resurrection Gauntlet"

The Resurrection Gauntlet

The sequel to "Death of a Dream."

The Enemy of My Enemy...
From the Grave
Into the Fire
Shifting the Ashes
Ghosts of Past and Present
Of Regret and Remembrance
Deeper into Darkness
Old Habits
Trial by Fire
The Downard Spiral
Life Incarnate

This story is in progress.

The Resurrection Gauntlet

Chapter 1: DISCOVERY

Remy LeBeau loved his children. He had sat, watching, through all of Rogue's streaming curses and hurled insults, with a kind of detached fascination that had never quite left him afterward, as they pushed their way into the world. Watching them grow, change, slowly becoming individuals of their own as they all provided him with a feeling of intense pride, joy and love. He had never known anything could feel so good. To think, he, a street rat and a thief could actually take pride in the simple fact of having children and become a respectable father. You gettin' soft, Remy, he thought to himself and chuckled.

With a smile that he seemed to wear far too often these days, he scooped up Irinee' as she ran past giggling, pulling her up into his lap. "What you doin', chere?" he asked, tweaking her nose just slightly. She was getting a bit too big for his lap now, or at least, that's what his aching thigh muscles told him. At 6 years old, laps become a very short-lived way of being held.

Irinee' giggled back in answer, tweaking his own nose in return before slipping off his lap and taking off down the hallway.

Remy chuckled and shook his head, watching her brother Jean-Luc eagerly take up the chase behind her, wondering idly what the X-Men would think if they could see him now.

Oddly enough, he found himself wishing that Bishop were still alive to see this. The thought sent a strange pang through him, sorrow mixed with curiousity and regret. He had barely known the big man, but in another life, in another time, he had raised him from boyhood, become the closest thing to a father that Bishop ever had. Had he been a good father, then? He didn't tend to think so from the way Bishop had spoken of the "Witness"; Remy's counterpart in Bishop's time. And today, he wondered if Bishop were here, would he share in Remy's pride? or stand by as stoicly as he always had throughout the years, with that slight, disapproving frown he always seemed to wear whenever he passed glances with him?

He supposed he would never know. Mentally, he sighed and added that to the long list of things in this life that he would probably never know. He did know, at least, that he now wished he had gotten to know Bishop a lot better than he had.

His thoughts cut themselves short, then, as Magnus stepped into the room. He felt himself stiffen involuntarily at the sight of the older man, at once on guard. The rift between them had never really seemed to heal after his consciousness had been restored, at least, not as far as Remy was concerned. He genuinely respected Magnus on a heroic level, but the attraction between the elder man and Rogue had always been a point of contention for him. He didn't really know how Magnus felt about that...and he supposed that that was part of the problem. Remy hated slipping into old habits, most of his old habits were not very conductive to...well, to much of anything. But still, for all that he broken past that with Rogue and even some of the other X-Men, he still found that when confronted by something or someone who made him uncomfortable, he dealt with it the best way he knew how: slipping right back into his cocky fašade. The barriers came up and shut tight. For that reason, and for simplicity's sake, Remy always tried to keep things brief between them...though that didn't mean that a little fun wasn't in order.

Magnus cleared his throat belatedly, perhaps to make a point, perhaps just to gain his total attention, Remy wasn't certain. One corner of his mouth curled upward slightly, and he cocked one brow at the older man almost arrogantly, as if to give him permission to speak. Despite their differences, Remy's hatred for slipping back into this persona, and no matter how much Remy might mistrust the man with his wife, he enjoyed this little game between them, to an extent. Magnus had always had an air of arrogance about him, of self-assurance and control, the type of presence that made people stop what they were doing when he entered a room. Remy had never bowed before it, upping his own arrogant demeanor just a tad whenever the man was around. It was a pissing contest, perhaps, but it was mildly amusing, and he rather thought that Magnus secretly enjoyed it from time to time as well.

Today was obviously not one of those times.

Magnus' face, always intense in expression, seemed to darken even further as the cajun took on his cocky stance, but he chose not to comment as he spoke. "Do you know where Rogue might be, Gambit?"

His voice was polite, but Remy could sense the urgency behind it, and his testosterone level quickly declined as he let his cocky demeanor slip a few notches.

"She was in de training room a bit ago. Bobby's watchin' de kids right now, so she took some time to work out." He paused, watching Magnus' expression, frowning slightly. "Sometin' wrong?"

"Perhaps." Magnus said, and if Remy didn't know better, he'd think the man was actually hesitating. "I think you and Rogue might be interested in seeing these test results." He motioned to the documents he held in one hand. The sudden neutrality of Magnus' tone snapped him fully to attention. "What test results?"

"Your children's."

Polaris wiped the blood from the corner of her mouth, gritting her teeth together in a manner that Wolverine would have applauded as a fair imitation of snarling, animal rage. Had she been slightly less coherent, she might have even growled at the approaching bulk of metal threateningly, but it hadn't hit her quite that hard. She didn't even take the time to curse herself for letting the huge robot get the drop on her with its blasts, instead launching herself directly at it with the speed of a bullet, wrapping her magnetic field around her so densely that she nearly resembled the very object whose velocity she imitated. She passed through its massive chest with an ease that would have frightened her once. Now, it just made her vicious smile twist that much more in bitter satisfaction. She slowed her motion as she passed through its back, pulling to a halt in mid-air and turning to watch as it squawked in its death throes. Her aim had been true; she had destroyed its main power source with her mimicked bullet, leaving behind a smoking hole the size of a bus in its chest. It fell with a resounding thud, the buildings around it shuddering dangerously with its impact against the street. Polaris cast the structures a wary glance, then nodded slightly to herself as they settled uneasily back into their foundations without toppling.

She paused for a moment to admire her work, then headed back down toward the street and her actual objective for being there. When she had heard Cerebro's beeping alert going off in the Nerve Center, she hadn't stopped to bother Magneto, knowing he was in an important meeting with Rogue and Gambit. She had seen the power signature of an Alpha class mutant and noted that it seemed to be in trouble, pulled up the location, and taken off as quickly as she could. Luckily, the skirmish had been nearby to their base, or she never would have arrived in time. She hadn't even had time to check on the unconscious mutant, having to attack the Sentinel head on before it killed the unfortunate soul. Now, as she neared the mutant she had rescued, her curiosity was finally piqued.

Touching down, the first thing she noticed was that the mutant was definitely female and dressed in normal clothing. She found that rather odd, considering that most mutants never left the safety of their homes without their uniforms these days; battles were too frequent to risk otherwise. That meant this girl was either incredibly stupid, untrained in her powers, or that she didn't belong to any team. Unusual, anyway you looked at it, she thought, musing.

Her time in the war had taught her to be cautious if nothing else, and she prodded the girl gently with one foot, ready to bring her powers to bear at the slightest sign of a threat. But the girl simply lay there, and finally Polaris employed her power to turn the girl over so she could view her face.

Long blond hair, the color of pale wheat and just as thick, turned with the girls body, long locks sliding over to obscure her features. Her body looked to be about that of an average 18 year-old, with no discernable mutations that Polaris could detect. Finally, she knelt beside the girl and drew her hair back from her face, powers held barely an instant away from reacting if the girl attacked.

And then, Polaris forgot completely about her powers, her safety, even forgot, for a moment, to breathe as the girls face came into view. Lids held wide around her green irises, she simply stared for what seemed an eternity, her mind unable to comprehend what she was seeing.

In that moment, she even forgot that she had lost her faith in the church as she whispered brokenly in astonishment. "My God..."

In what serviced as their meeting room, Rogue sat tensely on the edge of her seat, Gambit standing beside her, one hand placed comfortingly on her shoulder. Although truth to tell, he didn't look very comforted himself at the moment, Magnus noted. He bit back a sigh and inwardly chuckled bitterly at the thought that he, the once famed worldwide mutant terrorist, now cringed at the thought of being the bearer of bad news. Charles probably would have gotten a good laugh out of that. But the thought of Charles sobered him immediately, driving away even any dark humor he might have held. How he wished that his old friend were here now. If anyone would know what to do, it would be Charles.

But Charles wasn't here, would never be here again, and Magnus had to face this on his own the best he could. Resigning himself to the unpleasant task at hand, he took a seat across the table from Rogue.

"First of all", he began, "let me say that it is not as bad as you probably fear. There may be a solution." He watched with satisfaction as both of their postures relaxed slightly. They were still tense, but not terrified, and that would make this a bit easier. Feeling a bit less tense himself, he continued

"We already know that both of your children possess the mutant ability of telepathy, strong enough to disperse as powerful presence as the Shadow King, though to what upper extent we have not previously been certain. Recently, as you both know, I have been trying to improve on our technology, trying to make our base here more efficient. I have been able to extend Cerebro's capabilities beyond what they previously were, giving a better reading of not just a mutants location, but powers and power levels before ever confronting them." He paused and glanced at both of them, taking a moment to let that sink in. Remy simply nodded and squeezed Rogue's shoulder, indicating for him to continue.

He laced his fingers before him on the table and continued a bit more carefully. This was where the ground started to drop out from under his feet. "Cerebro indicates enormous levels of potential power in both of your children. The telepathy alone stands to overshadow even Xavier, himself."

Rogue turned a slightly lighter shade of pale, and Remy unconsciously squeezed her shoulder a bit tighter. Both began to speak at once.

"Telepathy ALONE? What else--"

"Overshadow Xavier?"

He put up his hands in a calming, quieting gesture, and both of them fell silent. "Yes, they have the potential to far outstrip Xavier in telepathic power. And yes, they have other potential abilities as well. Though what those other abilities might be, Cerebro is uncertain, beyond that they seem energy based."

Magnus already felt himself growing weary of this conversation as he watched their expressions change to incorporate both fear and shock. And that wasn't even all he had to tell them. He lifted one hand to rub the bridge of his nose, feeling a slight headache beginning to grow there. He hadn't imagined that this part of the news would bring so much stress. It was the next that would surely have them horrified.

"There is more", he went on, wanting to draw this to a close. "There is a problem."

"No kidding", Rogue snorted.

"Although your childrens powers have remained latent since the incident with the Shadow King, they will almost certainly manifest completely at puberty. In fact, I'm uncertain as to why they were not born with them. My only theory is that perhaps they burned themselves out for a while with the effort it took to remove the Shadow Kings presence."

"The problem?", Remy interrupted his theorizing.

"The problem is, that when your childrens powers do manifest, whenever that might be, they will literally have so much power spilling from their heads that they won't be able to contain it. You remember Jean Grey?"

They both nodded, looking ashen at his prediction, still too numb to let the repercussions of his statement register.

"When she first came to Xavier, it was because she could not control her telepathic abilities. She did not know how to screen out other people's thoughts and it almost drove her insane. Xavier placed several mental blocks on her power, to keep it under control until she could learn how to use it to its full potential. It was the only thing that saved her mind." He stopped speaking and looked at them both gravely, hoping they would not need him to elaborate any further.

They didn't.

It was Remy who spoke first. " mean dat unless someone can block de childrens powers when dey kick in...dey going to end up brain dead." It wasn't a question.

"Or worse" Magnus agreed, his voice tight.

Rogue reached up and gripped Remy's hand tightly, her fingers trembling as badly as her voice when next she spoke. "And there are no telepaths left to help them..." her voice was a bare whisper.

This time, Magnus only nodded.

Remy held close to Rogue in the darkness, the regularity of her breathing telling him that she had finally fallen asleep. The children were tucked safely into their beds, and the entire house, if you could really call this base a house, he thought, was silent. Everyone all snuggled down tight as could be, nothing stirring, not even a mouse. The line passed unbidden through his head and he dismissed it quickly. There was no time for idle thinking right now.

He, Rogue and Magnus had spent the afternoon racking their brains, trying to come up with some alternative for Irinee' and Jean-Luc's ultimate problem, and had come away empty-handed. After a time, Remy had given up completely, letting their voices fade into the background even as a terrible thought began to take hold of him.

Rogue and Magnus seemed convinced that there was no one left who could help them...but they were wrong about that. There was one person Remy knew of, but he didn't even want to think about that.

I already sold my soul to him once...was lucky I got it back dat time. Won't be so lucky, twice. You'd best be thinkin' bout sometin' else, LeBeau. he chided himself.

He shivered in the darkness, despite the blankets that covered him, and tried to push the thought to the back of his mind. But even as he fell into fitful sleep, visions of Sinister's face danced before him like the Serpent surely did before Eve.


Continued in Chapter 2


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