The Resurrection Gauntlet
Chapter 12: AWAKENINGS
Rogue was delightfully surprised as she made her way downstairs
for dinner. Having thought to grab a snack in the kitchen,
she stopped just short of her goal in the dining room, taking
in the scene that greeted her.
The large wooden table at the center of the room was covered
in a lace cloth and adorned with candles, all of the chairs
missing except for two right at the very head. There was a
place setting before each chair; china plates and what looked
like real silverware, with crystal wineglass set to the side.
A smile curving her lips, she folded her arms across her chest
and shook her head.
"You like, cherie?" asked a rather smug sounding
Remy as he emerged from the kitchen with two extremely large
lobsters on a silver tray.
"Ah like, very much," Rogue agreed, her smile broadening
as she moved toward one of the chairs. "But Ah don't
even wanna know where you got real lobsters from out here
the middle of the desert."
Smiling, Remy placed a finger to his lips and winked, setting
down the tray between their plates.
Rogue grinned, shook her head again, and couldn't quite keep
herself from asking, "And the silverware?"
"Chere, please," Remy did his best to look offended.
"Not all thieves steal silverware. Dat's just in de movies.
Besides, dis guy owed me, fair and square."
"And why do Ah think he didn't pay up willingly?"
Remy swept a cloth napkin into her lap and leaned in, kissing
her softly on the lips. "I'll be right back with de rest
of de food."
"That's what I thought," she chuckled and watched
him re-enter the kitchen.
A few minutes later, their plates were filled, and Rogue
had to admit it was the best meal she'd had in years. Everyone
usually took turns cooking for the team, and there was rarely
time to make anything so extravagant. "So to what do
Ah owe the pleasure of this dinner?" she asked, starting
in on her second glass of wine.
"Well, with de team gone and Illyana keepin' an eye
on de little ones, I figured you an' me were long past due
for some quality time."
"It has been a while, hasn't it?" she asked with
a mild chuckle as she sipped from her wineglass. "Between
being parents and part of a super-hero team, we've rarely
had any time to ourselves."
"Exactly what I thought, petite," he replied with
"But there's something more, isn't there?" she
asked with just a touch of sadness. "This is wonderful
Remy, but I can't help but feel something is out of place."
He lowered his head, staring into the depths of his wineglass
intently. "And what makes you t'ink dat, mon chere?"
Rogue shook her head to clear away the dizzying feeling that
overtook her before replying, "You've been acting strange
ever since Magnus told us about the twins..."
He nodded, not replying as he refilled her empty wineglass.
"And...?" she asked as she lifted the glass to
"And ... I HAVE been feelin' odd lately, chere. You
know as well as I do that dis de perfect opportunity for Sinister
to come and take de children. He's even set it up perfectly."
She nodded, wondering how the wine had gone to her head so
quickly. "Ah do, Remy. An Ah know how you feel about
him ... but Ah still don't understand why you think he'd come
after Irinee' and Jean-Luc after all this time."
"Because dey at de perfect age for him to exploit,"
he said bitterly. "Chere ... you know well as I do how
he chased after Scott and Jean's children forever while dey
was alive. Our children stand to be even more powerful. What
do you t'ink he would do?"
Rogue stared quietly down at her plate for a long time before
answering. "Ah think you're probably right, Remy ...
but what can we do about it?"
"Nothing," he answered emphatically, his eyes never
leaving hers. "Nothing, so long as we jus' sit here and
"And you think there's a better option?" she asked,
struggling to keep her eyes focused on his.
"I do," he nodded. "I t'ink Sinister need
taking out before he even get de chance to get at our children."
"And you think we can do this together? Even with the
X-Men at our side?" she sounded desperate for hope, and
her voice tugged at Remy's heart.
"Non," he replied, taking the negative stance again.
"The X-Men refuse to, without good cause, an' you, ma
chere," he reached across the table and took her chin
in his hand. "You are far too precious t' risk against
such a monster."
"Remy," she slurred, trying to get the words out
as best she could. "You know Ah'll always stand at your
side, no matter what."
"I know, chere," he nodded solemnly, leaning across
the table to kiss her gently. "An' dat's why I can't
let you. De children ... dey goin' to need you if anything
happens to me ... you goin' to have to protect them if my
gambit," he nearly choked at the play on words, "fails."
"Remy ... what're you talking about?" she asked,
jerking her face violently from his hands. "There's no
way in hell Ah'm letting you go after him alone!
Again, he nodded. "I know, chere ... dat's why I drugged
de wine. Enough in dere to poison an elephant ... figured
it should be more dan enough for you ... "
Her face betrayed a number of emotions ... shock, horror,
rage, and even, Remy thought, understanding. "Remy, no...,"
she whispered, reaching out to him even as she fell back into
"Oh, ma chere," he shook his head, grimacing as
he rose to catch her, holding her carefully in his arms. He
hated this, having to deceive her in such a way, to trick
her as he had tricked so many in his life. His heart welled
up almost painfully with emotion, aching in his chest, feeling
as if it might burst with love and sorrow. "If dere were
any other way, I'd do it in a heartbeat. But I love you, an'
our children far too much to leave dis avenue open. Sinister
has to go down, an' I t'ink I know de way..."
"But what if you don't, Remy?" she asked, struggling
to focus on the words. "Ah NEED you ... Irinee' and Jean-Luc
NEED you ... without you, what'll happen to us?"
He wiped the tears tenderly from her cheek, knowing she no
longer had the strength to do so. He felt her pain as poignantly
as he felt his own ... he wanted nothing more than to carry
her up to their room, kiss her tears away and make love to
her until everything was right again between them. He wanted
to ignore it as blissfully as he had ignored everything else
in his life. But that could never happen as long as Sinister
was still in the picture ... not for him.
"Ma chere...," he whispered hoarsely, leaning in
to kiss her neck gently. "I love you as I have no other,
an' as I will never love again ... more even, dan I love our
children ... an' dat's why I'm willing to take dis chance
for you, for dem. 'Cause you mean more to me dan anythin'
else in dis world, an' I'll never see Sinister take dat away."
He caressed her hair, smoothing it back from her face, gazing
upon its beauty and taking his fill, as if it were for the
last time, and indeed, he knew it might be. Her emerald green
eyes, the fine line of her jaw, feminine, but so strong, the
auburn hair that curled around her delicate face ... she was
the most beautiful creature he had ever known. "Understand
... I do dis for US, not me." He searched her eyes desperately
for some modicum of understanding, knowing that the mist fogging
his vision had nothing to do with the small bit of wine he
Her consciousness fading, she reached out vainly with one
hand, caressing his cheek for a brief moment, until it fell
uselessly at her side. "Ah love you Remy ... .Ah'm so
scared ... please ... don't ... don't ... ," she gasped,
her body finally giving way to the drug and collapsing into
He winced at her words, tears welling up behind his eyes.
"An' I love you ... but I cannot do otherwise, ma chere,"
he whispered, knowing she was already gone. "God knows
I don't want to leave you, leave the children. I'm scared
t'death of what awaits me on the road ahead. But if you remember
nothing else tonight, remember dat I love you here and now,
and will into whatever lies beyond. I'll always be with you
... always." Pulling her body close to his, he hugged
her tightly, kissing her still lips with more passion than
he had known in years. Then, he gathered her in his arms and
carried her up the stairs to their room.
Remy LeBeau slipped out into the night, feeling more like
a coward than a hero as he made his way from the grounds.
He felt like a fool for leaving Rogue as he did, and he knew
that when she woke up in the morning, he would be lucky if
she ever even spoke to him again, much less love him. He only
hoped she could understand that what he was doing was needed
... that he was doing it for them. Magnus didn't seem to feel
the same urgency as Remy ... and if he had it his way, the
X-Men would never go after Sinister without good reason. He
had said as much, right to Remy's face. But if any among them
knew Sinister, it was Remy. He had been bound to the man body
and soul, once, and he had sworn it would never happen again.
His children didn't have that choice ... in fact, they had
even less of a choice, considering the danger of their eventual
powers. He was a man with one purpose; to remove the one man
who could destroy everything he had worked so hard to gain
in his life.
He saw no other path to his goal than removing that obstacle,
and God be damned if there were another way. And so, he ignored
the knife of pain that stabbed deep into his heart at leaving
everything he knew and loved behind, knowing full well that
he might never make it back to them again. Mentally wincing,
he leaned forward as he made his way into the night, one hand
rising to his chest as if to stave off the ache he felt there,
trying desperately to push it aside and focus on his objective.
He needed to look at this like he had looked at so many things
in his life; a job that needed doing, and concentrating on
the reasons for following through with it would bring him
nothing but uncertainty and grief. Sinister deserved death
more than anyone else Remy had ever known, his crimes against
humanity and mutant alike were enough to sign his death warrant,
much less what he could do to Remy's children, given the chance.
He could just see the monster hovering over them, healing
the damage their powers would do and all the while bending
them to his will. And considering Sinister was the best hope
his children had at this point, would he truly rather see
them dead than indebted to such a man? Damned right he would.
Sinister had never brought him anything but pain and heartache,
no matter what he had gained from his alliance with the twisted
geneticist. This was about his children more than anything
else, but Remy also had a personal score to settle, and once
again, common sense be damned. It was long past time that
all debts were paid in full.
"'Yana?" asked Jean-Luc, pensively. "Can we
go see Mommy and Daddy before we go to bed?"
"Yana ... why you crying?" he asked a moment later.
"Because I don't have a choice, once again in my life,"
she answered, cryptically.
"What?" he asked, looking at his sister to see
if she understood what Yana had just said, but Irinee' looked
just as confused as he did.
"I'm sorry," she sobbed. "But if I don't,
I'm as good as dead."
Jean-Luc didn't understand the depth of Illyana's words,
but he understood the fear and pain behind them. "Mommy
and Daddy always say we have a choice ... ," he thought
long and hard, trying to remember the rest of the words, but
forgot totally what he had been saying as a white-hot disc
of light appeared before him.
"Your Mommy and Daddy never dealt with Sinister, then,"
she said sadly as she swept them into the teleportation disc
Madelyne felt it long before they landed in Southern California
... a primal existence on the psi-plane that was so powerful
it threatened to overwhelm all of her senses. She had trained
long and hard to perfect her powers, but this ... she had
been completely unprepared for this!
Her head thrashed violently against the upholstery of the
Blackbird seat, waves of power seeping from her head in incoherent
patterns. She barely noticed when Magnus rushed to her side,
asking what was wrong.
In what was left of New York City, a man named Joey suddenly
found himself thinking of a girl he had gone to high school
with many years earlier. She had been a captivating girl,
Jean Grey ... there was something special about her that defied
all description ... he'd had a mad crush on her for many years,
all the way up until her final death in the war, years ago.
He bit down on his lower lip and stared at the campfire in
the shelter camp, wondering why he had thought of her just
now, after all these years ...
Elizabeth Strauss had overcome many of the hardships of the
mutant war, managing to keep her brownstone apartment in one
piece, despite the recent Sentinel invasion of her native
city of Chicago. Thus, it was a surprise to the refugees from
the human camp that tended to hang out in the alley below
her apartment, when she threw open the window to her room,
crying out "ALIVE! I'm ALIVE!" and threw herself
to the concrete street below ... .
In the city of Orlando, Florida, Andy Blackford shivered
in ecstasy as he thought of soaring blissfully through the
stars, at one with the entire cosmos
In a reclusive camp in Ohio, John and Elaine Grey found themselves
thinking of their long-dead daughter Jean, her pealing laughter
an almost haunting sound within their minds ...
And so it was, across the world, each person suddenly touched
by a consciousness, a feeling of emotion not quite their own,
united as one for a brief moment in time as a voice cried
out in rapture, born again in the ecstasy of life and love.
And then, the Phoenix opened her eyes.
Sinister smiled in satisfaction as Illyana teleported in
with the two children. "Very good, my pet," he acknowledged,
and then seemed to forget that she existed as he examined
the frightened faces before him.
"You're a bad man," Irinee' proclaimed, rather
profoundly for a six year old, cuddling close against her
brother for strength.
"Not at all," Sinister contradicted. "I am
the best friend you will ever have. You may call me ... 'father'".
"We already got a daddy," Jean-Luc said solemnly.
"You'll soon forget all about that," Sinister said,
the rarest of joyous smiles touching his cold face.
And then all hell broke loose.
"What the hell is going on?!" Magnus bellowed to
the cabin, even as he grabbed Madelyne's tongue between his
fingers to prevent her from choking to death.
"What the hell is going on?!" Sinister bellowed
as the two children before him collapsed into convulsions.
Fixing Illyana with a murderous stare, he admonished, "If
you have any part in this, I'll have more than your soul,
Illyana shook her head in fear, not understanding in the
slightest what was happening. "It's not me, master."
"Then the Gods be damned ... he's succeeded in his quest."
He turned away without another word, already reaching for
the equipment that would carry him through this crisis.
Remy didn't have the slightest idea what was happening as
he felt a consciousness brush briefly against his soul, but
he knew that he suddenly felt filled with power, as if he
could do anything, accomplish anything. Pulling back on the
handles of his motorcycle, he roared ever faster into the
"Logan ... what is it, my love?" Storm asked in
anguish, feeling completely lost as her lovers head dropped
hopelessly into his hands.
"It's Jeannie, 'Ro. An' God help us all, she's awake."
And in the mind of Madelyne Pryor, as with so many across
the globe, one word rang out in hope of supplication.
Madelyne would have choked with laughter if she hadn't already
been choking on her own tongue. Out of luck, sweetie.
she sent across the psi-plane. He's been dead for a LOOOONG
time ... just like you ...
Sinister could feel it just as strongly as everyone else,
now, now that he knew what to look for. Irinee' and Jean-Luc
LeBeau sat complacently before him, metal bands twined around
their small heads, blocking out most of the resonance of power
the Phoenix was putting out. He had exactly what he had wanted,
now, but did he have the time to do anything with it?
He hoped, perhaps for the first and last time in his life,
that the X-Men would prove victorious this day ...
Dr. Henry McCoy danced joyously as his latest creation sprang
suddenly to life.
"SCOTT!" she screamed, from the depths of her lungs
And though it wasn't what he had hoped to hear, he thought
that was just fine ... just fine, oh yes.
Continued in Chapter
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