Disclaimer: All characters belong
to Marvel comics which means the author doesn't intend to
make any money off of them. This tends to be a spin off from
the animated series with elements from the comics (no, #350
did not occur in this). This is a toned down version of a
Almost as soon as he lay down, he fell asleep.
He dreamed tortured things, full of Rogue, Sinister, and Candra.
In them, Sinister and Candra taunted him with promises of
making it possible for Rogue to be his if he did as they wished.
Then, as Gambit reached out for her, she changed
before his eyes into a hideous monster with giant stump-like
legs threatening to crush him. He ran, but behind him the
rapid thumping of those splayed feet grew louder. He jerked
away just as they reached him. Someone pounded at his door.
A quick glance at the wall clock confirmed the lengthening
shadows in his room . . . he'd slept most of the day.
"Gambit, wake up!" Jubilee's frantic
voice brought him to his feet. Pulling on his clothes, he
opened the door.
"What's wrong, petite?"
"Rogue's missing. I went to the roof, like
you said. Then I went to the mall, in case she left without
me. But I couldn't find her anywhere. Nobody's seen her since
night before last."
"Have you told de pr'fessor?"
"Yes. He's tried to reach her, but so far
he hasn't had any luck in locating her. I don't know what
to do." She burst into tears. Gambit took her into his
arms, fighting the fear he had driven his sweet Rogue away.
"We'll find her. Gambit promises. Come
on, let's go ta de Ready Room."
Professor Xavier and Jean Grey looked up as
Gambit and Jubilee entered.
"Good, you're here. Jean found this in
Rogue's room." Xavier handed Gambit a sealed envelope.
"I think you should read it."
On the front, in feminine handwriting, was Gambit's
name. His real name. He frowned, then tore it open. As he
read, he could hear her soft voice; see the sheen of tears
in her beautiful eyes.
I care about you, too. More than you'll ever know. But it's
not fair for you or me to be so close and not be able to touch.
I can't stand to see you suffer because of me. So I'm going
away. Don't worry about me. I can take care of myself. Maybe
someday I'll come back. If the X-Men ever need help, the professor
knows where he can find me. Take care of yourself.
"Gambit?" Jean touched his arm. He
blinked against the moisture in his eyes, hating the worry
and pity he read in her gaze.
"She's gone, mes amis, an' it's 'cause
a' dis worthless Cajun." He folded the letter, returned
it to its envelope and put it in his coat. "She say you
know where ta find her, Pr'fessor." He looked at the
man he saw as his friend and teacher. "If you do, I mus'
go dere. Alone."
The professor scribbled him an address, a knowing
smile touching his face. "Before you leave, I have something
for you. Hank and I worked on it after you returned. We managed
to reconstruct the mechanism from those parts and plans."
He held out a small box.
"Is it . . .?"
"Use it wisely, Gambit. And bring our girl
"I'm in your debt fo'evah, Pr'fessor."
He turned to depart, when Jubilee tugged at his sleeve.
"What's going on around here?" she
asked, annoyed and puzzled. Gambit hugged her.
"When Gambit returns, you'll find out.
Be patient. 'Til den, ask Storm if she'll take you ta de mall."
"Oooh! As if that's all I care about!"
The teenager stamped her foot.
Gambit laughed and hurried out. In his room,
he read the address the professor had given him. He'd have
to fly to South Carolina. No matter. His attention focused
on the professor's gift. He opened the box and found a metal
gizmo with a red button and a green button. Beneath it lay
a card in Beast's scrawl.
"Covers no larger than a 10'x10'x10' area.
Depress green button to activate, red button to deactivate.
Effects will last only until deactivated. Runs on four "D"
batteries for approximately 8 continuous hours."
He grinned for a moment, both in anticipation
and at Beast's use of something as mundane as ordinary batteries,
then sobered. This thing he must protect with his life. If
it fell into the wrong hands it could put a mutant at his
or her enemy's mercy. He packed the small box in his suitcase,
then called for a flight. This time he'd use more conventional
travel. The next available plane to Charleston left at eight
o'clock, in two hours. When he opened his door, Wolverine
stood before it, fist poised to knock.
"Need a ride?"
"Oui, but how . . .?"
"The professor said ya might be goin' on
vacation. Said ya might need wheels to the airport."
Wolverine shrugged. "Nothin's goin' on around here. Thought
I could use the excuse to get out."
"Much obliged, mon ami."
Despite Wolverine's maniacal driving in the
near dark, the ride to the airport seemed to last forever.
Gambit checked in, had to prove the device harmless to the
airport security, then proceeded to pace in the waiting area
until boarding time. He felt an internal clock ticking, as
though he was a time bomb set to explode.
When the flight finally took off, they were
in the air no more than an hour. He retrieved his luggage
and caught a taxi. The driver assured him he knew the address
and within fifteen minutes, deposited him in front of a respectable
Gambit's eyebrows rose at the place. He could
hardly believe his Rogue would seek sanctuary here. Feeling
conspicuous in his jeans, black T-shirt and trench coat, he
climbed the stairs and knocked on the door. A heavy-set, middle-aged
woman in a severe gray dress answered the door. Her face screwed
up in disapproval at his appearance.
"May I help you?"
"Oui, Madame. Lookin' for a young woman
who arrived here earlier dis mornin' or yesterday."
"No one has checked in recently. I'm sorry."
She shut the door in his face.
Gambit shook his head. The professor was rarely
wrong. He pulled the scrap of paper from his pocket. This
was the address. Despondent, he turned and walked down the
stairs to the sidewalk.
Something made him look up at the second story
windows. Behind the frilly curtains, someone watched him.
He stepped out of the street lamp's light and shaded his eyes.
He frowned. The person had moved away.
"Fine kettle of gumbo you got yourself
inta dis day, Remy leBeau. If she's dere, she don' want ta
see you." With his suitcase between his knees, he sat
on the curb. Again he was so close, but so far away.
in Chapter 4