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"Loose Ends"

Loose Ends

Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3

Standard disclaimer: The X-Men, and all the parts thereof belong to Marvel. I'm just using them without their ok. Margaritaville, and Meet me in Memphis belong to Jimmy Buffett. Again, these are being used without permission, purely for enjoyment sake. Johnnie Margolis belongs to no one, he is a man unto himself. Any similarities between Mr. Margolis and anyone living, dead, or fictional is purely coincidental.
This story takes place about 10 years after Gambit's trial.

Loose Ends

Part 2

Rogue nervously paced the corridor at the Miami International airport, waiting for the boarding announcement for her connection to Key West. She had already changed her heavy sweater, jeans and boots for a loud, flowered Hawaiian type-shirt, a pair of shorts, and sandals. She had also re-done her make-up. Twice. She wanted everything to be just right for this reunion.

When the call finally came, she nearly knocked over an elderly man and two nuns getting into lines. She shyly apologized for her rudeness, explaining how nervous she was, and why, then let them board first.

The flight was uneventful; no perverts, peanuts, or turbulence. The only problem was Rogue's own impatience.

Ah coulda flown there quicker mahself.

Remy didn't want her to do that; he felt his neighbors might be spooked by such an outward exhibition of mutant ability. She liked the idea of Remy putting down roots. Hopefully, she'd be able to put hers down right next to his. No, he hadn't actually said anything over the phone to indicate that's what he had in mind, but still, Rogue was a romantic at heart, and there was always hope.

The Captain came over the loudspeaker and announced their descent to Key West International Airport. The temperature was eighty degrees, and the wind was calm. Rogue looked out the window and into the blue sky, feeling that today anything was possible.

The landing was uneventful, and Rogue waited while the other passengers disembarked. One of the nuns touched her gently on the shoulder causing her to jump slightly. Fortunately, the nun's hand was squarely placed on the material of Rogue's shirt.

"Good luck with your reunion my dear. I'm sure it will work out for the best."

"Thank ya' sistah. Ah sure hope you're right."

When the last passenger had exited to the gangway, Rogue finally stood up and retrieved her carry-on case. She had only packed the one bag, not wanting to show up with five suitcases and appear too anxious, or pushy. She figured she could always buy more clothes if she needed to.

She made her way slowly up the aisle and to the open hatch. Ducking her head, she exited the plane, ignoring the polite, if inane, 'bye-bye, thanks for flying with us' mantra of the flight attendant.

The reflection of the bright sun on the tarmac made her pull out her sunglasses almost instantly. Once her eyes shielded from the glare, she started down the stairs to the runway. Her head moved from side to side looking for him. She had no idea what he looked for anymore. Was he bald? Fat? The same? Ten years was a long time. Suddenly, she realized just *how* long.

Now not quite as sure of herself, and hoping she wasn't making a mistake, Rogue slowly, she made her way toward the terminal.

He'd been waiting just inside. Their reunion was happy, but subdued. After a brief, awkward moment, they embraced, and the years seemed to melt away.

Rogue was amazed at how well the years had treated Remy. He still had long hair, just past his shoulders. But now his reddish-brown ponytail was mixed with traces of gray. While still in good shape, he had gained a little weight. It was obvious that he was not as active as he was ten years ago.

He had the dark, deep tan of a man who spent a great deal of time in the sun. His face was beginning to show deep lines around his eyes, especially when he smiled.

Nevah thought ah'd live ta see 'lover bayou' with crow's feet.

For his part, Remy was taken aback. He'd kept tabs on the X-Men through his own channels, and even talked to the Professor occasionally, Charles being more accepting of other's past transgressions after the 'Onslaught' ordeal, but he had forgotten how beautiful Rogue was -- she hadn't outwardly aged at all.

They quickly composed themselves, then left the airport. Discovering Rogue hadn't eaten since early morning, Remy diverted their path to Duvall Street, and into the Margaritaville Cafe. She stopped at the door.

"Hey, isn't this Jimmy Buffet's place, sugah?"

"Dat it is."

"Do ya know 'im?"

"Can't really live 'round dese parts f' long wit'out runnin' into him once or twice."

"Really? Ah just love his music. Think he'll be here today?"

"Why don't we go in 'n' find out?"

The restaurant was dark, a sharp contrast to the blinding light outside. They had barely removed their sunglasses when a deep bass for cried out.

"There he is: Remy LeBeau! It' been too long since you've darkened our door, my friend!"

At first glance, Rogue thought the man who approached them was Bishop. Of course that was impossible: he had been lost in space when they returned from saving the Shi'ar from the Phalanx. This man was actually taller, and broader, if that was really possible, than Bishop, and obviously on better terms with the Cajun than the future man was: he and Remy were locked in a tight bear hug.

"Johnnie! How you been, mon ami?! Ain't been able t' get 'way much, too busy."

"So I see," the man named Johnnie cast an appraising glance over Rogue.

"So, is d' man around?"

"Nope. He's up Lauderdale way. I think he's getting ready to record, then go out on the road."

"Dat's too bad. D' lady here was lookin' t' meet 'im."

Margolis turned his attention back to Rogue, a broad smile slowly covering his face.

"Well that is a pity, because I sure do hate to disappoint a lady." Casting a sly look at Remy, he took her hand and kissed it. "I'm guessing you've forgotten all your manners since last we met, swamp rat.

Returning his full attention to Rogue, he continued.

"Since our sea-going friend seems reluctant to do so, allow me to introduce myself. I am Johnnie Margolis: Sailor, adventurer, and currently at your service." He bowed deeply.

"Y' ain't none of dose." Remy was laughing. He turned to Rogue. "He ain't nuthin' but a tramp, a scound'l, 'n' a con man, but dat don' f'give my bein' rude. Johnnie Margolis, dis be Rogue. Rogue, Johnnie Margolis."

Rogue, blushing deeply at the attention smiled shyly.

"It's a pleasah t' meet y'all."

"Ah, a 'Southern Belle'. The pleasure is all mine."

"All right, now dat d' pleas'ntries are over wit', can ya get us a seat."

"Smoking or non?"


Rogue raised a questioning eye at him.

"Had t' give 'em up years ago: Doctor said prolonged exposure t' sub-arctic temperatures did some perm'nent damage t' my lungs."

Rogue tried to read his expression, but couldn't, so she said nothing. Sensing a sensitive topic, Johnnie picked up two menus and walked away, Remy and Rogue in tow.

"Dat's alright, dem t'ings'll kill ya anyway."

Johnnie led them past the stage, and into the non-smoking area. As they sat, Remy ordered Margaritas and Conch Chowder for both of them. When he returned with their drinks, they were deep in conversation. He silently deposited their drinks, then left.

Their conversation covered the broad area of ten years. Rogue brought him up to date on who was with what team, who was married to whom, who had children, and what they were like. She rambled on endlessly.

Johnnie returned with their chowder two more drinks, and took their order. When he left, the topic of conversation switched to Remy.

He explained that after making his way from Antarctica to Argentina by way of the Drake Passage and Tierra del Fuego, he worked his way north, eventually finding his way to Buenos Aries. He would only address how he made his way across the frozen continent, and the ensuing ocean with a vague reference to a 'Chilean research station.' Rogue thought it was wise not to press him too hard for details.

He spent most of his time in Buenos Aires, roughly six months, 'gathering funds' and establishing contacts to facilitate his return to the States.

Rogue wasn't surprised he'd returned to crime; she had left him with nothing, not a kind word, not even a shirt on his back, in the frozen wastes of Antarctica. 'Fend for yourself' she had told him, almost guaranteeing his return to the one skill that would allow him to survive, providing he escaped what was basically a death sentence.

Bringing her back to the present, Remy stressed that he had only stolen from drug lords, criminals, Nazis, and other such low lifes, and that he was clean now, but that didn't matter. She was through judging him for past deeds. Or misdeeds.

He eventually returned to the U.S. via a drug pipeline. The price was high, astronomical, really. The pipeline, it turned out, was run by one of the low-life drug lords from whom he had 'acquired' some of his 'relocation capital'. Remy was delighted by the irony.

The oration paused momentarily as Johnnie returned with their food, and another round. Remy grunted his thanks, Rogue smiled as he left silently, sensing that this was an important occasion for both his Cajun friend, and the lady he was with.

The trip was long and dangerous, but he was obsessed with returning to the States to tie up some 'loose ends'. That obsession sustained him on the Cessna flight from Buenos Aires to a small airstrip on the outskirts of Barranquilla, a shipping port on the Colombian coast of the Caribbean.

The boat trip from Colombia to Cuba was not bad, but still his obsession spurred him. The water was choppy, but that never bothered him; he was topside for the entire trip. It was his first long voyage, and the sea had left an impression on him.

The hop from Cuba to the Dry Tortugas was made in a seaplane, flying just over the waves. The plane had barely touched down before Remy had been pushed into the ocean, with his pack thrown in after him. The pilot didn't even wait to see if he hit the water before he turned the plane to taxi out again. Fortunately for Remy, there was a cigar boat waiting to take him to Key West, and the United States.

Rogue was enthralled by the story, but vaguely disturbed as well. She couldn't help notice that, the further he got into the story the less he was talking to her. He was talking at her, as if she were not even there. She wondered briefly about the cigarette comment he had made earlier, and if it was indicative of anything. Deciding that worrying about it would do no good, she interrupted him.

"Remy honey, what do ya mean by 'tyin' up loose ends?"

He gave her a funny, appraising look before answering.

"D'trial got me t'inkin', Rogue. F'a long time I was lookin' f' redemption f' my past. My whole stay wit' d' X-Men, I was tryin' t' attone. As I was makin' m' way up t' Buenos Aires, I suddenly realized dat, while I couldn't bring d' Morlocks back, I could avenge dem. So I decided t' hunt down Sabretooth 'n' d' Marauders and kill dem."

Rogue let out an audible gasp at the bluntness of his admission, and the coldness in his voice.

"But Remy, you ain't no assassin -- no killer . . . "

"Dat's where y' wrong, girl, and Magneto's right -- by makin' it so dey could get into d' tunnels, I was just as guilty as dey were."

Rogue started to protest, but he raised his hand to her, and continued.

"Whether you agree or not don't matter. It's true, and I did hunt 'em down. So even if I weren't a killer, I am now."

Rogue was clearly confused.

"But we just fought the Marauders last week! I went head t' head with Scalphunter m'self."

Remy smiled grimly.

"Yeah, I didn't count on Sinister. Every time I killed one of d' Marauders, he'd jus' clone another. Hell, I musta killed Arclight at least two dozen times alone. Finally, Sinister come see me here. Not here in dis place, but in Key West. He had a deal t' offer."

Rogue tensed at that.

"Ah'd 'a hoped y'all would've learned your lesson 'bout messin' with him."

"Not dat kind of deal. It was simply a 'quid pro quo'. I leave him alone, he leave me alone. Turns out dat, because a'me, he been spendin' all his time clonin' Marauders. He wanted a break t' get back t' his 'research'. I did the math, figured I'd killed almost as many Marauders as dey killed Morlocks, so I took 'im up on it."

"What about Sabretooth?"

"Not much t' that. He's 'gator bait."

"Now ah know your lyin'. It'd take more'n some 'gators' ta kill Sabretooth."

"Didn't say dey killed 'im. Jus' said dey ate 'im. I killed 'im."

"How? What about his healing factor?"

"Kinda hard t'heal y'self if y' head ain't attached t' ya shoulders, non?"

Rogue still didn't seem convinced.

"When's d' last time y' hear from him?"

Rogue shrugged. It had been awhile.

"Cain't really recall. Mebbe five, six years."

"Try nine. I went after him right after I stopped by d' mansion."

"And left me this . . . "

She pulled the queen of hearts from her purse and put the pieces on the table. Remy picked the pieces up and turned them over slowly in his hands. His voice had a distant, wistful quality.

"Just wanted t' let ya know I was still around . . . And t' let y' know how I felt 'bout t'ings."

"Remy, Ah . . . "

"F'get 'bout it, Rogue. Dat's in d' past now."

He took a deep breath and looked around. It appeared, to Rogue at least, that Remy was relieved to have at least broached the subject. She nodded in silent agreement.

They finished their meal in relative silence, neither knowing exactly what to say. Remy broke the silence.

"Whaddya t'ink? You 'bout ready t' blow dis pop stand?"

"Ah guess so. What'd ya have planned next?"

He smiled slyly when he replied.

"Like I told ya before, Rogue. I have some t'ings I wanna show ya."

They engaged in small talk as they cruised up A1A. Rogue was amused by their mode of transportation: she never would have guessed Remy would be driving a pickup truck. It wasn't his style. She started calling him 'Bubba', and kept asking him where the gun rack was. He just shook his head and smiled.

During the thirty-minute trip to their destination, the sun sank into the Gulf of Mexico. The sunset was spectacular, the ensuing darkness was daunting. The temperature remained near eighty, even after the sun was gone from view.

It turned out their destination was a small marina on what Remy told her was Ramrod Key. He pulled the truck into a spot marked 'reserved', and shut it down.

Without looking at her, Remy got out, locked and shut his door, then walked over to the wharf. He stood for a minute, just looking at the moon rising over the ocean. Rogue watched him as she followed suit, shutting the truck door behind her. She came up silently behind him and wrapped her arms around his waist.

"Ramrod Key? Is there a Tavernere hotel?"

"Non . . . "

"That's okay, Remy. Ah'd still meet'cha in Memphis."

Disengaging himself from her embrace, he took her hand and led her toward a small skiff.

"Dat's jus' a song, Rogue."

"But that's how Ah feel."

"Dat's nice. Hold on a sec. "

He stopped walking and pointed over to the quay. A large ocean going boat, it was really big enough to be called a ship, was moored with its fantail pointing toward them. The name 'Southern Belle' and the location 'Revanche Key' were plainly visible under the halogen floodlights of the marina.

"Ya like dat one, she's mine."

Rogue looked at him, puzzled. He laughed had her expression.

"Dat's right, Remy LeBeau is now one of d' best known charter Captains in dis part of d' world. You wanna go deep sea fishing? Cap'n LeBeau know d' best spots 'n' deepest holes. Snorklin'? Cap'n LeBeau know some of d' friendliest reefs around. Scuba y' game? Cap'n LeBeau is a certified Dive Master, 'n can take y' anywhere y' wanna go."

Of all the occupations Rogue could have imagined Remy being involved with, this one wasn't even on the list, and she told him so.

"Well y' see, girl. I tol' ya d' sea affected me on d' trip over. Knew dat, if I couldn't be an X- Man no more, I didn't want dat type a life wit' no one else. So after wrappin' up mosta dem loose ends I mentioned, I decided t' settle in down here 'n give it a whirl. It worked out well."

As he was talking, LeBeau took Rogue's hand, and again started leading her toward the skiff.

"But where'd ya get th' money from? Ah know boats like that ain't cheap."

Remy's smile broadened as they reached the pier where the launch was tied. He stopped and turned to Rogue, again marveling at how beautiful she was, especially in the moonlight.

"Remember my Colombian and Argentinean frien's? Turns out dey both have substantial holding in Miami and d' surrounding area. D' same folks who paid for m' trip back home set me up in m' business. Dey help me by m' island too."

"Y'all bought an island? How much did y'all take from 'im?"

Before Remy could answer, which he never would have anyway, she waved her hands to stop him.

"Don' tell me, sugah, A . . . Ah don't wanna know. Ah promised mahself Ah'd stop judging you, especially since Ah'm th' reason y'all probably did it anyway." Tears started to well in her eyes. He gave her a 'queer' look again as she continued. "Well, let's face it. Ah left ya in Antarctica. Ah shouldn't a done it, but Ah did. 'N' Ah'm sorry Remy. Ah'm so very sorry."

Sobbing, she threw herself into his arms and buried her face into his shoulder. For the first time since he saw her earlier in the day, Remy was starting to think that his was not the best course of action. He shoved that thought to the back of his mind for later consideration and wrapped his arms around her, comforting her. Eventually, the tears ended.

"C'mon, let's not talk 'bout dat. Not right now. Still wanna take y' home 'n show ya d' chateau LeBeau."

Rogue sniffed and wiped a tear away. Remy waited a moment as she composed herself, then took her hand.

"Now watch y' step. Y' don' wanna slip 'round here."

"Why? There sharks in the water?"

"Nope, Barracuda. But dat shouldn't bother someone who's invulnerable. Actually, I jus' didn' wantcha gettin' wet."

Carefully, he helped her into the boat. After Rogue was situated, he removed the bow mooring, then jumped into the skiff. He threw on the blowers to clear out any lingering gas fumes, then went to untie the aft line and push off into the channel. Moving back to the controls, he flipped on the running lights and turned the key. The boat's motor came to life, and they began moving out toward the channel mouth.

"Remy? Where we goin'? I thought we were gonna see your place."

"Sure are. But dere ain't no roads, so we have t' take our friend d' skiff."

"Ah couldn't help but notice the name 'Revanche Key' on your boat. That your island?"


"Didja name it after Kwannon?"

"Why ya askin' girl? Ya jealous?"

Rogue felt her cheeks flush as she started to protest. Remy stopped her.

"No need f' dat. I did, after all, name d' boat after you."

Rogue had noticed the boat's name, but didn't think that he had intended it to mean her.



She moved closer to him, standing behind the pilot's chair.

"That's awful sweet of ya Remy."

She gave him a light, quick peck on the cheek and was rewarded with Remy nearly steering the launch into a nearby channel marker.


"Relax, sugah. Ah told ya Ah could control mah powers to a certain extent. Ah can have brief skin ta skin contact now."

"Hey, dat's great! How long you been able t'do dat?"

The enthusiasm left Rogue's eyes, and her voice dropped.

"'Bout seven years now."

Remy smiled inwardly.

Dat's great!

"You keep at it girl. You gonna lick it yet."

Rogue's voice was still subdued.

"Sure thing Remy. How much longer 'til we get there."

"We almost dere. 'Nother five minutes more'll get it."

A light chop started to bounce the small boat as it entered the open water. Remy eased the throttle up and pointed the bow toward the east, and home.


Continued in Chapter 3


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