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Claremont's Return

Stories by Ratmist

"The Responsible One"
Rogue considers her feelings for Gambit and his for her -- and resolves to let him go.

"The Irresponsible One"
Gambit considers his feelings for Rogue and hers for him -- and grieves in his feelings of aloneness.

Rogue thinks of home -- and Magneto's home, and Logan's home.


Web site: Ratmist Creations

Standard Disclaimer: Characters appearing here from the Marvel Universe are used without permission in a work of non-profit.
Notes: For Threnody, even though I don't think she likes Rogue and Gambit all that much. Merry Christmas to you.
Rated: PG

The Responsible One

Waking up was always the worst. It was much worse than the dreaming she had experienced without pattern during the last month. Jean simply said it would pass, but Psylocke had been the one to give her the sleeping pills, which had in turn simply laid untouched on the tiny, lowered table by the foot of her futon. Sometimes a glance late at night at her alarm clock would stray to those pills, but she hated any type of drug, especially any that would take away her hard-earned self control. She would endure the dreams as she had always endured them, alone and panicked.

She primly reminded herself she was no victim, no martyr, and tucked her new red sheets around her body.

Once after the too few times together, he had told her in the morning that she whimpered at night. Or talked in babble-speech. The only consistent thing was how she would curve into his arms and not let him let her go. He would try to turn over and her iron grip would keep him as firmly against her body as the keening in her voice. Part of her was ashamed at the childish behavior, but the other part hoarded the fuzzy memories of those nights. The memories were as much a dream as the dreams themselves, born from the inner conscioucness of a woman who hadn't yet learned to sleep secure in the dark. She would never admit it, but she sort of remembered clutching him arm around her when she skimmed consciouseness after a nightmare.

She had only grunted when he had told her of her sleeping behaviors, but inside she took it as a sign of their growing love. He would protect her dreams, he would protect her, even though she damned sure did not need his aid.

Her alarm rang again, and she reached out with a toe to shove it to 'off'. Part of the reason she had placed the table was a vain attempt to make herself sit up in the mornings to turn off the alarm; instead, she found her toes were much more versatile than she had previously imagined. Her head hadn't even risen off her pillows.

She examined the bright red pillow cases and their rough texture. The pieces were woven so finely, but they were still scratchy in the way of new fabric. She wished it was his hair she was examining, or his scratchy jawline. Memories cascaded through her, despite the calm coldness within her breast.

Two sentences that did not really go together flashed through her mind. The more they twisted and turned within her head, the more she wondered why she had ever uttered them.

She loved him, as much as he loved her. They could not be together.

The reasons flitted through her mind as well, trying to glue the sentences together in a coherent manner. Logically, it all made sense, didn't it? The sentences would not flow right, the words did not garner meaning when placed next to each other.

He won't wait, she thought as well. It wouldn't be fair for him to wait anyway, because he deserved someone who could be there for him when he needed them. Even if he never needed anyone, she knew better.

He was an incredibly tactile person. It came with the theif past, she supposed, but Remy took the meaning behind the common phrase, 'talk is cheap', to a new level. A very pleasurable level, no doubt, but the pleasure was simply the bonus. The real gift was the way he communicated and let her into his heart, where she had been so certain she was to remain forever. Little things he did that irritated the shit out of her now became the little things she missed the most. They were the things upon which she dwelt in the cold morning when she used the alarm clock as competition for Beast's abilities with his feet.

She had never been very open, despite her appearances and manner of dress. Anyone coming near had always been shut out, despite the sugary glances and the primed red lips. Remy, perpetually running from everything, even when he first came to the team, had somehow managed to dodge from everything and end up in her heart. The defenses stayed very much intact, only he had been trapped underneath them. He had burrowed under the defenses, never really breaking them down, and there he stayed for as much his own protection as hers.

Scurrying from adventure to adventure meant nothing; the real deadlines were the next time they would be free to climb into each other's arms. She had let him hold her hand at first, then found herself claiming a position under his arm. She allowed him to stroke her hair, despite the fear of her scalp, but found herself nuzzling his neck with that same hair as a thin barrier between skin.

It had almost been enough, and for the life of her, she couldn't figure out why it wasn't enough. Didn't she really love him? Did she ever really love him? She was so confused these days, she didn't have an answer. And that, in the end, hadn't been enough for him. Understandable, really; unforgivable, certainly.

These days, with him in New Orleans and her leading the team, she couldn't understand why she had changed. She suspected he was getting into trouble, that he might need her, but she was firmly responsible and rooted to her position to the team. She had not only be placed in this position, but according to the team, she had earned it. She could not afford to lose their respect now, not after she had pattered her life so quickly in the footsteps of Cyclops. If he needed her now, it would be as Gambit to the leader of the X-Men, not as lovers.

And they had been lovers. Neither had known that it was possible to be so in love, so at peace in bed, so alive. Many had teased them concerning the passion they assumed they would have in bed, but to be honest, it had always been peaceful. Even at its most fiery, the core of peace and utter acceptance was the real gift exchanged. The amount he could touch without touching teased his abilities to please her in bed, but neither could fool themselves into believing it was the reason they found themselves reaching for each other throughout the night. In the brightest of their passions, it was the peace within the passion which called their bruised souls together. Nothing she could've asked would have been denied; nothing he could have asked would have been denied. Everything was seen, everything was accepted. The nightmares and the lust, fits of tears which appeared for no reason, hyperventilation from pieces of memories she would never define. Surely that was love.

Too many memories from their beds fueled her dreams at night, and she wasn't sure if it was the memories which firmed her resolve against the pills or the pride that she would not run away from the pain. Masochism or pride, she did not care. Maybe she just wanted to make sure she would wake if an alarm set off in the dead of the night.

The latest dream was far from sexual, though. It had been so ... normal. Shopping in a market, somewhere in the depths of the French Quarter. Him, with his suffering smile as he carried her baggage, and her with the glee of finding gloves that exact shade of red. It had been so human, and she remembered quite clearly how lucky she had felt to be with him, just to have him near her. How utterly blessed and beautiful she felt, how the colors of the French Quarter were more than colors. They were life itself, they were pulsing with the beats of her own heart. The lights were soft as candles and the music fit only for lovers. Her lover stood by her side, and she felt the pulse of his heart fill the soft counterbeat of the music she heard; he loved her, she loved him, and that was all...

Then she woke up and reached out for him, needing to feel the connection with his hands, and he was not there. The large futon was empty, and although she had forced herself to sleep in the dead center of the mattress, she always awoke from dreams such as these on the far left side, a solid wall behind her back and only half of the covers over her body. He was not there.

Pride kept it all in. The core of discipline straightened her back even as something inside continued to die a bit every day. They would not be together, ever again. He deserved more than she was capable of giving. She had a responsibility that could not include him, especially now that he was head of the thieves guild. Their lives had taken on a polarity which nothing could bridge, ever. Not even love, despite what the Judds sang. Ouch. Country music was definately off-limits these days; she needed no extra masochism in her life that the music of broken love could offer.

She made herself remember it all, not letting herself dwell on the blinding passion born from the unexpected love. She made herself remember how she acted after particularly difficult missions. Utterly exhausted, she would find she hated the world with a passion that was outranked by her passion to save it time and time again. Before he had left, she had even found room to hate him for the glances he had given her during commands, the ache in his face when she was wounded, the emotional honesty he demanded from her, despite her aching body and utterly tapped out being. He had asked too much, and not asked too much. How had Jean and Scott ever managed the balance?

Then again, Jean wasn't one to really skip out of town a lot, for months on end. Well, she did die on occasion, but that was completely different.

I have been very selfish, she thought to herself. She listed her sins in her head, the years she spent as a terrorist and the pain she had inflicted on so many innocent people. Most of those people still floated around in her head, making her confront her past every day. She mentally added Remy onto the list, because their love had failed. She blamed herself as much as she blamed him, before trying once again to convince herself it was no one's fault.

I will not be selfish with him ever again, she resolved, and made herself get out of the half empty bed. He will find another, she continued, one that can give him everything he deserves. She brushed her hair, avoided the mirror near her closet, and forced herself to pick out something form-fitting and beautiful. Her fingers itched for something in black, for she felt that the thing inside her was dying and she needed to mourn its passing. She yanked out the yellow cotton blouse instead, a bright color reminding her of the sun. She would not be weak, prey to her own emotions.

The thought was partially bitter, partially hopeful. She booted up her computer and quickly accessed her messages from her team. She ignored everything but the files from Moira, which she quickly sent to Hank after a quick perusal. New data from Cerebro to be analyzed was quickly printed out and laid in a neat pile, ready to be cross-referenced manually at her leisure.

She glanced at the day-old pile next to her fingers, and lost herself in the world of leadership. He had never been the most important, only thing in her life. She had a responsibility to the world now, and her own interests would be merged with this responsiblity. He loved her, and she loved him, but they would not be together.

The sun broke through clouds outside her window, illuminating her bright auburn hair, immaculately held in place with ivory combs he had given her. The circled X carved where a rose may have been more suitable gleamed with pride.


next: The Irresponsible One

"...we need something to kill
the pain of all that nothing inside..."


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