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Author's Notes
Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 8
Chapter 9
Chapter 10
Chapter 11
Chapter 12
Chapter 13
Chapter 14
Chapter 15
Chapter 16
Chapter 17
Chapter 18
Chapter 19
Chapter 20


In time, the sun will rise as it as always risen. There will be other gatherings of the X-men. If not always for battle, then for no other reason than it is a part of who they are. Birthdays. Holidays. Regrettably, other funerals. It is tradition. In time, the pain will be offset by future joy, confirming the Baoule's belief of life providing bitter and sweet moments.

For now, in the darkest hours of the night, they slowly disperse. Ororo returns to each their possessions. In return, she accepts their condolences and comforting touches. Finally, only Forge and Remy remain by her side. They lift the bier and follow Ororo down the ridge to the estate's chapel.

Inside, Rogue is moved onto a makeshift bed, completing the ritual. While Forge takes his leave of Ororo, Remy politely steps outside, giving them a moment alone. Forge holds her fast. Ororo draws on his strength. His lips brush her cheeks. Ororo, weary of sadness, lifts her lips to his, needing the reassurance of life and warmth to sustain her spirit. He returns her kiss, his lips bearing a promise of future passion.

"I'll be in touch."

Ororo nods. As Forge leaves, Remy steps back inside. For once, he doesn't comment on her relationship with Forge. Instead, he steps to the opposite side of Rogue's body, and helps her remove the loose cotton strips. The gold bracelets are slipped off of her wrists and ankles. The thick gold necklace, removed, as are the ruby earrings. Ororo makes herself comfortable as she begins unbraiding Rogue's hair, taking care to remove the nainglaiman beads without breaking them off.


"Yes, Remy?"

"You know much 'bout Rogue 'fore she joined up?"

"Truthfully, under the circumstances, I did not wish to know. Why?"

"Jus' t'inkin'."

Ororo looks up at him, curious.

"Whenever you are 'just thinking', you have already decided. Tell me, what is on your mind?"

Remy settles in by Rogue, and begins loosening the braids on his side.

"Seems to me you miss havin' a daughter t'raise."

"This hardly seems an appropriate time."

"Seems to me Rogue missed out on havin' a mother. Maybe I don' know ev't'ing 'bout her past, but Mystique don' hardly seem t'me to be de warm an' fuzzy, motherly type, n'est-ce pas?"

He pauses, considering his choice of words.

"Y'both hurtin', 'Ro. T'ink maybe y'both need t'be wit' each other t'get through de aches an' move on."

Ororo glances at Rogue, then back to Remy.

"I remember -- shortly after she arrived -- she had nightmares for several weeks. At that time, I must confess, I felt a certain sense of satisfaction at her suffering."

"'Cause she absorbed Carol Danvers."

"Yes. Eventually, I came to know and appreciate Rogue for her strengths. As she became one of us, the nightmares ended."

"T'ink so?"

"She has not spoken of them for years."

"Maybe she jus' got tired a nobody givin' a damn. You t'ink dis bit wit' her daddy beatin' on her came 'bout jus' 'cause a Gregory controllin' her? He didn' create t'ings, jus' used what was already dere."

Rogue stirs. Her eyes flicker open uncertainly. She winces at the sudden pain flooding her head.


"C'est moi."

"...head's hurtin' somethin' fierce...did Rochelle--?"

"Everything was lovely, Rogue. Thank you."

Remy helps Rogue to her feet, she leans against him unsteadily, but her legs give way. He scoops her up effortlessly.

"C'mon, we get you t'bed."

He winks.

"Maybe even let y'get some sleep, eh?"

Rogue smiles weakly. As they leave, Ororo considers Remy's suggestion more seriously than she originally intended. Although she certainly would never expect to have a mother-daughter relationship, still she's surprised to find herself drawn to developing a more intimate, sisterly relationship with Rogue.


Continued in Chapter 19


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