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.
"You know much 'bout Rogue 'fore she joined up?"
"Truthfully, under the circumstances, I did not wish
to know. Why?"
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
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
"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.
"...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."
"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
Continued in Chapter
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