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"The End of Innocence"

The End of Innocence

Warning: This story explicitly deals with rape, sexual themes.

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


Remy sets the flannel robe aside, intrigued by a carefully wrapped garment hanging deep in Rogue's closet. He brings it out. His heart skips a beat as he uncovers an ivory satin wedding dress.

"Somet' in Rogue should be tellin' me 'bout?"

"No more than you should have told her."


Storm rescues the dress from Remy's careless grasp, hanging it up for a better view.

"I'd forgotten how truly lovely it is."

Remy unties a pouch from the hanger. He empties it of a set of five rings. He frowns, puzzled.

"What de -- ?!"

"As Rogue explains it, her grandparents were high school sweethearts. At the time of their courting, there were certain -- traditions -- in place. As the relationship reached a deeper level of commitment, the beau would present his intended with a symbol of his affection. A ring."

One by one, Storm lifts the rings from his hands.

"The ruby was the first one, the sweetheart ring. The first promise of marriage. The second promise. The engagement ring."

Remy glances as the final golden circle in his palm.

"Weddin' ring."

"Yes, but her grandparents were buried with their wedding rings."

"Her mother's?"

"She has never said."

He picks up the heart-shaped ruby and engagement rings. He holds them to the light. One glance reveals the truth.

"Nice work, but dey stones are fake."

Storm, turning back to Rogue's things, responds distractedly.

"I know."

"Does Rogue know?"

"Yes. Rogue's assault has upset you more than you have mentioned. Otherwise, you would not be so concerned over what would normally be trifles beyond your notice."

"Why you say a t' ing like dat?"

Storm sits on the bed, studying Remy carefully.

"Since joining the X-Men, you have shown no interest in Rogue's personal life unless it affected you directly."

"Dat's a lie!"

"Is it, Gambit? Then tell me, what is Rogue's favorite color?"

His eyes gleam with self-assurance.

"Hah! Dat de hardest t' ing you can ask me? Green."

Storm shakes her head. Remy's broad grin fades.

"Don' mean nothin'."

"Do you think I did not notice how lost you were when you entered Rogue's room? The stuffed animal you picked up was a joke. Rogue was getting even with Bobby by making him spend a fortune at the fair to win it for her. Even now, you are more concerned with saving face than troubling yourself to learn what her favorite color is."

Storm adds the flannel robe to her other items and prepares to leave.

"Think about that, my friend. If Rogue does not survive, I at least, will have truly known her. I enter this room and sense her presence surround me. When you enter, you notice only the amount of cleavage her blouse reveals."

"Dat was uncalled for."

"It is accurate. Take care, Remy. Those rings are among Rogue's most valued possessions."

She turns her back to him.

Valued possession. Pah! T' ieves on de streets learn early.

A rush of memories. Gutter rat days. Blood-letting nights. And always, always the hunger.

De only value a t' ing has is how many days it can keep your belly full. How many nights it can keep you out de alleys.

As he studies the rings in his hand, a familiar yearning tugs his soul. His house in New Orleans. Empty. His marriage to Bella Donna. Annulled. No lights to welcome him in from the night. No voice calling out in concern, asking if he has arrived home safely. No arms to warm the chill air from his bones. Until the X-men. Until Rogue.


She spares a quick glance over her shoulder.

"Yes, Gambit?"

"Her favorite color?"

For a moment, he doesn't think she will tell him. She turns back to face him from the doorway.

"Robin's egg blue."


Continued in Chapter 6


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