Down-Home Charm Photo Album Songbank Fan-Fiction History Books Fan Art Miscellania Links
Fan-Fiction >
Post-Claremont >
"Smoke and Mirrors"

Smoke and Mirrors

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

Gee, I never thought that I would get to the final chapter and here I am! Thanks for reading - I hope you have enjoyed the ride as much as I have. You know the disclaimer bit by now. All characters do belong to Marvel and all content in this book belongs to me. From this there are a few logical conclusions which I'll leave you to work out. Adios!
P.S. I want to thank some people now for all their support and\or help.
First of all, to my Dutch buddy, Roy - thank you for running around and finding me lyrics for songs as well as the compliments as well as being a great friend. To Sunfire, I can't thank you enough for everything you've done - I know I must have thanked you about fifteen times, but it isn't enough.  To Montana Matheson (a.k.a. Blackeye), your criticisms have challenged me and helped me become a better writer while your compliments have been wonderful! To everyone (I can name you by name but don't have space :-) ) who has written into me and told me what they thought, I appreciate it. To everyone who has read but has not written in, thank you for reading.
And now for the final chapter...

Part 19

"What th'..." Rogue wakes. The room is completely dark. Ominous. She feels around her with a hand. Metal. A viscous substance gripping her wrists and ankles. She attempts to break free but it stretches and contracts even tighter. A voice echoes in the hollow room.

"Continued efforts would only lead to your blood-flow being cut off. I would stop, if I were you."

"Who are you?" She asks as terrified as the child who cowered from her father. As the girl who absorbed Ms Marvel. As the woman who kissed the man she loved and saw how evil he had been. The lights come on. Cold. Merciless. The girl standing in front of her evokes similar emotions.

Her silver hair flares around her like an electric nimbus and she is wearing a long black dress.

"You can call me Zodiac."

"Why'm Ah here?" She asks, "Wherever here is."

"By yourself, you are not important. But your presence is."

"Do y'all always speak in riddles?"

"I'm a precognitive. It comes in the job description."

"So you won't - or can't - give me a straight answer."

"Why should I?"

"That is more than enough, Zodiac." His voice fills the room like liquid darkness. "Allow me to continue."

"Sinister." Rogue spits. "Ah shoulda guessed you were behind all this."

"Bravo." Smoke billows up in clouds out of which Sinister materialises. "I am sorry to involve you in this essentially private business, but efficacy outweighed sympathy in this case."

"What do you want me foh?"

"For someone who once said that they did not play damsel in distress very well, you are doing admirably." He strokes her cheek with a black-gloved hand, sending an icy tingle down her spine, "I almost expect you to tell me that I won't get away with this."

"Y'all are tryin' ta get ta Remy through me?" She asks.

"Beautiful and intelligent."

"Save th' compliments." Rogue snaps, "What if Ah said that Ah wanted ta help you?"

"What?" Sinister's eyes glow a demonic red.

"He's hurt me in more ways than one." A smile plays across her mouth, "Both by what he did a long time ago an' by his refusal ta tell me. Then he has th' nerve ta ask me ta trust him, that he'll make everythin' right when he can. Said Ah would but Ah didn't mean it."

"How do I know that you are not lying in an attempt to get me to free you?"

"Y'all has ta trust me." She says, "Ah can get closer ta him than you can. Strike th' killin' blow before he even knows what hit him."

"She has a point, Essex." Zodiac says.

"Very well, Rogue." He presses a button, releasing her from her chains.

"But know this, no-one betrays Sinister and lives."

"Ah know an' Ah won't."

"Now it is time for my favorite part of this great play which I have written and directed - the grand finale." He touches a panel.

"Oh mah lawd . . . ."

Gambit was sitting in Harry's Hideaway, drinking a beer with his teammates, surrounded by the scents of pine and cider. Now? Now, he has no idea where he is. The stench of death is everywhere. In his hair. On his clothes. Inside his body. Smoke hangs on the air, redolent of a funeral pyre or some ancient ritual to a dark god. To Pluto or Kali. He looks around and sees only himself, reflected into infinity by a bank of mirrors. After spending his life running away from who he is and what he has done, he is now confronted by the truth.

"Where am I?" He asks out loud, hoping and dreading an answer.

"You are in the place where all truth becomes known."

A girl's voice. Low. Melodic.

"An' who be you?"

"I am Tezcatlipoca." The voice changes. Becomes angry. Sinister. "I am your judge and your victim."

"What d'ya mean?"

"See and remember."

The mirrors change, begin to show images. Of a tunnel. Of him leading the Marauders. Of the dim light which shone of teeth and blades. Of fear and pain. And, finally, of a child. Of her silver eyes as she looked at him. Of him scooping her up in his arms and running faster than he had thought possible. Of him putting her safely on a ledge, where she had watched horrified. His words.

"Mebbe one day you might understand why I did it. Might be able t'forgive me, b'cause I sure could never f'rgive m'self."

"It was you." Her voice becomes that of a scared child, "It was you who saved me, but if it was not for you I wouldn't have needed to be saved."

"You. . .you be de child I saved."


"Why'd ya bring me here, petite?"

"She was working on my orders." His voice has been in Gambit's nightmares for the past four years. The voice of the man who had sent him to the tunnels to begin a massacre. To repay a debt. The voice of Sinister.

"Petite . . . y'be confused." He starts, "I was jus' a pawn dat Sinister sacrificed t'acheive his goal. Dat's part o' de reason I took dis name. B'cause I was de gambit which Sinister played t'kill your kind."


"She will not listen to you any longer."

"What have y'done t'her?"

"She is unharmed." A pause. "Physically."

"What d'ya want wit' me after all dese years?" He says angrily, "M'debt is repaid in full. I don' owe you not'ing."

"It has been foreseen that you will be the one to defeat me. Naturally, if you are dead, you pose no threat to my plans."

"Give me one reason why I shouldn' kill ya right now."

"One word. Rogue."

"Ya have her?"

"Of course. I always make sure that my position is defensible."

"How do I know you ain't lyin'?"

"See for yourself."

She steps out of the smoke. Her nightdress is torn and soaked with sweat and she has a cut across her cheek.

"I be sorry f'r dis, Belle. Never wanted you t'get caught up in dis mess."

"It's fine." She steps forward to hug him, holding a knife behind her back.

As she buries her face in his shoulder, she slips the blade to him. It flares as he touches it.

"So you betrayed me after all." Sinister sounds amused, "Remember what I said happened to traitors?"

The mirrors begin to glow, changing color to white-gold as they heat up.

"Dey be some sort of weapon."

"Remy . . . Ah . . . Ah don't know what ta do." She says, "Th' ceilin' ain't high enough foh me ta fly an' mah invulnerabilty won't stand up ta lasers."

"Simple, chere." He grins, "But you gotta promise t'trust me an' hold on tight."

"Ah do." She slips her arms around his waist.

"Bon."  He closes his eyes, concentrating. Sweat drips down his face and onto the floor.

The mirrors shatter, spraying bright shards in every direction, beams of pure energy emerging from them. Rogue gasps as they come towards her and suddenly stop, falling useless to the floor.

Facets lie on the cold metal, reflecting the thousand disparate parts of his life - their cold light offering complete enclosure, laying bare every hidden secret and past shame, then fade and die, reflecting only that which is.

"What did y'all do, Remy?" Her eyes are wide with wonder.

"Psychokinetic shield, chere."

"But . . . but . . . that would make you a telepath?"

"Oui. Been meanin' t'show you for some time but kept on f'rgettin'." His forehead creases, "Where are we?"

"An abandoned warehouse by th' looks o' things."

"Where is Sinister?"

"Popped inta one of his tessaract chambers an' hightailed it outta here."

"An' de fifille?"
     [Little girl]

"She's gone too. I think Uncle Sinny took her with him."

He nudges one of the shards with his foot, "Guess dat's it den."

"No . . . ." She says hesitantly, "Was this what happened?"


"Ah mean th' thing that you wouldn't tell me." She picks up a fragment, "Were you responsible foh th' Morlock Massacre?"

He nods, ashamed, "Oui, dat's it."

Her eyes are horrified, scared. Terror melting into disgust.

"Oh lawd . . . oh mah sweet lawd . . . tell me that ain't true. Tell me it weren't your fault."

"It was, chere. An' I've regretted it ever since. If I could give anyt'ing t'take back dat day, I would. I'd move heaven an' earth t'make amends."

"Why'd y'all do it?" She asks.

"Remember how at Illyana's grave, I told you dat I was you at one time? I wasn' sayin' it t'cheer ya up - I was." He looks at his hands, flexing his slender fingers, "I lost control over m'power. Everyt'ing I touched either blew up or was destroyed. D'ya know what dat is like?"

"Yeah. Ah think Ah have a fair clue."

"What if, chere, someone had come along an' offered ya a chance t'change all dat? T'control your powers? T'be able t'touch again?"

"Ah would take it. No matter what th' cost was."

"I was in Seattle. In a theater. De place was a burnt-out wreck, rather like me, an' I used t'go dere when I wanted t'get away from what I was. When I wanted t'act out another part."

"An' ?"

"Sinister found me dere. I'll never forget de words dat he said.  I c'n offer you freedom from de power which constrains ya. Let ya live again. But ya first have t'do somet'ing f'r me.'"

"Th' Massacre."

"Oui." He nods, "If I had known dat it was dat bad, I would o' turned him down. Ain't not'ing worth de price o' your humanity."

"Ah can't say Ah would have done any different, sugah."

Tears falling down his cheeks, mingling with blood and sweat. Her arms around him, holding him tight to her.

"Hush, darlin'." The sweet magnolia scent of her hair blocks out the memory of death's stench, "It's ovah, it's all ovah."

Her gloved hands touch his face gently, wiping away his tears.

"Are . . . we . . . over?" He asks.


"Mon Dieu. I hope y'd feel dis way, dat everyt'ing would be right. But . . . ."

She holds him at arm's length, her green eyes looking intently into his.

"Remy, Ah love you. Why would that change because o' what you did? Why would Ah?"

"Chere. What I did was terrible . . . worse . . . . I'd understand you not lovin' me any more."

"Ah fell in love with Gambit - th' X-Man - with you - not with what y'all used ta be." She sighs, "Besides Ah'm queen o' th screwed up past. Ah've killed innocents, know what it's like ta have their blood on mah hands. How can Ah judge you?"

"Chere . . . ."

"Hush." She places a finger on his lips, "Next thing Ah know you'll say you don't want me."

The joke sounds weak to her own ears, but Gambit laughs.

"O' course I do." He pauses, "It's jus' dat t'ings can't go on de way dey have been."

"What do you mean? It's ovah?"

"Au contraire, Roguey. It's only jus' begun."

He leans forward and kisses her on the lips. Instantly, she recoils, scared that history is repeating itself.

"Darlin'?" She whispers as she sees him still standing there, "Oh darlin'."

She puts her arms around his neck and he smiles.

" Member me tellin' you everyt'ing would be alright."


Then Rogue kisses him, relishing the sensation of being able to touch freely and without fear. Of being able to touch with love.


- Fin -

Final Footnotes:
1. Kali was a Hindi Goddess who demanded sacrifices to appease her. Often they were human. Pluto was the Lord of the Underworld in Greek Mythology. He became Hades when the Romans took over.
2. Tezcatlipoca was chief god of the Aztec people. His name means 'Smoking Mirror.' (Man, my mom's mythology dictionary has come into play in this issue)
3. I have deliberately chosen not to focus too much on what Gambit actually did; I prefer to look at people's reactions to a situation, rather than give a blow-by-blow, gory account of his sins. Besides which, I don't have #350 yet (thanks to my rather awful comic book store :-( ) and can't really.
4. For those non-chessy types, a gambit (You get various kinds) is a move where a piece is sacrificed to gain an advantage and\or win the game. The most common kind is when a pawn is sacrificed.
5. State Name Game Time: Mississippi is known as ... the Magnolia State!
6. Amen to Rogue's never-changing feelings, IMO.

Ah gee, I'm all in tears right now. I can't believe I'm finished and don't want to be. :-(
Guess this calls for a sequel some time in the far distant future.
Hmm ... Joseph ? Miss Marvel returns ? A wedding ? Family reunions ?


Down-Home Charm / Fan-Fiction / Fan Artwork / History Books / Photo Album / Songbank / Miscellania / Links / Updates

Legalese: Rogue, the X-Men, and the distinctive likenesses thereof are Trademarks of Marvel Characters, Inc. and are used without permission. This is an unofficial fansite, and is not sponsored, licensed or approved by Marvel Comics.
Privacy Policy and Submission Guidelines