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Stories written by Diamonde

"Could've Been Worse"
When Gambit shatters his knee, permenantly damaging it, he has to cope with his loss of mobility. Written for Kaylee's Disability Challenge.

"Little Words, Big Lies"
When Magnus breaks up with Rogue, he tries his hardest to deny that the separation bothers him.

"Red Skies"
Magneto and Rogue watch a sunset over Genosha's Hammer Bay, and Magnus explains to Rogue what the red skies mean to him -- and why he must take action in Genosha. Takes place during the Magneto Rex miniseries.

elsewhere in Alykat's World:

"A Little Faith"
Bobby reaches out to a grieving Cable after Cyclops' death.
(at (un)frozen)


Web site: Peeing in the Jean Pool

Okay, this was written for Kaylee's handicap challenge. I had a minor booboo myself, though 'Christ this is irritating,' and the idea was born. I don't know if it sucks or not, if it doesn't please let me know, I'l kinda edit a little and post the rest. If, on the other hand, it does, just don't say anything and I'll get the message loud and clear.
Disclaimer: They're not mine, although I doubt Marvel wants this one back. He's a little defective now. I'm not making any money from them. Story itself mine.
Warning: I think I managed to get through without naughty language aside from some blasphemy, but don't hold me to that. We have a bit of a emotion-with-a-trowel warning though, and if you're religiously opposed to Gambit and Rogue you ain't gonna like some of it.

Could've Been Worse

Remy took a deep breath in, and slowly released it. This should be easy, he'd done it a hundred times before. In the rain and gale-force winds of Storm grieving, in the snow, in the dark. Now it was daylight, the weather was perfect, and everything was so familiar.

Gambit stepped out onto the topmost ridge of the roof, steadied himself and began to walk. His balance was perfect, and for his feet it was second nature. His right knee, however, buckled on the third step and threw him sideways. He rolled down the roof, tried to catch himself, missed, and bounced painfully over the edge, fingers scrabbling frantically at the guttering.

He cursed viciously, saw the ground rushing up towards him... And had most of his remaining breath knocked out of him as Rogue's familiar arms broke his fall.

Green eyes filled with concern bored into his. "Remy! What the heck did you think ya were doin' up there?"

"De rumba," he snarled back. "Put me down!"

"If ya want me to." She put him gently on the ground.

Seven or eight months ago things would have been different, Gambit reflected. If she'd caught him at all, she just would have waited until they were within safe falling distance and left him to his own devices, knowing he'd control his own descent and land like a cat. He always had. Now she had to know his feet were on the ground before she'd let him take his own weight, not letting go until she was sure he was balanced. He hated her for it. "How many times I have to tell you, Rogue? Let me be."

She looked at him sadly. "Y'know, time was when mah favourite swamp-rat would do just about anythin' to fly with me as long as he could."

"Times change." He didn't mean it, they both knew it. He still wanted to be up there with her, or Storm, or Sam or even Warren. Whoever was handy when he felt like a tortoise and declared he'd kill himself if he didn't get up out of the mud soon. But flying wasn't being caught, 'saved' from his own mistake.

"Would you like t' come flyin', Remy? Ah was feelin' a little claustrophobic mahself ... "

"Don't patronize me." Another barb, one of hundreds, all ignored the same way. Remy turned, refusing to look her in the eye, and headed towards the nearest door. His damaged knee screamed in pain from the abuse it had taken on the roof, but he limped determinedly on.

"Let me-"

He could feel the hands reaching out, and was almost tempted to lean back into them. Not quite tempted enough, though. "Chere, please. I can still walk." He knew he was lucky to be able to do that, they'd said as much. If it hadn't been for Forge and the Shi'Ar technology, he'd be missing half a leg now, instead of just having a useless knee that collapsed on him at the worst possible times. And held him on imprisoned on the ground, unable to do the simplest things that he'd taken for granted at eight. He could barely climb a fire escape the normal way now, let alone bounce up the side with the same effort he used to breathe.

Remy hobbled inside and sat down on a couch, wincing as he stuffed a cushion under his right leg. Oh, the things he'd done. Taken a running leap from a rooftop to fall twelve feet and land on Magneto as he flew past... He almost smiled at that memory. He'd knocked the wind right out of Magnus, sending them both crashing into a florist shop. Fun days. Then general public had found the image of the two of them covered in pansies and swearing at each other in French particularly amusing. Throwing carnations had been fun too, especially since they'd still been in the bucket with several litres of charged water. Remy shook his head, subconsciously trying to banish the thought. He couldn't do things like that anymore, ever.

Clenching his teeth, Remy struggled up and limped to the elevator. Stairs were another thing he couldn't do the way he used to, and best avoided on a bad day. No sprinting up then three at a time just ahead of an extremely angry Summers, Bobby had to do that alone now. Remy's jaw clenched and he changed his mind, going to a lower level instead. Not dead yet, he thought firmly to the depression. De show ain't over 'til de fat lady sings, and we don' have many around here.

A few minutes later, Gambit was appropriately dressed, standing in the empty gymnasium and running through the mental lock-down procedures that would keep his thoughts away from the telepaths. He was doing that more and more often lately, Remy reflected as he looked around. They kept trying to find excuses to look inside his head, and they were giving him funny looks when he refused. Why did they worry? He knew he was lucky to be alive. It was almost amusing the way things had worked out, really. If he'd taken a car he'd most probably be dead, but he'd been on the Harley and was thrown clear. Being hurled over a car with a crushed knee hadn't been fun, but better than going under the truck.

Remy reached for the bar and started to do chin-ups. After all the times he'd escaped unharmed against all odds, a simple three-vehicle accident smashed his knee beyond repair. Any of Forge's bionics were too heavy for his unusual bone structure, and all the other possibilities they suggested weren't quite out of the development stage yet. Even then, Remy had made them tell him exactly how extensive the nerve damage was. Enough so that he'd never get full mobility back, even if everything else magically repaired itself.

Sweating, he lowered himself back onto the ground and limped across to one of the machines. Sit ups were good, they didn't involve his legs at all and at that angle they were hard enough that he only concentrated on the effort. Remy had no idea how many hid did, but eventually his stomach muscles refused to work any more. He lay there waiting for world stop spinning enough to get up.

"Overdone it?" Scott's upside-down face appeared in his blurry vision.

"No," Remy grated out, ignoring screaming muscles and dragging himself up. "Help me get onto dat one." He waved at another machine.

Scott looked carefully at him. He's working hard, but not dangerously so. The worst he can do is pull something. "It's lunchtime. Why don't we come back in an hour or two?"

"More exercise an' less food'd do you some good." Remy ignored the casually offered hand and heaved himself to his feet, ignoring the warning throb from his knee.

"It probably would," Scott agreed quietly.

The only light was from a television screen Remy had long since stopped really watching. His eyes took in flickery patterns of light, but he couldn't have said what he was watching. It might have been a horror movie, then again it might have been an ad for tampons. Eventually he switched it off and stood up. Like a lame ghost in the sleeping house he drifted down to the danger room, starting up as few systems as possible. He knew he shouldn't be doing this, but he had to do something. Anything.

The doors locked behind him.

"Pathetic." He was as large as life and twice as arrogant, sword hanging carelessly from one hand. "Y' never could take me, Remy, now you just gonna get y'self killed."

"I'm not dead yet, Julien."

"You will be." The assassin lunged, sword whistling through empty air as Remy ducked. "Why we always do dis on rooftops?" he asked almost conversationally.

"I like it." Remy blocked the next attack with his bo staff, and very nearly broke his dead brother-in-laws shin.

"You don' have de advantage up here anymore, thief. I do."

"I know." Remy forcibly held back the temptation to use his mutation, even when Julien forced him back another painful step.

Julien laughed. "You've already lost, LeBeau. You're not eighteen any more, you're crippled and useless and I don' know what you're still doing here! What good are you?"

The most truly humiliating thing, Remy decided as he fell, was the way the bastard had used the flat of the blade to sweep him off the roof. He hadn't even been worth killing.

The program shut off, its requirements met. The room was empty when Remy hit the floor, trying to roll. Once again his knee refused to do what it was supposed to, hitting hard. Remy saw a white flash and felt a burst of pain, then slid into unconsciousness.

Jean woke up with a gasp. She felt as if someone had just dropped a miniature atomic bomb on her leg, waves of pain flowed over here, slowly receding as she got her shields back under control. "Scott?"

He was already half awake, as her distress had washed down their bond. "What is it?"

"You know how you said you didn't think Gambit was capable of exercising himself to the point where he got seriously hurt?"

"Oh no." He sounded sick, guilt and worry collided.

"He's in the danger room. I'm waking up Cecilia." Jean let her husband run off without her. She needed a few minutes to collect herself before she could look at anyone in the light, time to rid herself of that black sense of almost unbearable loss. She took a deep breath and closed her eyes, letting the feeling wash through her on its way out. She was floating in a damaged boat, grey waves rolled and crashed around her. A storm was coming, and there were no harbours she could get to in a ship without sails ...

Jean frowned. A ship without sails, a bird that can't sing... Poetry of a kind. Where had she heard that? Without knowing why, she shivered. It wasn't that bad. Gambit wasn't badly hurt, she could sense that from the others. But why was he doing this? He'd lost was some mobility, but it could have been so much worse...

"Gambit? Gambit, can you hear me?"

Remy groaned. His head was feeling a little too small for his brain. "Oui, 'm crippled, not deaf ... "

"I see you didn't break your sense of humour. Pity."

The biting sarcasm meant he was fine. Remy wondered if he could manage to pass out again. He seemed to have hit the back of his head on the floor, maybe he could dredge up a concussion.

"Gambit, don't drift off on me. Open your eyes."

He opened them reluctantly, an image of Cecilia leaning over him with Scott and Hank behind her seared itself across his eyeballs before he closed his eyes firmly. "Ow. You know I don' like you shinin' dat light in my eyes." He breathed deeply, trying to ignore the pain in his leg.

"I've done that now, your pupils are equal and responding. C'mon, if you don't follow the finger you'll be lying on that cold floor all night." He sighed and opened his eyes, following the finger as it waved from side to side. "Okay, what day is it?"

"Jeudi." (Thursday)

"You aren't amusing anyone except yourself," she warned.


"What's your middle name?"


Cecilia rolled her eyes. "What was the date the day before yesterday?"

Remy frowned, thinking hard and drawing a blank. "The third," he admitted sulkily. Hadn't thought up a smart reply for that one yet.

"Thank you. Anything else wrong with you?"

"My knee. Hit it when I landed."

Scott's voice cut softly through the pain of Cecilia's gentle examination. "Which raises the question of what the hell you were doing."

"Couldn't sleep, wanted a little exercise. Some people can't combine dat wit' bed like you can, fearless leader. Dat is, if you do. Could explain why Jean's so uptight 'round me ... " He could feel the glare, heard the anger in the indrawn breath. Go on. Yell at me. You know I deserved it for dat one...

The danger room was silent for a few moments. "How does it look?" Cyclops asked Cecilia calmly.

"Bruised." She poked a little. "That hurt?"

Gambit whimpered. "No."

"Can you move it?"

"Yes, I just don' want to."

"You are absolutely the worst patient I've ever had, know that?"

"Just hearing you say dat made my whole day."

"And what day is that?"

"Today." Always today, endless todays flowing into each other ... What he wanted was for all the yesterdays to still be tomorrows.

Gambit glared at the crutches. Back on those again, leg in a brace, poster child for racehorses everywhere. Still, at least that meant he could get up now. He did, with far more effort than he really felt should be necessary. As had become almost reflex now, he shielded his mind to the best of his ability. With a mockery of his old silent grace, Remy began to move.

He reached the door of the professor's study without seeing anyone. That made sense, because they were all on the other side of it. Without the ability to pull off any more covert eavesdropping, he simply listened at the door.

"Okay, maybe I don't know Gambit as well as you all say you do, but I don't think he'd be picking fights with a hologram of his brother-in-law if he didn't have serious issues." That was Kate, annoyingly intelligent as always.

"I agree, Kitty, but what can we do that we haven't done or tried to do already?"

"Jean, I know how you feel, but I believe I can also guess at how he feels. When Forge's nullifier took away my powers ... I lost part of myself. I felt useless, like half a being that had no right existing. We worry about him needing us, but it is more important for him to feel that we need him."

"Do we?"

"Marrow, that was beneath you."

"I come from the sewers, wind-rider, there isn't much beneath me. What can he do here except sit around while you all pat yourselves on the back for being so supportive? He's not useful and he knows it."

There was a long silence. "Maybe the Massachusetts Academy ... " Xavier said thoughtfully.

"That's open to humans now, remember? What would he teach? The one thing legal thing he was good at he can't do anymore. If he could we'd keep him."

"He is not a pet."

"The way you and I-won't-commit-but-I-like-having-the-pretty-face-around-to-look-at act it's hard to tell."

"Ah do not."


"Running away from pain does not help." The Russian accent was unmistakable. "He should stay here, where his friends are."

"Maybe he should go home to where his family is," Jean said a little sarcastically. "He certainly doesn't seem to be liking it here with us."

It was Nightcrawler's turn to argue. "Send him back to a family that earn their money climbing in through other people's windows? It seems to me that the reason this injury is causing him problems is that he has been raised to consider those skills crucial."

"If he stays, we can't let him have access to the danger room."

"Why not?"

"He'll hurt himself again!"

"If that's what he wants to do then I don't see why you should have any right to stop him!"

"X-Men look after their own."

"What sort of X-Man does he see himself as now? He hasn't been an active member for seven months."

In Remy's ears all the arguing voices and words began to blur together. "My patient ... therapy... not now... thief... fell off the roof on Wednesday... rude to everyone... what use... a little peace maybe... it's what's best for him ... "

"I'll make sure I do what's best f' me," Remy whispered.

"Pushes away... blocks me out... need to do something... Jubilee would... change..."

"As soon as I know what dat is..."

"Can't go on...think objectively...if it was me...thank us later..."

"I'll decide!" He yelled that, striking the door with both hands. A pink glow erupted, turning the door into splintered chunks and ashes. Remy swayed from the force of the explosion, but stayed up and looked angrily into all the shocked faces. "I'm not a child!"

"Of course you-"

"You don' get to decide where I go or what I do, I broke my knee not my brain!" Red eyes glittered, numb loss and self-pity obliterated in a wave of fury. "But if dat's de way you all feel, I'd be happy to leave. And I won't go home, and I won't go to Massachusetts, an I won't talk to some pretentious therapist who t'ink dey know more dan me! I'm me, I know what's wrong wit' me!"

"Then what is wrong with you?" the professor asked reasonably.

"None of your goddamn business!" Awkwardly he turned and left, fury and practice making him surprisingly fast.

There was a long, embarrassed silence. "What did we do that was so terrible?" Bobby asked with a hurt expression.

"To us, nothin' much. Just bein' nosy." Rogue rested her hand reassuringly on his shoulder. "To him, one of th' most terrible things we coulda done if we'd planned it. We made him feel like an invalid. For someone who's spent their whole life bein' able ta take care of himself anywhere, that's hard."

"Remy? Ah want to apologize, we had no business doin' that. We just worry about ya is all." Rogue stood uncertainly in the doorway, watching him throw things at a bag on the bed.

"How nice for you." He didn't turn, didn't stop. "Would y' please go away?"

"No. Talk to me, please." He paused, looking down at something or other. The room was dim, and what little light there was caught softly in his eyes. Rogue bit her lip. He looked so beautiful, even the darkness traced the angles of his face like a drowsy lover. But she would have enjoyed that determined posture and hidden agony so much more if he was another pleasing face on a movie screen, not a living soul she cared about.

"What's de point?"

Untouchable. Not because of her powers -- she was fairly good at controlling them now. Because in the two months since she'd happily shown this new ability to everyone, he hadn't touched her once. Never reached for her, physically or emotionally, held her at a distance if she tried to initiate the slightest intimacy. "Please, don't push me away again," she begged helplessly.

"Dis ain't about you, or us. Dis is about me!"

"Ah know, and Ah want to help, but Ah don't understand it..."

"You want to help? Yell at me!" He glared angrily. "I'm being a jerk, I deserve it! But none of you ever do, even t'ough I could be sued for some of de t'ings I say..."

"You were angry at life, we didn't take it personal..."

"I meant it personal, I get so angry at all of you. You talk 'bout what I need, but you don't have to fix my life. You have to do nothing. Don't talk down to me, don't decide what's best for me, don't tell me it could have been worse and I should be grateful, 'cause sometimes I wish it had been worse. I don' want to be de one everyone has to treat special, I can't stand it ... " The deceptively devilish red glitter disappeared as Remy closed his eyes in pain. "I could do anything, Rogue, I was so free ... No matter what else life took, I was me and I could fly. But not even Stormy can understand dat, I worked for it, every day. I wish you wouldn't all pretend dat you can know how it hurts and make me feel worse dan useless. I already lost half my soul, don' take de rest." He took a shuddering breath and looked at her. Rogue looked at the tears filling his eyes and felt some of her own start.

"Ya can have mine." This time she didn't take no for an answer, holding him close in desperate determination. He leaned into her shoulder, crying softly. It was the first time he'd done that since the accident, the grief and loss evident with every desolate sob nearly broke her heart. But it was progress of a kind. He had a long way to go, but it was a start.

An old book sat unnoticed on the bedside table. If someone had opened it, they might have read the copperplate words written across that unprinted first page.

~Liliane -
A ship without sails, a bird that can't sing,
I'll be your harbour if you'll be my wings.
~Armand LeBeau, 9th October 1945~


- as long as the voices in my head stay quiet.


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