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"Mending Fences"

Mending Fences

Chapter One: Splinter
Chapter Two: Miracle
Chapter Three: Child
Chapter Four: Forget-me-not
Chapter Five: Dreams and Reality
Chapter Six: Angel of Death
Chapter Seven: Tunnels
Chapter Eight: Anything of Nothing First Created
Chapter Nine: Hard-Bought Freedom
Chapter Ten: Hours and Seconds
Chapter Eleven: Birdsong
Chapter Twelve: Fallout

This story is in progress.

Disclaimer: Blah blah blah. All characters belong to Marvel and are Marvel's to ruin, not mine! All money therefore should stay in your wallets and\or billfolds and not be sent to me. Your opinions however are always welcomed at and any letters will be answered personally and to the best of my ability. I'll smile as well. :-)

Mending Fences

(Chapter 3: Child)

Rogue stands in the cool air of the Danger Room. It is scented with metal and the perfume which she is wearing - an expensive, elusive fragrance that defies description. She has not bothered to change since returning home from her date with Gambit - she is still wearing the long, green dress that she changed into that morning. The skirt is folded concertina-style and falls down from her mid-section in pleats. Her hair is upswept in a loose bun and strands escape around the nape of her neck. Around her neck is an old silver locket, battered and worn with time.

"Forget me not," she whispers as she reads the inscription, "Cody."

She had not expected to see Cody's cousin, nor to be reminded of her own guilty past. A past which she is in the process of exorcizing through blood and sweat and tears.

"Load sim: Caldecott," she says in a trembling voice, clasping the amulet as if it will protect her.

"Loading . . . ."

The harsh metal of the Danger Room disappears to be replaced by a verdant field, bisected by a river - the Mississippi. Flowers are blown gently by a spring wind, tousled heads of yellow midst long grass. The air is sweet with their scent.

"Sabrina. It's been so long," the blond haired man opens his arms to embrace her, but she stands still, unmoved and unmoving.

"Cody . . . Ah . . . ."

"You've betrayed me, haven't you?"

"No . . . ."

"You love another now an' have forgotten all about me. Me. The man you killed."

She nods slowly, "Ah do love another. But Ah haven't forgotten. How could Ah?"

She holds out the golden locket to him. "Forget me not, remember?."

"What must Ah say, Sabby? What will make it right between us?"

"Nothin' now. Ah'm here ta be punished, not ta reconcile."

"Sugah, you don't deserve that. We were kids - it was as much mah fault as yours."

"Don't say that! It was mah powers that drained your life away . . . ."

"It was me who kissed you."

"An' it was me who led you on."

Cody's face fades away with her anger to be replaced by a much older, crueller face. A face which has haunted her nightmares ever since she made her escape from her nightmare life.

"So. Mah baby girl has returned . . . ."


"You lost all right ta call me that when you turned out ta be a freak."


"Shut up, freak."

He draws his hand back and hits her across her cheek. Physically, it does nothing, but, psychologically, it smarts. Again and again, he strikes while she stands passively and lets the demons attack.

"Ah deserve this . . . Ahdeservethis . . . ohlawdpleasehelpmesomeone . . . daddynonotagain . . . ." The confusion in her mind clarifies to a single, crystal thought, "Remy . . . Ah need you."

The door to the Danger Room opens, throwing light over the rapidly dissipating scene. Green meadows become steel once more. Flowers disappear abruptly to be replaced by the petals of scrolling LCD read-outs.

"What de hell . . . ."

Rogue is kneeling in the middle of the Danger Room in supplication or in prayer, tears streaming freely down her pale cheeks. Gambit bites back his hasty words of accusation. Her mind-scream had torn through his psyche, leaving him both worried and in pain.

"You came . . . . How?"

"Shhh. Oui . . . . I heard ya," Gambit bends down and takes her into his arms.

"Ohgawdohgawdohgawd," she sobs against his shoulder, repeating the words over and over again.

"Let it all out, girl. No-one has t'see dis."

"‘Cept you."

"I c'n go if ya want me to."

"No . . . no . . . . Need you here. With me," she sniffed, "Please . . . don't tell anyone."

"It be our secret."

"Ha!" Rogue laughs weakly, "Got enough o' those between us."

"So we do, m'love. Don' t'ink dis one will hurt anyone though."

Time will prove him wrong as a third-party is privy to her pain. A pair of malevolent yellow eyes watches over them like a dark angel. An avenging angel. Marrow smiles and slips away from the observation booth.

"Hey!" Joseph exclaims as Marrow bumps into him as she flees down the passage.

"Out of my way, white-hair."

"Where have you come from?"

"The Danger Room. Not that that is any of your business," she smiles thinnly, considering something, "Skunkhead is in there with Traitor. They're pretty cosy."

"Skunkhead . . . . Rogue?"

"Yeah. Traitor-lover was upset by a boy with golden hair. A boy whose life she stole."

"I don't . . . ."

"Traitor heard her call him in her mind and came like a knight in shining armor."

"I need . . . ."

"Now that golden boy is going to steal both their lives."


Marrow smiles enigmatically, "Why would I tell you, white-head? You love the one who Traitor loves. You would tell her and she would tell him."

"I . . . ." Joseph thinks desperately, "I hate . . . ."

"Don't try to lie, boy. You don't have the intelligence required," Marrow strokes his cheek with a bony forefinger, "Ta ta."

"But . . . ."

Marrow disappears, taking with her her pain and her secrets.

Angel bends over the altar, picking up the photograph. The young girl smiles back, fear in her eyes. It is black-and-white - crumbling at the edges, brittle to the touch. Despite the strangeness of the face, there is something familiar about her as if he has seen her before.

"Why the fear?" he asks himself, "What does she know about terror?"

Angel has known terror - seen it come in the Marauders who flayed and killed and stole his wings. Watched impotently as the Massacre unfolded before his eyes. Listened to the screams and could do nothing.

"And how did one of my flechettes come to be here?"

There is a mystery to be solved in this choice of implements. A ritual to be unraveled. Why the candle and the angel? The girl and the cards? The bone knife and the flechette?

Footsteps echo hollowly down the tunnels and Angel swiftly hides behind the rack. Tuneless singing crooning an ancient lullaby accompanies the footsteps. Marrow emerges from darkness into gloom.

"Here, my angel, is another offering. Another gift to ease your years of torment."

Angel could hear something new being placed on the altar.

"A photograph of the two people whose blood will be poured out in offering to you."

The child then thought that he was some kind of god to be worshiped?

"You who live again must give me new life. Beauty for my ugliness. I am unworthy to be called your servant."

More scrabbling on the altar and a sigh.

"Tell you what, Angela. I would give anything to be you. To have your beauty."

Soft sobs begin as the footsteps fade away into the distance. The child has left, but what of the offering which she seeks to bring to him? Angel picks up the new photograph which is lying face down on the altar. Two people smile out at him, oblivious of the dark future which has been planned for them. Angel drops the photograph - he knows who is to be the sacrifice, but he does not know whether he wants to prevent it.

"That child is the wild card," Marie turns away in impatience, "The one who will cause the game to be won or lost. I had not foreseen her interference, Mattie."

"Shall we move now or wait?"

"Wait until the future clarifies so that we may better serve them."


"I have seen that the truth of your nephew's actions will soon be revealed and I see that that may cause the most pain of all."

"The truth is seldom easy."

"That it is not. But it will be the fire by which the gold of their love is purified and tested."

"Unless they burn first."

"Have faith, Marie. If not in them, then in the ultimate purpose of the universe."

"Sometimes the universe seems purposeless from where I stand."

"Then you are not looking hard enough. All fits into a greater pattern."

"So we hope."

"So we trust."

"Let us continue in hope - soon will come the time to act."

"Too soon, I fear," Mattie looks very old all of a sudden, "Too soon."

Joseph is slumped outside the locked door of the Danger Room, cursing the archaic system for the millionth time. He has been waiting here for half-an-hour, unsure of whether to go or stay. The door slides open and her subtle, undefinable fragrance fills the air.

"Rogue . . . ." he stands, suddenly aware of how beautiful she is in her green dress with her hair taken up upon her head.

Her eyes are startled, like a deer caught in the headlights of an oncoming car, and, like that deer, it seems that she wishes to run. To bolt but is trapped. Gambit stands behind her, solid for all his lean height. His red eyes glow with warning, sending a clear reminder of their earlier conversation.

"Yeah?" her voice is scared.

"You look lovely."

"Glad ta see that you're feelin' better."

"We need to talk. Marrow is . . . is . . . threatening something."

"Next he'll tell us dat de Titanic's sunk."

"Really? I thought . . . . Never mind. She says that she'll use the golden boy to get to you."

Rogue looks up at Gambit in consternation and puzzlement.

"Th' golden boy?"

"Whose life you stole," Joseph adds eagerly.

"Cody," she whispers.

"Mon ami, dere ain't no way Marrow c'n use Cody t'get t'Rogue - Cody be dead. Candra killed him."

"Oh but . . . ."

"Gawd. Why won't he leave me alone?"

"Ya heard de lady, Joe. Allez-vous tout de suite."

"Ah meant Cody, Remy. Seems like he'll haunt me ta mah dyin' day at this rate."

"Non - Marrow can't use him t'get t'ya.Ya said dat ya let him go back dere in N'Awlins. He got no power over ya any more."

"No, he does - th' scene in th' restaurant proved that. He still makes me feel . . . feel dirty an' guilty when Ah think ‘bout what Ah did ta him."

Gambit hugs her quickly and Joseph stiffens at the easy, familiar gesture. "De Massacre has de same effect on me, chere. Jus' need t't'ink o' de looks on de faces o' . . . o' de children an' it makes everyt'ing I've done since seem a pathetic attempt t'do penance."

"Lawd. We've both got our pasts, hon. They still have power over us. We can't deny that - we've gotta accept it an' move on. Why's it so hard ta do so?"

"At least, you can remember your pasts," Joseph blurts out, "They say that a man is the sum of his actions - I can't even remember mine. What does that make me?"

Rogue touches his shoulder gently and cold shivers run parallel to his spine, "A man with a chance ta make a new start."

"A lucky dog wit'out baggage."

"Gawd. Why can't Ah have amnesia? Or at least one o' th' minds inside me."

"Mine, chere?"

"Yes . . . an' no. It's kinda flatterin' ta know what you really think about me," she smiles, a brief flash of sweetness, "Ah nevah woulda guessed that you thought Ah looked cute in spandex."

"Ya don' know . . . ."

"That y'all think that our first child should be named Sabine? Ain't it a bit early ta be thinkin' o' that?"

"It never be too early."

Joseph clears his throat, uncomfortable with their intimacy.

"Ummm . . . what about Marrow?"

"We're dealing with her," Rogue suddenly becomes the hardened fighter again, "We won't let her get ta us. Even if'n she brings on Cody, Belladonna an' the rest o' th' shadows from our pasts."

Joseph nods, satisfied and unsatisfied at the same time. He needs to speak to Rogue alone - to discuss matters of his life and his heart. For now, he turns away and walks slowly down the passage to his room where he will think of what to say when he gets the chance.


Continued in Chapter 4.


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