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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 6: The Angel of Death)

Down here in the basement, it is dank and dark. Cobwebs festoon the ceiling in silken drapery, the floor is hard concrete. A pallet of old rags lies in one corner, musty and unwashed. Angel supresses the bile that rises up in his throat at the stench, at the fear and guilt which he feels. The flashlight which he grips in one sweaty palm does not seem to be proof against the shadows. Light from it plays over the walls, revealing dire carvings. "Blood sacrifice shall appease the slaughtered." "Darkness breeds strength." "Monsters rise from souls." And, finally, strangely, "Light shall dispel all fear." Angel runs his fingers along the jagged letters, tears running down his cheeks. Tears of pity both for himself and the child who carved it. Sadness gives way to rage - bitter like gall in his tight throat - and he thinks of the man who caused it. The traitor to them all.

"Why couldn't you have died in Antarctica, Remy? Why did you have to come back and make me remember?"

"Because then we couldn't slay him," her voice is like the scraping of nails on a chalkboard.

"Marrow? Is that you?"

"Yes, bright Angel. It is me," she steps into the small circle of light, shielding her yellow eyes.

"Heaven have mercy on my soul," he whispers to himself and then more loudly, "I am here to help you, Marrow."

"Good," she nods curtly, professionally, "Two hands are always better than one."

"What must I do?"

Marrow smiles madly, the detachment gone from her face. "You know, Angel."

Cinema images play themselves over and over again in the space of her head. Black and white, color, it makes no difference. Shadows, rainbows, dance on the wall of her heart. Of her memory. Some of these images are not even her own - seem to have been cut in by some unskilled editor, tragicomic by nature. She sees them in her head - the moon and stars over the Mississippi, the excitement of a new G . I . Joe Figurine on her birthday (No, not her birthday, Cody's), the heart-wrenching agony of a brother killed by a few hour's husband, the softness of a mother's touch on blonde hair ("Sweet dreams, Carol"), the mad excitement of snatching a garter and fulfilling a superstition. All these she knows and wants to forget. Rogue looks around her room as she lies in her narrow bed - the mess of earlier has been cleaned up and the floor-boards gleam dully in the moonlight. Her life may yet regain some semblance of order. A knock sounds softly in the silence, hanging in the air, and she climbs out of bed, straightening her white nightshirt as she does so.

"Who's there?"

Silence is her answer and she cautiously opens the door. A note is pinned to the wood. Rogue snatches it, tearing the elegant white writing paper in her haste.

Meet me in the basement - Remy.

She crumples it up and tosses it in the trash can.

Why can't he speak ta me like a normal guy? Ask me ta come with him? she complains, walking back to her room and getting a flannel robe, Why so late? Why th' basement?

Rogue pads silently down the stairs in her slippers, clutching the robe around her for warmth. The door to the basement is ajar and she slips in. "This had better be good, cajun," she drawls impatiently, "It's cold an' Ah'm tired."

"Oh, it is, sweet Rogue," the voice from behind her is familiar, a slow southern accent, "It's very good."

"Who are you?" Rogue snaps, "Step out inta th' light so Ah can see you."

The young man enters the light, blinking his blue eyes and running a nervous hand through his golden hair.

"Cody, silly."

Dread causes Rogue's chest to constrict.

"But . . . but . . . you can't be. Cody's dead."

"Candra didn't kill me," he explains, "Ah was just unconscious - woke up after you abandoned me. Left me ta die."

"You said goodbye ta me. Said that Ah should be happy. Said that your time had come."

"Put two and two together, darlin'. Mattie is your boyfriend's aunt an' Ah was th' only thing standin' between you and him. She's got psychic powers . . . ."

"Remy wouldn't do somethin' like that," she stutters, "You didn't have a pulse."

"Mattie supressed it with some herbs. Woman is a healer, remember?"

"Gawd - Ah'm sorry, Cody. Ah . . . Ah'm so sorry."

He smiles, stepping forward and taking her into his arms. Tears, warm and sticky, flow freely down her cheeks and onto his chest.

"All's forgiven, Sabby," he holds her at arm's length, looking at her, "You still wear my locket, don't you?"

She pulls it out of her nightdress, "Yeah - forget-me-not."

"Ah've got something else for you ta wear," he grins, "Somethin' that'll suit you a lot better'n old lockets."


"Close your eyes, Sabrina."

Warmth fills her at the sound of her old name spoken by the familiar lips. His gloved hands gently brush her neck to be replaced by the icy bite of metal. As Rogue realizes that something is wrong, it is already too late. The collar is clicked into place. Her green eyes snap open and she wildly claws at her neck; at the thick, iron collar that surrounds it from jugular
to clavicle.

"What are you playin' at, whoever you are?"

The image inducer fades and Angel smiles coldly at her.

"Warren . . . what in th' name o' all's holy are you doin'?"

"Revenge," Marrow steps out from behind him.

"Ah should've guessed," Rogue spits, "If you've hurt Gambit, Ah'll . . ."

"Your pwecious paramour is upstairs dreaming. It's just you, me and the Angel of Death," Marrow strokes Rogue's cheek with a bone dagger, "And may I ask what you'll do without your powers?"

The Mississippian kicks out, knocking the dagger out of Marrow's hands. Marrow swears and pulls out another one with a grimace of pain.

"This foh a start."

Warren draws his fist back and punches her in the jaw. Rogue's head snaps back and blood trickles out of her mouth.

"Your choice to allow Gambit to return meant that I have to be reminded of everything that happened to me every time I see him. I've wanted to do that to you for a long time."

"Warren . . . you don't have ta do this," Rogue pleads, "This isn't you."

"Shut up," he kicks her and she falls to the floor, clutching her ribs. Stars dance before Rogue's eyes and her vision blurs and doubles. She staggers to an upright position and attempts to orient herself.

"You don't leave me any choice, sugah," she wheezes and delivers a leg-sweep to him that knocks him off his feet.

"So you can fight even without your powers," Marrow laughs, "Good. The hunt is no fun when the prey is weak."

Marrow attacks swiftly from the side, slashing at the woman's arm with her bone knives. Rogue supresses a scream of pain and spins, lashing out wildly. A chance blow connects with Marrow's chin and the younger woman winces and retreats slightly. Rogue breathes a silent sigh of relief which is swallowed as she sees Angel return to the offensive. He has one of Marrow's bone knives in his hand and he smiles unpleasantly as he spins it. Rogue is weak from loss of blood and can barely fend off his blows. When she sees Marrow join him, like a velocioraptor joining its mate, she knows that the battle is over for her. That she has lost. The final blow, therefore, comes as no surprise to her. Marrow connects neatly with her cranium and Rogue collapses to the floor as the pain washes over her.

Gambit sits bolt upright in bed, scared by the scream that he has just felt tear through his mind. The resignation that followed the scream, then the deathly silence. He knows, instinctively, that something has happened to Rogue. That the something is entirely his fault. He climbs out of the bed, feeling sick to the stomach with fear. He runs along the hallway, little caring about the noise that he is making. He stops before the door to her room, knowing he must open the door and dreading it. It opens with a creak and he steps slowly into the cool room, praying to a god in whom he has given up hope that she is there. Her bed lies empty, save for a twisted mass of sheets and a pillow. A small brown teddy-bear with a spray-painted white stripe lies in the middle of the mess. Gambit picks it up, feeling his heart plummet within him as he does so, because a bone dagger is stabbed through its chest. Marrow.


Continued in Chapter 7.


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