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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.

Part 8. I can't believe it. Are you still reading? End coming up soon. :-)
All characters are Marvel's to wreck, ruin and destroy! Us FF authors have to write them properly to make up for that. Romeo and Juliet are Shakespeare's creations as is the quote. I thought it was appropriate. Ask me why - there's more to it than the obvious! All comments should be sent to moi at   FF authors thrive on feedback - I sit at the computer looking desperately at the VDU waiting for it, so write to me telling me how I have MISPORTRAYED Angel, been CRUEL to Marrow and not been CRUEL ENOUGH to Joseph. <grins> The title of the chapter comes from Romeo and Juliet as well, where Romeo is talking about love.

Mending Fences

(Part 8: Anything of Nothing First Created)

‘Here's much to do with hate, but more with love.'
- Romeo in Romeo and Juliet, Act I, scene II.

Gambit walks through the tunnels, his every step seeming like something out of the past. His heart beats a staccato rhythm in his chest, drumming the same words through his head: Please, don't let me be too late. Where he was once the villain of the Morlock Massacre, he is now the victim. He stands to lose everything that night - Rogue, his love, and even his own life. "Played'n'lost, leBeau," he says to himself, "Gambled away everyt'ing for de sake of not'ing."

Nothing. A few years ago he would not have admitted that that was how much Belladonna really meant to him. That the only reason he loved her was to stick his thumb in the eye of the assassins. To go against years of hatred and feuding.

"An' now . . . now ya mistake - ya blindness - could cost ya Rogue."

No. He refuses to accept it. Marrow is insane with hatred, but she would never kill an innocent. Never hurt Rogue . . . .

The memory of the second, fair trial a few days ago comes back to him. Marrow had stood facing Rogue, a bone-knife drawn and ready. "And as for you, traitor-lover, round one was a blast. Can't wait until round two," she had sneered.

Gambit shakes his head, clearing the ominous image from his mind. "Mazette, Remy. Ya'd better hurry."

Angel looks at the unconscious woman strapped to the rack. Her injured arm is a bloody mess of muscle and skin, of tendons and bone. A cut runs parallel to her cheekbone, seeping a pale yellow fluid. Her once-elegant white nightdress is ripped and blood-spattered, coming up to her knees. Her left leg is at an odd angle, strangely crooked, and a huge, blue bruises spreads up its length. Rogue whimpers every few seconds like a small, wounded animal. Angel tightens his lips, picks up the pail of water from the floor and throws it across her face. She splutters and gasps, coming back to consciousness. Her normally animated green eyes are dull and lifeless as she stares at him.


"We need you awake."

"Sure," she whispers drowsily, lids already lowering.

Viciously, Warren aims a kick at her broken leg. Rogue cries out, tears spilling down her cheeks.

"Stay awake," he warns, "After all, it wouldn't be proper to sleep through your own rescue. . . ."

When this is ovah . . . Rogue thinks desperately through the pain, Ah'm goin' ta have a long, hot bath. . . . with bath oils an' enough soap ta scrub me clean once an' foh all. Then . . . then Ah'm goin' ta go out ta dinner with Remy. Some place nice . . . some place that isn't cajun . . . where they have linen napkins an' silver spoons. Then we'll go dancin' at . . . heaven's help me . . . that club that Bobby's always ravin' about an' he'll put his arms around me an' . . . an' he'll kiss me.

This is not the first time that she has played this game. She used to play it every Friday evening when her stepfather came home smelling of cheap brandy. When he stood in the middle of their den, a Bible clutched under his arm, and preached to her about her sins.

"Sabrina . . . you are an abomination in th' eyes o' th' Lawd. You know what th' Good Book says about illegitimate children?"

"No, daddy," she would whimper, "Ah don't."

"That they shall go down ta Sheol with th'wicked. Th' sins of their fathers shall mark them foh life."

"No . . . ."

The beating would then begin as her father interceded on her behalf with God.

"Save mah daughter, Lawd! Foh she is innocent, save foh th' error o' her birth. Save her!"

The girl would retreat into the private corner of her mind where everything was silent and still.

When Ah get past this, Ah'll go fishin' with Cody an' we'll catch trout! When Ah get past this, Ah'll go have an icecream sundae at the Drug Store with lotsa caramel and sprinkles. When Ah get past this, Ah'll become a famous movie-star. . . .

Rogue has played this game before. It was the only thing that kept her sane through her childhood. The only thing that prevented her from curling up in a little ball and dying.

"When Ah get past this," she murmurs, "Ah'll be free."

Marrow lands on feet of velvet in the Recreation Room. Joseph sits sprawled in front of the television, seemingly engrossed in reruns of ‘I Love Lucy!'. Marrow smirks to herself.

"Boo," she says out loud as she creeps up behind him.

Joseph turns around, eyes blazing with fury, hands crackling with magnetic power.

"What have you done with Rogue?"

"Now, now . . . ." she waggles a finger at him, "You didn't say please and even a mangy terrorist like myself knows that that is rude."

"Please," he says between gritted teeth, "What have you done with Rogue?"

"Sacrificed her for my own freedom," Marrow replies nonchalantly, "Just like the Traitor will be. Where is he?"

"Gone after Rogue."

"Into the tunnels?" Marrow sounds surprised, "He's got more moxie than I thought."

"The tunnels? The Morlock tunnels?"

Marrow smiles enigmatically.

"‘Night, Joe. May your dreamtime be happy."

"Tell me, darn it!"

"There are some things which it is better not to know," she calls back as she walks away, "Who you are, the state of your soul and the pain that your loved one feels."

"Marrow . . . ."

She is gone into the night, like a cat that disappears without a trace across rooftops and through darkened alleyways, searching for a home.

"Cyclops . . . Cyclops, wake up . . . ."

The insistent banging on the door of the boathouse pounds through Scott Summers' head. He climbs out of bed, replacing the ruby quartz glasses which control his powers, and walks to the door. Jean stirs at the motion but then falls asleep once more, snoring slightly.

"Cyclops . . . Scott . . . please . . . ."

Cyclops opens the door, yawning. There were times in his life when he wished that he had been an accountant, an ornithologist, a waiter at McDonalds, anything but an X-Man. Joseph is standing on his doorstep, looking more worried than Cyclops has ever seen before. Something is horribly wrong.

"What's wrong, Joseph?" he asks with his usual directness.

"Gambit . . . Rogue . . . they're . . . they're . . . ." the young man pants.

"They've eloped?" Cyclops guesses, "They're really brother and sister? Engaged? Lost in space?"

Joseph shakes his head, trying to catch his breath.

"In terrible danger."

"Come in," Cyclops opens the door to admit the reformed villain, "What kind of danger?"

"Marrow," he stutters, "She's taken Rogue and Gambit has gone after them. She said something about a sacrifice."

Cyclops swears under his breath.

"Heck . . . why didn't you call me earlier, Joe?"

"Remy said I shouldn't. He said it would be dangerous."

"All the more reason to go with him," Cyclops pulls on a jacket over his tracksuit, "I'll get Jean, you wake the others. Tell Hank and Reyes to prepare a medilab. Heaven's help us all, I think we're going to need it tonight."


Continued in Chapter 9.

In the Next Part:
* the identity of Angela revealed!
* a death!
* Mattie and Marie become concerned!


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