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UXM #350 Aftermath

Stories by K-Nice

"And the Walls Came a'Tumblin' Down"
Remy catches Rogue in the midst of one of her more self-pitying moods and invites her along on one of his late-night partying jaunts to New York City.
"Get Some"
Rogue and Gambit play Bonnie and Clyde.
(Some sexual innuendo)
"So Fast"
Rogue and Gambit experience the pain, disorientation and fear of a major life-changing event.
17 years after the events in "...Walls...," Rogue and Gambit, now happily married and with children, reconsider what their happiness really means.
"Pro Veneratio"
Rogue and Gambit mourn the loss of someone dear.

"And Then I Remembered..."
Belladonna returns to Salem Center to make her peace with Gambit.

"Blood and Bone"
NYPD detectives Remy LeBeau and Ororo Munroe investigate a horrific string of rape/murders that hit closer to home than any of them realizes.

"Crown of Roses, Crown of Thorns"
After being stripped of their powers by the High Evolutionary, Rogue and Gambit meet at a bar and rehash old arguments and scars.

"Divine Retribution"
When Storm learns of Rogue's abandonment of Gambit, she avenges her friend's death in an unconventional way.

"Falling in Love: Once More, for Old Heart's Sake"
After reconciling during the Phalanx battles in space, Rogue and Gambit go for one last motorcycle ride together. Assume OZT and the Trial of Gambit never happened.

Excerpts of some of Rogue and Gambit's arguments come to light in this answer to Em's 350-word challenge.

"The Human Touch"
A young "Reb" recovers from a beating delivered by her mother.

"I Get So Lonely"
Rogue traces back her history with touch as an addiction and her self-imposed loneliness.

"Lost Lies"
When Gambit returns to the X-Men, he must wade through the lies and half-truths he and his teammates still tell each other.

"Maybe on Some Other Day"
Emily Darkholme and Remington LeBeau are betrothed to each other by their parents.

"Possibly in Another Life"
Six years after "Maybe on Some Other Day," Emily eagerly anticipates an upcoming ball -- and her first chance in years to see Remy LeBeau again.

"Perhaps, in Some Other Time"
The Rogue and the Gambit, leaders of the Brotherhood and the Guild, respectively, face off for what will likely be their final battle. Sequel to "Possibly in Another Life."

"Perfect Pastel Pink"
Rogue decides to indulge herself in something she never had as a teenager -- a prom dress.

Rogue tries to see only what she wants to see when she goes back for Remy.

"She Has Issues"
After their latest breakup, a drunken Gambit tries to call Rogue and let her know what's on his mind.

Rogue accompanies Mystique on a stealth mission. Written for Em's 350-word challenge.

"Taking Prisoners"
Gambit and the Sisterhood of Evil Mutants take on the mysterious Center to save mutantkind. (Unfinished.)

elsewhere in Alykat's World:

"Beauty Comes to Those Who Wait"
After decades of marriage, Bobby and Cecilia still go to Brooklyn regularly to have Cece's braids redone.
(at (un)frozen)

"Broken Promises"
Iceman deals with his feelings of guilt and loss after his father's death.
(at (un)frozen)

"Cold Front"
When the young students of the Xavier School for Gifted Youngsters enjoy the hot summer sun, Bobby longs to return to the cold. Takes place during the X-Men's early years.
(at (un)frozen)

"Spring Thaw"
Bobby decides to leave the X-Men permenantly and get a "real" life, while Gambit struggles to feel alive again after being rescued from the Antarctic. (in progress)
(at (un)frozen)

"Stolen Identities"
When Bastion came to the X-Mansion, he took everything. Now that the X-Men have returned home, each of them deals with that loss in their own way.
(at (un)frozen)


Website: Center Stage

Disclaimer: The X-Men characters, and all other recognizable characters are copyright to Marvel Entertainment Group. The Story belongs to me. Relax, I won't sue you. I'll just get my Cousin Tony to choke you with his dreds.
This goes out to Marion because she wanted to see it on OTL. This takes place starting a few hours after Rogue and the rest of the X-Men return to the Mansion in XM #70.
© K-Nice 1999

As her confusion began to wear off, Rogue started to feel an enormous guilt overtake her. She had left her lover, the one man who had noticed her and cared for her, to die in the frozen tundra of Antarctica. And surely, by now, he was dead.

Storm heard her sobbing through the open window. The gentle goddess of the African plains was troubled by her friend's wild emotional state. As team leader, Storm knew Rogue's problem would have to be dealt with. But as a friend -- as a woman -- she knew Rogue needed comfort, not a lecture.

She came into Rogue's room, trailing a breeze behind her. "Child, what is wrong?" Storm knew it probably had something to do with Rogue's cryptic statement that Gambit was dead in her eyes. Obviously, Rogue felt bad about something that had passed between them during their last mission. They must have had a bad fight after the Trial and Gambit must have departed angrily. She had watched their rocky relationship, and from her vantage point, their current situation was just another hurdle.

"Oh, 'Ro, I can't believe I did it." Rogue buried her head in Storm's lap as the weather-witch stroked her brown and white hair.

"Now, Rogue, you were very angry with him for lying to you, to us all. And you had been through a lot of emotions in a very short time. I understand that you feel regret, but I'm sure that when he calms down, he will return."

Rogue rubbed her cheek against the soft satin of Storm's robe. She whispered into the fabric, "He didn't leave me, 'Ro, I left him." Those last seconds played through her mind again, dragging powerful sobs from her core.

Now, Storm began to understand. She created another scenario in her mind. Rogue and Gambit must have fought on the way home and Rogue had left him somewhere along the way. It was not good, but it was not horrible either. She could still offer the girl comfort.

"Well, that is something to be upset over, but I'm sure Remy is doing every thing he can to get
back here." Rogue only cried harder. Storm continued, "And all will be forgiven. He is himself given to fits of temper. Surely he will understand the strain you were under."

Storm herself was trying to understand how Rogue, of all people, could abandon another person, after the desertions she had suffered.

"Remy knows people everywhere, I am sure he will make out all right. For example, tell me were you left him. I am sure he has associates there." Storm actually wasn't as sure she tried to sound. Some of Remy's "associates" wouldn't help him if his life depended on it. Even if their lives depended on it.

Rogue debated telling Storm the truth. Storm was Remy's best friend. But she was also one of Rogue's best friends, and one of her team leaders. Rogue decided that she could at least be honest with Storm, who was showing her so much understanding.

"Ah left him right outside the citadel. Ah ... didn't want him to die ... in there." Rogue sniffled tragically. Storm would help her to understand why it had happened. It couldn't possibly have been her own fault.

Storm was assailed by a flurry of emotions -- fear, anger, pain, disbelief, shame. How could this have happened? How could an X-Man have done this horrible thing? How could the man she had chosen as one of her few close friends, the man she had called brother, the mutant she had made an X-Man, have so obscene a resume? Storm was just beginning to deal with the fact that Remy had had a share in the massacre of the Morlocks. This revelation was too much. She had hoped to have time to talk with Remy, to grasp what had really happened in Seattle and in the tunnels. At the moment, she felt an overwhelming desire to rain lightning on Rogue's tear-soaked face until there was nothing left of the invulnerable mutant except a charred, bleeding mass.

The Goddess within her had been wronged and divine retribution would have to be paid.

Storm let her emotions slide away behind her reason. She carefully lifted Rogue's head from her lap and stood up to her full regal height. "I would suggest you inform Scott of this as soon as possible. I, for one, am going to find Remy." Ororo schooled her face and voice to royal neutrality, shoving the roaring tides of her feelings away. She summoned winds to carry her out of the window and sped away in cloud of mist. There was justice to be done.

Rogue lay awake the rest of the night weeping, anticipating the storm to come tomorrow when the rest of the team learned of her actions. She had been the outlaw once. She wasn't sure if she deserved to take that position once again.

One Week Later

Rogue lay crying in her room when the doorbell rang. She was still upset by the reaction of her team, her family. She had explained this the way they had happened. Beast had supported the notion the Remy's own personality had been in control when Rogue left him. Jean had been supportive of her plagued emotional state. Yet it had not been all wine and roses.

While they tried to be sympathetic to her situation, Scott had still put her on probation, forbidding her certain responsibilities and privileges that came with being an X-Man. She had still killed a teammate and until they could be sure that all of Eric the Red's influence was gone, she was on restricted duty.

Even though most of the team had excepted her role in the affair, Rogue was exhausted from trying to ignore the stares she sometimes got. Some of her closest friends where acting a little stand-offish. True, she was spending most of her time in her room, crying loudly enough to shake her bed, or tossing through sleepless nights. Logan still hadn't spoken to her since they had all gotten back. With all the excitement she could overlook his coolness, if it wasn't for the cold-eyed way he looked at her sometimes.

Storm had returned from wherever she had gone, no longer the comforting team leader, but ambivalent and silent. Rogue had overheard her debriefing to Scott and gathered that she had found Remy's body and returned it to his family in New Orleans. Storm had not said why that had taken her three days to accomplish this, but Rogue concluded that she had just taken some time to grieve for her friend. Storm seemed almost content, peaceful, in the wake of the death of one of her friends at the hand of another.

Though Rogue was content to continue in her misery, the rest of the team did not ignore the doorbell with such aplomb. After the unexpected arrivals of Juggernaut and the Board of Education official, the door was readily answered. Marrow rushed to the door ahead of Cannonball, in a desperate attempt at attention. She just loved scaring upworlders and whoever had been so unlucky as to pick Xavier's Mansion for a little door-to-door salesmanship was in for a faceful of Morlock. She ripped open the door as Sam tried to pull her away. She growled at the prissy-looking man on the front stoop, allowing spittle to land on his crisp, government-issue dark suit. Expecting a frightened response, she was disappointed when he just flicked the liquid off his jacket and addressed himself to Sam.

"Steven Panich, U.S. Marshals. I'm looking for Ms. Rebecca McKenna."

"Sorry, sir, no one by that name lives here. What are you looking for her for?" Sam was confused but not concerned. That name didn't ring a bell and the guy didn't look threatening. Cable had drilled them long enough that he didn't trust in mere appearances so Cannonball was prepared to attack at a moment's notice but intended to play it cool for now.

The man's calm did not waver. "Lying to me is a federal offense, young man. Where is Rebecca McKenna?" His eyes were angry but his face was as bland as always.

"Look, secret agent man, there ain't no Becky McKenny here okay!" Marrow took 'snide remark' to a whole new level, sneering at the upworlder-clown-in-a-suit. "See," she hollered at him "no Rebecca McKenna." She repeated the name several more times loudly, mockingly. "Rebecca McKenna, come on down. Come on ya, pretty little upworlder-soft-skinned-long-hair -- Mr. Zoot Suit wants to talk to you," she sing-songed in her grating tongue.

At the top of the stairs this was a motion. Rogue stepped into view in jeans and a sweater, her eyes red and puffy. She looked ... bewildered. Marrow expected her to make a fuss about the noise and prepared a few harsh comments for Rogue's sake. Rogue walked right past the teenaged Morlock, shuffling with the appearance of a purpose.

When she reached the front door, she faced the man and said softly, "I'm Rebecca McKenna."

Sam and Marrow looked at her in surprise. As they whispered to each other, the man reached into his jacket pocket. "Then this is for you." He simply handed her the folded blue papers and walked back to his car.

Rogue didn't notice him leave. She was too busy staring at a summons for her to appear in federal court in ten days in Baton Rouge, LA. She, Rebecca McKenna, of Caldecott, MS was being charged with Murder in the First Degree for her role in the homicide of one Remy Etienne LeBeau of New Orleans, LA.

Rogue nearly fell on the floor in shock. She sat down on the front steps instead and cradled her head in her hands. After all the things she had down with the Brotherhood for Evil Mutants, this was the one crime she was being charged with. A formal arraignment was scheduled in a matter of days over a simple accident. Tears threatened to well up again.

Everything was going so horribly wrong. She had only wanted to punish Remy for lying to her. She had never imagined that she wouldn't be able to find him. Sure, he would be cold and angry and maybe even a little frostbitten, but he wasn't supposed to die.

Rogue wiped her eyes. She was a professional. She had avoided courts all the time when she was with Mystique. She could do it again. She got up and flew for her bedroom window.

Storm stood in her loft, pruning the dead leaves from her plants. She smirked as she heard the marshal's car pull out of the driveway. She had forgiven Rogue for what she had done to Carol Danvers but Storm could not find forgiveness in her heart for Gambit's death.

Storm had tried to cry for her friend that first night when she had found his body, stiff and covered with a layer of ice and snow, but she could not. Something stood between her and her pain. Rogue hadn't just left him, she had left him to die. Remy didn't even have a shirt on his back. As Ororo thought about all the things Gambit had done for Rogue; the sacrifices he had made to be with her; the way his eyes would glow a fire-red when he would talk about her; all the nights he had sat on the roof, alone and in pain because of Rogue. Bitter bile rose in Storm's throat at the thought of Remy's love being repaid this way. Some of it was the pungency of how her own love had been repaid by Gambit, but she was not yet ready to think about him in that way. There was something she had to do first.

Vengeance had to been taken.

When Ororo had taken Remy's body back to his real family, the Thieves Guild in New Orleans, she had let them in on her plan. The perfect way to make Rogue pay. Killing her would just stain Storm's own conscience, as would having her killed. Physical harm was too difficult to inflict and far too fleeting. The girl was already twisted and scarred on the inside, so psychological warfare was out. There would be no way to measure the effects. Storm had carefully crafted her plan on the long flight from back to the place the whole thing had started, the place where she had fallen in love with Remy LeBeau and he had fallen in love with her. Their love was honest and easy and pure and that place would always be theirs alone. Storm spent a few moments hovering over the city, not sure how to get things moving.

Once she had gotten started, however, it hadn't taken long to convince Jean-Luc and the Thieves of the best way to avenge Gambit's death. Though he had been in exile, he was still considered the Prince of the Thieves Guild. His death called for a response, especially since it had come at the hands of a known mercenary.

Storm, too, was a thief and had lived most of her life as an outlaw in one form or another. She had easily related Rogue's history, her career as a mercenary and terrorist before she joined the X-Men. Ororo believed that Rogue had murdered Remy, but the hazy lines between murder and manslaughter had to be drawn clearly before her plan could work. There was definitely motive and opportunity. Intent was the tricky part, but what else could her intention have been, leaving him in that condition, under those conditions and so far away from help. Premeditation was easy. The kiss in Israel and every time Rogue had thrown large objects at Gambit's head indicated that she was willing and able to do him physical harm and that she had tried to kill him before. Storm just had to present her case properly and no one would question her.

Storm had given the Thieves the impression that Rogue had murdered Remy intentionally and for profit. Her past association with Mystique did not make Rogue look like an innocent. In fact, it had been the deciding factor in the Guild's eyes. If Rogue was a professional, she could be taken down like a professional, and the Guild had set channels for dealings with such things.

Storm's suggestions made the plan that much more devious and the revenge infinitely as sweet. The Thieves were more than willing to use their influence to set the wheels in motion. The dangerous glint in Jean-Luc's eyes as he waved a manila envelope of incriminating photographs over the head of mostly-sleeping District Attorney had reminded her of Remy. The Federal Court Judge had taken some physical pressure but he too eventually came around. Storm felt not a twinge of conscience as she gave the court everything she knew about Rogue. It hadn't taken much to avoid mentioning the X-Men; these people were used to dealing with the Thieves' Guild, after all, which meant they knew there were things they would rather not know. Storm had become frustrated when the judge demanded Rogue's real name for the summons. Jean-Luc supplied it. Apparently, the Guild had started a file on one Rebecca McKenna after the second time Rogue almost destroyed the city of New Orleans. It was easy to trace her back through Cody Robbins' medical records.

After a flurry of late night and early morning activity, they managed to get an indictment against Rogue in a matter of hours. While it was not the same as a lightening strike, Storm returned home with the knowledge that her divine retribution was coming down swiftly on Rogue's head. Jean-Luc had assured her that the funeral would not begin without her. Storm had to return home to witness the serving of the papers.

Yet, despite the knowledge that all would be well, she had still felt separated from her grief. She had stumbled through the first few days hiding behind her goddess façade.

Now, in her life-filled attic room, listening to the sound of Rogue packing, she almost chuckled at the irony of it: using the law to get her revenge.

Remy would have appreciated the humor.

Her smile faded into a mask of pain as she finally mourned her best friend and the friendship he had betrayed.


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