There was a time he believed. Santa Claus. Easter Bunny.
God. There was a time for hopes. A time for dreams. There
was a time when heaven and hell were abstracts discussed late
at night over Lowenbrau and five card stud. His life before
the X-men. His life before Rogue.
Remy LeBeau wakes slowly. He doesn't open his eyes. What's
the point? He doesn't need to see to feel the weight of the
dead and dying bodies suffocating him. The mass graves of
The Genoshans throw lime in the pits, to eliminate any undissolved
bones that would betray the true nature of this site. It does
nothing to relieve the stench of his own filth. It does nothing
to eliminate the buzzing and biting of black flies drawn to
the bodily wastes and decaying flesh.
His palm rests lightly on his sunken skin and prominent ribs.
Bitterly, he considers that if it weren't for the scabs, he
would have nothing holding his body together. His body, now
criss-crossed with the fine, white lines of scars. Six months
ago they were bloody welts. Now, they are only reminders of
his descent into New Genosha--hell on earth.
Four months ago, three months even, he would have been ashamed
to have her see him this way. By the time she did arrive,
only last week, he was too overcome with relief to care. If
he was less than a man, less than human as the Genoshans insisted,
still she had believed he possessed something more and had
come for him.
How could he have been so wrong about her reason for being
He closes his eyes tighter against the remembered pain of
his abandoned salvation. Still, the image burns in his mind.
The beauty of her in flight, taking out the guards of New
Genosha. His voice, surging with hope, calling her name. The
sudden clarity of the confusion on her face at seeing him.
Finally, the harsh realization on his part that she did not
expect to find him here. The X-men had come, but not for him.
He had watched her hovering, undecided, until someone's voice
crackled in her headset, reminding her of the importance of
her mission. She had mouthed something to him, whether a promise
or a prayer, he couldn't say. And it didn't matter. The New
Genoshan military was fully activated and attacking the X-men.
Rogue made her decision and flew off.
This man, who had thought all feeling had been beaten from
him months ago, weeps. Salt from his tears burn the open wounds
on his face. After the X-men's assault, the guards intensified
the torture. As if such a thing were possible. Genocide. Mass
graves. Mind games.
Remy LeBeau opens his eyes and turns his face to the woman
next to him. Nicola. In death, she looks even younger than
her years. His fingers can barely reach her belly, can barely
reach the pronounced roundness of a child that will never
be. His child. He closes his eyes against the gray light of
morning. He expected to be dead by now. The spirit is willing,
but the flesh is stubborn.
How long had he been with the X-men? A year? Five? In all
that time, he had repeatedly tried to convince them, especially
Bishop, that he would never betray them. Nothing would cause
Remy LeBeau to betray his own kind. Over the past six months,
however, the mutant known as Gambit has learned that there
are no absolutes in life. During all of his time with the
X-men, with Rogue, he would never have believed that she could
Until he had witnessed her betrayal with his own eyes.
A spark burns within. Revenge. It's as good a reason to live
as any. He runs a rough tongue over cracked lips. With a single
word, it begins.
Continued in Chapter
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