Under the cover of Storm's mist and Mystique's gunfire, Remy
escapes with Rogue. He feels the air burning his lungs, fatigue
creeping into his bones as his still-recovering body reacts
to the physical and mental stress of the mission. Still, he
shifts Rogue in his arms and makes his way unsteadily through
the slaughterhouse. He pauses only long enough to try and
contact the others. Static crackles through the headset, cutting
through Forge's and Hank's voices. Reluctantly, Remy uses
the psi-link with Jean to let her know he has Rogue.
Without warning, an explosion rocks the slaughterhouse, knocking
Remy and Rogue several yards away. As the Cajun climbs to
his knees, bullets strafe the air, sending him sprawling back
to the ground. He quickly scans the area--then feels his stomach
tighten. He's on the wrong side. In the mine field. The same
place where Nicola was shot. Rogue stirs. Her shoulder knocks
against the metallic glint that marks the top of a mine. In
the instant that he hears the mechanism activate, the briefest
moment between life and death, he reacts.
Quick as thought, Remy grabs Rogue and rolls to the only
place that offers protection--the pits. He feels her fingers
clutch his back even as he tries to shield her from the rougher
ground. The mine explodes, sending a shower of grit and rock
raining down on them. Rogue's body tenses in pain beneath
his. He hears her muffled cry against his shoulder, echoing
his own despair as he once again finds himself surrounded
by death and decay.
He's tired, too distracted to filter Rogue's thoughts through
the psi-link. There's still pain, cold stealing the warmth
from her blood. But now he senses new emotions creeping into
her thoughts, along with the grief comes regret. Sorrow over
what might have been. Quiet acceptance.
...this is it, gal...last hurrah...
Remy Etienne LeBeau succumbs to a grief unlike any he has
ever known. He never wanted it to come this. Never wanted
anyone, especially not her, to be here in the pits with him.
He's had his fill of death. Deep within, a familiar anger
stirs, snapping like fire through his veins. He remembers
another thought that sustained him during his imprisonment.
The desire to see this island burned to ashes. Energy glows
around his fingertips.
He catches himself before he does any harm, choosing instead
to slowly distribute the power across Rogue's gown, easing
her chill. She curls into the warmth with a sigh. The morning
sky comes alive with another air assault. Remy cradles Rogue
closer, reaching out through their fading psi-link to keep
her with him. Rogue's lips move silently, too weak to form
words. Remy concentrates. Her mind brushes his, light as mist.
She's never spoken to him in his own language. In better
days, trying to teach Rogue a phrase or two of his native
Cajun became a running joke during their Danger Room sessions.
More than once, her response to his teasing had been to swear
that she would only speak French when the last breath left
her body. For a moment, her eyes focus clearly on his and
he understands. His throat tightens as he realizes that the
joke has been on him. Rogue's French is better than his.
Her hand slips into his. She lets her head drop weakly to
his shoulder. Another jolt of pain strikes. Rogue winces.
Again, Remy reaches out through their link, replacing Rogue's
pain with another image, one that, in their own way, they've
shared even though it has never been. His arms tighten around
her waist as the squalor of the Genoshan death pits gives
way to the crystal and champagne of their wedding reception.
Tears dampen his cheeks as they dance beneath the chandelier
of the ball room.
Wolverine's throaty call breaks the spell.
"Logan, ici mon ami!"
In a second, Wolverine's keen eyes peer over the ledge, quickly
scanning the two X-men. One glance at Rogue and he's instantly
leaping into the pit to her side.
"Sinister butchered her."
"Ya don't have ta tell my what I can see fer myself.
Lettin' her absorb my healin' factor should do the trick."
"Won't take care o' the cancer, but no reason it won't
work on the rest o' this mess."
With that, Logan removes his gloves and gently takes Rogue's
face in his hands. Nothing happens. He grunts. Without hesitation,
he drops his lips to hers, only to be rewarded with the faintest
sensation of Rogue's fading powers. Still not enough for her
to absorb him.
Wordlessly, Logan strips down to his underwear. Remy raises
his eyebrows in surprise, then begins to understand as he
watches the older X-man carefully drape Rogue's arms around
his neck, settles her bare thighs across his legs, holds her
body against his. He's putting as much of Rogue's skin in
contact with his as possible. Giving her every chance for
her dying body to take the life she needs from his.
A sudden frown crosses his face as he listens to Rogue's
"She ain't breathin'. No heartbeat. Okay, Cajun, now
Logan places lightly extended claws on either side of Rogue's
chest. He nods to Remy.
"Charge 'em up."
Remy steadies his hands over the claws and concentrates on
controlling his power, containing the deadly energy to a fraction
of what he would normally expend. Blue light crackles across
the adamantium, then explodes in a small, popping jolt through
Rogue's body. Remy jerks back, surprised to see the energy
arc from Logan's left hand through Rogue's body and then to
his right hand. Rogue draws a sudden breath, then exhales.
Logan cracks a broad grin.
"Ya done good."
Remy stares for a moment at his hands, then out across the
New Genoshan camps. Finally, his eyes meet Logan's.
"Y'get Roguie back to de others, y'hear?"
"I'm not leavin' ya, Remy."
"I be countin' on dat."
With that Remy inexplicably takes advantage of the sudden
lull in gunfire to head back towards the remains of the slaughterhouse.
Continued in Chapter
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