Down-Home Charm Photo Album Songbank Fan-Fiction History Books Fan Art Miscellania Links
Fan-Fiction >
after X-Men #45 >


Warnings: Mature themes throughout the story, dealing with rape, torture and the psychological traumas of imprisonment in a concentration camp. Sexually explicit scene in Chapter 23.

Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 8
Chapter 9
Chapter 10
Chapter 11
Chapter 12
Chapter 13
Chapter 14
Chapter 15
Chapter 16
Chapter 17
Chapter 18
Chapter 19
Chapter 20
Chapter 21
Chapter 22
Chapter 23
Chapter 24
Chapter 25
Chapter 26
Chapter 27
Chapter 28
Chapter 29
Chapter 30
Chapter 31
Chapter 32
Chapter 33
Chapter 34
Chapter 35
Chapter 36
Chapter 37
Chapter 38
Chapter 39
Chapter 40
Author's Notes



Remy LeBeau walks slowly, lost in the steady, bone-wearing rhythm of his thoughts. His fingers rub nervously against the ring in his pocket. Rogue's ring. True to his word, he had the fake stone replaced with a genuine ruby. The thief in him doesn't think much of the trinket--seeing it as little more than costume jewelry to someone used to the weight and glitter of million dollar heirlooms. But he understands that this bit of metal and stone holds sentimental value for Rogue. The real question, he thinks, is what value does their fractured relationship hold for either of them?

Ororo and Jean's voices interrupt his thoughts. He responds tersely to their lively chatter as they window shop. This dress. That lipstick. Those shoes. Their discussions of black silk, red satin and patent leather does little to ease the ache of another question that has plagued him in the weeks since their return:

What was de point?

The two women turn in time to see Remy disappear into the nearly invisible entrance of a small shop wedged between a florist and caterer across the street.

"What's gotten into him?"

"The symbol--there--is the traditional sign of a traiteur--a Cajun healer."

"So--do we follow and keep an eye on him?"

Ororo turns back to the items in the window.

"He will need a moment to--negotiate."

Remy steps inside, into a world thick with incense, rag dolls, knotted threads and disembowled chickens. He brushes past the beaded curtain to the main room, a room dominated by the traiteur's presence. Slight of build, her piercing gaze and flurry of gestures punctuate each carefully stated point to her captivated audience.

His heart sinks, recognizing the familiar patter of tourist mumbo-jumbo spilling from her lips. He listens with little interest to the exchange, finding no pleasure in watching the gawking customers pay an outrageous sum for a "love potion". In reality, nothing more than blackstrap molasses and swamp water. Remy steps aside, allowing the store to clear until he is left alone with the healer.

With a dismissive glance, the traiteur moves behind him to the cash register.

"What y'be wantin', chile?"

"You tell me."

"Don' be runnin' y'jaw like dat at me, boy."

He hesitates, struck by the quiet, subtly threatening power in her voice. His eyes dart quickly across the counter, seeing beyond the baubles.

"Somet'in' for one a your ladies, eh?"

As she reaches behind her for a set of brightly colored beads, he stops her.

"Non--I didn't come for dat Mardis Gras flash."

He reaches into the seemingly ordinary basket next to the register. He picks up a small, speckled egg from inside and hands it to her without a word. He notes the flicker of a smile cross her face as her dark eyes study him more intently.

"Y'be one a de true, chile?"


The traiteur rolls the egg thoughtfully in her palms, then, with a sharp crack, breaks it open. A double yolk, with a single line of blood running through the center, spills into a waiting dish. The traiteur's face softens.

"Y'know de outer scars will heal?"

Remy nods. The traiteur slips a papery, weathered hand inside Remy's shirt, coming to rest lightly across his heart. She gives him a knowing look.

"But here--dat where de problem be, n'est-ce pas?"

Again, he nods. The traiteur, mumbling to herself, disappears briefly into a storeroom. She returns, solemnly carrying a heavily carved, wooden box which she sets before Remy. From the chatelaine around her neck, she withdraws a small pair of scissors. Familiar with the ritual, Remy loosens a strand of hair and offers it to her. A quiet snip, and the lock falls freely into the traiteur's fingers. From another pocket of the chatelaine, the traiteur takes a fine awl and draws seven drops of blood from Remy's finger. She carefully catches the drops in a piece of eggshell and sets them aside.

"De ring."


"You not de only one involved wit' dis."

Reluctantly, Remy reaches into his pocket and pulls out Rogue's ring. The traiteur plucks the ring from his palm and adds it to the hair. From somewhere beneath the counter, she grabs a pinch of coarse yellow powder and slowly breathes it in. As she exhales, the powder turns to a deep blue smoke that passes over and through the hair, ring and blood in an opalescent fog.

"Breathe, boy!"

Remy obeys, inhaling the strange but pleasantly cleansing mixture deep into his lungs. The traiteur hurriedly opens the lid of the box and places the items inside. She gestures to Remy to exhale into the box. He does so, and she quickly closes the lid, nodding in satisfaction. She holds the box out to Remy, he takes it, but she doesn't let go.

"Ain't y'forgettin' somet'in'?"

Remy smiles sheepishly as he fishes his free hand into another pocket and tosses a small circle of gold onto the counter.

"De coin?"

The traiteur grins broadly, then gestures Remy to a sitting area in the corner of the floor. As he settles down, the traiteur crosses herself then places one hand on the box.

"Saints comfort you,chile."


Shafts of late afternoon sunlight filter through the dim windows. Ororo, entering the store ahead of Jean, pauses. Seeing Remy sitting there on the floor, cross-legged, brow furrowed in concentration, he reminds her more of a lost child than a man. He runs his fingers across the deeply carved box, brushing the dust from the lid.

Jean starts forward, only to find Ororo's arm blocking her.

"What's he doing?"

"Reading the threads of fate."

"Are you kidding me?"

"No, Jean, it is an ancient Cajun ritual."

"Uhm, Ororo, do you really think we're helping Remy by condoning this--whatever this is?"

"If his faith is not yours, Jean, still it is no less valid than yours."

Jean eyes the store uncertainly, uncomfortable in a culture she does not understand.

"Perhaps it would be best, my friend, if you wait here."

"If you're certain I won't be needed--?"

Ororo's smile calms Jean's nerves.

"I think not."

With a nod of acknowledgement to the traiteur, Ororo walks over to Remy and lightly touches his shoulder. He glances up. The desperate, angry light in his eyes troubles her. She gestures to the space beside him.

"May I join you?"

"Suit y'self."

Remy opens the lid of the box and draws out several lengths of intertwined thread. He sighs heavily as he studies the tangled colors, then throws the bunch to the floor in a sudden fit of exasperation.

"You de one always runnin' off at de mouth about ev't'ing bein' in balance, Stormy. So tell me dis--what was de point?"

"Perhaps, my friend, you are reading the wrong threads."


Ororo's long fingers elegantly separate one strand from the others.


"If you had not been subjected to your trials, Rogue would have died."


"The truth of the patterns is clear, my friend."

He runs a hand through his unruly hair, shaking his head in confusion.

"Don' make any sense."

"Rogue was destined to journey to New Genosha. See--here. Her life was in question, never yours."

"An' if I hadn't gone?"

Ororo pulls another thread through her fingers, a thread that abruptly ends in a short, black stub.

"You knew the anti-aircraft artillery rotated position. If you had not know this, would the New Genoshans have been in a postion to attack the Blackbird if the X-men had maintained their original course?"

"Sinister's laboratory was an elaborate maze, designed to confuse. If you had not been there, we would have been delayed in finding Rogue."

"Logan would have--"

"Perhaps, but he did not. You did."

Remy absently picks at the toe of his boot, considering Ororo's revelations.

"You delayed Kurt from teleporting to Rogue's side."

Remy snorts.

"An' dat's a good t'ing?"

Ororo's hand cups Remy's chin sharply, tilting his face to meet hers. Much as a mother might command a child's attention when there is an important point to be made.

"What would have happened if Kurt had teleported an instant earlier?"

Silence. Remy fidgets, uneasy under Ororo's steady gaze.

"He woulda 'ported into Mystique's line a fire?"

Ororo sighs.


Ororo stands, smoothing her skirt.

"It is late, we should be getting back to check on Rogue."

She offers her hand.

"Are you ready?"

"Yeah, I t'ink maybe I am."


Concluded in the Epilogue.


Down-Home Charm / Fan-Fiction / Fan Artwork / History Books / Photo Album / Songbank / Miscellania / Links / Updates

Legalese: Rogue, the X-Men, and the distinctive likenesses thereof are Trademarks of Marvel Characters, Inc. and are used without permission. This is an unofficial fansite, and is not sponsored, licensed or approved by Marvel Comics.
Privacy Policy and Submission Guidelines