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Aug. 19th, 2012

olgambithead

Operation-X Section 2

Spider-Mon Ami

On a rainy night like this, a thief can lose himself pretty well in the darkness.  Enough to hide from most anyone.  But a thief cannot sneak up on this particular man, though.  No one sneaks up on him.

“You gonna jump me now, or later?”

“I was waitin’ to see what you’d do, mon ami.”

That voice is familiar, but I can’t be sure… it’s too dark to see, the young man thinks to himself.

“Well, I’m kind of in a hurry, so I figured we might as well just get to the part where you try to rob me a little faster – you were taking too much time to decide how to do it.”

“Ain’t here to rob you, son.  Here to talk.”

“To me?  Why?”

“Cuz, I know who you are, Peter, an’ I need your help – on a part time basis.”

“Lots of people know my name, mister, I work for the Bugle.  You could have seen my mug on any issue in the last few years.  Besides, I don’t like being employed by strange men who hide in the shadows.  Kind of creepy.”

“Let me step out into de light, den.”

The X-Man, Gambit!

I was right, it’s that Cajun x-guy.  Oh what the heck was his name… Gambino…no.. stupid… Gamble?  Gamble!!!  He has like mutant card powers or something, I think.  Like he can shuffle cards really fast… yeah, that’s what it was. Peter thinks to himself.

“Like I said, I know who you are, Peter Parker – I know who you really are.  An’ please, if you be in a hurry, don’ waste time tryin’ to convince me otherwise.  I know by a very reliable source.”

“Ok, I won’t try to convince you that I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

“Good.”

“But let’s say I know the guy you’re really looking for.  What kind of work would you want him to do?”

“De kind of work dat be perfect for a Spider, mon frère.  An’ one that could pay him very handsomely if he were to accept de job.”

“Handsome payment is his favorite payment. Gamble, you might have yourself a deal.  I’ll get back to you on it.”


GGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG

Scratch Off

Wolverine isn't normally one to doubt himself or his choices, but something's been nagging at him. He figures it must be about his little "project." That's really the only ball he's got in the air right now. The Cajun has always been a wild card - maybe his intution is trying to get him to relook at his choice.

Wolverine is sitting in the control booth of the Danger Room watching Gambit run through programs. He watches him through a haze of what ifs and worries.

what's wrong with me? I know better than to second guess myself.

Gambit runs up a wall and destroys the oncoming missile with a perfectly aimed card.

He's doing fine. Great even, but something's bothering me.

 "Cerebro, run a scan on X-men designee - Gambit."

"Affirmative," the computer answers and a second later the screens in front of Wolverine flash with the scan's results.

"Results within normal parameters," Cerebro reads the summary aloud, "except for an elevated adrenaline-."

"Yes, yes, I know about that," Wolverine snickers to himself as the X-man down below slides across the floor bent over backwards to scrape under a saw blade.

So it's not him. Then what? What's got my panties in a bunch?

What has got them in a bunch, Logan?  A female voice says suddenly in his head. Wolverine almost falls out of his chair as Jean Grey walks into the room and sits down beside him.

"Red?" Wolverine says aloud, but continues internally, What the hell you doin' in my head?

You were so loud I couldn't block it out.

Still not right.

 She blushes and looks away.

"Hey, don't worry, I ain't mad."

She looks back up at him.

It's- it's just that something isn't right-  she begins

"I know! I've felt it too!" Logan exclaims but she puts a hand up to silence him and she points to her temple.

Let's stay in here  she projects. He nods.

So do you have any idea what's wrong?

No  she shakes her head  except that I know there is someone here who doesn't belong.

GGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG


Wolverine looks at Jean again.  Her bleep-colored eyes haunt him.  She’s always been the girl he can’t resist.  At that moment, her husband, Scott Summers walks into the control room.

“Jean, there you are.  I’ve been looking for you.”  Scott notices Wolverine, “Logan.”

“Darling, you know I’m always a thought away.  Why didn’t you contact me telepathically?”

“Cuz he’s not Cyclops!  JEAN WATCH OUT!” Wolverine leaps onto the imposter without a moment of hesitation, crashing through the glass of the control room telescreen window and into the danger room below.  But it’s too late.  A glowing blade is stick out of Jean’s chest, right where the creature lodged it.

“Sacre Blu! Logan, if you want to dance, dere’s better ways to get my attention!” Gambit orders the danger room scenario to cease.  Pity that Wolverine disengaged the permissions so that only he could shut down the room.  It was a “fun game” he liked to play with training X-Men.  “Keeps ya on your toes if ya can’t shut ‘er off, don’t ya think?”

While Logan and… Scott, apparently, wrestle on the floor, Gambit has to get into the action to keep them from the lethal weaponry the danger room has instantaneously trained on them.  It thinks they’re here to join de training! Better keep them alive so dey can kill each other!

GGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG

Cyclops, using expert skill deflects Wolverine as he lunges and using the X-man's momentum against him swings him several feet into the path of an oncoming laser barrage.

With a swift kick to the imposters knee, Gambit topples Cyclops and Wolverine regains his footing. They make eye contact for a split second, but after as many missions as they’ve shared, they know what to do. While “Cylcops” is still off balance Gambit lunges for his left side and Wolverine for his right. They knock the imposter down onto the ground and together have them strength to pin him there.

“Wolverine!” Gambit cries out as he sees a spiked pendulum swinging towards them.

“End Program!” Wolverine calls out and the dangers disappear.

Suddenly beneath Wolverine and Gambit, Cyclops transforms into none other then Mystique.

“Not you, Woman!” Gambit cries out and recoils as though he’s touched something foul.

Wolverine is suddenly very conscious that he’s alone holding her down and he lets go as well.

“What’s wrong, boys?” Mystique says sitting up and licking her lips, “you have a problem with my audition?”

“Your what?” Wolverine sputters – and then points up to the control booth – “you call that an ‘audition’?”

Mystique lets out a little girlish laugh “oh, she’s fine, Logan,” she purrs putting her hand on his arm, “It was just a stun blade. I don’t get my hands dirty for free.” She crosses her arms across her ample chest and smiles as the two men look at each other, each one’s mind racing with accusations at the other for leaking the word on the team scouting to someone who could’ve let it slip to someone like Mystique.

GGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG



“Cajun, you know better than to trust her.  I can’t believe you tried to recruit Mystique!”

“Non! I did no such thing, Logan, I was bout to say you be de fool for trustin’ a slimy, hateful…”

“Yes!  I love it.  What a great sales pitch.  Insult me to my face.  You need to come up with a better tactic if you want me on the team, glow boy.”

“First, you don’t ever call Gambit ‘glow boy’  I’m neither glowin’ nor a boy, oui?  Second, you better help Jean, or you’re goin’ to have to deal with a concussion in de brig!”

“Alright, she’s fine, I told you, but since you don’t trust me.” Mystique deactivates the stun blade’s power supply with a control she presses on her bracelet.  “Honestly, so typical.  You’re both so concerned about saving the damsel in distress that you ignore the damsel who can kick-ass offering to help you! And it’s absolutely none of your business who clued me in about this gig.  I’m sworn to secrecy."

BLLLLEEEEP.  BLLEEEEEEP.

Gambit’s wrist communicator is bleeping.

“You’re bleeping, bub.  Some left you a message?”

Gambit looks at his wrist and cautiously presses the play button.  The message plays loud and clear from the speaker:

 “Hey, Gambit,” *munch* *munch* “Just wanted to give you heads up.  I totally talked to Mystique about joining the team and I think you should give her a call, ya know, she’s got some great ASSETS.  Get it?  I mean, about her ass being an asset?” *munch* *munch* “Damn, doritos are so good.  You’re gonna stock our clubhouse with snacks, right? GET DORITOS.” BEEEEEP – Message over, delete message?

“Mon dieu,” Gambit says, palm to his face, "What have I done?"

GGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG

Wolverine shuts the door to Professor Xavier’s study gingerly and turns to look at Gambit. Wolverine tries to read the look on Gambit’s face to no avail.

Wolverine is fed up. He’s got Mystique in the brig, an answering machine filled with messages from Deadpool and by now surely all of the Brotherhood probably knows about Wolverine’s little sideproject.

“So?” Wolverine says flatly.

“Oui?”

Wolverine becomes frusterated.

“Look – I gave you a shot – and in less than a week of working on this you manage to leak vital info on the team to one of the X-men’s greatest adversarys.”

“This team is not the X-men, no?” Gambit replies his voice steady, but obviously shaking with anger.

Wolverine lets out a sigh of exasperation.

“There’s no shame in it – you’re a one man team, I can relate to that. It’s always best to stick with what works.”

A knock at the door halts the conversation and Rogue steps into the room.

“Oh, sorry,” she says blushing a little and then says, “I thought this room was empty, what with the Professor still in D.C. and all.”

“We can take the hint,” Wolverine says, “Come on Gumbo, we can talk in my room.”

“Since when do you guys play together?” Rogue asks stopping them in their tracks. Wolverine is about to shuffle her off with some nicety when he catches Gambit’s eye and Remy gives him the slightest shake of his head in warning.

“Well?” Rogue repeats.

Wolverine follows Gambit’s indication to the tell-tale signal. Rogue’s got her hands on her hips.

She’s pissed. Aint that nice? Better play this carefully.

Wolverine is about to open his mouth when Gambit speaks.

“Logan es mon capitan,” Gambit says with a slight sound of pride to his voice.

Wolverine works hard to keep his face from showing any sign of surprise at Gambit’s tactic.

He’s distractin’ her with her own emotions. First by showing a sense of comraderie with me.

“You mean?,” Rogue begins.

“X-Force, Rogue,” Gambit says plainly, but even Wolverine notices Gambit’s use of her name in place of “chere.”

Then by making her feel like an outsider.

The point is not lost on Rogue.

“Well,” she says growing more flustered, “don’t let me interrupt, I was just here to water the plants anyhow,” she says and disappears behind the door.

Living like that takes its toll though…

Wolverine sees the pain cross Gambit’s face like clouds passing over the sun. In a minute it’s gone.

“Perhaps I misjudged you, Cajun,” Wolverine says walking over to Gambit, “There’s absolutely nothing you’re better at then good ol’ misdirect. So – tell me,” Wolverine says meeting Gambit’s eyes, “what did you have in mind with the Brotherhood?”

Aug. 16th, 2012

olgambithead

The Team that Never Existed

Chapter 1: Searching for Light

The warehouse is dark except for a single column of light coming in from a skylight revealing the sunlight outside.
“I know you be here, homme. I can hear you breathing,” Gambit says into the darkness.
A lone figure emerges from the shadow into the light, but is still hidden by a cloak.
“Remove de hood or I’m gone,” Gambit says, his stomach tensing. Perhaps he’s made a mistake with this recruit. Perhaps he’s made a mistake with this whole damnable gamble.
The figure pulls back her hood to reveal short blonde hair and violet eyes.
“Belle,” Remy says breathlessly, the name catching in his throat, “It- it was supposed to be Henri – what did you-.”
But she raises her hands to show that they are empty and she smiles.
“I have my ways of finding t’ings out – same as you. I persuaded Henri to let me take his place.”
Gambit’s jaw drops, but he quickly recovers. “This is not an open call, Belle, I be the one making the offers here- and my offer was for friends – not ex-wives.”
Belle laughs, in a way he hasn’t heard for a long time. He can almost smell the Louisanna beach where they first spent the night in each others arms.
“I’m not here on vendettas, mon ami, I have fought hard and long and I t’ink my mind is healed now…from that little run in with your other ex.” She raises on eyebrow as she mentions the time Rogue accidently stripped what was left of her delicate mind.
“Den why are you here?” Gambit crosses him arms, but begins to remove some playing cards from the pocket hidden under his arm. Belle walks through the beam of golden light toward him.
“I’m here to be your assassin,” she says and gently lays her hand on his arm. Beneath her touch his hand tenses as it fingers the cards.
“You can put those away, Remy,” she says sweetly, “I’m here as a friend.”
Gambit eyes her hard as if he could read her thoughts if he stared hard enough at her head.
“I know you can be a good assassin,” he says tentatively, “but I don’ know if you can be good friend.”
He walks away into the darkness, turning his back on Belle.
“Think about it, Remy,” She calls after him, “I will wait for you. I will wait till you’re ready.”
Two days, he had no one. Not a single one to bring in for Wolverine’s approval. Well, there was her. He thought to himself a little while longer about Belladonna, then, as usual, pushed the matter aside. Not time to decide whether she’s tellin’ the truth just yet. But that didn’t help him figure out who else could be a part of his covert X-Ops team. He still wasn’t sure he liked that name, so he would figure that out later too. G-Ops? The Night Stalkers? Might as well call them the Marauders and be done with it. Is that what they’d be? A bunch o’ lackeys killin’ folks… or worse? Massacres? Genocides? Gambit didn’t want any part of that… never again he thinks, with a shudder. No, no, Wolverine was the group’s genesis point, so it wouldn’t quite go that way, but he’d heard the things that X-Force had been up to. Good things, but gruesome things too. Time would have to tell on whether he could stomach the missions his team would get. Time was getting shorter. His potential team members would need to be battle hardened, able to make the kill, able to go unseen, and able to collect information. They’d also need to have and keep a low profile. None of this described Lucas Bishop. Big guns, big hair (at least in the 90s), and big voice. Oh, not to mention, he’d had it out for Gambit from the moment he first arrived. Yeah, a time travelin’ madman who couldn’t wait to paint a target on Gambit. Gambit smiled to himself. He gonna be perfect.
GGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG
“So, ‘mon frere’ – whadya want?”
“cut the crap, Wilson, I’m just tryin’ to set up a meeting wit’ you ‘bout somthin.”
“Can’t we do this over the phone?”
“non.”
“I thought you might say that.”
“What?”
“non.”
“oh.”
“It’s the French thing. It serves to remind me of your colorful heritage. Very nice.”
“Wade, I won’t ask you again.”
“I’m sure you’ve asked me in the first place…but sure.”
“So you’ll meet me at the dinner?”
“Nah…just yes to whatever you want.”
“Whatever I – Wade! You don’ even know what it is! I could be askin’ you to marry me!”
“IN THAT CASE – YES! YES! YES! Everyone knows you’re dreamy…except for the glowing eyes thing…that’s always freaked me out…but maybe you could get contacts. Gosh would you give up your career as a slime bag or would I? SO much to think about-.”

“Wade.”
“What?”
“The diner?”
“Oh yeah, sure. Hey gotta go. I’ve had Papa Johns on hold and they’re gonna spit on my pie fo’ sure now. Au revoir, misuier!”

Click.
Sigh. “Au revoir, Deadpool.”

Aug. 14th, 2012

gambit 204

(no subject)

Prologue

::::::One Week Earlier:::::

Inside a sound proofed sub-basement room – Westchester, New York

“Truth is, Gambit, we need X-Force. Mutants need X-Force. Some of them might not agree with our methods, but the work we do is necessary. That’s why I want you on board.“

“Why now, Logan? I been available to join before dis. You coulda asked.”

“Since I’m being so honest with you, I’ll tell ya… I felt that your relationship with Rogue would be too much of a distraction.”

“Oh come on, Logan!! You be sayin I’m some kinda amateur, like I’m some rookie recruit?”

"No, but you gotta admit, Cajun, in the past you’d have dropped what you were doin if she needed ya. We both know I’m right. But with Rogue gone right now, times’ve changed. X-Force needs a new covert ops division. I want you to head it up.”

“I still get ta be offended by what you said bout me bein’ distracted by Rogue…”

“Sure.”

Gambit stares at the ground for a bit, brooding. Wolverine waits for the answer he’s already sure he’ll get.

“You want covert, I got you covered. I wanna know what de “Ops” part gonna be.”

“Alright, here’s the deal on the covert team: Cyclops doesn’t know about it. Frost doesn’t know about it. And they haven't asked for it. I'm the one askin' for it. Right now it’s between you and me. Whoever you get for yer team needs to think the team and the missions are YOUR idea alone. Never link these ops to me. There are some things even I can’t get away with. That’s where I need you. This team DOES NOT EXIST. Alright?”

“Oui.”
“Alright. We’re gonna need a cover story for you bein’ gone all the time. For now, let’s say you’re part of the main X-Force team.”

“Dey gonna realize I'm not… when I’m not wit you on de missions, Logan…”

“You let me worry about that when the time comes. Besides, you'll have the covert team when we need it, but you ARE also on X-Force now. You're definitely gonna go on the missions.” Wolverine manages to smile in both a menacing and friendly way at the same time.

“When do we begin dis?”

“Take the next week and scout out recruits. Anyone you pick, you run by me before you talk to ‘em. If approve ‘em, you get ‘em. Otherwise you got free reign to pick who you want. Don’t have to be X-Men, either. In fact, sometimes that might be preferable.”

"So, I take it dis mean you think Rogue's not coming back, non?"

"We don't know where she is, or why she left. But, no, I ain't sayin' she's not coming back. In fact, I know she will. Just don't you let it divide your attention when she does."

"Rogue will always have my heart an' soul, Logan. Dis I will not change. But you got me on X-Force 'til she want me whole an' true."

"Way things've been, Gambit, I'd say I got you on X-Force for the foreseeable future."

After a long moment of thought and a sigh, Gambit stands up. "A man can dream, can't he?"

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Jul. 13th, 2012

olgambithead

Play Writes #11 - Quickening Pulse

Past – 1996

Dead in a ditch.  Dat’s what dey always said.  I’d end up dead in a ditch.  Now where I be?  In a ditch – almost dead.  Broken arm, broken collarbone maybe.  Definitely crushed leg.  How broken it be… Gambit allows his thought processes to fade in his mind as he sighs aloud.  This is very painful for him, so he stops himself mid-sigh.

Xavier.  He’d been in contact with Xavier.  He was sure of it.  When he first crashed.  Then, there was nothing.  It was like something suddenly clicked off the connection like a TV.  Someone wanted him hurt and alone.  Someone was coming.  Footsteps.  Through the underbrush about 100 feet away.  Trying not to be heard, but doin’ a terrible job at it.  Closer, but slowly edging around Gambit, as if they weren’t ready to engage him.  Engage… ha… he’d be able to spit at them… that’s about it.

About 3 hours had passed since the accident on the road.  He’d been so disoriented… that’s all he could remember.  Like the worst déjà vu you ever saw, all at once in the pinpoint of a moment.  Then he was out of control behind the wheel… swerving into severe pain and anguish.  And heartache.  He had that feeling of déjà vu whenever he thought of her.  Rogue.  Never gonna hurt her, he thinks.  Gotta get away from her, he thinks.  But in his heart, he feels the opposite.  He feels like he needs to go TO her.  Like she needs him.

But there’s no time to wonder where these conflicting memories and thoughts about Rogue are coming from, or why he lost control of his reflexes for the first time since he was only a small child… his stalker has finally committed to the attack – they’re moving in on him.


X

The man is tall, lean, with short blonde hair, blue eyes. He’s dressed all in black – appropriate for a thief. The man known as Pulse has always been a thief. His mutant power of suppression did more than set him on this course – it sealed the deal.

As he walks through the pouring rain, mud caking on his boots he comes to the ditch where Remy lies broken, bleeding. He stares down at the man thoughtfully.

You had it all my friend – everything I’ve ever wanted – and yet each and everything thing you’ve thrown away. You had a place in the legendary thieves guild – you left! You had Rogue’s affection – you left!

Pulse feels a slight pang of guilt. If he left Gambit here now, with the timeline going the way events had set in it in motion – he would have Rogue’s love – even her hand in marriage – she would give him a daughter.

But somehow after all Gambit had done – admittedly  not to his knowledge- to him, Pulse still felt compelled to continue.

The rain picked up and down in the ditch the broken man let out a groan.                                                            

Pulse shook his head.

“Sorry, mon ami but It’s time someone stole from you.”


“Sorry, mon ami but It’s time someone stole from you.”

X-X-X-X-X-X

The man called Pulse approaches Gambit cautiously.  While clearly damaged by his accident, Gambit is not known for weakness.  Pulse carefully picks his way through the underbrush in at the foot of the steep, wooded embankment.

Suddenly, a voice calls out to Pulse and surprises him.  He was attempting stealth.  Gambit, of course, detected him.

"I hear you der... " cough!  cough! "...by the way... you moving, it sound like you trying to come upon me..." cough! "...unawares."

"Still not unconscious?  What will it take to excise you from this world Gambit?  I've already arranged this happy little tumble for you... and you still defy me by surviving."

"Who dat be?  Henri?  No... sound more like... Ricky maybe?"

"I am none of those fools from your past, Gambit.  I am someone from your future.  I am someone you will one day cross, unless I change things for the better - now."

The mutant, Pulse, suppresses other mutants' powers.  Right now, though, Gambit isn't even trying to put up a fight.  Still, Pulse is taking no chances.  He powers up his suppression factor to his highest ability as he closes on Gambit.

"Alors!  Do I know you?"  Gambit sees the strange mutant's face as he enters the clearing created by the wreckage.
Pulse pulls the handgun out of his pocket and aims it directly at Gambit's head. 

"Of course not, idiot.  I told you - we knew each other in what would have been your future.  The pleasure was all yours."  Pulse fires the gun.

At that precise moment, a small, almost imperceptible flash of blue light appears between Gambit and Pulse.

"...not too late!   ARGGGHGHHHH!" The girl screams as the bullet hits her.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Gambit tries to cry out at the sudden appearance of the girl, the gunshot, but instanteously his reality is suffused and overtaken by a thick, black substance. In his mind he sees nothing anymore except a white light that is growing larger and larger.

“Je suis morte?” (I’m dead?)

The light grows larger and larger until it finally engulfs all of the blackness and Gambit awakes.

He’s standing on the grassy mountain top where Wolverine, Rogue and him first found the injured girl.  Gambit looks down and sees that Rogue is cradling her in her arms. The girl is dead. A gunshot wound to her chest is leaking out onto the grass.

Wolverine stalks up beside Rogue and reaches out to put a hand on her shoulder, but something causes him to hesitate.

“The area is all clear. No one else around.”

“Who did this?” Rogue asks looking up at both men, tears in her eyes.

Gambit almost answers but something about seeing Rogue holding this girl causes the words to catch in his throat and tears well up in his own eyes.

He sinks to his knees and takes the girls hand in his own. Gambit has seen death before – he’s even lost comrades. He doesn’t even know this girl, yet something about her senseless death just hurts unlike anything he’s ever experienced.

Rogue is taken aback by the pain on Gambit’s face. It is a reflection of her own.

“Wolvie, could you give us a minute?” Rogue says between tears.

“Of course,” Wolverine says, “I’ll just go prep the blackbird.” He stalks back toward the tree line.

As soon as they’re alone Rogue speaks.

“Remy?”
Gambit wipes his eyes on the back of his sleeve and struggles to meet her eyes.

“I know I’ve put you through a lot of hell, sugah. I disappeared and didn’t even tell you I was leaving.”

Gambit opens his mouth to tell her it doesn’t matter, but she shakes her head and continues.

“I was tryin’ to get my powers under control. I thought I had found a way,” she scrutinizes Gambit’s face for a reaction of relief confirming her suspicion that he’s been holding out this whole time on the hope that one day she’d find a cure. But she sees nothing but concern. She continues.

“I didn’t find it – yet. I want to keep trying. I want us to find a way to be together.” The words hang in the air between them like smoke. Gambit’s eyes drop to the dead girl.

Panic fills Rogue at his silence. She knew running away would hurt him, but maybe she had finally pushed him too far. Her mind tells her that he loves her and that he’d wait for her forever, but another part is still terrified.

“How does that sound to you? Can you – will you wait with me, Remy?”

“Rogue, I…” he struggles to get the words out, “A day ago if you had said dis to me I’d be the happiest man in de world, but I –I don’t know why, but something, something about dis girl has just shaken me. Shaken me to my core. I don’t know why- but I just know – I can’t be wit’ you chere.”

The words go over and through Rogue as if she’s hearing them from a great distance.

“I want to be wit’ you,” Gambit continues, “but I finally understand dat it’s jus’ not meant to be…it’s not safe.”

Rogue doesn’t react. Her emotions have shut down, her face is mask. Gambit continues in spite of her silence.

“A week ago, Logan offered me a place on X-Force, said he could use a thief and frankly I t’ink it be good for me to get outta de mansion for a while.”

Rogue nods still in a daze, “th-that sounds like a good idea.” She says, “the part about you leavin.” She stands up, scooping the girl’s body into her arms and walks back to the Blackbird.

Gambit stares at the puddle of blood on the grass. The feeling that he just dodged a bullet by saying goodbye to the only woman he’s ever loved intermixing with the deep sadness.

He follows Rogue back to the blackbird and Wolverine lifts off.

Jul. 11th, 2012

olgambithead

Play Writes #10 - Collapse

Present

"Fascinating. So you are from the future, my dear?"  Beast must be fascinated because he is taking notes on a notepad.

"Yes, I came through a portal. I was tracking mama's powers.  I was trying to stop them from hurting anyone else."

"Her powers became a separate entity when they were removed from her?  Or was that a post-removal development?"

All the mutants in the room find themselves spellbound by Brigitte LeBeau's story, but Beast is taking it to the next level.

“Right, her powers were removed. Then they started hurting people... stealing their bodies and walking around pretending to be them. We thought we could destroy them, though, and stop them from hurting anyone else. But we needed to find a particular mutant who could help us. One with the ability to teleport.”

“Indeed! Certain teleportation abilities could theoretically have severed such a malignant pseudoconsciousness from its link to reality...”

Cyclops' raised eyebrow is clearly visible to Beast. Too much, Beast, it says.  Beast gets the message, reluctantly.

“Ahem. Just speculating. Please, continue.” Beast makes an exasperated face at Scott. Storm catches Beast's eye with a sympathetic look on her face. Beast shrugs. Brigitte continues...

“Right, so mama and I met with this mutant. His name was Pulse. That's what he told us anyway. He lied about a lot of things, I think... so who knows who he really is...”

Brigitte looks lost in her thoughts for a moment.

“Anyway, Pulse said he needed mama and me to help him destroy her powers. He said he needed us to clear our minds. Some kind of psychic link to us. Only....”

Brigitte breaks out in tears...

“Only I couldn't keep from being so angry. Mama's powers cost her so much of her life before she finally got control of them. I've hated her powers for so long... and now they were killing people all on their own. I guess I lost control of mah thoughts. Before I knew it... I.. mama said she heard my thoughts when it happened... she said I wished she never had powers. When Pulse heard that... he... well he said that mama would die. Her powers went back in time, due to his teleportation power and what I thought. He said they were gonna go back in time and do what I had told them to do... they were gonna kill mama before she ever got her powers. He said I had to stop them. He said I was immune to her powers and if I didn't stop them they would destroy the future. Mama was really upset... but she finally let me go. Father, he, well he didn't really know about what was happening. So I went. Pulse sent me back... I was supposed to be in Mississippi. But somehow I ended up on that mountain and mama's powers could hurt me. Now I don't know what to do. They've already stolen people from the past, including mama. I've failed.”

“I'm sorry for all you've gone through, child.” Storm is on a sympathy roll tonight.

“It sounds like Pulse was a fraud. I wouldn't trust what he said anymore, Brigitte.” Scott, always suspicious.

Beast places a paw kindly on the girl's back. “Yes, it sounds like he had an ulterior motive. I daresay he sent you back into a trap of some sort.”

“Well, lucky for me mama saved me on that mountain, or I'd be dead. I just wish I could've saved her.”

At that moment, a blue skinned woman walks through the door to the med ward room.

"We can still save her, Brigitte.  It's not too late."

"Grandma?!"

Beast and Scott look at each other disbelievingly and mouth the same word at the same time.  GRANDMA?

X

Cyclops and Storm instantly go to assault positions, but don’t act.

“Still jumpy as always, Summers,” Mystique says smoothly as she struts into the room, “you really should learn to relax,” she runs a blue finger down the side of his face.

“Explain how you got in the mansion, Mystique – and maybe then I’ll relax.”

Mystique pretends to look hurt, “really, Scott!” But then she is reminded of Bridgette and why she is here and she becomes serious. “I was teleported here…by the…what did your ridiculous father call them?” She asks Bridgette and then answers her own questions “Right, ink creatures,” she sighs out of exhasperation and then continues, “I was engulfed by the things in your future and somehow ended up here.”

“Grandma,” Bridgette interrupts, “what can we do to save mama?”

Mystique looks at the girl sadly, “It’s not we – but you, my dear.”

Bridgette swallows hard, “There’s nothin’  Ah wouldn’t do.”

Tears well up in Mystique’s eyes, but she wipes them away, “that’s what I was afraid you’d say.”

“What? Mystique! Just tell me – Ah wanna help mama fast. Time is tickin’ away.”

Mystique hangs her head for a minute and then looks up with her face hardened into a mask of resolve.

“My dear, you haven’t told them what your powers are.”

Bridgette takes a deep breath and then looks around at the room.

“Ah…well – let’s just say Daddy calls me ‘Echo.’”

“What is it you can do?” Beast asks barely able to contain his curiousity about what the genetic combination of Gambit and Rogue might yield.

“Ah can project a psionic image of myself. De image do what ah want em to do. Only catch is dat when I’m done wit’ de image I teleport to wherever it is and my old self sorta dissolves.”

“So you can sent out a golem like minion and then must go wherever the minion ends up?” Beast summarizes.

“Well, ah don’t know bout the word minion, but essentially – yes.”

Storm suddenly catches her breath.

“You’re not Brigette, are you child – you’re the echo.”

“And when Bridgette releases her hold and teleports here for real,” Mystique says solemenly, “I believe the psionic aftershocks of such an intense jump should dissipate the temporal damage that the…ink creatures have caused.”

“Erasing their existence entirely,” Beast finishes.

“But trapping the child here,” Storm says and her words hang in the air.

Jul. 10th, 2012

olgambithead

Play Writes 9: Some Secrets Revealed

Unfortunately for Logan, he isn't wearing the gloves he uses to hide the ghastly rents in the skin on his knuckles which are caused by his augmented mutant power. Bloody flesh tears and heals anew with each claw extension. The pain is unbearable – but he bears it because he knows he will survive it and he knows the claws will hurt whoever they're intended for worse.

Tonight, though, the gloves are off.

The contact is as brief as you could imagine it would be due to receiving a fast punch to the face. The skin to skin connection doesn't need to be longer than that to stagger most people who touch Rogue. Wolverine only falters a little. It's enough time for Mystique to escape Rogue's grip and twist away from the suddenly dazed X-Men.

Dazed. Each in their own ways. Wolverine finds his lifeforce, memories, thoughts, strength and mutant powers partially drained. It's disorienting. Before his neurons and muscles have a chance to recover, he is affected by Rogue's power draining ability. In that instant of contact, something that should not have happened did. Wolverine saw inside Rogue's mind. And not just Rogue, but Mystique as well.

Ugh.... Chuck... you... getting to see all this, too? I mean.... you're up there still, right?

I see it all, Logan. It's confusing, but I understand what it is. I just don't know how it's possible.

Meanwhile, Rogue has fallen to her knees. She had just slipped an ungloved hand on Mystique's arm, hoping to retrieve the information about Gambit that she wanted, when Wolverine had... punched her? No she must be remembering something else. Her jaw hurts. Well... maybe he did punch me... It is so hard for Rogue to sort out her memories and everyone she's touched. They all mix together, the boundaries almost non-existent for her. Suddenly she has the most intense desire to see herself naked. She begins unzipping the front of her jacket, a smile on her face. Wait. That's not right. That's not... someone else again. Wolverine. That's the only other... such strong feelings. Sort of confused feelings. Maybe she should just leave the X-Men and head up to Canada. She's already lost Jean. No... not Rogue, Wolverine.... identity is just a figment of her imagination at this point.

Logan, Rogue is having some sort of mental breakdown. I can sense it even from within you. I must try to help her.

How you gonna do that, Chuck? You ain't exactly mobile right now.

I want you to try something for me, Logan. I wouldn't ask you, but I know you will survive. I'm going to try to enter Rogue's mind. I need you to make uninterrupted contact with her skin. I am uncertain of how long it may take... I've never been in this situation before.

Great. I got the blue lady tearing off down the hall, I already feel like I'm gonna hurl, and now you want me to give Rogue a bear hug. Probably gonna knock me out.

Logan looks over at Rogue and he is immediately sure that this needs to happen, fast. Her eyes are rolling around in her head while her body contorts into all the strange forms she is thinking of. Mystique's powers in the hands of a damaged mind are terrifying to witness.

Alright Chuck, pack your toothbrush.

It's been fun, Logan. Be careful now. When you sense that I am gone from your mind, try to let go.

Don't have to tell me twice.

Wolverine walks over to Rogue and reaches his arms around her and places them on the back of her neck.

X-X-X-X-X-X-X

When Xavier’s mind enters Rogue’s things go from bad to darkness.

Inside Rogue’s mind there is now a terrible darkness. Only this darkness isn’t a void -  it’s the opposite – it’s brimming over with too much – too much thoughts.

Rogue is writhing on the floor – there is no her to save – only the terrible darkness. A mesh of her mind, Wolverine’s, Mystique’s, and the thoughts recently taken from Gambit were swirling like a hurricane inside her, but the addition of Professor Xavier’s amazingly strong mind pushed things past critical. Like the cascade that leads to a nuclear meltdown, the minds inside of Rogue merge into something different – something not of this world.

Xavier’s mind has all of one second before it’s engulfed in the implosion.

The ink world! I should’ve realiz-.

And he thinks no more.

Jul. 1st, 2012

olgambithead

Play Writes #8

X-X-X-X-X-X-X-X-X-X-X-X-X

Ghosts of X-Men Past

Year: 1996 - the past

Professor Xavier is dead. Well, not really. But something has prevented him from returning to his body. For the moment, anyway, he appears to be trapped on the Astral Plane. Fortunately for him, the Astral Plane is a familiar place. He is disoriented and frightened, but finally he dares attempt to form a coherent thought: "Chuck."

"Chuck. Heh. That's what Logan calls me. He's always trying to show me that he thinks my authority, any authority really, is tenuous at best."

Somehow, thinking of Wolverine takes Xavier to Wolverine's mind! Still on the Astral Plane, but now within the part that is Logan's mind.

Charles Xavier realizes he can see through Wolverine's eyes - and at the moment, he is fascinated by what he sees.

Wolverine is sitting on his bed, in the mansion at night. He holds a photo of Rogue. Well, it's a photo of Rogue and Gambit, but Wolverine only has eyes for Rogue. To the watching Xavier, Rogue is highlighted, appearing more vibrant and vivid in Wolverine's mind's eye.

"If only I could figure out how I really feel about you. If only I could figure out how to tell you what I think I feel about you..." Wolverine is thinking to himself. That's why he's pretty surprised when a voice, familiar to him, answers back:

"Logan. I never knew you cared this much for Rogue."

"Chuck? What're ya doin' rootin around in my mind?" Wolverine is more than a little embarassed and defensive."

"At the moment, I have no idea. I do seem to remember being in a very strange, dark place. It was full of sentinels, and you were lost. Gambit and I were coming to find you. And Rogue. Yes, Rogue was lost too. But it's all so clouded... so hazy in my mind. Then I found myself here, on the Astral Plane... what seems like only moments ago. Do you happen to remember any of this?"

Sensing the confusion and loss of certainty in Xavier's thoughts, Wolverine recovers from his embarassment. "Matter of fact, I feel a little weird myself. My memories are kind of cloudy and muddy, too. I remember being out on the mansion lawn. Then Mystique showed up. Then Rogue broke her jeep and I locked her up in the sub-basement detention area. But I can't seem to remember anything before all that. I have this weird feeling I've done all this before, but different."

"I cannot remember much before now either. I seem to be disembodied - for the time being. Hopefully you will be kind enough to allow me to 'hitch a ride.'"

"Ya think Mystique has somethin to do with this? Did she knock ya out of your body?"

"No, Logan. I think something has happened to displace us in time, but the pieces of this puzzle will only come together if we find Rogue and Gambit, before more of our memories fade. Can you take me to them now?"

"That might be tricky, Chuck...."

X-X-X-X-X-X-X-X

“Can I come in?” Wolverine asks gently knocking on Rogue’s open door.

“Door’s open, Wolvie,” Rogue says without turning around. She’s standing by the window looking out into the night.

Wolverine comes into the room nervously.

Okay, Chuck. We’re here – you’re gonna have to help me explain this one.

Don’t explain anything right now, Logan. If what you told me is true – then Rogue is under much too much emotional strain right now for her to be much help. Let’s just get things –

Moving in the right direction, I know.

“What is it, Wolvie?” Rogue asks turning around.

Wolverine is suddenly painfully aware of his own mental responses to seeing Rogue now that he has…company.

Wolverine – remember she’s a teammate! If I had any idea this was what you were thinking all the time I would’ve moved you to Gold team.

Come on Prof – cut me a little a slack.

“Wolvie?” Rogue asks disturbed now by his Logan’s blank stare and quietness.

“Oh, yeah,” Logan says stammering, “I – I think you should go after him.”

“What’re you talkin’ ‘bout?” Rogue asks sitting down on her bed.

Not the bed.

Logan!

I’m tryin’! I’m only a man after all…

Clearly.

Rogue raises her eyebrows and Wolverine tries to recover.

“Gambit. He – uh – you shouldn’t let him go off like that.”

“You came up here just to say that?” Rogue crosses her arms in front of her chest.

What do I say, Chuck? She’s not biting.

She’s hurting, Logan. I can feel it. She blames herself.

“It’s not your fault,” Wolverine blurts out.

Very subtle, remind me not to put you on any espionage missions.

Rogue becomes angry “I don’t know what you’re here for Logan, but I don’t really want to have this conversation right now.”

She has to have this conversation, Logan.

“But you have to!”

Really, Logan, stop just blurting out whatever I say into your mind!

Wolverine, looks at the floor trying to formulate his thoughts – it’s hard to do so with someone essentially watching him from the inside. He’s never been good at letting others in and this is an in as it gets.

“I just mean that the Cajun needs you.” He says pacing around the room, “you ground him and now without you – look at him! He’s running home to a crazy woman.”

That will do, Logan.

Hey, I thought that was shakespere. Get off my back.

Rogue’s brow softens just for a moment as she thinks of Gambit, but quickly her hard exterior returns.

“Belladonna is his wife, Logan. If she wants him back and he wants--.”

Steer this back, Logan.

“Who cares what he wants!” Wolverine bursts out, “When are you going to decide what you want and not take no for an answer? It’s like you made a few lousy choices and now you’re paying for them forever.” Rogue’s eyes widen as Wolverine continues, “When are you going to trust yerself?”

Tears start streaming down Rogue’s face and she hangs her head, her white bangs falling in front of her eyes in the way that always gets to Wolverine.

That should do it, Logan.

I agree, Prof. If I know her at all – you just need to give her a challenge and she’ll rise to it.

Wolverine walks over and sits down next to her on the bed.

Not the bed, Logan – can you handle this? Remember I’m here okay?

But wolverine isn’t listening. He puts his arm around Rogue and she cries harder.

“You can decide to need him,” Wolverine says tenderly. Rogue stops crying and looks up at him.

 “hell, just wantin’ him – that’s enough – and you have a right to try and get ‘im.”

Wolverine watches carefully and sees the resolve harden inside Rogue.

We did it Professor.

One more thing, Logan.

Oh yeah.

“And I’ll come with you to make sure you don’t screw this up, capeche?”

X-X-X-X-X-X-X-X-X-X

Rogue is still feeling so upset and hurt that she isn't sure she wants the company.

"Logan, you don't hafta come. Ah'm a big girl and ah can handle this on mah own."

Logan, she has GOT to take you/us with her.

"I know! Just gimme a minute!"

"Give ya a minute to do what, Logan?"

Oh, great. I knew you should have let me take over your mind... mental sigh. I just sighed mentally, you know.

"Yeah, give me a minute to get my things and we can take the X-Jet. I know it's not as fast, but you might need my help to convice Gambit to come home after all."

True, he may not come without a fight.

"He may not come without a fight."

"Well, ah ain't scared of him hurtin' me. But ah guess the company wouldn't be the worst thing for me. After all, ya already cheered me up a little."

Rogue smiles at Logan. It's heart-wrenching to know she doesn't feel the same way about him.

What, no commentary on that one, Prof?

Just that I am sorry for you, Logan.

Yeah, well, don't be. She's made her choice and I respect it.

She could hardly have made a choice if she didn't know there was a choice to make...

"Well, Logan. Ya gonna get your stuff or what? I ain't got all night!" Rogue laughs. A little uneasily.

Oh crap, she noticed me staring at her.

Quickly, Logan, recover!

Wolverine makes a face like he's thinking really hard, all of a sudden.

"Logan...?"

"Gambit!   I mean... I'm thinking about Gambit. We better find him, is all."

"Why you wanna help me so bad all of a sudden? Ah always got the feelin' Gambit and me... well... that we made you unhappy. That you thought he wasn't the best man for me. You said as much on occasion."

"I want nothing more than your happiness, Rogue."

Uh oh.

Rogue looks through her tear stained eyes at Logan. Always alone. Like her. If things had been different. If Gambit hadn't swept her off her feet when he joined the X-Men... well... fate might have worked Logan into her life. She's not sure, but she thinks she sees a little of that realization in Logan's face this night.

"Logan... ah... ah'm sorry. Ah'm sorry that we... you and me."

"Yeah, me too."

Next to each other. You're still next to each other!

But something is transpiring that even the intensely imploring voice of Professor Xavier can't interrupt.

"Me too."

And before they know what they are doing, Rogue and Wolverine are leaning toward each other.

Professor Xavier, circa 1996, appears in the doorway. The yellow metal of his levitating wheelchair gleams in the soft light.

"I need both of you come quickly. Something terrible happened to Gambit."

Logan, I'm experiencing some extreme deja vu.


X-X-X-X-X-X-X-X

Rogue and Wolverine follow Xavier down the hall toward his study.

“What is it, Professor?” Rogue asks as soon as they cross the threshold. She’s unable to contain her concern. Wolverine feels sick to his stomach with guilt at what almost happened. He dwells on that and not the intense feeling of disappointment that it will forever be an “almost.”

I’m still here with you, Logan. I’m sorry to invade your privacy this way. You should be alone at this critical time, but alas, I’m here.

I’m glad you’re here, Chuck. Known’ there’s an audience can make you keep it together longer than if you’re alone…

That’s true, well let’s see what I’m about to say…

“Rogue, Logan,” Xavier begins by interlacing his fingers as is his habit, “I just received a strange psychic burst.”

A psychic burst? That’s unusual.

Shhh. You’re distracting me from you.

“Normally I don’t invade my X-men’s privacy, but the intensity of this burst overrode even my control and I was immediately drawn to the mind from which it originated – Gambit.”

“Gambit.”

“Remy.”

Gambit.

They all speak at once.

“Yes,” Xavier continues. “It was a psychic cry of pain. Why he was able to send out such a powerful thought – I’m not sure.”

Logan, it must be that Gambit just dropped into his past self – like you did. Something about the ink world must of left some kind of residual telepathic effect.

Makin’ the Cajun capable of sending whadya call it? A “psychic cry”?

Yes.

“Well, what are we doin’ lollygagging around here? If the Cajun is down - Let’s go get him.” Wolverine says rising to go.

“Jus’ give us the coordinates, Professor and I’ll fly us there quicker than-.”

Xavier holds up his hand and she stops.

“I- I’m afraid that I can’t give you a location.” He drops his eyes for a second, “Cerebro…isn’t picking up anything.”

“No.” Rogue says it flatly.

“I’m sorry, Rogue,” Xavier meets her eyes hesitantly. He’s had to deliver bad news in the past. When had to tell Cyclops that his wife, Jean wasn’t coming back from her encounter with the Phoenix it had been devastating to both men, but this was different. At least Cyclops had gotten to have a life with the woman he loved before losing her. Rogue and Gambit hadn’t had that chance.

“No,” Rogue says it again.

Wolverine reaches out and puts a hand on her shoulder, but she shakes it off and shoots him an icy look.

Great. Now she won’t accept my help cause she thinks I just want her for myself. This is why I don’t open up to anyone.

“You’re wrong, Professor,” she says, “you’re wrong to give up on him.”



X-X-X-X-X-X-X-X-X-X

“Rogue, I'm sorry, but we don't even know where to look. Cerebra can't even give us a general area to look in. I've got Cyclops and Storm out looking for him, but... wait...” Xavier places a hand to his temple. “Yes, Scott, have you found him?” Xavier's voice sounds extremely concerned. “No, I see. No sign. And you Storm? Alright, please keep looking.”

Sounds bad, Chuck-o-mine.

Indeed, it does, Logan. If only my past self had access to our current Cerebra 2.0 system.

Past Xavier looks up sadly, “As you can see Rogue, we are not giving up on him. We will find him. But I must tell you, I don't think he has survived whatever has occurred to him. His mutant signature is not registering, his mental signature is not registering... there's just.... nothing” Clearly Xavier cared far more for Gambit than anyone could have guessed, as he cared for all of his X-Men.

"Well, that just ain't gonna cut wood with me, Professor."

Rogue turns on her heels to leave, determination on her face.

“Rogue?! Where are you going?” Xavier calls.

"Ah'm gonna find out where he is!" Rogue calls over her shoulder.

“Logan, she's troubled and exhausted. Help her. I believe you can keep her safe.” Xavier pleads.

Darn, he just said what I was thinking. But I guess that makes sense considering I'm him.

“Don't worry professors. I'll stay close to her.”

Past Charles Xavier is almost too weary to notice the pluralization of "professors." but only almost... as Logan leaves, Xavier begins reaching out with his mind as only he can.

“Rogue, hang on, where da ya think we're gonna find Gambit? If Xavier couldn't find him with Shi'ar tech, how do you expect to do it?”

Mystique, Logan, she's going to ask Mystique in the detention center. It's not the worst idea, but it's very dangerous. This may be exactly what Mystique wants.

“You're going to get Mystique to tell you, aren't you? Jubilee could throw that blue woman farther than we can trust her!” Logan says.

"Mama's gonna cough up answers or cough up blood," is all Rogue says as she climbs into the elevator to the sub-basement.


X-X-X-X-X-X-X

 Logan rushes into the elevator after Rogue. He doesn’t know what to say as the doors close and slowly the elevator descends deep beneath the school.

What is there to say, Logan? Rogue has a very…complicated past with her foster-mother.

You can say that again.

“She’s going to try and get to you,” Logan says finally unable to stand the silence.

“I know,” Rogue says and crosses her arms. To the causal observer she looks angry, but Logan can see deeper. He can see the scared daughter trying to psyche herself up to confront her mother.

“I’m here with ya,” Logan says and puts a hand on her shoulder. She shuts her eyes for a fraction of a second allowing the strength of his grip to comfort her. Then the elevator hits bottom. The doors open and Rogue, followed by Logan head toward Mystique’s cell.



 X-X-X-X-X-X-X-X-X

Wolverine and Rogue round the corner to the detention area, silence heavy between them both. Rogue feels comforted by Wolverine's presence, but she knows Mystique can attack her in ways even Wolverine can't fight.

But for Remy, she'd do anything. Even if... even if he doesn't seem to want her anymore.

“Come to apologize for smashing my jeep, Rogue? No? You should, though. It was a nice jeep.”

“Can it, Mama! Spill your guts right now, before I spill 'em.”

“Rogue, dear, that's disgusting. That's not how you were raised.”

“Ah'm not playing at this. How did you know about Remy's plan to return to Louisiana? Do you know how to find him?”

“How to find him? I certainly do, dear. But I'm coming with you. I have a stake in this too.”

Here we are... her true motives shall be revealed. Undoubtedly she is intending to double-cross us if she is allowed to go with you.

Don't worry. I'm not about to let her out of that detention cell.

“You got no business messin around with this. It's between me an Remy.”

“And Wolverine too, I'd imagine. He's barely containing his lust for you as we speak. That's right. Don't look so shocked, 'shugah' – he's been sniffing around after you for longer than you'd guess.”

Logan, careful, your body is releasing adrenaline at an alarming rate.

“Grrrr! Lady, like Rogue said, stay out of what ain't your business!”

Stay calm... Logan, careful, remember she's baiting you on purpose!

“WELL IT'S WORKING!”

With one swipe of his adamantium claws, Wolverine connects with the solid alloyed steel bars containing Mystique in her cell. The security system tries to compensate by restoring pressure to the bars, but they're damaged irrevocably and the whole door unit malfunctions, pieces of steel bars flayed out like a peacock creating a hole big enough for Juggernaut to get through.


X-X-X-X-X

Wolverine leaps through the wrecked door into Mystique’s cell. But Mystique was waiting for this and as soon as she sees her opening she tucks and rolls under the attacking X-man and a second later is staring at him inside her former cell.

“My how the tables have turned!” Mystique takes a second to laugh, “I think I prefer you in cage, you unnecessarily hairy man.”

Wolverine lets out a howl of anger.

But Mystique’s pleasure at outsmarting Wolverine is short lived as suddenly fingers clench around her throat.

“Not so fast, Mama.”

Mystique’s eyes follow the voice and find Rogue’s angry gaze staring into them.

“R-rogue, daughter,” Mystique struggles to speak in Rogue’s tight grip.

“Can it,” Rogue cuts her off. Wolverine dusts himself and his pride off and comes up beside Rogue, “tell me where Gambit is and I might let you breathe again.”

Mystique lets out a pained gurgle.

“You gonna half to ease up a little, girl,” Wolverine says quietly.

But she only tightens her grip.

“I know what I’m doing, Logan. She’s just trying to be difficult.”

Mystique struggles again for air.

“Rogue! You’re killing her!” Wolverine doesn’t care about Mystique, but he knows that Rogue would never be able to live with herself if she continues down this path. He lands the punch square on Rogue’s jaw.

Forgive me, darlin’.

Jun. 30th, 2012

ahhh

Play Writes #7

Gambit follows professor Xavier’s lead groping their way through the thick inky blackness. They run toward god knows where – but all around them they’re getting the distinct feeling that the “world” is contracting. Soon they will have no where left to go.

“Here – it’s up ahead that I last sensed, Logan,” Xavier cries to Gambit.

Gambit picks up the pace and almost reaches the professor…before he sees the Professor stumble and then tip into an invisible hole and disappear.

“Sacre Bleu!” Gambit skids to halt and then begins to run back the way he came – back away from the devolping pit.

*

Wolverine is lying on his back, his ears are ringing – hell his whole body is ringing. He struggles to sit up.

“Healing factor, don’t fail me now…nothin’ I hate more than a migraine…ruins my whole day,” he thinks to himself.

He lets out a groan and then takes in his surroundings. He’s outside the mansion – near the West wing entrance.

“That’s weird…”

His thought is cut off though as a jeep comes skidding up the driveway and then comes to a screechy halt. He sends a silent thank you to his x-gene as he now feels completely battle ready.

“No!” It couldn’t be her, but he scent was unmistakable.

“Mystique!”

*

Since Rogue’s arrival on the scene Mystique has done little except pout her lips and look hurt at her daughter’s reception. Rogue doesn’t have any patience for Mystique’s games today.

“Mama – I’m warning you,” Rogue says walking over to her jeep and hefting it above her head, “if you know something about Remy – tell me – or so help me-.”

“Alright, alright,” Mystique says crossing her arms across her chest, “If I’d known you were going to get so bent out of shape about it I would’ve just sent it as a PS – in your next birthday card.”

“NOW, Mystique!” Rogue drops the jeep a little too hard and walks back toward Mystique.

Wolverine can see that the cajun’s disappearance has really unsettled Rogue. He’s never seen her quite so riled up. A strange sensation emerges in his gut.

Jealous? Me? Why? Wolverine pushes the feeling away and focuses.

“Spill it, Mystique or you’ll be spillin’ something else,” he snarls.

“Well,” Mystique begins obviously belaboring her story as much as possible much to Rogue’s distress. Rogue bites her lip out of sheer panic. Gambit being gone is bad. Mystique having information on where he is is worse.

“He’s heading down to New Orleans.” Mystique says and waits for her daughter’s reaction.

Rogue’s fear breaks like a wave dissipating on a beach. This wasn’t unexpected. It makes sense. Gambit still has a few loyal friends in the Big Easy.

“Oh – okay…Um…thanks?” Rogue says apprehensively.

“That’s not all,” Mystique says tipping her head back with relish.

Rogue’s stomach tightens.

The other X-men – Cyclops, Storm, Iceman, Beast, and Jean Grey have all now stepped out into the scene.

“Just say it!” Rogue cries.

“I know where he’s going when he gets there.” Mystique hangs the information out in front of them like the last candy in a box of chocolate.

“Or really,” Mystique walks over to Wolverine and runs her fingers down one of his arms, “I should say – who he’s running back to.”

Logan shakes her off.

Rogue’s eyes widen.

Her? She-she’s all kinda messed up.” Rogue says.

Mystique scoffs, “She’s apparently better. No thanks to you – and when he called her she welcomed him home with open arms.”

“No.” Rogue says.

“Yes.” Mystique relishes the word.

“What’s going on here?” Cyclops demands.

But Rogue can’t seem to explain. Her mind is racing trying to figure out why Remy would flee one dark past into another.

“If you know where Gambit is – tell us, Mystique,” Cyclops demands.

But then mystique’s next words make it clear why Gambit would return now.

“Why, certainly, Clyclops dear,” Mystique says taking on a comic exaggeration of a southern accent, “he’s returned to the woman who has promised to love him in sickness or in health, in bad times and good times,”

Mystique locks eyes with Rogue.

“and after the few times she’s tried to kill him – those being the bad times  - I’m sure she’ll make him feel like his transgressions are a drop in the bucket.”

Cyclops looks to Rogue for clarification.

Her heart sinks as she realizes that Mystique is right.

“Belladonna,” she says to Cyclops.

X-X-X-X-X-X-X-X-X-X-X-X-X-X
Miles away, at that moment, on a motorcycle headed toward Louisiana, Gambit suddenly finds himself feeling extremely out of place.
'Mon Dieu!"  He isn't prepared.  He was just in an entirely different place and he can't reconcile fast enough. The motorcycle's front wheel suddenly veers to the left.  Thinking as fast as he can, Remy jerks the wheel back to the right, but this is too much.  The bike loses balance and the machine and the rider are flipped forward at 80 miles an hour.  The bike lands on top of Gambit as he tries to roll out from under it and out of its way.  Intense searing pain grips him from the impact just as the momentum of the crash plays out and he is carried down the road, onto the shoulder, and off a steep embankment into some wild brush.  He's literally lying in a ditch.  He's conscious just long enough to form a single coherent thought through all the pain he's feeling.  "Rogue, I love you."

X-X-X-X-X-X-X-

Washington DC – The Present

Eric Magnus sits on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and watches the sun set on the mall.

“Oh, Charles,” he muses, “it’s such a pity you’re not here to see this with me. I have so enjoyed our talks this week. Mostly I’ve enjoyed my talks. I have tolerated your responses as a mere exercise in debate, but that’s not get too picky.”

Images flash through his memory of intercepting Charles Xavier at the Dulles airport, taking him to his base of operations deep beneath the city and there, revealing his new power and his new plan.

The man called Magneto looks down at his hands and a thick black goo seems to swirl in his palms like a bubbling pot. He closes his hands again and looks out on the myriads of people coming and going.

“Today was an important day. I’ve been away for a some time. Where I will not say, but I left ‘Joseph’ in my place to keep you all busy. Now that I’ve returned, he’s of no futher use and I will absorb him back into me – into the blackness. You see, Charles, as I told you before - I’ve been I’ve acquired power, more power than you could even begin to fear, and I intend to use it.”

“I won’t just fight for things to be different – I will make  them different. I will wrought this world, our world into existence out of my own mind.

Magneto opens up his fist to reveal a lock of red hair.

“I promised you, my dear Rogue that I would help you. Long ago you came to me as a scared girl. You joined my Brotherhood, but I didn’t make good on my promise. Now I have. I had to take you by force and for that I apologize. It has taken time, but I admit I’m still learning about this new…ability. Now that I have succeed in letting you leach off all that was safe – you will be able to find what you’ve always desired…control. And I will achieve what I’ve always wanted.”

Magneto closes his hand around the lock of hair just as it it sucked into the black void on his palm. His thoughts are on the new world order he wishes to create, but even unbeknownst to him, his heart beats with a different dream – one where the woman he desires is by his side.

Jun. 24th, 2012

olgambithead

Play Writes #6

Chapter #6 - Even Thieves Can End Up Empty Handed

The crystal wave. It was coming at me…at us…so fast. It was inevitable. We were going to die. But I wasn’t about to die without kissing you – just once.

Rogue awakens from the ordeal to find Beast standing over her. Iceman is beside him.

“Where am I?” she asks.

“You are in the med ward, my dear,” Beast says calmly. Indeed she is. She’s on a metal table. She notices the medical equipment around the room. She can hear the beeps of a heart beat monitor and the rhythmic hiss and suck of a ventilator.

“Whoa, there,” Bobby says as Rogue tries to sit up, “you had a rough time of it – you should be lying down.”

“But – what’s happened?” Rogue asks acquiescing to Hank’s pleading look and lying back down on the table.

“The crystal wave hit…” Bobby begins.

“And then nothing,” Cyclops finishes the sentence as he comes in the room with a swoosh of the door.

“How’s our patient, Dr. McCoy?” Scott asks taking Beast aside. Rogue listens intently worried that something’s wrong with her that they haven’t divulged.

Beast struggles with trying to find the most tactful way to put it so as not to frighten her. “It could be better,” Beast responds finally. Scott nods curtly and walks toward the door.

“Glad you’re awake, Rogue,” he says in his matter-of-fact way and leaves with another swoosh of the door.

Suddenly the constant beeps of the heart machine seem to grow in volume as if struggling to get her attention. The hiss and suction of the ventilator pounds in her head. Her mind feels foggy as if she’s been stuck in a washing machine on spin cycle – but then things start to connect – the fog starts to lift. She doesn’t have a heart monitor. She isn’t connected to a ventilator. She’s breathing fine. Her heart is beating fine.

“Beast,” she asks as she sits up again. Her voice is shaky as she tries to ask the next question.

“Yes, Rogue?” Beast looks at her, his face pained already.

“I – I’m not the patient, Cyclops is worried ‘bout…am I?”

Beast only shakes his head.

Bobby responds in a different way.

“It’s nothing to get to worried about, Rogue. We think he’ll be fine – I mean we’re all in really high hopes here and -.”

Rogue cuts him off with a glance and he falls silent.

She slowly puts her legs over the table and then steadies herself and turns toward the sound of the medical equipment.

To say that she feels pain, doesn’t describe it. Guilt, despair, hopelessness. Just words that don’t come close to painting the dark landscape of emotion that now makes up her world.

Gambit.  

Remy, is lying in bed – in a coma.

Because of me.

Rogue feels the deep rooted urge to run- to flee into the darkness. All she wants is to be as far away from the reality of what she’s done as possible.

Not again.

How could she be responsible for another life…ripped away just from a gentle kiss.

For a moment she believes whole heartedly everything anyone has ever said about mutants being dangerous…too dangerous.

Then she hears some distant memory. It’s Xavier and what he says doesn’t even seem to make sense – she’s not even sure where the memory is from – perhaps it’s not even hers – perhaps it’s from one of the hundreds of memories she’s ripped from helpless minds, but it keeps going, like a mantra in her mind.

Like a diamond.

Like a diamond.

And she feels less like running. In fact as she lets the fear wash over her, like the crystal wave that put her here in the first place she’s left with an altogether different emotion.

She stands up and walks over to where Gambit is lying unconscious on a med table. She takes his hand in her gloved one and she holds on tightly.

“I’m here, Remy. And nothin’s gonna make me leave.”

*

Three days pass. At first it’s just a matter of keeping up her vigil. Taking meals and even sleeping on a small cot in the corner of the med ward.  It’s hard to pass the time, and at one point she takes out the deck of cards he had had on him and begins playing solitaire. She doesn’t leave him. That’s the idea. She’s here for the long haul. Then the dreams start. She sees dark things. Slowly these things begin to resolve into images. Finally on the fourth day when she starts awake she knows.

They’re not dreams. They’re memories.

She looks over at the unconscious man.

They’re you’re memories.

It took so much strength to decide to stay, now to find the man she’s being strong for – might be a killer – a traitor – she doesn’t know what to do.

She thinks of running again.

That is in my very name, ain’t it? Rogue? I’m supposed to be alone.

But she never gets farther than standing up. Each time she does the heart beat machine sounds and like a bell going off in her head it reminds her that she doesn’t really care.

She walks over to Gambit’s bedside and looks down at his sleeping form.

He looks so helpless, so vulnerable. He hadn’t resisted at all when she had kissed him. He had only pulled her closer, pressed his lips to hers harder. He knew the risks. Both physical and mental.

Maybe you were counting on dying though, eh swamp rat?

But something inside her knows that’s not the case.

You never count yourself out, do you, Remy?

She looks down at him again as the dark memories swarm inside her mind threatening to overwhelm her.

I won’t either then.

She lies back down on her cot. She pulls out the deck of cards and shuffles them looking for a particular card. She finds it. The queen of hearts. It was something Gambit had called her on several occasions. She takes the card out and places over heart and goes back to sleep.

Day seven.

Rogue is awoken from her nightmares…his nightmares – by a groan.

“R-Remy?”

She rushes to his side.

He sits up with a start. He’s shaking.

“Beast! Beast!” Rogue calls toward the hall.

“What’s wrong, sugah?” She grabs her blanket and throws it around his shoulders, but he’s still trembling.

“Where’s, the blue ball o’ fur when you need him?” Rogue says about to run out into the hall, but Remy reaches out and catches her wrist.

“It’s over – isn’t it?” he says pulling her abruptly towards him.

“The wave is past, Remy. We all survived.”

“No.” Gambit interrupts her. His grip on her arm increases, his eyes lock onto hers as if he’s trying desperately to read something there – as if he’s looking for some sort of change.

“You know now,” he says it like it’s a death sentence. “Don’t you!” He shakes her.

“You’re scarin’ me, Remy,” she pulls out of his grip.

He looks over and sees her cot. He sees the pile of dishes, the rolled up magazines. He realizes that she’s been staying here this whole time. She sees him register it and then is taken aback by the look of anger that crosses his face.

“You shouldn’t be here.” He says it quietly, but he’s on the verge of yelling.

“Remy, I -,” Rogue reaches out to him, but he recoils.

“Don’ touch me.”

The way he looks at her pierces her heart.

Beast comes stumbling into the room half asleep, with Jean Grey at his blue heels.

“Oh good, good good.” Beast chirps to himself upon seeing Gambit awake. He quickly sobers up when he takes in Gambit’s body language and the look of anger on his face. He looks at Rogue who has tears spilling down her face.

“I think we should clear the med ward,” Beast says plainly as if ordering twenty odd people to leave and not just Rogue.

“Remy, please.”

“Rogue,” Beast interrupts and she manages to look at him, “I think its for the best.” He puts a blue paw on her shoulder, “He just needs a little time.”

He tries to soothe her, but nothing seems to be getting through. Rogue nods, but before she heads for the door she walks over to Remy and places something in his hand and walks out of the med ward.

Gambit looks down and sees one of his own playing cards – the Queen of hearts.

*

That night the thief known as Gambit disappears from the X-mansion. He thinks he’s running away from Rogue and what she knows. Little does he know that his real enemy lies within. The pain he feels for what he has down out shadows any understanding Rogue could show him. So he leaves the card, and the real queen of hearts…alone in the dark.

X-X-X-X-X-X-X-X-X-X-X-X-X-X-X-X-X

She couldn't help but hear it out loud, as if he was in the room reading it to her:

We kiss. I tell. That's de way your powers work. I always thought I had a handle on the memories. I thought I would be able to keep them from you – even if we kissed, even if we did more den dat. But with de end of the world bein' on its way an' all, I couldn't keep you in de dark, chere. I wanted no more secrets – at least in de final seconds of our lives. But now we live. Now I got ta face the consequence of my indiscretions.

Now you know everything.

You know I'm nothin you ever want in your life. Cept you don't know, do you? Asleep – comatose- for almos' two weeks, an' you never left de mansion. Non, you never left my side. Anybody in dere right mind woulda' been long gone, chere. So Gambit gotta tell you what's on his mind now: “Clearly de girlie's not in her right mind...” So I gotta make de hard choices ta protect her. You're not innocent. Certainly not always sweet neither. But compared to me, you not much more than a child. Oui, petit, this boy not gonna let him nor his past hurt you none. When you get de full effect of my past in your mind, you gonna understand why Gambit left. Why he had to leave you. I couldn't face you, chere. You didn't need dem memories 'less the world was crashing down – an' I foolishly thought it was crashing down. But it didn't. Now - now I'm sorry, Roguey. Dis is goodbye.

The letter, soaked with tears, lay on top of the only other thing he put in the envelope. The card that had meant so much to her while he recovered. The card that, to her, signified everything he had always felt for her and how she was willing to – no, needed to – now, finally love him back. Inside the envelope, folded so it would fit, the Queen of Hearts.

Many of the saddest hours of Rogue's life later:

Outside the mansion. Why were they outside the mansion? She hears them through the window of her darkened, sullen room. Shouting now. She scarcely cares. Then she hears a name that brings her to the window in a rush.

Mystique.

Down the stairs, through the main hall, into the foyer, through the front door. It's raining out, but she sees her getting out of the jeep anyway. Mystique. Raven. Mother. These identities run through her mind quickly.

One of the people who was yelling emits a SNIKT from his fists and shouts,“Not one more step, Mystique, I'm warnin' ya!”

“Wolverine. Such a loud man, but you always get your points across.” Mystique smirks at her little joke but she stops moving toward the mansion anyway. Then she notices Rogue.

“Oh hello, dearest. I'm glad you saw fit to welcome me to your home. How's your boyfriend? Oh that's right. You have no idea.” Mystique's laugh is heartless.

“You come to stir me up, 'mama', ah hear it in your voice. Jus' leave. Leave now 'fore I make you.”

Mystique makes a mock frown.

“But then, how in the world could I tell you what's happened to your bayou boy-toy?”

Jun. 18th, 2012

olgambithead

Colonial Mutantsburg - One shot

The silver passenger van hurrying down the highway carries an unusual compliment of passengers. This van conceals the X-men:
Cyclops. Jean Grey. Storm. Wolverine. Beast. Gambit. Rogue. And Jubilee.

Each one of them is a mutant gifted with untold abilities. They have helped save the earth and the galaxy several times over. This trip is not quite as high-minded

“Stop eating all the chips, Wolvie!” Jubilee yells from the driver seat, causing the van to swerve a little. Wolverine is sitting next to her in the front passenger seat.

“What? Like this?” He empties the chip bag into his mouth.

“Hey! I was hungry.” The car swerves again.

“Jubilation – the road!” Storm protests from the back of the van.

Cyclops sighs and pulls out his earbuds. “Look, Jubilee – I said you could drive only if a responsible adult watched you – since clearly you both are failing at this perhaps I should take over.”

“Let ‘em be, Cyclops,” Rogue says without looking up from her book, “we’ve all taken way more risks then letting Jubilee drive.”

Cyclops nods his head and pops his earbuds back in. Beside him Jean grey snuggles up and continues with her knitting. He puts a strong hand on her knee and feels a brief moment of contentedness. He loves his team, they’re his work, his family, his life. Right now everything seems pretty good. He doesn’t get this swell of satisfaction very often so he knows he should revel in it.

Something catches his attention out of the corner of his eye and he notices for the first time that very uncharacteristically, Gambit has seated himself, not next to Rogue.

Trouble? Cyclops asks himself. Not like that would be new. Their relationship is more trouble then relationship, always has been. But something about Gambit’s quietness on this trip worries him. Is something up with the x-man? Something Cyclops should know about?

He looks over to Jean and in an instant she is in his mind.

<Scott, I’m here – what’s wrong?>

<It’s Gambit…He’s been too quiet on this trip. Is there something I’m missing?>

Jean breaks eye contact and looks over to where Gambit is leaning his head against the window watching the road and cars go by, fiddling with a deck of cards.

<What do you mean?> She asks.

<Well, normally he would be harassing Rogue right now…he’d probably say something like ‘ain’t it great Cherie – to be trapped in such a small space wit’ you…or other such nonsense.>

Jean eyes Cyclops.

<You know it wouldn’t hurt you at all to pick up some of that sweet talk.>

Cyclops grimaces at her. And she laughs in her mind.

Jean then looks over at Rogue who is reading a book – Pride and Prejudice.

“Would you stop snappin’ those cards, Remy?” She says exasperatedly.

Gambit stops shuffling and looks over at her.

“Would you stop snapping your gum, chere?”

Jean looks back at Cyclops.

<You can rest assured, darling. Everything is okay.>

Cyclops’ brow furrows.

<What? How do you come to that conclusion? They seem to be at each other’s throats?>

Jean sighs both mentally and physically.

<Must I spell this out for you, dear? Rogue is having her period.>

Cyclops turns a deep red.

Mutant or not…that’s never pretty. Let’s just hope we all survive this trip.

<I heard that.> Jean says.

“Hey guys!” Jubilee says turning around in her seat.

“Eyes on the road!” Wolverine cries reaching out and correcting the wheel.

Jubilee turns around again, but continues.

“We here!”

As the car pulls into the parking lot, Wolverine lets out a huge sigh of relief.

“I don’t care what Rogue thinks - that was more dangerous than half of the things I’ve done…” He muses to himself.

Everyone piles out of the van and stands in the parking lot of Colonial Williamsburg.

Beast, looking like a “normal guy” thanks to his image inducer, is immediately aware of the wonderful attention to historical detail of the buildings directly in front of him. With a “Oh my...” he is off and running into the wild world of the 1700s.

“Whoa, where's Big Blue off to in such a hurry? He gotta wig to order or somethin'?” Wolverine is in unusually high spirits. He's actually smiling.

Jubilee skips ahead of the group as they walk down one of the picturesque and well maintained historical streets. “Come on guys, let's get this over with so I can drive us home again!” She calls back.

Cyclops laughs and nods his head to Jubilee, but in his mind... < Never. Never again. What a nightmare. >

<Aww, give the girl a break. We weren't exactly the most well behaved passengers on the way there. Well, I was well behaved, but you know what I mean. > Jean Grey makes a play at pretending to be humble, but fails. Cyclops is amused.

“Chere, you care ta take dis swamp rat out on the historical town? We could stroll through the palace gardens, no? Maybe Gambit show you somma his favorite landmarks?”

“Ah bet you would, you dirty ol'....”

WHOOMPH!

Rogue tosses Gambit onto a nearby tree branch.

“Remy, you better grow up before you come back down from there.” Rogue stands with her hands on her hips, glaring at Storm, who softened Gambit's landing with a little wind. “Don't you enable him 'less you want somma this too, Partly Cloudy.”

“Rogue. There is no need for angry words. I was only protecting a fellow X-Man from imminent danger. Perhaps you intend for his foe to be mine as well?” Storm's eyes crackle with miniature lightning bolts.

“Ladies, there's no need to fight. Besides, it's time to see if the Professor's souvenir drink cups from last year are still valid for refills!” Cyclops beckons all of them into a drink vendor's shop.

Gambit does a forlorn flip from the tree branch onto the ground. “You all go ahead. When you leave, collect Gambit from de tavern over here, oui?”

“Oh no, uh uh. You ain't getting' away from me that easily. Get over here you silly hunk o' Big Easy.” Rogue snags Gambit's arm in hers. Gambit looks pleased with himself. “An' take off that damn coat. It's too damn hot ta be wearin' an overcoat like that.”

BABOOOOOOOOOOOM! (#1)

“Cannon fire. Surely.”

BAAAAABOOOM! (#2)

“Clearly a public demonstration of the arms of the time.” Beast muses to himself out loud.

BABOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM (#3)

Beast detects people screaming in the distance.

“Jubilee.” He sighs.

“Good sir, thank you so kindly for your monologue about the usage of this colonial magazine, but I really must take my leave. My friend seems to be causing some sort of public commotion, likely involving explosives. I'm sure you understand.” And with that Beast swings through the spiral stairwell and onto the grass outside the magazine.

----------------------------------------------------------------

BABOOOOOOOM! (#4)

< My love, Jubilee needs our help. That's not cannon fire! >

“Alright team, follow me, looks like Jubliee has found herself some trouble after all.” Cyclops says as he leads them away from a demonstration about how to make the legs of a table.

“Aww, it was just getting' good. I wanted to show 'em my blades. Maybe get a few tips.” But Wolverine is obviously concerned about Jubilee. He rushes past the others and is the first out the door.

And he runs right into Jubilee, who was running toward the table maker's shop. “Oh good, I was on my way to come get you!” She is out of breath from running.

“What is it, Jubilee? Apocalypse? Mr. Sinister? We will protect you from them, child!” Storm is already changing the local weather patterns to offer her easier access to lightning and gusts of wind. The sky has darkened considerably.

“No...” pant pant... “It's worse!”

“Ah'm gonna nail you with one of these things, Remy. AH SWEAR! AND YOU DESERVE IT!”

Rogue throws a powder keg at Gambit, who nimbly, but just barely dodges the resultant explosion. “Where did she get that, I wonder?” The observing Beast wonders. “Oh I see. From the cannon demonstration they were organizing for later in the day. Well, at least she's not firing the cannons at him.”

“Hold up, chere!” Gambit cartwheels across the lawn, avoiding the craters left by earlier explosions.

BABOOOM! BABOOM! BABOOM!

“I'm sorry, Roguey! I'm sorry!”

The other X-Men arrive on the scene. Police have also arrived and are trying to keep people from approaching the grass field to watch.

< Rogue. I hate to do this, but you're endangering more than Gambit's life right now... and you're making a spectacle of your powers. I'm going to to have to force you to stop if you don't tell me what's wrong. > Jean Grey hates to use her telepathy and telekinesis on others, but she is willing if the need is great enough. She hopes Rogue will listen to reason.

“He. Called. Me. A. PERIOD PIECE! An' he thought that was FUNNY!”

Logan begins laughing so hard he doubles over. Gambit cracks a smile as he lands from a particularly acrobatic flip that has again saved his life. “It is funny, chere! See, Logan think so too!”

< Rogue. I agree with you. Gambit's crossed a line he should never have crossed! > Jean uses her TK to aim and launch dangerous looking, historically accurate gardening implements from a nearby yard at Gambit.

Several hours later. In the van on the way home...

Gambit lies on the floor of the van, bandage covering his head. Eyes slightly crossed. He'll live, but he's learned something about hormones.

Jean and Rogue are sitting next to each other, chatting about periods synching up when women spend time together.

Wolverine is sleeping in the passenger seat. Jubilee, driving them home, is asking Cyclops if they can come back again next year. Cyclops is reading. He doesn't plan on speaking until they get home. He's not sure how he'll explain to the professor about the millions of dollars of damage they agreed to pay to repair the damage to Colonial Williamsburg.

Beast, attending to Gambit, leans over the cajun and gives him some words of advice.

“A crude, but apropos needling, Monsieur LeBeau. Though you know what they say about humor: Timing is everything.”

The End

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