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Nathaniel knew he had gotten to his creation not a moment too soon. LeBeau’s eyes were glassy and pure black. He was tinged with madness, as the poor girl with him bore witness. But Gambit’s victim was looking at him like she was deciding whether to tear his head off now or later. Certainly not a shrinking violet. Almost worse, in a way. "Remy." She looked back at him. "What. The hell. Is going on?"

"Simple, miss," said Nathaniel, stepping forward smoothly. "I’m making my comeback. Mr. LeBeau is my aide, albeit my unwilling one."

"You mean…" said Rogue in a low voice. "He’s not really crazy?"

"Of course he is," said Nathaniel. "As a bedbug. He has all the homicidal impulses of the most depraved sociopath. But." He held up a finger. "He is controlled. He is the perfect soldier, the things all those agencies and governments and regimes have strived for for so many years. Now they will have it, thanks to me." He smile, his small pointed teeth gleaming in the Florida sun. "Of course, there will be a price attached. Just a pittance, really, along with some strategically placed publicity."

"You son of a…" started Rogue.

"Remy," said Nathaniel, his imperious accent overriding her squawk. "Come to me."

"Like hell, homme," said Remy in a conversational tone. Nathaniel looked at him, and suddenly Remy went stiff, his already blank eyes becoming dead. Robotic. Under control. He walked over to Sinister and stood.

"No," said Rogue.

"I have no business with you," said Sinister. "You are free to leave."

"What’re you gonna do to him?" said Rogue. She was shaking. Ice was starting to spread through her body, and with it helplessness. She had to stall him.

"Tweak this and that. Make the finished product brilliant," said Sinister. "Mr. LeBeau is the ideal subject—I could not have created a better one. He had great latent telepathic and kinetic abilities, just waiting to be utilized." And a dark side, thought Rogue, just beggin’ to be put to work. "Unfortunately, Mr. LeBeau, because of his new telepathic skills, began to remember the encounters with his subconscious," said Sinister, "and it has now become dominant. That will shortly be taken care of."

"How?" cried Rogue, seeing him turn and gently but firmly shove Remy towards the limousine.

"Lobotomy," said Sinister. "Good day."


Rouge leapt at him. She knew it was stupid, that Sinister could blast her six ways from Sunday without even thinking. And that was exactly what he did.

When she came to, she was in a small, serviceable, prefabricated cell, the type that a county jail would erect. "How quaint," Rogue muttered.

"Isn’t it, though?" said Sinister as he materialized in front of her. Rogue came at the bars, intending to rip the smirk off his face. "Now now," he said. He prudently stepped back as the steel bent in two under Rogue’s grip, more than wide enough for her to come through. But Sinister was nothing if not a calculating tactician, and he knew he had the upper hand after the jolt he’d given her. Rogue knew it too, and it made the molten rage that had been flowing just under the surface for the past days crystallize in her mind. "You had to do it, didn’t you?" tsked Sinister. "I was poised for a comeback—nay, a brilliant comeback, and then you, you little Southern fried hussy, had to bolt in like an avenging angel and ruin it all." Sinister slammed his white fist into the wall. He was angry as well, truly, and below her rage Rogue felt afraid.

"All I want is Remy," she said, quivering. "He’s not your toy, Sinister. He’s not your dummy or your project or your slave. He’s mine."

"But he isn’t, is he?" said Sinister, eyes glowing. "Not anymore. Men like Remy LeBeau are not capable of love, Marie. They fiddle and procrastinate and woo you with honeyed words. But they do not love. They never did, and he never will." Unbidden, tears came to Rogue’s eyes.

"You’re wrong," she whispered, feeling inside not grief but a sudden certainty that Sinister didn’t know Remy, didn’t know her, and that would be his undoing. "You’re so wrong. Remy is capable—of love and a lot of things you couldn’t even begin to imagine. Remy loves me. He always has." Rogue looked at the cracked cement floor of her holding area, the truth more painful than anything in her soul. "And I took that love and threw it away." She looked up at Sinister, triumph in her eyes. "Don’t you see? It wasn’t Remy. He’s kind and decent, not honest but trustworthy. He’s an utterly loyal and lovin’ person. It wasn’t Remy." She found Sinister’s eyes, her own blazing with the rage she allowed to finally surface. "It was me. ‘Cause I’m a mean one, Nate, and you made a bad mistake keepin’ me alive." Rogue ripped off her gloves and flew at him, hands grazing his armored shoulders as he reflexively ducked. She made her hands into fists instinctively, crashing through the wall beyond her cell and after that, into unknown.


Dis is bad. Merde, LeBeau, dis is real bad.

You’re ignoring me, Remy.

An’ me, mon frere.

Don’ take dis de wrong way, you two, but…SHUT UP!


Poor little Rogue…she really hated you in the end, Remy.

Him. Not me.

But he is you. We are one. You disappoint me with this betrayal.

BE QUIET! Dis is my head! Mine!!!

Not anymore. Your pretty lil’ copper head belong to ME, mon ami.

Too true, I’m afraid. Face it, Remy. Nothing can save you now.

You liked de dark side. I know, because I did. An’ I am you.

The real you.

Give in, Remy.


Have you ever seen the astral plane, Gambit? It’s cold. Endless. Black. Filled with the screams of anguished minds and dead souls. I can send your pitiful conscious mind there so easily it would make your head spin.


And then where would you be?

Driftin’ forever, like de cosmic dust you are.

Give in, Remy.

Only way, mon ami.

Become whole with us, Remy.


We can shut the screams out.

We can shut out de wind.

And the memories.

Excommunication. Morlocks. Creed. Dat cold snowy place inside you you tried so hard t’forget.

Sound appealing?

And of course we’ll block out…


Dat noise…




"Rogue!" The hoarse scream came almost directly in her ear.

"Jesus!" Rogue screamed back. And then suddenly Remy’s arms were around her, pulling her close, the shield sizzling from all the impact. Rogue promptly gave him such a shove he went a full five feet backwards.

"Rogue!" he cried. "It’s me! It’s—" Suddenly as if a steel safe had slammed, Remy’s eyes went black again. But before that, they had been red. Normal.

"Remy?" she said hesitantly, knowing it was too late again.

"Nope!" he said, grinning happily. Rogue stood, bushing cement dust off herself. She was in a very nice living area, furnished with antiques and a deep-red and midnight blue Persian rug. Behind her a huge hole had been made through a reinforced wall, and she could see her cell. Sinister was gone. Rogue hissed a curse and turned back to her more immediate problem. "Happy t’see me, chere?" he inquired. Rogue held up her hands.

"Yes, Remy, I am happy. Happy that you’re alive, at least in body. That Sinister didn’t get to pull your skull apart yet. But I swear to God…" Her voice went low, a growl Wolverine would have been proud of. "If you try to lay a hand, a card, or a karate kick on me, I’ll punch through that shield and rip you limb from limb." He started for her, challenged. "I MEAN it, Remy!" she shouted. Even Remy’s dark psyche could tell she really did. Rogue felt herself shaking. Not good. This was not right, went against some fundamental law of the universe, being ready to kill the man you loved. And Rogue knew that she did, still, deep down past all her pain.

"I said it before, cherie—you won’ kill me," smirked Remy. "Not in a million years. You ain’t got de guts to swat dis fly." He started for her again. "Now how about we forget dis whole nasty business, kiss, an’ make up?" Rogue could feel the attraction, as she always could. Maniac or thief, the charm was something Remy would never let go of. Rogue took a breath, let it out, dropped her hands to her sides.

"All right, Gambit. Okay. Deal." He smiled.

"Good good." Came to her, pulled her into an embrace. Their lips met. Rogue whispered around the kiss.

"I want it to be real, Remy. For an instant. To make up for all this time." He understood, and Rogue felt the shield drop. She pulled back, looked into his eyes. In the instant of eternity, Rogue saw that the sane, still-Remy part of his mind understood. She whispered, barely having the breath to get the words out. "I’m sorry, Remy."

Then she leaned forward and kissed him.

Go on to Chapter 8