Gambit & Rogue: Illusions Part 4: Story Time With Tim

Greetings and salutations, faithful reader! Welcome back to another Story Time With Tim and now we have the final part of this particular novella! Sure, it was never finished, however, it also isn’t very well written! Even so, it holds a soft spot in my heart and I think it showcases my growth as a writer in more ways than one!

Alright, enough foreplay. Time for the main event. Hope you enjoy the final part of G&R: Illusions!

IV

Several months ago…

Westchester County, New York… 
A lone mansion upon Greymalkin Lane…

Professor Charles Francis Xavier pushes his wheelchair into his darkened study. Upon the chair’s wheels, the spokes align themselves in an ‘X’ formation. This design was a little something Forge found amusing and had decided to put together. Charles found this wheelchair far more comfortable than others he had ridden in. Though, he still missed his hoverchair. He found it…neat.

Upon entering, Charles cast his glance towards his large windows overlooking the expansive lawn of his estate. It is a window he has taken the view in from since his childhood. Always in his need, he found comfort in the view. And now, he found, as he knew and expected, the form of Scott Summers leaning against his left arm upon a wooden sill. Scott was troubled. And no telepath was needed to figure that out.

He didn’t speak a word as he rolled in and took a place near Scott and proceeded to look out into the lawn and into the forest beyond. It had grown dark out and moonlight was just starting to filter into the dark room. Charles found it comforting despite the recent torments that had ripped into his students. And he knew that Scott blamed himself. Charles felt it wasted words to even try to talk Scott out of such an assumption. He realized that the best way for Scott to deal with this, was to let him figure it out on his own. And to also be there for his moral support.

Many minutes passed between the two men as they gazed out the window. Patiently, Charles awaited the X-Men’s first and foremost to speak. And he was not disappointed. He knew his students too well.

“You’re right. I’m not going to berate myself over this.”

Scott slowly spoke his words without so much looking at his teacher and the man he considered the closest thing to a father on this planet. Though he knew where his real father was…and always so far out of reach.

Charles sat still and listened. The full details of the story were already known to him. And he was greatly displeased. The rest of his students…who were no more really students he supposed…were well into the wrong into this particular venture. Sorrow was there in Charles. But he wouldn’t let it show.

“I suppose it was coming though…” continued Scott after a moment of time slipped past. “But, who would have guessed that…damn it.”

“Scott, the rest of the X-Men must learn to respect one another before the rest of the world will respect them. This is sad…However, unfortunately…not unexpected.”

“Do you think he’ll come back?”

Charles thought over this particular query for several minutes. He sighed upon his revelation. It wasn’t an easy answer.

“No. He won’t. Too much damage has been done…Even so, he will forever remain an X-Man.”

Scott looked upon Charles for the first time upon his entry into the study. His mouth twisted into a grimace. And he was perplexed at his mentor’s response.

“I’m not sure I follow you, Professor.”

“Oh?”

Charles cast his glance upon Scott. Both men paid careful attention to the other’s emotions. After several seconds Charles continued.

“Have you forgotten Bishop’s claim already, Scott?” Scott watched Charles turn his head and stare back out the massive window. “Though the future is undetermined, it is a certainty that this particular story is far from over. What concerns me most is what ramifications will this have over the X-Men?”

Scott looked out the window as well. Both men remained there in silence. It was not to be broken for nearly five minutes when Scott issued forth his thought on said matter.

“This can not be known for certain…but I pray and hope it isn’t to the effect I fear.”

Charles nodded his head in agreement fearing the potential and gravity of the situation. Both his hands come before his face and his fingers tap unto each other as if her were preparing to pray. However, Charles holds his fingers in that position up to the bridge of his nose and he loses himself into thought. Suddenly, a silhouette from the doorway behind the men quietly and stealthily departs the area. Charles casts a quick glance in that direction but doesn’t follow. He had known that she had heard. She was going to talk to him. But Charles didn’t feel that this conversation should take place just yet.

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A dark and deliberate form steadily crept from the study’s entry frame. Her arms were folded across her breasts as she moved forward deep in thought. Not even a month had passed since the fateful incident of the team. That had been a gruesome day indeed.

The ivory walls slide by as she proceeds down the hall and enters a well-lit portion of the mansion. She passes several dark and unoccupied rooms. The other X-Men were already asleep in their beds. But one room bothers her most. And she stops by that dark room and leans unto the doorframe marking its entrance. She stares hard into its confines. Barely visible to her, is a made-up bed. And further, near the curtained over window, she sees the dresser. He hadn’t stayed here much, and she saw him even less. However, since his departure to destinations unknown, she had felt…lost. This she could not explain.

Certainly, they were friends. To this, let there be no doubt. Uncertain, was the unnamed doubts that crept evermore into her mind. Once could call those doubts remorse. Remorse over lost times? She knew not. Though, still, the memories of better days were there. And where was he to be found now? What if she should wish and desire his company for an evening? Company that she oft times enjoyed upon his favorite perch up above the rooms just past her loft, out on the roof. A place she many times called his ‘brooding spot’. Now, this room is empty. With him he took everything. Only left were the things already there before.

Goddess…what now? Ororo Munroe left the room, shutting the door behind her. Towards the stairs and up to her room she went. Thoughts pressed deeper in her mind sparking the growing curiosity of why she felt the way she felt. And she disappeared into her loft and shut the door.

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Somewhere deep within the Canadian Rocky Mountain Range… 
Presently…

Deep within the woods leading up towards the summit of one of the many peaks of the Rockies, a lone and silent structure stands. It was built into the side of the mountain high up above the treetops of ground level. In fact, this hidden wooden palace is nearly three-quarters of the way up the mountainside. Long ago was it built. From that time, none remember for it was before the long raging war between Indian and the American military. Still, its shadows tell a foreboding tale.

From the outside, the structure is like unto a wooden cabin. Though with two stories and but two small and covered windows on the second story. Three quarters of the cabin can be seen though wild growth grips the cabin from the sides. Hidden now are the recesses that connect cabin to stone. While within, the atmosphere lies gloomy and undisturbed. Within there is a wide and expansive room veiled in darkness save for one trail of sunlight entering from a crevice above. Centered in that light stands a man.

He stands five-feet and nearly a half. His dark hair poised into a backwards split as if the strands tried to label him ‘demon’. But it is but wayward ‘part’ of the hair. Though the cut is short, still it draws long at the points the hair jets out and back away from the sensitive ears. And upon the man’s face, are there fiercer hairs. Not such a demonic form nor long or bushy. Unshaven to be sure. But not stubble either.

‘Demon’ was once applied to this short man once upon a time. Though he has been called worse. Certainly he has been called better. Even ‘savior.’ Even so, there have been many times he has doubted himself. Those days before memory oft times scare him the most. Yet, here, in this hidden manor, he feels…at home. However, he doesn’t remember this place. Least, not yet. And everyday more of his memory returns.

He came appropriately dressed so as to draw as little attention to himself as necessary. In blue jeans. The basic kind. And a plaid, red shirt. Long. Jacket? Full suede. Brown and comfortable. Why is he waiting? Why’m I waitin’? This is not the first or last time he has or ever will ask this question.

A dim and dreary wind plays across his neck. And a shiver runs up his spine. Still, he stands and listens and smells and waits. His ears perk as he listens to the sounds about him…in the woods. Those sounds have gone silent. And a shift in the wind alerts him and he turns his head quickly to his right.

Wood splinters inward from outside as a great force drives through. He hadn’t heard a vehicle. Thusly, he figures that mutant powers are at play and the smell of this newcomer disturbs him. The humanoid shape flies past his face nearly smacking his jaw. It misses and disappears briefly into the darkness beyond. Barely missing the blow, he had turned to the left and dove to the ground. He looks now and doesn’t have time to make a formal complaint. Red eyes glow in the dark and pierce his soul. He doesn’t let that frighten him. This man has seen worse and lived to tell about it. A ‘snikt’ emanates in the room, echoing through all the corners and secret recesses. Adamantium claws appear from beneath flesh and between knuckles and even before he snarls his dissaprovement of this unprovoked attack, a new threat emerges.

Five glowing red objects zoom nto the room and past him. They meet their target into the dark split seconds before the form leaps towards the prey. Kinetic energy disperses and explodes. Woodchips and old machinery fly outward towards the man. He growls and picks himself back off the floor. A quick glance tells him his other attacker in the dark is buried. Glancing back towards his new doorway proves his second-guess as correct as his first. Another has shown up. And glowing red eyes greet the man again. This time, from the true owner.

“What the flamin’ hell is goin’ on here!?”

The newest arrival steps forward slightly crouched and issues forth his own warning as he whips out another stash of his arsenal.

“Wolverine! Get out of here! NOW!”

Woverine stands shaking off the debris and starts for his addressor. However, before he can make his own thoughts known, the other arises from the debris on the far side of the cabin. This time, the attacker makes no mistakes and immediately braces her arms and hands against a large beam in the center of the room and pushes. Forward jets the mutant Gambit and issues a shorter command as he unleashes his fury upon the attacker.

“Go!”

Wolverine doesn’t stand around waiting for anymore motivation. He makes for the freshly made entrance and jets out just as the kinetically charged playing cards splay out into the dark illuminating the large room. And simultaneously, the wooden pillar in the center of the room breaks and collapses. A tremendous explosion results sending old dust and burnt and broken wood and machinery parts out into the daylight sky and out over the top of the fast retreating Wolverine. The cabin collapses.

Wolverine coughs and shakes the debris off himself as he stands up to take in the sudden view. The cabin that stood is no more save for a small buckling bulge at the center of the wooden and metal heap. I gotta keep better tabs on the romantic entanglements of my teammates! Rogue and Gambit goin’ at it…He shakes his head in doubt. But, what does this got to do with me? And here of all places?

Without warning, the center bulge of the cabin explodes upward and out forcing more wooden debris to land on top of Wolverine. He covers his face then risks a peek between the falling debris. High into the air, Rogue flies with Gambit in her grasps. Time ta split. No tellin’ what she wants with me after she gets through with him! And I’d prefer to find out on more stable ground!Wolverine rushes off being careful not to leave an obvious trail. He wants to put as much distance between her and him before they come to blows. His mood has grown foul and uncomfortable. And it is well too obvious that Rogue’s powers are on the brink again.

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Wind rushes through Remy’s hair as he finds himself climbing higher and higher with Rogue the pilot. He isn’t frightened, though he believes that if he had half a brain that he would be. Rogue stares long and hard at Remy. And he sees the kinetic energy in her eyes fad some but not by much. Remy stares back with a stern and cold expression equalling hers.

“Since ya wanna go at it now, guess Ah should take care of ya now!”

She looks to her right and closes her eyes. Rogue tries to force back the rage and the pain brewing within her. Her grip lessens to the point where Gambit’s coat is on her finger tips.

“Don’ guess a little winin’ and dinin’ could be in order first, non?” Remy puts in trying to sound as cavalier as possible.

He looks about him realizing the extent of the current predicament. Near a mile up by his guess. This might hurt a little.

Rogue now looks to Remy and stares at him, wrestling with the demon within. It’s a losing battle for her. A fire red energy illuminates her face and a sneer crosses her lips. Brows purse and prepare for the task at hand. Gambit sees this turmoil and feels deep regret. He brings his hands forward and grabs at Rogue’s biker jacket, a green one as seems her preference. The Gambit sees an opening for salvation…Remy hates the choice. A charging energy starts to flow into Rogue’s jacket.

“Thought so, chere…my apologies.”

Rogue looks down in surprise and sees her jacket glowing as if on fire. She releases Gambait and tries to take the jacket off. Remy would have fallen if not for still hanging onto the jacket. He pulls himself forward and close to her preventing her from taking off the charged item. With a shift in weight and many curses from Rogue, the battle turns, as do these two. Gambit soon has Rogue with her back heading downwards. The kinetic energy disperses outward. Gambit directs it towards Rogue’s face and the energy shoots out unto her forehead. The resulting ‘blast’, as it were, renders Rogue unconscious and they both fall.

Oh yeah, dis gonna hurt. At that moment, Remy views Rogue’s jacket. It is practically burnt to a crisp. But sturdy enough it is to support his weight trailing just above Rogue. Remy tightens his grip. If the fall doesn’t kill me, Rogue will!

With the force and speed of an out of control train, the two plummet back towards the Earth and the collapsed rubble far below them. With a resounding ‘thoom’, they plow back into what used to be a cabin in the woods. A great plume of dusty smoke trails up from their ended descent. Remy’s motionless body falls from Rogue. Debris covers them both. Then silence.

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A great expanse of time passes and Remy awakens from unconsciousness. He shoves aside the large piece of wooden debris covering him. From head to toe, he finds himself an unsightly shade of dirty grey. His only wish was that he could push the pounding in his head away so easily. A quick glance around tells him everything he needs to know. Rogue is gone and the hunt starts anew. The Gambit makes his way out of the debris and looks into the sky. Dark has fallen. A glance at his watch reveals that it is broken fromt he fall. Least I’m still in one piece…miraculously. What time is it? Mon Dieu!

Remy takes off his short, tight fitting jacket. It’s ripped straight down the back and he blames that on the fall. He hadn’t intended on taking a ride in the skies or he would not have worn it. It was only worn for protection from the elements. However, Remy doubted that it would be of much use now so he discards it upon the rest of the rubble. Moments pass as he stands viewing the last of the cabin. He remembered when he had first seen it. When he found out what was so important about it. Wolverine would doubtless not think much about it save for the unusual meeting between the three. Unfortunately, the matter of Wolverine would have to wait. A more pressing matter lie in wait. And that matter now had a new face. Rogue. He felt the change when on the train coming to the border of Canada. He wasn’t sure how, but Gambit knew that Sinister’s foul hand was at play here.

And after dis matter, Monsieur Sinsiter, trust dat dere shall come a reckoning! He turned from the rubble and made his way back through the forest. It was a leisurely pace now. Soon, he would be back to the jeep he had ‘borrowed’ from one of the locals. Half an hour had passed and he arrived at where he left the jeep. He was ready for some rest because tracking Rogue now was going to be a great task. Even with his natural senses and the ‘thing’ that Rogue now contained. Some whim that had been implanted in him some years ago, a moment of weakness to be sure, when he went upon Sinister and begged of him to remove that which he couldn’t control. Ever since then, he had become Sinister’s unwilling pawn and a plaything for him to do as he wished.

As he strolled, Gambit had time to contemplate that ‘first’ meeting. He knew that it wasn’t just chance that brought him to Sinister. There were a great deal many other powers at play. Powers with names and no names at the same time. And Remy knew that his ‘father’ was deeply involved in the whole sordid mess. When he had picked Jean-Luc’s pockets so long ago, he hadn’t expected to become involved so deeply with a secret game that played over centuries. And he was the key player. Most of the details he found out by accident. A good deal many more, he stole, cheated, and bluffed out of far worthier adversaries than any he might find upon the X-Men.

De Antiquary, Jean-Luc, de Summers, Wolverine…Now Rogue got it roamin’ her ‘ead. De man wants me ta do de job, den makes it impossible ta cross de stream! What next? … Remy stops short of where he parked the jeep and looks at the space it used to occupy. …Teach me ta ask a stupid question. Look like someone ‘borrowed’ de jeep I borrowed first. Oh, wait, dere it is… Having looked all about the area without stepping forward further, Remy cast his eyes up into the trees and saw the mangled remains of what used to be a jeep. Now it was no more than a hunk of metal.Gee, Rogue, what? Did ya think I’d be able to hotwire de t’ing and drive off into de sunset wit’ it havin’ crushed axles? I’m flattered you ‘ave so much confidence in my abilities…However, overkill is more like it.

He looks around and finds himself staring westward. A feeling of dread overcomes the man. West it is. You shouldn’t ‘ave stood around for so long. Now I feel you as if you were in my arms. Shouldn’t be but a week for I get dere. Try not to trash de place for I do. A lighter ignites in the darkness as Gambit puts its flame to his cigarette. He starts the long walk towards the west. He knows that about twenty miles lay between him and the next town…a small one at that. His right hand goes into the pocket where the lighter was drawn from and it remains so as he walks. Dey say a good cancerous cigarette shall end your days faster den lightning can strike. Mayhaps. I am more inclined to say Love burns a man harder and faster den any flame or smoke…

And that brings all of this to an end! Come back next week for another short story before we move on to yet another novella!

~Timothy S Purvis

While you’re here, check out my author’s page on Amazon.com. You can just click on my name and it will take you right there: –> Timothy S Purvis

And why not check out one of my books as well?

Also available in paperback–> Red Star Sheriff Paperback

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