Disclaimer: The X-Men characters, and all other recognizable characters are copyright to Marvel Entertainment Group. This work of FanFiction is not meant to infringe on that copyright or defame Marvel Comics or the X-Men and related characters in any way.
Copyright: This work of FanFiction and the original characters described within are the intellectual property of K-NICE and her IRL persona. No copying, distributing or editing of this material is permitted without the express permission of the creator, K-Nice, under United States copyright law.
Thank you Edana for Beta Reading. This fits Falstaff's challange. This takes place in the weeks after Gambit returns to the X-Men from Antarctica. Bastion is the boy robot from OZT who did his level best to irradicate mutantkind.
© K-Nice 1999
So this is Hell. The walls need paint.
Bastion literally stripped paint and wallpaper right off the walls-down to the bare, naked wood. The pink skinned freak even got the wall paper glue up. Now, I know from experience, that takes a lot of patience and effort--and a extra large serving of dementia.
I'm sitting on the denuded floor, my legs knotted in some pseudo-yoga position. I don't put much stock in all that "Um" but it sure is great for working out the kinks. I never knew pacing all night, every night, would put such a cramp in my leg muscles. Even though it seems like I'm just sitting casually, I'm really trying to stretch out my quads.
I don't look at my companion and she doesn't look at me. We're apparently absorbed in the indoor picnic we are having for breakfast.
I snuck from the boat house to the mansion for coffee at about six this morning. It's bare too, the mansion, but the team has gotten it semi-restocked. I've holed up in worse places (i.e. the boat house), so to me, it's not that bad. The boat house has been left to its own devices and since the floor boards aren't likely to do any grocery shopping any time soon, I slunk across the lawn in the departing, dewy shadows to score some hot java. Reyes knows from coffee and I'd like to avail myself of her expertise before everyone wakes up and wants to make nice. I'm really not in the mood and I don't think I ever will be.
So, of course, she was there, fresh tears drying up as soon as she realized it was me. She pushed her limp, white and brown hair out of her face with one exquisite bare hand. We managed to make fairly pleasant conversation as long as we didn't say anything important and I got to enjoy my cup of coffee.
Things were going so well that I was beginning to contemplate toast or cereal when Storm walked in. If Rogue looked like a day old rose--still beautiful but some what worse for wear--'Ro was an eternal bloom--fresh in any season. Since we were running out of inanities to toy with, Rogue withdrew and 'Ro stepped up to the plate.
I didn't know what to say, how to make it all okay. So I said little. "Yes I slept well." (Lie) "Yes I'm hungry." (True)
We decided to do breakfast in the boat house, so we could talk-without confronting our teammates. I had just survived "talking" with Rogue so I was willing to give it a go. She made toast and eggs and bacon and fruit and juice, which was as extensive as the options get these days. I gathered up the glasses, plates, utensils and a table cloth. We split the chore of carrying the meal over, though 'Ro kept her share aloft without lifting a finger. We fussed a bit about setting things up and then promptly dug in.
In the mutual silence, I contrast "talking" with Storm to "talking" with Rogue. Rogue seemed happy to forgive, forget or ignore the whole thing. Because I love her, I know how stubbornly optimistic she can be. She works harder at being naive than she does at anything else.
So we basically spent a half-hour lying to each other.
Not real lies, tangible lies that could be dragged from one's soul and exposed out in a mysterious kangaroo court, say, in Antarctica. They were subtle lies, my favorite kind. Lies, in the way she half-reached for my hand as if she were willing to touch me; the lunch plans we made as if it could ever be the same again; in my laughter, my charm, my words as if we even wanted to go back to the way things were.
On the other hand, Storm and I are comfortable in silence and I shift my thoughts to her as we finish our meal. I want to ask her how she feels about me now, what she thinks of this hateful revelation. Finally, we look at one another.
"I'm sorry for not tellin' you 'bout dis t'ing from de get go." (Lie, I wish you would have never found out.) "You should n' 'ave found out dat way." (True, if you needed to know I would have told you myself, right?) "I just can' express to you how sorry I am 'bout de Morlocks, 'bout the whole thing." (Lie, sure I can express it--I hate myself and I'd rather be dead right now.) "I'll always regret it and do everything I can to make up for it." (True, true, true and it will never be enough.)
She replies "I am sorry too, my friend." (True) "You had no choice." (True) "I forgive you." (Lie, Lie, Lie)
The words are all sincere. She is a Goddess--she believes in ceremony. I'm a thief so I know from tradition. We have both been heroes so we understand playing a role.
The lie is not in her bright blue eyes or in my crooked smile. The lies are lost in our warm embrace and the gentle tear that lands on my shoulder could be from happiness not grief. The lie is not in the way we clear up hte meal, or in our parting kiss.
The lie is in the fact that I remain here, in my own private hell.
Maybe, if we can find all the lies and make them true, I can call her Stormy again.
And it will be all right to sleep again.
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