He is not a small man, this dark-skinned mercenary staring in the dirty mirror of an unclean washroom out of his one remaining eye. The dark red M still marks his face.

Didn' t'ink y' could wash away y'r scars, pup?

A voice nags at his mind, casting the only doubts he ever has that he is doing the right thing at the right time. This voice in his head, his memory, it tells him how to manipulate time, people, events. Its cruelty whispers to him about powers and nations and the burning of buildings in time. It drives him to do whatever it takes.

He never wanted to be his father's son.

Raised y', pup. 'Bout time y' returned t' de fold.

"I'm not like you!" He slams a massive fist—the only one he has left—into the mirror. Spiderweb cracks shatter through the glass. Blood wells up under the dark skin.

He loves them. He is not like the Witness, this insidious voice. He loves them.

What makes y' so sure I don't?
A name.

It's a funny thing, the ahdea that a name is special or important, that it mattahs. It doesn't. Not to me anyway.

When Remy asks me mah name and Ah don't tell him, he thinks it means somethin', that somehow Ah'm holdin' out on him, expectin' more than Ah'm willin' ta give. Whah can't he realahze that Ah don't have a name? That one tahme Ah almost told him and he stopped me, it wasn't about bein' too close or too intimate or even offerin' mah heart. What kahnd of a heart does a girl lahke me got ta offah?

Ah thought it maght be the last tahme Ah could actually remember it. Ah turned it ovah and ovah in mah head so Ah could tell someone and then he said it didn't mattah. And it doesn't.

'Cept Ah don't remember it anymore.

Ah keep trahin' ta tell that boy he should just walk away from me. He doesn't understand whah Ah pull him close then push him back. He doesn't realahze that Ah don't actually know which psyche in mah head is me and which ones aren't—'ceptin' the boys. Ah'm not an idiot. Because he doesn't understand, he never knows who he's really dealin' with. Not sure Ah do either.

That's the trouble with all of 'em, really. They think Ah'm not trahin' hard enough to gain control. They think Ah'm afraid.

What they don't know is Rogue is all of us in here. And that's the problem. Ah think the only one that can gain control is the one that has mah name.

And Ah don't have one.
"Gambit?" The woman's voice is soft, falling over his shoulder like a light breeze.

He breathes smoke in deeply, then watches it stream out of his mouth in a wispy cloud. She'll be frowning at him for that, the petite. Only she's not a petite. She's a woman. And it's killing him.

"Gambit?" This time her hand touches his shoulder and she's right behind him, and still he doesn't answer.

Just blowing out smoke, sitting on the dock, refusing to turn around and look at her.

He can hear the frown in her voice: "Are you all right?"

"Peachy." He stubs out the cig on the ground and finally acknowledges her presence by shoving over enough for her to sit beside him.

Stormy's frowning as she does. She's barefoot and drops her feet easily into the water to swing them back and forth like a girl.

She was a girl. She was his girl. Too old perhaps to be his daughter, but it hadn't felt like it when she called out to him from her bad dreams, curled up halfway in his lap when it was just too dark and too close, and looked up to him with those laughing, innocent blue eyes as she taught him pickpocket tricks and learned more advanced things in turn: breaking and entering, security systems, casing.

He smiles at her, but it's a twisted thing that can't believe his only family, his, is ripped away from him again, was never his. She wasn't really that child he'd taken in and hoped to raise better than Jean-Luc had even raised him. She was a woman, a goddess, an X-Man.

"What d' y' want, chère?" he asks softly, his hand on hers taking away the sting.

She frowns at him but then her head settles against his shoulder and he can't help but slide his arm around hers.

"Stay?" she asks.

His heartbeat seems to stop and he wonders for a moment if it really did. He sighs. "Don't belong here, Stormy. Y' know dat."

"Do not call me that."

He laughs and squeezes her arm affectionately. "Sure t'ing, Stormy."

She huffs a little but curls up halfway against him. He's sure he's going to die from not breathing, from this feeling inside of him. She's family. She's his.

"As long as y' like," he whispers softly.


    FANDOM: X-Men (comics)

    STORY SUMMARY: A series of loosely related one-shots reflecting on the X-Men.

    DISCLAIMERS: All characters, storylines, etc. belong to Marvel and not me.

    CANONICAL NOTES: Takes the entire comicverse as absolute canon as of early 2010.

    (UNBOUND) entries are in drafting phase and are likely to change radically before complete.



    1. Family
    2. Whats In A Name?
    4. Chasing Hope

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