Disclaimer: Warren, Gambit, and all related characters belong to Marvel and are being used without their permission. Eithne, all related characters, and the reality that they inhabit belong to me. I am not making a dime from this, so it would be....shall we say goofy, to sue me.

Author's Note: Still wandering around in the vast universe that I have created. Continuity wise, this takes place sometime in the distant future; long after all previously posted fics. I was feeling a bit angsty; and my muse has been a little down. Thus, I decided to write something a little dark.

Archive? Well, sure. For those of you who already have permission, and you know who you are; go for it. All others, please ask. I like to go and see my work in all its glory! :) Also, if anyone would like to use any of my characters, feel free to do so. Just warn me, I like to know what they do when I am not looking.

Feedback? Oh please. I do love it so! All comments can be sent to akasha@mlec.net.

Thanks go to my best bud Anne for beta-reading this. She says that it is a tear-jerker; so consider this your Hankie Warning!

Paying The Price

The sun was setting in the west; and the air had grown colder. The young woman standing on the hill seemed not to notice the chill. She was not nearly so young as she appeared; her fairy blood hiding the years well. What it could not hide were the tears which flowed down her cheeks; or the pain and grief reflected in her oddly feline golen eyes. A single rose, red as blood, hung limply in her grasp. One last gift for him; he who had given her so much. One last gift, one final goodbye before she turned from him; before she let go of all that they had shared.

Once, he had done the same; turned from her. He had walked away from all that they had shared; and had shed no tears. She was different from him; not nearly so strong, so cold. Perhaps it was what drew them together; like moths to a flame. The magnetic attraction of heat and cold; life and death. Perhaps it was something more, or something less. She had often thought on it; often wondered what kept them together, clinging to each other. Once she had thought that they would always be so; that they would never let go again.

But that was all gone now, the firm belief in happily ever after. She had always thought that their love was strong enough to conquer death; to conquer all. Once, it had been. She was living proof of that, was she not? She had always held the belief that she would not have defeated death, but for the fact that their love was stronger; that it was that love that had jerked her from death and shoved her back into the light. The love they shared; not her fairy blood. Perhaps she had been wrong all along. For love, their love, had not saved him.

It was her fault really, she refused to believe otherwise. Everyone tried to tell her that she was wrong. But she saw the truth in their eyes, the accusations glowing like embers in their gazes. It was she who Creed had come for, she who Creed had sought to destroy. What better way to do so? Creed had a mind, a cunning one, when he chose to use it. She should have known; should have seen it coming. She alone knew the secret, the secret that would one day be the death of all she loved. It was her fault, she knew it; and so had Warren.

She had seen the truth in his eyes, as he had lain on the ground; his head in her lap. Blood had poured from the open wounds on his back, flowing across her skin; pooling beneath her. She had seen the accusation in his gaze; amidst the pain. Her name had been on his lips as he died, there in her arms; within the cold shadow of the St.Claire angel. An angel watching over him; the fallen one, with wings torn asunder.

"We are even now my love.", she recalled whispering; as she pressed a kiss to his blood smeared lips. Even indeed, a life for a life, death for death.

The night grew darker, the air colder; and still she stood. She had come here to say her goodbyes, to lay the rose on the tombstone; to walk away. She had intended to stay only a moment; too painful to stay longer. But she was loathe to walk away, unable to let go as easily as he once had. The rose still dangled in her grasp; the thorns digging into her skin. Around her feet lay dozens of tiny red jewels; the droplets of her blood forming Bloodstones as they hit the ground. She was unaware of them; unaware of the damage the thorns had done to her skin. She felt nothing; and knew that she probably never would. She knew, somewhere deep inside, that she shouldn't be alone; that she should have allowed Alex or Meghan to come out with her. She could feel the darkness within; the despair as it ate at her sould. She knew where it would lead; what it would push her to do. Precisely why she had come alone. Easier to slip away into the night; to meet her destiny.

The night grew colder still, and the young man felt it; felt clear down to his bones. He doubted if he would ever again get used to the cold, to the chill of the air. It reminded him of darker times, darker places. He shook his head violently; knowing that it was not the time for such thoughts. Eithne needed him, needed him more than she ever had before. And this time, he intended to be there. They had been friends once, as close as brother and sister. She had saved him, saved his life; given him another one. That had been a lifetime ago; in New Orleans. Then he had walked away; not by his own choice. She had never fully forgiven him for that; for walking away from her. But all of that was past; what mattered now that she was hurting, she needed him.

She heard him approach; heard the almost imperceptable footfalls of the thief long before he reached her.

"Petite, come inside. It freezin' out here."

"Leave me be Remy, please."

"Petite, you know Remy ain' gonna do dat."

She turned to face him; amd Remy's breath caught in his chest. Her golden eyes shimmered with tears. The pain he saw reflected in that gaze tore at his soul; the grief broke his heart.

"Petite?" Do you know how long it has been since you called me that?", she asked him; her own southern accent slight compared to his.

"Too long. Come inside, you don' need ta be out here by you'self."

"I'm not by myself, you're here."

"Petite, please," he whispered; moving closer to her.

She stepped into his arms; laying her head against his shoulder. He pulled her tightly against him; feeling her body shake with sobs.

"Let's go inside. Remy fix ya somet'in to eat," he said; intending to carry her if it came to that.

"No!", she hissed, pulling away from him.

"Don' do dis Eit'ne."

"You don't understand Remy. I can't leave him here, alone. He was afraid of the dark. No one knew that; no one but me. But he was afraid of the dark. And I can't leave him here in the dark; alone and cold. I can't.", she screamed at him; before collapsing to the ground. Remy knelt beside her, his hand on her shoulder.

"Den Remy stay wit' you. Long as ya wan' ta stay."

The sun was rising in the east, and the air was losing some of its chill. The predawn sky was alive with color; reds, purples, golds. Remy watched the colors dance across the sky. He had spent all night there, his back against the ancient oak tree; Eithne in his arms. He had promised that he would stay as long as she wanted; and he had. He had held her as she cried; silence between them. No words had been needed then; only his presence. Sometime late into the night, she had stopped crying; sleep mercifully overtaking her. He had considered carrying her into the house. But her words clawed at him, "He was afraid of the dark". He had glanced at the tombstone; the light of the full moon playing across it. It had sent a shiver up his spine, the way the moonlight seemed focused there; chasing away just a little of the darkness. He had promised; and he decided not to break his word. Now, as the sun rose in the sky. he felt Eithne rise beside him.

She slowly stood, looking at the rose still clutched in her grasp. Looking at Remy for a moment, she turned and walked to the grave. She placed the flower on the top, bending to place a soft kiss on the cold stone.

"Goodbye my love. We will meet again, someday. That is my promise to you. From this life to the next; my love for you will span time and space, life and death. You doubted that once; do not doubt it now."

"You ready to go inside now petite?", Remy asked softly, wiping a tear from his eyes.

"You go ahead. I will be there in a minute.", she lied.

Remy had turned to go, choosing to believe the lie; the truth too painful to accept. He knew what she intended to do; knew that he could not stop her even if he tried. There were some things that had to be done, no matter what the cost. Turning back to look at her, he saw her still standing at the grave; the red light of dawn dancing across her hair.

"It's not yer fault petite, you know dat? We all make mistakes, all of us."

"Yes, and we all have to pay the price for them, don't we? I am paying mine now. Creed will pay his."

With that she had vanished, leaving behind only a shimmering rain of golden dust; and the tinkling of fairy bells.

"Godspeed petite. Remy be here waitin' for ya when ya come home. Jus' like I always have. Waitin' for you."

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