X-Men (2nd series) #172

Issue Date: 
August 2005
Story Title: 
Bizarre Love Triangle - part 2: Temptation

Peter Milligan (Writer), Salvador Larroca (Penciler), Danny Miki & Allen Martinez (Inkers), Liquid! (Colorist), Cory Petit (Letterer), Sean Ryan (Assistant Editor), Nick Lowe (Associate Editor), Mike Marts (Editor), Joe Quesada (Editor-in-Chief), Dan Buckley (Publisher)

Brief Description: 

Gambit wakes up, due to dreaming that he and Foxx did indeed hook up in the shower room. Rogue, who is sleeping in the bed beside Gambit at the White Queen’s suggestion, wakes up and tries to get Gambit to talk about his “nightmare”, but he refuses. Gambit and Rogue have another telepathic therapy session with Emma, but as they are about to kiss, Gambit no longer sees Rogue, instead he sees Foxx and breaks the link, Rogue soon realizes who it is he saw - Foxx - someone he can actually touch. Gambit takes his squad away on a field trip, which results in Foxx trying to seduce him some more, but the rest of Foxx’s squad are on to her, but Foxx denies everything, which ensures a fight between her and Bling. The boys (Flubber, Onyxx and Rain Boy) confront Gambit, but Remy just tells them to mind their business. Upon returning to the Institute, Gambit finds that Rogue has moved out of his room, and after searching the Institute for her, he finally finds her, only for Rogue to suggest that perhaps he does get involved with Foxx, after all, he will be able to touch her - but Gambit claims that he doesn’t want any other woman. However, later that night, Foxx is in Gambit’s room, trying to seduce him again - until she reveals herself to be Mystique. Mystique explains that she is here in the interest of her daughter, and suggests to Gambit that he has some physical release - even though Mystique is slightly disturbed by the idea of it herself. However, after transforming into Rogue, she and Gambit move closer together. Meanwhile, Havok enlists Nightcrawler to help him find out what it is that Polaris saw in space - but Lorna isn’t telling anyone, claiming that she still doesn’t remember.

Full Summary: 

(Gambit’s dream)

Gambit calls to Foxx as she continues her exit through the steamy shower room. Foxx’s yellow eyes glow, as Gambit states that this must be a no questions asked arrangement - and it won’t mean he loves her - or is promising her anything. ‘Guilt free’ grins Foxx. ‘Risk free…’ ‘Physical’ adds Gambit, before they embrace in the steamy shower. Then he wakes up.


Sitting straight up in his bed, Remy lets out a little shout, which causes his lover Rogue, sleeping in the bed next to his, to ask him what is up. Gambit claims it was nothing - a nightmare, to which Rogue suggests that it might be the shock of waking up in the same room as her. Remy replies that it isn’t that, and reminds Rogue that Emma said sharing the same quarters might help their situation, adding that he is fine with the arrangement. Rogue smiles and asks Gambit to tell her about his nightmare.

Gambit declares that he won’t, though Rogue tries to coax him into it, joking that it will be fun, and that she can analyze him to try and figure out what the nightmare signified. Remy gets up and informs Rogue that he is just going to hit the showers, and as he leaves the room, Rogue smiles, reminding him not to forget that they have another appointment with Emma in the morning. ‘Hope you’re ready to take a beautiful young damsel in your arms!’ ‘You bet!’ Gambit calls back, walking out of the door.

Later, in the White Queen’s counselling office, Gambit, Rogue and Emma are all seated, and by use of the White Queen’s telepathy, Gambit and Rogue suddenly appear naked in what Gambit appropriately describes as the Garden of Eden. ‘Would you like an apple?’ asks Rogue, adding that she likes to think this place could be paradise, though she would rather not get too hung up on any strict biblical interpretation of any of this. ‘You mean, no snakes hiding in the grass?’ asks Remy.

‘Snakes?’ asks Rogue, before joking that it would be typical of a Cajun boy raised in a Catholic household to bring up the subject of sin. Rogue places a hand on Remy’s cheek as Gambit bites into the apple, before asking what the Southern Baptist girl had in mind. Rogue claims that it isn’t sin if two people truly love each other. ‘But it wont mean I love you. It wont mean I’m promising you anything’ Gambit declares, leaning into Rogue, who is taken aback by this comment, when suddenly, Rogue vanishes, and a naked Foxx is in her place, lunging at Gambit, hands wound tightly around his throat, asking Gambit what he is talking about. Gambit screams, and the telepathic session ends.

Back in the office, Emma tries to coax Gambit to snap out of it, but an upset Rogue crosses her arms and tells the White Queen to leave him screaming for all she cares. ‘That’s enough, Remy!’ orders the White Queen, slapping Gambit across the face, which she obviously enjoyed by the smile on her face as she suggests they should call it a day, and finally remarking that she isn’t sure the two of them are ready for this degree of telepathic platforming.

Rogue snaps that she is ready, but it is the snake in the grass who has got a problem, adding that she is sure Remy wouldn’t have a problem with that “foxxy” new student. Gambit mutters that he wouldn’t have to go through all this therapy with the “foxxy” new student. Emma sarcastically congratulates Gambit for making Rogue feel even more insecure than she already is, to which Remy quickly claims that he didn’t mean it, Cheri. ‘Go Cheri yourself! Snaps Rogue, storming away.

Emma reminds Gambit that she creates the telepathic platform on which he and Rogue meet, so anything he can see, she can see too. ‘I’m very happy for you’ Gambit mumbles with his eyes downcast. Emma asks if there is anything he would like to share with her, to which he replies that he is talking his class on a field exercise and that they will be back tomorrow. Exiting the office, he exclaims that it will be good to get out of this place for a few hours.

Gambit’s squad are playing around in a small lake, some of them floating down a waterfall. From a nearby rock, Gambit tells them to look out for themselves, but remember they are a team, adding that they need to be careful as this isn’t like the Danger Room where he could just turn it off. Foxx looks up at Gambit and proclaims that she really digs the kind of danger you cannot just turn off. ‘Are we allowed to throw up in these clear running waters?’ mutters Bling, before asking her squad-mate Rain Boy how he is doing. ‘I guess I’m fine. You could say I’m in my element!’ Rain Boy replies.

Flubber jokingly asks Onyxx how come Foxx doesn’t give him those double entendres. ‘Go to Hell’ Onyxx snaps back, before pointing out that it was only a single entendre. ‘Single or double, sure looks like it’s hitting out good mentor’s sweet spot’ Flubber replies, motioning over to where Remy is helping Foxx out of the water and onto the rock. Onyxx declares that Gambit is looking to make a fool out of himself.

Back at the Institute, Emma is in Cerebra with three of her students - Celeste, Mindee and Phoebe, appropriately dubbed the Stepford Cuckoos. Emma states that there is something wrong, but she cannot pin it down. ‘We feel it, too…’ add the girls, one of them suggesting that it is a background noise. The door to Cerebra opens and Emma, slightly annoyed, asks Rogue what she wants. Slightly embarrassed, Rogue exclaims that she wanted a quick word. Crossly, Emma folds her arms and points out that she was busy. Rogue reminds Emma that she said she could see what Remy saw when they were in the telepathy world - ‘what did you see in there?’ Emma just narrows her eyes.

Back in the great outdoors, night has fallen, and Gambit’s squad are preparing their campsite. Bling walks over to Foxx and asks her if she doesn’t see what she is doing. ‘I’m fixing the fire’ Foxx replies, for that is what she is doing. Bling ignores that comment and tells Foxx that she is upsetting the whole group, the whole team dynamic has been thrown off. ‘You mean Onyxx has got the hots for me and your heart’s fluttering for Onyxx’ mutters Foxx.

Bling tells Foxx that, if she must know, she is the person who makes her heart flutter, but that is another story. ‘You’re telling me’ Foxx mumbles. Bling puts a hand on one of Foxx’s shoulders and informs her that she joined the school to improve herself, so she will not let Foxx or anyone else spoil that. Bling tells Foxx that she understands if she cannot reciprocate Onyxx’s feelings, before suggesting that the way she is behaving with Gambit is - ‘Is my own business!’ snarls Foxx, shoving Bling off her.

Bling tells Foxx that there is such a thing as collective responsibility, and warns Foxx that she might tell Miss Frost what is going on here - or let Rogue know. Angrily, Foxx shoves her hands around Bling’s neck ‘Go ahead. See if I care!’ she shouts, pushing Bling to the ground, Bling asks Foxx to let go of her throat. ‘I thought you said you liked me, girl’ Foxx says. ‘Not any more!’ declares Bling, displaying her powers, by “blinging” Foxx with parts of her sharp body. Foxx kicks Bling away, ‘You’re a weird one’ she remarks, to which Bling replies ‘Ain’t we all’.

Bling fires back at Foxx, who leaps on her, warning Bling not to get between her and Gambit. Bling replies that she thought Foxx had some silly infatuation, and didn’t realize just how much she liked him. Bling shoves Foxx off of her, as Foxx replies ‘Liked him? D you think I’d be going to all this trouble if I liked him?’ Eyes glowing, Foxx stands ready for another attack.

Nearby, Gambit sits in the darkness, telling himself that he doesn’t like this, he wonders why he can’t stop it - what is so special about Foxx? He thinks that it is not as if he and Rogue have suddenly been unable to touch, nor is Foxx the first pretty girl to make herself available to him. ‘Whoever’s creeping up on me better have a good explanation’ Gambit declares, losing his train of thought as he senses someone behind him.

Onyxx charges Gambit, telling him that he wants him to stay away from Foxx, that he is leading her on and misusing his position as a mentor! Gambit tells Onyxx that what he said isn’t an explanation, and leaping out of the way adds that he is doing no such thing, also pointing out that if he was, it would not by any of his business. ‘We disagree!’ declare Flubber and Rain Boy as they approach Gambit, who asks if this is mutiny on the bounty.

Flubber points out that Gambit told them to remember they are a team, and Rain Boy declares that they are looking after their team-mate’s welfare - by trying to protect Onyxx from his brutal mentor. Rain Boy exclaims that he is sure this isn’t what his parents expected when they let him join the Institute, to which Onyxx asks Gambit if he preys on all the young girls who pass through here. ‘Mister Romeo Gambit, sir’.

Foxx comes up beside Gambit and asks him if there is trouble, assuring him that she is right here if he needs a help with these boys. Gambit informs Foxx that it will not be necessary, and claims that it is magnificent that they support each other, and if they get out of his sight in ten seconds, none of this needs to go any further. ‘If they don’t, things’ll get messy’. The three boys just look at each other, unsure of what they should do.

Meanwhile, the next day at the Institute, Rogue sits with the handsome Bobby “Iceman” Drake and the lovely Lorna “Polaris” Dane and she apologizes to them for what happened the other day, as she saw the two of them so happy together and just - ‘Tried to kill us!’ exclaims Bobby. ‘Over-reacted’ offers Rogue. Bobby mutters that trying to turn he and Lorna into the “Incredible Toasted Two” could be called over-reacting, to which Rogue remarks that she has been under a lot of pressure lately.

‘That’s obvious’ declares Polaris, to which Bobby smiles and tells Rogue that her new powers really rock, and asks if that is as hot as it gets ‘Or can you really burn it up?’ Lorna asks Bobby to go and get her and Rogue some more water. ‘Oh, very subtle’ Bobby remarks, when a bamf signals the arrival of teleporter Kurt “Nightcrawler” Wagner. Kurt exclaims that he was sitting alone, contemplating the mysteries of the universe when he suddenly realized that he needed a little company.

Blocking his nose from the stench of brimstone, Bobby exclaims ‘Or failing that, three mutants trying to eat their lunch in peace’ and informing Kurt that he made him bite his lip, suggesting that he gives a little warning before he bamfs in like that. Lorna agrees with Bobby, pointing out that it is very disconcerting. Kurt smiles and exclaims that it isn’t nearly as disconcerting as sitting alone contemplating the vast emptiness of space and time - and endless ocean of nothingness.

‘You should really get cable installed in your room, Kurt’ Bobby suggests. Kurt bamfs out, Bobby asking the girls where they were in terms of their conversation. Lorna reminds Bobby that he was just going to get them some more water - when Kurt teleports back in, with a pitcher of water, exclaiming that he saw they were getting low. Kurt then explains that the real reason he thought he would look up on his friends is because one of them actually looked into the bleak emptiness - one of them floated alone and stared into the face of the abyss. ‘Isn’t that so, Lorna?’

Polaris asks Kurt if Havok put him up to this, Kurt points out that they all know Alex doesn’t concern himself with existential matters of the soul as he is too much the all American boy. Gazing out the window, Rogue announces that “they” are back. The “they” being Gambit and his squad. Walking ahead of the others, Gambit thanks Foxx for standing by him last night, and to remember that what happened last night, stays back at last night. ‘Whatever you say, boss’ Foxx smiles, putting a hand on Gambit’s shoulder. ‘I can’t believe…’ mutters Rogue.

Later, the White Queen reminds Gambit that she has two good and reasonably clean ears and is a powerful telepath, so there is no need to shout. Gambit declares that Emma had no right to tell Rogue what she saw when they were telepathically linked. Emma replies that she didn’t, to which Gambit exclaims whatever he is going through is his own concern. Emma states once again that she didn’t tell Rogue anything, to which Gambit declares that he will work it out in his own time, before finally listening to Emma when says she didn’t tell Rogue anything.

Emma explains that if she tried hard enough, she might be able to see everything Gambit sees on the telepathic level, but she has more manners than that, so she didn’t. Emma adds that she felt Gambit was in great trouble, so she gave him a chance to unburden himself. Gambit asks Emma if she didn’t tell Rogue, then why hasn’t she shown up for their appointment? Emma folds her arms as Remy suggests that Rogue might have changed her mind about this relationship telepathy thing. Gambit declares that he is going after Rogue, to which Emma warns him that something is wrong in the House of Xavier, so he needs to be careful.

In his room, Gambit calls to Rogue, asking her if she here, but there is no reply. In the hallway, Kurt informs Alex that he didn’t get around to asking Lorna what it was she saw, ‘Maybe next time’ Alex replies, to which Kurt asks him why it is so important to him. ‘Why are you so obsessed with this?’ ‘You think I’m obsessed?’ asks Alex. ‘Do you think you’re obsessed?’ Gambit approaches the men and asks them if they have seen Rogue around, to which Kurt informs him that she was with Bobby and Lorna earlier. Havok asks if everyone can stop saying “Bobby and Lorna” like that, like they are one person, a single unit. Nightcrawler takes back what he just said and in answer to Remy’s question says ‘I saw her with Bobby, who happened to be with the completely discrete entity known as Lorna’. Gambit thanks his teammates, and leaves to try and find Rogue outside.

As the sun sets over the Xavier Institute, Rogue stands amongst the gardens, and Gambit comes up to her. Rogue declares that she knows it isn’t exactly a garden of Paradise, but that it is nice and she doesn’t believe there are any snakes here - not poisonous ones anyway. Gambit mentions that Rogue moved all the things from his room, to which apologizes for being sneaky, but that she wanted to do it when he wasn’t there.

Rogue reminds Gambit that she only moved in with him because Emma said it might help with the telepathy, but points out that it isn’t helping. Gambit claims that it has been beautiful waking up together, watching Rogue come alive every morning. But Rogue feels that it makes this even more like a mockery of a real relationship. Remy suggests to Rogue that they keep working with Emma, and promises that he will try harder, that he wont mess up next time.

But Rogue tells Remy that he cannot promise her that - he cannot promise her anything, and admits that she cannot promise him anything, except increasing frustration, and if or when they give into that frustration, there will only be death, horrible agonizingly slow life-sapping death. ‘Not really much of a dowry, is it?’ As they head back towards the mansion, Rogue exclaims that she has been thinking - ‘Why don’t you and Foxx get together?’ Remy asks Rogue if she is crazy, to which Rogue asks ‘Why not?’ and points out that both he and Foxx seem to like each other, and that they are both attractive people who will be able to touch, kiss and love.

Rogue smiles and tells Gambit that it is all right, that she wont blame him, as she knows he has tried to be good to her. Gambit declares that he doesn’t want Foxx, that he doesn’t want any other woman. This surprises Rogue, more so when Remy tells her that it is she he wants. ‘Do you really?’ asks a teary-eyed Rogue. A stern-faced Gambit declares that he will prove it.

Later, night has fallen, and Foxx sits in Gambit’s room on the bed across from him. Gambit tells her that perhaps she isn’t ready, to which Foxx smiles and asks him if he is kidding - she is always ready! Gambit assures Foxx that his class is a tough one and for that he makes no apologies. Foxx informs Gambit that he is sweating. Gambit turns his back to Foxx and is about to tell her something, but Foxx interrupts, revealing that she can smell him, and she likes it. Gambit ignores that comment and tells Foxx that he is going to ask Havok to transfer her to another class, under a different mentor.

Foxx ignores Gambit’s comment in turn, and declares ‘It’s a man smell. An animal smell. It drives me crazy’. Gambit suggests that Foxx might get to go to Iceman’s class and informs her that she will like him as he is a very good mentor, very fun. ‘I like you’ Foxx replies. ‘And I like you, but not in that way’ Gambit admits. ‘Liar’ exclaims Foxx, before claiming that she knows why he is trying to get rid of her.

Gambit looks at Foxx’s yellow eyes and asks her if they were this shiny before, and her teeth - they look somewhat sharper. Foxx puts her hands on Gambit’s chest, telling him that he obviously wants to get rid of her because he wants her. Foxx pushes Remy against a wall, much to his protests, but Foxx tells him that he wants her so bad he cannot sleep, and when he does sleep he must dream about her. ‘You want me. Morning. Noon. Night’.

Gambit shoves Foxx off of him, ‘You don’t know what I want!’ he shouts, to which Foxx boasts that she does - more than he thinks. Suddenly, Foxx’s form begins to change. Her eyes flash and she grins, as a stunned Gambit asks her what is happening to her. ‘Foxx?’ Suddenly, Foxx is gone - and in her place stands Mystique. ‘Foxx? Foxx is a woman I created to seduce you’ replies one of the deadliest mutants on the face of the Earth.

Gambit is taken aback, while Mystique walks over to him, explaining that Foxx was blandly beautiful, insipidly sexy - created just for him. Gambit reminds Mystique that Rogue is her step-daughter and tells her that she is twisted, crazy and completely mad. Mystique admits that she underestimated Remy - perhaps she always has done. Remy tells Mystique that she is wasting her breath and suggests she gets out before he throws her out.

Mystique tells Remy that she knows he thinks she is evil, and perhaps Foxx was a mistake she admits, before claiming that she is only trying to help. ‘By messing with my mind? By trying to sleep with your own daughter’s boyfriend?’ Gambit asks. Mystique narrows her eyes and declares that the idea repels her as much as it does him, before pointing out that she wants her daughter to be happy, and while she cannot be happy while they are tearing each other apart.

Mystique suggests that if they had physical release. Gambit turns away and tells Mystique that it is enough, and that he wants her out of this school. Mystique tells Remy that she knows what he wants and that she has got what he wants. Remy realizes that Mystique is using a different voice and tells her to stop it - but turning around, he sees Mystique has morphed into Rogue, who stands there, and asks Gambit how long he has dreamed about taking her in his arms - a night of unbridled passion.

Gambit pleads with Mystique not to do this, but as “Rogue” backs Remy against a wall, she tells him that he wont be doing anything wrong, as he has proven that he only wants Rogue - that he is a one-woman man. Mystique reveals that she respects him for that because he didn’t succumb to Foxx. Leaning into Gambit, Mystique tells him that this is different - this is Rogue. It won’t be cheating. Gambit and Mystique both draw their lips closer together….

Characters Involved: 

Gambit, Havok, Iceman, Nightcrawler, Polaris, Rogue, White Queen (all X-Men)

Foxx / Mystique

Bling, Flubber, Onyxx, Rain Boy (all Gambit’s squad)

Celeste, Mindee, Phoebe (the Stepford Cuckoos)

Story Notes: 

Rogue attacked Iceman and Polaris in X-Men (2nd series) #171 with her new flame powers she absorbed from Sunfire in Rogue (3rd series) #8.

Polaris “stared into the abyss” in X-Men (2nd series) #170.

Mystique was last seen in Mystique #24.

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