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Chapter 1

The Secrets That Keep Themselves - REVIEW THIS STORY

Written by Keri Wilson
Last updated: 01/02/2007 02:01:11 AM

Chapter 1

"There are no secrets, except the ones that keep themselves"- George Bernard Shaw

"We can never know the secrets of the universe. The deepest secrets are the ones that keep themselves- John D. Barrow

"He that communicates his secret to another makes himself that other's slave"- Baltasar Gracian

Former New York City, 20??

Remy LeBeau , aka the Witness smirked, today he was 110 years old.

Very few people knew how old the Witness really was. His passing years meant little to him. What happened over 60 years ago made that a reality. He opened his private journal for a last note, a bit of an autobiography for his daughter. She could read this if she desired. She was the only one who knew the code anyway. He would write no more after today. What years he had left would be left a complete mystery to any future ambitious historian.

Contrary to the tales, what was truth after all, no X-men had betrayed them in the end. It had been the government - a secret portion of it, that had. The X-men grew complacent in the face of mutant rights laws. Unbeknownst to them antimutant bigots started a top secret and blatantly illegal project. They worked on it for years.

Many of the X-men decided to go into a semi-retirement so they could fulfill a basic human desire to procreate. Rogue and myself were no slouches at this, having 5 children: Henri, Mattie, Cody, Etienne and Sabina. Sabina was only 18 months old when the X-men died. Only three of our children survived: Mattie, who was 12 at the time, Etienne who was 5, and Sabina. Mattie was injured though. She never fully recovered, and died of pneumonia the next winter.

The other surviving children were: Ororo's four year old daughter, Arava. And Scott and Jean's youngest child, John. Their son Christopher and daughter Rachel were killed.

The children had been told to go to the "safe place" on the estate. What happened though, was the older children took their younger siblings there. Rachel Summers induced sleep on them. Then the older children returned to the mansion to fight beside their parents. Mattie survived the battle because of her already weak health. She was the last one to join in the battle.

Henri and Cody had died right before your mother. They saw the disintegration beam heading for her before she or I had. They were literally torn apart in front of Rogue and my horrified eyes.

I was penned in by three of the other specialized Sentinels, and had already been injured earlier, when I tried to keep Storm from being destroyed by another Sentinel. I caught part of the beam, but not enough to save Storm. The explosion of light had temporarily impaired my sight as well.

Scott and Jean both fell shortly after Warren and Betsy did. They were taken down right after Hank and the Professor. Both were taken by surprise. They were the first ones to fall.

Mattie had just joined me, and we were starting to make headway against the three Sentinels, when Henri and Cody were killed. Rogue had just destroyed the Sentinel that had killed Storm. She thought she and I had sent the Sentinel that killed Scott and Jean to scrap heap permanently. That was the Sentinel that killed Henri and Cody.

Rogue was mortally injured by the beam that had killed her two older sons, but she did a kamikaze dive, destroying it for good. At the same moment Mattie was struck by a burn blast form the last Sentinel, right before I blew it to bits. Mattie moved fast enough not to be killed but was grazed by the burn beam. It left a third degree burn across her belly.

I treated Mattie's wounds. We quickly gathered a few supplies. I only allowed Mattie a few light items, the pictures and a couple of recordings that she insisted on bringing.

For sentiment I clipped two locks of of your mother's hair- one white, one chestnut, and took the gold locket I gave her on our first anniversary. She had immediately found a picture of the two of them and put in there.

Mattie and I woke up the younger children and we fled. First to New Orleans, but the Guilds had been decimated as well. All the adult assassins were dead, and only a few of the younger adult thieves were alive. Most of the children of both Guilds, though, were still alive, having been safely hidden away.

Only a tiny number of mutants or mutates above the age of puberty survived this genocide. However the government was destroyed as well. A war raged between factions for the whole of Etienne's and your childhood.

I used all my skills and connections and created this safe haven for us.

The Witness looked out of the top floor of the high rise that belonged to him. He thought about the way his two surviving children turned out, and wrote again.

Etienne took on what he saw as my old role, even choosing to dress in the style I had as an X-man.

Etienne was wild and careless though, careless in ways I wasn't when I was a pup. Etienne took on the codename "Le Morte". The superstitious side of me shuddered at the boy's choice of aliases. The name proved prophetic. Etienne died at 31 years old, as I know you remember, petite.

I soon discovered that Etienne had left something of himself behind. A whole string of children from his various lovers. I discovered 15 and managed to convince all but one of the mothers to bring themselves and the children here.

You went the other way. You became an early member of the XSE. You know, unlike almost all the others, I was one of the creators of the XSE. They only know me as the crimelord LeBeau, the Witness.

I have not heard of you having a partner in love. I know you have no children. Speaking only as your pere, I wish you had. Despite what happened, nothing gave your mother and I more joy in our time together than having and taking care of you and your siblings.

You are beautiful just like your mother was. I have heard the names they give you. One of the politest is "the Unattainable". The codename you chose was "Heritage".

I wonder if my silent grief made you and Etienne the way you became. Do you associate love with anguish and grief? Etienne, going from woman to woman, living as wildly as he could, never giving his heart away. You gave your heart only to the cause, and tried to live up to the impossible mythological characters the X-men had become.

I created some of those myths. That was why there are so few tales about Gambit. I want no hero worship. That is also why the dark pasts and big mistakes ,I know you are bright enough to suspect us of having, were also left out. It was to ensure mutant human rights now. If they believe

the X-men were pure martyrs for the cause of mutant rights it made our case stronger. And now it doesn't really matter anymore that we were full of faults and weaknesses. They think only the Witness was. It's best that way.

Over the years I took in and trained many children, human, mutate, and mutant. Do you remember Bishop and Shard? It was painful when I found them. It brought back a lot of long buried memories. Perhaps that was why I was less nurturing to them than the others. When their relative asked to have them sent to her, I did so with relief. My nightmares calmed after they left. I was again harsh to him when he returned to me as a man, requesting help for his sister. I demanded a lot out of him in return for that. No wonder he hated me when we met in the past. I know my younger self would despise the man I am now.

The hologram I had made of your mother will be yours, as well, to do with as you will, after I am gone. You know I had it made when you were very young. At that time the technology was less than what it became when Bishop wanted a hologram made of Shard. At that time the figure was

more ghostlike. I had it programmed with your mother's voice and personality. I wanted you and Etienne to know what you mother was like, as much as I could manage. Later, after you were grown, I had the access to technology that would have made her like the Shard hologram. I refused though. It would have been too painful. All I had done was to make it more easily portable. Yes, I still talk to her. Perhaps this proves the Witness is unbalanced, neh?

This will be the only record of my past, ma fille. You will be the only one who knows the secrets. After you read this do whatever you desire with it. You are the only one who this will mean anything.

Sabina closed the quadruple encoded journal her father had given her today. The hologram would be hers when he died. He believed no one else cared anything about his living or dying, not even his grandchildren. That was father's big secret, he thought himself utterly unimportant. Besides necessity in his business that was the reason why the Witness was so mysterious. Sabina, though, knew how important her father was to mutants having the rights and protections they had.

She had observed Etienne's children and found five promising ones. They all received XSE training and all became members of the force, one dying valiantly in battle. Two of those five were exceptionally bright. They understood the reason why some secrets must be kept. To those two she had given what she knew of the real history of the X-men. Both were on their way up the administrative ladder. She considered those two, especially, her children. They were her niece and nephew after all. They would be guardians of the secrets after her. And her niece had a couple of children, so this could continue yet another generation, if they were as bright as their mother. She planned to do what she could to insure that they were. Any children of her nephew as well, if he ever had any.

"Guarding the past insured the future." That was something she had heard her father say many times. In bitter moments, when she was young, he would mutter, "Alive and despised, or loved and dead. Not much of a choice, neh?"

He still refused to tell the real story, even after all these years. He wouldn't be so despised if he did, Sabina sighed. But he sacrificed his honor for their safety. "Being alive is more important than holding onto your pride." That's what he said when she asked him why he hadn't told, when Etienne died. She understood it now, but it still hurt to see how much he had sacrificed to protect them. He made himself the crimelord LeBeau to give them the very powerbase the XSE had.

The "if onlys" played across her mind, but they were always discarded as impossible. Father had done the only thing he could have done. Kept the secrets that had to keep themselves.


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