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Chapter 1

Saturday Night, 12:00 PM - REVIEW THIS STORY

Written by Evaryn
Last updated: 01/02/2007 02:01:11 AM

Chapter 1

The man sat immobile on the rooftop, watching and listening. That part he enjoyed most, the anticipation. He extended himself to feel the air around him. He felt the papers blowing across the street with a foul hot air issued from the apartment buildings laundry vent. Footsteps echoed on the pavement, a door opened and slammed shut. More time passed. He glanced at his wristwatch. Now the game could begin.

A woman screamed.

"Damn." He muttered and pulled his attention away from the alley he'd been focused on for the last two hours and ran to south wall where the scream originated. It wasn't necessary to look down before jumping the three stories', he could feel the road better then he could see it any day. He felt the three people below, two men, and one woman. The woman struggled and a hand clamped over her mouth before she could take in enough breath to scream again.

Gambit landed only five feet away form the struggle. Bow staff ready and not bothering to indulge in the mindless chatter he often did when fighting, he quickly knocked both men off their feet as the girl ran to her left. Almost too easy. He turned in the direction the woman fled in and remembered too late what lay in that direction. He ran to catch up.

She heard the sound of feet running behind her and she increased her speed out of sheer panic. They were catching up, oh god so close now.

"Wait!" The man behind her yelled. Eve focused on the lighted main street up ahead, confident that if only she could make it that far, make it to a lamp post that the danger following would fade. But he was so fast she didn't think-

It happened almost too fast for her to understand exactly what did happen. The man behind her jumped as though to tackle, a sound like a car backfired, and she landed on top of a hard, sweaty male body. In the next instant she was lifted as though her weight were nothing extraordinary, though in no way could anyone describe her as small, and off they went. She struggled by kicking her legs, trying to send her abductor off balance, she bit his shoulder and she thought she heard a grunt in response, but nothing slowed him until he turned off into another little dark alley and they slammed into a metal door. A moment later he had it open and she was dropped on the cold cement floor, her abductor locked the door behind him.

Eve for the moment remained silent and surveyed the room for possible escape routes. Light filtered in through a barred window from the main drag, casting a peach glow onto everything now obscured by shadow. The door her abductor guarded seemed to be the only one.

Moments passed and finally he turned back to her and leaned against the door still trying to catch his breath. One arm remained tucked close to his side.

Eve licked dry lips and tried to keep from sounding too frightened. "M-my money was in my purse. It dropped in the alley, I don't have anything."

It seemed to take a moment before he understood her, and when he did answer it was with a thick Cajun accent. "T'at be too bad chere. Guess I jus' have to let you go den."

Eve didn't dare breath a sigh of relief until she was safely on the street again and on her way home.

Her abductor coughed and sank to the ground.

"I can go?"

He choked some more and nodded.

Eve stood up. He now sat against the door. She didn't understand what game he was playing but obviously she couldn't get out until he moved. With an audible groan he shifted and moved to the side away from the door.

"S'ok, no one out t'ere now."

She stopped in front of him. "You weren't one of them, were you?"

He shrugged and pulled a cell phone out of his pocket. He turned it on and tried to dial a number, but his hands were shaking too badly to hit the small buttons.

"You saved me from the other guys." She watched as he tried again with the cell phone, and this time she noticed his hand seemed stained with something dark. She leaned closer. The stain glistened... blood. "Oh shit, oh shit, oh shit. You're bleeding!"

He ignored her and pushed the last button. It rang once, twice. "Hi, you've reached the Xavier Institute for Higher learning. If you wish to leave a messag-" With a savage curse he pressed end and threw the phone across the room, and then cursed himself for being stupid. He could have at least tried dialling the other line before losing his temper. He clutched his side harder and curled into a foetal position. Everything burned, his blood and his skin and his eyes.

Eve looked at the door again and bit her lip. He saved her. She ran and picked up the cell phone. "I'm going to call an ambulance for you."

He moved faster then she thought possible and grabbed her wrist. "No. I'm fine." He took back the cell phone and sank back against the wall.

He glanced at her a moment and she finally saw his eyes faintly glowing red. "Oh my gawd, you're a mutant aren't you."

"If you want to help, dial a number for me." He handed her the phone.

She fiddled with it a moment. "It's broken." She handed it back to him. He looked at it a second verifying that what she said was correct and then struggled to his feet. No way in hell was he going to die in a stinking back alley. The women came up beside him and pulled his arm over her shoulder to help support. It was hard to stand; his body kept insisting that lying down would feel so much better.

"I'll take you to a hospital." Eve insisted again.

Remy stumbled and fell hard on his knees. It jarred his side and waves of pain blackened his vision momentarily. "No."

"Why not?"

He concentrated on thinking clearly. Concentrated on keeping his eyes open. He stood up again and with Eve's help kept moving. "I need a phone." They made it to the main drag.

Eve looked either direction, not a car or person in sight. "My apartment is a block away. Do you think you could make it?"

"Sure." He said unconvincingly. It was the longest block he ever walked in his life. Fortunately in this neighbourhood anyone seeing him would simply think he was drunk and not bleeding to death. In her building she lived on the third floor. F***ing stairs.

In her apartment she led him straight to the bathroom where he found a spot on the floor and sat down. He lifted his black shirt and winced as it peeled away from the wound and fresh blood began to swell. "Phone?" He looked up at her, his voice strained but over all eerily calm. She passed him a towel first to help with the blood (because that was what she saw people do in movies) and ran to get her cordless.

She knelt beside him when she returned, his head was down and eyes closed and she feared that maybe he'd passed out (please god don't let a mutant die in my bathroom), but he jumped when she gently touched his arm so he couldn't have been too far away. The towel he held against the flow of blood looked already soaked through. She grabbed another towel from the bath rack and he placed it over top the bloody one.

She held out the phone for him but he shook his head no. "You dial." He recited a long distance number. She dialled and waited as it rang.

A woman answered after three rings. "Xavier Institute for higher learning."

"Uh, one second." Eve passed the phone to the man on her floor, suddenly coming to the embarrassing realisation that she didn't even know his name.

"Hey." He said in a voice that belied the current situation. "Jean?" "Yeah, I know what line this is." "Yeah." Pause. "Pretty bad." He handed the phone back to Eve.

"Hello?" She asked the person on the other end.

"What happened? Is Remy okay?"

Eve glanced down at him. So that was his name. "No. He's shot and its pretty bad. I want to phone the hospit-"

"No!" The voice said quickly. "How bad is it?"

"There's a lot of blood."

"What's your address?"

"314 Duffrin."

"Hold on." She yelled something to someone in the background. "Okay, helps on its way. Ten minutes at most."

"Oh shit." Eve held the phone to her ear with her shoulder and leaned forward to hold the towels in place. "He passed out." She said shakily.

"Is he still breathing?"

"Yeah." Eve fought off panic induced tears and gulped. "His chest's moving. I'm putting pressure on the wound, that's good right?"

"Good. Keep talking to me. Help is on the way. Is the door locked, will you have to get up to open it when help arrives?"

Eve thought for a moment. "No. I forgot to lock it."

"Good. They'll just come in when they get there, should be any moment now. What's your name?"

"Eve." The tears welled and trickled down her face. There was blood all over her hands. The second towel was soaked now, but she didn't want to reach for another one.

"My name's Jean, I'm a friend of Remy's. Have you known him a long time?"

"No." Eve sniffed and whipped her face on her sleeve. "He saved me from guys in the alley."

"It's okay."

Eve heard the front door open. A woman called out Remy's name with a southern accent.

"Over here!" Eve called. "In the bathroom." She added. She didn't hear any footsteps but the woman appeared in the doorway after a second.

Eve moved to the side while the woman with the white streak in her hair knelt beside her. With gloved hands she lifted his head. "Remy!" The woman said loudly. "Gambit, wake up." She demanded, and slapped his cheek. "C'mon, don't be a coward, come back here. Gambit!"

He moaned and coughed. He tried to curl up in a ball but she stopped him from moving. "Stay with me." She said softly. He opened his eyes a slit and tried to grin at her.

"'M not goin' anywhere." He rasped irritably.

Eve heard the front door open again and footsteps came running. Rogue took over the job of applying the pressure and Eve moved back and away to make room for, and at the moment she far too shocked to be shocked any more, a big blue furry (ohmigod) Beast she recognised him from the news back when he was a member of the Avengers, before he joined the mutant terrorist group X-Men. She stepped back a bit further. Another woman with him didn't look like a mutant at all, but Eve now recognised the one with the white streak in her hair from TV.

The phone, surprisingly still against her ear, she heard Jean talking to someone in the background. "Are you still there?" She heard the woman ask.

"Yeah." Eve breathed.

"Good. My friends are there now?"


"Good. Are you doing okay?"

Eve thought about phoning the police and quickly discarded it. These people knew where she lived now; she didn't want to think about what might happen if she got on their bad side.

"We're not what you think." Jean said softly.

Eve dropped the phone suddenly remembering that some mutants were telepathic. And that meant they would also know about her thinking of calling the police. Trying to be quiet she crept back towards the bathroom. In the mean time someone had left and brought back a stretcher like thing. They were strapping the man onto it. She moved aside into the hall as they carried him out. The woman with the white streak in her hair stopped and smiled at her but didn't leave. "He's goanna be okay." She said.

Eve nodded but couldn't bring herself to make any other sort of response. She wondered if they would erase her memory now or kill her or...

"Where d'ya keep your cleaning stuff?"

Eve looked up startled. "What?"

The woman looked back at the bathroom. "There's some blood, and you seem kinda upset, I thought I'd help clean it up."

Eve blinked. Clean it up erase all the evidence and then get rid of her. "In the kitchen." She led the way and then pointed at the cupboards under the sink.

The woman knelt down and pulled out the all-purpose cleaner and a roll of paper towels. Eve followed her back to the bathroom and watched as she poured some of the cleaner onto the paper towel and then mopped it up. There wasn't as much blood on the floor as she expected. The woman cleaned it by herself and then threw the paper towels into the wastebasket. Eve noticed the towels that she gave to the man were gone too. The woman picked the plastic bag out of the garbage and smiled again. "I'll take this out for you." They walked towards the front door where the woman hesitated.

Eve felt her stomach turn. This is where it happens, she thought, she'll erase my memory or threaten me or kill me. She braced herself for whatever may come.

"Are you going to be okay?"

Eve stepped back. "Yeah. I'm fine."

The woman nodded. "Thank-you." She said and left.

Eve stared at the door for a moment and then locked it. She locked all the windows and pulled down the blinds next. She stopped when she saw the phone lying on the floor. She picked it up tentatively as though it may explode and hung it up. She wandered to the bathroom, and stared at everything for a moment. Clean. Not a speck of blood left. No evidence a mutant terrorist almost died on her bathroom floor. With that thought she bent over and threw up in the toilet.

Things started to become clearer as the morning light flooded in through her bedroom window. She tried at first to convince herself that it had all been a dream, just one big scary strange dream, but she couldn't lie to herself like that. Then she thought about the phone. The woman, Jean, answered the Xavier Institute for higher learning, she now understood that to mean the Xavier institute and the X-Men were connected. The X-men would think of that too, if not already, then soon. That made Eve a liability. Jean already knew her thoughts about calling the police, what would they do when they realised that one of their secrets were not so secret anymore. Telepaths could wipe a person's memory, or turn them into a vegetable. What would keep that from happening to her?

Eve called in sick Monday morning and told them she'd be staying home for the rest of the week. She told them she had a bad flu. That was fine, she wasn't so important that life at the office would come to a grinding halt without her.

Every time the doorbell rang she expected it to be them, every time she stepped outside she expected them to be around the corner, waiting to make their move.

It happened Wednesday morning. As Murphy's Law would have it Eve didn't expect the end to come at that moment. She thought it was her neighbour again complaining that the paperboy had yet again made too much noise early in the morning stomping up the stairs. She opened the door.

Remy/Gambit stood in her doorway wearing dark sunglasses. He leaned awkwardly on a metal cane, and smiled at her. Before she could stop herself she smiled back and stepped aside allowing him to enter.

"My name's Remy."

"I'm Eve." Eve said wondering what possessed her to let him inside. So this was it then? Could he be a telepath?

"I know." He said. Eve forgot how to breathe. "Jean told me your name."

She let out the breath she didn't know she was holding, and nodded, not knowing what to say. Jean was the woman she talked to on the phone, the telepath. Eve noticed the accent he had before now seemed barely noticeable.

She jumped when he reached out and took her hand. "I understand I have you to thank for saving my life."

"How did... it's only been a few days since?" She took a step backwards.

He laughed. "Impressive isn't it? The wound itself wasn't that bad, but the shock and blood loss made it seem worse. How are you, are you okay?"

"Yes. Sure."

He nodded. She didn't sound convincing, but from what Jean told him he didn't expect anything less. He took off his sunglasses and put them in his pocket. "You're afraid aren't you?"

She avoided looking at his eyes, she didn't answer though and he nodded.

"I understand. If out positions were reversed I'd probably be feeling the same way. Do you know what I am?"

"Mutant t-terrorist."

"No." He said softly. "I'm not a terrorist. You've heard of the X-men?"

She nodded.

"We're not terrorists. We're trying to make things better." He sighed. "But then that's exactly what a terrorist would say isn't it?" He said to himself. "Okay, lets try a different approach. Jean has looked into your thoughts and she knows how you've felt since Sunday. That's why I'm here. I want you to know you don't have to be afraid. I'm not here to hurt you."

"Why are you here then?" Eve asked finally finding enough courage to speak.

"Only to thank you, and hopefully set your mind at ease." He passed her a business card of the Xavier School of Higher Learning. "Even if you went to the police, there is no evidence that the X-men and the school are related. But if you ever need anything, give me a call." He turned to leave, but Eve reached out and touched his shoulder.

"Thanks for helping me in the alley. I wont tell anyone about the X-men."

"I know." He said and walked down the stairs and out of sight.


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