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Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 8
Chapter 9
Chapter 10
Chapter 11
Chapter 12
Chapter 13


Written by Flitz
Last updated: 08/24/2008 12:48:30 PM

Chapter 4


“Henri LeBeau, are you plannin’ t’ do somet’in ‘bout dis?” stormed an irate Jamaican woman.

“Do sometin’ bout what Mattie?” growled Henri gesturing to a reams of papers layering the desk, “If y’ haven’t noticed takin’ over as Guild leader ain’ exactly easy, especially wit de Assassins licking deir chops, waitin’ for de first sign o’ weakness. Didn’ t’ink dere would be dis much contract work,” he muttered shifting another set of folders attention clearly on other matters. The Guilds never closed down, regardless of circumstances.

“Y’ brother Henri, what y’ plan t’ do ‘bout him?” Tante Mattie asked foot tapping the polished floor boards of Jean Luc’s former study. “Y’ know he neva made it out of dat alley. Der’s reports Remy got carted ‘way by Shield, now dey don’t know where he be,” she finished impatiently worry evident in her voice.

“I’ve heard,” he answered mildly. “Relax Mattie, I know where he’s at,” Henri replied continuing to scrawl on the forms before him. The Guild’s healer stared at him with open irritation,

“An’ just where is he?”

“He’s at a school f’ mutants up in New York.”

“Y’ planning on leavin’ him dere?” she asked sarcastically, undeterred by his show of aloofness.

“Mebbe,” he answered simply.

“Y’ can’ leave Gambit dere, Guild don’t abandon dere own Henri, y’ should know betta,” she challenged.

“If he were true Guild dey shoulda neva been able t’ catch him.”

“So y’ leavin’ em dere as punishment?” Mattie asked incredulously brown eyes wide awaiting her answer. Henri continued to peruse the documents before adding offhandedly,

“Maybe dats where Remy should be.”

“What y’ talkin’ bout…?” questioned the aging healer wrinkling her brow.

A snarl and Henri LeBeau finally looked up, hazel brown eyes meeting angrily the cautious gaze of Tante Mattie. “I don’ want him ‘round me right now Mattie,” he stated deliberately. Seeing the healer wanted more of an explanation he went on, “ Y’ know Remy’s powers as well as anybody, y’ helped em out wit some of dem…”

At Tante Mattie’s cautious nod of agreement Henri LeBeau continued indifference wavering, “Remy’s supposed t’ be able t’ sense everything around em, non? Den why didn’t he see dose bullets neh? He was right dere, an’ he didn’ get a scratch,” Henri added voice rising, “Why didn’t he save Jean Luc?”

“Y’ ain’t blamin’ Remy foh y’ father’s death!” interrupted Mattie a shocked expression on her face. She strode closer to the seated figure the beads around her neck clacking noisily against her shirtfront. “Dat’s not what y’r pere woulda wanted an’ y’ know it! He loved dat chile more den anytin’,” she paused assessing the vengeful man before her. “Is dat why y’r so quick to abandon him? Y’ think y’ father loved Remy more den y’? Don’ punish Remy cuz y’r actin’ like a fool! Jean Luc loved both of y’. Dat man lived f’ his family.”

“I don’ have t’ explain m’self t’ you,” he spat. Jean Luc lived f’ his family, oui, dat true. But he lived f’ de Guilds too. Either way doesn’ matta now, he’s gone, an’ I be in charge of de Guilds.”

“If y’ leave dat chile ‘lone I will go after him m’self.”

“Y’ can’t pretend t’ be neutral betwixt de two Guilds anymore Mattie, y’ spent too much time on de t’ieves side o’ t’ings. Y’ a part of de T’ieves Guild as much as any otha’ t’ief here. Y’ will follow m’ orders and stay ‘way from Remy.”

“Y’ shouldn’t do dis Henri. What bout de rest of Remy’s friends dey won’ stand f’ dis.”

“I’ll do whateva I damn well please Mattie, an’ none of Remy’s friends are in a position t’ question de Guild Master. Y’ dismissed.” Another glare was exchanged both unflinching in their positions.

“You will do sometin’ bout dis Henri,” Mattie stated matter of factly with a cold edge in her voice. The Guild Master did outrank her, but there were some in the Guild held separate alliances to her and they both knew it.

Henri held her steady gaze before cocking his head to the side and letting out a rough chuckle, shoving the completed documents into a manila folder. He held it upright in his right hand waving it slowly, “I was doin’ sometin’ ’ bout it.” The dark-skinned woman made a reach for it, but Henri smoothly pulled it back. “Sorry Mattie, y’ll find out wit everyone else,” the new Guild Master replied a chilling expression on his face. Rocking back in the black leather chair, Henri listened to the fading steps of the healer, hand clutching the manila envelope tightly.

Back in the cafeteria at the Xavier Institute Remy glanced up at the crowd he had gathered around him, both natural and unnatural in the making. The earlier incident with Logan had gained him a few bruises and several intersecting sets of parallel cuts tracing over his well developed abdomen. He wasn’t sure what Wolverine was made of, but his hand still stung from the punch to the temple.

Given the night, and the scant moments in the shower, Remy had been able to clear his mind of the quicksand that had swamped his thoughts. He was able to shut away the corner of his mind that had continuously replayed Jean Luc’s death during any lapse in attention. With that burden he wouldn’t of been able to paste on the charming grin he now wore.

Capture and subsequent botched escape attempt had convinced the lithe teen it was time to gamble. Waiting for Shield’s inevitable return held no appeal, and he knew both by custom and necessity the funeral would be held only a few days after his death. The chances were low, but with the best possible circumstances he might yet make the funeral, something that still weighed heavily on his mind, he wanted to say goodbye.

His gamble was his charm, the ace in the hole that not even the inhibitor collar hung around his neck could deprive him of. Using his charm never felt like his charging powers. The charge had to be drawn out from the environment, and he had to expend energy to ignite it. His charm was completely different. Charming felt more natural, just a release like exhaling or relaxing a fist. That was the inherent problem, it became too relaxing, almost as if he charmed himself as well.

Ignoring the possible mishaps and keeping a wary crimson eye on Logan the t’ief relaxed slowly letting his charm wash across the room, small tendrils weeding their way through the clusters of students. Subtle at first he gradually strengthened the meandering waves, watching the effects. Students caught in the ripples became more outgoing, there was more laughter and more casual contact between friends. Smiling easily the affected students moved languidly unknowingly gravitating towards the source of the waves.

One youth who’d been snared by the charm had a deck of cards and gathering a crowd became less about mutant powers and more about performance. Remy ceased projecting, letting the ambient charm in the atmosphere percolate. An expert in distraction, the Cajun’s dexterous fingers led the cards in astounding arcs. An empty smile was firmly entrenched for his audience as the thief’s deft mind continued its machinations.

Wolverine uneasily resettled against the wall unable to definitely pinpoint his source of discomfort. Every time he attempted to focus on it, his tension would melt away, only to build back up again. He was both drawn and repelled to the seated thief entertaining the students with a deck of cards he obviously had a lot of practice with.

Logan wasn’t sure what was behind the kid’s sudden change in attitude but was certain it was disgenuine, people couldn’t flip that fast. New students continued to trickle in and the sheet of students ringing the thief grew thicker. Logan straightened when he momentarily lost sight of the red-headed thief. Tilting his head he saw flashes of cards and he relaxed the kid hadn’t disappeared. Logan chastised himself for his paranoia, a trait Storm often accused him of.

Wolverine stiffened a sudden change in the atmosphere drawing his attention and he glanced sharply at the students. He felt disoriented as if the room had been depressurized though visually nothing seemed out of place. He could even make out the auburn haired youth dealing cards amongst the throng of students.

His instincts still screamed at him, and Logan knew enough not to ignore them. Stalking forward muscling his way through the ranks, he roughly pushed aside those who hadn’t the intelligence to move out of the way of an irate Wolverine. Making his way to the middle of the crowd Logan had to swallow the urge to howl in frustration. The kid he was supposed to be watching was gone; in his place was another red-headed boy Logan knew only vaguely. Between jobs for Xavier and his own bouts of outdoor seeking Wolverine wasn’t around enough to know all the students by name.

“Hey Mr. Logan, did you want to see the card trick the new guy showed me?” the red head asked innocently. Logan gnashed his teeth, “Stay here!” he barked out, running to alert the professor.

“Gambit?” repeated Cyclops slowly, leaning over to get a good look at the screen, “That’s unusual.”

“An operating name to be sure,” spoke the Professor eyebrows lifting “I…” he trailed off frowning and jerked his head intently focusing on the door. The gathered X-men waited tersely knowing what particular action didn’t usually herald good news, a few seconds later Logan burst through the door confirming their suspisions.

“The kid high tailed it, we gotta move!”

Storm and Cyclops looked flustered for a moment, “Gambit’s gone?” asked Jean.

“Aw, hell,” said Wolverine tightening his grip on the door handle, “The kid’s Gambit? We have ta catch him before anyone gets wind. Damn, I’m surprised we kept him this long,” he growled.

“Explain,” the professor demanded sharply, ice blue eyes narrowing, no doubt already trying to reach the teen telepathically.

“He’s not from just any Guild, he’s from the New Orleans Guild,” he said stressing his words. “They’re known for being very protective, be glad Fury kept this low profile or they’d be knocking down the door to get ‘em back. Hell, I’ve heard of Gambit he’s got a rep as the Guild’s golden boy,” Logan finished hurriedly.

Cyclops recovered from the double load of disconcerting news to shout out, “Logan how the hell did you lose him? You were supposed to be watching him!” Scott accused.

“Lay off One-Eye, I think the kid’s still got his powers, he did something to that room!”

“Logan, what are you talking about?” demanded Storm.

“Enough!” spoke Xavier slicing his hand through the air, “You must retrieve him before he leaves the estate. This Guild could be lying in wait for him, or anyone else who might be interested in a runaway thief. He could be in danger. I will continue my search for him with Cerebro though I doubt it will do much good. I trust you to bring him back before anyone knows he has gone missing.”

Cyclops and Wolverine glared obstinately at each other before Scott broke the silence, “Alright lets go, we don’t have much time,” he commented harshly, the group exiting the office quickly. Xavier wheeled down to the lower levels to access Cerebro while the rest of the X-men were briefed by Scott.

“We can leave the kids in the cafeteria, he’ll want to move fast, and he not stupid enough to take a hostage. No time for uniforms, we’re going in civs. Wolverine, Jean can you track him?” Scott questioned slipping effortlessly into the role of leader, doubts for their actions left for another time.

“Sorry Scott, I told you before I can’t get a lock on him, if the professor can’t read him I don’t have a chance,” said Jean disappointedly.

“I can try to pick up his scent but with all the kids running around it’s gonna be hard.” Logan admitted, “He was sitting with a whole group of them, he mixed up his scent with theirs pretty good.”

“Alright” snapped Cyclops making his decision, “Logan you and Storm check for Gambit outside. His scent should be easier to pick up, Storm your powers will be more effective outdoors as well. Jean and I are going to scour the house, he may be hiding here hoping to escape if we all run outside.”

The group nodded at his assignments and he and Jean ripped through the house shouldering open doors and running through the levels searching for the teen. Jean’s telekinesis undoubtedly lending a significant hand. Out the patio door Storm rose into the sky, wind obeying her effortlessly as Logan ran beneath her. They had circled half the estate before Logan signaled he had found a scent.

“I think it’s him, I’m following it,” he said taking off again at a jog. He shot a quick irritated look to the elegant wind rider, “Storm get down here you’re giving away our position!” he warned.

“So is your shouting,” Storm retorted as she eased her winds descending to the ground. Firmly tracing the scent Wolverine was able to move quicker, Storm trailing behind. The scent moved farther away from the manicured expanse of the lawns and into the extensive woods bordering the estate.

“There are no footprints,” stated Storm scanning the leaf strewn ground for disturbances.

“I know Storm,” Wolverine replied shortly intent on tracking, “Something that obvious woulda made things a little easier but I’m just gonna have to go with scents fer now.”

Raised her palms above her head in supplication, Storm’s pale blue eyes whited over as thunder cracked above them. Jagged forks of lightening lit up the rapidly darkening sky as chilling rain began to pour all around them, never touching the two grounded X-men. Wind tossed fitfully, tugging at their clothes and Logan whirled away from his trail frustrated, “Storm!” he shouted voice straining over the thrashing wind, “What the hell are ya doing! Knock it off!”

Strands of icy white hair whipping behind her, Storm looked at the shorter man with eerie pupiless eyes. A few moments passed and Logan wondered whether she had been able to hear him over the noise of the sudden squall. She lowered her arms giving a small frown and the storm slowly began lessening its severity, dissipated into heavy clouds hanging over the formerly cloudless sky.

“You said it would be easier to go on tracks,” Ororo replied smoothly, “now that the ground is damp he will surely leave tracks for us to follow.”

“Yeah Storm, but I was on the trail already,” Logan snarled, “His scent probably disappeared in that monsoon you whipped up. Hell Storm, any tracks he mighta made are probably washed away now.”

“Sorry,” Storm replied huskily and they both returned to the hunt with even fewer leads to follow.

Remy LeBeau ran swiftly through the dense forest lining the Xavier estate, lean form dodging tree branches and darting around rock cropping. He knew while appealing, hot-wiring a car wouldn’t have been a safe option, far too easy to track. For similar reasons he had declined immediately heading for the road he was sure the long drive must lead to. The open expanse of gravel would make certain he posed an easy target. The afternoon sun blaring down unbearably had cemented his decision and he had promptly headed for the comfort of the partially shaded woods.

While more familiar with back alley’s and rowdy streets, the teen had also grown up fairly near to a swamp so the thick timber wasn’t completely alien. It still made him edgy, surround him with buildings and he’d disappear swiftly enough to cement your belief in the supernatural. Woodland areas with trigs lying liberally underfoot that might snap at any moment were another arena of expertise that he wasn’t on the best of terms with. But one ability that he prided himself on was his ability to adapt.

Spry tree limbs slapped at his face and arms, and he was grateful at once that he’d chosen a long sleeve shirt to prevent the scratches that were already appearing faintly across his tanned complexion. Thunder boomed in the distance, rain appearing seemingly out of nowhere soaking the surprised teen. Not enjoying the process of being drenched the crimson eyed thief was at least grateful for the disappearance of the sun. For even in the partial shade the glimpses of light stabbing through the trees had been a painfully bright to his night sensitive eyes. But between the thick cloud cover and the rain turning the ground to a familiar swampy texture the young thief knew this was the best combination he was bound to get. Vowing to make the most of it he renewed his slackening speed, careful to keep his steps light.

Cyclops, Xavier’s lackey had spoken of security measures that Gambit had yet to see, but perhaps they were ignorant of his departure. The man hadn’t made any mention of guard dogs in his list but the teen had been caught unaware before. Thankfully the downpour of rain had let up, the sudden temperature change producing a thin layer of fog dispersed throughout the woods. Finding a particularly marshy hollow the red-headed teen eased himself in it, mud both disguising his scent and turning the highly visible white shirt into one of light brown. He stood up carefully, taking a handful of leaves to sprinkle over the spot attempting to conceal his presence.

Satisfied the area looked as natural as possible the muddied teen stepped out of the depression and began running once more, intending to leap off a downed tree. The arctic chill of a telepath whipping past startled him and the normally graceful thief lost his balance slipping on the moss covered trunk.

His upper body laid out and surprise more than anything caused him to pause before wrenching his tall lightly muscled form to land in a more appropriate manner. The height of his fall was slight, preventing sufficient time to arrange a landing causing him to hit the ground roughly. The red-eyed teen bit his lip sharply avoiding the pain filled shout that banged against his teeth. Settling for a short hiss the teen began to get up again before dropping again laying behind the treacherous log, as footsteps echoed in the forest.

“Hold up Storm, something isn’t right,” said Wolverine coming to an abrupt stop dark blue eyes searching the mist shrouded forest.

“What is it Logan,” questioned Storm glancing about a cautious expression on her face, her hand on the bark of an oak tree.

“Something’s out of place here I just haven’t figured it out yet. I think I’m getting the scent but I’m not sure…” he said turning around slowly. Storm entered the feral’s field of vision just in time to see her let out a violent sneeze that had the undesirable consequence of releasing a lightening bolt not twenty yards away.

“Dang it Storm, watch where you’re throwing those things,” he shouted muttering selective curses under his breath. “This whole place reeks of ozone. Let’s go back to where I had that snatch of scent maybe I can pick it up again,” Wolverine said gruffly already doubting his words.

Remy watched on as the pair hiked away from the section of the forest he had been concealed in. He would have sworn that the gorgeous white-haired woman had been staring at the area of mud that he’d tumbled in. But maybe she hadn’t been looking at the right angle, either way it had been left a smoking crater by the sudden strike of lightening. Believing his abrupt change in luck couldn’t possibly hold out any longer the thief slinked off heading a direction he hoped would lead him back toward the road.


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