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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 5

A shadowed figure crouched near the tree line squinting against the fading light. A tentative twitch of sculpted lips served as wearily congratulation. The woods bordering the Xavier Institute had been far more extensive than the young thief had at first assumed. And after several hours of traipsing through the timber the small ranger station was an unusually welcome sight. The few rows of vehicles parked in the lot were the actual reason for his small victory. He had decided early on hitch-hiking wouldn’t be a viable option, that source of transportation in and of itself wasn’t particularly safe, but for a mutant with black and red eyes it was taking chances that even the vaunted thief wasn’t willing to try.

If life were simple, Remy considered mouth down turned slinking from his place of concealment onto the lot, he could go into the station, use the phone and wait for the nearest Guild member to arrive. Unfortunately he well knew it wasn’t. That particular thought swirled bitterly almost seeming to bite at the inside of his skull. If life were simple he wouldn’t have been abandoned as a child, Jean Luc wouldn’t be dead, and he could place a menial phone call without worrying that the mutants from the Institute would be able to find him by canvassing his description in the area.

Alighting next to a dusty silver Camero the young thief casually tugged on the door handle, surprised when it gave easily. It wasn’t even locked, though if it had been it wouldn’t have garnered the vehicle any protection from the accomplished thief. Drawing himself smoothly into the vehicle habitually scanning for on-lookers he rapidly spliced wires, satisfied when the engine rumbled softly after a few seconds of manipulation.

Striving for a nonchalant appearance the auburn haired teen quickly snagged a pair of shades from the visor, dark enough to hide the faint crimson aura his burning orbs produced. The covering fog had disappeared within an hour of its appearance and Remy blew a sweat soaked strand of hair out of his face relieved the sun’s brightness was diminished. Another auburn lock slipped from its holder and the irritated Cajun teen jerked it back redoing the tie, aware it would return shortly.

The grounds had to be a recreation center of some sort, if it had been just a station the number of cars would have been much smaller. Hoping whoever the cars belonged would be take a few hours to notice his acquisition, he slowly backed the silver car out of its space. Rotating the wheel he headed toward the first asphalt road he’d seen in awhile, assuming it to be a far better choice than the dirt one curving out behind it. Glancing into the rearview mirror all he saw was the lush green thicket of trees, a sight he beginning to despise. The drive was long and had numerous curves attempting for scenic no doubt, something that in his present state he deemed worthless. Eventually the road joined an under-populated highway that the sign posted as twenty-two, but unfamiliar with the region it gave him no particular insight.

Putting the car into park he grimaced rooting through the glove compartment searching for a map. He shut it abruptly in disgust, turning up a single roll of peppermint lifesavers, fluorescent orange pen, and battered insurance forms. Given the option the teen was stocked with redundant systems, apparently the owner of this car didn’t share his belief in preparing for contingencies. His father had taught him to always be prepared, taking the lesson to heart there were few situations in which he couldn’t get himself out of. Advanced thieving skills were to obscure him from view, but if he had to fight he was well taught in hand to hand combat. He backed that knowledge with his kinetic powers, bo staff and several pair of throwing knives.

But here and now, he had none of it at his disposal, the thought causing him to yank at the continually blinking collar in frustration. One simple band of metal and it cut away such an integral part of his person. Of course, other simple objects, like a handful of metal casings had the power to wrest his father away. Shifting back into drive the fatigued teen randomly picked a direction, guiding the Camero west.

Rapidly accelerating down the stretch of road, the young thief watched the trees flash by at quicker rate than the previous hours, deference to his newly acquired mode of travel. His thoughts were far from the road before him however already envisioning his return home. A stab of homesickness lanced through him, bringing up flickering images of his family and friends, Jean Luc’s calm visage dominating.

Absentmindedly the Cajun teen ran a hand down his right leg wincing at the lines of pain accompanying the gesture. His not so graceful spill in the woods had resulted in what he refused to believe was more than a few pulled muscles. The red eyed thief had fought with worse, but he’d have to be more aware of his leg now that it was weaker it’d become a liability.

In the burgundy and gold trimmed foyer Professor Charles Xavier waited impatiently for his team to report back. He continually snuck glances at the doorway while speaking with one of his youngest charges about the upcoming semester. The front door finally creaked open and Charles quickly dismissed the student to meet what he thought of as his eldest students. His mouth quirked regrettably before he spoke, “You have not found him,” he said needlessly. There was an agreement of nods, Scott the only one to look as if he’d been pursuing their elusive teen. His ruby shirt was torn, a faint sweat line appearing down the center, a collection of burrs on his sneakers. Wolverine looked unchanged, the woods a second home, Storm had the elements to cool her, and Jean telekinesis to keep the underbrush at bay, it was no wonder the group appeared largely unaffected.

“I’ve called off the search Professor. It’s been several hours, if we were going to find him we would have by now,” explained Cyclops disappointedly. “Jean and I began our search indoors and when we realized Gambit wasn’t in the mansion joined Logan and Storm. By the time we arrived the trail was already cold. We continued, but haven’t found a trace of him.”

The laser vision of Xavier’s zeroed in on the team that had begun covering the grounds, meeting the cool gaze of Ororo and the aggravated features of Wolverine. “Well?” he prompted eyebrows quirking.

“I coulda got ‘em,” muttered Wolverine, leaning against the wide set of stairs, “I had his scent, it was recent enough. But somebody interfered,” he added his steely blue searching out the wind rider.

Ororo Munroe blinked regally, her gaze sliding unconcerned to the shorter feral man, “I was merely trying to assist you Logan, it is not my fault if you cannot track someone properly.”

“You just wait a minute here Miss--”

“Logan!” shouted Jean quickly stepping between her two friends from her position beside Cyclops. “Name-calling won’t solve anything,” she said compellingly. Some days she was shocked that they could function as a combat team let alone be in charge of a group of young mutant’s lives. Waiting until she was sure Wolverine had wound down the telekinetic turned back to the professor expectantly.

“I was unable to locate him through Cerebro,” Xavier said expelling a loud breath of air, “which is why I had hoped you would be more successful,” he added a troubled expression etched on his face.

“So what now?” ventured Jean her cabernet locks slipping over her shoulder as she threaded her arm through Scott’s.

“Shield?” posed Cyclops wearing a frown that clearly stated the idea wasn’t favored.

“I doubt they would have any better luck than we have had,” stated Storm shrugging her shoulders minutely.

“Regardless Gambit was entrusted to our care, we must alert Fury and his people to his disappearance, though I have a feeling it will not be a pleasant conversation,” the professor replied stately. He wheeled away to place his call, now wishing he had lent more weight to Shield’s warnings. It just hadn’t seemed possible that the lanky teenager simmering with rage could have the mental or physical ability to elude his X-men. The eldest students left behind dispersed quickly, avoiding each other after a day spent hunting down a mutant teen whose only desire was to return home.

Drumming slender fingers against the steering wheel, chewing his bottom lip agitatedly, Gambit felt his muscles lose some of their tension as he passed the last sign, Airport 8 mi. The road remained within a relatively wooden area, protected from steep embankments on either side by a short metal guard. Given that, the airport was probably rather small but he’d take whatever flight that could take him the closest to New Orleans. Training dictated he should be lying low before returning home, a move his pursuers would immediately suspect. But his heart twisted painfully every time he thought of being away from home, he couldn’t bear to wait any longer.

Anxious at the prospect of returning home, the thief sped up again, barely touching eighty. When three men suddenly appeared on the road before him, the thief had to spin the wheel violently to avoid running them down. Brakes squealed in protest, throwing up clouds of smoke as the car performed a pulse-jumping circuit of spins.

With a loud crunch of smashing metal and crumpling plastic the Camero ended up with it’s backend against the road’s left rail, engine clicking unhealthily. The thief took a moment to rouse, he hadn’t worn his seatbelt and ended up smacking his head against the side window. He touched his temple cautiously surprised at the absence of blood. Taking a few deep breaths the auburn haired thief got out of the car slowly, raising his eyes skyward protected by the borrowed shades. Hovering near silently were the small gray personal-carriers of Shield.

Baring his teeth in anger, Remy’s eyes flattened dangerously behind the concealing shades, how had they found him? He was sure he’d lost the mismatched pair of mutants long ago. One dark-skinned officer remained aloft on his vehicle, content to keep the other carriers steady, intelligent enough not to land offering the able-bodied thief a more rapid getaway vehicle.

Figuring the sky-borne guard would stay out of the immediate fray, the auburn tressed teen refocused his attention on the officers that had dropped down spying them out of the rapidly clearing smoke. They stood silently in a straight line, seemingly willing to wait for his attention. A set of crimson eyes flared brightly recognizing one of the men as the former muscled-bound guard that had brought him to the Institute.

“Hey kid,” called an officer with closely shorn blonde hair, “Where’d you figure you were going?” he asked stifling a snicker. No response was given, though the teen’s hand twitched unconsciously in remembrance of the bo that belonged in it’s grip.

“Personally,” the familiar guard spoke, “I think it works out better this way. Win, win, you know? Xavier’s been after Fury to let you stay on a permanent basis since we brought you in. I think this little incident will prove the Institute isn’t a secure facility. I guess you’ll just have to spend some quality time at the Vault.”

The teen fought his instinctive snarl down, frustration mounting at being discovered once more. In his years of thieving he’d only been caught once, and that was by Jean Luc. In the two days following his father’s death, it had happened twice. But if Shield thought he’d lie down and accept their judgment complacently they were severely mistaken.

Reviewing several plans of attack the teen hesitated before implementing them, eyeing the unfamiliar gadgets two of the guards held. The soldier’s spokesman followed his gaze, “You don’t honestly think that Shield would go through all the headache of making a Guild member disappear and not keep him under surveillance? Government likes to keep track of theirpossessions…there’s a locater beacon in your collar genius,” he added with a sneer.

The other blue-uniformed officer opposite the young thief spoke, expression exasperated under his mop of brown hair, “Come on kid, you’re made. You know it, I know it. Why don’t we all just save each other the hassle and you come in quietly.”

Shield representatives contained their shock with the disheveled teen actually came forward, eyes lowered and hands held away from his body. The officer who had made the plea approached warily handcuffs in plain sight. There was no warning to the attack, simply a forlorn teen in scuffed jeans one moment and a barely recognizable blur of movement the next as the thief launched a compact roundhouse clipping the officer on the side of the head. This attack much more effective than it had been on Logan, guard reeling back nearly toppling before he recovered.

The teen kept a steady countenance he didn’t feel, watching the guards reevaluated him. The thief despaired at the thought of another delay but reveled in the opportunity to deal out punishment to those who’d been instrumental to his initial capture. Tilting his tilted his jaw pugnaciously in the universal ‘come here and get it’ gesture, the ragged teen awaited their advance. A day of dragging through the timber had left him with sore muscles and a short temper Remy was more than willing to share with Shield. The knowledge that they had been following him during his attempts at subterfuge only increased his level of irritation.

Determination banked higher the teen met the men coolly as they assumed a three point formation. The familiar muscle-bound guard stood just on his left, the brunette officer on his right and the sandy haired officer directly opposite. Aware Fury and the rumored other governmental agencies wanted the teenaged thief unharmed they hadn’t brought their blasters, though the temptation was strong. Bravado aside, they’d been handed a thick file on supposed Guild activities and weren’t looking forward to facing against one of their members hand to hand.

The three men approached in a coordinated rush, Remy allowed his former jailer to grab his shoulder in a bruising grip, using the opportunity to jab his left knee into the man’s solar plexus, stealing his wind. Rotating swiftly the teen landed a vicious hook to the man’s jaw. Not to be pushed aside so easily the heavy set officer went for another grab but the teen somersaulted neatly. He was on the ground but a moment before lashing out with a fluid side kick taking the man to the ground.

Catching a flicker of movement in the corner of a crimson hued eye the teen cursed the loss of his kinetic sense, almost missing the brown haired officer sneaking up behind him. Guard too close to the thief’s unprotected back the red head hooked his left leg out behind him for an effective leg sweep. Startled the officer hadn’t been able to counter, as he dropped a solid punch from the thief sunk into his adam’s apple.

Leaving the man gagging loudly on the middle of the road the thief moved on to his next target. This man kept his distance not wanting to make the same mistake as his partners and sidle up too close to the teen. The pair exchanged blows, the blonde guard only marginally taller he had a longer reach forcing the teen to try to break through his defenses rather than leave himself open for a dizzying attack by the mutant thief.

Engrossed in the more difficult target the teen was taken unaware his former jailer recovered grabbing a fistful of the red hair yanking him away from the blonde guard. Pulling the thief closer to his body was a mistake the officer was going to relive as the teen let himself slam into the guard throwing him off balance. Grabbing the officer’s ring finger the mutant thief yanked it backwards knowing it would loosen the painful grip in his hair. Before the snarling guard could regain his hold the teen seized the officer’s left hand running through a hip throw heaving the falling form on top of the last guard he had left hacking. Colliding on the asphalt the pair sprawled groaning and didn’t rise for retribution.

The blonde guard realizing he was alone changed tactics advancing suddenly attempting to snare the youth’s hand. The lithe form leapt gracefully overhead twisting acrobatically. Stunned at the height of the jump the guard tilted his head tracking it, spinning around he was met with a harsh kick to his gut. As the Shield officer curled instinctively the teen followed up with a forceful elbow strike to the back of the neck. Aim true he hit a nerve cluster, the man collapsing unceremoniously.

Surveying the damage from the attack, Remy had a moment to feel his nerves jangle in warning before he was brought down with a brutal kick to the knee. He rolled, coming up from the blow in a half crouch. The fourth guard had arrived. While all Shield officers were heavily trained, the last guard was the only one who’d had experience against a Guild member. That attribute unaccountably rare, they had left the dark-skinned guard as a reserve. A reserve which was quickly activated after the nearly effortless dispatch of the three member force.

Thief and officer, escapee and jailer they came together at the railing with a series of lightening blows and flashing kicks, each member a blur finding equal opponents. From his former height advantage the seasoned officer had seen the teen imperceptibly favoring his left leg and was exploiting it for all it was worth making sure his attacks either centered on that leg or forced the teen to hold his weight there for attacks.

Only recently joining the fray the guard was relatively fresh, while sweat was beading on the teen’s dirt streaked brow. That fact also worked against him, the thief had been able to settle into the battle rhythm while the guard was still warming up. Blocking a centimeter out of form the guard cursed roughly when a few body shots sailed through. Recognizing the sequence and not giving the teen time to press the advantage the seasoned officer feinted a high left punch, immediately chopping low with the other hand.

The red haired teen grunted sourly as his muscled abdomen absorbed the hit, receiving a taste of what he’d been dealing out. Realizing the teen’s center of gravity would be off the dark skinned guard tackled him. The extra weight on the narrow frame buckled the thief’s abused leg and their combined momentum drove them over the low railing. Toppling down the embankment they grappled savagely neither releasing their hold nor pausing as repeated impacts ripped away sunglasses revealing glittering red on black eyes.

A few desperately quick seconds of maneuvering and Remy was on the top when the pair came to an abrupt halt against a tree trunk. Each slammed into the unforgiving surface roughly but the teen had more to lose and refused to slow. Grasping the man’s uniform collar the teen violently thrashed the form against the thick trunk of the tree until he moved no more arms falling limply at his sides.

Breathing heavily the crimson eyed teen gathered his feet under him, balancing his weight precariously. He noted tiredly that his fight had outlasted the sun. Leaning his upper body against the tree he tried to keep his weight off his injured leg reaching down check the pulse of the fallen man. Just as he made contact his back arched sharply, jerking him away, muscles spasming erratically he swiftly joined his opponent on the turf.

Tremors streamed through the thief’s taunt frame as he gasped for air. He clawed at the inhibitor, a small part of his consciousness analyzing the shocks were originated from it. He tried regaining control over his body but it refused to respond. The pain of his leg was forgotten in his present agony, the lithe form bowing repeatedly now only wishing to not bite through his tongue. Lightening whips of pain lashed through him, robbing him of his senses, the usually fiery gaze dimming as the muscular guard approached.

The Shield officer watched the thief’s body contorting but waiting a few precious seconds before depressing a hidden stud on the tracker turning off the secondary function of the inhibiting collar. They had been advised not to use it on the teen something about disturbing his biokinetic anatomy, but after the last confrontation he didn’t think they could recapture slender thief without it. A brief verbal command and the officer’s carrier approached their location. Slinging both his fellow officer and the unconscious teen aboard, the carrier rose slowly vid screen crackling as it transmitted the image of a Shield dispatch officer,

“Have you got the thief?” the new officer questioned hurriedly, throwing a panicked glance to the displeased officials just behind, monitoring the feed.

“Yes Sir,” the officer replied, moving out of range so the silent form of the red headed teen was visible, “Where do I drop him off?”


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