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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 6

Cyclops glared angrily across the room at the two Shield officers stationed there, the gesture lost beneath his shades. He sat anxiously beside the toffee colored couch watching over Jean as she attended to the unconscious Gambit.

The ruffled thief had kept himself well occupied since his abrupt departure, torn jeans and formerly white shirt covered in a mixture of stains ranging from mud and grass to blood. A collection of scratches marred the young mutant’s face in a pattern that Cyclops knew resulted from a fight rather than the teen’s apparent flight through the woods. Concerned that the disheveled outfit hid further injuries Cyclops had called Jean to care for the thief as Shield appeared disinclined to do so.

Scott had been about to condemn the officers for the condition of the bruised thief, but after accessing the two officers had decided to remain silent. Their motions were stiff sporting significant facial bruising, though the blondes leaned more towards road rash while the muscular guard had a large swelling on his jaw developing into a brilliant purple. Jean dropped a damp cloth into the small plastic bowl with a gentle slopping sound drawing Scott’s attention from stoic officers. She waved her hand vaguely for another towel and Scott left for the kitchen to retrieve it.

Frowning delicately Jean blotted away the moisture on the thief’s brow, debating whether or not to place a bandage. Gambit had numerous scrapes visible through tears in his clothing but the wounds hadn’t required more than simple disinfection. His lower lip had been split partially and she patiently wiped away blood and grime revealing a handsome visage that appeared years younger after the grit had been removed despite reddish bristle tracing his jaw. Impossibly long eyelashes accentuated the thief’s striking features, emphasizing high cheekbones and a honeyed complexion.

Silky auburn locks obscured the mutant thief’s face and Jean tucked them aside gently finding the welt adorning the teen’s left temple. The telekinetic had held ice there for twenty minutes before the swelling had lowered to her liking. She ran her hand down sinewy appendages, green eyes sweeping the sleek tapered frame checking for injuries that she might have missed, noting when the teen shifted uncomfortably in his sleep. Returning gentle pressure to his right leg the thief groaned inaudible to anymore more than a foot away. Almost as if by its own accord her hand moved again, weaving loose fingers through the thief’s auburn mane, impressed at its softness even after his obvious exertion.

Reentering the room Cyclops placed a comforting hand on Jean’s shoulder and she jerked in surprise, yanking her hand away from the red haired teen, several strands coming with it. She stumbled away from the prone form, mind clearing measurably as she increased the distance.

“Jean, sweetie what’s wrong?” Scott asked gripping her elbow gently. She turned into him lightly keeping her voice low so the agents couldn’t overhear,

“I think Logan was right about him…there was something,” she took a short steadying breath, “I don’t know how to explain it. But--I felt things I shouldn’t have, he’s young and he’s been hurt…” she trailed off in confusion.

“Jean?” Cyclops asked more baffled than before. Jean bit her lower lip gently and reverted to telepathy, keeping the conversation short so Shield would be less likely to notice their abrupt cessation of speech.

“Scott, Gambit has some sort of mental power that’s I’ve never seen before. It’s low enough on the psionic range that I didn’t realize I was being affected until you interrupted.”

“Are you sure Jean? Shield didn’t say anything about psionic powers.”

“I know, but I felt it Scott, an urge to stay with him, protect him, maybe something else…”

She stepped out of Scott’s embrace, slowly reentering the zone of influence that she could barely make out with her own powers. Fear and curiosity battled observing the subtle nature in which the teen’s power presented itself. Either it was very low in power, or it was so powerful to have developed a way to hide its very existence.

Scott contemplated Jean’s revelations but concentrated on more corporal matters, concerned the thief was yet to waken. He cast another glance to Shield but they remained resolute, refusing to give any more information other than their initial report. They had apprehended Gambit and had received orders to return him to the Institute. Poorly disguised derision clearly stated that they did not agree with their superior’s orders.

Cyclops leaned over the young thief, “Gambit? Come on, wake up,” he urged squeezing the teen’s shoulder lightly when he failed to rouse. “You guys don’t happen to carry smelling salts do you?” asked a doubtful Cyclops, encompassing both Jean and the Shield officers in his questioning.

“Special Ops, don’t usually carry that around with us,” came his answer from Shield, and a small shake of the head from Jean, not in the habit for bringing them along, a telepathic tap being far more effective, though currently useless against the thief’s impressive mental blockades. It chaffed the X-Men’s leader that Shield had brought Gambit in, while the X-Men had failed. Of course had Shield mentioned the tracking device beforehand it would have made the search for the wayward teen much easier. Although from the bruises each side was displaying perhaps it would be better to let Shield handle it. He thought the russet haired thief had defended himself admirably despite what Cyclops believed to be two to one odds. Somehow the guards hadn’t mentioned that it had been four to one, and two of those men remained in the hospital, one with crushed vocal cords, and the other with severe head trauma that had lapsed into a short-term coma.

“Kitty?” spoke Cyclops raising his voice so it would carry out of the room. A muffled thud reached his ears, the spying student bumping her head against the door at the mention of her name. She stole guiltily around the door she had been using as cover,

“Um, yes Mr. Summers?” she replied nervously fighting the effort to wring her hands.

“Since you’re here, why don’t you go down to the lab and pick me up some smelling salts, east wall, left cabinet, third drawer down.”

“Oh yeah, sure Mr. Summers,” she replied hastily and phased out dropping through the floor hurriedly eager to escape a lecture. Glances were exchanged amongst the two agents at her departure, someone with her abilities would be useful in covert work.

“Don’t get any ideas,” Cyclops warned, “Kitty’s a good kid, has family, she stable,” he added pointedly. The lead agent held up his hands dismissively,

“Just considering for the future,” he replied unabashedly. Kitty arrived shortly after floating upwards through the floorboards,

“Here you go Mr. Summers,” said Kitty shyly depositing the vial into Cyclops’ waiting hand.

“Thanks Kitty, but you might want to go tell Jubilee that we’ll all have a discussion about eavesdropping tomorrow,” Kitty deflated slightly, eye’s darting between the lithe auburn haired figure sprawled on the couch, the Shield officers standing behind, and Scott’s stern countenance.

“Of...of course Mr. Summers,” she said nervously trekking out of the room. Leaning back over the thief Cyclops swallowed a sigh, unstoppering the vial he waved it under the teen’s nose. It wasn’t the most effective method certainly, but mutant’s reactions to medication varied so widely trying a stimulant was out of the question.

A brief cough and sputter announced the thief’s return to consciousness along with a blind lunge forward, rapidly swinging his legs down to the floor. Rocking backwards Cyclops would have fallen prey to the attack if it hadn’t bounced off Jean’s hastily constructed telekinetic shield. Only then did the teen’s unusual eyes snap open, crimson pupils pulsating against their coal backdrop.

Gliding to his feet the lanky and tousled thief distanced himself so he no longer stood directly between his two enemies. If the young mutant was surprised at being back at the Institute he hid it well.

“Gambit?” Scott tried again, but the penetrating gaze of the teen was directed solely at Shield. Cyclops was slightly irked at being dismissed as a secondary threat, but he knew that particular belief would help build a relationship with the thief later on.

An involuntary twitch cramped the thief’s neck jerking it sideways. Clenching his jaw the mutant teen straightened it painfully riding out the after-effects of the electrical shock he had received. Cyclops unaware of the secondary function of the inhibitor drew a puzzled expression and vied for the teen’s attention once more.

“Remy,” a singular use of the his given name and the auburn-haired thief’s head snapped to Cyclops’ own, eyes blistering, body set with tension. Standing smoothly Cyclops kept his hands in the open moving slowly, the teen following his movements.

“Professor Xavier is having a conference concerning your presence here at the Institute. You should probably attend,” Cyclops said in a steady voice that suggested it wasn’t compulsory. The thief’s glowing gaze swiveled between Shield and Cyclops for a moment, flicking over the unknown visage of Jean Grey expression carefully blank. Jean had a look of concentration in her features, but whatever she was attempting didn’t resolve in any recognizable response from the teen and she relented. Another twitch jolted the thief’s right hand and he strode after the departing Cyclops, Shield trailing at a distance.

Holding the door open Cyclops let the red haired thief walk past him into Xavier’s study. Gambit maintained a studiously neutral expression as he accounted for the presence of Charles Xavier behind his embellished mahogany desk and Fury’s position before it. Scanning the room passing over numerous bookcases and walls lined with in plaques, jaw muscles slackened at the sight of the third individual. Past the stone fireplace a man stood silhouetted against a large paned window, and the red-eyed teen felt his heart stutter at the familiar pose the man struck.

The slender form was wrapped in an ankle length bronze duster only just covering an unmistakable uniform of the New Orleans Guild Master. Auburn hair was neatly pulled back by a leather tong, hands clasped precisely behind him. A piece of ice made a slow passage through the young Cajun’s chest, Jean Luc?

Swiveling abruptly the figure came into full view, his trimmed mustache and hazel eyes meeting the desperate scarlet gaze. It was Henri, his brother. Blinking rapidly to shake away a childish illusion of finding his father alive the young thief stood his ground, unsure of Henri’s presence. It was a shock to see him assume his father’s colors so quickly, though as a Guild thief he understood the necessity of a quick succession.

The elder Cajun strode forward, throwing an indecipherable glance to the others. The men had obviously been conferring for some time, coffee cups littering the room. That detail only serving to further disorient the young thief, confronting enemies outright wasn’t Guild style. Attempting to dispel the escalating tension in the room Xavier and Fury made a few curt gestures dismissing their respective underlings. The door clicked softly signaling the departure of Scott and the two agents leaving four quiet figures behind.

“Y’ may speak,” Henri finally said directing his comment to his younger brother, remaining standing as neither of the two thieves took the proffered chairs. A small measure of strain left the mutant thief’s frame, glad to finally be able to dispel his induced silence.

“Henri pourquoi êtes-vous ici?” asked the thief, words pouring out rapidly.

“Y’ English rusty mon frere?” questioned Henri imperially. A few moments went by while Remy struggled to recomposed himself. He was bilingual, being able to speak both with relative ease, but he was having more problems comprehending his brother’s sudden appearance.

“Why y’ here Henri?” the young auburn tressed thief repeated, voice hitting a low register from unuse though retaining a soft and melodious quality that would be soothing in any other situation. With a cat’s ease Henri padded forward until he stood within a several paces of his brother, immediately gaining his undivided attention.

“We made a deal Remy,” he stated in a level tone, nodding toward the two seated figures. Crimson eyes swept across following the gesture before dismissing them once more worriedly focused on the unusually taunt form of his elder brother.

“What kind o’ deal?” the red-headed youth asked suspiciously, unconsciously sideling further away from Xavier and Fury. His brother wasn’t acting normally but he knew his own behavior had been erratic following Jean Luc’s death, Henri must be going through much of the same.

“Y’ found y’self in an uncomfortable situation, and I had t’ come up here and fix it.” The red-eyed gaze dipped momentarily aware his capture would leave a black mark on his Guild. Henri continued chastising his younger brother, “Dis is sometin’ de Guild won’t be able t’ get y’ out of, y’ have put y’rself in too deep. Too many people know ‘bout y’ now. So in de interests of all parties involved we made an agreement. Instead of de Vault like dey wanted de government has agreed t’ let y’ stay at dis Institute wit Xavier. In return f’ dat favor de Guild has promised no reprisals for interfering wit one of our members.”

“An’ why else would y’ be so generous monsieur?” Gambit challenged contemptuously acknowledging Fury with an arrogant tilt of his head.

Colonel Fury met the rampantly fizzling orbs of the teen with enforced professional calm. He didn’t like the situation that had been arranged either, but between what the New Orleans Guild had offered, what the agencies had been screaming for, and what Xavier was pushing, they’d come up with the best possible solution. “The government has decided rather than have you spend your formative years in jail, to involve you with a work release program. Your particular skill set will be utilized in concert with various governmental agencies reporting directly to Shield as I’ve been appointed to organize requests.”

“Y’ crazy if y’ t’ink I’m gonna work f’ y’,” the younger Cajun balked certain his brother nor the Guilds would stand for that arrangement.

“I was a part of dis decision, so dat makes it a Guild assignment as well,” interjected Henri overriding the younger thief’s protests. “Y’ will follow Fury as y’ would follow a Guild Master. If y’ don’t listen t’ his orders den I will see dat as directly disobeying Guild laws. An’ neither of us wants dat t’ happen vrai?” he finished raising an eyebrow knowingly.

The mutant teens lips twisted in a grimace, “Fine den Henri, but if dey only need me f’ jobs I don’ have t’ stay here!” he insisted.

“Actually y’ do,” Henri corrected, “when Jean Luc died most everytin’ went t’ either de Guild or me, including y’r legal guardianship.” Pulling a thin manila envelope from his duster he tossed it uncaringly onto Xavier’s desk. Three sets of eyes followed the arc and descent of the unmarked folder, though Henri’s gaze never left the visage of his younger brother, hazel eyes speculative, “Dose be y’ adoption papers Remy, Xavier already signed dem over. Meet y’ new poppa,” he added with an arch of his eyebrows.

The bewildered thief tore his gaze from the envelope, momentarily locking eyes with the electric blue of Xavier’s before facing his brother once more. Henri wasn’t pretending to go along with them, he was actually planning on leaving him with them. A shiver ran through the younger thief, why would his brother do this to him? Mind lurching sickeningly the teen latched onto a chair back as if it were the only thing keeping him from collapsing. All he could manage to stagger out was an incredulous, “Why Henri?”

“Y’ should consider y’self lucky Remy. If anyone else other dan Jean Luc’s own son had let him die, dey would have lost deir life in return. Dis ain’t dat bad o’ a deal Remy,” Henri said with a shallow shrug. “My orders til’ you hear otherwise is t’ work f’ Shield, least y’ only have t’ live here til your eighteen,” he taunted. The new Guild Master cast a sly glance at his adoptive brother as he moved about the room, “Perhaps y’ make good time of what y’ have here,” he replied offhandedly as his brother reeled.

“I have control of m’ powers,” Remy defended hastily after a beat of silence, picking up on the obvious allusion.

“Really den? Den why did y’ let pere get gunned down? And why didn’ y’ use y’r powers t’ get outta de ally when de po’lice came?” Henri questioned relentlessly expression hard and unforgiving.

“I was trying t’ save ‘em!” the teen forced out of a seizing throat, “I don’ know why I didn’ sense de bullets…” he trailed off brow furrowing in remembrance. Crimson pupils swept back and forth, drawn back into the memory, “Der was already a crowd, if I used m’ powers it woulda spooked dem more. Den dey woulda panicked, I didn’ want pere’s body t’ be trampled under dem.”

Hazel eyes flattened showing neither remorse nor forgiveness not accepting the excuse. “Remy y’r assignment stands,” he reiterated, “but when y’ done at dis Institute I don’t want y’ coming back t’ Nawlins.” The youth body wavered in confusion, unspoken objection cut off with a gesture, “Y’ still Guild, so y’ follow Guild orders, but I don’ want y’ in m’ city.” He continued in a cold voice devoid of emotion, “Y’ not New Orleans Guild comprenez? I’m formally banishing y’ from de New Orleans Guild. I don’ want y’ back. If y’ come into de city, de assassins will have deir way, I won’t send a single t’ief to protect y’.”

“Why y’ doin’ dis t’ me Henri?” asked a shaken seventeen year old, a nearly forgotten sense of abandonment welling up more pronounced than ever before. Banishment from his home Guild was everything. His friends, family, career, everything was tied into the New Orleans Guild. He had trusted them to protect him, stand by him, and instead they had betrayed him.

“Why?” Henri parroted as if the answer was a forgone conclusion, “Because it’s what y’ deserve,” he snarled circling the bowed form of the younger thief. He waited until wide crimson and ebony eyes met his own before continuing, face mere inches from the younger Cajun, closeness a mockery of affection. “It’s y’ fault Remy…” he said softly, placing a soft hand on his shoulder, “Y’ve failed… Y’ failed as a mutant. Y’ failed as a t’ief. An’ y’ failed as a son,” he finished in a sibilant whisper, watching expressive mutant eyes flare in response.

Stepping away brusquely Henri withdrew another envelope, this one slightly thicker than the last, tossing it uncaringly onto the cobalt upholstered chair his brother was using to prop himself up. The dispassionate tone made another appearance, “Dat’s everytin’ outta y’ room dat be important. Au revoir, Remy,” he said departing swiftly trench coat flaring behind him.

Seconds ticked on in silence, broken only by the two men’s breathing. Fury and Xavier exchanged shunted gazes, the young thief hadn’t moved since his brother’s parting words. Xavier had wanted to speak in the child’s defense, but hadn’t been allowed under the agreement with Henri LeBeau, letting him have uninterrupted time for his farewell. Charles began to regret that decision watching the thief’s bruised hands clutch tightly to the top of the chair, knuckles whiting.

A feeling of lightheadedness passed through Remy and he realized that he’d been holding his breath. He let it out unsteadily an outpouring of emotion joining it unwittingly. All shreds of self control fled, the russet haired teen couldn’t deny his emotions any longer, coming too quickly for him to push aside. Pain, betrayal, fear, and abandonment coiled together unmercifully, bursting with a mind shattering scream that only he could hear.

It felt like his chest had collapsed, he was breathing rapidly but couldn’t get any air. He lifted the chair he had been using and threw it across the room, clattering noisily against the gray stone of the fireplace. A fist slammed into the nearest wall with a dull thump leaving a small crater in its wake, he’d gone beyond the point of sane behavior. Henri had trapped him here more efficiently than any number of chains could have. Bound by loyalties to a Guild that didn’t want him.

He spun toward the two men, auburn locks swinging with the motion, body vibrating delicately under the tension, “I’ll stay ‘ere,” he forced out through his teeth, “but I ain’t wearing dis damn t’ing!” he shouted gesturing wildly to the inhibitor collar, eyes glittering hypnotically, jugular straining the young mutant flushed in high color voicing his demand.

The gray eye of Fury appraised the teen before him, realizing he wasn’t observing the accomplished thief Gambit, but an overwrought seventeen year old kid named Remy. The leader of Shield wasn’t impervious to emotion, but wasn’t about to return explosive powers to someone who’d just had their entire life dismantled before their eyes. The Colonel didn’t want to lose the additional feature of tracking the thief either should the Guild allegiances Henri LeBeau was so sure of didn’t prove enough to restrain the mutant thief. Noting the hesitation the distraught teen edged closer, “Y’ want Gambit t’ work f’ y’ non?” he snapped, “Well if he be wearin’ dis t’ing I can’t guarantee y’ results,” he threatened accent deepening in his distress.

Xavier gazed steadily at the frustrated youth but his words were for Fury, “Do it.”


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