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the New Orlean's Theives and Assassin's Guilds, and all other
recognizable characters are copyright to Marvel Entertainment
Group. This work of FanFiction is not meant to impinge on
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Copyright: This work of FanFiction is the intellectual
property of K-NICE and her IRL persona. No copying, distributing
or editing of this material is permitted without the express
permission of the creator, K-Nice, under United States copyright
From Nevada to Oregon to Washington, they avoided the interstate
and hugged minor highways. After a short pause to ditch the
trailer just outside of Reno, the small cadre of professionals
moved on toward Seattle in the large green truck. Buck-Buck
apparently liked Country music. And not just any country music,
but Merle Haggert and Hank Williams in their prime, according
to his tape and CD collection. The radio presets indicated
he believed the more the twang the better. At least one slide
guitar solo per song was a minimum requirement before something
could be considered music.
Excepting, of course, his secret vice. Remy lightly pounded
his head into the side of the cab as Rogue sang along to the
29th rendition of "Hit Me Baby One More Time" by
Britney Spears. Remy was tempted to oblige her.
When Gambit and Rogue caught up with Raven and Irene for
a second time, Raven had sent them straight to the back seat.
It had been a little disconcerting to hear that Minnesota
twang coming from what he knew was Mystique somewhere inside
the 6' plus blond. She refused to let him drive, even if the
shift didn't keep her from looking like a rung out sponge.
He didn't have a CDL license and Rogue couldn't absorb Buck's
skills from her mother, so Raven was stuck at the wheel.
When the CD began to cycle again, Rogue finally protested.
"Momma, doesn't he have any Patsy Cline?"
Raven weighed her overwhelming hatred of Country music with
her inborn antipathy for teeny-boppers. "Fine."
Remy smiled as the first strains of "Crazy" wafted
back from the front of the cab. Rogue rose from the floor
to stretch. She sat on the bench/bed, sliding to the far end
away from Remy. Putting her feet up and resting her head back
against the wall, she looked at his lanky body through lash
"So, what's in Seattle?" She watched him watch
her, captivated by his eyes.
He swung his body around so he could face her. "I've
got a place out there."
"Oh." Rogue couldn't think of anything else to
say, so they sat in silence as they trucked around Salem.
It was late afternoon, but their nocturnal excursion had left
them far too wired to sleep. As the day progressed, however,
exhaustion set in. Rogue watched Irene drift off to sleep
and contemplated offering her the bed to lie down on. She
looked so peaceful, however, that Rogue resisted the urge
to wake her, even for the sake of a more comfortable resting
place. Rogue watched the road slide under the hood, her mind
falling asleep as the driving lulled her. How her mother was
managing to stay awake was beyond her, until she heard the
grating strains of "Stand by Your Man" belting out
from the speakers. Rogue was snapped back into awareness when
they passed the sign welcoming them to Washington State.
Her mind went right back to her last conscious thoughts and
she started the conversation anew, as if it had just ended.
"I thought you were from New Orleans?" She might
have been sleepy, but Raven had breed suspicion into her bones.
Remy stiffened by a fraction, then drew his body into a knot,
pressing his back against the wall. "I was from N'awlins.
But not no more." He was quiet for several seconds and
then he whispered, "I'm not from anywhere anymore."
They retreated back into silence, letting the minutes and
miles slip by as they wrapped themselves in thoughts of family
and home. Raven watched them through the truck's rear view,
plowing up the highway with a satisfied smile on her face
and a worry-filled gleam in her eye.
Darkness came again, ushering them into the metro Seattle
area. Raiding another truck stop yielded an innocuous looking
Mercury Topaz. Rogue was too exhausted to hide the truck,
so Remy stripped the plates and filed the serial numbers off
the engine. It wasn't perfect, but it was a fair delaying
tactic. They had no choice--they couldn't drive the truck
through downtown Seattle--so they had to make do.
Remy took the wheel, sliding though evening traffic with
a drowsy ease. As they passed the business district and began
to enter a lower class neighborhood, Irene's concerns grew.
She leaned forward into the front passenger seat, and spoke
to the now female shapeshifter in an undertone. "I don't
know Raven, Can we take a car like this into this boy's neighborhood?"
"Don' worra 'bout it. The RowDogs will probably steal
it before we turn the engine off." Remy managed to turn
full around and keep the car in the proper lane. He did get
rather cozy with a parked car, but he turned his head back
before disaster had a chance to strike.
Irene's eyes were as blank as they were blind, yet she raised
them to stare unfocused in the direction of his voice. "Ah,
and this is a good thing?" Raven raised her heavy head
to watch the exchange. Irene was upset, which was understandable
with the events of the past few hours bearing down on them,
but it was not prudent to take that discomfort out on the
hired help, especially when he was all that stood between
them and being hauled back to the Center by talking, walking
Eyes on the road as he made a sharp turn, Remy smiled into
the rearview mirror. "Sure. No evidence."
Rogue giggled, her humor heightened by two days without any
rest. "I take it you've done this before." Remy
just smiled and waggled his eyebrows.
They come to a stop in front a dilapidated building that
screamed crack house. Raven wished fervently for a gun or
even the strength for hand to hand combat.
Remy got out, moving with the lazy assurance of some suburbanite
pulling into their cul-de-sac and walking up their driveway.
He didn't hesitate, didn't look back, so the Sisterhood had
little choice than to follow him down the alley beside the
Forming the other side of the alley was another apparently
abandoned building. The facade had been boarded up from the
first to the fifth floor. Raven was thus surprised at the
intact steel door Remy lead them to.
Taking a key from around his neck, Remy unlocked the door.
Rogue looked up and down the alley as he cracked the door
about a quarter inch and disabled the booby trapped alarm
from the hinge. "Nice security system." It was nearly
fool-proof, since it was nearly impossible not to trip an
alarm with that small a window of oppurtunity.
"Thanks. We had some trouble with junkies trying the
door. One of 'em got all the way upstairs." Remy shivered
as if chilled by the cool Seattle night.
Raven stopped just inside the entry way. "Who's 'we'?"
Remy was working on another booby trap, this one on the first
stair leading to the upper floors. He turned his head, a confused
look dominating his features. "Huh?"
"Never mind." It was hard to imagine that 'we'
wasn't whoever the dirty thief planned to sell them out too.
It was even harder to figure out what to do about paying him
if he had back up. If he wasn't alone, Raven needed to rethink
her plans. And she would, just as soon as she got some real
They trudged up three flights of stairs, exhaustion making
their feet lead. Remy hushed them as they reached the fourth
floor. It wasn't really necessary, since the only conversation
going on was between Raven's eyes and the back of his head.
"Yo, 'Ro?" He stood perfectly still, his arms slightly
raised away from his body.
"Hey, come on up." The disembodied voice was definitely
female but beyond that, Raven could only discern a complete
blasť. A completely crafted and utterly false blasť.
Remy waited until he heard five of the six locks clicking
off. Taking a key from his boot, he unlocked the last and
stood back for several seconds. He then approached again,
opening the door and walking through with the Sisterhood right
behind him. He felt a rush of air and a strangled yelp. Not
even looking back, he faced his partner. "'Ro, its cool.
They're with me." He ambled into the kitchen and headed
straight for the fridge.
Raven couldn't move and from the struggling pants of her
daughter, she could tell Rogue was also incapacitated. This
was exactly what she was concerned about. The thief had friends
and they were nasty.
Actually, so far "they" was a tall, slim black
woman with shock white hair in a spiky pixie cut. She was
also carrying semi-automatic weapon. Raven watched as Remy
nonchalantly pulled a beer from the refrigerator and leaned
against the kitchen table. He flicked the top off, sending
it into the sink with a shower of pink sparks, tilted the
bottle to his mouth and took a long drag while his partner
placed the barrel of her gun at the exact center of Raven's
"I can see that, Remy, but who are they?" That
same cultivated indifference that Raven had discerned from
the hall. Raven's eyes were the only thing mobile on her body
and she couldn't see what form of energy was being used to
bind them. However, it was strong and unforgiving.
"This is Rogue." The words were hardly out of his
mouth and Raven felt her bonds disappear. "That's Destiny."
The gun shifted. "And this is Mystique, the contractor."
She removed the gun from Raven's brow and let it go. Raven
fought the urge to jump for it as it floated back to nestle
under the kitchen sink.
Ro obviously recognized the names of the Sisterhood of Mutants,
especially after helping Remy prepare for the job. Even with
the cease-fire, however, the woman seemed dubious. "Welcome.
Pull up a pillow."
Remy seemed a bit guilty as he asked, "You still sleeping?"
"No, I was up. Working some things out." The door
closed behind Irene with a whoosh of air.
Unable to contain her curiosity, Raven hazard a guess. "TK?"
"Wind. I'm Ororo. Around the business, they call me
the Egyptian Storm." Darting a good-natured glance at
her partner, she smiled, the first honest emotion Raven witnessed
in her. "Only fools call me Stormy." A stiff breeze
buffeted Remy briefly and abated.
"Whatevah." Remy grinned and Raven could almost
feel Rogue deflate behind her. "You workin' tonight,
Stormy?" Remy rose from his lean, still nursing the bottle
and drew them into the living room.
Remy noted his free weights scattered across the floor in
front of the television, which was playing cable radio, and
Ro's track pants and sports bra. She ran every morning and
worked out three times a week, but a late evening set was
usually a salve for bad dreams or worries she was not prepared
to acknowledge. Remy wished for once that their demons would
take a back seat and let them finish a job in peace.
"No, just . . . thinking." Ro grabbed up the lighter
weights and helped Remy put them away.
Raven took their occupation with mundane tidying up as a
chance to survey her surroundings. The living was large, much
too large for a tenement building, but as Rogue guided Irene
over an uneven spot on the floor , Raven noticed where a wall
or three had been knocked down. The resulting space was large
enough to house a South Hampton aerobics class, certainly
enough for two renegade thieves to work in. There were several
doors off the main room, and Raven deduced that the majority
of the fourth floor had to be accessible from inside the apartment.
It was actually a smart set-up, much more than she had been
"You girls are about my size. I have some things in
there you might fit." Ro pointed to one of the doors,
a clear indication that she wanted them out of sight and hearing
range. Raven complied with only a few comments under her breath,
more eager than she would admit to get out of her prison uniform.
Left alone in the living area, Remy was quick to grab Ro
up in a hug. "Missed you. Everything alright here?"
"Yeah. The kid's inside, chatting or something. She
actually ate dinner tonight, so that's a plus. So, how'd the
job go?" Ro darted a glance at the store room door. The
contract would certainly be able to find something to wear.
It was basically a walk-in closet, with enough clothes to
outfit, say, an entire Thieves Guild. Remy's father might
have banished him, but he didn't abandon him. Ro herself was
three days late with her Cairo Guild tithe. Remy had promised
her part of his cut if she baby-sat.
"It was alright. You probably could have done it. Except
for the crawling through tight spaces and spending 23 hours
in the cab of a truck." Remy smiled as he peeled off
his kevlar body armor, stacking it neatly next to two other
sets of work clothes. "Come to think of it, nah, you
couldn't have cut it." He ducked her fist, but lost his
balance on a hard wind. He rolled into a dive, but instead
of coming up with spikes blazing fuchsia, he remained on the
floor, too worn for impromptu sparring.
Ro backed off after catching the stiffness of his movements.
"Anyway, so where's your coat?" As much as she hated
it, that trench coat was Remy's constant companion.
Remy hung his head a smiled wryly. "Um, somewhere in
the Nevada desert."
A few quick footsteps and Remy was thrown on his back by
110 pounds of female fury. "Ou est mon laptop?"
"Avec mon pelage." Remy covered his face as he
was hissy-fitted by the fourteen year old technophile.
"I know dat. It went dead yesterday. I cain't believe
you left my compy! Dat was de only one I had. Je te deteste!"
Alex LeBeau lit into her brother, heedless of his exhausted
state. She was used to his not fighting back: he never hit
her, except during training, but that was different.
"Ro, come on, help me out here." Remy put a hand
out toward his roommate. With Raven, Irene and Rogue in the
other room, he didn't need to deal with a domestic dispute.
"She's your problem, Remy." Belying her protest,
Ro set a warning thundercrack into motion. "Alex, leave
your brother alone. With the money off this job, he can buy
you three or four more laptops, right Remy?"
"Sure, Lex, don't worry about it. And I made sure to
trash the hard drive, so even if they find it, they won't
get anything from it." Freed from her weight, he gingerly
lifted himself up. She was muscular and strong, and she knew
how to hit, so she must have been pulling her punches because
he was feeling no pain. Unless, of course, he was past the
point of registering pain.
Remy knew he had Alex to thank for even the minimal support
his father was offering by letting them live in a Guild safehouse.
When he had picked her up at the bus station eight months
ago, she had claimed she was running away from home, but even
then he had wondered how she found him. Even now, he wondered
if his father had sent her to keep an eye on him. It was a
somewhat unnerving, somewhat comforting thought.
With those thoughts on his mind, he ignored the instincts
that told him to get his money and get rid of the Sisterhood.
He had no reason to trust them, and every reason to protect
Ro and Lex, no matter how tough they each were. At the same
time, he couldn't abandon Raven and the rest when they were
unable to defend themselves.
Ro watched Alex drift over to the TV. Like the brat she was,
Lex hadn't even apologized. Ro hid her scorn behind a calm
facade and gathered her 22 years, three months and ten days'
experience (which put her 1 year, ten months and seventeen
days ahead of her partner) and asked, "So, when exactly
are you getting paid? The job's done, right?"
"It's done. I just . . . well, look at them. They've
been through a ringer in the last day and that place was definitely
bad news. A few hours to rest up and they're on their own,"
he swore to her as she watched him skeptically.
The closet door opened and Raven and Irene walked out, dressed
in sweats and holding their prison uniforms. Rogue, on the
other hand, had found a baby-doll pajama set. Smirking at
Remy's dropped jaw, Ro went to lead them to the spare bedrooms.
"There's plenty of room, so don't be shy." She looked
at Rogue, who seemed to take it as a challenge.
"Well, thank you. I'll keep that in mind." Rogue
narrowed her eyes briefly. For that brief moment, ozone seemed
to burn the room with tension.
Remy found his voice at the thought of an angry Ro. "I'm
going to bed. See you in the morning." He slunk to his
own door and made it to his bed before he got his boots or
Rogue took an eyeful of his departing back, turning a catty
expression on Ro's cat-blue eyes. Then she remembered who's
hospitality she was prevailing on for the clothes on her back.
"Um, so where do you want us to sleep?"
The tension abated immediately between the two young women,
but Irene was not so easily put at peace. "Yes, young
lady, we'll need three separate rooms."
Ro shrugged, not noticing the anger that shimmered between
two of her unexpected house-guests. Raven watched Irene select
a room and vowed to find out what was going on. In the morning.
Continued in Chapter
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