Obligatory Disclaimer: <deep
breath> Okay. Rogue, Gambit, and the rest of the X-Men
belong, alas, to Marvel Comics. Rather astoundingly, I am
using them without permission. However, I am not making any
money off of this, so please don't sue me. The original concept
for this story belongs to Faith Barnett (who is also helping
me considerably by beta-reading), and I am using it with
permission. Any comments, constructive criticism, suggestions,
offers of large cash donations, etc. will be gratefully accepted
at Enyo@jps.net. Flames
may be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ratings-wise, I'd say this is a PG-13 for some occasional
language. Oh, and one quick continuity (ha, ha!) note:
in this story, Remy did not lead the Morlock Massacre because
1) this is a "What If?" scenario, 2) it was a horrific
nonsensical retcon in the first place, and 3) this is my story
and I can do whatever the heck I want. Thank you.
The tunnels were cold. Remy could feel the chill scornfully
slicing through his trenchcoat and body armor, caressing his
skin with silvery fingers. The rational part of his mind told
him that it was simply his empathic perceptions overlaying
the tunnels' psychic resonance with his physical senses. The
rest of his mind told that part to shut the hell up.
Senses on overdrive, he heard his nigh-soundless passage
through the swirling ankle-deep water like a roaring flood,
and was supremely conscious of the bo staff collapsed in his
trench pocket and the various dozen-odd cards and miscellaneous
weapons secreted throughout his body armor. Remy LeBeau didn't
need empathy to sense that this place was bad news, and the
sooner he got out, the better.
It was rather ironic, he thought wryly, that only a few months
earlier he'd been living it up on the party scene, making
good use of his inescapable good looks, incalculable wealth
and unbridled freedom. Yet as soon as he hooked up with the
X-Men, he found himself wading through sewers. He allowed
himself a tight grin. Dat's what you get, LeBeau, tryin'
t' be a hero.
Not that he'd stay much longer, not with that anal-retentive
Summers in command. He'd only stayed as long as he had as
a favor to Storm.
The empty tunnels mocked him hollowly, the close darkness
enfolding him in a seductive embrace. Be honest wit' yourself,
homme. It ain't all for her.
It had been a long time since he'd had...a friend. Since
he'd been exiled from the Thieves Guild, he'd been wandering
the globe, living hard and trying to convince himself that
he enjoyed it. Trying to convince himself that the Guild's
close familial ties and strong kinship had only held him back.
But in the still of the night, after the thrill of the heist
or the gambit or the conquest had died, he found that every
corner of his mind revealed only barren loneliness. And so
the small part of him that had not had its capacity for dreaming
stripped away was clinging to Storm's friendship like a lifeline.
He knew that it wouldn't last, but he just didn't care.
And so he found himself trudging through sewers at two o'clock
in the morning. He barked a quiet laugh. Story of my life.
When Storm had mentioned the Mutant Underground, he hadn't
realized she was speaking literally. It was an interesting
concept. In the course of his lifetime, he had traveled in
the same circles as many different underground associations,
several of which dabbled in the sort of quiet clandestine
terrorism that the MU specialized in. But he had yet to find
one that was completely run and operated by the second-class
victims. Groups like that were generally organized and financed
by the middle or upper-class, using the poor as the brute
force, easily expendable. This one was something new.
He wondered if that didn't play into the tension obviously
sizzling between the MU and the X-Men, something that had
to do with more than simply conflicting ideologies. Either
way, it meant that he, an impartial third party--never
t'ought you'd be dat, neh?--got to make the meeting.
He shifted a few weapons for easier access as his kinesthetic
spatial sense registered someone in the tunnels beyond. The
figure was stationary, presumably in the widening up ahead
where the meeting was scheduled to take place. He paused,
red eyes narrowing. The someone was not quite--human. He sensed
a powerful mind, female... But her touch was something new.
What little he could read didn't entirely reassure him. Her
mind was...for lack of a better word, contained. Not contained
like Scott's, all blinding resolution and adamantium morals,
but contained as in a Bengal tiger stuffed into a birdcage.
And yet she glowed with a radiance a non-psi was not supposed
Shit. This would be interesting.
A few minutes later, he stepped out into the open, not armed
but ready to be in a hairsbreadth time. A little light trickled
in through a grate in a corner, but even to him, it was dark.
He didn't bother to try and dampen the lurid glow of his eyes,
preferring optimal eyesight to the risk of spooking his contact.
He located her instantly, leaning up against the far wall
in the shadows. She didn't seem alarmed. Straightening, she
stepped towards him with silent ease. Her presence was...phosphorescent.
He felt his powers drawn to her, like a moth to a flame.
He blinked in surprise, hearing the unmistakable Southern
accent behind the terse word, shimmering blues and greens
in his mind's eye. He righted himself against the discordant
echoes of her steely presence, eyeing the figure in front
of him with covert interest. All he could make out was a slender,
"Oui, chere. An' you are...?"
"The Guardian," she answered shortly. The shimmering
energy field that was her aura quivered slightly in surprise,
though she gave no evidence of it. He saw her hand move, and
"Relax," she said, and he felt more than heard
a distinct note of amusement under the adamantium veneer,
windchimes on a summer day. "A CD." She held up
a square package, tossed it at him. He snagged it neatly and
felt the smooth circle through the plastic wrapping.
"Anyt'ing in particular I should know about it?"
he asked as it disappeared into his trench.
"Not really. Just deliver it to the X-Men." The
windchimes were gone, stilled by the dead weight of an oppressive
darkness. She turned to go.
"Why not deliver it yourself, chere?"
Her head swiveled, and he felt the steel bubble, sharp anger
crackling in reds and oranges. She heard the car the instant
before its headlights flashed through the grate, lancing bright-white
lasers that struck concrete and flesh impartially. He caught
a quick glimpse of vivid green eyes and striking beauty before
she whirled, and was gone into the empty silence of the shadowy
Remy closed his eyes, tracking her spatial signature as she
navigated the tunnels at an amazing rate before she, and her
presence, disappeared from his perception.
With a quiet sigh, he let out the breath he'd subconsciously
been holding. He felt ... energized.
Well. Dat was interesting.
With a familiar grin on his face, he turned and headed back
towards the surface.
Continued in Chapter
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