Disclaimer: The X-Men are <sob>
Marvel's, not mine. I'm using them without permission, getting
no money, yadda yadda yadda. Comments, suggestions, constructive
criticism, etc. will be welcomed at Enyo@jps.net
As the room dissolved into a writhing blackness, Remy amped
up his powers with a tight smile. What with his early MU reconnaissance
and hacking into Cerebro, he hadn't gotten more than two hours
of sleep before it was time for Scott's precious early-morning
practice. Still, much as he despised it, he was used to running
on little to no sleep, and he doubted the X-Men were better
Of course, since he was still officially a "guest,"
he was not required to attend the Danger Room sessions. But
with everything that had happened to him in the last few weeks
-- hell, in the last few hours -- he welcomed the chance
to settle back into comfortable, long-established instincts.
In the here and now, there was only the battle.
The scenario Scott had selected was to his liking; a dark
shadowy complex of boxes and barriers, with hushed rustlings
indicating enemies all around. To his right, Logan and Psylocke
looked equally pleased, melting instantly into the shadows.
Yet Remy sensed grim anxiousness from other teammates, whose
powers were perhaps not so compatible with the dark.
Storm apparently meant to remedy that. Rising on the still
air, she outstretched her hands and jagged lightening coalesced
into an incandescent ball. In a broad radius around her, the
room lightened to a normal level. Remy shook his head. Dat's
stupid, Stormy. Whoever or whatever their opponents were,
they would certainly go for her first. And if that light went
out, the X-Men in her vicinity would be left with little or
no night vision, making them extremely vulnerable to attack.
When he saw Jean take up a position directly below her, he
immediately felt exceedingly stupid. Even after several Danger
Room sessions, he still wasn't used to fighting -- or thinking
-- as a member of a team. It was difficult to overwrite years
of painful survivalist programming. Trust wasn't something
that came easily to him -- he was too much of a realist for
that. But maybe even baby steps were a start.
Mindfully eyeing the whispering darkness beyond the circle
of light, Remy inched backwards until he was back-to-back
with Jean. She was shielding, but her slight twitch as they
touched betrayed her surprise. Storm glanced down, and he
felt a wash of warmth/approval before her gaze flickered back
up towards their attackers. And then they came.
They weren't even human, this time, some sort of ugly-looking
alien construct. With large, bulbous heads and segmented bodies,
they resembled giant insects, Remy thought, as he let out
a barrage of cards at the first ranks. Almos' like Disneyland.
Not that the bugs were anything to laugh at. Out of the corner
of his eye, he monitored several advancing on Iceman with
preternatural speed. Bobby incased them in ice, but Remy could
see cracks appear almost instantly as they utilized tremendous
strength. A well-placed card sent bug guts and ice spray flying.
Bobby threw him a dirty look. Yeah, you're welcome.
But he had to admit there was something to be said for teamwork.
His cards, Storm's lighting bolts and Jean's TK combined to
nail most of the bugs at a distance, and Remy was sure that
many never even made it that far thanks to the covert actions
of Psylocke and Wolverine. Angel and Iceman waited for those
who made it to the pool of light, having discovered that Warren's
flachete made an acceptable substitution for Gambit's cards.
Beast mopped up extras, using his agility to counter for the
bugs' increased strength. All together, they were doing an
efficient job of dealing with the assault.
Cyke won't let dis last for long.
He felt the change instantly, a subtle increase in the bugs'
speed, a tightening of their ranks. Slowly but surely, more
and more got through the long-range net, besieging the trio
fighting hand-to-hand. Inexorably, the tide increased, and
after a moment, Remy pulled out his staff, fuchsia energy
crackling down its length. In a second, they were on him.
It was as he feared; their exoskeleton was too thick to let
his blows do any real permanent damage. Time to get dirty.
His next strike aimed for the nearest bug's eye, and its thin
scream whitened as he drove into its brain. Gotcha.
Spin and strike. Spin and strike. His world dissolved into
gleaming black pinpoints among a blur of dusky blue-gray.
But still they kept coming.
Behind him, he felt Jean go down, her powers the least suited
to the close fighting. With a deep breath, he vaulted backwards,
staff whirling, positioning himself over her body until she
managed to erect a telekinetic shield.
*Thank you, Remy,* she said in his mind, clear tones
thoughtful as she lifted herself into the air. *I'm afraid
hand-to-hand isn't my forté. Can you hold them off on your
*I doubt it.* he said wryly, neatly dispatching two
with a clean thrust. *I'll need some back-up.*
Still, it wasn't long before a bug caught him off-guard,
knocking him flat on his back with a grunt. He reacted quickly,
sending the creature sprawling with a forceful kick, but soon
found himself buried underneath a pile of clicking bugs, maws
gaping with salivation. Shit. He wondered how real
these things' bites would feel.
Suddenly, he felt his hair stand on end, and the pile abruptly
lightened as he saw the white-hot scorch of lightening strike
someplace dangerously close. Hastily, he shook off the few
remaining bugs, not wanting to test Ororo's accuracy. He saw
a shimmering, translucent globe solidify around him as he
scrambled to his feet, and thought a loud thanks to Jean.
As the shield winked out of existence, he felt an eddy of
air behind him and glimpsed Storm alighting next to him out
of the corner of his eye.
"Came down here t' fight like de rest of us, neh?"
he grinned as he felt her take up a position at his back.
"Shut up and fight, Gambit."
How long the intricate dance continued, Remy had no idea.
But abruptly, there were no more bugs. As the Danger Room
rematerialized, he grounded his staff with a metallic thunk,
watching Storm's globe dissolve with a crackle and reassuring
himself that he was still in one piece. Remy could see Bobby
on the floor in front of him, hand to his head, loudly proclaiming
the same thing to Hank, who was bent over him with a worried
expression. Jean landed alongside Warren, whose wings drooped
with exhaustion, red mottling on his right shoulder revealing
that he had not escaped unscathed. Psylocke appeared, faint
lines around her eyes revealing her strain, and Logan... Well,
Logan looked the same as ever, though he had somehow managed
to rip yet another uniform to shreds. Remy turned to Storm
to find her watching him with a knowing smile.
"Whatcha thinkin', Stormy?"
"Oh, I was just thinking that we might make a team player
of you yet." She smiled, watching his expression turn
somewhat sheepish in amusement. "And do not call me that."
"Good job, people." Cyclops' voice boomed over
the intercom. There was a palpable hesitation. "Take
the rest of the day off."
Bobby openly groaned at his tone, and there was some good-natured
grumbling as the X-Men began to limp out the door. The friendly
jibes were tossed around impartially, including Remy in the
circle of weary warmth. Tiredly, he soaked up their camaraderie,
ignoring the gentle smile of Storm at his side. Maybe it wouldn't
hurt to stay another day.
Continued in Chapter
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