Remy LeBeau turned over gingerly in his bunk, trying to find
a position tolerable to his aching muscles.
Three days after Nomi Sunrider had joined the group on their
Shi'ar vessel, repairs to the damaged ship were proceeding
nicely, but the amount of work to be done made for awfully
long days. However, Gambit's days stretched out even longer
than the others' did, as Nomi insisted on lessons both before
and after their daily repair detail.
As he shifted his body, a dull ache throbbed across his stomach,
making him inhale sharply.
* Merde *
He hadn't thought he was out of shape before he began his
training with the Jedi -- the only X-Man who could exceed
his physical endurance was Logan, whose healing factor obviously
skewed any sort of comparison between them. However, the unassuming
looking Jedi was running circles around him -- and making
it look easy, to boot. Nomi was riding him hard -- mind you,
she was just as hard on herself, not simply demonstrating
the techniques, but doing all of the exercises along with
him. When he questioned her about it, she had replied with
" I spent a long time existing by exercising my mind
-- and while it might be in great shape, I can't say the same
about my body. I'd like to at least have them on par ... and
besides, " she laughed, " misery loves company.
Not that it was all physical training; during that first
repair shift together, Nomi had elaborated on details of the
history and philosophy of the Jedi, as well as giving him
some meditative routines to practice. He hadn't much cared
for the idea, and perceptive as she was, she had picked up
on it ...
" I see the prospect of meditation doesn't exactly thrill
you ... is there a specific reason for that ? "
" It don' do anyt'ing, chère, " he had replied
" It's too much like jus' sittin' around, waitin' for
things t' solve themselves ... if I got a problem, I do somet'ing
about it, don' jus' sit and wait for it t' go away. "
" I see, " Nomi said thoughtfully.
" So, how do you go about solving a difficult problem
-- if you don't mind my asking ? "
" Depends ... sometimes y' jus' know what has t' be
done, so y' do it. Other times, when ya ain' sure what to
do, y' have t' consider your options. When I have a problem
like dat, first t'ing I do is usually find someplace quiet
t' think for a while ... "
" And the difference between that and meditation is
... ? " Nomi asked, with a small smile.
Remy had never really considered it in those terms, before
-- and in that light, he had to grudgingly admit that she
did have a point. What she said next surprised him a little,
" There is one, you know. When you just sit down to
think about your problems, you occasionally can get sidetracked
into brooding over your difficulties, rather than solving
them. When you meditate, you clear your mind -- you see things
from a calmer, more rational perspective. And any solutions
you do stumble across in that state of mind are more likely
to be viable. "
She paused briefly before she continued speaking.
* He'll have to confront his feelings sooner or later, and
the sooner the better -- any negative emotion he feels may
detract from his training. Master Thon gave me over a year
to recover from losing Andur, but if their suspicions about
that ship were true, I can't afford to wait. And neither can
" It can be especially difficult to meditate over problems
that concern people you love, " she said softly.
Gambit started at that, and looked at Nomi accusingly.
" Remy, " she sighed, " I told you I wouldn't
trespass in your mind, and I haven't. But I do have eyes,
ears, and a reasonably functional brain. It's quite clear
from your behaviour that you love Rogue -- and that you're
jealous. And that you haven't been dealing with your feelings
very well. I can certainly understand that ... it took a long,
long time for me to come to terms with Andur's death. But
eventually, I moved on. I had to. As you must. "
" Some t'ings y' never really get over, chère -- an'
she jus' a part of it. The rest actually be worse, "
he said bleakly.
" I know that. But whatever secret your past holds is
safe with me -- I trust you. "
At this, Gambit's eyes widened in surprise, then glowed with
cold fire as he looked at her, his expression carved of stone.
" And what makes y' think that be a wise t'ing to do,
chère ? " he asked dryly.
She met his gaze unfliching.
" Experience ... you believe yourself to be unworthy
either of trust or of friendship, because of some evil in
your past; yet you fail to realize that that very belief is
itself proof to the contrary, " she said bluntly.
Remy looked at her in stupefaction -- how did she know ?
She had said that she hadn't searched his mind, and he certainly
hadn't felt any intrusions into his consciousness ... but
her analysis was cutting very close to home.
Ignoring his surprise, Nomi continued her reply.
" You have recognized the evil you did, and have turned
away from it. My own Jedi Master taught me that it is not
enough simply to know the Light -- a Jedi must also be able
to perceive the Darkness, and the balance -- the tension --
existing between the two, both in himself and in the universe.
You would seem to be at least halfway to that realization
as it is, and you've started with the hard part. As such,
I have no doubts about you. If I had, I would not have offered
to teach you, let alone accepted you as a student. "
Gambit laughed bleakly.
" Wish I was as convinced as you are, chère. "
" You will be ... but you must first forgive yourself
-- and trust yourself -- before you can expect it of others.
You have perceived the Darkness within yourself -- now look
to the Light that exists there along with it. Recognize both,
and find the balance between them ... "
She put her hand on his shoulder, compelling him to meet
" Meditate on it ... don't brood. "
" I'll ... try, chère, " he had whispered.
Nomi shook her head in disagreement, and when she spoke again,
her voice was gentle, but stern.
" No, you won't, " she said decisively.
" When you battled the Phalanx, did you think that you
would 'try' to defeat them ? When you lived as a thief, did
you 'try' not to be caught ? "
" Non ... "
" I didn't think so ... a very important lesson, Remy
-- never think in terms of 'try'. Doing so sets you up for
failure. Ultimately, when you have a decision to make, a task
to perform, you do it ... or you do not. There is no
She paused briefly.
" Meditate on that. "
Gambit had actually managed a grin when he answered her.
" I'll do that, chère. "
And he had -- and as much as he was loath to admit it at
first, Nomi had been right. He still didn't have any brilliant
solutions to his dilemma -- he still didn't know what he was
going to tell Rogue, if anything at all -- but he felt better.
Maybe this was the new start he had been searching for ...
Certainly that wasn't all he was getting out of his training,
though -- the daily discovery of his new powers was always
a surprise to him. His mutant abilities were rather static
in comparison -- as powerful as they were, he knew that his
biology limited them in the end. His kinetic charge, for example,
could be used in a variety of ways -- but ultimately, charging
inorganic material with kinetic energy was all it allowed
him to do.
One of the first things Nomi had taught him was that the
Force had no such limits -- if you knew what you were about,
you could literally use it to do just about anything: move
objects, communicate, fight, even heal. It was malleable,
adaptive -- alive, in a very real sense. And more often than
not, it would surprise you.
He smiled in the darkness, remembering the first time it
had done just that ...
Long into his repair shift, he had been wrestling with a
component part of the command board, and needed a micro-tester
to check the circuit. Unfortunately, he had left it clear
across the bay where he was working, and he was far too exhausted
to even think about moving to get it. It was the last repair
he had intended to make before calling it a day. Annoyed,
he swore quietly to himself.
* Merde, how could y' be so stupid ? Y' knew you were goin'
to need it ... *
He thought about how he had simply left the instrument after
he had used it last. He knew every detail of the delicate
tool, down to the small nick in the handle ... he could even
recall precisely how it fit into his hand -- which was where
he wanted it, NOW ...
Then he was startled to feel a familiar weight press into
his open palm. His fingers closed in reflex, and then he realized
what he was holding -- the very tool which moments before
was lying over fifty meters away. He couldn't believe it --
he hadn't even tried! But then, Nomi had said 'not trying'
was the key ...
There was so much that he was learning -- and there would
be more tomorrow.
* Mebbe she teach me some o' dat healin' * he thought, grimacing
as he shifted position in his bunk.
* Merde, but I could use it now ... *
He had made a practice of reviewing the day's lessons before
he went to bed. Since there was almost always some degree
of meditation involved with them, he had found that doing
so helped him to get to sleep -- and his rest was much less
disturbed by nightmares.
Today, he had learned the basics of communicating through
the Force, as well as how to detect another person with the
talent to use it.
Remy let his mind drift, feeling out the tendrils of Force
all around him. It was almost like swimming in the ocean,
feeling the ebb and flow of the waves. Immediately, he felt
his teacher's presence, although she was asleep.
# Remy ? What is it ? # her mental voice yawned.
# Sorry, chère. Didn' mean t' wake ya -- but I guess I got
the day's lesson down, neh ? #
He felt her smile.
# Oh, that's all right ... though given the circumstances,
I'm not that hard to find. Try searching deeper, along the
more distant currents, and see how you fare. Don't overexert
yourself, though -- tomorrow, I want to start you on the 'saber
in earnest. Good night, Remy #
# G' night #
He turned back to his efforts, scanning along one distant
trail that he felt drawn to, for some reason. He had no luck,
and had just decided to get to sleep when he felt it.
A distant voice -- a child.
# Hullo ? #
Remy's eyes snapped open.
# Hello ? Who is dis ? # he sent cautiously.
# You called me -- d' you mean you don't know ? # the --
boy ? -- asked curiously.
# Sorry, petit -- didn' mean to, but I'm kind o' new at this
# Remy thought back wonderingly.
# Are you one of Unca Luke's students ? #
There was no mistaking the excitement behind the boy's question
# Non, I'm not ... #
# Oh #
... or the disappointment following his answer.
# What does 'petit' mean ? What's your name ? Mine's Anakin
* Surprised me again ...like de lady said, 'never underestimate
the Force' *
# My name's Remy -- and 'petit' means 'little one' in French
# Am not little ! # Anakin answered indignantly.
Remy apologized, noting that, judging from that reaction,
his new friend was probably about five or six years old. He
talked with the child for a short time, before realizing how
tired he really was.
# Time f' me to go, mon ami -- got to get me some sleep,
or Nomi be havin' my a- ... I mean m' hide, at trainin' tomorrow
# Okay -- but what does 'mon ami' mean ? #
# It be French for 'my friend' #
# So I can be your friend ? #
# Y' sure can # Remy smiled.
# Thanks! Will you talk to me tomorrow too ? #
# I can' promise dat, but I'll try -- 'kay ? #
# Okay ... good night, Remy #
# G'night, Anakin #
Remy lay back in his bunk, dumbfounded, amused, and elated
all at once, and wondering if he should inform his Jedi Mistress
of his success.
* Den again -- Anakin's jus' a pup, an' Nomi's asleep. It
c'n wait *
On that thought, Gambit carefully turned over, and almost
immediately fell asleep.
Continued in Chapter
Note: Okay, okay -- I didn't mean
to have the current Star Wars universe ( which is where Anakin
Solo -- youngest of Han and Leia -- belongs ) come into this,
it just did. I hope it works as well as I think it does. And
since it isn't in the general disclaimer, Anakin belongs to
whoever created him. I sure didn't. But if you don't
know that I have no claim whatsoever on Han Solo, Leia Organa,
Luke Skywalker, et al, you have been living under a rock for
over twenty years. They are property of George Lucas, and
I am certainly not profiting from their use.
" To win one hundred victories of one
hundred battles is not the acme of skill: to subdue the enemy
without fighting is the acme of skill. " -- Sun-Tzu,
The Art of War
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