This story features several characters
which are the property of Marvel Comics, and no money is being
made from their use. The character of Reine, however, is my
creation, and if you use her without my permission,
regardless of whether or not cash is involved, I'll just have
to hunt you down and kill you...and like my Sensei, I don't
make threats, I make promises :-)
Walkin' down de streets near de club, I couldn' help but
feel like I had a target painted on my back. Even wit' Logan,
Rogue an' Jean nearby, I still felt de itch between my shoulder
I been hunted 'nough times before, but it's no feelin' you
ever get used to...
Logan was right wit' me, like it was de two of us out for
a night on de town. He had gotten de scent of our t'ief from
de stuff she had t'leave on the roof when I jumped her. Even
disguised, we'd know her when she showed. Jean was a bit furt'er
behind, pretendin' to window-shop, while she scanned aroun'
us for hostile thoughts. An' Rogue was followin' us from rooftop
t' rooftop, lookin' for anyt'ing unusual in crowd movements.
Not'ing out o' de ordinary had happened yet, but it was still
"So where to, Cajun? If we ain't getting any action
out here, might as well make it look good."
I had t'grin.
"Mebbe we try de same place I was at last night. I t'ink
you like it. And dere's dis girl, Tina - she a fine femme,
an' she keep tellin' me she like her men wit' a rough edge.
Dey don' come much rougher than you, mon ami...mebbe Gambit
set you up, neh?"
"Another one, eh? Don't know how you do it, Gumbo -
if you ever figure out how to bottle the stuff, you'll be
rich. Just remember, we got a job to do here. You gotta reel
our mark in, and I gotta make sure yer hide stays in one piece.
All we got to do is look believeable...and by the way, since
we're out here on your account, beer's on you."
"T'anks f' your support, Logan," I said sourly,
"it's jus' dis way..."
A couple hours later, Logan was still swillin' beer on my
tab. On account o' his healin' factor, he don't get drunk
like de rest of us. Since I had t'stay sober enough t'get
out o' trouble, I was jus' nursin' my third beer. Jeannie
was havin' coffee an' readin' a book in one of de booths,
while Rogue was watchin' outside.
I was startin' t'think de evening was a total loss...until
she walked in.
Blonde hair, violet eyes, tall - wit' legs you couldn' believe,
so dat you had to do a double take - an' wearin' a
skirt dat was made to show 'em off. I stopped m'self short
*Relax, pup...ain' like you never seen a woman before...*
Mebbe I didn' know where I stood with Rogue anymore, but
if she still cared, I didn' want t'get her mad either.
*Den again, just 'cause you already ordered, don' mean ya
can't look at de menu...*
And de menu was lookin' back at me.
Dat itch in de middle of my back came back wit' a vengeance.
She started walkin' our way, so I made like any homme when
he see one belle femme sizin' him up. Logan did de same, an'
said under his breath:
"Our mark's here all right. Got the scent, but I can't
isolate it from all these people yet...Gotta wait 'til she's
close enough to find out for sure."
De blonde made a beeline for our table, an' stopped in front
"Hi boys...I don't think I've ever seen you around here
before. I'm Lisa, and you are...?"
"Two o' de luckiest men in town, from de looks of t'ings,
chère," I said smoothly.
"De name's Remy...my friend 'ere is Logan. Care t'join
She smiled, an' sat between us.
"What'll you have, darlin'? Gumbo's footin' the bill
tonight - don't go easy on him."
Wolverine grinned when I glared at him, an' Lisa laughed.
"In that case, I'll go imported - Peche Morte Subite,
if they have it."
"Y'cruel, chère, but y'got taste," I smiled.
Belgian fruit-flavoured beers taste great an' pack a kick,
but dey be damn expensive. I was goin' t' get Logan for dis.
While he was givin' de order to our waitress, I thought to
#Well, chère? What's de verdict? Dis de one? De build's about
right, but we got t'figure she knows disguises...#
#I'm...not sure # Jean returned.
# Her thoughts aren't hostile per se...but she focused on
the two of you immediately, and she seems almost...amused...by
you both...I'll have to check with Logan #
In de meanwhile, Logan was playin' his part, chattin' Lisa
up. De first opening I got, I took over - it's easier t'hide
telepathic conversations if dey blend in wit' de verbal ones.
When Logan came back into de discussion by bettin' her he
could guess what scent she was wearin', I knew de answer 'fore
Jean could tell me.
# It's her. Be careful, Remy #
An' we were. Our plan was t'corner her outside, and dere
was no need t'make her suspicious by tryin' t'leave too early.
Meantime, de three of us were jus' like old pals - drinkin',
talkin', an' occasionally goin' up for a dance. 'Bout midnight
is when t'ings started to happen.
"I think the lease on my beer just ran out, boys - I'm
off for a cabinet meeting, but I'll be right back. When the
waitress comes by, tell her Courvoisier again..." Lisa
smiled as she headed for the Ladies'.
"B'tween you an' her, you goin' t' clean me out wit'
dis tab," I complained as soon as she was out of earshot.
"That's the least o' yer worries, pal. If the rest of
it goes as planned, it'll be worth it," Logan said, an'
drained his glass.
"I'll drink to dat," I muttered, an' raised mine
t' my lips, but Logan stopped me 'fore I could drink.
I didn' need t'ask why. Wolverine was sweatin', his face
was flushed, an' his voice was even gruffer dan usual.
"Give me a minute, and I'll be okay," he grimaced,
"go after her now, Gumbo!"
Jean was already ahead o'me, checkin' out de Ladies', when
# Nothing here...quick, try the alley - she's heading that
I went down de stairs at a dead run, an' out into de alley,
jus' in time t'see Rogue dive down in the distance, about
a block away.
Thinkin' dat was de end of it, I turned t'go back into de
I never even knew what hit me.
While Gambit pursued the blonde outside, Jean telepathically
updated Rogue and proceeded to check on Wolverine.
# I'll be fine, Red - watch his back! #
Jean was just heading down the stairwell when she lost mental
contact with Gambit.
Immediately, she leapt over the railing and dropped to the
ground floor, using her telekinesis to cushion her fall at
the last instant, and darted to the exit.
Entering the alley, she saw what appeared to be a bag lady
about fifty feet away, levering an unconscious Remy LeBeau
into the back seat of a car.
# Oh no you don't # she thought grimly.
With a telekinetic yank, Jean seized hold of Gambit, pulling
him to safety.
His would-be kidnapper leapt into the vehicle and drove off,
just as Rogue alighted, with the blonde in her capable hands.
She rushed to her teammates, dragging her captive along.
"Mah God, what happened? Is he all right?" she
Jean quickly psi-scanned him, and visibly relaxed.
"He'll be fine, apart from a headache when he comes
to. Logan seems to have recovered by now, as well."
Jean turned her gaze to Rogue's prisoner.
"What was it that you slipped into their drinks, by
the way?" she asked. Jean's tone was conversational,
but the coldness behind the words was enough to make Lisa
"Look, like I tried to tell Scarlett here, I don't know
what it was. All I know is this woman paid me to go up to
these two, make nice to them, and slip them a mickey. She
said it was payback, that's all."
"Is it?" a voice growled from the doorway.
Logan stalked into the alley, almost fully recovered.
"Pardon me if I don't believe you darlin'," he
snarled, "but that can't be all. I'm never wrong about
He popped a single claw and pointed it at the blonde as he
"So what else was it she gave ya?"
Lisa blanched, and replied quickly.
"Well, she gave me the outfit and some perfume, but
I thought it was because she knew what you liked - look, I
just thought it was part of the play, how could I know?"
"Jean, what's the verdict?"
"She's telling the truth, Logan," she sighed.
"Let her go, Rogue - there's nothing more to be had
As soon as Lisa found her captor's grip had relaxed, she
fled back into the club.
"That was too close," Jean stated.
"If I hadn't kept contact, the real kidnapper would
have Remy now."
Quickly, she recounted what she had seen of the ersatz bag-lady.
Rogue shook her head in chagrin.
"An' to think Ah was wastin' mah time with that...that
woman...while the real threat was right here all 'long..."
"Nothin' to do about it now, darlin'...we were up against
a pro. I shoulda known that setup was too easy, but the scent..."
"As you said, Logan, there's no point in discussing
it now. Let's just be thankful that he's all right, and get
Jean had barely finished speaking when Gambit began to stir.
"Quoi..?" he murmured confusedly.
Rogue picked him up as they moved toward their own transportation.
"It's okay, sugah...we'll explain on the way home."
I watched from a safe distance as they bundled him into their
car, and smiled broadly. It is incredibly satisfying when
all goes according to plan.
My script had played out beautifully. Everything had had
to be timed to the last moment, and it had worked. It was
a good thing for him that mayhem hadn't been on my mind, though.
From the time I knocked him out to the point the redhead had
appeared, I had had about forty-five seconds.
If I had been a different person, he would be dead by now.
I frowned at the thought.
No matter...I had what I wanted. I patted the small device
in my pocket, happily. They would have to look carefully,
and in just the right place to find the plant ... unlikely
that it would be discovered now.
I had a call to pay tonight.
On that thought, I turned off into the night, whistling a
Continued in Chapter
"All warfare is based on deception."
-- Sun-Tzu, The Art of War
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