This story features several characters
which are the property of Marvel Comics, and no money is being
made from their unauthorized use here. 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.
The week following Reine's arrival was a quiet one by the
standards of her hosts. Apart from a couple of routine reconnaissance
missions, the team had had no calls to duty, which meant that
she and Remy had a lot of time to themselves. Although, by
unspoken agreement, both kept certain periods in their respective
pasts private, both of them had willingly divulged some of
their secrets -- for the first time, in some cases.
The other X-Men gave the siblings plenty of space, recognizing
their need for time together, but that wasn't to say the two
were isolated from the team. Each member did their level best
to at least become acquainted with the new arrival. However,
although she was unfailingly friendly, she had a definite
habit of keeping to herself, much like her brother. Certain
other similarities came to light as well: the dry humour,
the cynicism, the charm, the self-confidence -- chutzpah,
really -- that Gambit was known for, were all present in his
Storm observed their developing relationship with a combination
of relief and happiness for her friend. She had always been
protective of Remy, and often worried about how his volatile
temper and impetuous nature frequently tended to land him
in more trouble than he could manage. Since Reine's appearance
on the scene, however, Ororo had noticed a subtle, but marked
change in Gambit. His temperament seemed to be more balanced,
his mood lighter. In no small part, this change was due to
his sister's presence, Storm thought. While no less mercurial
in temper, Riposte was far more calculating. Where Remy was
wont to act impulsively, Reine always seemed to weigh her
advantages before taking any course of action. Her brother
would take chances recklessly, but she thrived on the calculated
Ororo had made an extra effort to get to know her, and it
had paid off. With the exception of Remy himself, Storm was
the only one with whom Reine had been fairly open -- not that
she was willing to trust any of her secrets to anyone other
than her brother. The Windrider was pleased to note that Reine
shared all of Remy's best qualities, in addition to having
a calming effect on his psyche.
*Perhaps he has finally come to believe that he does
not have to face the world alone...I only pray the Goddess
that it is so...*
The change in Gambit's mood which Ororo had observed had
not gone unnoticed by the others -- especially Scott Summers.
As the week went by, he watched the twins with a growing degree
of wistfulness. Every time he saw the two of them together,
he found himself dealing with memories of his own brother
-- good and bad. He and Alex had always had their problems,
and even in the best of times, there had been a continuous
underlying tension between them. Granted, no one could have
predicted that Havok would turn coat, but deep down, Scott
still wondered if somehow, he was to blame for that. He shook
his head in thought.
*Jean's right -- with such a highly developed sense of guilt,
I should have been Catholic* he mused with a ghost of a smile.
Watching Gambit and Riposte, he couldn't help but feel a
little envious. They had barely known each other for a week,
and they had already attained a closeness which he and Alex
had never managed to achieve -- and never would. At the same
time, he was very pleased that his resident loose cannon was
finally starting to calm down a little. If only for the moderating
effect she appeared to have on Remy, Scott would have been
tempted to invite Reine to join the team -- had it not been
for her blatant disregard of any authority other then her
And the minor fact that she had no intention of giving up
her 'career'. She had made that abundantly clear some
nights previously. Scott remembered that after-dinner conversation
Beast had asked her if she had ever considered giving up
her life as a criminal, and judging from her response, he
had managed to push one of her buttons.
Leaning back in her chair, she had begun to speak in a patient,
kindly voice, somewhat like a teacher addressing a slow pupil.
"Criminal...? Let's put things in perspective, shall
we? First, what exactly is a criminal? According to
Webster's most recent edition, it is 'one who has been charged
with or convicted of an offense punishable by law' -- I don't
even meet the definition."
"If we go into semantics, we could argue all night --
you know what I meant," Hank smiled.
"Fine -- how about a simple comparison of 'offenses'...
If I were to empty out a bank tomorrow, what would I get out
of it?" Reine then paused for a moment before answering
her own question.
"Money, I believe, qualifies as something," McCoy
She waved her hand dismissively.
"Pieces of paper. Nothing. That's all money really is
-- since we are talking about a bank, though, I'll have to
qualify that: insured pieces of paper. So if I take
them, they will be replaced by substitute pieces of paper.
Still nothing. How can you possibly consider taking that
Her voice took on a chilled note as she continued.
"Now consider, if you will, the ordinary working citizen,
who may spend up to three hours a day, unpaid, commuting to
and from his job. Each weekday, the company he works for effectively
steals three hours from his life. Nobody considers that to
be a crime. Yet time is the only thing of value that
anyone really has in this world -- it cannot be replaced
-- and no one knows how much of it they have to play with.
Now I ask you: what has greater intrinsic value? Many pieces
of paper, or an hour of life? And, keeping that in mind, who
is the real criminal in our comparison?"
Neither Beast nor Scott had been able to find a rejoinder
to that, and Cyclops was still irritated whenever he thought
about that conversation -- especially when he recalled the
glow in Gambit's eyes, and his barely suppressed grin at his
sister's logic...he had been mentally filing her argument
away for future use, no doubt. He sighed.
*Guess that's one other thing they have in common -- they
both just love to rattle my cage. Too bad we can't convince
her to change...but I like what she's done for Remy...*
While each day involved a number of different activities
for the twins, one constant was Reine's morning workout. Often,
Logan would join her. As the Canadian had finally found a
sparring partner who could always keep him on his toes, he
was determined to take advantage of her presence while he
could. Despite her comparative youth, she was just as experienced
as he was -- she had trained in karate and other arts practically
since she was able to walk. To protect her identity, she was
close-lipped about the details of her martial experience,
but she had admitted that she held a rank of sixth dan --
and in Logan's opinion, it showed.a
Remy would occasionally join them, on those mornings when
he woke early enough. Despite the fact that he was generally
able to hold his own in their fights, Reine immediately set
about improving his skills.
"Your problem, brother of mine, is that you're an incredible
natural fighter," she had said.
"An' just how is dat a problem?"
"Simple -- you've got so much natural ability, you've
been able to get away with some sloppy techniques ... until
now, of course. You're a good fighter, Remy, but if you clean
it up, I don't think anyone will want a piece of you..."
In turn, Gambit began to help his sister work on her fencing.
She had been thoroughly trained in the classical school, but
Remy had a wealth of practical experience that no fencing
salle could offer. To their mutual satisfaction, as
he improved, she did.
They were gradually learning about one another, as the bond
between them grew and deepened. And on the eighth day of her
stay, they discovered the true strength of that bond.
It was a strength that no one could have foreseen.
The day began ordinarily enough, as Reine quietly padded
into Remy's bedroom with a loaded tray in hand. It was just
past ten in the morning -- early for Gambit, but not early
enough to annoy him.
Remy had surprised her with breakfast in bed the other morning
(she wasn't sure he had bothered going to sleep -- she had
left him watching a movie at 3:00 am), and she had decided
to return the favour.
Silently, she approached the bed in the darkened room. Her
twin was curled up on his side, nestled against his pillow
in the same way a small child cuddles up to a teddy bear.
Reine watched him for a moment, a tender smile playing across
*Dieu...I never would have thought I could care this much
for anyone other than me...Guess it's that family thing...now,
how to wake him up...*
She considered the problem briefly, then smiled. Focusing,
she gently touched his mind. Among the secrets they had shared
with one another was the existence of their complementary
mental abilities. While Remy was a low-level empath, Reine
was a telepath, with about the same degree of strength. For
both of them, their extra gift seemed unrelated to their mutant
power -- it was just there, and always had been, even
before their more powerful talent had asserted itself.
Remy was in the middle of a dream, and she waited patiently
until it was over before sending him a mental image. She made
it fuzzy at first, then slowly brought it into focus -- a
late period sunrise by Claude Monet, its pinks and mauves
and greys uniting in a blaze of tinted light. Art was a shared
passion of theirs, and Remy loved Monet.
# Réveille-toi, petit frère #1 she thought gently.
He stirred, smiling before he even awoke. Opening his eyes,
he yawned and stretched out his limbs before raising himself
to a sitting position.
"Now dat's a nice way t'wake up..."
"It was either that, or a bucket of icewater -- I'm
sure Bobby would have been only too happy to oblige..."
He looked at her warily.
"Y' not still mad 'bout ...?"
She grinned evilly.
"Payback will be mine, but when you least expect it
-- be afraid...be very afraid..."
"So...t'what do I owe de honour o' this little visit?"
"Le petit déjeuner, à la Rénee,"2 she
replied, placing the tray over his lap, and removing the lid
with a flourish.
"You better appreciate this -- I don't make soufflé
aux fine herbes for just anybody..."
Remy smiled broadly, and began to eat. In addition to the
soufflé, Reine had made croissants, sausage, and a large bowl
of café au lait. To top it all off, she had left an ashtray
and one of her best cigars on the platter.
"Mmm...I could get used to dis...," he sighed.
"Better not...besides wanting to do something nice for
my favorite and only brother, I also wanted to make sure you
were properly stoked before we go into the Danger Room today."
"Merde, je savais que j'avais oublié quelquechose...onze
heures et demi, n'est-ce pas?"3
"That's right -- once you finish eating, and enjoying
that smoke, you should have just enough time to shower and
get human before you meet me there," she stood, and rumpled
his hair playfully.
"Wouldn't want to disappoint Imperious Leader, now would
Remy returned her grin. Scott loathed being called
'Fearless Leader', but this new variation Reine had introduced
was almost enough to make him apoplectic. Needless to say,
most of the others had already adopted the term.
"Non, we wouldn' want that...I see you dere, Reine."
She smiled over her shoulder as she left the room.
Spinning on his heel, Remy turned and unleashed a barrage
of cards at the pursuing Sentinels while Reine dashed for
their goal -- the command center. Reaching the locked door,
she opened it in an eyeblink, and shouted encouragement to
her brother. Gambit broke off his attack and ran for the building
while Riposte used the security panel codes, reprogramming
the perimeter defenses to fire at their pursuers, and laid
down a covering bombardment of her own.
Cyclops watched their performance from the observation deck
with a critical eye. This was a difficult simulation, and
so far, they had done very well. Better, in fact, than he
had expected -- he had thought that Reine would just take
the hell-for-leather approach that Gambit seemed to live for,
but he had been wrong. Using the center's security against
itself had been nothing less than brilliant. Still, there
was half of the program to go, and anything could happen...
They had managed to find and retrieve their target -- a collection
of computer disks, which held the cure for the Legacy virus.
Quickly, they exited the building and moved toward the airfield,
dodging sniper fire.
"Something's wrong..." Riposte frowned.
"I know it...dis getaway is jus' too easy..."
At that instant, the ground rumbled as a score of Sentinels
emerged all around them from the underground hangar.
"So much for easy...get in close! Make them fire in
amongst themselves, and we can mop up the rest!"
Scott observed as they bobbed and weaved in among the feet
of the behemoths, using their explosive skills to good effect.
Their plan was working; enough of the robots were disabling
each other to give them a chance to escape. Finally, each
of them threw one final barrage, and they fled as one, sprinting
for the waiting aircraft.
Suddenly, they were knocked to the ground as a shower of
energy beams rained down from above, narrowly missing them.
Another five of the robots were closing in from the air, and
the ones on the ground that the twins hadn't completely destroyed
were on their way.
"We got t' run for it! Hurry!"
Reine scooped up a handful of rocks as she got up, as did
Gambit -- they were going to need a little more in the way
of firepower to cover their retreat, and the extra mass of
the stones would do the job. They were almost at the plane
when Reine caught a glancing shot from one of the Sentinels,
and rolled to the ground in a breakfall. She had sensed it
coming, and was just able to avoid the worst of it.
Remy rushed to her side, empathically probing for injuries.
She was all right, and mentally told him so. It was while
each was touching the other's mind that it happened.
The robots had surrounded the pair, and something deep within
them took over, as it recognized the threat...
There was an indescribable blur -- a flood of images of two
lives burst into their respective memories, flowing, uniting,
combining in the blink of an eye -- not two minds, now, but
...which defended itself immediately, instinctively -- and
The Sentinels were blasted back into oblivion, smashed into
very tiny pieces.
Continued in Chapter
a. For those readers who do not happen to train in a martial
art, dan is the term used to denote black belt level in Japanese.
There are ten different ranks, in order of one to ten. To
reach first dan (shodan), or first-degree black belt, usually
takes a minimum of three years training. Given the age I see
Remy and Reine at (mid-twenties), she would have at least
twenty years of martial experience under her belt, which would
be about right for a fourth or fifth dan. However, I'm giving
her an unusual degree of skill for her age.
b. If anyone out there remembers the "Battlestar Galactica"
TV series, 'Imperious Leader' is the term the Cylons (the
bad guys) used to refer to their overlord.
1. Wake up, little brother.
2. Breakfast, by Rénee.
3. Shit, I knew I had forgotten something...eleven thirty,
Special Note: Thanks go out to
Alara Rogers, who let me know that half-identical fraternal
twins are actually genetically possible. The instance I had
heard about involved the egg splitting after fertilization,
but she was kind enough to let me know that there was another
possibility, which gave me the result I wanted for my story
and was scientifically accurate. So let's hear it for Alara,
queen of former biology majors...:-)
"All warfare is based on deception."
-- Sun-Tzu, The Art of War
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