The following 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.
After what had seemed like an interminable amount of time
in the medlab, Hank finally discharged his unruly patients.
In fact, Remy and Reine were there only for three days after
the events in the Danger Room, but to them, it had seemed
like forever -- especially Remy. On the first day, he had
threatened to blast his way out, and he hadn't meant it facetiously.
Even though he knew perfectly well that he was safe and among
friends, he could never shake his unease about being in the
place. As a result of their memory-sharing, Reine knew the
exact cause of her brother's tension, and did her best to
distract him from his memories. Indeed, had it not been for
her diversions, Remy might well have made good on his threat.
Relieved as they both were to be out of the infirmary, they
knew their discharge was far from the end of the matter. First,
the secret was out about their psi talents; second, they had
their joint power to deal with. Both remembered the merging
with a mixture of fear and awe -- the onrush of power, suddenly
able to hear and feel the thoughts and emotions of thousands;
how light the Sentinels had felt when casually swatted
aside with a telekinetic 'arm', using a kinetically charged
'fist' at the end of it to finish them off. The strength of
it had been incredible -- and frightening.
Remy and Reine were fully aware of what the possible outcome
of losing control of their kinetic powers could be. Just considering
the potential aftermath of an uncontrolled reaction with their
combined power was enough to make their blood run cold. They
were going to need help -- both to learn how it worked, and
how to control it. Although they were loath to admit it openly,
Remy and Reine both realized their need for assistance, and
accepted it. So they were unsurprised to find Jean waiting
for them almost as soon as they exited the medlab.
Unhappy, but unsurprised -- each twin had the same thought.
# I heard that #
"We're sorry Jean -- but right now, I don' t'ink either
of us want t' think about what happened, or to talk 'bout
what happened -- yet again -- f' at least a little
"Damn straight," Reine sighed.
"Come on, Jean, cut us a little slack -- please?"
Jean looked at them sympathetically, but there was no give
in her reply.
"I'm sorry, but you both know how important it is to
get a hold of your new abilities, especially when we're dealing
with that kind of raw power."
The twins groaned in unison.
" Jean, please, we're not asking for much -- how about
two hours? Damn it, give us two bloody hours, just two
-- with absolutely no mention about our powers. I'm begging
" S'il vous plaît, Jean ... you don' know what dis has
been like," Remy began, earnestly gazing into Jean's
green eyes with his red ones.
"First, de accident, or whatever y' want t' call it,
then bein' Hank's lab rats f' three days, Jeannie,
an' you know how I hate labs, an' then dere's all the
talkin' been going on about us, an' what happened, and why
didn' we tell anyone, an' both of us ain' used t' airing personal
stuff, Jeannie, you know it ain' like us to do dat,
and now all we want is two hours 'fore we go t'rough it again,
Jean, jus' deux heures, you c'n give us that much,
can't ya, cherie, please?"
Jean felt a little off-balance -- maybe she had been
pushing too hard...
"Oh, all right," she relented, " two hours
-- I'll see you later."
Brother and sister sighed in relief, and thanked Phoenix
profusely. As soon as Jean was out of earshot, Reine turned
to her twin, eyebrow raised.
"Don' knock it -- it got us two hours' worth o' peace,"
"Who's complaining? For that act of heroism, I believe
I have a bottle of forty year old Armagnac with your name
on it -- and I'll throw in full access to my tobacco supply.
Heck, it's almost enough to make me consider letting you off
the hook for that stunt you pulled ... almost."
"Act o' heroism?"
"Saving me from myself, brother -- one more question
about what happened, and I would've started breaking heads."
Gambit's eyes gleamed in amusement, and his smile grew broader.
"An' they say dat I'm de hot-tempered one..."
he said impudently.
"Nope, we're about the same. I just hide it better --
which isn't surprising, since I'm twice the con you'll ever
be," she returned with a smug grin.
"Hey, no need f' disrespect, ma soeur..."
"It's not disrespect so much as a simple statement of
fact," Reine smirked.
"We'll see 'bout that ..." Remy countered, with
a challenging glint in his eye.
He would have continued, but he was interrupted by the rather
insistent grumbling of his stomach.
While they were patients, Hank had insisted on a specific
diet for maximum nutrition. In their opinion, as healthful
as it might have been, it left a lot to be desired -- primarily
taste. On their second day in the lab, they had solemnly christened
the regimen "Château Bland". Now, free of their
dietary restrictions, they both realized how hungry they really
"It's almost two, and I'm starving. After all we've
been through, I'm in the mood for some comfort food. I could
kill for a plate of grillades and grits ..."
"Mmm -- what kind o' meat do you use? I almos' always
use pork myself, but if dere's any veal ..."
The conversation continued as they made their way to the
Reine pushed away from the table with a satisfied sigh. They
had been in luck -- someone had bought groceries that morning,
and all the necessary ingredients for a good Cajun grillades
were in supply. More, there had been a six-pack in the fridge,
ready and waiting.
After cheerfully bickering over the preparation of their
meal, and talking about their spice preferences as it cooked,
the two of them had eaten themselves into repletion.
Leaning his chair back, balancing on its two back legs, Remy
propped his feet up on the counter and rubbed his stomach
"Now dat was bliss. Next time, I do the cookin'
-- you ain' lived until y' tried my red beans an' rice."
"You're on -- that's one dish that is too good by far
to only have on Mondays, anyway -- tradition be damned."
Remy returned her smile, but his face fell when he noticed
the wall clock. It wouldn't be too long until the break that
he had finagled out of Jean would be over -- and then it would
be back to the questions and examinations. As skilled thieves,
and as naturally private people, they both hated the invasive
scrutiny they would be under. However, they knew it was necessary
-- and unavoidable.
"Only forty minutes left, Reine -- better make it last."
"Alas, all good things must end," she sighed in
resignation, and downed the last of her beer.
"But I know what I want to do with the time we've got
left -- loosen up my fingers. I haven't touched a piano in
four days. Feel up to a little music, Remy?"
"Bien sûr ..."
Without further words, they made their way to the conservatory.
Once they arrived, Reine bade her brother to take a seat.
He did so as she quickly ran through some practice scales
-- she was pleased to note that the instrument was perfectly
"So ... what are y' going t' play?"
"Something cathartic. We both need it, but this piece
is for you, petit frère."
He wasn't sure what to expect -- Joplin, maybe, or Gershwin.
So he was surprised when she began to play. Immediately, he
recognized her selection and promptly lost himself in the
By turns melancholy and brooding, hopeful and tender, fiery
and explosive, he was surrounded by the glorious sound. They
were both unaware of the passing time. Remy's senses were
entirely focused on the music and its performer, while Reine
was lost to everything but the sounds she knew in her head,
and brought to life on the keyboard.
At last, the ultimate note of the driving finale died away
into silence, taking with it their fears of the upcoming ordeal,
leaving them a measure of peace. They were silent themselves
for a little while, savouring the moment. Then, their eyes
met -- matching pools of black, with garnet-coloured irises.
"Beethoven ... sonata twenty-three, opus fifty-seven
-- 'Appassionata',"a Remy said quietly.
"You know, it's always been my favorite piece of piano
music," Reine mused, "even more so, now. I always
saw myself in it -- but now, I see you too."
Remy laughed softly.
"Guess it's somet'ing else we got in common. Y' know,
it's funny chère -- I always saw m'self as alone, but now,
however I turn, dere you are. And y' know what? I like
"You get used to it, don't you?" she smiled.
Then they both frowned, sensing someone approaching the room.
They knew what that meant.
"Time's up," Jean called.
"We know, chère, we know ... an' we're comin' ...."
Phoenix waited at the doorway as the two got up, and made
their way toward her, to what they knew was going to be an
extremely long evening.
Over the next week, the twins spent their days with either
Jean or Betsy, developing fine control over their separate
psi talents, in what the two telepaths called "a psychic
crash course". The purpose was twofold: first, to develop
their individual powers to the fullest; second, to lay the
groundwork for controlling their joint ability.
The days were long. With the exception of mealtimes and a
couple of hours each day which Remy and Reine insisted upon
having to themselves, all their time was taken up with training.
Every night, the two of them went to bed with migraines, both
from the strain of exercising their psi powers, and from the
vast amount of information which Phoenix and Psylocke were
cramming into them. Privately, Gambit referred to the data
overload as "everyt'ing you didn' want t' know 'bout
the Astral Plane, an' never cared enough t' ask."
Although their individual mental powers were different, their
curriculum was the same for a reason. Since no-one was quite
sure how their unified mind functioned, it was theorized that
having both of them learn the ins and outs of their separate
powers would reinforce the lessons in their shared consciousness.
Once both resident telepaths were satisfied with the twins'
basic psi competence, they were allowed one full day of rest,
which they used well.
Remy slept in until noon, then enjoyed a long ride on his
bike, clearing his head. Returning to the mansion, he found
time to shoot several games of pool with Logan and Bishop
before taking a quick shower and getting ready for an evening
out. As he and Storm had barely had time to speak to one another
of late, the two friends had made plans for dinner and a night
at the theatre to catch up with each other.
Reine also slept late, but still made an extended full-contact
sparring session with Wolverine. Nursing a number of bruises,
but feeling satisfied (she had taken him three falls out of
four), she relaxed with a lengthy soak in the tub, then left
for an afternoon-long shopping trip with Rogue. Her evening
was spent in planning; after all, she had merely agreed to
put her work "on hold" during her stay. Certainly,
she had done and would do nothing illegal while at the mansion.
However, that didn't mean that she couldn't start preparations.
Although she still had plenty of time before before the next
act would begin, she liked to have the opportunity to consider
her options carefully...
In anticipation of the day to follow, both twins retired
Phoenix and Psylocke had done their best to prepare them,
but it still wasn't enough to make either Remy or his sister
completely at ease for what they were about to attempt.
Gambit thought at her.
*How y' feeling?*
# Just dandy # Reine replied, opening a telepathic link
# Menteuse #1 his thought came through to her
# Okay, so I lied. I might not be an empath, but I know you're
just as nervous as I am -- and if I asked, you'd say you were
# T'ink you know me too well, ma soeur... #
Riposte snorted in reply.
"Are you both ready?" Jean called over the comm
from the observation deck.
"Just about," Reine returned from the Danger Room
floor, where she stood with her brother.
"I've already made the telepathic connection -- now
Remy just has to do his thing."
Gambit took a deep breath.
"An' here we go..." he said, as he linked with
his sister empathically.
Nothing happened -- at which everyone was relieved.
# At least we know it ain' goin' to happen jus' like dat
# Thank God...#
Betsy broke in to their conversation.
# Very well -- it looks as if you needn't worry about the
power kicking in automatically every time you link, which
is good ... Riposte, you try to initiate it -- Gambit, don't
try to help her in any way, just let her have a go on her
Still nothing. After they had switched roles, and found that
Remy was similarly unable to create the bond by himself, there
was only one option left to try.
# Now, we know it can happen instinctively, on a subconscious
level. From what Elizabeth and I can figure, if you have any
conscious control at all, you both have to initiate
the bond while you're linked like this. Just give me a minute
to get clear, then both of you try... # Phoenix instructed.
# Ready, petit frère? #
# As I'm ever goin' t' be ...#
# Let's do it ...#
Both twins concentrated, feeling the spiral inward begin
as they did so -- separate thoughts and feelings blended into
one, like a jigsaw puzzle coming together, disparate elements
joining to create a unified whole.
# Hello? # Jean called out tentatively.
After a moment, she was answered.
# Hello. #
Continued in Chapter
a. As you can guess, the Appassionata ("Passionate"
or " Impassioned") is my favorite piece of
piano music. And it actually does remind me of Gambit and
1. Liar (feminine form).
"All warfare is based on deception."
-- Sun-Tzu, The Art of War
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