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Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 8
Chapter 9
Chapter 10
Chapter 11
Chapter 12


Written by KazeRogue and Cat Smith
Last updated: 01/02/2007 02:01:11 AM

Chapter 12

For the second time in a fortnight, Detective Alexandra Thorne of the NYPD paid the women jail a visit. Her foster mother, the imprisoned mutant terrorist known as Mystique did not comment at the short amount of time that had passed since her daughter's last visit. Nor did she stop her babbling about nonsense that was barely covering her nervousness. Though usually straight talking herself, Raven had learned that you discover most about your opposite's state of mind, if you don't interrupt him. And learn a lot; she did.

"Honey, why don't you spit out the question you came here to ask?" she finally asked, interrupting Xandra midsentence.

The young Detective immediately and unusually blushed and looked at her hands. Chewing her upper lip, a distinct sign that the matter at hand wasn't pleasant, she tried to find means to broach the subject.

"D'ya hate me for turnin ya in?" she finally whispered still without looking the elder woman in the eye.

After having overcome her surprise, Raven burst into laughter. Xandra looked at her in dismay - and a little hurt at this unexpected reaction. Seeing her expression, the shapeshifter wiped tears out of her eyes and became serious again.

"I'm sorry, dear one, I didn't mean to offend you.. it's just that this couldn't be farther from how I feel. See, all I ever knew how to do, was to fight - fight the endless fight against the mutant suppression. But the world changed, I'm not needed out there anymore, because the fight is won, we're all equal. So, there's no place for me anymore. But in here on the other hand... I can scheme plans endlessly that aren't needed anymore and I'm not forced to face a life that I don't know what to do with otherwise. I have a lot time to think in here, you know? Much needed time. I made peace with myself... what's wrong, honey? Xandra?"

Xandra had clutched her hand over her mouth and sobbed violently. Mystique stroke her hair helplessly, never having been one for sensivity, sensibility or tact.

"Ah'm so sorry" she finally mumbled, her voice cracked. "Ah didn' mean ta betray ya. But Ah had to, Ah had no other choice... like now... Gawd momma, what should Ah do? Ah slept with him... Ah slept with th' thief..."

"Now we finally come to the reason of your visit." Mystique sighed. "Now calm down and shoot... did you use protection?"

"Mom!" Xandra pulled out of her mother's embrace and frowned at her.

"Good, you've discovered your senses again. So, what's the deal? Do you love him?" The word was said with distaste. It was obvious that the former terrorist wasn't too thrilled by the idea. Even the little warmth she had spared for her daughter was gone when it came to men.

"Ah dunno." Xandra answered after taking a deep breath and visibly pulling herself together. "Ah sure hope no. But even if, it doesn't make a difference. He's a criminal, Ah'm a police officer, the turnout is clear, end of discussion... it's just... Ah don't know if Ah could stand him hating me..."

"This is a decision you have to make yourself. Darling, I know you better than anyone else in this world. I know that you need rules and order in your life. I tried to put mine into your head, but that wasn't right for you. So you found yourself some new ones with the NYPD. I know that you're afraid of losing control, that's why you follow those rules as strictly as you are. And that's why you turned me in even though I felt at your every visit that you hate yourself for it. But it's okay. I know that you had to it. It's who you are, my Rogue."

A smile played over Xandra's lips at her old nickname, then determination flashed steely in her eyes. "Yoah right." Xandra closed her eyes. "It's who Ah am."

Finally, the sun set, night fell, and Remy LeBeau's day started. With the precision of years of training, he prepared for his task, carefully picking and checking each and every tool he was to use this night. He couldn't take the liberty of making a mistake and he wouldn't. He never did. This ritual of accurate preparation somehow allowed him to forget that he had made a crucial mistake already. He had broken the one rule that was most important for somebody of his profession: never fall in love.

It was kind of ironic that by chance he broke that rule with the worthy opponent that he had always thrived for. If perfection came to you as naturally as it came to LeBeau, you'd miss the thrill of fear of being caught, the adrenaline rushing through your veins as well. The challenge of defeating someone as perfectionist as himself was more than welcome to keep his edge.

What counted for Remy, was not only the excitement of the actual pinch but also the miniscule preparation that also included assessing your opponent and discovering their every weakness. He would have never guessed that he would one day find his counterpart and that they would prove to be each other's only weakness.

Now, he had to make a decision. He knew that she wouldn't let him get away with what he was about to do (and she would also know very well that he wouldn't alter his plans of stealing the mask because of her), but what would he do if she tried to stop him? In case he could escape anyways, would he be able to leave the scene and her? Not seeing her ever again? Go on with his shiny life that suddenly seemed so shallow to him now?

He knew that there was no chance for them to work together, that was a part of her character he admired and cursed most at the same time. But well, he thought with a grim smile, maybe he wouldn't be able to escape anyways when she was up against him. And then? This was the one thing he would never do, not even for her: going to jail. He'd rather.... Gripping his tool belt tighter he chased the thought away. There was no use in these speculations. He would do what he had to do, due to his stupid pride and foolish heart. And she would do her duty. It was almost fated - it had always been supposed to be this way.

A blank expression on his handsome face, he left the cheap motel room.

Detective Thorne wandered through the empty dark corridors of the Museum of Arts. It was a strange, somewhat surrealistic feeling to be there alone at night. The paintings seemed to show different images in the sick light of the emergency exit signs and one could only guess the abstract forms of the sculptures in shadowy corners. Xandra fought the creepy feeling that she suddenly was all alone in a world that wasn't her own anymore.

Shivering, she concentrated on listening to the loud clacking of her heels on the shiny, marble floor while making her way to the emergency stairs that would lead her to the roof of the museum and thus the place where LeBeau would most likely enter the scene. She had studied his behavior in past crimes and decided this.

As soon as she had closed the door behind her, Remy LeBeau slipped out of the shadows. His jaw clenched, he looked at the closed door that separated them for another moment before he got to work. Knowing that she had studied him, he had changed his habits this time and went in hours before he would do so normally and he had spent even more effort to not leave any traces of his entry.

The actual act of stealing the mask was a piece of cake. Though secured in the highest standards of top-tech security, with heat detectors, motion and acoustic sensors and a weight sensitive showcase, that was nothing that he hadn't met and overcome before. With cat-like grace, he evaded the sensors, not making the slightest sound. Out of his backpack he took an exact imitation of the mask, that would not only fool the weight sensors but also the cameras, staff and public, at least for a while.

Grinning, he opened the showcase with the museum's director's key that he had copied weeks ago and took the mask. As soon as he held the mask in his hands the thrill that as usually had banished every other thought was gone. The frown crept up his forehead again and for a moment he wondered if this was worth it. He was almost angry at this piece of gold and jewels for putting him in this situation.

But the moment passed and he remembered that even if it weren't for that mask, he'd still be a thief and Xandra would still be a detective. Nothing that would ever work out, not even if he fooled himself into believing in miracles. With a self-ironic smirk that expressed more pain than humor, he carefully put the mask away and turned to the emergency exit to leave.

He had already stepped down a few stairs on his way to the cellar when he stopped dead in his tracks. He couldn't do it. He couldn't just sneak away from this without seeing her again just one more time. It had to end; he had to put an end to all of it. Or neither of them would ever be free again. Knowing that he was probably making the biggest mistake of his life but not allowing himself to consider any consequences, he made his way to the roof.

Xandra hugged herself and rubbed her upper arms. It was really incredibly cold tonight and the rain wasn't making it any better. But of course no weather condition would keep her from doing her job in this case, waiting on the roof for LeBeau, hidden in the shadows. And she knew that this weather was just perfect for his thievery, a clouded moon, bad sight due to the rain and a slippery ground that wouldn't hamper his unnatural agility.

"Not quite de room wit' a view that I'd prefer, but ya gotta take what ya get."

Xandra started at the low, soft voice in her back and turned to see the thief standing right behind her. At his sight, all the memories of what had happened between the two of them came rushing back to her mind and for a moment she could only gape at him like an idiot before her mouth snapped shut and her expression became unreadable.

"Maybe that's the rule in the underworld, but in mah precinct, ya get what ya paid for, and that's it." She almost managed to make her voice sound as cold as her face, just a little tremble betrayed her inner turmoil. A bitter smile crept up his face.

"So we leave th' small talk and come to business right away?"

Instead of an answer, the Detective just drew her gun. Remy stared at the muzzle of the pistol, not anxiously, but as if a decision had been made. And he didn't like the outcome. His mysterious eyes went up till he met her stare.

"I won't go t' prison... not even for you." A flicker of her eye was the only reaction he got to his words, but when she spoke it sounded as if a large lump had formed in her throat.

"Y'know that Ah can't just let ya go." Her voice was barely audible when she whispered, "Don't force me to do this...."

As he covered the short distance between them, he could see her hands trembling more with every approaching step. When he was close enough, he brushed a stray hair out of her face. She couldn't help but close her eyes to fully concentrate on the sensation.

It was only when she heard a husky "au revoir" that she opened her eyes, just to see him jump off the museum's rooftop.

It was a rapid chase over the roofs of New York and Dt. Thorne didn't like the direction it was taking. Straight to the East river, where she'd just had another encounter with another criminal. She knew that LeBeau wouldn't try to kill her (did she? How much did she know of him anyways?) but the memory alone made her guts clench.

But there was one good thing about the docks. Soon, there would be no way left for the thief and she would have cornered him. For a brief moment, Xandra wondered why he had taken that direction, did he have such a faith in his speed and skill that he thought he'd escape her? She had no time to finish the thought because it had happened. LeBeau was in a fix. They had arrived at the flat roof of a warehouse and the young thief stood at its edge, only the dirty water of the river in front of him, behind him, a determined policewoman.

"Freeze!" Thorne yelled, panting. Slowly, her one-night lover turned and again, time seemed to stop. When their eyes locked, Remy learned what he had already feared. She wouldn't let him go, even if she had the same feelings for him as he had for her, she would still arrest him. And she would use her gun if needed. Not to kill him, but to knock him out. But that was something he could never accept.

A split second after she had realized what he would do, LeBeau had jumped into the angry depth of the East River.

Screaming, Xandra ran towards the edge of the roof to look for him, but the heavy rainfall had turned the river into a death trap. A gust of wind and rain rushed in her face and blinded her. She hurried down the fire ladder and ran along the quay, looking for the thief, screaming his name, although a tiny part of herself that she refused to listen to told her that it was useless, that he was gone.

Hours later, soaked and numb, Xandra entered Logan's apartment. Not caring about changing her wet clothes, she went to bed and stared at the ceiling. All the emotions that she had held back till now, rushed out now and she was swept away by guilt and despair. What had she done? Just because she had been so intent on turning him in at any cost, he was dead now. Was that why he had escaped towards the docks? Because he had known that she wouldn't let him escape? Because he didn't want to run from her anymore? Suddenly, she understood what her mother had meant that morning, when she had told Xandra that she had forgiven her because it was what she did, who she was.

All her life, Xandra had done nothing but follow orders, first, her mother's, then, law and order as a policewoman. Never had she questioned these orders, never had she seen any gray areas. "It's who you are,“ her mother had said. Xandra could almost hear her voice in her head - "but not who you should be". She should have made her own decisions, maybe even her own rules. She should have asked Remy to stop stealing instead of trying to arrest him. She shouldn't have killed the man she loved. Finally, the tears started to fall.

Katherine Pryde looked at her handiwork and was pleased with herself. Exhausted, but pleased. It had been a week since LeBeau had drowned and she hadn't heard from Xandra yet, despite the hundred messages she had left her. The hacker felt responsible for parts of the mess that had started out to be a favor for a friend. There wasn't much she could do about it now, but Kitty was somebody who always tried to make up for possible faults. Even if it meant to spend a week in front of her laptop with just short breaks to grab some food, call Xandra or pour some coffee.

This had been the hardest thing she had ever done, infiltrating so many systems with such high security measures, but she had done the job, untraceable, as usual. Nobody would find a flaw in the data she had fed the police computer systems of New York and LA with. Kitty grinned. It wasn't much, but a clean slate was all she could do to make up to her friend.

Detective Thorne opened the door of the NYPD. Her one-week grace was over; Forge would want answers today. He had called her the day after it had happened (not even in her thoughts Xandra was able to call it the day Remy LeBeau died) when she didn't appear to duty. She had told him what had happened and that they would most likely find their thief washed ashore somewhere. Then she had asked for some days off, which Forge had instantly granted. Her boss understood the effects on a cop's psyche when he felt responsible for death all too well.

Xandra hadn't called the department during this week, not wanting to know if they had found Remy's corpse. She just wanted to forget, knowing that she never could. Today, she would resign from her job and go somewhere far, far away from New York doing anything but this.

Inside, colleagues greeted her, all expressing their pity in their rough, wordless cop-way. When she arrived at her floor, she spotted Logan and walked up to him. She was shocked herself at the hoarse sound of her voice.

"Hey, Logan. Ah wanted to talk to you first before Ah go and see Forge. Since you are my partner Ah thought you should be the first..."

"I'm not." came the gruff response. "After I nailed Creed they said it's time fer promotion. I'm Lieutenant now, just came to say good-bye to you."

Xandra's eyes grew wide. "But..."

"Ah, Detective Thorne, there you are, I want you to meet your new partner, he was just transferred to us from the LAPD...."

Xandra didn't hear the rest of Forge's speech. In fact, she noticed nothing anymore after she had turned to face her soon to be ex new partner, just to find herself staring at a familiar handsome face with a lopsided grin and eyes that she knew, even though they were hidden behind shades, had a very unique color.

For the first time ever, the members of the NYPD could see the tough Detective Thorne show any kind of weakness, in this case, by fainting. Luckily, her new partner was quick enough to catch her before she could fall on the floor. When he bent over her, he heard her whisper something that sounded like "how?".

"Dat's easy, chère." his voice was soft like velvet, even in a whisper. "An honorable thief thought she owed me for tellin' you about me and saved me. She's sorry about the rain she had to splash into your face, but she has no use for witnesses, you see? Oh, an she says 'thank you' for her probation."


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