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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


Written by Ephiginia
Last updated: 01/02/2007 02:01:11 AM

Chapter 5

"Remy! Ya don't get down here in two seconds, an' Ah'll be comin' up ta get ya!"

Tante Rosie's voice echoed up the stairs, and Remy groaned. He forced himself out of bed, flinging aside the mosquito nets as he stood up, stretched, and quickly got dressed before Rosie came through on her threat. He stumbled down the stairs, blue eyes half-open, and walked into the kitchen.

"Lordy! It be nearly nine o'clock, boy! You supposed ta be helpin' ya Uncle on de boat by ten!"

"I know, I know," he said, pouring milk over cereal. He didn't bother sitting down at the table before he started eating it. "Where's my father?"

Rosie shrugged, and went back to making something that smelled horrible over the stove. One of her healers concoctions, he decided. The fact that his father was gone didn't bother him. Jean-Luc was away quite a bit, usually in the stone halls of the Guild's headquarters or away on a trip to some exotic place, on a thieve's mission.

Tante Rosie was practically Remy's mother. The day Jean-Luc had brought Remy home, Rosie had immediately insisted on bathing him and dressing him in proper clothes, and since then she'd hounded him about his ripped clothing, nagged at him until he did all his homework, and pestered him about his less than healthy eating habits. Worst of all, she told him quite often, was his custom of sleeping in every morning until he was guaranteed to be late to whatever he was supposed to do- school, during most of the year, and in the summer, work.

He bounded out the door as soon as he finished his breakfast and jumped onto his motorbike- the pride and joy of his 14-year-old heart- and sped down the quiet Garden District street toward the bayous.

His cousins, most of them quite a bit older than he, either glared at him or grinned as he pulled up, as disheveled as ever. Uncle Philippe just shook his head, entirely too used to Remy's untimely personality. He was about to cast off, and most of the ropes holding the boat to the dock had been untied and neatly coiled. "Remy! Coulda used ya dis mornin'!" He yelled over the sound of the motor.

"I'm sorry!" Remy yelled, just as loud. "Lost track o' de time!"

"Tomorrow, you'd best not be late. But today- you just stay on land. Dere be some nets in de boat house you can be fixin' f'r me." There were a few snickers among the others, but Remy bit his tongue on the choice words he longed to fire back at them. He watched, hand on hips, as the motor fired up even louder, and the boat rushed away with enough power to make the dock sway wildly. He sighed, and turned up to the boat house. Fixing nets all day wasn't something to look forward to. But far worse would be the scolding he'd get when Tante Rosie heard. Shoulda stayed in bed he thought.

He wandered up the grassy path to the ramshackle old building where the supplies for the boat were all kept. Sure enough, there was a pile of nets which needed fixing on the floor. He picked one up, his nose wrinkling at the overpowering smell of dead fish which wafted up from it. The felt crusty, too. He sat down and began tying knots, but only had nearly two nets done by the time he was bored nearly to tears, and got up to leave. He could take a break, at least, he decided.

The area just to the west of Philippe's dock was actually quite beautiful, if you thought the bayou was beautiful. Remy certainly did. The moss hanging from the trees, the green waters flowing by massive gnarled trees was enough to relax him. He walked some ways away from the boat house until he found a nice spot to rest, where he plunked down and sat up against a tree, arms crossed, eyes gazing across the water, until he drifted off to sleep.

"You look de perfect picture o' laziness," a familiar voice said, starling him. A girl stood near him, arms crossed, a big bag at her side. Her blonde hair had been done up in many colored beads, which tapped together as she walked. He smiled.

"I'm s'posed to be workin' at m'Uncle's."

"So much for that." Bella Donna said. "De boat left wit'out you, hmm?"

"Tante Rosie's gonna skin me alive."

Bella had been Remy's friend for years. They'd met not long after the LeBeau's had adopted him, out in the bayou. He'd been fishing alone, and she'd been doing the same, and since then they'd been the best of friends. Nevermind that she was an Assassin.

She hadn't told him that the day they met. He hadn't told her he belonged to the Thieves, either. Remy had run home to tell Jean-Luc about his new acquaintance, and his father had been the one to give him the bad news. But it hadn't hurt their relationship. Perhaps the danger involved in the association had excited their young hearts. They were close. Very close. They told each other everything.

"What say you come wit' me to Tante Mattie's den?" she asked. She gestured to the bag on her arm. "I've got a whole buncha herbs she asked for dat I got to get to her today. Maybe she'll put a good word in f'r you wit' Rosie."

"Sounds like more fun dan fixing nets," Remy said. She grinned crookedly.

"Fixing nets? Hardly fitting work for de Prince o' T'ieves."

He shrugged and followed her as she led the way down another path, one less beaten down than the one to the boat house. Bella had been calling Remy a Prince for quite some time, but it had begun to bother him. He was old enough now that the Guild truly meant something to him- he had begun training with the best in the Guild on a regular basis, and his father taught him the history and politics of the Guilds in great detail, expecting Remy to remember it all. He truly was a Prince of Thieves. Not that he had any chance of becoming the leader of the Guild. Jean-Luc's real son Henri would get that job.

The path led quite a ways into the bayou, toward a decrepit hut complete with broken rocking chair on the front porch. There were drying plants hanging from the rafters, and several cats running around. Had it been a century earlier, Tante Mattie might have been called a witch. But she was called in these times a healer.

She stood at the door, hands on her wide hips, smiling down at the two of them. Remy had hardly ever seen her without a smile on her face. She beckoned for both of them to come in, taking Bella's bag and ushering them into the kitchen. "You tell your Momma I say t'ank you for dese," Mattie told Bella. Bella smiled weakly. Her mother had never been a very healthy person, and had spent most of her only daughter's life in a sickbed. Bella didn't like to talk about it. Remy had often thought there was a resentment between her and her maman; Bella had never been very tolerant of other people's weaknesses. The Assassins were not forgiving to the weak.

"I'll tell her."

"Aren't you s'posed to be workin'?" Mattie asked Remy. She began grabbing bunches of a strange smelling plant from the bag and tying them up in bundles, obviously to be dried and then used for some medicine of some sort.

"Yes, ma'am, but I was late." He didn't mind telling Mattie that. Mattie didn't ever judge people. She was quick to help, quick to lend a good word or quote Scripture, the good Catholic she was, and never did a harsh word pass her lips.

"You're Daddy ain't gonna like dat. Your Tante Rosie, neither."

He sighed deeply. "I'm more scared of Tante Rosie den m'Daddy, to tell de truth."

"As well you should be!" Mattie laughed. "No sister o' mine would let you get away wit' dat." Her eyes twinkled.

"When you was growin' up wit' Tante Rosie, how'd you get along wit' her?"

"She's not as bad as all dat, Remy."

"Yes, she is! She'll ground me, f'r sure! An' I got stuck fixin' nets, too."

"Which you're supposed to be going right now?"

He grinned. "Yep. I took a break wit' Bella."

"Mm hmm. I see." Mattie finished with the last bundle and handed them to Remy. "And I suppose you want me to get you off de hook?" He grinned wider. "Den you'll have to make it up to me dis afternoon by pickin' de weeds in m'garden. If I don't see any weeds out dere when you leave, I'll talk to Rosie for you."

"I love you!" he said, catching her up in a big bear hug.

"I know, I know. Now get to work."

"God that made the world and all things therein, He, being Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands, neither is He served by men's hands, as though He needed anything..." The priest droned on, his monotone voice more like an annoying buzz than a holy prayer. Remy checked his watch. Half an hour more.

Seeing He himself giveth to all life, and breath, and all things..." Remy sighed, scratched the back of his neck, and yawned. His fidgeting caught only the attention of Tante Rosie, who immediately gave him a hard poke in the side with her elbow. He gave her a wounded look, which was met only by her harshest glare. He suppressed the urge to stick out his tongue. It was church, after all.

He wasn't in the great amount of trouble he might have been if Tante Mattie hadn't interceded, at least. He looked over to where Mattie sat, not too far away. She winked.

"There is no difference between the Jew and the Greek," the priest continued. From the other side of the church pews, Remy saw Bella Donna turn her head slightly to look his way. He grinned. She looked stunning as always in an ice-blue dress, which, as bright as it was, seemed to make her lovely lavender eyes darker. She grinned back, crookedly, but only for a moment. Her father would have been infuriated if he caught her exchanging looks with a thief-boy at mass. And as spirited as she was, Bella had no interest in inciting Marius' hot temper.

At last, the priest began reciting a final prayer. Thank de Saints, Remy thought, his only addition to the priest's words. The last "Amen" was said, and the people began to reverently file out of the cathedral.

The left side of the church went out through one door, the right side of the church through another. Assassins and Thieves, who couldn't get along even in the House of God. The priest, only just installed into his position in this cathedral, had been trying to find some way to prompt some type of peace between the Guilds in every sermon since he had come, but it seemed he was loosing hope.

There was an order here, among the Guilds, even when it came to who left the church first. Marius Beaudreux, leader of the Assassins, and Jean-Luc LeBeau, leader of the Thieves, shook hands at the end of the mass, a custom ages old, though not one either man was particularly fond of. This done, the Guilds could leave. But they didn't intermingle. They spoke to no one who was not of their Guild. Even the children who had been in Sunday School didn't associate with children of the other profession.

The only exception was Bella and Remy, who smiled and touched hands as they passed each other on the way to separate doors. The only other person who seemed to notice was Jean-Luc.

"You're going to get yourself hurt, son," he told Remy outside. "The Assassins won't take kindly to your meddling with one of their daughters."

"She's my friend," Remy argued.

"Just take care of yourself. I won't have you in harm's way."

Jean-Luc, Essex had decided, was a good father for Remy. The man was loyal, but far more important, the man was teaching the boy to be a thief. With the training Remy would receive at the hands of the best the Guild had to offer, he might possibly become the best at his profession, especially with the burning desire to become the best at something which the child already had. Remy had inherited at least one thing from Essex: the love of his profession.

Annamaria Beaudreux was dead.

Rosie was the first in Jean-Luc's household to hear word of the woman's death, the news being passed along through the Creole housewive's community faster than through the messengers of the Guilds.

Jean-Luc would, of course, send a letter to Marius, a traditional gesture required of the Guild leaders. The pretense of respect was what caused any peace between the rival families at all, something the LeBeaus and Beaudreuxes had mastered long ago. But the note would be short and to the point, conveying only a polite amount of feeling. It would not be meant to console, only appease. The Assassins had done the same when Jean-Luc's wife had died years ago.

Remy had no love for Marius, but he recommended a similar note be sent to Bella. "After all, she lost a mother."

"It wouldn't be seemly," Jean-Luc said, which put an end to Remy's idea immediately.

Meanwhile, Remy wasn't allowed to visit Bella at all. He saw her once at mass, but she wore a thick black veil and when he thought he had caught her eye she looked away without any sign even of recognition. After the service he begged his father to let him speak to her, but when Jean-Luc finally consented, she had already gone.

His worry distracted him. His tutor, a frustrated old man who told Remy on a regular basis how useless he was, finally gave up and didn't come to the LeBeau's house for several days, leaving Remy completely free to wander about the Quarter, lost in his thoughts. His training with several of the best of the Guild each night was postponed until he had regained his focus.

As a thief, he could not go to the wake, could not go to the funeral. His hopes of seeing Bella Donna anytime soon dwindled.

Which added greatly to his surprise as he found her on his doorstep one day not more than two weeks later.

"Allo," she said, smiling crookedly.

"What're you doin' here!" he gasped, standing aside as she invited herself in.

"Haven't seen you in a while. I missed ya."

"Guild's gonna butcher you!"

"Maybe. Maybe not. Remy- you really t'ink I care so much my mother died? She was sickly ever since Julien was born. An' my birth just made her worse. 'Sides, she didn't care much 'bout us kids. She never wanted to see me or m'brother. She didn't..." She stopped, crossed her arms, and wrinkled her nose a bit.

"You need a hug?" Remy smiled, holding his arms out. She melted into them.


And for the first time since Remy had met her, she began to cry. She'd be mad at herself later, he knew, but for now...

...for now, she wasn't putting up shields, wasn't hiding behind a mask the Assassins had hidden her behind. For once, she was allowing something to effect her. Remy smiled weakly, and stroked her hair.


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