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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 9

In his human days, the insane had been kept in cages, pens, closets, cellars, and occasionally, if they were lucky, a room in the house wing farthest from the rest of the family. Many were sent to prison, where they were chained and beaten with rods until they became controllable.

It was a great irony to him, then, that in his laboratories it was those who were sane behind the steel bars, and it was he, who had long ago gone mad, who inflicted the torture. And he was quite aware of his madness; but, like anything else, it didn't matter. All that mattered was his work.

For nearly a year, Essex hadn't bothered to watch his son. There were other things to do, and rather than fret about a boy who was perfectly safe, a new obsession had taken hold of him: the sudden appearance of mutant abilities in a son of a clan of the 'genetically elite' whom Nathaniel had watched for years. While Remy was in the care of elite criminals, with all the tutelage in use of his powers which Sinister could wish for him at this stage, Scott Summers was battling his own deadly, and perhaps even self-destructive, abilities.

Essex was a shepherd of many sheep; even if he was, in all reality, a wolf, it was in his interest to care for bleeding lambs. It did not bother him at all that he would have to devote more of his attentions to one not of his own blood.

For now.

Nobody could run faster than Jerard LeBeau. He'd won numerous awards, occasionally bringing home large sums of money, prizes from various community and state competitions. It was dangerous notoriety for any member of either Guild; it was forbidden by both for members to make much of a name for themselves, because fame might bring the eye of the media and general public into the private lives of the Thieves and Assassins. But Jerard had, even at a very young age, learned how to stretch the rules of the peculiarities of Guild life. And with a friend in such a high place as his cousin Remy LeBeau, it was easier.

It was Jerard's speed which had earned him the nickname "Lapin1," and nobody ever called him by his real name anymore. He was easygoing enough to accept it without too much of a fight, though it probably wouldn't have mattered if he had; once Remy had shouted it out, it had been caught on everyone's tongues for good.

He spent easily as much time at the LeBeau's house as he did with his own family, which lived clear across the city. His mother had the sole care of Jerard and his five sisters, and the seven of them relied heavily upon Jean Luc's support, and what little the children could manage to pickpocket. Lapin's father, Nicolas, had once been a particularly good thief, and, as Jean's younger brother, would have been a member of the High Council, if he had not suddenly and inexplicably gone insane.

Since that time, when Lapin was only a toddler, Nicolas had been shut away in an asylum, his name rarely spoken in the family. Jean seldom visited him, and nobody else ever went at all, save for the madman's wife. He had to be watched by the guards, an it was of great concern that word of the Guilds would leak out of his mouth and into the guards' ears. And so the guards had to be watched as well, and the whole mess was left to the LeBeaus- the other Guild families looked on in either pity or disgust, and averted their eyes from the whole affair.

Lapin hadn't had much in the way of a father, then, except for Jean. When they were young, he and Remy had been so close they were nearly the same person, and had likewise both been spanked or grounded for the same mischievous deeds they got themselves into. He was ever-present in Rosie's kitchen, whether he had been told to leave, called home, or gotten a few hard words from Rosie herself.

Nothing ever changed.

"Hey Remy," he said, as his friend appeared in the kitchen doorway one morning. "When you get your ear pierced?"

"'bout a month ago."

"No you didn't."

"Okay, I didn't," Remy concurred, and rolled his eyes as he grabbed a piece of toast.

"Well, I didn't notice. Who did it?"


"No way!"

"Yes, way."


"Stuck a needle through... want her to pierce yours, too?"

"Does it hurt?"

"Not at all."

Rosie, who was pulling something out of the oven, shook her head, but said nothing.

"What your daddy say?"

"Not to wear it around him."

"That's it?"

"Uh huh."

"So if I got mine done... you think he'd mind?"

"I dunno. Ask him."

Lapin leaned over to look in the shiny metal of the stove, rubbing his ear. "Think it would look good?"

"Why not?"

"If you boys don' stop gagglin' at each other like girls, I'm gonna make you learn how to knit," Rosie told them, finally.

They disappeared quickly.

"Remy! Remy!"

Two tiny voices shouted up at the door to the balcony of Remy's bedroom the next morning, which turned into excited babble once he groggily emerged. The girls danced in circles below.

"Lookie! I'm a fairy!" one of them told him, demonstrating the way her shimmery wings moved as she flapped her arms.

"Pretty," he said, coughing. "What's dis all for?"

"A party!" The other piped up, flapping her cloth monarch's wings. A door opened on the side of the house, and Remy could hear Rosie grumbling below. The costumes were most likely her work- Cassie and Eva were her nieces. They were also the high-spirited next-door neighbors of the LeBeaus, and considered both houses their own.

"Hey," Eva said, stopping suddenly in her promenade. She squinted up at Remy's face, holding one hand over her eyes to shade them from the sun. "What happened to your eyes?"

"What do you mean?" he frowned.

She itched her nose as though pondering the question, but didn't give an answer. Instead, she decided to summersault on the grass, and Cassie, not wanting to be outdone, followed suit. Apparently, Rosie had seen this from around the corner. "Don't you dare be rollin' around in those!" she shouted, and the girls quickly disappeared.

Remy shook his head and went inside, where he took a look in a mirror. Nothing was wrong with his eyes. Eva was known to make things up in her head, anyway.

Lapin1: "Rabbit."


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