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Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4

Casting Stones - REVIEW THIS STORY

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

Chapter 2

"The Guardian." Scott scowled darkly, glancing around at no one in particular.

"Y' know her?" Remy was intrigued. He'd brought his empathy back down to normal levels, but Cyclops was loudly projecting a very interesting combination of disgust, anger, doubt, and, most unusually, guilt.

"She came to us shortly after the assassination attempt on the Professor," Storm answered, and Remy felt the mood in the room momentarily blacken. "She desired help in controlling her powers. But she--"

"Had just tried to kill Miss Marvel," Scott finished firmly. Almost as though he's tryin' t' convince himself. The rest of the team looked uncomfortable, and Remy could sense conflicting emotions from several. Jean and Betsy, tight behind their shields, were mysteries.

Any further questions were cut off by a pleased sound from Hank, seated at the nearby computer console. "Cerebro has cracked the code," he announced. "Very clever encryption technique. It appears they had some doubts about the competence of our Cajun friend."

Remy felt Scott shift uncomfortably, and knew he had also doubted that Remy would return...for vastly different reasons.

"I'm hurt."

Logan gave him a sharp look. "I wouldn't be," he growled, leaning against the wall. "The MU don't trust no one."

A warble from the computer signaled that the decryption was finished. "Shall I patch it through to the holo-generator, Fearless Leader?" Hank asked cheerfully.

Scott hesitated, eyes flickering in the way that signaled he was having a telepathic conversation with his wife. Remy picked up heightened tension in the room, saw Scott's eyes slide over him with enforced casualness, and understood.

"I'll leave you to it, den," he said, hiding the stab of anger that clenched his gut. Ignoring Storm's look of entreaty, he pivoted and strode out of the room, bitterly aware of the silence and the eight pairs of eyes boring into his back.

As the doors hissed shut behind him, he cursed, angry at their distrust. Angry with himself, for being hurt. You knew dis would happen de second you walked in here. His whimsical notions were violently dispelled, and he figured it served him right.

Time t' pack your bags, LeBeau.


Vivid green eyes stared at him challengingly from beneath a mane of white-steaked, unruly red-brown curls. Remy gave a low whistle and settled back in his chair, looking at the holo-image in open admiration. He wasn't exactly sure what he'd expected when he'd called up Cerebro's file on the Guardian, but it sure wasn't this.

The holo was unquestionably of the woman he'd met in the tunnels; younger, certainly, but there was no mistaking that face. And yet, there was something about her...

The image had been taken mid-flight, which explained how she moved through the tunnels so quickly. Rogue, as she'd been called, looked free, alive. Her attractiveness was very much different from the glamorous grace of Jean or the elegant beauty of Storm. At first glance, he would have labeled her "cute." But despite her youth, she somehow managed to broadcast an unapologetic sexiness, wearing wild abandon like a badge. The image reminded him, he realized, of Belle. The confident tilt to her chin, the fierce light in her green eyes, the determination on her face were all reminiscent of the strong-willed personality he had met in the tunnels. But what had happened to the playful half-smirk on her lips? What had happened to the Rogue?

Disturbed, Remy pulled up what little biographical information Cerebro had. No family information, just a passing mention of-- His eyebrows rose. Mystique? THAT name he knew. Not a woman to cross, that one. She'd earned quite a reputation in certain circles for being entirely efficient -- meaning, entirely ruthless. As for her motives -- well, they were her own. She was Rogue's mother? Well, he now knew where she got her determination. What a way for a kid to grow up. Better dan de T'ieves Guild? He thought wryly. He was one to talk.

He scanned down the list of Rogue's activities with the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. She'd been a busy girl. And a successful one, from the look of things. What exactly were her powers, beyond flight? He called up her stats:

Natural power: skin-to-skin contact results in uncontrolled absorption of memories and powers for a length of time partially proportional to the length of contact. Powers resulting from prolonged and intense contact with Carol Danvers, aka "Miss Marvel": flight, near invulnerability, superhuman strength, "seventh sense" of danger. Other side-effects from partial Kree physiology include resistance to poisons and ability to survive in a vacuum for a limited space of time.

Remy whistled, turning over the implications in his mind. Her absorption power was easily one of the most dangerous -- and most useful -- mutations he'd come across. No wonder the X-Men had feared her. And with the added powers of Miss Marvel...

He went back to her history, scrolling down until he saw Carol Danver's name. Girl had taken out one of the most powerful superheroines on the planet within a minute or two. But not without repercussions. She'd left Mystique and shown up at the X-Men's door. Girl's got guts, dat's for sure.

Cyclops' entry read that Rogue had permanently absorbed Danvers' powers and copied her psyche, and that she had claimed that she was being mentally assaulted by Miss Marvel's mind. It also mentioned that Rogue had said she'd realized that Mystique had been using her, although Scott sounded extremely cynical.

So, they'd left her to fend for herself. Just like that.

Remy leaned back in his chair, thoughts running back to the restrained mind he had felt in the tunnels.

Is dat de price of controlling your power, chere?

He studied her expressive eyes, searching for traces of the emptiness that echoed inside his skull.


Gambit gave himself a solid mental kick. He must have been well and truly engrossed not to sense Storm approach. "Oui, Stormy."

"I have told you not to call me that," she said absently, stepping inside the lab. Her eyes were fixed on the hologram hovering gently above the table. "I was not aware Scott had given you access to Cerebro."

You know damn well he didn't. "Sorry, chere. Just curious."

Her blue cats eyes fastened on him appraisingly. He sensed equal parts disapproval and reluctant agreement. "I understand your frustration, Remy. But you must give everyone a little time--"

He traced her eyes to the duffel bag pushed up against the wall. Her gaze flickered back to him, pain and hurt in their clear depths.

"I'll never fit in here, chere, an' you know it."

"Remy..." she hesitated. "It is...difficult for Scott to accept new members onto the team. Since the Professor was injured, he has been left with a heavy burden--"

"It isn't just Scott, Stormy." He said it as gently as possible, but felt her sharp shaft of hurt nonetheless. "I'm a t'ief, chere. I'm no hero."

"Indeed." She pinned him to the chair with a piercing look. "So, it was a self-serving thief who rescued a young girl from the Shadow King."

He sighed. Leave it to her to throw that one piece of misguided altruism in his face. "Chere--"

"Remember, Gambit, I was once worshipped as a goddess by the people of Kenya." Her face had smoothed into a resolute calm that made it a small stretch of the imagination. "I enjoyed, even reveled in, the power and honor they accorded me. Yet I came to realize that that was wrong. All the X-Men have their dark pasts, Remy. People can change."

He laughed, knowing that he hurt her but unable to stop himself. "Yeah, Stormy." He gestured towards the hologram on the table. "Like she changed?"

Her face clouded, and she was silent long enough for him to regret his words. He opened his mouth to apologize, but was stopped by her uplifted hand.

"Rogue was...a mistake," she said at last, quiet but sure. She lifted her gaze to meet his, apologetic but uncompromising. "We all make them. But I do not wish to make the same mistake with you."

He began to shake his head, but she strode forward swiftly and seized his chin in one slim brown hand.

"I do not believe that you are simply a thief, Remy," she said, blue eyes focusing on him disconcertingly. "Had that been the depth of your character, you would never have risked your life for a street urchin. As much as you try to deny it, you have a good heart, and at your core, you believe in doing what is right. And in that, I think you may find you have more in common with us than you wish to admit."

He watched her warily as she straightened. Seeing his expression, she sighed. "If you truly wish to leave, my friend, I doubt that I could stop you. But the Professor should return from his conference tomorrow, and I would like for you to meet him. All I ask is that you give us...and yourself...a chance."

With a swirl of ivory hair, she was gone, leaving Remy with the faint scent of fresh earth and green growth, and the low echo of her voice. My friend... Remy tasted the words as if for the first time, feeling them out and trying to shake the impression that someone, somewhere was laughing at him.


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