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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 3

As the room dissolved into a writhing blackness, Remy amped up his powers with a tight smile. What with his early MU reconnaissance and hacking into Cerebro, he hadn't gotten more than two hours of sleep before it was time for Scott's precious early-morning practice. Still, much as he despised it, he was used to running on little to no sleep, and he doubted the X-Men were better prepared.

Of course, since he was still officially a "guest," he was not required to attend the Danger Room sessions. But with everything that had happened to him in the last few weeks -- hell, in the last few hours -- he welcomed the chance to settle back into comfortable, long-established instincts. In the here and now, there was only the battle.

The scenario Scott had selected was to his liking; a dark shadowy complex of boxes and barriers, with hushed rustlings indicating enemies all around. To his right, Logan and Psylocke looked equally pleased, melting instantly into the shadows. Yet Remy sensed grim anxiousness from other teammates, whose powers were perhaps not so compatible with the dark.

Storm apparently meant to remedy that. Rising on the still air, she outstretched her hands and jagged lightening coalesced into an incandescent ball. In a broad radius around her, the room lightened to a normal level. Remy shook his head. Dat's stupid, Stormy. Whoever or whatever their opponents were, they would certainly go for her first. And if that light went out, the X-Men in her vicinity would be left with little or no night vision, making them extremely vulnerable to attack.

When he saw Jean take up a position directly below her, he immediately felt exceedingly stupid. Even after several Danger Room sessions, he still wasn't used to fighting -- or thinking -- as a member of a team. It was difficult to overwrite years of painful survivalist programming. Trust wasn't something that came easily to him -- he was too much of a realist for that. But maybe even baby steps were a start.

Mindfully eyeing the whispering darkness beyond the circle of light, Remy inched backwards until he was back-to-back with Jean. She was shielding, but her slight twitch as they touched betrayed her surprise. Storm glanced down, and he felt a wash of warmth/approval before her gaze flickered back up towards their attackers. And then they came.

They weren't even human, this time, some sort of ugly-looking alien construct. With large, bulbous heads and segmented bodies, they resembled giant insects, Remy thought, as he let out a barrage of cards at the first ranks. Almos' like Disneyland.

Not that the bugs were anything to laugh at. Out of the corner of his eye, he monitored several advancing on Iceman with preternatural speed. Bobby incased them in ice, but Remy could see cracks appear almost instantly as they utilized tremendous strength. A well-placed card sent bug guts and ice spray flying. Bobby threw him a dirty look. Yeah, you're welcome.

But he had to admit there was something to be said for teamwork. His cards, Storm's lighting bolts and Jean's TK combined to nail most of the bugs at a distance, and Remy was sure that many never even made it that far thanks to the covert actions of Psylocke and Wolverine. Angel and Iceman waited for those who made it to the pool of light, having discovered that Warren's flachete made an acceptable substitution for Gambit's cards. Beast mopped up extras, using his agility to counter for the bugs' increased strength. All together, they were doing an efficient job of dealing with the assault.

Cyke won't let dis last for long.

He felt the change instantly, a subtle increase in the bugs' speed, a tightening of their ranks. Slowly but surely, more and more got through the long-range net, besieging the trio fighting hand-to-hand. Inexorably, the tide increased, and after a moment, Remy pulled out his staff, fuchsia energy crackling down its length. In a second, they were on him.

It was as he feared; their exoskeleton was too thick to let his blows do any real permanent damage. Time to get dirty. His next strike aimed for the nearest bug's eye, and its thin scream whitened as he drove into its brain. Gotcha. Spin and strike. Spin and strike. His world dissolved into gleaming black pinpoints among a blur of dusky blue-gray. But still they kept coming.

Behind him, he felt Jean go down, her powers the least suited to the close fighting. With a deep breath, he vaulted backwards, staff whirling, positioning himself over her body until she managed to erect a telekinetic shield.

*Thank you, Remy,* she said in his mind, clear tones thoughtful as she lifted herself into the air. *I'm afraid hand-to-hand isn't my forté. Can you hold them off on your own?*

*I doubt it.* he said wryly, neatly dispatching two with a clean thrust. *I'll need some back-up.*

*Of course.*

Still, it wasn't long before a bug caught him off-guard, knocking him flat on his back with a grunt. He reacted quickly, sending the creature sprawling with a forceful kick, but soon found himself buried underneath a pile of clicking bugs, maws gaping with salivation. Shit. He wondered how real these things' bites would feel.

Suddenly, he felt his hair stand on end, and the pile abruptly lightened as he saw the white-hot scorch of lightening strike someplace dangerously close. Hastily, he shook off the few remaining bugs, not wanting to test Ororo's accuracy. He saw a shimmering, translucent globe solidify around him as he scrambled to his feet, and thought a loud thanks to Jean. As the shield winked out of existence, he felt an eddy of air behind him and glimpsed Storm alighting next to him out of the corner of his eye.

"Came down here t' fight like de rest of us, neh?" he grinned as he felt her take up a position at his back.

"Shut up and fight, Gambit."

How long the intricate dance continued, Remy had no idea. But abruptly, there were no more bugs. As the Danger Room rematerialized, he grounded his staff with a metallic thunk, watching Storm's globe dissolve with a crackle and reassuring himself that he was still in one piece. Remy could see Bobby on the floor in front of him, hand to his head, loudly proclaiming the same thing to Hank, who was bent over him with a worried expression. Jean landed alongside Warren, whose wings drooped with exhaustion, red mottling on his right shoulder revealing that he had not escaped unscathed. Psylocke appeared, faint lines around her eyes revealing her strain, and Logan... Well, Logan looked the same as ever, though he had somehow managed to rip yet another uniform to shreds. Remy turned to Storm to find her watching him with a knowing smile.

"Whatcha thinkin', Stormy?"

"Oh, I was just thinking that we might make a team player of you yet." She smiled, watching his expression turn somewhat sheepish in amusement. "And do not call me that."

"Good job, people." Cyclops' voice boomed over the intercom. There was a palpable hesitation. "Take the rest of the day off."

Bobby openly groaned at his tone, and there was some good-natured grumbling as the X-Men began to limp out the door. The friendly jibes were tossed around impartially, including Remy in the circle of weary warmth. Tiredly, he soaked up their camaraderie, ignoring the gentle smile of Storm at his side. Maybe it wouldn't hurt to stay another day.


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