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Chapter 1


Written by K-Nice
Last updated: 01/02/2007 02:01:11 AM

Chapter 1

The dank smell of spring falling into decay was nearly overpowered by the cold scent of granite and marble. Stone anchored her to the earth, kept her from floating off into the terrible pain in her heart. She continued to sit, her head bowed, staring, without seeing, at the rows and rows of names. She was in the Lebeau family's crypt, nestled in guarded area of a private cemetery.

Rebecca reached a hand up, pulling her russet and white hair out of her tear-rimmed eyes Lifting her head, she let her eyes wander over the dead. Some quiet, calculating part of her brain added and multiplied: 43 names on one wall alone. The wall behind her was equally full, if not more-so. But, among all these antecedents, dead over hundreds of years, only one name proclaimed it was her own blood spilt on the ground. Only one was her own flesh rent on the fields of battle. Only one represented her heart poured out on cold stone.

A gentle touch on her shoulder, a thumb stroking her neck, right were it always tensed up, and he was there beside her. His lips pressed against her ear, whispering hot words on her cool flesh. "I found you."

Remy Lebeau didn't expect her to flinch, but some reaction would have been more comforting. He looked up at her fingers as they traced over a solid gold plaque. His fingers stole up beside hers. He watched his hand glow with impotent fury, the precious metal taking on a cerise hue. He pulled his hand away, burying his face in her hair.

Her voice cracked as she whispered, reading the gracefully engraved words that were carved into their souls. "Etienne Cody Lebeau. June 19, 2006 to March 3, 2035." She canted her head and stared at the Latin inscription that followed her son's name and dates. "Pro Veneratio?"

"For honor."

They knelt in silence. Had they lost their heir, the Prince of Thieves, for a nebulous concept, an incorporeal idea? It seem petty, that so vibrant and loving a life would be cut off over mere thoughts, an abstract but ancient ideal. Why didn't it read, "Gunned down by Garbone family hitmen while smuggling a child out of their 'protectorate' so she could receive medical treatment"? Wasn't there enough room to explain the size of his heart, the heart that made him use his thief training to reach out to those in need? Would expounding on the strength of will and character that made him their pride and joy have taken up too much space? Couldn't just one word be spared for the pride in his green-black eyes, the skill in his glowing hands?

Remy knew what it was like to fight for the intangible. Together, he and his wife had fought such battles, fought and lived for a dream. They had been heroes, Gambit and Rogue, criminals turned heroes turned criminals. They faced darkness head on with a fire so hot it remade the world, brought peace where none could exist. His hands gripped her shoulders, causing the fabric of her nightgown to bunch between his fingers. When the night terror took her, she had flown directly here. He had taken a few moments to dress, however, and followed in the car. Now, it was he that leapt ahead. "He deserved this."

Rebecca started at the words. They were callous, unfeeling, hurtful. Unless they came from a man who had spent two-thirds of his existence struggling to regain his honor, to earn back the piece of his soul that had been stolen away. Tears began to course down her cheeks as she remembered the days wondering if she could ever accomplish anything good, the nights spent longing for the chance to do something right. "Yes. He did."

For all their crimes and all their sins, they had managed to produce this child, this man. No matter what they had done, he had been a man of honor. The silence grew around them, cold as stone, quiet as death. As one, they turned away, suddenly able to find their way back home, back to the lives they were supposed to be leading. Only, now they took with them the warmth of gold and the cool assurance of marble walls. They had lost their son, their firstborn. Through him, they had finally paid the price of honor.


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