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Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4


Written by Theoreon Marceaux
Last updated: 01/02/2007 02:01:11 AM

Chapter 4

William had left Percival's office and gone straight to his room in the Hotel Monte Carlo, walking through the cultural center of Venice and through St.Marks Square. Percival had been sure that Remy and William had stayed in different hotels far enough apart so that there wouldn't be suspicion as to the proximity of two renown thieves in Venice, should anyone recognize them. Of course they traveled under assumed names, but better safe than sorry. Remy was booked in the Hotel Carlton Executive on the Grand Canal in the Piazzale Roma district.

William had made his way into the cavernous dining hall of the Monte Carlo, and saw that it was packed. The concierge told him the only table available was in a typically inauspicious area, in the back near the kitchen. William didn't mind this and indeed, he preferred to sit there. A thief always needed an alternative route out of any room, and if it came down to it, the

kitchen was less conspicuous (not to mention less painful) than the window. The concierge led him through the jam-packed dining hall, squeezing past the wealthy patrons to the corner booth near the kitchen door. By the time they had reached the booth, William had acquired a checkbook, 3 credit cards a driver's liscence and a roll of breath mints.

The booth near the kitchen gave him full view of the entire dining hall, as well as the entrance and as he took his seat he followed the 1st rule of being a thief in public. Always sit with your back to the wall. William removed his coat, slid into the booth and began to examine the elaborately decorated menu. After a short while he decided on the Rigatoni con vongole and let the waiter suggest the wine, a Prosecca. As he waited for his food, William picked up a breadstick from the basket in the middle of the table and began chewing on it absently. He was thinking about how the hell he was going to pull this pinch off.

"It'd be hard enough for me to pull this job off on my own, let alone withanother person along," he thought. "Normally, I'd trust Percy's judgment, but I think the sheer scope of this pinch has got him going off half-cocked, inviting some cocky punk kid along who's been lucky so far in the game but probably doesn't know his arse from a hole in the ground when you get down to it."

He sat there for 20 minutes gnawing on breadsticks, and even though he kept a watchful thief's eye on the crowd he didn't notice that Remy had slipped in the dining hall through the kitchen and noiselessly taken a seat in his booth right next to him.

"Bon soir, voleur." Gambit said in a hushed tone. William woke from his reverie with a start.

"How'd you…what are you doing here, LeBeau!?" William demanded, yelling but whispering at the same time. "Percival set us up in different hotels for a reason, we're not supposed to be seen with each other!"

"Te bile pas mec, mon ami. Don' sweat it. I got it covered. 'Sides, we need to talk, you an' me."

"Talk? You couldn't use the sodding phone?" William rested his head in his hands on the table. "God, I knew Percy was getting old, but to pair me with some two bit kid rookie on a job like this..."

Gambit's face hardened and he lowered his sunglasses to reveal his glowing red eyes. Being caught off guard, William's eyebrows raised high, but also being a pro he kept his composure despite the fear that ran through him.

"My… God, what are you?" he whispered.

"I'm a t'eif. A damn good one, too and dat's all dats important. I ain't no rookie an' I stopped bein' a kid a long time ago so you best be more careful… wit' y'mouth."

William cleared his throat and straightened his tie. "What do you want?" he asked after the adrenaline slowed. Remy put his glasses back on and took out a cigarette.

"Y'know, dis is why I like Europe more'n de States. You can smoke anywhere, hein?" He flipped a gold Zippo open and lit the cigarette, blowing the smoke towards the ceiling.

"De reason Gambit come to see you is because I…" he stopped when the waiter returned with William's food and placed it on the table in front of him, leaving the bottle of wine as well. The waiter then turned to Gambit.

"Will you be joining him tonight, signore?" Gambit took the cigarette from his lips and glanced at the menu through his sunglasses. William thought how out-of- place Remy appeared wearing sunglasses in so posh an establishment, but thought how much more out of place he'd look without them.

"Oui, I'll have de Seppia in tecca, and bring me a glass of your finest Sauvignon Blanc. "

"Very good, signore." And the waiter hurried away.

"Dat's another t'ing Gambit like about Europe. You can drink when you're twelve years old, hein?"

"Seppia in tecca? You like boiled squid?" William asked incredulously, amazed that Remy could read the menu in all Italian and know which wine to order with it.

"Boiled in it's own ink. Y'ain't lived till you tried it, frere."

"I'll stick with my pastas, merci beaucoup." William said.

" Anyways, after you left de office dis afternoon, I did some… extensive research… on some of y'past jobs. But you, you don' know me, an' so far you ain't got no respect for my skills. Now, Gambit ain't got nothin' to prove to you, monsieur, but for both our sakes I t'ink it be best if we established some kinda mutual trust in each other's abilities. Dat way, we ain't gotta be trippin' all over each other once we get inside Le Grand Maison de les Catholiques.

William swallowed his food and took a sip of wine. "Must you speak that bloody patois all the time? French or English. Make up your mind, slick." He daubed his mouth with his napkin. "But I'll admit you do have something of a point. I don't want unprofessionalism around me, as I'm sure you don't want around you. So a pinch before the pinch, eh old boy?"

Gambit grinned and scooted over closer to William, patting him on the back.

"Don't nobody know how Gambit loves a challenge." William sipped his wine again. "So what shall it be, then? Here in Venice, I don't think there's much to pinch unless you have a taste for gondolas." Remy thought for a moment.

"Keep it simple, dat's my motto. What say we take turns, mon ami? We work dis room. I make a sweep of the right wing an' you take de left. We clean out de folks in dis whole place, pay our bill and slip out b'fore anyone of dese rich chumps knows what hit 'em." William tilted his head to the side and snickered. "Picking pockets, LeBeau? What is this, an Oliver Twist movie? And why would we rob the whole room but still be descent enough to pay the bill? Our prowess would be better defined pinching something that requires skill, not just taking money from the pockets of these fat rich sods."

Gambit shrugged. "Time is of de essence, mon voleur noir. We ain't got time to do a proper pinch, an' besides, if you so 'professional', den what I doing wit' dis?" Gambit reached into his coat and took out the checkbook, credit cards and drivers liscence that William had taken from the crowd.

William's eyebrows rose high on his head, then Remy stuck out his tongue to reveal one of the breath mints William had stolen.

William's eyes narrowed and a smile crept across his lips, then finally he let out a bout of laughter. As he clapped his hands he said, "Good show, old man, good show. However…" William reached into his own pants pockets with either hand and revealed not only Remy's wallet, but he was wearing Remy's fingerless gloves and dancing between his fingers was Remy's deck of cards.

"...I don't see the professional significance of a deck of cards, slick."

Remy's eyebrows went high on his head as well, and even though his glasses hid his eyes, William could imagine the shock they displayed. A reluctant smile slowly crept over Remy's face as well when he burst out laughing too. Both men sat there engaged in their guffaw, and when it finally died down Remy said,

"What's de old thief sayin'? 'De easiest people to pinch..." Remy began,

"'...Are cocky crooks.'" William finished.

"Touché," Gambit offered

"Touché," William conceded. The waiter then returned with Remy's food, and the two men ate together in peace, each comfortable in the fact that he dined with an equal.


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