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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
Chapter 12
Chapter 13
Chapter 14
Chapter 15
Chapter 16
Chapter 17
Chapter 18
Chapter 19
Chapter 20
Chapter 21
Chapter 22
Chapter 23
Chapter 24
Chapter 25
Chapter 26
Chapter 27
Chapter 28
Chapter 29
Chapter 30
Chapter 31
Chapter 32
Chapter 33
Chapter 34
Chapter 35
Chapter 36
Chapter 37
Chapter 38
Chapter 39
Chapter 40
Chapter 41
Chapter 42
Chapter 43
Chapter 44
Chapter 45
Chapter 46
Chapter 47
Chapter 48
Chapter 49
Chapter 50
Chapter 51
Chapter 52
Chapter 53
Chapter 54
Chapter 55
Chapter 56
Chapter 57
Chapter 58
Chapter 59
Chapter 60
Chapter 61
Chapter 62
Chapter 63
Chapter 64


Written by Valerie Jones
Last updated: 05/10/2010 11:31:24 PM

Chapter 16

With Bobby’s help, Remy spent some time mapping the area immediately around the Blackbird in his head. Though his spatial sense was no longer functioning, his brain retained the long-practiced ability to calculate precise geometric relationships. As they walked Remy kept one hand on the young thief’s shoulder, listening as Bobby described the dimensions of each obstruction they passed. They often stopped to let Remy explore with his fingers, letting his sense of touch fill in what his eyes could not, and in the end he had a sketchy but workable three dimensional mental diagram of the building.

Once he was certain he could walk more than a couple of feet without running into something, Remy went in search of Rogue. He found her on the far side of the Blackbird with Jean. The two women sat together, their heads nearly touching as they bent over whatever they were working on. From their conversation, he guessed it was the mini-Cerebro, but that was purely a guess.

He stood behind them for a moment, unnoticed, then deliberately scuffed his foot across the floor. Both women started at the sound, their heads snapping up in surprise.

“Remy! You startled us.” Jean placed one hand over her heart.

“Sorry, chere. I ain’ used t’ bein’ able t’ sneak up on y’.” He grinned to take the sting out of his words.

Jean shook her head, seemingly unperturbed. Beside her, Rogue had turned back to their project and was ignoring Remy with determination.

After a moment, Jean stood and Remy wondered what expression might be on her face. Her voice was both sad and wry. “I’m not even going to try to come up with an excuse. I’m just going to go away and let you two talk.” She stepped away from Rogue.

“T’anks, Jean,” Remy told her retreating figure. He stood where he was for a while, watching Rogue, uncertain how to proceed. She continued with what she was doing and could have seemed completely wrapped up in the task were it not for the telltale flush of anger in her form and the rapid pounding of her heart.

Finally, he worked his way cautiously around to where Jean had been and took a seat next to Rogue.

She froze. “Go away, Gambit,” she grated without looking up. “Ah don’t want ta talk to ya.”

“Why not?” He tried to keep his voice gentle.

“Because it’s been a bad day already an’ ah ain’t in a mood ta fight.” He could hear the husky note in her voice that meant she was trying not to cry.

Remy sighed softly and leaned his elbows on his knees. A dozen possible responses leapt into his mind and struggled for release, but he bit them back. He wanted so much to try to explain to her, but he knew that there was nothing he could say right now that wouldn’t make things worse. He didn’t want to fight, either, so all he could do was wait in the hope that his silence would be enough to draw her out.

A few minutes later Rogue paused, as if she had finally run out of the ability to keep her attention focused.

“Ah thought ya were done with the guilds,” she said without looking at him, her voice raw with disappointment.

Remy watched her, wishing that he dared touch her. “I gave up stealin’ as a career,” he explained carefully. “But I can’ leave de Guild, Rogue. Y’ know dat.” And she did. Or, at least, she should. They’d been through it before, every time family and duty had drawn Remy back to New Orleans, but still she tried to believe that the Thieves Guild would someday release its hold on him.

“Right.” The single syllable was mocking.

Remy felt a familiar flash of anger. “Back up, girl,” he warned her. “Y’ got no idea how de Guild operates.”

Rogue looked up at him. “Ya right about that, sugah.” The words were thick with sarcasm. “Ah guess it ain’t any o’ mah business, right? Just like ya goin’ back ta stealin’ ain’t any o’ mah business. Just like ya vision ain’t any o’ mah business. Just like ya wife ain’t any o’ mah business—“

“Ex-wife,” Remy interrupted her, feeling cold. Did she still resent him for that?

Rogue stared at him, silenced. He had the distinct feeling he’d caught her off guard.

“Ex-wife?” she repeated cautiously.

He nodded as her heat signature shifted subtly. “An’ ya didn’t think it was important enough ta mention?” The cold bite of sarcasm was back in her voice.

Remy struggled to keep hold of his temper. “Y’ were gone when it was finalized, chere.” He couldn’t help the vague accusation in his tone. She was the one who’d run away rather than sort out the truth. “An’ contrary t’ popular belief, I don’ spend much time t’inkin’ ‘bout Belle.”

Rogue stiffened, and Remy berated himself for taking a cheap shot. He sighed tiredly. “Lot o’ t’ings happened since den.” Includin’ me nearly gettin’ m’self killed. “It was over an’ done an… I forgot ‘bout it.”

Rogue wrapped her good arm around her sling as if seeking comfort. “Ah sure wish ah believed ya, sugah.”

Remy’s gut knotted. “But y’ don’.”

“No.” She refused to look at him. Then she stood. “Ah’m not stupid, Remy. Ah know that who ah think ya are an’ who ya really are ain’t the same person.”

Remy rose beside her, startled. His heart began pounding in a mixture of horrible anticipation and a kind of painful hope that she might have begun to understand. Her next words dashed his fragile hope.

“Ah’m tired o’ being in love with a shell, Remy.” She shook her head sharply, words ragged with the threat of tears. “Ah told mahself ah wouldn’t make any ultimatums, but ah just can’t do this any more.” She drew herself up to her full height, her posture stiff and brittle. Remy wanted to grab her and shake her to keep her from saying anything else.

“So either ya start tellin’ me the truth about some things or—“ Her voice cracked.

“Or what?” he demanded harshly as hurt and anger threatened to choke him. “Y’ gon’ stop lovin’ me? Jus’ turn y’ heart off like it was a light switch?”


Remy reached out and captured her face in his hands, ignoring her startled flinch as he pulled her close. “Rogue, listen to me.” He felt a keen stab of regret that he couldn’t look into her emerald eyes. “I. Love. You.” He punctuated each word with a tiny shake and heard her gasp. They weren’t words he had used very often. “But I can’ tell y’ what y’ wan’ t’ hear.”

“Why not?”

Remy closed his eyes, not certain he knew how to explain. “Because dey jus’ words, chere.” He looked back at her. “Words ain’ enough t’ make y’ understand.” Words can’ talk t’ y’ heart, chere, o’ open y’ eyes o’ change y’ mind.

Rogue pulled away. “Words work pretty well foh the rest a the world.”

“I ain’ de rest o’ de world.” There were some things about his life-- his past-- that words simply could not encompass. Reduced to words, those things would condemn him and he cared too much now to let it all be stripped away.

She crossed her arms. “Y’ ain’t all that different, sugah. At least it would be a start.”

He shook his head slowly. “Would do more damage dan good.”

She threw up her hand in a gesture of frustration. “How? Would it really be any worse than this?”

“Probably,” he answered with a snort, but forbore mentioning the primary example. The less she thought about Seattle, the better.

Rogue stared at him. “Fine, ya won’t talk, but ah meant what ah said. Ah can’t keep goin’ on like this. Somehow, ya’ve got ta find a way ta tell me or show me or-- “

“Dat gon’ be a two-way street, chere?” He tried to suppress the caustic bite to the words and failed.


At her defensive rejoinder, Remy turned so that they faced each other directly once again. “Y’ gon’ tell me about y’ past, too, miss junior terrorist? O’ am I de only one?”

Rogue inhaled sharply. Her heart rate jumped, but she said nothing.

Remy watched her, his anger souring. Round an’ round we go. I’ll tell y’, but only if y’ tell me first. He sighed. “Do y’ know why I won’ tell y’ ‘bout m’self, Rogue?” he asked.

Her response was scathing. “If ah knew that, don’t ya think ah would’ve done somethin’ about it?”

Remy clamped his jaw shut on his instinctive response. When he was fairly sure he had control of his reaction, he nodded. “Oui, chere, if y’ could.”

The unexpected agreement made her pause. “If?” Suspicion replaced anger in her voice. “What’s that supposed ta mean?”

“What do y’ t’ink it means?” he snapped in return. “Don’ y’ t’ink I realize I ain’ exactly what y’ had in mind?” He took a step closer to her, knowing that she would interpret the move as physical aggression, but wanting it anyway. Wanting her. “I ain’ Prince Charmin’ on a white horse.”

Rogue stiffened, though whether from fear or anger Remy couldn’t tell. “Ah’m not askin’ ya ta pretend ta be somebody ya ain’t!” She leaned ever so slightly toward him, her posture softening. “Ah just want ta know who ya are.”

“Even if y’ don’ like what y’ find?” he asked softly, all too aware of her nearness.

Remy could sense the change as fear overrode attraction. Rogue shifted away and raised her chin. “Ah can handle it, sugah.”

As well as y’ c’n handle bein’ less dan half a foot away from me? he queried her silently, hurt by the tacit rejection. “If dat were true, y’d already know everyt’ing y’ wanted t’.”

He regretted it the moment he said it and Rogue’s heat signature flared. “Ah didn’ say ah wanted ta live it! Ya got a lot o’ gall thinkin’ ah want all ya garbage floatin’ around in mah head, Remy! Ah don’t.” She turned away. “Ah hate it.”

Remy felt the familiar wash of guilt and fought it. Was a stupid mistake, but it was de first time she’d ever reached f’ me... He shook his head, banishing the thought, but the regret lingered.

“Havin’ me in y’ head? Is dat what y’ hate?” he asked bitterly.

Rogue glanced at him over her shoulder. “Can ya blame me, sugah?”

Remy barked a short, painful laugh. Objectively?... No. “I got bad news f’ ya, chere. Dose t’ings are a part o’ me. Dey ain’ gon go away.”

“Ah know that.”

“Den why do y’ get mad at me every time y’ hear somet’ing y’ don’ like?”

Rogue spun to face him. “Ah do not--!” She cut the retort off and took a deep breath. “Look, Remy, ah’d be lyin’ if ah said ah was thrilled with ya past, but it ain’t somethin’ that can be changed. Ah accept that. But ya past has this bad habit of becomin’ part of the present an’ no, ah don’t like it.” She paused, regrouping. “The whole point of becomin’ an X-Man is ta leave all the bad stuff behind, sugah.” Her voice held a note of appeal.

Remy shook his head, frustrated. “Dis is where we started dis argument. I can’ jus’ leave everyt’ing like y’ wan’ me to.”

Her tone hardened. “Ya could try.”

Remy’s gaze narrowed. “An if I don’ want to?” he challenged.

Rogue’s mouth closed with a snap. He could only imagine her expression as she stared at him and he gave her a sardonic smile. “See, chere?”

He waited a moment more to see if she would say anything. Then, disgusted with the stalemate, he turned away.

Scott watched Remy walk away from the Blackbird with a guilty stab. He was opposed to eavesdropping, but he hadn’t been able to block out the words and now he found his thoughts turning in disturbing circles.

Gambit had called Rogue a terrorist, a label that bothered him. It shouldn’t, he realized. It was true. But he still didn’t like acknowledging that Rogue had spent her years with Mystique learning exactly that. The fact didn’t fit well with the image of the headstrong, somewhat naive young woman he knew.

Well, she’s an ex-terrorist, anyway, he amended. Across the cleared area surrounding the Blackbird, Logan met his eye with a shrug for the familiar antics of the volatile couple.

We seem to have a lot of ex’s in the X-Men, Scott thought sourly, his gaze lingering on Logan. Ex-spy. He looked back towards Gambit’s retreating figure. Ex-thief. He turned slowly until he’d located Psylocke. Ex-assassin.

He shook his head briefly, dismayed at himself. They’re not exactly the wholesome team of heroes I keep trying to convince myself I’m leading. Maybe he was the one who was naive to think that these men and women would simply abandon their past lives once they joined the X-Men. They had certainly brought some parts of those lives with them, namely their fighting skills and their mutant powers... and their enemies. Perhaps he shouldn’t be so resistant to the idea that they brought a lot of other things with them, too.

He shook his head. But the whole purpose of the Dream is to give them a different kind of life to lead, and to get rid of the need for all of those ‘other’ things.

His thoughts were interrupted as Bishop stepped into the building, his rifle trained on the three unfamiliar men who walked in a loose formation in front of him. The man in front was definitely a mutant, with red skin and yellow cat’s eyes that scanned the area with keen interest. Scott felt a burst of anger. What was Bishop doing? The Blackbird sat uncloaked and clearly visible in the middle of the impromptu hangar.

The other two men appeared to be human, and all three were dressed in a ragged mixture of leather and canvas that labeled them as gang members more clearly than if they had signs plastered on their foreheads. Scott felt a second wave of consternation when he realized that Bishop was herding their visitors toward Gambit rather than himself.

Just because he’s made himself the banker for this little operation, doesn’t mean he’s in charge, Scott thought darkly as he angled across the building toward Gambit. He arrived a moment before Bishop, pinning the giant man with a stare that he hoped conveyed his disapproval.

Bishop’s reaction was somewhat disconcerting. He nodded to Scott in respectful acknowledgment, but then turned immediately toward Gambit, his demeanor unchanged. The underlying mixture of anger and disgust that had always highlighted his interactions with Gambit was gone, replaced by a kind of resolved acceptance.

Gambit seemed to notice the difference as well. He studied Bishop for a moment before turning his attention to the three men.

He certainly doesn’t act blind, Scott thought. He could clearly see Gambit sizing each of them up and promised himself a chat with Hank to find out just what kind of vision the Cajun now had.

“Who’s the bull dog?” the lead man asked, jerking his head toward Bishop. To Scott he appeared intimidated, but was doing a credible job of covering it.

Gambit flashed a grin as Bishop’s eyes narrowed. “Nobody t’ worry ‘bout.” Scott was vaguely pleased by the smooth evasion. At least Gambit wasn’t giving out their identities.

Gambit’s smile disappeared. “Y’ people in place?” he asked the mutant.

Bishop’s finger tightened on the trigger as the man dipped one hand into his pocket. He fished out a small black box that he tossed toward Gambit. The Cajun mutant snagged it, a tad clumsily in Scott’s eyes, though he didn’t think anyone not familiar with Gambit would notice.

“If anybody comes around, y’ll get a page,” the man said. Scott frowned thoughtfully. It was a crude warning system, but might just be useful if these “people” were stationed outside of the Blackbird’s sensor range. He wondered if Gambit had taken the Blackbird into account, since this agreement had obviously been worked out in advance.

Gambit nodded, fingering the pager. The red-skinned man cocked his head. “So let’s talk payment.”

Scott listened to the ensuing conversation about bank routing numbers with little comprehension. He had always dismissed the Hollywood portrayals of criminals doing their business in cryptic but very cool-sounding slang as being nothing more than a device to make otherwise reprehensible characters seem attractive. He was more than a little surprised to discover how strangely close to the truth Hollywood was.

The conversation ended abruptly and Bishop ushered his charges away. Scott could only guess that Bishop had been able to follow the discussion and knew they were finished because he had seen nothing from Gambit that he might interpret as a dismissal. It was very strange to watch the perfect coordination between the two X-Men. In fact, given their past track record, it was downright eerie.

Scott waited until Bishop had disappeared outside the building before turning to Gambit. “Care to explain what all that was about?” He couldn’t keep his aggravation with the entire situation and Gambit’s weird behavior out of his voice.

Gambit’s gaze flickered toward Scott as the familiar poker face slipped into place. In the same flat tone he used whenever he was required to give Scott a report, he explained, “De man’s name is Pitt. He’s de leader of a gang called Ravage.” He turned the pager over in his hand once more and then offered it to Scott. “He’ll keep a roamin’ patrol around de building, twenty-four hours a day, f’ as long as he’s paid to.”

Scott pushed aside all of the disconcerting questions that he knew Gambit wouldn’t answer and concentrated on business. “How wide is the net?”

“Between one an’ two miles radius.”

Scott swallowed a snort. In power-save mode, the Blackbird’s passive sensors reach just over a mile. The Shi’ar equivalent of batteries were pretty impressive, but most of the aircraft’s sensing equipment required so much power it could only operate off the engines, which they couldn’t leave running all the time. The Blackbird’s fuel efficiency was downright astounding compared to Earth technology, but all they had was the one tank. Their refining equipment had been destroyed with the mansion, and the only other set had been installed at Muir Island way back when. They couldn’t afford to waste a drop of the precious liquid.

Scott crossed his arms and regarded Gambit for a long moment while he sorted his thoughts. “So, do you have anything else hidden up your sleeves or is this it?”

Gambit’s response was a wolfish grin that did nothing to reassure the X-Men’s field leader. “Maybe.” He shrugged lightly, as if acknowledging that the answer wasn’t sufficient. “Wolverine asked me t’ run an errand, so we’ll see.”

Scott’s suspicions sharpened. “What kind of errand?”

Another shrug, this one reserved. “Guild business. Ask Logan if y’ wan’ details.”

Scott bit back an instinctive desire to demand an explanation anyway. It wouldn’t do any good. He could see the brick wall behind Gambit’s eyes and knew from experience that all he would get for his trouble was a load of frustration and a tension headache.

“Fine,” he agreed shortly. “Just let me know before you leave.” He would have to go have a talk with Logan. He was getting very tired of being in the dark.

Remy forced himself not to run through the twisting tunnels of the Guild complex as he made his way toward the Great Hall. For one, even with Bobby beside him, he probably couldn’t navigate the rocky passages at that speed without hurting himself, and two, he needed to project calm confidence which required deliberation, not speed.

With every step, he cursed his own lack of foresight. He should have realized the warning Chess had been trying to give him, but he had mistaken the man’s concern as being for Remy himself rather than for the Guild. Unfortunately, he hadn’t yet truly begun to think of himself as Guildmaster. It hadn’t occurred to him that the Guild would react so strongly to anything and everything that happened to him. Instead of arriving to find mild concern for his whereabouts in the wake of the mansion’s destruction, he had found the Guild in panicked disarray, believing that their Guildmaster was either dead or captured by OZT.

The sentries they’d passed on their way into the complex had nearly come unglued at Remy’s appearance, though, to their credit, they’d scanned both thieves very carefully for Sentinel components before allowing them to pass. From them Remy had gotten a fair picture of what was happening with the Guild. It didn’t surprise him that opinions were divided, with some wanting to remain in New York until a real threat materialized and some wanting to scatter to the other American Guilds now, before the Sentinels could find the underground complex.

They turned the final corner. Remy was relieved to see that the doors to the Great Hall remained closed. He could hear the muted rumble of many hundreds of voices through the walls, and allowed his pace to slow a notch. The critical thing had been to get there before someone made the decision to scatter. The other Guilds were primarily located in Bastion’s target cities. Those who managed to survive the trip would find no more safety there than in New York.

Remy paused with his hands on the heavy brass handles of the double doors and took a deep, steadying breath. He was shaken by the fact that he’d misjudged so badly. Not so much because he’d been wrong, but because his mistake could easily have cost many of these people their lives. Remy had watched innocents die because of his mistakes before. He did not ever want to repeat the experience.

Slowly, he straightened, unconsciously adjusting his grip on the door handles.

“Knock ‘em dead, boss,” Bobby said from behind him, his voice full of confidence.

Remy was startled into a grin and he pushed the doors open with a renewed sense of determination. They were not too late. This mistake, at least, could be put right.

The doors swung ponderously open, grinding into the stops with a resounding boom that echoed in the giant cavern. Remy ignored it as he strode into the room, down the main aisle that led to the center ring. The overwhelming din quieted for a moment in surprise as people craned to see who had arrived, but quickly swelled to its original volume and beyond. People who had been standing in the aisle gave way, stepping aside to create a pathway toward the center of the room. Each of them seemed intent on greeting Remy personally and enthusiastically as he passed. Dozens of people reached out to touch the Guildmaster as if wanting to verify that he was solid and real, and Remy had to suppress the sudden desire to bat the invading hands away. He had always spent his time in the shadows, avoiding notice. He didn’t know how to react to celebrity.

It was a relief to step into the center ring, away from the press of people. With Bobby behind him, Remy took a moment to acknowledge each of the council members, but ignored their questions. For now they were going to get the same explanation as the rest.

Turning, Remy stepped up to the microphone. He looked around at the indistinct mass of warmth that was the crowd and waited for the room to quiet. Although he really didn’t have any experience with public speaking, he found that he had a fair idea of what to say. He grinned. Been listenin’ t’ de Professor long enough dat I’ve picked up a feel f’ it. But that didn’t keep his stomach from fluttering in nervous anticipation.

He was almost ready to begin when a disturbance near the front caught his attention. He watched in bemusement as the disturbance resolved itself into a small, familiar silhouette that pushed determinedly through the crowd. Once free of the press, she ducked into the ring and rushed forward to throw herself into Bobby’s arms, sobbing in relief.

Remy was unable to contain his smile as he watched Bobby comfort his wife with kisses. He felt a pang of guilt for having caused Diedre so much distress, even unintentionally, but it was almost worthwhile just to see the reunion. Remy’s reaction was echoed by the crowd, and he had to wait a short while longer for the laughter to die away. Bobby would probably never know how much Remy envied him in that, he decided as he turned back to the microphone.

Remy chose his words to the Guild carefully. He couldn’t tell them about the X-Men, but he needed to reassure them that there was no immediate danger to the Guild from Bastion and OZT. As a result, he ended up giving only a sketchy account of what had happened at the mansion. He instead focused on the Guild itself, relying heavily on his natural charisma to draw the crowd in and renew their confidence in themselves and the organization that had been created to protect them.

Remy was unprepared for the emotional feedback his short speech generated. As a group, the New York Guild had complete faith in him, which was entirely new in Remy’s experience. They were more than willing to believe in him and to trust because he asked them to. After so many years of being rejected by the Guilds, the total acceptance was exhilarating in a way Remy had never experienced. It stripped away his defenses and swept him up into an intense emotional high as the Guild responded to his words.

Remy was trembling in reaction as he dismissed the gathered crowd back to their homes within the complex. The applause rang in his ears, the sound immensely gratifying. He stepped away from the center of the ring, taking several deep breaths to compose himself.

“Well said,” Chess commented as the crowd began to disperse. Remy flashed him a weak grin.

“T’anks.” Despite his somewhat wobbly knees, he drew himself up as the other council members gathered around. them and tried to concentrate.

Chess leaned back in his wheelchair. “I’m certain the Guild will feel better knowing that you will be here from now on.”

Remy was taken aback by the pointed comment and knew that Chess could read his expression all too easily. Then he shook his head. “Non. I still can’ do dat, but I will be here more often, neh?”

Chess’s reaction was one of dismay. “After what just happened here, Guildmaster, I’m surprised to hear you say that.”

Remy raised an eyebrow. The other man’s tone was just shy of openly disapproving. Remy studied him intently. He knew that Chess didn’t like his choice in living arrangements, but he had never criticized. It made Remy realize just how strongly the ex-Guildmaster felt about the matter.

Remy was all too aware of Adrian watching the conversation, his body language nonchalant, but his interest obvious. Remy kept his sigh to himself. Adrian would be quick to take advantage of any schism between the new Guildmaster and his most ardent supporter on the Coucil.

Remy organized his thoughts quickly. He needed to reassure Chess without telling him any specifics about the X-Men. Perhaps in private, but not in front of men like Adrian.

“Dere are some t’ings I c’n do t’ protect de Guild dat I have t’ do out dere.” Remy nodded toward the doors to indicate the larger world outside the complex. “I know it ain’ traditional f’ de Guildmaster t’ work outside normal channels, but in dis case de Guild is gon’ have t’ accept it.”

“And the Guild should simply accept the risk so that the Guildmaster can continue his lifestyle uninterrupted?” Adrian’s words oozed a kind of menacing civility.

Remy froze, but managed to recover before giving away his feelings. Anger swept through him at the insinuation, though he knew it was nothing more than the man’s typical maneuvering. He forced his voice to remain light and unconcerned as he replied, “If y’ were gon’ call someone t’ task on dat, it should’ve been y’ cousin.”

Adrian’s heat image flared brightly. “Don’t throw Michael in my face! He made his own choices.”

Remy suppressed his smile. Y’ ain’ half de enemy Michael was, Adrian. He wouldn’ have let me manipulate him like dis.

“Oui, but, as family, who else had more responsibility t’ challenge him?”

Adrian stared at him, his mounting fury evident in the flickering of his heat signature. “It was most appropriate for another Master to make that challenge,” he finally grated.

Remy inclined his head fractionally, having achieved the concession he wanted, and turned back to Chess. “I can’ deny dat dere’s a risk t’ de Guild.” The near-disaster they’d just averted was testament enough to that. “But de return is well worth de risk.”

“What return?” Tom O’Shane asked.

Remy met his invisible gaze. “De end of OZT, an’ de destruction o’ dere satellites,” he replied reasonably.

Disbelieving silence answered him and he smiled, wondering what Logan would think of how he was going about his errand. “Dis is a matter f’ de Council, neh?” He made an inviting gesture. “So if y’ gentlemen would like t’ adjourn t’ chambers...”


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