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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 59

The X-Men gathered in the Guild council chambers, their conversation muted. Scott could feel their curiosity like an electric current arcing through the room, but it was tempered with a healthy dose of uncertainty. Scott couldn’t help but feel the same. Like them, he’d gotten used to the idea of Remy as the other cornerstone of the team’s leadership and the idea that today’s events might undermine that structure made him nervous.

Rather than take the seat at the head of the table, Scott had opted to sit near the middle. Hopefully that would encourage more of a team environment-the meeting of a collection of equals. Remy opted to take a seat directly across the table from him. He was dressed in one of the expensive suits that had become his norm, but he slouched in his chair, legs extended in front of him and ankles crossed. He stared blankly at his feet, the red eyes distant.

Rogue sat beside her husband, her expression worried. Several seats away, Mystique watched the two of them, her white, pupiless eyes narrowed. She had her arms crossed and tapped the fingers of one hand against her bicep in an uneven tattoo.

Jean was the last to arrive. She’d wanted to feed Haven before they started, and now had the baby snuggled into her arms, fast asleep. Scott couldn’t help but smile at his daughter as Jean sat down in the empty chair beside him, but the smile faded a notch when he looked up into his wife’s face. He wasn’t sure how he felt about Jean’s role in all of this. She’d broken Remy’s confidence without apology, if not without remorse. It revealed a ruthless side to her that he didn’t see very often.

The room grew silent as the X-Men turned expectantly to Scott. He cleared his throat.

"Well, I suppose we all know why we’re here," he began. "Sinister has agreed to meet with us to discuss using his tesseract to get us to the space station." He looked around, gauging their reactions. "What price Sinister is going to ask for his help we can only guess at this point, but what we do know from past experience is that he’ll use the opportunity to hurt the X-Men just as much as he can."

Heads nodded around the table. They all knew Sinister’s ways.

Scott went on. "As I explained yesterday, it turns out that Sinister had some damaging information in his possession that both Jean and Remy think he will probably use, given this opportunity." Scott had pieced together the reason the night before as he lay in bed, unable to get his mind to shut down enough to sleep.

He smiled humorlessly. "Though Sinister values the X-Men as a gene pool, he will certainly view our alliance with the Guild as a threat. He may help us, but he’ll do everything in his power to weaken us in the process." And discrediting Remy was probably the most damaging thing he could do. The same fear Scott had felt sitting in that hospital room, wrestling with the knowledge of what would happen if Remy died on them, rose up inside him.

He cleared his throat again, shoving the fear aside. "So with that, I guess I’m going to turn this over to Remy." He nodded in the thief’s direction. Remy didn’t acknowledge him. He continued to stare blankly at the ground, his expression bleak.

Jean straightened in her seat, careful not to disturb the baby. "If you don’t mind, I’d like to make a couple of prefacing comments first," she said, glancing between Scott and Remy.

Scott wasn’t sure which of them the question had been directed toward, but since Remy seemed to be ignoring all of them, he nodded. "Go ahead."

Jean spent a moment gathering her thoughts and then looked around the table, her expression set. "You all know that I came by this information when I was inside Remy’s mind two years ago. I was trying to save his life, so I can’t honestly say I’m sorry for what I did-" Her gaze settled on Remy, who looked up. "But I don’t want anyone to think I’m claiming some kind of moral high ground here. I’m not."

She shook her head. "Invading someone’s mind that deeply is a horrible thing to do. Imagine driving steel pilings into the ground to reinforce a skyscraper that would otherwise collapse." She shrugged uncomfortably. "It’s violent and brutal and leaves scars behind, and the fact that the only other option would have been to stand back and let him die doesn’t change how ugly it is."

She and Remy stared at each other for a long moment before Jean broke away, dropping her gaze. "That’s all I wanted to say."

Scott nodded in acknowledgment and turned back to Remy. The Guildmaster didn’t move for several long seconds, but eventually he stirred.

"Y’ got a suggestion f’ where y’ want me t’ start dis?" he asked Jean, his voice as expressionless as his face.

She shrugged. "Start with your powers going out of control."

Scott jerked his gaze back to Remy, thoroughly startled, and saw similar expressions reflected on the faces around him. Even Rogue’s. He didn’t remember ever hearing any mention of Gambit losing-or having once lost-control of his powers, though it certainly put the other man’s attitude toward Rogue’s issues with her powers into a new light. Maybe Remy’s behavior toward her during their tumultuous dating relationship had had more to do with understanding where she was coming from and less to do with wanting to get into her pants than Scott had thought.

Remy nodded. "D’accord." He looked up at the ceiling, seeming to gather himself, and when he finally spoke his voice had a reflective quality.

"It’s been... almost seven years now. I’d just turned twenty-three an’ I was in de last stages of earnin’ m’ master’s mark. Was workin’ non-stop." He paused. "I started gettin’ power spikes-jus’ sudden surges, no warnin’. At first I ignored it-figured it’d go away-an’ I was too busy t’ really pay attention. But it didn’ go away. It got worse. So once I’d gotten m’ mark I decided t’ see about findin’ a doctor who could tell me what was goin’ on."

"And you picked Sinister?" Warren asked, sounding incredulous.

Remy shot him a dark look and shook his head. "I made a list o’ folks t’ research-known experts in de field. Oui, Sinister was on it, but so was Hank." He inclined his head in Beast’s direction. "An’ Moira McTaggert, t’ name a few."

Hank cocked his head thoughtfully. "I don’t remember you ever contacting me," he said after a moment.

Remy’s eyebrows flickered in the equivalent of a shrug. "De X-Men c’n be hard t’ track down."

Hank absorbed that. "And Dr. McTaggert?"

Remy’s expression hardened. "Once I found out what de Proteus Chamber was, she went straight t’ de bottom of m’ list. I didn’ much fancy de idea o’ gettin’ locked away inside dat t’ing while she tried t’ come up wit’ a solution."

"The Proteus Chamber?" Hank asked in surprise, which Scott silently echoed. The Proteus Chamber was a last-ditch protective measure meant to contain highly dangerous mutants who posed a significant threat to the population at large. What could possibly have made Remy think Moira might use such extreme measures on him?

Remy seemed to understand their confusion. He shifted his position, slouching a little further down into his chair. "Maybe I should back up an’ explain how m’ powers work."

A ripple of reaction ran around the room, a collective sharpening of interest. More than finding out what Remy’s connection was to Sinister, the promise of witnessing their resident enigma unraveled was enough to captivate them all.

Remy looked around the room, taking in their reaction. His gaze settled on Hank. "As de good doctor is fond o’ explainin’, all mutants dat have some kind o’ energy-based power have t’ absorb dat energy from someplace else. Dey don’ manufacture it." He gestured toward Scott. "Dey absorb it from de sun, de atmosphere, de food they eat, other people, whatever."

Hank nodded. "The law of conservation of energy: energy can be neither created nor destroyed. It can only be changed from one form into another."

"In my case," Remy continued, "de energy I use comes from breakin’ de molecular bonds dat hold various molecules together."

Hank leaned forward and pushed his glasses up on his nose. "Really? How fascinating. I assume the catalyst is in your blood, correct?" He watched Remy eagerly as he talked. "Given your escapade with that poison the Assassins Guild cooked up, I must conclude your blood was somehow able to break the molecules down into their component atoms, rendering them harmless."

Remy nodded, a faint smile ticking one corner of his mouth. "Oui, Hank. Dat’s exactly how it works. M’ blood will attack anyt’ing it perceives as a contaminate, break it down like you said. It’s automatic. Even wit’ my powers active I can’ make it stop."

"But without the damping field you do have some kind of control of it," Hank said.

Remy nodded again. "I c’n increase de rate an’ density. Force de charge t’ spread outside m’ blood, through m’ body an’ into whatever I’m touchin’."

Hank gave him a contemplative stare. "Doesn’t that mean you’re effectively destroying your own cells if you’re tearing the molecules they’re made of apart?"

Remy’s expression turned rueful. "Technically. But we’re talkin’ about breaking up one molecule out of every million. T’ strip de energy out o’ all de molecules in somet’ing would take a lot o’ time an’ effort. Plus, I’d have t’ do somet’ing wit’ de energy. Discharge it somehow. I don’ have any way t’ store it."

"So why did you tell everyone that you could only charge inorganic things?" Scott asked, trying to keep the accusation out of his voice.

Remy frowned lightly. "I never said dat. Somebody made de assumption an’ I didn’ correct them is all."

Scott shook his head. That was Remy all over, but it was still annoying.

Hank didn’t seem to share his feelings. "What would happen if you burned up all of the contaminates in your blood, like you did with the poison? Would your charge power still function?" he asked curiously.

Remy shook his head. "Nope." A light of amusement came into his eyes. "But it’s easy enough t’ keep a regular supply o’ nicotine an’ alcohol in m’ blood so dat’s usually not a problem."

Rogue turned to stare at him as, a few seats away, Bobby began to chuckle.

"That explains so much about you," Bobby said, which earned him an answering grin.

The grin faded as Remy turned to his wife. "I know y’ don’ like de cigarettes, but I ain’ gon’ be quittin’," he told her.

Her response was an irritated little snort, but the expression in her eyes remained friendly. "An’ ah still reserve the right not ta kiss ya if ya taste like an ashtray," she said.

Scott sat forward. "This is all very interesting, but I think we’re drifting off topic."

Remy shrugged, his momentary levity vanishing. "Anyway, m’ powers started spikin’," he said. "It got bad after a while, an’ I started worryin’ dat I was gon’ blow m’self up... o’ somebody else."

Something in Remy’s tone caught Scott’s attention and his stomach sank. "What happened?" he asked in dismay.

Remy paused, pain flickering across his face. He took a deep breath and seemed to shrink into himself.

"I was in Seattle," he finally said. "Met Essex there t’ talk about m’ powers. He ran some tests, did some imaging of m’ head. Said give him a few days t’ look at de results." Remy gestured vaguely. "I was at loose ends, so I ended up hookin’ up wit’ an’ old friend who lived out there. She was big on supportin’ de arts, so we got tickets f’ whatever was playin’ at de local theatre."

Remy paused again. His gaze unfocused and he blew out his breath slowly. "We were jus’ sittin’ there," he said after a moment. The words sounded like a protest.

His brow knitted. "One minute I was watchin’ de play and de next... blam, dis huge power surge, like t’ burn me up from de inside out. I swear I tried t’ pull it back in." He looked up at Scott, his red eyes haunted. "I t’ink de concussion from de blast knocked me out f’ a few seconds ’cause I don’ really remember de explosion. When I opened m’ eyes, I was lyin’ in dis big empty space, ’bout twenty feet across. There was ash everywhere." He paused, watching his memories. "Outside dat circle, I could see de rows o’ theatre seats an’ de people in them, all black an’ charred. Inside it, everyt’ing except me just got... incinerated. Two-hundred eighty one people died."

Scott stared at him in a mix of sympathy and horror. It was every mutant’s worst nightmare.

"I remember seeing the news reports about that," Warren said after a short pause. "It was described as a mutant terrorist attack."

Remy shook his head wearily. "Non, it was jus’ me."

Ororo reached over to take his hand. "It was an accident, Remy. You cannot blame yourself." On his other side, Rogue laid her hand on his arm.

Scott saw his fingers tighten around Ororo’s. "I know, padnat."

Scott forced his voice to function. "What did you do?"

Remy shrugged. "I went back t’ see Essex an’ told him what happened."

The thief didn’t seem to have any trouble reading the alarm his statement generated. He made an equivocal gesture. "I knew he was dangerous, not t’ mention jus’ plain scary, but he’s still probably de best in de field when it comes right down t’ understanding how an’ why mutations work."

Scott glanced over at Hank to gauge his reaction.

Hank frowned. "Unfortunate, but likely correct," was the doctor’s assessment. Hank adjusted his glasses and turned to Remy. "What did Sinister say?"

Remy’s expression turned caustic, though Scott didn’t immediately fathom why. "He said it was pretty normal f’ mutant powers t’ change over time because people’s experiences, de skills they practice an’ de use o’ their powers all cause de brain to keep growin’ new neural pathways. Most o’ de time, de changes t’ powers are small an’ positive-better control, new applications, et cetera."

Out of the corner of his eyes, Scott saw Hank nodding in unconscious agreement. "And in your case?" Scott asked.

Remy cocked his head, the acid in his tone intensifying. "Essex said it’s a whole different ball game when it comes t’ omega mutants. F’ one, because there ain’ enough o’ dem t’ make any kind o’ generalization, an’ two because-at least in a very small sample-it seems t’ take more than one area in de brain t’ generate o’ control dat much power."

Scott stared at him in shock, unable to completely process the words. "Omega?" he finally managed in a strained voice and heard his question echoed around the room by the other X-Men.

Remy flashed a tight smile. "Surprise."

"That doesn’t even begin to cover it," Scott told the other man. He glanced over at Jean, feeling oddly betrayed, but she just raised her eyebrows.

He turned back to Remy, anger stirring in his chest. "So, just after the damping field went active, when I asked about the extent of your powers did you just omit this little detail?"

Oddly, Remy didn’t get angry in return. He shook his head. "Non. You’ve pretty much seen de extent o’ my powers."

Scott opened his mouth for a heated comment on the contradiction in his words, but Remy beat him to the punch.

"Y’ want t’ hear dis story o’ not?"

Chastised, Scott sat back in his chair and raised his hands, palms out. "Sorry. Go ahead." Around them, the other X-Men’s expressions ranged from surprise to curiosity to suspicion and back again.

Remy ran a hand through his hair. He looked very tired all of a sudden. "Sinister’s hypothesis was dat, in usin’ m’ powers at their alpha levels, I’d eventually grown de neural pathways needed t’ tap into dis next level o’ power. He... collected some o’ de remains from de theatre, tryin’ t’ figure out exactly what happened."

Remy made a loose fist with one hand and rested it against the edge of the table. "It turns out dat, not only c’n I break de molecular bonds an’ strip out dat energy t’ convert t’ an explosive charge, wit’ dis other area in m’ brain I c’n also break de atomic bonds holdin’ protons an’ electrons an’ such together."

Remy looked over at Hank. "Hank, what do de physicist call it when y’ start tearin’ atoms apart on a mass scale?" he asked in a deceptively mild voice.

Hank blinked once and then his eyes widened. "Oh my stars and garters." He stared at Remy. "Fission."

"What, like a nuclear bomb?" Bobby asked, his gaze darting between the two.

Remy nodded. "Exactly like a nuclear bomb, only wit’ no idea how it’s triggered an’ zero control." He pressed his lips together in a thin line. "De only reason I didn’ wipe Seattle off de map is because I didn’ quite have full access t’ my powers yet. So it was two hundred people instead o’ two million."

Scott could only shake his head in mute horror, imagining what kind of destruction Remy could have caused. A dozen questions tumbled through his brain but none of them seemed like the right question to ask, so he kept his mouth shut and waited for the thief to go on.

Rogue leaned her elbows on the table and covered her mouth with both hands. Her green eyes were shadowed with the same horror Scott felt, but also filled with recognition.

"Sinister fixed it, didn’t he?" she asked, her voice muffled by her hands.

Remy glanced over at her. "F’ a price."

At that, Bobby groaned and flopped back in his seat, crossing his arms. "I’m not sure I even want to hear the rest of this." The look he gave Gambit was filled with defiance. "It’s not going to change anything in my book."

Remy stared at him for a long moment, a quiet kind of yearning in his gaze. "’Preciate de vote o’ confidence but it’s a little too early t’ be makin’ dat call, mon frère," he finally said.

Bobby made a dismissive noise in the back of his throat, seeming unimpressed.

Rogue folded her hands and rested her chin atop them. "What did Sinister want, sugah?" she asked quietly.

Remy looked over at her and then away. He flexed his fingers a couple of times as if gathering his nerve and then finally spoke.

"In exchange f’ isolatin’ and severin’ de neural pathways t’ cap m’ powers at alpha level, he said he wanted a job done."

Scott raised an eyebrow, uncertain how he was expected to respond. "That seems like a fairly obvious trade to make with a world class thief," he ventured after a moment. What Remy might have procured for Sinister was a rather chilling thought though.

Remy shook his head without looking at him. "Not dat kind o’ job."

Scott paused. "Oh."

Remy sighed. "He wanted a group o’ people killed," he explained bluntly. Dismay flickered on faces around the room.

Scott’s stomach clenched, but instead of anger he simply felt cold. "Did you agree?"

"I wasn’ in much of a position t’ argue." Remy dropped his gaze to Scott’s and his eyes were empty and bleak, just like that night at the sentinels’ factory. "I told Essex dat as long as they were legitimate targets, I’d do it."

Remy heaved a sigh. "Anyway, Essex did de surgery an’ I started doin’ research an’ puttin’ together de team f’ dis job. Sinster bankrolled everyt’ing-outfittin’, facilities, travel-cost wasn’ an issue. He said he didn’ care how much, so long as I got de job done." He glanced at Scott once more. "It turned into a pretty big operation. Wasn’ easy findin’ people wit’ de right skill sets, an’ even harder t’ get dem onboard."

He paused abruptly, something like panic flashing across his face before disappearing again. He looked down at his hands. "Sabretooth was de hardest. There’s enough bad blood between us dat he didn’ wan’ work f’ me regardless o’ how good de money was. Riptide an’ Vertigo weren’ quite as bad-they’d come f’ de money, but de two o’ them together have de attention span of y’ average five year old. Keepin’ them on track was a full time job. Arclight was pretty professional, at least. She helped keep de rest in line. Harpoon an’ Scrambler were okay, too." He closed his eyes, shoulders sagging. "An’ Scalphunter was actually a friend o’ mine, once upon a time."

Scott felt the blood drain out of his face as Remy talked. Those names conjured such a flood of horror and pain, and filled his head with the echoes of screams ringing through dark stone tunnels.

On the far side of the table, Warren shot to his feet, his wings unfurling in an angry hiss of feathers. "The Marauders? You made the Marauders?" His face was purple with fury, his hands clenched into fists at his sides. "Do you know what they did to me?"

Remy looked up at him and nodded slowly. "I was there."

The room exploded at his statement. X-Men were on their feet, demanding explanations. Logan’s claws unsheathed in a small splatter of blood, his growl lost in the din. Rogue simply stared at her husband, her eyes wide and her face pale, and on Remy’s far side Ororo recoiled in shock.

The noise woke Haven, whose tiny wail broke through the clamor and brought a measure of silence to the room. In the sudden quiet, Jean shushed the baby, tucking her blankets more securely around her and rocking her gently.

Logan pointed the claws of one hand toward Remy. "Ya helped murder the Morlocks." Rage and disbelief colored his voice in equal measure. "They were just innocent folks. They never hurt anybody."

Remy shook his head, his expression thin. "Ot’er than buildin’ de team, I didn’ have anyt’ing t’ do wit’ de Morlocks," he said. "De first I knew of it was when Sabretooth stuck his claws in m’ gut." His hand went to his stomach and the scars Scott knew were there. "One minute I was standin’ at de intersection o’ tunnels an’ de next I’m lyin’ on de ground an’ Creed’s leanin’ over me, lickin’ m’ blood off his claws an’ tellin’ me Sinister changed de plan." He gave Logan a sharp look. "De Marauders left me there, an’ a few minutes later de screamin’ started."

Scott didn’t have the faintest idea how he ought to feel. He was appalled to find out Remy had played a role in the deaths of the Morlocks, that he’d brought together and trained a team that consistently drew blood from the X-Men whenever the two groups clashed, but he also understood how hard it was to hold onto one’s soul when dealing with Sinister. That man was as close to evil incarnate as anyone he’d ever met.

The faces of the other X-Men reflected similar thoughts. Even Warren, though he paced sharply back and forth behind the chairs on the far side of the table, had a grudging understanding written in his expression.

"Wait a minute. Time out." Bobby held up his hands in the shape of a ’T’. He looked around the table, stormy emotions churning in his blue eyes, before his gaze settled on Remy. "None of this makes any sense." His tone was challenging.

Scott looked at him in surprise. "What do you mean?"

Bobby straightened and turned to Scott. "First off, I can’t imagine any circumstances under which anyone would classify the Morlocks as legitimate targets," he said, ticking the point off on his fingers. "Even a sociopath like Sabretooth wouldn’t call them that."

He glanced at Remy, whose was watching him with an odd light of approval in his eyes.

"And two," Bobby continued, his expression growing hard, "if you are going to kill off a group like the Morlocks, you toss a couple of canisters of sarin gas down there and wait a while. You don’t spend who knows how much time and money training up a team like the Marauders. It’s stupid."

Scott stared at him in surprise for his analysis, but he couldn’t argue with it. What Bobby said made sense and it raised a whole host of new questions. Logan, too, looked like his thoughts had turned down a new and unexpected path.

Scott reached up to pinch the bridge of his nose. His thoughts felt like they were spinning, chaotic and ungrounded. Somehow, he was certain, all of this had to fit together into some kind of coherent whole, but at the moment he had no idea how.

Remy inclined his head in Bobby’s direction. "Very good, Bobby," he told the other man softly. Pain edged his tone, but the compliment was obviously genuine.

Bobby acknowledged him with a nod of his own and a faint smile. "I had a good teacher."

Scott’s thoughts continued to spin as the two men stared at each other. A little detail from the story Remy had told them lodged suddenly in his mind, and he turned quizzically to the thief.

"So what were you doing down there in the tunnels if you weren’t after the Morlocks?" he asked.

Remy’s head snapped around so fast he knew he’d hit something important without realizing it. Spurred by that realization his thoughts churned forward, following the chain of reasoning even as the knot in his stomach tightened. "There’s nothing else down there."

Remy’s face closed in on itself. He seemed to brace himself and watched Scott expectantly.

Scott hardly noticed. His thoughts pounded inside his brain, drumming a warning message. Stay away, it said. You don’t want to know this. But the chain of logic was already in place, the final pieces falling into line with terrible finality.

Scott stood up so abruptly that his chair toppled over backwards behind him. He stared in horror at Remy.

"There’s nothing else down there," he repeated softly, "except the back entrance to the mansion." His voice didn’t sound like his own. "You built the Marauders to kill the X-Men."


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