title: Once a Thief...

author: Lucinda
rating: pg 13?
pairing: Willow/Remy QPC # if he isn't listed, he should be.
QPC site:
disclaimer: I do not own Willow or anyone else from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, I do not own Remy or anyone else from Marvel Comics.
distribution: the archives for any list I send this to, QPC, Twisting the Hellmouth, anyone that asked me for one of my other BtVS/X-Men crossovers that also wants this one.
note: AU from X-Men 350 (the Trial of Gambit) and AU from S5 finale "the Gift" will reference things before those points.

Remy perched in a tree, the spreading branches slick with frost, the late fallen leaves making the branches slimy and treacherous. But nobody ever looked into the trees, so he remained unnoticed, his eyes narrowed against the cold wind that slipped through his clothing, chilling him down to the bones. His battered leather coat flapped like the wings of a great bat in the darkness, and he looked at the condo carefully. It was new, and the company had a reputation for including a number of safety features as a standard part of the homes they made, so there would be a few complications from that aspect. The neighbors were gone, the resident, a single, smallish woman with red hair, lived alone, with no dogs to cause complications for him.

She had some delightfully expensive nick-knacks on decorative shelves inside her house. Gleaming metal, the sparkle of crystal, smooth looking porcelain... and she had some gorgeous paintings on her walls. The glimpses he'd gotten peering between the curtains and blinds had revealed that her house was neat, without much clutter or bulky furniture. Her house looked like it would be so simple to slip inside, and then he could pocket some things and be gone before she would even know what happened. If he was really careful, she'd never even know he'd been there until she saw the things absence.

There was an almost defiant feeling inside Remy. He'd returned to stealing to make his living. He'd been trained as a thief, spent years making a profitable living with the guild before he'd gotten into enough trouble that he'd had to leave New Orleans. He'd angered the Guild of Assassins, and then there had been that creepy Sinister as well, making things even more complicated.

He'd tried to 'go straight' for a while. He'd joined a team of mutants who fought to keep people safe, a team that claimed to believe in second chances and peaceful relations between humans and mutants. But the they'd found out about some of his past, and the roof had come down. Literally. Followed by the woman he'd loved, the woman he'd been willing to die for, a woman who's past was even more flamboyantly shadowed than his own, abandoning him to freeze to death in the isolated wastes of Antarctica.

Nothing quite said a relationship was over like your ex girlfriend leaving you to freeze to death somewhere that nobody would even find your body.

He'd returned to thieving to stay alive, after he'd somehow managed to make it out of the frozen continent. It was still all a blur of cold and numbness, but it was obvious that he was out, that he'd survived. And he'd learned his lesson. The X-Men did not forgive people like him. People who couldn't pass, who didn't look perfect and shining and wholesome, like Scott or Betsy or Angel.

Remy'd been through to much to be the amoral carefree thief of his youth. A good portion of his illicit gains went anonymously to the homeless shelters, to the battered women and children shelters and the medical clinics for the poor. He was also careful that he only stole from those who could afford it, or those who deserved it. Not exactly Robin Hood, but he could sleep at night... or at least he didn't have his recent actions keeping him awake.

Carefully, Remy made his way to the window, inspecting it without touching, proceeding to another window before deciding that one of the smaller basement half windows would best suit his purposes. It let into a half finished room with bare walls and what looked like slightly rough matting over the floors, like the sort of room someone would use for martial arts practice. Best of all, the window was slightly ajar, apparently to release the scent of sweat and sweat sodden cloth that had filled the room. Wrinkling his nose, Remy didn't question the reasoning behind the slender gap in the window. He simply made use of it, slowly opening it enough to slip inside. There was the slightest tingling feeling as he passed into the house, but he dismissed it as no more than nerves.

It was a mistake.

No sooner had he dropped to his feet than a strange feeling curled over him, almost like a warm tide, and the air seemed to thicken around him, trapping him like a small bug in honey. He tried to find some way to escape, but he couldn't even see what held him. Remy could feel himself growing more and more unsettled, but his feet would not move, and there was no locks to pick, nor ropes or chains to slip out of.

"Exactly what are you doing in my basement uninvited?" The soft voice held curiosity, and a faint West coast accent. It was accompanied by the light coming on, almost painfully bright.

He couldn't even raise his arm to shield his eyes from the light. "What did you do t' me?"

Remy felt himself rotate slightly, and he was facing her. She came to his chin, which should make her around five and a half feet tall, and her eyes were an unusual mixture of green and blue and grey, weighed and darkened by sorrow. Somehow, she'd known he was in her basement.

"I have ways to protect myself. Even from... well, I've never seen anyone with eyes like that before. Are you a mutant or a demon? And why were you in my basement?" There was no fear in her voice, only puzzlement and a trace of resignation.

"Mutant. I did not come here to hurt you... can you let me go now?" It wasn't terribly likely to succeed, but it was worth trying. Remy even smiled his most charming... well, as charming as he could muster while being held immobile by some unknown force.

She looked a bit surprised, and there was a low murmur of words that he barely caught. "A mutant... well, that's different. Not planning to hurt me..." She looked up, her eyes meeting his own, and the air thinned back to normal, allowing him to move. "If you didn't intend to hurt me, what were you planning to steal?"

"Should I be insulted that you think a mutant be trying to steal from you?" Remy wondered what the woman was thinking, her mind unreadable for some reason.

One hand reached up, dragging through her reddish hair impatiently. "No, I think that complete strangers sneaking uninvited and unannounced into my house or anyone else's house normally only intend some sort of violence or theft. If you aren't here for violence, then you must be here to steal something, or else you would have knocked."

Remy really couldn't argue with her logic, especially since it was correct. And he HAD come here intending to steal from her. "If I say I'm sorry and promise to go away, will you let me?"

She looked at him, and Remy had the oddest feeling that he was being measured against some unknown standard. "Why not? I can let you go, my stuff stays here, you don't, everyone is happy. You didn't take anything yet, and... I think I might have actually left the window unlocked, so it was just entering, not breaking... Sure. Just... go away. I don't have the time to try to do anything to you. But I'd suggest leaving by the door.

Remy felt rather odd as he followed her up the stairs and over to the front door. She moved softly, her feet barely making more noise than his own. There were weapons scattered through the house, as if she felt afraid to be too far from a weapon. She opened the door with a gesture, and gave him an odd smile.

"It's been... something to meet you, Mister... I don't know your name." Her brows dipped slightly as she realized that.

He leaned forward, and kissed her lightly on the lips, feeling a rushing cascade of... awareness jolt through him. He looked into her wide, startled eyes, and smiled.

"I'm Remy. I be seeing you again some time, Red."

He walked into the night, his posture claiming an arrogant confidence that he didn't feel. He'd kissed her... that hadn't ever been part of his plan. And if he didn't figure out why he'd done it, he would run the risk of injury to his heart, he would run the risk of caring for this woman. For Willow.

And maybe he would be back one day.
end Once a Thief.