I own absolutely nothing. Disney does now. Darn the Mouse.

Carry on my wayward son...they'll be peace when you are done...lay your wary head to rest. don't you cry no more ~Kansas

prologue: Pourquoi voler...

Before, churches, blood, and Genevieve Darceneax, if you asked Remy what the worse part of his life was, he would have pointed to the time when he had no choice but to attend 'Xavier's École fo' gifted youngsters.'

Or in his case, it was out of control blow-things-up-with-a-touch youngsters. He'd just turned sixteen...a man in the Guild's eyes. He should've been preparing for his tithing, but that was on the back burner now. Tithing was a test of stealth, of silence...couldn't do neither if a Thief's lockpicks were exploding like confetti in his hands.

Leaving them tore and dripping blood.

His bandage fingers flexed as he and his Pere mingled and charmed their way through the crystal window hall of the mansion, nametags stuck to their chests, and Pere's hand on his shoulder, steering him. Normally, Remy would've raised silent hell at the infantizing gesture. Normally, his Pere never would be insulting him like that...but with so many people, so many signatures of emotion and chargeable energy just waiting to be tab, nudged, exploded...

It was painful, physically painful, pressing against his senses like hot knives. Remy could barely keep from gritting his teeth.

"Fils?' Jean-Luc murmured in questioned, when Remy stopped, needed a moment not to go insane.

"'M okay," he muttered back. He focused on his breathing.

Don' charge. Don' charge. Don' y' dare charge...Dere's to many people.

Then more people come, more nervous kids with more nervous parents and trembling emotions. His shoulders tense. Get me de hell outa 'ere.

He doesn't say it, but his Pere known him long enough to know it's all he can do to keep from howling, underneath the razor thin smile he taught him.

So they end up meeting with the Professor on the patio, the summer night air a balm on his bleeding empathy as he stands back and allows other men to discuss his future. Again.

It's not the same as when he was pup, being haggled over like a scrap of meat...here at least, one of the talkers had his interest at heart -he has no choice but to read the churning red-purple of Pere's concren in blaze of his energy signature. Well hidden to anyone but him.

"Y' say y' c'n help wit' all kinds o' powers," Jean-Luc pressed, and the stately Telepath nodded serenely from his chair.

"We managed to help dozens of students with dangerous potential, and we have managed to help if not all. Full control however is a process -"

That was where Remy was given permission to duck out; head down, hands shoved firmly in his duster pockets -and for once he didn't mind. He knew what his Pere was gonna say, gonna ask for...and why. And frankly, he didn't care to hear just how dangerous he was without the word being said. He already knew.

Chapter deux: Juste par hasard

Most men couldn't handle high stacks poker, they just weren't built for it. They become nervous and jittery as the fear of losing overwhelms them, drowned them. Their faces slipped, giving away secrets, and in a matter of seconds they lose.

Gambit wasn't one of those men.

"Raise three hundred."

After all, he didn't have anything to lose. Not really. So he threw the money on the pile of chips and rolled dollar bills like the pearls before swine it was, not missing it when it left his fingers. Pulling his smoke from his mouth, he let it curl like the Cherise cat.

After all, he'd be getting it back.

The man neck to him cursed, folded, and took a huge gulp of his drink, defeated.

The man making up the third part of this trinity set looked at his cards, looked at Gambit, then his cards again.

With a sneer he called the bet, threw some chips on the pile.

And the river card turned. Queen of hearts.

He threw another three hundred on the pile, cocked his head, considering it, leaning back in his chair. The money stacks was getting awful big, growth to thrice the size of original Joe's weekly salary. Now, Gambit liked high stacks, either in cards or in life. Liked the rush it gave him, the pulse that confirmed he was still alive, that he had survived two years of Exile.

And in this game, he had already knocked out the two players that couldn't handle the pressure. Now it was down to number un and number deux. His challenger was a stereotypical player, cowboy hat and shades and chewing on a toothpick. But he was brave, Gambit would give him that. Not many would enter so late in the game, against someone like him. That meant two things.

He was dead sure he could win. And he was a dead sure idiot.

So Gambit just sat there, and let him chew his olive green, offering his best devil-may-care grin while his opponent narrowed his gaze.

"So far, ya played every hand you've been dealt," he observed. "Less ya the luckiest man alive, you've been bluffing a few times tonight."

The was a pause as he let that sink in. He took out his olive green.

"I'll be calling that bluff now," he declared, pushing his remaining chips to the pile, with the air of Abraham offering up Isaac, betting on the return. The congregation gather round the table murmured in exactment. Gambit tipped his head.

"Very brave mon ami," he acknowledged, giving credit where credit was due. "Bet y' got a nice hand t' call dat bluff wit, hien?"

M'sieu Green grinned, eyes twinkling, and he laid down his cards in a bright flush of diamonds. An number from the crowd gasp aloud, their phones recording just as Gambit wanted it -in a hour, this game would be on the web, easy for his family to find, to let them know he was still alive today of all days.

He made an appreciate sound, clicking his tongue and flicking the ashes of his cigarette into the tray.

"Not a bad hand at all," he complimented serenely. M'sieu Green puffed up like the hen just laid her egg, and stretched out to claim his winnings.

"Jus' non good 'nough," he finished, throwing down his cards to the table. Two queens. The man's hand froze midair as he saw the fair damsels. Then he moved to the five open cards laid in court before the dealer. Another sister pair of queens. So Gambit had a quad of queens on the river card. Outranking the man flush.

Demonic eyes glowed softly in the darkness, tuning out the audience as they whooped or cheered, and offered congregations, concentration on getting his winning in his wallet where they belonged. Then he straightened and held out a hand to his ex-competition, who still looked locked in place.

"Good game, mon ami," he offered. "Best I had 'n a w'ile."

M'sieu Green blinked, coming back to himself. Then he grin ruefully, and took the offered hand in a firm shake.

"Same here, though I'd of perfered to win," he said.

Gambit chuckled low in his throat as he stepped back, letting go.

"Don' we all."

Now a few thousand richer, the young Cajun made his way to the door of the Meridian, Mississippi's casino, up an escalator to his hotel's restaurant and bar. Like the game room a floor below, it was dimly lit, setting a slurry mood for his favorite drink-spawned sins.

Some of the crowd from the game had come up for air as well -not a surprise, it was stuffy in that small play room. Gambit recognized a gathering of female spectators, in little not-there cocktail dresses, from the way they chatter and giggled as they passed him by.

Turning in his seat, he gave them a charming wink out of habit. "Mademoiselles."

That got them going again, giggling and flushed with the attention before moving on to their table. Though from the corner of his eye, he could see one or more watching him from the dark -eyes lidded, hungery like the sirens after Ulysses.

"Looks lahke ya'll have ya pick o' the crop tonahgt Caujn," the bartender -a grandfatherly looking black homme- said, nodding wisely as he set Gambit's drink before him, an amber bourbon. He gave a shrug of anything in response.

"Mabbe," he hummed back, more focused on pulling out his platinum black iPhone -custom made with features suited for a Thief. Bringing up YouTube, he quickly flipped through card games...and smiled grimly when he saw his own had already been uploaded. And gone viral.

He scanned through the comments, and got that bittersweet kick he wanted when he found ones written in Guild Code. One on top of the other:

Merde, cuz, you couldn't find an-onth way t' dropa line?! We been thinking yo dead here!

You luckey Tante hates computers, or she be curseing yo hind all caps.

Are you crazy fou! Putting yo'self in the web like dis! Get out of there now!

Good to 'ear from y' little fere. Stay safe.

Happy 21th mon fils. Stay around for 22th.

He was so engulfed in lapping up the threads of home, his crazy family and his beloved crescent city, he almost didn't noticed how one of those femme in a little not-there cocktail dress had stood up, tossed her bottle blond hair, and sauntered over with the world's oldest superpower in her sway. But he did notice, and certainly noticed when she slipped like water into the seat next to him, red painted nails trailing up black sleeve of his dress shirt.

"Buenas mi hermoso amor, you look like you want to forget the world tonight."

He raised an eyebrow, looking her over as he put his phone away.

Then felt his mouth tug, and his eyes glow, because he couldn't deny he liked what he saw. Cake inside barely-there red satin was a blonde, Hispanic version of Jessica Rabbit. A flesh and blood, tres hot, Jessica Rabbit. With no marriage band on her finger -and no tan line suggesting there once was one. And no pocket beside in which of store one in, any case.

His favorite kind of femme.

"Mebbe," he said, head tilted as he leaned closer to her on his forearms. Not as close as she wanted though -if she wanted that, she had to come to him. "W'at y' 'ad in mind, chere?"

Whatever you want," she murmured back, taking her que to slither on up to him, playing with the one gold ring in his ear. "I'm free all night."

"Hemmm,' he nodded, letting the impersonal feel of comfort press against him, the sent of cheep perfume. Bold little thing, and clearly use to getting her way. Expecting it. He'd seen her kind before, a life time of gambling telling him that she was one of those that was always looking for the big winner, lathing on in hopes to take some of the spoils for herself.

Still...he had no reason to deny her...and it was his twenty-first birthday in two hours times. May as well herald it with a bang.

"Mon room okay, chere?"

Pulsing around her, the rush of release kept his mind mercifully blank the next few hours, as his company took him into her, worked him around, and clawed at his back with more roughness than he normally like. He allowed it though, cause he really didn't want think tonight of all nights...though he drew the line when she tried to get him to do worse shit to herself, and all but hissed at him when he merely slipped from her Venus fly trap, and lit a smoke with a tap of his touch.

"Dat not my style," he explained to her again, tone cold. "I don' treat people like dat."

Now his glaze narrowed ever so slightly.

"And I don' care t' be treated dat way m'self," he finished flatly. "Either y' want t' some genuine fun, and I'm more dan happy to oblige, or y' can find some ot'er homme t' slap y' around."

Eyes flashing, she'd bared her teeth, though she pulled back when he didn't flinch, her own latent sense of animal weariness having her up from the bed and slipping that red sin of a dress over the body he just violated in all ways wicked. Though when she picked up her heels and underwear, she mere held them over her shoulder. With one last look and the middle finger salute, she was gone.

Gambit snorted softly, and slide on a pair of sweat pants for, his suitcase, forsaking a shirt to allow his tore skin the kiss of air.

"Y' sure know how to pick 'em, Lebeau," he muttered. " Real classy lady dat one..."

Putting it aside, he flipped on the bathroom light and took a look at himself in the mirror. And scowled at the deep gores the encounter had left behind -Merde, what had her nails been made of, adamantium? It look like she took a damn knife to him...

"Bah," he dismissed, shaking his head in disgust. Served him right...for a lot of things...

He headed out to his room's balcony -high up like he liked, giving a wide view of the city, but not the most expensive suite in the place -better to throw people off, and more practical, since he had to careful with what money he had. He wouldn't have been in a platinum hotel at all, if he hadn't felt like trying to treat himself to something other than mind-crushing lonesomeness.

"Joyeux anniversaire pour moi," he muttered, that tense, razor sharp smirk the only thing of him finding its way back to where it, as he perched himself on the rail. The wind was coming from the South, from N'Awlins, so he closed his eyes and let the touch of homeland brush its fingers against his hair.

As it so happened, the moment he came inside, his other phone rang in his pocket -the one specifically for work. He winged a brow under unruly toffee bangs, and fished it from the hidden compartment of his trench coat.

"Gambit," he spoke in a cool professional tone. Nothing of the boy who wanted to go home. Nothing less than a Thief for hire. He listened, eyes flaring minimally as his mouth turned up.

"D'accord. I'll be dere in un hour."

After a quick wash in the shower, to get the scent of woman off him; Gambit was kicking down the stand of his brother's bike in an abandoned lot, a good fifteen minutes earlier than expected, dressed to the nines in his uniform of a black combat suit, purple accents licking the sides of his torso under the brown of his duster. Like any good Southern boy, he'd been raised to but an emphasis on punctuality, be it matter of business or personal. Moseying his way over to the nearest flickering lamp pole, he lit a smoke to wait out his contact, and took the time to scoop out his surrounding. And felt his mouth twitch.

The lot was an old MCC (mutant control center) center, abandoned since the seventies, when the last of Mutant rights were won in the civil rights movements. Like any kid, he'd heard the horror tales of what went on in such places, experiments, abortions, the whole sha-bang. Whoever his new employer was, they clearly knew what he was. They were trying to put him on edge.

Nice try, but there was no dice there.

He continued to smoke, trying to ignore the pain in his back, till a figure at the other end of the lot apparent.

"Gambit of the Thieves Guild?" the man inquired.

"Dat's wha dey call me," he replied, straightening. And cursing himself for not having the sense to take some pain-killer.

Clothed in an expensive black Armani and cufflinks, looked as out of place here as a snowball in hell.

"I must admit, when I heard about your reputation, I was expecting someone a little...order. You don't appear to be past twenty."

Gambit shrugged, tossing aside his stub of a cigarette and reaching for another one. "What y' see is what y' get. Now wha' can I do y' f'r?"

"I have a...delicate situation that needs proper handling," the man answered. Gambit considered him, something odd running it's nails up and down his spine as he casted out his empathy. Normally he didn't care too much about who hired him for what...but this homme read stone cold in terms of emotions -sterile almost, like a doctor's office.

Gambit hated doctors. His eyes narrowed. His instincts were rarely wrong. Something was off.

"Apologies M'sieu," he said slowly, finally getting that smoke out of his pocket. "Mais...wha y' say y' name was?"

The man paused, then smiled without really smiling. "My mistake. How rude of me...my name Essex. Nathanial Essex."

The cigarette lower in his hand. Merde, he hated it when his instincts were right.

He shook his head, backed away slowly.

"Y' mistaken yo' man M'sieu," he drawled out flatly, fingers dipping into his pockets, skimming his cards. "I'm not interested in yo' line o' work."

Essex's eyebrow arched. "You haven't even heard my offer -"

"Don' need t'," Gambit said, still walking backwards. "I know wha y' are. And I know de rumor o' wha y' do. I'm not interested."

Essex clucked his tongue, smiled that smile again. "You seem to believe you'll have a say in the matter...how quaint."

Gambit stopped walking.

"...Y' seem to believe dat I don'," he murmured lowly, letting the rings of his eyes glow scarlet. He pulled out two cards, lit em up. "Dem close t' fightin' words."

"I'm aware," Essex said pleasantly. "Which is why I took the liberty of delivering a pre-emptive blow. You should be feeling the effects right about," he cheeked his watched. Then nodded.


From what Gambit saw, the man didn't do anything -but that didn't stop vertigo from suddenly whirling the whole world on its head, bringing the Thief to his knees, clutching his middle as pain erupted...along his back. His clenched is teeth as two and two came together for him. Sonofa-

Before his swaying vision Essex's feet, and his Italian Stemar loafer were suddenly much closer. And his voice a damn insult.

"My dear boy, you ought to know better than to let your guard down with a beautiful woman...though I admit, Viper didn't need to take it quite to this extreme...you must've made quite the impression."

"Wha c'n I say? I'm unforgettable," Gambit forced out, stalling for time. He forbid himself from vomiting. "Wha yo' little Delilah do t' me?"

It wasn't Essex that answered...it was something much worse. Something from the past.

"Well thief, I see your taste in frails hasn't changed," Creed panted out, his trench booted feet coming closer. "But I'll let you keep this one...Vip dying to have another go at you."

A thuggish hand grabbed his hair, forced his face up to meet Creed yellow blood-lusted gaze. "...Can see why though. I've eaten kids with more meat on them than you."

"It's simple chaton," Gambit forced out, slowly dropping a hand, palm out, fingers spread, to the ground. "I got somt'in' you'll never 'ave..."

Creed sneered. "And what's that thief?"

Gambit smirked. "Style."

The feral snorted. "Boss, you don't need this joker...you really don't."

While they talked, Gambit brought his other hand down to match it's twin.

"Alas I do...bring him to the car."

Gambit shook his head. "Non gentlemen -dis be w'ere I bid y' a very fond farewell."

With every ounce of concreted will, he charged the pavement under their feet at breakneck speed, causing it to erupt like Mount Helens in all her red furor, blowing his foes away from him-

And giving Gambit time to force himself to his feet and run.

It grained him to do so...Dieu knew he and the chaton had a reckoning coming. One long over due. But that had to be on his terms - and certainly not with an unknown poison sneaking through his veins -

"You think yer getting away that easy, boy?!" Creed bellowed from somewhere behind him, above him, leaping down from a border up building at him -only to be meet with the charge adamantium of his bo-staff, swung hard at the feral middle -successfully blowing him into the building's brick front. Dieu, it was good this part of the city was bordered up and shut down.

Charging up three cards to high amounts, he tossed them at the support structures, bring the whole thing down on top of the savage man. Entombing him. For the while at least.

"Ain't no boy y' dealin' with no more," Gambit muttered as he resumed his flight. "Y' saw t' dat Creed."

Rounding the corner, he didn't stop but threw himself onto Henri's bike, no even bothering with the helmet, just taking off the hell out of there -the hell out of the city. Nevermind the stuff he left behind in the hotel room. Stuff could be replaced. His life...not so much.

But pure will could only act as an antidote for so long. It wasn't to far beyond the city limits that the trees began to dance and blur, along with the headlights of the approaching pick-up -Merde.

He swerved left, so did the other guy -somehow they managed not to kill each other. After rolling to a halt on soft grass under swaying Spanish moss, Gambit could hear that pick up grind to a halt and doors being thrown open. Along with a familiar sound.

"-Oh mah Gawd," a girl exclaimed in horror, but oddly sweet at the same time. "Uncle Logan what did yah do?!"

"What I do?!" repeated a very not-so-sweet tone, "He's the one drivin' in the wrong lane -Marie! Don't go near him -he's probably tore to shreds-!"

But a slender form had already thrown herself into the ditch beside him, gentle-strong hands were turning him over with a "humph" of effort, gloved hands grabbed his shoulders and turned him over, before running over, his front checking most likely to see if his insides were still in. And if he'd been in a better place, he would've enjoy it more -it was a lot gentler than the last woman who touched him.

Shame he couldn't see her to well...if this was going to be his last night, this little lady seemed like she'd be sweet kiss into the unknown.

With a good deal of grumbling and choice words, the girl's Oncle dropped beside him beside him, before sniffing the air like a bloodhound and going utterly still.

"I'll be goddamned."

Apparently that wasn't anymore enlightening to the girl that it was for him.

"Uncle Logan?"

"Don't tell me you don't recognized 'im darlin'. Hasn't been that long."

"Whaddya mean?"

"Look at him hard, kid."

A glove hand pressed itself alongside his face, brushed his hair...and the girl made a choking sound in her throat.


He ended up walking the full length around the property...taking in the moon lighted glow on the trees and the soft breeze. In fairness, Xavier's was a tres belle place...if he was gonna be locked up somewhere, better here than anywhere. Still, that didn't stop his mouth from pulling tighter at the sight of the closed gate in the front, with the weary looking figure moseying up the road -

He stopped, reflected, looked back with a furrow brow.

"What in de-" he began to murmur, when the girl unapologetically began banging on the gates, shaking 'em hard as her little arms could.

"Hey! Hey! Is anyone there. Yah gotta let meh in! Hey!"

Her voice was young, and bone exhausted. And before he'd thought about it, Remy was walking up to the iron gates from the otherside, and soon found himself in some wide green eyes in the young girl's face. Clothed in a white Mississippi Sweetheart sweatshirt that had seen better days, and tore green shorts, twin braids of mahogany slapped her shoulders while a shock of white bangs fell over her forehead. All caked with mud and leaves like she'd been hiking through the underbrush.

She was younger than him by few years, possibly not even a teenager yet, and she swallowed and shuffled, glove fingers flexing before she steeled her jaw and made herself look at him.

Though her mouth formed a perfect "o" when she saw his eyes. But she didn't bolt, so Remy wrapped his own gloved hand around the middle bar, just above her own, and waited for her to speak.

"This...this the school fo mutant everybody's talkin' 'bout?" she asked carefully, her voice soft, a shy drawl, her chin tilting up to try and hide her nerves. She gripped the bars tighter.

Remy nodded. "Oui, chere. Dat it be."

His head tilted, "But who y' be, petit?"

She shuffled again, chewing her lip before answering.

"Ah'm M..." then she paused, sighed, and squared her small shoulders.

But her voice was still soft. "Ah'm Rogue."

Reviews make me happy so tell me what you thought and I'll update sooner.

Okay, second chapter is up, I hope you enjoyed it...And both of Remy and Rogue's first meeting. I wanted to try something different. Also hope you enjoyed the action.