Disclaimer: This is a work of fan fiction. I do not seek to profit from this story in any way. All creative rights to the characters and original storylines belong to Marvel.
Author's Note: I'm having trouble with Remy's accent (I don't like to overdo it, including his use of third person, but want to do it justice). Hopefully it's passable. I want to highlight, though, that when Remy says something without an obvious accent it is certainly done intentionally. I am always happy to go back and fix dialogue (especially with Logan – as I'm not sure about his accent) as long as you give me clear suggestions on how to do so!
By: Dark Elf
He had crawled and clawed his way through too many unreasonable situations to believe in reason. Defied logic and sense; gambled and survived. He knew people too well, too intimately, to ever believe in the power of wisdom or rationale. Emotions, he found, were often too overpowering to leave much room for anything else. Tearing, desperate, and cruel, they demanded attention; Kings and Queens who long ago established their rule within the human domain.
Reason he did not know. Reason he did not understand. But emotions? Emotions he knew. Emotions he understood. Invisible strings, heart strings, that silently flowed and curled, intertwining, amidst a sea of people; trailing behind, as if trying to fly off and catch up at the same time. A constant thrumming, a deep seated pulsation, a silent song. He could call forth their melody with a touch, command their power with a look, and silence them with a whisper.
A Master among Royalty. The Prince among Thieves.
"She left me to die."
The bar seemed somehow quieter as the soft spoken statement came out of Remy's mouth; clean, clear and crisp.
"She saved me, and left me t' die."
Remy turned his head to the side, eyes focused on some spot on the wall.
"I'm sure it was a hard decision. But death sentences aren't de worst t'ing." Soft shrug, short pause. "Y' know de cruelest t'ing someone can do? Give y' hope in one look n' take it away in de next breath."
Logan wasn't sure if Remy was aware of how easy he was to read in that moment; the bitterness marred his face like old battle scars.
"You know, she went back looking for you, Gumbo." Logan took a swig of his beer.
Remy pursed his eyebrows and looked up at the ceiling, feigning recall. "I know." He spoke to no one in particular.
Wolverine gave him a questioning look.
"By den it was too late." Remy stretched in his chair, slightly tipping it backward.
"Without abilities like yours, Wolvie, it's hard t' survive in climates like dat. Dere's not much one can do with exploding ice. I…" Gambit looked straight at Logan this time, "I survive real well, Logan. When no one else can, I do. But Remy didn' save himself. "
Logan wanted to ask what he meant, but he knew the Cajun too well to interrupt.
"I..." A quick grin. "…well I suppose I wasn't saved; I was found. Nothing's free though, y' know dat. Guess a street rat can be valuable t' some."
"Who found you?"
Remy let out an angry scoff. "A mad scientist. A ghost. A god. Does it matter? Gambit paid his debt."
"How high was the price this time, Gambit?"
"When y' 'ave nothin' more t' give…
You sell your soul.
"…y' take what y' can get."
Remy sat up abruptly, letting his chair slam forward. He leaned in, giving Logan a pointed look.
"But dat's not what y' want t' know. Y' want t' know why I'm here. Y' want t' know if I'm a threat."
Wolverine nodded slightly, somewhat impassively. He hadn't been expecting a full story; that would come with time. He just needed to know if he could safely allow Gambit the luxury.
Remy was on the defensive. He knew very well that Wolverine was assessing his every word. He had practiced these answers over and over; honed the mannerisms to go with each sentence and thought. Yet, he recognized, distantly, that his emotions betrayed him. A quick flash of a frown, a sharp movement of his wrist, or an uneven look – the Wolverine would miss none of them.
As well rehearsed as his answers were, he knew they weren't enough. Some were lies, some were truths, and Remy wasn't sure he could tell them apart anymore. There was a time that he had imagined this moment: having a chance to say his piece; to explain just how wrong they had been. But he had given up on that idea a while ago; you couldn't change people with only words – unless they were laced with charm.
"Logan, I'm no threat – I never was."
And to a degree Remy meant it. When he had joined the team, he knew he wasn't entirely the best choice – no man with a past ever was. He had tried to redeem himself, to find love, family, and purpose. He had renounced his past and redefined his future in their home and in her arms. Trying to belong, he had never been a threat. He had failed.
"Doesn't explain why you're here, Cajun."
"I'm curious." Simple. Direct. Smug.
Logan made a fist. "You know what they say about curiosity."
"Killed de cat, non?"
"Yeah. Except, I'm not sure you're the feline, Bub."
Remy chuckled and waved his hand in a dismissive gesture. Logan caught Remy's wrist, striking it down on the table with a snarl. Gambit froze.
"Listen here, kid. I can't trust you, at least, not with them. You've been alive and don't tell a soul. You suddenly appear and hide in the shadows. I find you and you blow up a goddamn building. Curiosity just isn't good enough."
Gambit's face lost all traces of humor. Snatching his hand back, he glared at Logan. Of course he couldn't be trusted; of course curiosity wasn't good enough. He had spent the better part of his life labeled as the White Devil, congregating with thieves and cutthroats. He had left his second life as a hero labeled a liar, a traitor, and a murderer. He had never intended to demand trust or command respect, but somehow the words stung more sharply than expected.
Hypocrite. Just like de rest of dem.
"Remy's not de animal here, Wolvie." Gambit's tone dripped with vitriol. "Call it curiosity or closure, when a man comes dis close t' dying, sometimes he just wants t' know what for."
"You know better than the rest of us why she left you."
"And she knows better den me." Voice measured.
"Are you planning to see her, Cajun? And I don't mean from behind the bushes." Logan smirked.
Gambit sprang up, slamming his hand down on the table, eyes flashing.
"Gambit's no coward, old man. Y' don' trust me? Dat's fine." Remy's words came out in a quiet hiss. "But y' know as well as I do dat if I had wanted t', I'd have brought de whole house o' cards down by now!"
Wolverine got up slowly growling, inching his way into Gambit's space.
"Sit down, kid. You're slipping up. And I will put your fucking face through the floor before I let you lose control in here."
Gambit spread his hands wide, fingers splayed, palms facing Wolverine in invitation.
"Try it, Furball."
Wolverine knew there was weakness behind that show of bravado. It wouldn't be obvious to most, but he knew it existed, somewhere, tucked away behind the bitterness, anger, and loathing. He respected it but knew, as Gambit did, that there was no place for it. Logan had learned quickly that weakness led to mistakes, and mistakes got you killed.
And Furball was a mistake.
Wolverine took a heavy step forward.
"You've got a thing or two to learn about respect, kid,"
Gambit's face scrunched, a look of disdain flitting across his features.
"Ain't a kid."
"Aren't much of a man either. That why you hiding from Rogue, Cajun? What, your balls fall off in the snow too?"
A flash of red.
Gambit swung forward sharply with his right fist, dipping his left hand swiftly into his coat pocket. Wolverine snarled, grabbing Gambit's fist and yanking him forward, knocking him slightly off balance. Like a dancer, Gambit followed the momentum, spinning around and bringing his left leg up to connect with Wolverine's jaw. Impact running up his thigh, he felt his leg hit against Wolverine's forearm. An expected block. Gambit grinned, left hand immediately hurling a charged card back into Wolverine's face.
The roar of pain and anger was just as loud as the contained explosion that resulted. Landing in a crouch, Gambit's eyes darted upward a second too late. Face half burned, Wolverine appeared above him, hands landing on the back of his neck and throwing him forward against the floor.
Gambit's face cracked sharply against tile. His eyes opened wide in shock for a second, the wind knocked out of him. Poker face settling back on, he froze as he felt the sharp pinch of metal at his neck.
"You damned dirty rat. I told you."
Wolverine was arched above him, right hand holding him down by the neck, left hand bent in striking position. Claws glinting, he raised his lip in a snarl as his face began to heal.
"You've slowed down."
Wolverine knew Gambit was agile, and he had counted on keeping their scuffle to a corner of the room to constrain his movement. Seeing Gambit's hand deftly dip into his pocket at the outset, Wolverine also had decided not to dodge any blows. At the moment of the explosion, blinded and scorched, he had found Gambit's scent through the smoke and launched his only attack.
His calculations were correct.
"Merde!" Remy pushed back in anger, slicing his neck against the adamantium. Logan jerked away slightly, nostrils flaring as he caught the scent of blood. Noticing the distraction, Remy attempted to roll out of the hold. Logan swung around instantly, forearm crushing against Remy's neck, knee against his back pinning him to the floor.
"Get offa me!"
Logan was surprised to catch the smell of fear coming from the man below him. Remy's hand shook almost imperceptibly, jaw clenched tightly. Anyone else might have mistaken his reaction for anger.
"No more hiding."
Remy's breathing was heavy, and his eyes locked on the floor in front of him.
"You don't know what you're asking."
"You're out of choices, kid."
Logan released his hold and stood up. Remy rose slowly with his back toward Logan.
Cracking his neck side to side, Logan looked around the bar. The few customers that had originally been there had surreptitiously disappeared as the fight started. The damage was mostly minimal and Logan grunted pleased. Turning to leave, he turned his gaze toward Remy one last time. The Cajun stood straight, ignoring the blood dripping down the back of his neck and the bruises forming on his face. Bangs hiding his eyes, he didn't turn to meet Logan's stare.
"I don't know if – "
Logan's footfalls echoed loudly as he left the bar. Halfway out of the door, Logan paused. Neither man turned to look at the other.
"When you come, they will be expecting a reason."
Remy stayed still as he listened to Logan walk away.
"Dey always do, mon ami."
Gambit ran his hand across the back of his neck. The blood had dried and he traced the forming scabs with a finger absentmindedly. The wounds would heal soon enough; he could already feel the bruises on his face fading.
Things were not going as planned. Flipping his collar up and ducking his head down, Remy slipped into the night, following in Logan's wake.
He hadn't lied. He wasn't a threat. Instead, he was dangerous.
Ace of Spades. Queen of Hearts. He shuffled them swiftly in his deck.
Let the cards decide.
Reason be damned.
Note: Sorry this took so impossibly long to update (about 4 months from my last author's note). It seems like yesterday that I started this story... but it has actually been 7 years. (About a chapter a year then? That's so sad). I just started graduate school, so I'm afraid to make any promises... but I'll keep trying. At the least, this is the only fic I intend to work on for now (the x-men evolution one I started before this one is even harder to pick back up. Sigh.). The longer I take to update, the harder it becomes because I have to re-read the story every time and figure out where I want to go with it (which is not necessarily the same direction I may have started with in 2003). So if you ever have an idea, feel free to send it my way ^_^. Hope you enjoy!