A thin tendril of smoke wove its way upwards and was carried away by the light evening breeze. Across the calm water of the Sound the sun slowly sank towards the horizon in a brilliant mixture of reds and oranges. Night was quickly drawing down like a curtain; soon the entire island of Manhattan would be lit up with artificial lights from pulsing neon signs. Like the soundtrack from some early 90's movie, the song came blaring through the stillness of the scene, first with the steel rifts of a guitar, and then with the raspy vocals of some disenchanted pre-rock star.
". . . I'd like to say something . . . slow down the bandwagon. . . there's a million reasons I don't want to be here, but you don't know me well enough to be the last on my list. What did I miss? Yeah, you win the most points."
Shaking his head, Remy LeBeau took another drag from his cigarette and kept his eyes on the last moments of the sunset.
"I hope you're getting this 'cause I don't know when I've been this good . . ."
One of his . . . "co-workers", St. John, had a habit of playing his music four or five steps beyond loud. Numerous discussions and threats had failed to break the Aussie of the practice. It was only a matter of time before something else was broken instead. Or blown up.
"You don't know what it's like . . . what its like to be a slave and not get paid. Why don't you save it, don't even try to erase it. . . 'cause that's the way it is. . . And I hope it makes you sick, that I'm not even warmed up yet."
The music cut out abruptly and the silence came rushing back in. It was shattered again by the sound of breaking glass. Remy turned his head and glanced over his left shoulder just in time to watch the small stereo make its crash landing on the rocks a few feet away from where he stood. Arching one slim eyebrow, he looked back towards the house from which he supposed it had flown from. From a distance of fifty feet or so, he could just make out two figures standing in the upper right window frame. A shaggy blond head stuck itself out and was followed almost immediately by a high pitched squeal of exclamation,
"Holy HELL mate! Whadja go and do that for?!"
The answer came in the form of an inhuman snarl.
"Do ya see me going aroun' throwin' your bloody shit out the window?"
Another growl, longer and more pronounced.
"A'right, a'right. Put ya bleedin' fangs back in before ya put somebody's eye out. Bloody christ where the hell am I. . . ." the one-side conversation trailed off as the two figures moved away from the window. Sensing that the show was over, Remy turned back around, but not before a smirk had twisted his lips back.
By then the sun had nearly completely disappeared beneath the towering high rises of New York City. The light that remained was soft and dim. Soon a fine cloak of blackness would lay quietly over everything. People would step out in their fine clothes and jewelry and take part in all the things they had spent all day at work dreaming about. Expensive dinners, a cheap horror flick, three hours at the theater. The possibilities were endless. And so were the pickings. It was amazing how careless people could become of their possessions when they were partaking in a "night out on the town." Ah, the life of a thief in the city that never sleeps.
If he had been a cheap romance author, or anyone with any kind of vocabulary beyond various nonsense words, St. John would have described him as a rogue, the kind from seventh century literature. Standing in the dying light, with the water laid out before him like a blue velvet carpet and his long auburn hair and trench coat flying backwards in the breeze, the Cajun certainly fit the description of a suave, charming scoundrel. But the best that St. John could come up with as he stepped out onto the porch and saw his companion standing on the beach near the shattered remains of his beloved radio was,
"Mate, you looks a bit like that fella from that movie with the flying and the slow-motion and the computer shit."
Without turning, Remy breathed in smoke, felt it burn the back of his throat, and then blew it back out slowly. "Oui? Remy touched you t'ink so, mon ami. Really."
Well-accustomed to his sarcasm, St. John shrugged it off and started forward. Without much hope he bent down to inspect the remains of what had been, at one lonely point in his young life, his best and only friend. All things considered, the damage wasn't terribly bad. Both speakers had broken off, along with a number of other bits and pieces that he didn't recognize as having any real purpose. The cd that had been in the middle of spinning before the impromptu flight had popped out and snapped in half. That was a bit of annoyance since it had been a mixed cd and Sabertooth had tossed his computer out the back window just a few nights earlier. Scratching at his head, John glanced up.
"So ya think we can fix her?"
Dropping his cigarette onto the sand, Remy crushed it out with his boot before looking over. His red eyes glowed despite the darkness and it gave him a menacing appearance. He gave a cursory inspection of the wreckage.
"Non. It look pretty dead to Remy."
John sighed. "I thought ya might say that. Poor girl," he murmured, bending closer to the plastic, "didn't really have a chance didja? Must've been right awful frightnin' for ya, flying through the air like that."
Remy listened to the Aussie converse with his broken radio for several minutes and was completely baffled as to what quality Magneto had seen in the boy that outweighed the amazingly obvious mental instability. The ability to manipulate fire certainly was impressive, but the fact that it was wielded by someone who spoke to inanimate objects was a tad bit unsettling. A little unnerving. Alright, downright scary as nothing else in the world or any other sub-dimensions. Though he had to admit that it was somewhat endearing the way the firestarter had so much attachment to his things. At least he was loyal. That was a trait not found often enough in the world.
"Tell you what," Remy said, after John had been making statements about the nice funeral they would give "her", "Remy pick up sum tools when he in de city t'night and we see what we kin do for de bella, oui?"
Grinning widely, the Aussie leapt to his feet and would have engulfed him in a bear hug if he hadn't nimbly avoided his embrace. "That'd be damn right of ya mate! Appreciate it!" His eyes narrowed suddenly as rationality made one of its few guest appearances. "What are ya goin' inta the city for?"
Smiling slightly, Remy patted him on the shoulder as he brushed passed him. "Comme si c'est n'importe quel de votre ami d'affaires." (As if it's any of your business, friend.)
Rolling his eyes at the smooth French, John scratched at the back of his head. Damn if French didn't bring out the fleas in him. "The boss ain't gonna like it if he comes back and finds you AWOL, mate."
Remy's stride remained unchecked, as if he hadn't even heard him. Leaning up against the house was a motorcycle of gleaming black and chrome that looked as if it had been freshly washed two hours before. And, if that wasn't a STRANGE coincidence, it had been. The bike wasn't technically his, but a small detail like that wasn't going to dissuade him. Very little that he owned had started out as his. Humming quietly to himself, he snatched the glossy ebony helmet off one of the handlebars and fitted it over his head. Then, flipping his coat back, he straddled the bike and brought it to life with one swift kick to the kick bar. The engine gave a low rumbling growl and roared to life with the smell of gasoline and exhaust.
"Pete ain't gonna like you takin' his bike!"
Glancing placidly over his shoulder, Remy lifted the face plate of the helmet. "Tell 'im dat Remy buy him 'nother Monet, oui."
With that, he snapped the visor back down and took off with a twist of the gas and a cloud of dust.
The Pirate Song by Gameface