My Heart in Your Hands

by Princess of Monkeys

I had fun writing this scene, once I got over the writer's block about it! I've never been much for writing fight scenes, but this one just sort of came to life in my head, while I was sitting in my little cubicle today. Oh yeah, way to be productive!

Oh yeah, and shameless plugging- go read Ishandahalf's story, "February Fifteenth." It rocks! Hurray, more Romy goodness in the world.

Chapter 35

When Kitty entered the med lab the next morning, after failing to find Remy in his room, she saw him asleep, head down on the edge of Rogue's bed. She smiled, appreciating the romance of the situation, but when she looked at the clock, her mood sobered- only fifteen minutes until the Danger Room session was scheduled to start.

"Remy," she called, and he woke, jumping up out of the chair in surprise. As she watched, he took a step forward to steady himself; unfortunately, his foot tangled in the straps of his duffel bag, left by the bed the night before. All the grace in the world couldn't save him, and he went down in a tangled pile of limbs, straps and chair.

Kitty's sides hurt from laughing so hard. As he climbed to his feet, dusting himself off, she managed to choke out "I hope you do better than that in the Danger Room!"

Shooting her a dirty look for her laughter, he said confusedly "Danger Room?"

She nodded, still snickering. "Yeah, in like, only fifteen minutes. We train at six every day, usually."

His look was classic. "Six in de mornin'? Remy neva' knew dey had one 'a dose!"

Kitty rolled her eyes. "Whatever. C'mon, I guess you'll have to wear your old Acolyte costume or something, until they get you a uniform. I'll be out in the hall." She phased through the glass doors, turning her back so she wouldn't see him changing clothes.

Remy just shrugged, digging through his bag for his working blacks, his last remnant of his life as a thief. He figured that's what Kitty had meant, since that was what he had worn for missions with Magneto's crew.

Minutes later he joined her in the hall, pulling on his trademark brown trench coat as they walked to the elevator. Kitty eyed him critically as they walked, commenting "you're wearing that? Won't it, like, get in the way?" When he just shook his head with a cryptic little smile, she rolled her eyes and sighed.

They made it to the Danger Room with time to spare, and Remy could hardly miss the looks the others gave him as he sauntered in behind Kitty. Although they had begun to accept the fact that he would be staying at the mansion, nobody had really thought about the fact that he would be training with them as well.

As they joined the rest of the students, Remy looked around, wondering what they were supposed to be doing. The room stretched high above him, the ceiling domed, the walls an unending stretch of metal plates. Save for himself and the others, it appeared to be empty. High abo0ve their heads, at the top of the dome, he could just make out the Professor and the little kid, Jamie, in a glass walled booth.

As Wolverine and Storm stepped to the front of the group, the room seemed to shimmer behind them; before his eyes, the silver walls were replaced with a panoramic mountain view. Remy blinked, surprised despite himself, and next to him, Kitty whispered "holograms. It gets everyone the first time." Her voice was tinged with amusement.

Wolverine shot her a look, and she blushed, subsiding into silence as he began to speak. "Alright kids, listen up. Today yer gonna be workin' on both teamwork and individual fightin'. Team part's the obstacle course- stay together, nobody gets left behind unless they get hit in a vital area. Second part's the fun part- whoever grabs the flag first is the winner. Winner gets to skip out on chores for the day- includin' cleanin' up in here when we're done." There were gasps and surprised comments- skipping out on chores had never been a prize before.

Wolverine smiled an unpleasant smile. "An' anyone who doesn't make it out of the obstacle course gets special trainin' with me, bright an' early for the next week." The chorus of groans was expected, and only served to make Wolverine's smile wider.

Storm stepped forward, a list in her hand, and stated in her calm, regal voice "team A will be Magma, Nightcrawler, Cannonball, Shadowcat, and Gambit. Team B consists of Iceman, Cyclops, Sunspot, Jean, and Berzerker."

As the students split into their respective teams, with much murmured commentary about how those teams had been chosen, Wolverine spoke up with some final comments. "One last thing. See the gap?" He pointed to the deep chasm between the two courses, and there were nods and murmurs of assent. "Anyone tryin' to go over it to harass the other team is automatically out. There's plenty of time for fightin' each other at the end." He shot Iceman a look at that comment, since he would be the one most likely to try that strategy. The teenager blushed, proving that he had been contemplating the idea.

When they had all assembled in the proper places, his roar of "Get goin' already!" Was the signal to start.

Shadowcat, Gambit and the others leaned in for a quick strategy session before making the first move; Gambit could see that the other team was doing the same. Nightcrawler took the leadership position, issuing commands and comments in a clipped, brisk voice.

"Shadowcat, Magma, Cannonball- stay together. I'll be scouting up ahead; you," with a jerk of the hand towards Gambit, "take point." He vanished in a puff of foul smelling smoke, and Gambit shrugged, extending his bo staff and carefully stepping forward. Behind him, the others followed in silence, taking his example.

Using his staff to test the rocky, uneven ground, he stepped carefully, with the innate grace of his years of stealth training. At the back, Kitty had become intangible, and was moving through the stubby grass like a ghost, making no sound, leaving no trail. They made quick progress, until they came to an outcropping of rock, close against a copse of trees. A slight rustling noise signaled Nightcrawler's return, and he spoke in a hushed voice.

"three ground units up ahead, behind those boulders," he said, pointing to a grouping of large boulders about 500 feet away, "and several air units headed this way. Kitty and I vill deal vith the ground units- catch up to us at the rocks." Grabbing hold of Kitty's hand, the two were gone, and Gambit turned to Magma.

"What exactly we gon' be fightin'?"

She blushed slightly when he spoke to her, but answered calmly enough. "They're paintball machines. If you get hit, it's like you got shot or something. It really sucks," she added as an afterthought, knowing from way too much personal experience.

Gambit grinned at her, nodding his head, and said "a'right den, here's what we gonna do. Remy an y' gon' get rid of 'em, and Cannonball, y' jus' stay put."

Cannonball frowned at this- he didn't exactly consider himself to need protection. But then again, he didn't have projectile powers, and he always got tagged out when he tried to fly away from them, so maybe the guy had a decent strategy after all.

A sudden whirring noise announced the arrival of the flying droids, and Magma flared up immediately, while Gambit charged his cards and threw them with cool precision. There were three droids, and Gambit took out two, while Magma managed to roast the third. Hearing the sounds of fried machinery, they ran to join their teammates.

Continuing along the course, they made good time, managing to avoid losing anyone along the way. Partway up a grueling stretch of exposed mountainside, they were caught in a sudden downpour, and Gambit looked up, unsurprised to see Storm calling down the wrath of the heavens upon them. Within minutes the group was soaked to the bone, all except for Kitty of course, who merely returned to intangibility and phased through the raindrops with a faint smile upon her face.

"Show off," Magma muttered under her breath, before finally giving into the temptation and flaring up. They continued in silence, save for the constant sizzling of raindrops as they came into contact with Magma's fire form.

A sudden splat of colored paint on the rock face closest to Cannonball was all the warning they had of the ambush- somehow, without their noticing, they had become surrounded by the paintball robots. Magma and Gambit took to firing at the air units, while Shadowcat took off running at the first of the visible ones on the ground. Ninghtcrawler ported out, returning some moments later to tell Cannonball that the robots were pouring out of a nearby cave, and Cannonball took to the air, performing one of his trademark nosedives, burying the mouth of the cave in rubble. While Gambit and Magma continued to fire at the remaining robots, Shadowcat phased through the rocks and made sure none of the robots trapped inside would be able to come after them.

Cannonball, Nightcrawler and Shadowcat were standing by the blocked off cave when Magma and Gambit came to join them. "Well, dat be fun, non?" Gambit commented as he sauntered up, looking none the worse for wear. Nightcrawler grimaced but said nothing, while the rest of them laughed.

They continued on, with Nighcrawler taking recon again, the rest in the usual formation, and managed to avoid any serious mishaps for approximately another five minutes. At that point, they came to a deep crevasse in the rock face; even though it was all holographic, Gambit had no doubt that there would be a painful landing for anyone who fell from the top of the cliff.

Without waiting to consult with anyone, Nightcrawler took Shadowcat and ported out. Cannonball looked at Gambit and Magma, helpless. "Ah can only fly one other person." he trailed off, but Gambit just smiled.

"Take her wit' y'- I get across m' own way."

Cannonball shrugged, as if to say 'it's your funeral,' but without protest, he picked up Magma, and flew across with ease, managing to even land without too much of a fuss.

"Clear de edge!" Gambit called as he backed up, and when he'd gotten far enough back, he took off running, hoping he hadn't misjudged the distance after all. As he reached the edge, he pushed off, using his staff for extra support. To the awe and amazement of the others, he made it with room to spare. "It jus' be like jumpin' rooftops back home," he said as an explanation, with an easy smile.

They continued, managing to avoid rockslides, falling off cliffs, and a fair assortment of other dangers. Coming down from a small hill, the group saw a rock formation up ahead, and Nightcrawler ported up to it, returning seconds later to report "it's a clearing up ahead- with the flag."

They all looked at each other for a few seconds, remembering Wolverine's description- only one person could win. With a shout of triumph, Nightcrawler ported, only to reappear a second later up by the rocks, unable to go any further. The others followed, running like mad to catch up. Nobody noticed that Remy had quietly slipped away, even before Nightcrawler's original report. Slipping around other rocks, in and amongst the trees, he smiled to himself. _Just another thing to steal,_ he thought with a silent chuckle.

Meanwhile, the rest of the team had caught up to the rocks, and surveyed the scene before them with dismay. Nightcrawler had taken to the trees, attempting to avoid the main part of the clearing, where the battle was already in progress. Sheets of ice were being flung from behind another jumble of boulders across the clearing, where Iceman had taken up a defensive position and was attempting to eliminate the competition, one by one. The rain had stopped, but there was still sufficient moisture in the air to give him additional fuel for his powers, and he was having a grand old time of it, whooping it up as he iced everything in the vicinity.

He'd managed to catch Sunspot already, and since there was no available sunlight, the other boy was unable to use his powers to break free. He had to settle for melting the old fashioned way.

Iceman had gotten Cyclops too, but the field leader was busy working to free himself with small, controlled bursts from his visor. Jean was shielding herself from Iceman's blasts, but she was unable to attack anyone else, since all her energy was going into shielding. Berzerker was encased in ice as well, but he was randomly throwing out bolts of electricity, trying to use the ice as a conductor to get the others; even though he was seemingly out of the running for the flag, he wouldn't mind taking a few others down with him.

Shadowcat calmly begins walking across the clearing, phasing through everything, and trying to stay out of Jean's line of sight- the telepath's powers would be able to prevent her from moving, even if she was in a phased state. Cannonball took to the air, after backing up to give himself a running start; at the same time, Magma took a cautious step out into the clearing, and immediately slipped on a sheet of ice. Seeing a new target, Iceman sent a wave of ice at her, and seconds later, she was stuck in an ice cocoon, fuming. She flared up into her fire form, quickly melting the ice around her into a rather large puddle. Suddenly, several things happened all at once.

One of Berzerker's random electrical sparks landed in Magma's puddle, immediately knocking her unconscious. Her fire fades out, and Berzerker snickers, knowing that when she wakes up and sees her hair in the mirror, all fried and puffed up, she's going to kill him; but for now, it's really funny to see.

Cyclops got a clear shot at Iceman, and took it, blasting the younger boy back several feet and leaving him huddled unconscious against some rocks. No longer forced to shield, Jean immediately attacked Shadowcat, holding her prisoner with her telekinesis. Meanwhile, Cyclops blasted Cannonball out of the sky. Cannonball came down in one of the trees, colliding with Nightcrawler, sending both boys plummeting towards the ground, and very painful landings. Berzerker electrocuted Jean, and the pain reverberated to Shadowcat, through the link Jean had been using to hold her immobile. Both girls, too were out of the game. Cyclops spared one last blast to get rid of Berzerker, and then he strode up to the flag, clearly seeing himself as the victor. However, a flaming card proved him wrong, landing directly in his path and knocking him back a few paces.

When he'd regained his balance, Cyclops looked up just in time to see Gambit's fist headed straight towards him. Ducking, he sent a blast of force towards the other man, who neatly sidestepped it, tossing a card in return. They circled each other warily, pitting their powers against each other, each unable to get in a clear hit. Charged cards and flashes of red light were thick in the air, and as the others began to come to, all thoughts of darting forward to seize the flag were forgotten. Nobody wanted to get in the middle of this fight, it seemed.

Jean was one of the first to awaken, and she simply stared, amazed and more than a little frightened. She'd known Scott for years, and never had she seen him this angry, this focused on an opponent. This was about far more than just a training exercise- this was about respect and dominance, about hierarchy and rank within the group, and about the uniquely male territorial instinct. As she watched, a random optic blast uprooted a tree; the supply of charged cards seemed to be endless. Neither man was holding back.

Suddenly, Gambit lunged left, as if toe attempt to grab the little yellow flag, waving aimlessly in the breeze. Jumping towards him, Cyclops took the bait, leaving his stance unbalanced, and Gambit neatly swept his legs out from under him with a powerful kick. Cyclops recovered quickly, coming back up with a swift punch to the gut, knocking Gambit back a step. The Cajun answered back with a solid right hook, connecting with Cyclops' jaw, and his head snapped back. Cyclops called up every memory from training sessions with Wolverine, and shot out with a good kick, catching Gambit's knee.

Gambit pulled the other man down with him, and they both went down in a tangle of limbs, throwing punches like two drunks fighting in one of the bars Logan liked to frequent. one moment they were rolling around on the ground beating the living daylights out of each other; the next, in one swift, fluid motion, Gambit was kneeling, one leg on Cyclops' chest to hold him down. Both of his hands were resting on Cyclops' visor, which was glowing that strange pink-red charged color.

"Enough, mon ami," was all he said, as Cyclops snarled up at him. His voice was quiet, with deceptive calmness, but the anger radiating out from his demon eyes was frightening to behold.

"That's enough, Gumbo," Wolverine said quite calmly, walking slowly towards them, as the simulation began to fade around them. "Let him up."

Wordlessly, Gambit rose to his feet, absorbing the charge back into himself. He said nothing as he strode forward, grabbing the yellow flag, staring around the room as if to challenge anyone to take it from him. Only Shadowcat was able to meet his gaze, and he inclined his head to her, giving a nod in respect, before stalking from the room.