*Disclaimer: I don't own Gambit, or any of the other characters featured in this story.. so don't sue me! (But, feel free to review!) Thanks for reading!
The last 48 hours of Remy LeBeau's life haven't been the best he's experienced, but he'll never forget them. After Gambit, along with Storm, were attacked by robots (which LeBeau still intends to figure out their objective .. and who sent them) he was summoned to New Orleans.
For the majority, his life before the X-Men was spent in this place. With the Thieves Guild, with Bella Donna, with Tante Mattie, with his father .. Jean-Luc LeBeau. A man who he'd thought would live forever.
Considering he had Candra the Immortal backing him, why wouldn't he? Despite what Remy always knew to be constant, Jean-Luc's life, the man is going to die. And soon..
..But only if Gambit lets him, which he has no intention of doing. His objective was to steal 12 stones. Tante Mattie and Jean-Luc had filled him in ... but only broadly. Twelve stones, each to be placed in a large machine which would supposedly restore Gambit's father's life. It made little sense .. but doubting Tante Mattie is something Gambit learned long ago not to do.
Twenty-four hours ago, LeBeau got his hands on the first stone. Piece of cake. They were the shape of a large diamond (considering they all looked like the first one) and, as he was informed, were different colors. The first was silver. 11 more to go.
The second one would be tougher, Gambit knew that much. The irony in the situation was simply delicious. LeBeau had to get the stone, stealing it right out from under the ruler of a certain nation's nose. No big deal.
What made it so tough was the nation was Genosha ... and the ruler, Magneto.
* * * * *
I do not know why I agreed to help Gambit in his task, the mutant speedster known as Quicksilver thought to himself, looking over at LeBeau. They had only just moments ago surfaced from the ocean waters, removing their diving gear. As Gambit promised, they were met with two men carrying more Genosha-like garb. With an exchange of nothing more than a handshake, the deed was done .. and the two X-Men blended in perfectly. "Answer me this, Gambit," Quicksilver spoke, a harsh tone in his voice. "How, exactly, do you have contacts in Genosha?"
"For me t'know, Pietro," LeBeau's trademark grin appeared on his face as he spoke, "An' for you t'never."
The son of Magneto rolled his eyes. "Do not forget I am only here in kindness to the X-Men. I do not like you, LeBeau, but you've proved your worth to the team over and over."
"Y'really know how t'make a guy feel special, 'Silver. Y'gonna make me blush.."
Just as before, Quicksilver grunted. "Unfortunately, I know enough of my father to pinpoint your stone's most probable location. In my years with him, I've learned he has a.. soft spot.. for the finer things. If it's here in Genosha, he'll have it showcased near his throne."
"Yer pops has a throne?"
"Magneto makes an extra effort to make sure he does. It makes him feel as if he is above others, I trust." The disgust in Pietro's voice was very clear, and partially due to Gambit's nerve.
They soon found themselves in a crowd of people, shuffling from one place to another. Pietro looked about with a sigh. There were so many endless possibilities in this place, and the U.N. had been foolish enough to hand it all over to HIS father. Both of the X-Men kept their faces hidden. Neither of them had any doubt.. if they weren't careful, the slightest thing would cause Magneto to discover them.
"D'ya even know where we're goin'?" Gambit asked, not bothering to look over at his teammate.
"Simply put, Gambit.. No," the former Avenger replied flatly. "We'll know in due time, I assure you. Even though we have yet to observe any--"
Suddenly, a woman screamed. "Please, no..! I have done my job.. Please.. Spare me from Magneto!!!"
"--It appears I spoke too soon. Trouble in a country my father has been 'trusted' to run. We have to help her!"
"We're X-Men, savin' lives is what we do, Mon Ami.. But a fight ain't what we need at de moment.."
"I can handle my father, Gambit. One way or another. I will not see this woman butchered.. for whatever reason!"
* * * * *
Magneto looked on at the man before him, one of his servants returning to another room. The man lay on the floor, encased in rags which he called clothing. Erik Lehnsherr's words were swift, merciless, and futile. They came in a deep tone, one that commanded all those around it. "Give me their names, Flatscan, or pay the price."
"I.. I.. I do not know what you are talkin' about, my Lord!" He gazed up, his own eyes meeting a set of fierce ones shrouded in shadows from the helmet Magneto wore. He was one of the men that had met Gambit upon the two X-Men's arrival..
"Your friend didn't make much noise as I stopped the blood in his body from circulating, but I managed to get information, nonetheless. I have no doubt you know why you are here - you have the valuable information which I need."
"Sean.. is.. d-d-d-dea..?"
"Indeed, your friend is dead. I may be willing to spare your life in exchange for information."
"Two men.. they came in from the sea. I met 'em there, gave 'em some clothes to wear.."
"Names, you simpleton, NAMES," Magneto said harshly. He'd heard rumors.. and hoped they weren't true.
He was about to find out they were.
"The one I know.. his name's LeBeau. That's all I know.. I swear! The other one.. he had white hair.. He kinda looked like that Avenger.."
Magneto sighed, turning around. Two of the X-Men had smuggled themselves into his country.. and he had no intention of letting them leave. He waited a moment, giving the Genosha native a moment to reflect on the situation. "Good," he finally said. "Then my plan is not in vain."
..Minutes later, Lehnsherr had a smile on his face at the sound of a human scream.
* * * * *
Five soldiers surrounded the woman, until fists flew all around them, and they fell to the ground without warning. She looked to Quicksilver with a grateful smile, "Thanks.."
The X-Man simply nodded, "Are you well?"
"I'm fine, thanks to you," she replied. "Your face.. you resemble--"
"--I haven't the slightest clue what you're talking about," he said quickly, turning away to find Gambit looking on, his crimson eyes showing his annoyance. "I'm afraid I must go."
Pietro hadn't used his speed to get back to Gambit, not feeling the need. Preservation was needed - he felt a battle coming with his father. That was his first mistake, as the woman slammed a small device onto his shoulder. "Let's say hello to your father!"
..And then Gambit watched as they disappeared in a burst of light. "An' here I thought I'd be de one needin' de rescuin'. Next time I gotta let m'ego take care o'me, instead'a bringin' back up like Tante suggested for d'is one.."
LeBeau turned with a sigh, and began walking again. He was keeping it casual, blending in with the crowd as much as he could. Magneto's men lined the streets, armed with not only their mutant powers, but guns. (It was most likely an image thing, what use could they possibly have of them?)
There wasn't anything he could do to help Quicksilver at the moment, and he knew he could handle his own. Gambit had complete faith in the man. LeBeau walked for ages, it seemed, but he finally found himself in front a large gate. A complex sat behind it. What other place could their be for Magneto's base?
He walked slowly to one of the guards, who talked first. "Lord Magneto doesn't wish to have any--Urk!"
"I don' got time t'play games, Homme!" Gambit said, having jammed a charged knife into the man's leg. He leapt out of the way as it exploded. (LeBeau was even amazing himself!) He was actually enjoying this!
LeBeau scaled the fence with ease, dodging gun fire. Within moments, he was inside the complex. Then it occurred to him.. He'd gotten this far with ease.. (That much was expected..) ..But too much ease! Magneto wasn't stupid...
He turned, finding Magneto hovering slightly above him. "Very good, Mr. LeBeau. I trust you've learned you've been set up by now."
"Where's Quicksilver?" Gambit asked instinctively. That was the part of him that had come from being an X-Man.
"My son's location is none of your concern. I know why you're here. Therefore, I trust--" He paused, slamming Gambit to the wall. LeBeau had actually worn metal?! He'd pay for that tomorrow... "--that you know why I cannot give the stone to you."
He.. knows? Gambit grunted, glaring on at the X-Men's archenemy.
"You're a very bold man, Gambit," Magneto continued, "I'd expect this from no one less than Wolverine, in fact."
Keep on talkin', Magneto.. I know ya ain't no novice, so why're ya actin' like one? Ya haven't even noticed de time-delayed charged card I got layin' right under ya..
Just then, the card exploded, hurling Magneto forward. His control over Remy's chest plate dwindled, and Gambit fell to the ground. He quickly removed it, and, knowing when to run.. Did just that. He couldn't handle Magneto by himself.
The ruler of Genosha snarled as he stumbled up, turning to see Gambit make it through the doorway that lead to his throne room.
Don' know fer sure why Magneto takes such an interest in de stone.. but I've got m'guesses.. just like de whole situation. I can't take on de Master of Magnetism alone.. Gotta find Pietro..
* * * * *
The mutant speedster known as Quicksilver moaned softly as his eyes flashed open from his brief status as one of the unconscious. While normally he'd already have been on his feet, he found himself restrained. Whoever had done this to him had to have been fast. No doubt about that.
Very fast, because Pietro was chained with metal restraints on a metal backboard which hung upon a stone wall. Before him were dozens of cameras. He was in some sort of observation room.
* * * * *
Magneto stepped into his throne room softly, his purple boots crushing into the dust layers below him which sat upon the ground. Scanning the room, he saw no trace of LeBeau. A magnetic field surrounded him. This time, the thief wouldn't get the best of him.
"In another world, Gambit, perhaps we would have been allies. Your ideals are not unlike my own, you realize. We are mutant. Homo sapien superior. Do you truly believe the world will accept you? Charles' dream was something to believe in. Do you not see that his dream has failed? Not only the X-Men, but mutant kind. My former associate would continue to stand with the team he founded so long ago if it had not. A new era is approaching, Gambit. My era. I will show mutant kind a dream worth having. One that will never fail. I have made the first move. I have become ruler of Genosha. Let the world tremble before my might."
"Long ago, you assembled the Marauders."
Gambit perked up from his hiding place amongst the rafters above.
How did Magneto know?!
"..You have since learned from your mistakes, Gambit. Your trial has been held. It is time for you to embrace a new fate. One that I can give you."
The rafters bent at Erik's will, and Gambit fell to the ground before him. The two mutants glared at each other. "Well then," Magneto continued. "Your silence speaks louder than any words possibly could."
"Guess so, Mon Brave." With that, LeBeau's staff was extended. It wrapped around Gambit's wrists, pulling them together. Damn.. Dat's de second one dis week.
The X-Man grunted.
* * * * *
Quicksilver's eyes grew wider than they were before, as he looked on in shock from his resting spot in the observation room.
Because now, on one of the screens..
...He could see Gambit and his father.
* * * * *
"You've made the right choice," Magneto spoke, looking on at Remy LeBeau. The X-Man's staff bent once more into it's original--well, for the most part--shape, releasing him.
"Y'don' gotta tell me twice, Mon Ami," Gambit replied, his trademark grin upon his face. "De Professor's dream didn' work, an' now it's time t'embrace de new one. Yours. I see dat now. An' wit' my help, maybe members o'de X-Men'll see it, too."
"Perhaps, Gambit." Magneto turned, "But perhaps not. I believe my own personal army to be formed. You are simply a piece, and I do not believe I need many others."
"A topic for later discussion," Magneto said boldly. "Do not defy me, Gambit. I have
granted you this one chance simply because it has been in my plans for some time."
Since Antarctica, Magneto thought. He then spoke aloud, "I shall return shortly --- I have someone to deal with at the moment."
LeBeau replied with a nod, and waited for Magneto to make his leave...
* * * *
...Just as Quicksilver prepared for Magneto to make his entrance. Magneto entered the room, commanding Pietro's restraints to bend around him, so that his son would fall to the ground. He did just that, and glared up at his father.
He couldn't move.
"The iron in your blood," Magneto said flatly. "Why have you come here, my son?"
"Call. Me. Quicksilver."
Erik looked down, as if considering it. "Very well. Why have you come here? Associating with a former thief, and murderer?"
"Gambit is an X-Man, Magneto," Quicksilver said harshly, "The only murderer I've
associated with in a long time is you. And thank God those days are long behind me."
"You are so blind, Pietro. Do you not see the endless possibilities of this place? The future of--"
"--I do, Magneto. But then I look at who rules here. You. It causes me to completely
forget this nation's potential."
Glaring at his son, Magneto lets out a sigh. "Perhaps you think that mercy will be shown. You are a tresspasser, and I do not take kindly to that. You will be judged as if you were any other."
"How could I expect mercy to be shown from a monster? You aren't capable of it!!"
"..You are correct."
* * * *
LeBeau leapt upward, propelling himself into an air duct. He made his way through it
quickly, being as cautious as he could. Within moments, he found himself glaring down at the stone. Although it shared the previous stone's structure, the color was different. Instead of silver, it was crimson.
With a swift kick, the vent unhinged and flew towards the ground. LeBeau flipped from the duct, and caught the metal piece before it hit the ground to alert anyone.
The crimson stone was encased, glass all around it. As far as Remy could tell, there were no doors in this room, which left him confused. He didn't have the time to think much more of it, so he acted quickly --- doing a flip in the case's direction. Once he was before it, he pulled a small glass cutter from his sleeve.
Within ten seconds, it was in his possession.
LeBeau's ego flared. Here he was, in the middle of Magneto's citadel, stealing
something the X-Men's arch-enemy wanted. Remembering Tante Mattie's warnings, the actions quickly came to a stop. Too much was at risk for a little leisure.
Ten more seconds pass, and Gambit finds himself inside the air ducts once more. I
guess Magneto figures nobody's stupid enough t'try an' steal somethin' from 'em.. d'at must be why he keeps everything so ... accessible.
* * * *
"I am going to give you a chance, Pietro," Erik's words came swiftly, "Join me and live amongst a society which will be glorious. One which mutants will thrive. A Haven..
"I want no part in a society where human kind is butchered simply because of a lack of the X-Factor gene, Magneto. You are no better than the bigots which strive for mutant
extermination. You're a madman!!"
"I've tried many times to let reality seep into your brain. I will make this offer never again. You are a fool, just as Charles was."
Just as Quicksilver's blood began to boil from rage, a charged vent slammed into the Master of Magnetism. "Gambit?! I should have trusted my senses--!"
"Yah, but ya didn', did ya?! Welcome to de consequences!" Gambit spoke, doing a flip over to Magneto, who had only just begun to stand. He quickly remedied that with a swift kick, sending the foe to the ground once more.
"Once upon a time, Magneto," Gambit spoke, "I fought a man who I thought was you.. An' I picked up a few t'ings.."
"I presume you mean my pathetic carbon copy Joseph, X-Man!" Magneto glared, "Let me introduce you to the real force that is Magneto.. Let me show you why I am feared by nations!"
Gambit's eyes went wide as he was suddenly suspended mid-air, and then slammed against a wall.
And as the air in Remy LeBeau's lungs gushes out, he learns that it doesn't take long for a man to stop breathing --- especially when the cause is Magneto's awesome power.
Luckily for our favorite X-Man, Quicksilver is faster. Thank you for focusing your power on Gambit, Father-- because it is just the momentum I needed -- TO DO THIS!
With amazing speed, Pietro Maximoff slammed into his biological father, sending the twomen crashing through the wall. As rubble from the room divider began to settle, Gambit stood, holding his head with a slight wheeze. "Definately gonna feel d'at one," he mumbled to himself.
As an X-Man and a Thief, Remy LeBeau learned long ago that there's no time to take a breather..
..So he charges back into the battle. Before him is quite the sight.
Magneto, perhaps the X-Men's most lethal foe.
Quicksilver, his teammate in the X-Men.
In a winner-takes-all battle.
Charging his staff, Gambit leapt in, slamming it down hard on Magneto.
"Fools!" Lensherr snarled, a magnetic shield expanding around him --- knocking the two X-Men back. "You stand no chance against me!"
Quicksilver raised a gun, "Don't we?"
"You are a fool to believe that a simple gun could stop me, Quicksilver. You should be smarter than that, based on the simple fact that you are my son." With that, the gun floated directly to Magneto, and he gripped it.
The magnetic energy which had served Magneto suddenly turned against him, shooting into his body, beyond his control. The Master of Magnetism fell to the ground like a helpless child.
Gambit simply glanced to Quicksilver, a confused look upon his face. "What de?"
"Not long ago," he began to explain, "I had an encounter with Joseph. Along with that encounter, I met Sabra --- the woman bent on my father's destruction. Along with Joseph, she'd developed several weapons --- that being one of them."
"How'd ya hide it so long? An' ya didn't even bother t'tell me?"
"Magneto's magnetic charges triggered the molecules in the weapon, causing it to
expand. I was beginning to think it wasn't going to. But we don't have much time."
"Yer right. I got de stone," Gambit spoke. "It's in de other room."
"Get it. We have to go."
Within the next few moments, Gambit found himself in the other room, the stone in his hand. Just as he was leaving, however, he noticed something.
A helmet, along with some armor, hanging as if it were to be showcased on the wall.
The armor was that of Eric the Red's.
"Yah.. I'm comin'," He spoke in a low tone, making his way back to Quicksilver. He
glanced to the body of Magneto, which was beginning to stir. "I'll be back," he vowed, enraged at the new suspicions.
He finally knew who had given him his Trial.. and he would make sure that Magneto
An illegal flight, three drinks, a country, and a day later...
"Two stones, Tante," Gambit spoke, "I don' know how much more o'dis I can take."
"Ten more, d'at's how many y'can take," The old woman replied, "You know damn well ya gotta do dis, Remy. Unless ya are ready to come down here an' lead de guild."
"Don' think so, Tante," Gambit smiled, "I know I gotta do it.. I have to." He sighed, looking through a window into the room near the two. On the bed was Remy's adoptive father, one of the few men he'd ever really trusted with his life. "He'd do it for me.."
With that, there was nothing more that Tante Mattie could say.
She could only smile.
Magneto snarled as he entered the room that formerly held the stone. Part of his pride had been taken that day. He had fallen to two X-Men. Something he would make sure would never happen again. Whatever that weapon had been, it had stunned even him. He hadn't anticipated it. He would have some investigating to do.
He had lost this battle, but he would win the war.
And he had every intention of Gambit being one of the cassualities --- now more than ever.