[Gambit, Venom] Shadows of the Mind Ana Lyssie Cotton
Sep 05, 2000 01:22 PDT
Disclaimer: Gambit and the Venom Symbiote don't belong to me. No
money is being made.

I'm hoping I wrote this accurately. So sue me, I'm tired.

Dedication: ahem. Happy birthday to Rosencrantz and Em-Spider!!!
Who share the day known to all as September the Fifth, as a

Shadows of the Mind
by Ana Lyssie Cotton

It slithered through the night, hunting. It needed someone warm,
someone good. Someone just right. Shadows covered it, letting it
slip through them as it muttered inaudibly to itself.

"Must find...."


The wind blew cold around him, whipping the trench out and
exposing his jean-clad legs to the bitter cold. Remy cursed in
N'awlins French and tried to wrap the edges around himself

He hadn't wanted to be out, frankly, he would have preferred his
warm and cozy motel room. But instead he was stuck out here.
Playing decoy. Damned Wisdom.

"Just a quick, easy job. Play decoy me, while I get the
information I need."

Yeah, right. He snorted and watched the wind whip away the smoky
shreds of his breath. Of course, getting paid was a nice reason
to stand out in the cold like this. Especially if it got him out
of the X-Mansion and down into the city.

New York, city of dreams, home to several hundred thousand
disenchanted people. Even in the cold of winter, they scurried
to and fro. Hopping on this train, going downtown to club,
uptown to club, and the park to play. Even at night the city
glistened with life. Remy dodged a large group of business-types
who were obviously drunk and on their way back to their hotel.

He liked the city, liked the manicness and the sense that
anything could happen. But what he didn't like was the wind that
whipped between the tall buildings and funneled straight into
his face, freezing his nose and lips. With another mumbled
curse, he pulled a small scarf out his pocket and wrapped it
around his lower face.

A pair of fingerless gloves were already on his freezing hands.
He sighed and slipped his handsd back in his pockets, shivering
as another gust of wind hit him.

The shadows around him flittered. He blinked, then shook his
head, ignoring it, like a good New Yorker.

A few blocks away, a mugger accosted a young woman and then was
attacked by a shadow. The shadow muttered about innocence and
light as it killed him. The young woman fainted.

Remy Lebeau was not a praying man, nor was he keen to die. But
then, the shadows deepening around him weren't noticeable. Until
it was too late.

Pain shattered his thoughts, doubling him over and leaving him
curled up on the concrete. Blackness swirled over him,
chittering and mumbling as it consumed him. A moment later, or
an eternity after, he rose and stood, shaking, feeling it like
oil on his skin, like pinpricks in his eyes.

Help. Innocence. There was something, he needed to do something.
To help someone.

And then Remy found his mind splitting, being consumed and
destroyed. He fought back, using everything he'd ever learned
about fighting telepathic assault. Blades ran along his nerves,
and he bled from a dozen cuts as he fought. At least, he thought
he did.

But he wasn't. He was fine. And on the sidewalk. Remy stared
down at his hands, noting the blood that slowly dripped to the
dark sidewalk under his knees. He'd gripped so hard, his nails
had cut into his palms. It was that pain which had drawn him
back from the edge of insanity.

Remy Lebeau stood, staggered, and then leaned against the nearby
telephone pole. He was fine. Dammit. And Wisdom owed him,

Straightening, he stalked down the street, remembering that
there had been a scream earlier. Earlier?

And the shadows followed him, melting into his coat and boots,
swimming around his legs and chest. Glimmering deep in his eyes.

It had found someone, someone stronger than it. But it could
wait. Didn't it already control him?



The man was dead, neck bent at a nasty angle. The girl, on the
other hand, was not. Remy carefully checked her pulse, then sat
back on his heels. A glance at his watch proved it was time to
head back and be warm, but first, the girl needed to awaken. And
then he'd walk her home.

Remy snorted, wondering when he'd suddenly gotten all
chivalrous. Not that it mattered, he couldn't leave a young
woman out on the street. Even if it was New York.

Dark hair, medium brown skin, nice cheekbones, short build. The
woman was cute, probably, when she was awake. Remy waited,
knowing she couldn't be out for much longer. Hopefully.

He was right. She groaned and her eyes fluttered open a moment
later. "Oh. Ow." She flinched as she spotted him, "Who the hell
are you?"

"Remy." He stood and offered her a hand.

She ignored it, struggling to her feet, and moving away from him
as she did so. "That's nice. I'll be going now." Her eyes
spotted the dead man. "Oh my god." The colour drained from her
face and she looked at Remy, fear in her eyes, "I saw... the

"The shadows?"

But she was over her fright, now, calm again, "Never mind. Thank
you. Good night." With a dismissive nod, she turned and walked
away from him.

Remy Lebeau chuckled and sauntered after the woman, watching
that she made it home safe. Oddly, she didn't seem to notice
him. Although she made it home safe.


It waited as the new host took a shower, then stretched out on
bed and flipped through the local channels. A phone call and
discussion of payment. And then he slept.

Time to go to work.


Remy woke up feeling stiff and sore and dirty. And his mouth
tasted like something had crawled in it and died. With a moan,
he staggered into the bathroom.


His face was a mass of bruises as were his upper arms, fists,
shoulders and back. His legs seemed to have escaped whatever
beating it was he'd gone through, but the rest of him...

With a wince he turned the shower on and stepped in, yelping as
the water sluiced down onto his sore flesh. At least it was

As the water poured over him, he tried to think, tried to figure
out what had happened. He'd gone to bed fine, and woken up
beaten, dirty and... tired? He blinked blearily, realising that
he was tired. As if he'd slept less than the eight hours he
should have had by the clock.

He stared at his hands, wishing he could-- "Merde." Shadows
flowed over his hands and arms, swirling around them and sliding
in and out of his skin. He watched in morbid fascination as the
bruises began healing, the pain slipping away as the
shadow-fingers moved higher up his arms.

Razer-edged pain glimmered at the edge of his brain, reminding
him of the assault the night before. The assault...

Remy came to himself curled in the small bathtub, water pelting
down on him and blood streaming from one hand. He'd punched a
hole in the tiles, scraping his knuckles deeply. With a grimace
about having to pay for that, too, he slowly stood and turned
off the water.

"What is going on?" He demanded aloud, stepping over to the
mirror and staring at his bloodshot eyes.

Nothing. Nothing's going on. Something whispered in his head.

He stared at the mirror, then whirled to confront the figure
standing behind him. "What are you?"

Nothing was there. Except.... The shadows stared back at him.

"Who are you?"

We are nothing. You do not see us.

"Oh, but I do." Remy's clenched fist sparked pink, power running
around it and up his arm.

You should not.

"Who. Are. You?" He demanded, biting every word off.

We are unique. We are one. We are.

"What have you done to me?"

Nothing. It was done to you, to us, as we fought. Many brave,
many innocent are safe now.

The shadows chittered and slithered around him. You are safe
now. Safe with us.

Madness, he thought, it was all madness. Wasn't it? They
couldn't talk. Shadows were shadows.

'I saw... the shadows...'

The shadows, which moved and writhed over him, healing the rents
and tears in his skin and then sliding under it, into it.
Disappearing into him.

Shock rattled through him, sending him towards the bed,

It will be all right. We are here.

Would it? It would? They were here. They. Who were they? Remy
rolled onto his stomach and stared sightlessly at the wall.

The pattern was a nice, demure rose and green leaf combination,
winding up to the ceiling. It covered most of the walls, all but
the one where the bathroom was. That one had a light orange
wallpaper with daisies in yellow and blue on it.

Blue on orange. Sort of glaring, like red on green. Blood on
white sidewalk, staining it deeply. Blood on his hands, on their
hands. Evil blood.

Innocent blood.

No. Not innocent. They were not innocent. Hiss.

Remy blinked. the shadows coalesced in front of him, hissing and
moving agitatedly. Never innocent. Always evil blood.

"You... You took over my body, my mind. We--I--you killed. Who?"

No one, everyone. Only bad. No good.

Remy dragged himself out of bed, shaking his head, "It doesn't
matter. If I killed someone, they may be after me already."

Safe. Is safe. We made sure.

The shadows drifted closer, began wrapping around him, seeping
into him, blanking everything out.

Don't leave us.

"Who are you?"

We are.