A/N: Wow. I didn't even realize how long I'd left you all hanging. But there were reasons. I had a serious case of real life going crazy, then having to relearn how to write longer chapters, then doing some very serious focusing in on original fiction and poetry at lianamir dot come, and now, I'm back again but going to be giving priority to my 365 day fiction and poetry challenge this year, writing a prompted piece for each day. More info under Challenges at lianamir dot com. Feel free to prompt.

On to the story.

Once again, many thanks and huge gratitude to heavenmetal, queen of betas and my invaluable guardrail for writing Remy. More huge thanks to Flitz and Valerie J. Rereading their work again, especially Blind Sight gave me the right mindset for getting back on this pony. I kept going around and around on whether my originally planned X-Men side of the plot was still what I wanted, but I finally decided to keep it, so I hope it works out well.

Thank you to all my reviewers:

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As for questions:

Canon: Stryker and X2 will not be happening. Logan does not already know Remy. I am ignoring ALL movieverse with the exception of X1. This is a total what-if AU and that's it.

Relationships: Belladonna and Remy's relationship will be clarified in a future chapter, probably a lot closer to when she actually arrives. Remy and Rogue are tentatively interested but not at all together. Crush or attraction is as strong as I would define it at this point.

Sequels: No sequels or side-fics in this universe are planned, but I will not be abandoning this story. There may be occasional breaks going forward, though I sincerely hope not, but I will finish Son o' de Guild if it's at all humanly possible.

Powers: According to Marvel canon (and I'm using comicverse here), Rogue's powers do not affect Gambit's when he is fully powered. In this fic he is fully powered. His energy or "charge" cancels out her ability to actually meaningfully touch him in order to absorb. [Gambit #16] When he is fully powered, his charge can vary in intensity from red to blue.

Updates: Updates will be as fast as I can make them, but probably no more frequent than once every two weeks.


Son o' de Guild

Chapter Ten:
Guilded Strife


"It's about time you hit the sack, kid." Logan eyed Rogue's sprawled form across his bed.

She'd ensconced herself there right after classes and refused to move until he told her absolutely everything rated PG-13 ("I am seventeen years old, you know, Logan," she'd reminded him with a scathing glare.) or less about his entire trip, which was basically a wash. No clues to his past, just an empty base and nothing to jog his nonexistent memory.

Naturally, now that he was trying to get rid of her, she protested. Loudly. "But you just got back! I don'—"

"It's almost one o'clock in the morning," he replied, unmoved.

Rogue rolled over to look at the clock, then pouted. "Jean would let me stay up." Figures, the kid would pull that card.

Logan groaned and stubbed out his cigar in the ashtray by the bed. "It's a hundred hours past curfew." He gave her a look.

She gave him one back. "Only three." Then she sniffed, apparently at his poor mathematical skills.

He rolled his eyes. "Go on, kid. Get."

Rogue grumbled and sighed, but finally, she tumbled out of his open bedroom door (no need to get another lecture from One-Eye on propriety) into the hallway, and he closed it behind her.

He stared at the little room around him, the wood paneling, student desk, single bed. It was simple and unprepossessing. Nothing wrong with it on its own terms, but still he wondered how in the world he'd got himself corralled back into the Institute. Of course, he knew the answer whether or not he wanted to admit it.

Rogue.

He felt some sort of responsibility toward her and the Institute was good for her. So she stayed. And he'd come back as often as it took to convince her to stay until she stopped feeling like a pup and felt more like a grown woman to him. Someone had to teach her to take care of herself.

But being inside the same four walls, no matter how well furnished and provided for, was ultimately confining, and Logan had been known to become restless over less. He'd barely sent Rogue trucking off to bed, over her insistent protests, before he stretched and went on a prowl.

He could smell Jean and Scott down the hall in their shared bedroom and hear their muted voices. He wondered briefly what they were on about, but shrugged it off in favor of a Danger Room run, something he'd been introduced to only briefly during his initial stay here. Perhaps, it was time for a more thorough acquaintance.


Scott shook his head at Jean's accusation, then pulled on a shirt while answering. "I am not that much of a stickler. I may like the team to be in shape,"—Jean snorted at the understatement—"but I like to ensure that during daytime hours."

Jean smiled. "I'm sure that all the team members you've roused out of bed at four o'clock in the morning would agree."

He eyed her as if uncertain how to take that. The thoughts brushing across their mental link mirrored the image, and she laughed outright.

"Come on." She set down her brush. "We'll be late."

Scott grumbled as he followed her. "Nobody should set a meeting for 1:30 in the morning."

Apparently, Hank and Ororo agreed. Both appeared groggy and somewhat displeased at their presence when the "lovebirds" entered the War Room. Only Ororo managed to look serene at the same time.

"Glad you could join us," Xavier greeted them mildly.

Scott nodded curtly as he dropped into his seat. Jean settled in beside him and reached for the sheaf of papers on the table before her. Each seat had one, but she was the only one to immediately take a look.

She frowned.

"Yes, it is concerning." The Professor indicated his own set of papers. "I suggest you all read what you have in front of you, and then we'll get started. Unfortunately, we do not have a lot of time." Worry creased the Professor's face.

All four of them saw the look and began to read.


The mansion hadn't really changed. It was as he had left it: stylish, understated elegance worn by the passage of too many students who lived in rather than preserved their surroundings, then the lower levels of ahead-of-the-times but understated technology. Logan had become thoroughly familiar with both upper and lower levels during his previous stay, and he knew the way to the Danger Room with its intriguing holographic battle and training simulations.

Suddenly, Logan stopped cold, claws unsheathing with the sound of sliding metal. It was the only sound. His breath had stilled and his senses reached out on high alert. Someone was down here. Someone whose scent he didn't recognize.

It took him a few moments to realize that whoever it was knew that Logan had noticed them. They were as silent as Logan, barely a shallow breath in the stillness of the corridor. It was going to take scent to locate the intruder, so Logan let a little more of that feral awareness loose. Not much. Too much and he would start growling and seriously considering berserker battle mode. This required subtlety, which implied an intruder that knew what they were doing.

The scent was cleaner than Logan had expected, as if they knew to be cautious of wearing cologne or perfume. Faintly cinnamon, a hint of nicotine, an almost scentless soap, and the faint sheen of sweat. Closer to the right than the left. Med bay?

Finally, Logan moved forward, inching unobtrusively toward the shadow of the door into the medical bay. Claws out. They had probably taken refuge in that shadow. Logan hadn't been quiet coming out of the elevator and into the hall. It was dark down here, but he didn't need sight to know—

A sudden explosion of action cut off the thought. A telescoping bo staff parrying his claws and sending Logan flying across the hall before whoever wielded it sank into a defensive crouch. In a bare half-second, Logan realized that staff had to be made of adamantium to survive Logan's claws, and that meant government or professional underground downstairs in the mansion where Rogue lived.

Nothing was going to happen to the kid.

He caught himself as he rolled off the wall and used the momentum to head straight back into an offense. This time, he let that semi-berserker rage fill him as he aimed his claws straight for the intruder's heart.


Only instinct kept Remy's hard cursing inside his mind instead of his mouth, but he knew better than to give away an advantage—his voice—or open his mouth up to injury. No time, no time, and he was lunging acrobatically out of the way of his attacker.

He didn't need to see to sense that palpable determination to injure him. The man's empathic signature was ablaze with violent intent, had been from the instant he stepped out of the elevator and froze. A professional with professional instincts. Remy really didn't want to think about the implications.

Don't think, just fight hard. Throw himself out of the way of another strike, swing up with his staff and knock the man for another loop. He couldn't chance that maybe this person had a right to be here and try to kill them, so it was keep himself alive.

Remy heard more than felt metal clang against his staff again, puncturing the wall beside him, whirring through the air beneath him. Flatten himself and curse again when he felt the charge spread through the ground beneath them.

"What the—"

He had surprised his attacker but there was no time to take advantage when he had to press his body to the metal floor and yank the energy back. An arm nearly sideswiped him again, and finally he cursed aloud, "Maudit!" then flung himself off the wall and took another swipe himself with the bo staff.

A glancing blow he hadn't expected and he gasped at the fiery pain. First blood. Dieu, this wasn't working. He grabbed at the blindfold, charged it, and threw it off in the direction of the man.

With claws. A mutant.

The blind exploded, throwing the man back again through a wall (the doctor was going to hate him for sure) and into the med bay.

Remy crouched, defensive again, catching his breath in raggedly, then pained as he realized beakers, walls, countertops were turning radiant pink. But the mutant was pulling himself up out of the rubble, glaring at Remy with murder in his eyes, healing.

Merde.

Remy scrambled for his deck of cards and lit them at once, still trying desperately to tell that charge in the med bay to stay put, don't explode. He only knew one way to make that happen.

One card at the crazy homme. The explosion knocked him back down—for the moment. That trick wouldn't work for long, but he just needed to buy enough time to drop to the floor and—

Dieu. Don't t'ink 'bout what y're doin'.

He'd been fighting this from the moment his mutation erupted on him.

—do what he had to do. He closed his eyes, ignoring the sounds of the growling mutant coming back to life and clambering upright in the shambles of medical instruments and wall, and placed both hands on the ground. All those molecules alive and pulsating with energy just begging to be released. He poured the charge out of himself into everything—floor, walls, up those counters, into the objects, filling every square inch of chargeable material.

Dieu. Don't t'ink 'bout what y're doin'.

The Guild didn't call him Gambit without a reason. Remy took risks, betting when the stakes were high, and he only had one shot at keeping all the things he had looked at from blowing up. Charge the space between, make it one, and then pray to all the saints he could draw it back.

This wasn't what he had been looking for when he trudged to the Danger Room one more time, depressively certain his body was dealing him a losing hand. He had been looking for relief, however short the reprieve, and found instead a battle where he couldn't afford to win.


War.

Scott blanched. Ororo's mouth grew grim. There was no mistaking the meaning of the reports in front of them.

Xavier watched his former students and their reactions, amazed at how much he could ask of them, how much they had already done and given in this cause for peace between baseline humans and mutants when so frequently, their enemies were mutants themselves.

Jean looked up first, then Hank.

At last, Scott raised his head from the papers. "So this is from Sage?" the team leader asked.

The Professor tried not to wince at the name. Over the years, he had felt much regret over how everything turned out with that former member of the X-Men, but he felt helpless to change things now, especially not when he needed the information only she could provide.

"Yes," he said evenly, no hint of inner turmoil. "Sage sent this."

The Hellfire Club was a bit of a thorn in the X-Men's side: a group of wealthy and powerful mutants intent on gaining more power and influence. The club's methods were ruthless and often involved enslaving young mutants and using their powers to further their aims. Now, Sage had confirmed that plans were afoot to use a new "weapon" to quietly take over the city, preferably without letting the entire world know that power had changed hands. No one doubted the weapon was some sort of mutant.

"Perhaps this is a telepath?" Hank suggested.

Scott frowned—and thought—his disagreement. "Sage and the White Queen are both telepaths. They'd need more than that to do something new. Don't you think, Jean?" He turned to his significant other for confirmation.

Jean's eyes unfocused for a moment, and at first, the Professor thought she was thinking about the question, until he too felt something odd on the astral plane and frowned.

"Remy," Jean whispered and flew out of her seat toward the door.

Xavier followed her mental thread and found— Logan! Stop attacking him!


Logan eyed the intruder warily. The man was younger than he had thought at first—he still had the gangly limbs of youth—but he currently held the trump card. A mutant with some sort of explosive energy and right now, the entire basement was set to blow.

Logan! Stop attacking him! Professor Xavier's telepathic call caught Logan off-guard.

"What—" but he didn't get to finish his comment because Jean and Scott were coming out of the elevator, then staring in horror at the scene before them.


Remy's kinesthetic sense had gone wild with the charge surrounding him on all sides. He had to stay focused, draw the energy back, and that was why he missed the elevator making any kind of sound and letting him know the doctor was downstairs.

"Not now, Scott!" Jean's voice rang out, startling Remy good.

He almost lost his grip on the charge, but he pressed his eyes harder shut. Focus, dieu! But all that power didn't want to come back. It surged and pulsed and pushed outward, intensifying for as long as he forced it not to explode.

"Oh my stars and garters," another voice added into the tumbling, heated melee. The other doctor. Hank.

Remy gritted his teeth against the distraction. How many people were there? And he couldn't sense them beyond the raging molecules and heat and the roil of confusion, fear, and wariness.

"Remy," Jean's voice carried soft and even. "I'm coming over there."

Don't get too close. The doctor was crazy. Certifiable. Downright and absolutely insane.

"You know this kid?" a man's harsh voice demanded. Remy's attacker. Those metal claws slid menacingly loud and sent Remy back on his heels with the threat.

"Could ask de same o' y', m'sieur claws," Remy brought out roughly. Even in his own ears, he could hear the ragged effort, but he had to state his innocence, appeal for someone to confirm his right to be here in the mansion. He opened his eyes and stared at the man head-on, challenging with the demon-eyed stare he had been born with. He really didn't want to die. "You 'ttacked me. Jus'..."

Remy trailed off, realizing with horror he'd charged the man's shirt. Dieu! This all just kept getting worse. He shook his head, closed his eyes, tried to close his mind to the pounding beat of whining humming playful energy.

"Jus' tryin' t' survive."

Murmuring French and Cajun curses, he forced himself to focus again on drawing back the charge into his body. He felt the doctor's hand on his arm and almost yanked away from her. She was crazy.


"Logan," Scott said, calmly, with that same even strait-laced way he always had. "Take off your shirt."

Confused, Logan looked down, then seeing his shirt glowing pink, yanked it off and tossed it aside just before it exploded.

Jean took it in with a calm gaze, knowing as she held onto Remy that she had to stay calm for him. He had shut his eyes tightly and she had little doubt from the tattered state Logan's shirt had already been in that the blindfold as well as several cards had already been destroyed in the two's fight. The remnants of a deck lay scattered on the floor beneath them.

Remy wasn't even trying to keep her out. He didn't have to. That loud static buzz she associated with the crackling energy around them physically extended to the astral plane and effectively made him invisible to her mind.

"What is he?" Logan demanded, sheathing his claws now that he knew it was some over-trained out-of-control student and not a government agent.

Jean looked up sharply at that. She hadn't meant to catch the thought, but she had. Government? Sensations of their battle, the expert maneuvers she had seen in the Danger Room earlier, black eyes with burning red irises ablaze with the same energy he had charged up the basement with.

"Do you know how the kid fights?" Logan insisted.

"Later," Scott waved him off. "Let's focus on getting the mansion to not blow up."

Remy chuckled darkly, belied by the sharp apprehension that slammed abruptly into Jean. "Not go'n' t' lose it. Not dis time."

She ignored the words and held him a little tighter, reaching out telepathically, even knowing he would recoil. "Let me help, Remy."

He started to shake his head, shake her off, then sighed. His mental walls lowered, proving something had been under the surface of the charge, and Jean fell abruptly into shocking heat and fear and a whirling melee of half-crazed energy, dancing molecules and time streams and potentialities and worlds opening and shutting…

She winced. She couldn't scream. She had to hold in her fear, for Remy's sake, hold her mind together from all the places his wanted to shatter it to. How could he tolerate this? Whirlpools of energy, time, possibility collapsing in on itself, opening up, threatening to explode.

She had to pull it together.

Remy. Mentally, she reached for him and found a shock of iron will, clenched it and strengthened it, strengthened his reserves, lent him her calm, her own will to add to his own. She gritted her teeth when she felt him blindly reaching back. His hand gripped her arm, his will took hold of the power she gave him with a sharp, blinding pain and then pulled on all that blazing morass, willing it back into himself.

Come 'ere!

For the first time, she understood his fear, understood why he was trying so fiercely to not give in and become whatever the end result of this process was. His body wanted to become the charge, merge with all these potential worlds and times and explosive possibilities as he gritted his teeth, Non!

Jean held on with him, mind lost in bolstering his until something in him told her he had gotten all the energy back inside himself.

She opened her eyes and discovered she was clutching her head with her free hand and staring at Remy's shaking body beside her. The floor and walls were their own proper colors. Looking from the outside, Remy looked fine, except for the shaking. She couldn't see the biokinetic charge she now knew was barely contained and certainly not under control.

"You've been sneaking down here to work out in the Danger Room, haven't you?" she said quietly. She should have put two and two together a whole lot sooner.

Remy opened his mouth, then snapped it shut and worked his jaw. "De man tried t' gut me. Was jus' surviving."

Scott interjected abruptly. "That's not the point, Remy. You're not allowed down here without permission." His tone was hard and exasperated and Remy's jaw tightened in stubborn rebellion.

Jean wanted to hush her husband, but instead continued speaking to Remy, still gently, "Spending unsupervised time in the Danger Room means that the room has adapted to your skills too quickly. You're not going to get the benefit if someone doesn't set it up for your needs." It was going to make him work harder physically but not mutationally, and it explained why he couldn't get enough charge out in a single session to last for even twelve hours.

Remy started to shake his head, then simply opted for standing up. "I need t' get dis charge out."

She knew that. Jean frowned to herself, wondering how often he had been this bad and hidden it from her. She nodded at Scott briefly. "Please set up program 32." She had programmed three of them with Remy in mind. Time to test them.

She glanced at Hank, whose mouth was shut in a grim line. 'Observe?' she mouthed.

Hank nodded.

"Are you sure about this?" Scott looked worried.

Jean glanced back at Logan and thought inside his head, I need to talk to you. "I'm sure."