This chapter is brought to you by the lovely Chellerbelle. Enjoy and once again none of the members of the ROMY Round Robin own Remy, Rogue or any of the X-men.
Remy didn't get back to Rogue's home until about ten that evening, and it was she who answered the door.
"How'd it go with your contacts?" Rogue asked, holding the door open for him.
"No luck, I'm afraid," Remy replied. "But they'll keep an eye out for it. What about you?"
Rogue hesitated briefly as she shut the door after him. "Nothing yet. Etienne's in the shower."
"You looked?" Remy asked cheekily.
"If I did," Rogue replied dryly, "it's only what he deserves."
"I was just about to head off to bed," Rogue went on.
"Mind if I join you?"
Rogue glared at him and Remy grinned innocently back at her.
"What?" he asked. "I'm getting tired myself."
"Filthy swamp rat," she said with a flick of her hair. "I'm going to bed, alone. Don't make a mess of my house while you're waiting for Etienne."
Remy smiled as he watched Rogue turn her back on him and saunter up the stairs. When she was gone from view, he got comfortable on the lounge.
Rogue woke up first the next morning. Clad in pale green pajamas, she made her way downstairs, and walked straight for the kitchen to get the coffee started. It was only after her cup was made and she had taken her first sip, that she wandered back out to the livingroom and spotted Remy fast asleep on the lounge. Rogue looked at him for a time, wondering if she should wake him up or let him sleep.
As it turned out, Remy woke on his own before Rogue needed to decide. He shuffled in his sleep, opened his eyes and frowned slightly as he turned on his side.
"Morning," Rogue said, and had another sip of her coffee.
Remy half sat up and rubbed his head.
"Morning," he said groggily.
"You forget to leave last night?" Rogue asked.
Remy swung his legs off the side of the lounge.
"I was waiting for Etienne," he said slowly. "Guess I must have fallen asleep."
"Guess so," Rogue said. "Coffee's ready in the kitchen if you want any."
Remy took a moment, then pulled himself up off the lounge. He stretched his arms above his head as he headed for the kitchen, rotating his shoulders and back to get out all the kinks that had formed from sleeping on the lounge. Rogue followed him and took out a clean mug from the cupboard for him. He thanked her again, poured himself a cup, and then stepped away from the bench as he took his first sip.
"You got new curtains," Remy said, nodding towards the bright, floral print curtains, which neatly matched the rest of the kitchen.
Rogue shrugged. "Et burned the last ones."
"Oh, that's right," Remy said, belatedly remembering the fire in the kitchen. "How much were they?"
Rogue told him. Remy put his mug down, then pulled his wallet out of his back pocket and handed out a note to her. Rogue stared at it in confusion.
"Keep the change," Remy said when she didn't take it straight away.
"For the curtains."
"Oh, yeah, I got... I just," Rogue stammered uncertainly as she slowly reached to take the note. "I wasn't expecting you to pay for them, is all."
Remy shrugged. "I want Et to stay here for his safety, not so he can destroy the place. Although, that said, you might want to think about getting a building inspection done. This place has been abandoned for a few years now, plenty of time for it to fall into disrepair and attract unwanted visitors."
"Like the ones I have now?" Rogue asked, tilting her head slightly to the side and regarding him with a slight smile.
"Worse," Remy said cheerfully. "Teenagers who think the place is haunted by the crazy old bat who used to live here."
"Aunt Irene wasn't crazy," Rogue said, glaring at him.
"I never said that's what I thought of her," Remy replied, even though he did, "I said that's what the teenagers looking for a cheap thrill thought of her."
Rogue gave a grunt of displeasure and Remy looked her over as he picked up his coffee again.
"You know, chère," he said slyly, "I bet those teens would be in for a shock if they saw you instead of Ms Alder's ghost."
"Damn straight," Rogue replied. "Trespassers have a tendency to be hit by frying pans around here."
"You haven't got me yet," he said with a grin.
"Looking to fix that?" Rogue asked, cocking an eyebrow at him.
"I suppose it depends on where you were planning on hitting me," Remy said mischievously, "and what you were wearing at the time."
"How do pajamas sound?" Rogue said dryly.
"Your room or mine?"
"Ugh," Rogue said, turning to the counter to refill her mug. "It is way too early in the morning for this."
"I disagree," Remy said. "It's never too early in the morning to admire a très belle femme."
"Oh admiring," Rogue said cynically. "That's what you call it."
"That's what he calls what?" asked Etienne as he entered the kitchen.
"Making sexual innuendo."
"Oh," Etienne said, frowning slightly at Remy.
Remy shrugged. "It's too early in the morning to be suave and debonair."
"I'm sorry," said Rogue with false sweetness as she lifted her mug to her lips. "You actually know what those words mean?"
"When did you get here?" Etienne interrupted, looking at Remy.
"Last night," Remy replied with a shrug. "You were in the shower."
"Oh," Etienne said, getting a mug out for himself.
"I waited," Remy said while Etienne got his own coffee. "And waited. And waited some more. And eventually fell asleep. Just what exactly where you doing in there, anyway?"
"What? In the shower?"
"Umm, washing myself. That's kind of what you do in the shower."
"Oh washing," Remy said with a wink at Rogue. "That's what you call it."
Rogue didn't know whether to groan, or laugh at Etienne's half horrified, half embarrassed reaction.
"Remy!" Etienne exclaimed. "That's not... I... You... Have you found the chalice yet?"
"Non," Remy replied, the smirk vanishing from his face. "Not yet."
Bella Donna surveyed the council chamber of the Assassins Guild. She stood on a dais before the members of the High Council, (which Bella Donna felt was code for "old farts who can't do any real work, and would rather sit around arguing all day about trivial matters"), and her core group of friends who made up her "real" council.
"If you're all quite done rambling," Bella Donna said, her voice cutting sharply through the din, "I didn't call this meeting for the sake of it."
It was much more fun meeting with apprentices, she decided. A few well-aimed daggers scared even the most unruly would-be assassin. Unfortunately, they insisted on growing up and realising that their lives were never in any real danger.
"Much better," she said as they quieted. "It may have escaped your attention, but there are more important things to discuss than what colour the leather grips on the next shipment of throwing daggers should be. There has been a theft."
Murmurings began, and Bella Donna nodded towards one of her friends, Fifolet. Fifolet lifted his hand and shot at the ceiling with a small handgun. The hall silenced once more and Bella Donna watched as plaster from the ceiling hit the floor. If they kept this up they'd have no choice but to finally remodel the council chamber. Some may find the French Colonial architecture "charming", but Bella Donna preferred the nice, clean look of a more modern room. She was already planning what she wanted the remodelled council room to look like.
"The item in question is a certain heirloom, which has been in the possession of the Boudreaux family since the very conception of the Guild," Bella Donna said at her leisure, her voice no less commanding. "Candra's chalice."
"Only the Thieves would have dared –" one councillor began.
"I have already spoken with Remy LeBeau," Bella Donna said, gracing the councillor with a scornful, withering glance. "The Thieves have a week... no, only five days now, in which to return the chalice, or I shall extract payment from Remy LeBeau himself, personally."
"You are aware that if you kill the Patriarch of the Thieves Guild, you guarantee war," another councillor said gravely.
"You're not afraid of a bunch of Thieves are you?" Bella Donna asked scornfully. "If anyone should be quivering in his boots, it should be the Thief who stole the chalice. What's more! If we're just allowing Thieves to walk in here and steal from us, then we have obviously grown complacent. Now, let's see... Who's in charge of security?"
Bella Donna knew perfectly well which councillor was in charge, and the smile she gave him as he stepped forth and identified himself was so charming it was unnerving.
"I am, of course," said the security chief.
"You're fired," Bella Donna replied. "You may go now."
"But I –"
"We can make that a literal firing if you want."
The former security chief looked around the hall nervously, trying to garner support. But none came and he bowed his head a fraction in acquiescence as he backed towards the main doors.
"That won't be necessary," he said.
The room remained silent until he left.
"Questa," Bella Donna said, looking towards her silver-haired friend. "You're now in charge of security."
A couple of the other councillors began to voice objections, but Fifolet shot at the ceiling again, bringing down more plaster, and silencing them once more.
"Merci, Matriarch," Questa replied formally. "I shall start with a full review of current security procedures."
"Bon," Bella Donna replied. "The rest of you, you shall prepare your divisions should the Thieves fail to return the chalice. That is all."
With her head up high, Bella Donna strode from the room, her friends, Fifolet, Questa and Gris Gris close behind. The door shut loudly behind them.
"Playing devil's advocate for a second here, Belle," said Gris Gris, her second-in-command, "are you sure you want to risk war over some cheap trinket that's been gathering dust in storage all this time?"
"The chalice is not a 'cheap trinket', and even if it was, it's the principal of the thing," Bella Donna replied firmly. "The more I think about it, the more incensed I get! The very nerve of that man, sneaking into my home and putting his paws on my things."
"Are you sure it was Remy?" asked Questa.
"Who else would have the audacity?" Bella Donna demanded. "I've no doubt that he's responsible. I've got Donyell tracking him."
"Bandit?" Fifolet said, turning up his nose. "He's a thief too."
"Exactly. He can follow Remy to places we can't," Bella Donna said. "That makes him the perfect man for the job."
"It's been two days," said Gris Gris.
"Likely Remy will wait until the last minute to hand it over."
"Calling your bluff?" Questa asked, a grim smile on her face.
"He'll learn not to gamble with me," Bella Donna replied coolly. "In fact, I think we should send them a little message, just to make sure they know we're serious."
Gris Gris cracked his thick knuckles. "I'll take care of it."
Henri sat down behind the mound of paperwork that had been piling up on Remy's desk. Catching up on the paperwork seemed like a good idea earlier when he was trying to think of ways to hide Remy's absence while he searched for the chalice, but now that he was looking at it, Henri was having second thoughts.
Henri sighed and pulled down the first report. There were some who wondered if he was at all bitter about not being named heir, despite being the eldest and Jean-Luc's only flesh-and-blood child, but Henri wasn't the slightest bit disappointed about missing out on having to do paperwork. As he began to read the report, he made a mental note to take it out of Remy's hide later.
He was only halfway through the first report when there was a knock on the door.
"Come," Henri said, reluctantly putting the papers down.
The door opened and the Minister of Hoard – the Guild accountant – stepped inside.
"Oh, it's you Henri," said the Minister, looking at him with disappointment. "I thought Remy..."
"He's busy checking up on something," Henri replied. "There something I can help you with?"
"I'm waiting for his feedback on a report I left for him a few days ago."
"Well," said Henri, gesturing to the piles of paperwork, "as you can see, he probably hasn't gotten to it yet."
The Minister of Hoard pressed his lips together tightly.
"I know Remy is only recently the Patriarch," he said tersely, "but he's going to have to do better than this. Jean-Luc never would have let things pile up this much."
"I guess you never visited his office after Superbowl Sunday," Henri replied blithely. "I'm sure Remy is well aware of his responsibilities and the importance of your reports, and he will get back to you as soon as he's able."
The Minister of Hoard was still unimpressed when he left. Henri managed to get through a few reports, making notes for Remy as he went, when there was another knock at the door. One of the younger, female Thieves entered at Henri's word. Her blouse was unbuttoned at the top just one button too many.
"Oh, bonjour Monsieur Henri," the shapely blonde said. "I don't suppose Remy is here?"
"He's busy checking up on something," Henri replied. "Is there something I can help you with?"
"Genard Alouette sent me," she said, now looking a little uncertain. "He put in a request for a new warehouse and wanted to know if he had the go ahead or not."
Henri was about to ask why Genard didn't come himself when he realised the answer was standing right in front of him. He supposed Remy's reputation had preceded him and when the matter of the chalice was over, he was going to be very interested in finding out if it became a trend for the different managers to send pretty female Thieves in Remy's direction whenever they wanted something.
"Tell Genard Remy hasn't had a chance to have a look at it yet," Henri replied. "He'll get back to him as soon as he can."
"Oui monsieur," she said, and departed.
Henri sighed and scratched his head. He'd wanted to hide Remy's absence, not highlight it, although he supposed there still would have been visits to Remy's office regardless. He hemmed and hawed for a moment, then continued with the paperwork: if he could fish out the things that needed Remy's direct approval, he could pass that stuff onto Remy for him to take care of. At least then people would 'see' him working.
Henri had made a significant hole in the paperwork when there was yet a third knock at the door. At his instruction, the door opened and another young woman entered.
"Bonjour Monsieur LeBeau," she said. "I was looking for the Patriarch."
"He's busy checking up on something at the moment," Henri replied. "Who sent you?"
The young woman looked confused. "No one. I was just wondering how Etienne's Tilling was going. I, umm, we haven't heard from him in awhile, and the Patriarch is his Registrar..."
"As far as I know, Etienne's still casing the place," Henri lied smoothly. "Breaking into the Boudreaux Mansion isn't a job to be taken lightly."
"Of course," she replied. "Merci. I'll let you get back to work now."
Henri watched her leave and a small smile appeared on his face. He wondered if Etienne knew he had an 'interested' friend.
"Jean-Luc, there you are!"
Jean-Luc turned around and looked down the hall to see Mercy coming towards him with an occupied baby carrier strapped to her front.
"Oui, Mercy?" he inquired. "I was just looking for Remy, or Henri, whichever one I found first."
"Well, this is more important," Mercy informed him in her no-nonsense, business-like fashion as she carefully took off the baby carrier. "I need you to take care of your granddaughter for a while."
"Now isn't really -"
"I need to go down the street and grab a few things," Mercy continued as if Jean-Luc hadn't interrupted at all. "Diapers. Baby-wipes."
"Well, perhaps I could go down for you?" Jean-Luc suggested, taking hold of his granddaughter.
"How does this carrier thing go on again?"
Mercy helped Jean-Luc into the baby carrier as she continued talking: "Now, she's just woken up from her nap, so she should be up for hours. There's baby food in the cupboard for her when she gets hungry. You should probably head down to the nursery now. Thank you, Jean-Luc, you're a dear."
She kissed his cheek and took off, feeling rather pleased with herself.
It was just after one in the afternoon and Gris Gris eyed the LeBeau Estate with a grim smile. On the outside, it looked quite respectable: extensive gardens, exquisite architecture, tall and foreboding fences complete with a fancy gate. Gris Gris found it appropriate that the lair of the Thieves was so much like them: appealing on the outside, dark and sinister on the inside. He was looking forward to causing some mayhem.
Gris Gris ignited the pre-prepared arrow in the waiting fire. Once the cloth behind the arrowhead was lit, Gris Gris lined it up with his composite bow, aimed and fired. He was already lighting the second arrow as the first streamed over the fence and landed in the gardens. Gris Gris continued to shoot burning arrows into the gardens, until he could see a nice fire, raging, smoking and burning bright. He shot a couple more for good measure, and by this time some Thieves had run out. One was going after a hose, while another had buckets, and there were a couple of others who seemed more content to stare in shock.
He lined up a final arrow with his bow, this one with a note tied behind the arrowhead, rather than a burning cloth. Gris Gris aimed for the open door, just above the head of one of the Thieves. The arrow landed right on target and Gris Gris smirked when the Thief's cry of alarm was loud enough that even he could hear it.
"Tick tock, Remy," Gris Gris said to himself as he quickly packed up his things. "Five more days to return the chalice, or you're going to have a lot more than a little fire to deal with."