Disclaimer : Marvel owns the X-men, I'm just borrowing them.
Chapter One : Thieves in the Night
He had been following her for the better part of an hour now, for she had beat him to the job he had been hired for. She was good he had to admit, but in the world of thieves, there was honor to be had, and he had a contract to finish. Silently he dropped from the fire escape he had been perched upon while she had checked on the statue. She froze. Remy's mind raced, how could she had heard him. Reaching quickly to his sleeve, he pulled three cards and watched as she turned to face him.
"Who are you?" Jubilee asked quietly, staring at the lithe figure behind her.
"Dat not be your concern P'tite. Just give moi de statue and I let you go." Remy said as he stared at her.
"And if I say no?" Jubilee asked, falling into a fighting stance with her fists readied, the tingle of her gift present as she primed for a fight.
"Don't say no, P'tite. You good, I admit, but I be better." Remy replied, staring at the girl as she leveled an icy gaze on him, charging the playing cards with his own gift.
"What's with the funny talk?" Jubilee asked, letting the energy build up within her.
"Funny talk? Ya got nerve girl. Remy be born 'n raised in N'awlins." Remy fired back in an indignant tone.
"Ah. So you're Creole, Remy. Well then, if we're on a first name basis, the names Jubilee. And if you don't back off now you'll find out why every day is like the Forth of July for me!" Jubilee yelled, allowing her anger rise to the surface as she prepared for the fight about to break out.
"Den Remy sorry P'tite. But a man paid a good price for de statue, and Remy don't cut anyone in on de profits." Remy remarked as he sent the charged cards flying at Jubilee, only to see a burst of lights fly out from her firsts, directed towards him and the cards.
The last thing either theif saw, as both attacks collided, was flash of light, then force striking either, as the resulting explosion engulfed either thief. The explosion ripped though the city block, toppling the condemned apartment building, leaving in its wake a crater with two figures left unconscious. Dust rose in a great cloud, billowing high above the destruction, herald to the destruction.
Elsewhere in New York State, at the Westchester Estate of Charles Francis Xavier, Geneticist and Mutant Rights advocate to the world over, and founder of the X-men, an alarm had awoken the mutant hero's from their slumber.
Henry, Hank, McCoy was the first to arrive to the War Room, leaping into a chair and settling at the computer console. Furiously he began typing away at the keyboard, trying to find out what Cerebro had found. Shorftly after the other X-men joined, with Charles himself last as they took their seats.
"What has Cerebro found?" Charles asked, looking over to his friend and confidant.
"A violent explosion has been reported in New York. Mutant signatures were detected as the blast occurred, two of them. Then shortly after only one remained. We must hurry!" Henry exclaimed as he leapt from the seat and was soon followed by the others.
"May the fates protect you my X-men." Charles remarked somberly as he advanced on the console and inspected the findings.
Remy slowly stirred and surveyed the scene, finding nothing but wreckage in the wake of the blast, metal creaked and groaned in the wind, the only thing disturbing the momtary silence. Fire engines sounded off in the distance, growing ever closer, and with them the police would not be far behind. Looking around, he spotted the girl, seemingly unharmed aside from the scratches and singed hair.
"Well P'tite. Dis thieves honor be telling him dat we best be getting out of here." Remy whispered as he hobbled over to Jubilee and picked her up, finding the worse wound she had to be a broken arm.
Looking around he soon spotted the prize of the night, nestled safely in Jubilee's backpack. Slinging it over his shoulder, he hobbled off into the dark night, leaving the scene as quietly as he came.
As the X-men neared, they came to the co-ordinates Cerebro had given them, and the scene below looked as if it were a war zone. An entire city block had been decimated in a blast, yet no fires or any other sign of a bomb could be detected. The fire crews beneath were investigating, looking for anyone who might have been caught in the blast, while the Police were asking residence of the houses three blocks away for their account.
"I've done a scan of the area, and I can barely detect the signature of one of the mutants Cerebro had detected. A teenaged girl, though what I find odd is that her signature is moving while her mind seems to be unconscious." Jean stated as she relaxed her mind from the use of her powers.
"What's odd about that? Someone's carrying her." Wolverine remarked as he looked out the window.
"What is odd about it is that as far as I can detect, she is alone." Jean replied, earning a look of confusion from those aboard.
"Alright people. We have two mutants, one who is unconscious and may be wounded, and another who is missing. Hank, you can fly the plane and keep us in communication. Rogue and Storm, you two can search in the air. Logan, you are with Jean and myself. We'll need you on the ground for tracking." Scott barked out as he opened the hanger door. Logan and Scott jumped out with Jean, with the three enveloped in a telekinetic bubble that lowered the safely to the ground. Storm and Rogue took to the air.
Slipping past the rescue crews with the aid of a telepathic stealth, the ground based trio moved in to the center of the blast. Logan looked around at the destruction, his keen scenes picking up details that the rescue crews might have missed. Taking a fistful of dirt, he gave it a sniff and let it slowly drift into the wind.
"I've got two scents, a man and a girl. Man's scent is mixed with cigarettes and rum. Equal dosage of leather, denim and a bad cologne." Logan remarked as he took another fistful and took another sniff.
"Girl has suede on her scent, bubblegum and not a hint of any makeup. Also... " Logan began, though taking a pause to take another sniff.
"I know that scent. It's on both of them. A bar, the owner is a lowlife that plays middleman for a big fish that enjoys collecting rare artifacts. I think we have a set up here. Thieves that were set up to get the same piece." Logan growled out as he took off running.
"Rogue, Storm. Head due north and follow Logan if you can see him. They got a twenty minute lead on us, but as they might be injured I don't see them running." Scott said as he tapped his communicator and informed his airborne companions.
With that, Scott and Jean took after their feral companion in pursuit of the only people who might be able to explain the destruction they left behind.
Ahead of the X-men, Remy made his way along slowly, doing his best not to jostle Jubilee.
"Ow...where...what..." Jubilee asked as she slowly stirred back to life.
"Easy der P'tite. Ya have a broken arm and lord knows what else. Remy take care of a little business first, den he take you to de hospital." Remy whispered to her as he made his way to the bar.
"No! No hospital! They'll send me back! No hospital! Please!" Jubilee cried out frantically.
"Fine. Remy not take you to de hospital. Remy promise. He take you to a friend of his. Just be quiet." Remy remarked as he looked around, eyeing all the shadows with suspicion.
"Thanks..." Jubilee replied as she pulled herself closer to Remy.
Remy finally made his way to the bar, with Jubilee giving neither peep no protest the entire way. The fight had been kicked out of her after the explosion, and the fear of being sent back to the foster parents that the system had given her made her quick to please the man who held her fate in his hands.
As Remy neared the back entrance of the bar, Jubilee looked up to the steel door.
"What...why did we come here?" Jubilee asked.
"Here? You know dis place P'tite?" Remy inquired, looking down to her.
"Yeah. The guy that hired me is here. Shit! Kestil didn't hire you did he!" Jubilee exclaimed as the door opened.
"Well, looks like we got us a problem here. I hire the girl to get the statue and the Cajun to steal it from the girl for a fraction of what I promised the girl. System should have worked, 'cept here both of ya are." Kestil remarked as he leveled a gun on the two thieves.
Remy let out a low growl as he stared at the man, lowering his head as if to shield Jubilee.
"Take dis P'tite and throw it with de sparks you do when Remy say." Remy whispered to her as he handed her a charged card, charged to linger for an hour, or until it impacted with the power that it so violently reacted with.
Slowly Remy walked to the wall and placed Jubilee down, receiving no protest from Kestil.
"Remy have de statue. He give it to you and you let us go, non? Dat sound like a good deal to you?" Remy asked of the man.
"Sorry, I don't like loose cannons. I know either you or that punk kid there would come back to give me a hassle, or put a bad word out among the thieves of this town. No, I'm afraid I'll just have to shoot you two and have my crew clean it up." Kestil explained as he cocked his pistol.
"Ah. Remy was afraid you say dat. Der be a reason dey call me Gambit. Cause I always come out on top when de chips be down. Now P'tite!" Remy yelled as he ducked out of the way, only to have in his stead a burst of fireworks and a thrown card fly out.
Just as Kestil was about to pull the trigger, a plasmoid impacted with the card, and the entire alleyway was engulfed in an explosion. High above Rogue and Storm saw the violent eruption in the alley and flew with haste to the aftermath. Logan and his team joined them shortly after, as the dust began to settle.
"Sunovagun!" Rogue exclaimed as she dropped out of the air and landed behind Logan.
"I smell the two mutants, and my old pal Kestil." Logan growled out as he walked into the dust cloud.
"Winds! Come forth and dispel this cloud!" Storm commanded as she hovered above the alley, forcing a wind to clear away the dust, revealing the debris-ridden alley.
"Hank! Get that bird over here!" Scott barked out as he tapped his communicator.
"I am on my way with haste my friend." Hank replied over the comlink.
Logan walked up to Kestil, finding the man thrown into the back kitchen of the bar, nursing several bruises and burns. The man the moment he saw Logan, pulled his pistol out and fired a shot. Logan stumbled back for a moment, but soon resumed his walk to Kestil.
"Not happy to see yer Ol' Pal Patch? Can't say I'm happy to see ya either ya low life. Now what's up with those two in the alleyway? Pulling your usual stunts?" Logan asked as he unsheathed his claws with the familiar 'Snikt'.
"Yeah! Fine! I did! Girl was to go steal the statue and the Cajun was to steal it from her! Though I didn't tell it that way! Gave the girl an hour advance and the Cajun should have got to the place just as she was leaving. Figured he'd relieve it of her and come back to collect his dough! He returned with her too for cripes sake!" Kestil cried out as he tried to back further into the wall.
"Ya know. Your lucky I'm in a good mood. Otherwise I'd be inclined to show ya how much I hate ya." Logan growled out as he sheathed his claws and walked out of the kitchen.
Outside he found Jean checking on the girl, while Ororo was checking on the Cajun.
"Kestil tried to double cross them. Couple of thieves, though they must be mutants too. Lets get outta here before the cops pay us a visit." Logan remarked as he walked to Scott.
"For once I don't mind you getting ahead of me Logan. Lets move out people!" Scott yelled.
Jean picked up Jubilee in her arms carefully as she took Scott with her in a telekinetic bubble. Rogue picked up Logan, leaving Storm to carry Remy to the awaiting Blackbird. Once inside, Jean and Ororo rushed to the small med bay, securing the injured Jubilee and Remy before the plane hurtled off from the scene, only to arrive at the mansion some twenty minutes later.
Once the plane landed, they found Charles waiting with the latest additions to the X-men standing ready with stretchers. Jonothon Starsmore, Angelo Espinosa, and Clarice Ferguson stood ready, while Bishop was at their side. As their seniors slowly exited the plane, the four were waved on to carry out the wounded. Jean and Ororo stood in the med bay, looking over the unconscious thieves, wondering about them.
As Bishop walked in, he took a step back at the sight of Jubilee and Gambit. And in that moment, a flash of another time and place passed before his eyes, too fast for him to erect the shields that were needed when a telepath was about to keep stray thoughts in. Jonothon and Jean exchanged worried looks to one another as the flash of memories seeped into their conscious minds, of a world where the X-men were dead, and the girl before them was known to be the last X-man.
"Bishop, are you alright." Jean inquired in a concerned tone.
"Yes. Just a ghost of another time." Bishop remarked as he walked over with Angelo and with Jean's aid, carefully placed Jubilee on the stretcher.
Clarice and Jonothon took the duty of Gambit, and in silence the four carefully carried their charges to the med lab to receive treatment.
Outside the plane, Jean walked up to Charles and placed a hand on his shoulder.
"Did you feel that?" Jean asked as she looked down to her mentor.
"Yes, and already if feels like a faded memory. The girl, Jubilee, last of the X-men in his time and the man he knows as Gambit he feels to be a traitor. This is one of the few glimpses I've seen from Bishop. It must have taken quiet a shock for his shields to fall like that, leaving his thoughts exposed to even the weakest telepath." Charles remarked as he considered the revelation.
"Should I alert the others?" Jean asked.
"No. Time is a delicate stream. I felt the confusion in Bishop's mind when he first arrived her. Things were missing and out of place to him. Perhaps the timeline he knows is far different than the one we live in. No, I shall not condemn a man and a child I do not even know on such things." Charles replied as he departed to his office, leaving Jean standing alone in the hanger.
In the med lab, Hank was had decided to tend to Jubilee's wounds first, her broken arm had been aggravated by the explosion, with the bone fracturing further and piercing the skin. Despite the sedatives she had been administered, as he set the bone she came to life with a scream of pain. A panicked look filled her eyes as she looked around the med lab, and at the strangers who surrounded her. With a glance to Hank she screamed and sent a barrage of fireworks at him. Henry stumbled back, momentarily blinded, cursing.
~ Easy Gel. ~ Jonothon quietly sent to her, finding it difficult to send even a non-intrusive telepathic message to her.
"Get away from me! Get away! He said he wouldn't take me to the hospital! He promised!" Jubilee cried out as tears began to stream from her eyes, accented by sparks spitting from her hands.
"Your not in a hospital. Your safe." Clarice whispered as she stepped behind Angelo for protection.
"No! I'm in the magic land of Oz! And this just happens to look like an operating room!" Jubilee screamed, and with it a burst of fireworks sprang from her, destroying the sensitive electronics closest to her.
In the next room, Remy awoke to the commotion, and with a look around the room burst from the bed to the protest of Ororo and Scott.
"Where is she?" Remy yelled as he looked around the room.
"Who?" Ororo asked calmly.
"De P'tite! Where is she? I hear her!" Remy yelled as he looked around for the door.
"She is in the next room, you shouldn't go in there, it'll only complicate matters!" Scott yelled as Remy ran through the door and into the next room.
There he found Jubilee screaming at the people around her, crying and panicked. Ducking past the fireworks that were being thrown about, he pulled her to him tightly and tired to calm her.
"P'tite! It's okay! Remy here! I didn't take you to de hospital! De must have found us! I'm not going ta let dem take you back!" Remy cried out as he fought to break through to the panicked teen.
As Jubilee sobbed into his chest, the drugs slowly took hold of her again as she fell back to a drug induced slumber. Carefully Remy laid her down on the bed and pulled the covers back up to her. Hank quietly walked up, and with a nod from Remy, continued where he had been interrupted, setting the bone and tending to the wound. Waving over Angelo, he then put a splint on her arm, preventing any further injury.
"That will have to suffice until that wound is healed enough for a proper cast." Hank remarked as Remy settled down in the chair.
"I can have a cot and blanket brought in if you wish." Hank replied, waving out the bystanders that were no longer needed.
"Dat would be appreciated homme. You t'ink you could get Remy a bite to eat too? Had dinner plans with a tre belle fille, but de be off now." Remy asked, only to receive a gentle nod form Hank.
"Anything in particular?" Hank asked.
"Non, be too tired to t'ink what I want." Remy replied.
"Fine. I'll have Rogue go see what we have in the kitchen while Ororo can get you a cot and blanket." Hank replied, sending the order though the comlink.
Minutes later Rogue and Ororo entered with a tray of food, and the cot and blankets. Remy ate while the cot was set up, and Rogue admired the Cajun from the doorway. After the meal had been had, Remy climbed into the cot and was soon asleep after the exhaustion of the day.
"Sure is a fine lookin' thang." Rogue remarked as she left with Ororo.
"Indeed." Ororo replied, though none the bit interested as she had Logan to warm her bed.
And it was to bed that most were headed, after being awoken in the midnight hours from an alarm Cerebro had called, leaving the questions to the morning when their guests could have found rest for the night.
Go to the next chapter...