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"Wild Cards"

Wild Cards

Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 8
Chapter 9
Chapter 10
Chapter 11
Chapter 12
Chapter 13
Chapter 14
Chapter 15
Chapter 16
Chapter 17
Chapter 18
Chapter 19
Chapter 20
Chapter 21
Chapter 22
Chapter 23
Chapter 24
Chapter 25
Chapter 26

This story is unfinished.

The following story features several characters which are the property of Marvel Comics, and no money is being made from their unauthorized use here. The character of Reine, however, is my creation, and if you use her without my permission, regardless of whether or not cash is involved, I'll just have to hunt you down and kill you.

Wild Cards

Part 9

"Good Lord," Hank breathed.

"You're serious, aren't you?"

Beast stared in disbelief at his friend and teammate Phoenix, otherwise known as Jean Summers. For the better part of an hour, they had been conferring in the briefing room adjacent to the medlab, where Gambit and his newfound sister were recovering from an unexplained incident in the Danger Room. While the doctor and the telepath were gathering information, Cyclops was looking over footage from the twins' training session, in detail, in the War Room. Most of the other mansion residents had been out of the house at the time of the accident, some on a mission, others in Salem Center. Since both brother and sister were expected to recover shortly, it was hardly necessary to alert the others with the news. However, that was likely to change once a full investigation of the incident was complete.

"Never more so," Jean sighed, tiredly. Having run an extensive scan in the Danger Room for astral traces which could help explain what had happened, she was feeling the strain of her efforts.

"Very well then. So to sum up: Remy is an empath, albeit only beta-level or so; Reine is a telepath, similarly low-level; and somehow they can combine their complementary psi-abilities into a single unit, well above alpha class strength," Hank said bluntly.

"There's more to it than that, Hank, much more. This wasn't just a merging of empathy and telepathy. It was quite literally a merging of minds ... I've never sensed anything like it before. When I scanned the room initially, there was only one mental presence there. It wasn't a simple mindlink, it was a complete bonding -- I can't describe it any other way."

"Incredible ... and this ... composite entity ... somehow augmented their known powers?"

"And how ... it seemed almost like a combination telekinetic blast and kinetic charge ..." Jean gently massaged her temples as she continued.

"I was wondering if you knew of any other cases which might be similar."

"Unfortunately, no ... known and available data on mutant twins is sadly limited to the Maximoffs, the mysterious case of Monet St.Croix, and of course, our dear friends, the Kleinstocks. I'm unsure as to how helpful that data may be, seeing as Remy and Reine are something of a special case due to the unique circumstance of their genetic makeup. But still, you never know..." Beast mused thoughtfully.

"Have you any idea what precipitated this ... combining, Jean?"

She shook her head.

"Not really. My guess is that it was some kind of subconscious instinct on both their parts. At the time, neither of them realized what was happening. And when they separated ... Hank, it happened when I specifically reached for Gambit. And the single mind realized that's what I was doing, somehow..."

"Perhaps we should join Scott in perusing footage of the events themselves..." Hank grinned suddenly.

"If you bring the soft drinks, I'll provide the popcorn."

Jean returned his smile with one of her own.

"Well, I had really wanted to see 'LA Confidential', but I suppose it'll have to do. If we pool our ideas and information, we should be able to come up with some kind of explanation."

"Of course, we shall have to question them both as ... oh goodness." Hank frowned.

"What is it?"

"They've probably regained consciousness by now, but I want to keep them in for observation, at least until we have some idea of just what happened in there -- and you know how recalcitrant Remy is about staying in the lab. If he's awake, he's probably already left..."

Rising, Beast bustled out of the room and toward the infirmary, Phoenix close behind. Upon reaching the tiny ward, Hank found one bed empty, as he had expected -- but it wasn't the one he thought it would be. Quietly, he approached the other, where a mass of auburn hair spilled over the pillows. Remy and Reine were curled together like a pair of tired kittens, fast asleep.

# I guess you don't have to worry about dragging Gambit back here after all # Jean thought, smiling.

# Not this time anyway ... but just in case ...# Hank replied.

Hastily, he scribbled a note, and left it on the bedside table next to Reine, before withdrawing with a degree of stealth which would have impressed both siblings. Silently, the two original X-Men left the medlab.

"What was the note for?"

"In the unlikely event that Riposte, unlike her brother, might actually heed her physician, I left doctor's orders. Perhaps she'll even be able to convince Remy to stay put as well, although I wouldn't bank on it..."

Briskly, the two made their way to the War Room.

I didn' know exactly what time it was when I woke up. Must have been a few hours since de last time, though. I still felt a little run-down, but de headache wasn' anywhere near as bad as it was at first. An' after what we just been t'rough, bein' tired was a pretty small price t' pay.

Reine was lyin' right next t'me, still asleep. Lookin' at her, I almos' felt de tears start again. She didn' hate me. She knew everyt'ing -- de whole rotten story from beginnin' to end -- an' she didn' hate me, didn' pity me. She respected me. She'd seen it all -- ev'ry choice I made, everyt'ing I did trying t' make amends, even though it couldn' ever be enough -- an' on her part, dat was all she had needed t'see...

Success and failure alike don't mean anything -- the effort is everything.

It was her thought, not mine -- but it explained a lot 'bout her.

She loved me.

Even now, I still couldn' believe it. I reached out t' her empathically, searchin', and there it was -- de love washed over me like waves on a shore. It was almos' like I had t' touch it to reassure myself that it was really there, dat it hadn't been a dream. I didn' want t' break de contact, just wanted t' lie dere an' soak up all that love for as long as I could.

* Now y' know how a plant feels when you water it after forgettin' for a lot o' days...*

Despite everyt'ing ... she loved me.

If she could still do that, knowin' de things I done, maybe -- jus' maybe -- de others could too. And if not ... I had someone t' turn to, somewhere I could go, for de first time since the only family I ever knew turned their backs t' me. De thought made me take a deep breath.

* Been a long, long time since y' could say dat, pup ... *

It had been a long time for her too ... sure she had de ol' family retainer, an' her Sensei, like I had Poppa and Tante, but it wasn' the same. Dis was blood. And I realized somet'ing else.

I loved her too.

She sighed in her sleep, but I could tell she would be wakin' pretty soon, and dat gave me an idea. No breakfast in bed this time, but she wasn' de only one wit' a neat trick up her sleeve...

I had t' smile.

Reachin' inside myself, I took de feelings of relief, o' freedom, of joy her love had given me -- den added my own love for her -- an' I let it all flow out o' me back to Reine, along the link I had made at de start.

She moved against me as she woke up. When she turned her face toward me, dere were tears in her eyes, but she was smilin', an' she put her arms around me again, and held me tight.

"Merci, petit frère ... merci beaucoup..."

"Does dis mean I'm forgiven for that little t'ing with Bobby?" I asked, teasing-like, but I couldn' keep de hopeful tone out of my voice.

I got a controlled, but solid, shot in de gut for part of her answer, 'fore she spoke the rest of it, wit' a grin on her face.

"In your dreams, gator-bait ... in your dreams ..."

I sighed.

"Can't blame a body for tryin'..."

Her face softened, an' she was changin' the subject when she answered.

"I know I don't ..."

"Are you goin' t' tell them?" I looked down at de floor as I asked, pretendin' to rub sleep out o' my eyes.

"Of course not, petit frère ... not my story to tell. It's yours -- and you know these people better than I do. If you don't think they can handle it, who am I to tell you different?"

"But you would do it, wouldn' you chère." I was makin' a statement, not askin' a question, an' she knew it.

"Oui. At least then I would know. If they could handle it great, and if not -- either way I could get on with my life," she said bluntly.

"Honestly Remy, I don't know how you've managed to live with this axe over your head for as long as you have -- I would have driven myself crazy by now ..."

I laughed bitterly.

" Like I haven't? Care too much t' risk tellin' dem, care too much t' just leave them behind me -- and if I did either, it ain' like de nightmares would stop anyhow ..."

She smiled sadly, an' snuggled closer t' me.

"Got to crap or get off the pot, petit frère," she said, den her eyes glinted, "and if they can't handle it, then I say ..."

"...piss on 'em." I finished.

"But I can't do dat..."

We were bot' quiet for a while after that -- we jus lay there t'gether. Finally, she moved, kissin' me on eit'er cheek b'fore she stretched an' sat up. When she looked down at me, Reine's gaze was piercin' in its intensity.

"Just remember, Remy ... no matter what happens ... if you ever need anything, you'll always have a place, you'll always be welcome with me, petit frère...I mean that..."

"I know you do ... an' I can' ever thank you enough for ..."

She cut me off, puttin' her hand over my mouth.

"There's no reason for thanks, Remy ... I'm not doing this to be nice; I'm not doing this out of charity. Je t'aime petit frère -- n'oublies jamais ça ..."1

"Je t'aime aussi, ma soeur ..." 2

It was hard f' me to get de words out t'rough the tightness in my throat, an' then she was huggin' me again, while her mind touched mine.

# I wasn't there for you when you needed me most -- I wasn't there for you for over twenty years -- if you think I'm ever going to leave you be from now on, by God, you better think again ... you're stuck with me, petit frère. Deal with it...#

" I c'n handle dat ..."

"Good -- what's so funny?"

I had been smilin' -- actually chuckling a little, as somet'ing crossed my mind.

"Just dis -- best morning-after hugs I've ever gotten. An' they're from de most beautiful femme I ever met, that I got absolutely no inclination t' make love to."

She laughed.

"Change the gender reference and it's the same for me, brother of mine."

Den she shook herself, an' turned serious.

"Now that we've got our mutual memories sorted out, how about if we try to figure out just what the hell it was that happened to us to cause the exchange in the first place ..."

It took a couple of days, and more tests and discussion than either twin would ever normally tolerate before a satisfactory explanation of the Danger Room incident was cobbled together.

While each had linked with the mind of the other, and both had seen that they were surrounded by the Sentinels, their mutual survival instinct had taken over, somehow triggering their previously dormant power. Via means that no-one was able to successfully describe, their minds merged, and in the process their psi-talents didn't just add -- they multiplied. More, that combined talent, like their individual psychic powers, was apparently not directly related to the X-factor in their genes. Apart from that, their united mind was able to mentally augment the power of their kinetic charges past their usual limits.

About the one facet of the phenomena which Beast was able to fully explain was how they had managed to survive the destruction. After examining video footage and computer data from that and previous training sessions which Remy and Reine had undergone, Hank had discovered that by nature of their kinetic charging ability, there existed a slight well of potential energy around each twin at all times. The molecules of air surrounding their bodies were given a light charge through contact with their skin, setting up a potential difference with the air molecules of their general surroundings.

In short, each had possessed a very weak force field -- completely insufficient to stop bullets or plasma blasts, let alone a forceful explosion -- but when their minds had united, this ability too had been infinitely strengthened, to the point where it had been ample protection against the blast. Since the that day in the Danger Room, however, their individual force fields, although still no protection against a direct hit, had become strong enough to slightly deflect most energy beams.

Though they both tested at beta-level, their individual psi powers had been permanently strengthened somewhat as well. Hank deduced that this change had been the source of their increased brain activity readings in the infirmary.

All in all, Henry McCoy had been delighted at the new challenge which his comrades' abilities had presented to him in the way of scientific study -- however intractable they were as patients...

" '... it's just a skin sample, Reine -- let me test your blood pressure, Reine -- take a deep breath, Reine ...' "

" '... c'mon Remy, jus' one more blood sample -- what was your thermometer readin' Remy -- drink s' more water so I c'n do dis next test, Remy ...' "

"Look, you've both made your feelings about your stay perfectly clear -- however, it will soon be over, and you'll both survive," Beast began patiently.

"Oh we'll survive all right ... " Reine grumbled.

Remy finished the sentence, muttering.

"...we jus' won' enjoy it, is all..."


Continued in Chapter 12.

1. I love you little brother, don't ever forget that.
2. I love you too, sister.

"All warfare is based on deception." -- Sun-Tzu, The Art of War


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