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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.

This story features characters owned by 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 13

Well, dat was it.

After so much time in limbo, I was almos' lookin' forward to anyt'ing that might happen next.

Y' know how once you make a tough decision, you usually feel relieved -- no matter what y' chose or what could come o' your choice -- because at least y' finally did somet'ing? That's pretty much how I was feelin'.

Rogue was finally goin' t' get her wish. She was goin' to get de truth of the shadows o' me that she carried around inside o' her. The pain an' de shame dat were mine. All these years, I been carryin' them around my neck like de Mariner an' his albatross.a Saints knew, I never expected or wanted the woman I love t' carry them too. Puttin' her through dat was something else I was goin' t' have to make up for.

* Jus' add it to the list, pup ... * I thought drily.

Tellin' her the truth was promisin' to be de hardest an' most painful t'ing I'd ever have t' live through. I shuddered as I changed my mind.

* Non ... de tunnels were worse. And it ain' like I deserve any better ... *

Only problem now was how t' break it to her. I was jus' considering my options when Stormy came down f' breakfast.

" Good morning, Remy ... I did not expect to see you so early. Are you well, my friend? "

She was smilin', but I could feel de concern behind her light words. She was teasin' me, but not so much as t' annoy me if somet'ing really was wrong. Which there was, but I wasn' about t' let her know that. Ain' many that c'n read this Cajun de way Stormy can. I smiled at her.

" I'm fine, chère ... jus' thinkin' about some things ..."

Her concern went up a notch -- guess I didn' manage t' get my game face up quite in time. Den again, 'Ro's run 'nough cons in her time to know the signs.

" You know if you require help in any way ... all you need do is ask. "

She wasn' trying t' fish -- she knows how well dat goes over wit' me -- she was tryin' t' reassure me. I could sense her support an' her caring, as well as her worry. She knew somet'ing was up with me, but she also knew I wouldn' take any help I didn' ask for m'self. She jus' wanted t' remind me that I could ask. I smiled again.

* Guess I'm kind o' stubborn that way ... *

" I know dat, chère. You're a good friend, Stormy."

She slapped my arm lightly, annoyed, as she went on her way to de 'fridge.

" Do not call me that. "

* Time t' build on her distraction from my troubles, an' mebbe have some fun doin' it ... *

" I better watch it -- y' gettin' all violent on me," I complained.

I was rubbin' my arm, pretendin' that she really did hurt me, but she wasn' falling for it.

" Your little melodrama does not fool me, my friend," she laughed softly.

I feigned indignance.

" You sayin' my actin' skills are sub-par, 'Ro? " I asked in a hurt voice.

" Certainly not," her eyes gleamed mischievously, like de child I first knew her as, before she continued.

" But then, I have always been fond of ham. "

I grasped at my chest, an' doubled over, playin' it up for all I was worth.

" Y' wound me to de heart, chère -- to the heart ! "

I had come close t' my goal -- she was almos' giggling. See, Stormy tries her best never t' giggle 'cause she thinks it ain' dignified, an' I always tell her dat attitude ain' healthy. I settled for her laugh instead, and grinned at her.

" Don't think I do not know what you just tried to do ... you know that I hate how I sound when I giggle," she said accusingly, still a little out o' breath from laughing.

I braced m'self.

* Get ready f' battle, pup *

" But y' sound so cute when you giggle, Stormy ... "

If dere's one thing Ororo hates more than bein' called Stormy, an' de sound of her own giggling ... it's bein' called cute.

Good t'ing I was ready. I managed t' catch the eggs she was throwing at me wit'out breakin' them, but she kept findin' more ...

" Truce! I know ham an' eggs go t'gether, chère, but dis is ridiculous! "

Dat did it. The barrage stopped 'cause she was giggling so hard she could barely breathe, let alone aim.

* Mission accomplished *

I grinned at her again. I made my next move 'fore she could find more ammunition.

" T'ink y' needed a good laugh, 'Ro ... an' I appreciate what y' said earlier. C'n I apologize f' dat unseemly incident I just provoked by makin' y' breakfast? "

She looked at me, pretendin' not to be sure.

" Perhaps."

" Jus' perhaps? " I said mournfully, givin' her my best lost-puppy-look.

" Strawberry crèpes? " she asked.

" For you, chère -- wit' vanilla sauce."

" Well, I suppose so," she conceded wit' a long-suffering sigh.

I had jus' turned back to the fridge to get the butter an' milk when she zapped me wit' a lightning bolt dat was about the strength of a strong static charge ...

In my butt.

I yelped an' turned t' face her , swearin' under my breath, while massagin' de point of impact.

She was grinnin' fit t' split her face.

" Now we are even."

That was all she managed t' get out b'fore she started giggling again, then laughing, an' I joined her.

It was good t' laugh like dat again, jus' me an' Stormy. An' after all -- even I have to admit I deserved it.

One t'ing that ain' changed about Stormy in all de time I've known her -- she's never been able t' resist my crèpes. I kept her company while she ate, even managed t' get her to laugh a couple more times. It's somet'ing she don' get a chance t' do all that much anymore ...

It's 'cause she is one o' the leaders. She's always tryin' t' be strong for ev'rybody else, keepin' a lid on her feelings all the time, even her incredible sense o' fun. I bet there ain' anybody else on de team who'd be associatin' "fun" with Stormy, but I know her better than most. She figures she can' let it show on account of mebbe compromisin' her leadership image. She takes her responsibilities serious, Stormy does.

Sometimes, I t'ink I'm about the only outlet she has to dat other side of her. She trusts me for it 'cause I first knew her as a child -- a kid who could still laugh freely, no matter how bad t'ings got. At least she still had that part o' her -- that whole fight in de kitchen was a case in point. I always tell her dat our inner maniacs feed off each other, mine's jus' closer t' the surface. Managed to drag hers out today, though. I jus' wish I could make it so she didn' have t' hide that part of her personality so much.

Guess that's jus' part o' being a leader -- and why I ain' keen on the job. Workin' alone is a lot less complicated, because the only t'ing y' have to worry about is you. When y' got people following you, you got the assurance dat any screwup y' make is goin' t' hurt -- or kill -- a hell of a lot more than jus' y'self.

Mebbe I've never been a leader, but I still know what dat feels like.

That's prob'ly why I don' want t' be a leader ... got enough on my conscience as it stands.

Anyway, once 'Ro finished up eatin' and left, I had another problem.

I went up t' my room t' think -- more private than de kitchen, an' quieter than de roof at this time o' day.

I was goin' to tell Rogue everyt'ing before coming clean wit' the others -- but what about Stormy?

I figured I owed Rogue -- merde, dat was obvious -- she's been carryin' my own personal hell 'round with her since Israel. But if not for Stormy, I wouldn' even be here, in dis mansion.

Wouldn' ever have met Rogue.

Wouldn' have been able t' make amends like I have, small as they are, as I've been doin' in the years since.

An' the Morlocks were Stormy's people.

She deserved t' hear the whole story from me, just as much as Rogue did. I could tell the others, sure -- but ma chère and Stormy both deserved t' hear it first.

I swallowed.

This was goin' t' be even harder than I thought.

* Still ain' enough for what I done, though *

Not like anyt'ing could be enough.

I made up my mind, an' went t' my desk for some notepaper and a pen.

First, arrange the meeting, then tell them everything, no holdin' back. Then hope I could live wit' whatever would happen next, an' try not t' think about it 'fore it actually does happen.

There was a certain symmetry to it all -- Stormy was de reason I was here, Rogue was the reason I stayed, an' I loved both o' them. I only hoped dis wouldn' hurt them so much that they wouldn' trust anyone again.

My lips were set in a thin, humourless smile as I started writing.

* Y' never were one t' do t'ings by halves, Remy -- an' if y' goin' to alienate almos' everyone you care about, might as well start wit' the love o' your life an' your best friend ... *

What was it that Caesar said?

Alea jacta est ... the die is cast.b

Sums t'ings up pretty well.

Gives you an idea 'bout how a body's feelin' when y' start quoting Latin before noon ...


I had done it -- gone up t' Stormy's and Rogue's rooms, and left my notes, askin' them t' talk privately later tonight. All I had to do now was wait for de appointed hour.

I had dat weird serenity come on me again. Even if de worst did happen, my sister would still be there f' me. An' at least I would have faced my demons once an' for all.

Part o' me still couldn' believe I was doin' this, an' no wonder. Secrecy is second nature to a t'ief, an' I was goin' t' be spillin' my guts dis evening -- o' my own free will.

* Incroyable1 *

Funny how life is like a chain reaction o' events -- de domino effect in action. If I hadn' checked the roof o' de museum that night ... if Reine hadn't decided t' track me down ... if not for our power -- 'specially if not for our power -- I don' t'ink I'd be going through with this.

A few weeks ago, if anyone would've tol' me dat a long-lost sister was goin' t' end up knowing all my secrets by joinin' wit' my mind, and it wouldn' bother me at all, I would've said they were cinglé -- once I stopped laughin' dat is.2

Whenever anybody's tried t' get in my head, even wit' my permission, I've felt ... mebbe 'violated' is too strong, but I can' come up wit' a better word.

Wakin' up after that first merge, havin' no secrets left from her -- it didn' feel like that. An' that was de weirdest t'ing about it. Mebbe it was 'cause she didn' have any secrets from me anymore either ... so it wasn' like she took somet'ing from me wit'out givin' back ... I jus' don' know.

What it did feel like ... was like comin' home -- familiar ... comfortable ... safe. Like I was jus' findin' a part o' me I didn't know existed before. Although we never discussed it, I know Reine felt de same way.

* De headache afterward was a bitch, though *

She knew everyt'ing, an' to her, it didn' matter.

* Dieu merci *3

After dis evening was over, no matter what happened ... at least I knew that dere would still be one person on this earth that loved me.

Maybe dat was enough.

It jus' might have t' be.


Continued in Chapter 14.

a. From Samuel Taylor Coleridge's "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" -- while on a voyage, the mariner of the title killed an albatross, a bird of good luck. When things started to go bad for the crew afterward, he was compelled to wear the bird around his neck in penance for his crime.
b. In ancient Rome, the empire was at one time divided among three men, including Julius Caesar. To keep the peace amongst themselves, they had some strict territorial laws. One of these was that no army was to cross the Rubicon River -- to do so would mean civil war. The quotation Remy used is what Caesar said once he had crossed that river with his legions -- essentially, to make a fateful decision with full knowledge of the consequences.

1. Incredible.
2. Nutcase.
3. Thank God.

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


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