TITLE: A New Path Through Familiar Woods
FOLLOW-UP TO: Coming Home &
Doubts and Worries.
SERIES: I've come up with a name for this story arc. ::grins::
I'm calling it the "Tragic Kingdom" arc. Coming
Home is the first in this arc. Doubts and Worries is the second story.
This one, A New Path Through Familiar Woods, is the third.
ARCHIVE: Want. Take. Have.
CATEGORY: Darkfic, angst, AU
RATING: R (for adult
subjects and violence)
NOTE: This story takes place about one week from the ending
of Coming Home. Bobby and Remy are still in Los Vegas.
DISCLAIMER: Marvel Comics and Stan Lee owns the X-Men and Raven
Darkholme. Donny, Chrome and Louis DuLac belong to me.
SUMMARY: Old friends and acquaintances reveal themselves and
offer new options and paths to walk even as Bobby and Remy struggle
to come to terms with each other and their individual pasts.
A New Path through Familiar Woods
Louis DuLac was an utterly forgettable man. Of average height and
build, he had medium brown hair that was cut into a neat, but plain
style, that framed regular features on a rather plain face. He was
neither too thin nor too heavy. His clothing was neat, clean and pressed,
however it was hardly the height of fashion. In fact, his medium gray
suit appeared to have come directly off the rack from any number of
inexpensive men's fashion chain stores and was as unremarkable as
the man himself. He had no distinguishing marks, no personal quirks,
nothing to set him apart from anyone else.
Which is probably one of the reasons that Louis DuLac was such a
highly valued Council Member of the New Orleans Thieves Guild. His
unremarkableness... and his retentive mind, quick wit and absolute
devotion to the Guild.
A beta-class mutant with the mild ability to blend into the background
and induce a short term fogginess of memory to those he targeted,
Louis came from a long distinguished line of Guild Thieves. Sponsored
by his own father as a young boy, he had risen through the ranks over
the years, until he held a seat on the Council itself. And now, Louis
DuLac found himself being summoned to a private meeting with the head
of that self same Council, his old boyhood friend Jean-Luc LeBeau.
He was met at the door by Jean-Luc's pretty blonde daughter-in-law,
Mercy. She flashed him a bright and cheery smile full of even white
teeth and then leaned up on tiptoe to press a kiss against his cheek.
"Welcome, Uncle Louis. Come on in. Can I take y' coat?"
Louis smiled down at the young woman gently and shrugged out of
his topcoat. Flashing him another blinding smile, Mercy took it from
him and carefully folded it over her arm.
"Merci, p'tite. Y' lookin' as stunnin' as ever. Y' a bright ray
o sunshine an' light up dis ol' house more 'en any chandelier ever
Mercy giggled slightly even as her cheeks flushed light pink with
pleasure. Hooking her coat free arm through one of his own, she steered
him down the hall towards Jean-Luc's private study.
"Oh Uncle Louis, y' such a charmin' flatterer, y' are. My momma
warned m' about men like, y' self. She even had a special word fo'
Louis grinned down at her and raised one eyebrow up.
"Oh, is dat so, p'tite? An' wha' would dat special word be now?"
Mercy's bright eyes flashed with mischief.
"I b'lieve dat da word she used was scoundrel."
They had reached Jean-Luc's study and Mercy knocked on it gently
while Louis fiegned shock and hurt. At his friend's muffled reply
to come-in, Mercy swung open the door and they stepped inside.
"Moi? A scoundrel? Surely y' jest, p'tite."
Glancing up at Jean-Luc, Louis winked at his old friend and caught
an amused smile in return.
"De p'tite be tellin' de truth ol' friend. Y' are a scoundrel."
Louis mock glowered at Jean-Luc and his friend merely chuckled.
"Oui, but t' just come out an' say it like dat."
Mercy giggled again and leaned up once more to press another kiss
on Louis' cheek.
"Don' worry Uncle Louis, it all part o y' charm. Women like
scoundrels. How y' t'ink I ended up married t' Herni LeBeau? A more
d'lightful scoundrel y'll never meet."
Her rich laughter hanging in the air like the after-shimmer of silver
bells, Mercy LeBeau winked at her father-in-law and turned to head
back to the main part of the house so that the two old friends could
have their meeting. Unable to repress the gleam of pride in his eyes,
Louis gestured after his niece.
"If y' ask me, de real scoundrel be dat lowlife dat
her mere took up wit'. I never did like dat man t' begin wit' an'
den he had de nerve t' take m' baby sister all de way up t' N'York.
I'll never b' able t' tell y' how glad I am dat Henri went up dere
an' stole dat girl's heart only t' bring her back home t' N'Awlins
where she b'long. Mebbe when dat lowlife fin'ly keels over den I can
get m' sister back too. Oui?"
Jean-Luc watched the quick flash of old hurt and remorse sweep over
the face of one of his oldest friends and sighed.
"Dat would be tres bon. I haven' had de pleasure of Marie's company
fo' far too long."
Louis sighed and sat down in one of the comfortable overstuffed
leather chairs as he silently watched Jean-Luc pour them both a glass
of fine aged bourbon. He allowed his thoughts to drift to his sister
and the hurtful words they had shared when she chose to leave her
family and the Guild for the man who would one day become Mercy's
father. In Louis's opinion, fathering Mercy was the only thing that
the man had done right in his life.
Jean-Luc pressing a glass into his hand, pulled his thoughts out
of the past and back into the here and now. With a slight smile of
thanks and a nod, Louis accepted the glass and watched as Jean-Luc
took the chair next to him.
"I know dat y' have business on de Wes' Coast an' dat y' had planned
t' leave in t'ree days time. I was hopin' dat y' could make a slight
change t' y'r plans an' make a side trip t' Los Vegas first."
One eyebrow arched up in silent inquiry and he gestured for Jean-Luc
"Remy's dere an' I have a job fo' him. It's not de type o job dat
de Guild normally take, but it is de type o job dat Remy specialize
Louis frowned. He hadn't seen Jean-Luc's youngest boy in a few years,
but he knew what Jean-Luc was saying even if he didn't spell it out
in plain words. Remy was given all of the jobs that the Guild felt
that they couldn't turn away as a matter of honor, but were far too
dangerous to hand over to anyone else. In situations which would have
gotten any other Guild member killed outright, Remy LeBeau had not
only survived, but had succeeded brilliantly.
Louis looked up at his long time friend and could easily see the
pain, sorrow and worn regret behind the smooth mask of power and control
that Jean-Luc wore as a matter of course. He could only imagine the
inner fear and worry that his friend must suffer knowing that one
day he would eventually send his own child up against odds that were
just too great to overcome. That Remy would pay for that mistake with
his life. Louis silently vowed to himself that when, if...
if that day came, he would be there to offer support to Jean-Luc LeBeau.
"Mais oui. Wha' d' I need t' tell Remy about de job?"
Warm water fell in a gentle spray over Remy's skin, washing away
the soapsuds and the dirt in equal measures. Unfortunately, it couldn't
wash away his worries and concerns no matter how much he wished that
he could watch them swirl around only to disappear down the drain.
Instead, his mind churned and whirled around his problems, chewing
on them over and over until he felt as if he had indigestion.
On the surface, things seemed to be going smoothly. He was staying
in a nicely appointed suite in a wonderful hotel smack dab in the
middle of one of the more entertaining cities on the entire planet.
The man that he had been flirting with for the last few days was even
now out getting them tickets to see a show that had gotten nothing
but rave reviews. Later, they were going to meet for dinner and then
off to the show. Afterwards, they would head down to the casino where
Remy planned to make a killing at the Blackjack tables.
Just below the surface, things were tense and strained. It was only
a matter of time before something had to give. Remy could only hope
that when it did, that the pieces would be easy to pick up
and that his life would not be left in utter shambles.
He could no longer deny his growing attraction to Bobby. The man
was supremely confidant and strong, ready to face any challenge that
came his way. And yet, at the same time, he was oddly hurt and vulnerable
like a lonely child who'd somehow lost his purpose in life. What was
more, Remy wasn't just attracted to the package that Bobby presented.
Not that Bobby's brooding good looks and his rock hard attitude wasn't
sexy, but Remy also found himself drawn to the grieving young man
who cried in the night and whispered tales of horror and pain in a
To make matters more complicated, it was getting pretty obvious
that the attraction was mutual. Bobby wanted him. As a friend and
as a bed partner. On one hand, that idea was exciting and thrilling.
Remy was very tempted to just slide into Bobby's bed bare-assed
naked one night, but he wouldn't. The reason that he refused to give
into his physical desire to have sex with Bobby was a simple one,
yet very important nonetheless. Remy wasn't sure if it was him
Bobby wanted, or his long lost lover from the alternate reality.
As much as Remy wanted to comfort the man and as much as he wanted
to be a part of Bobby's heart, Remy refused to be a substitute for
his double. He couldn't and he wouldn't try and replace that other
Remy LeBeau. He felt that both he and Bobby deserved more than that.
That, of course was his biggest worry. That when Bobby looked at
him, he didn't really see him, but rather that he saw the ghost
of his dead lover. He had silently come to the decision that he would
make sure that there would be no way that Bobby could mistake him
for that other Remy LeBeau.
A chance comment from Bobby the other night after a particularly
bad nightmare had given Remy the idea of how to do that. Bobby had
mentioned as an aside that the other Remy had taken great pains to
keep his face clean shaven because of someone named Michelle. He wasn't
certain yet who Michelle was or why she had such a strong influence
on that other Remy, but that didn't matter at the moment. What had
captured his imagination was that if Bobby's long lost lover had gone
clean shaven then he would stop shaving. Not altogether, but maybe
a goatee? Just enough that one little glance would shatter the illusion
that he was that other Remy.
He had even briefly considered cutting off all of his hair so that
he couldn't be mistaken from the back as well, but he quickly discarded
that idea. For one, it seemed a bit drastic. If he decided that he
didn't like the goatee then all he had to do was shave it off, but
it took a lot more time to regrow hair back. Besides, for all he knew,
that alternate reality Remy wore his hair short.
The stray thought that Bobby might not be interested in him any
more if he no longer looked like that other Remy briefly floated through
his mind. As if summoned by magic, a new wave of worries and anxieties
fluttered madly in Remy's stomach.
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