Remy Le Beau, thief, lover, good son, mutant, hauls himself out of the Mississippi, shakes water off like a cat, and melts into the shadows under the live oak.
The sound of careful laughter and cheap glassware against cheap cutlery oozes across the manicured grounds of the well-preserved plantation house.
Remy walks, feet soft as soft, across the wide lawn.
Now he can add spy to his list.
He’s all in gray, silk and linen, dry as leaf dust, from the dri-bag he’d floated through the mighty river from his pirogue. Not wishing to be identified, he’s left his trademarks - hat, staff, style - at home. He’s got tinted glasses hiding his eyes.
Now he slips into the dark spaces near the tall French doors, open to the spring Louisiana night.
There - the cultured voice. Xavier. The lighter tones of Ororo.
The voice he is expecting: the concentrated rumble, the easy offense. Remy doesn’t flinch. Doesn’t freeze. He simply slides aside, his mind dodging the blow as he might dodge a physical attack, and he settles against the wall. He slows his breathing.
He puts aside any disquiet over betraying his lover.
The Black Hand has his father. And Remy, he is a good son.
The deal is made. The safe house is promised, in the same tones Xavier would use to comment on a wine someone else had chosen. Measured. Fair. Kind.
Remy disappears into the deep dark of the night.
He gets into the trees along the levee and orients himself.
Swiftly, he swaps his garments for the wet ones, more gray, for blending into the water.
He straightens, smooth, no sudden motions.
Someone’s out there.
Logan’s voice eddies through the air.
Remy turns, plunges into the manicured strip of trees. Counts down his breathing, achieves a calm rhythm.
Nearly crosses right in front of one of the security detail. Remy catches himself in time, falls flat. His luck is in. The guard walks off.
Remy wastes no time, gets down the levee, and into the water.
A scent of cigar smoke on the breeze, and then all is quiet.
Remy makes the exchange with the Black Hand: information for the freedom Jean Luc Le Beau. He embraces his father, who kisses him on both cheeks.
“I hope I didn’t cost you too much, my son,” his father says.
Remy thinks back to the last time he’d been with Logan at Xavier‘s. I can scent you anywhere on the grounds, Logan had said, smug, proprietary. Happy.
Remy shakes his head.
He thinks, the cost is always high.
Remy does not value cheap things or unworthy people.
But Remy will think of Logan later. Now he needs to get his father out of this warehouse, where the Black Hand would like to keep them until the operation is over. Remy has plans.
The safe house is up north of the City, round about Slidell, and Remy gets there as fast as he can, quiet as he can, given that his father will not be left behind, and that had to be argued before Remy gave in.
Remy stashes the anonymous sedan in a dark little neighborhood of worn ramblers and broken street lights, and light foots his way to the safe house. Father says he will stay with the car. Remy does not believe this, but he pretends to agree with his father’s insincerity. It’s polite.
Better if his one and only family member doesn’t steal in on his heels, though he’s fairly sure no one will try to kill him outright. Trouble might come if Xavier is there, since Remy stands out on the man’s mental radar. The advantage of his opacity to Xavier’s frighteningly penetrating powers is not one he would give up, but the Professor knows his mental signature, unlike any other, and that‘s not an advantage at all.
Remy slides up behind a Black Hand sentry and sets him down with a precise chop to the back of the neck. Noise is his enemy right now. He puts down another sentry, and settles in to wait for the attack.
Cards slip between his fingers. It takes much of his control to keep the spark down, to avoid painting the thin, bent pasteboard with crackling light. He’s just got about 40 cards, left from the poker game the Black Hand guards had been playing - until they let Remy Le Beau near the cards.
Ah, here’s kick off.
Thugs rush the door. A mini-lightning storm electrifies the first attacker. He shrieks.
A gun chatters.
Now that’s torn it. Keeping it quiet is now impossible.
Remy dashes for the melee developing at the front door.
Ororo throws him a wide eyed, startled glance, rolls her eyes, and turns back to her foes. Splintering wood and a deep throated yell sound from the back of the house. Remy runs the top of the sagging chain link fence and comes down behind the crowd. He whips cards at the Black Hand gang. Thugs go down.
Logan looks up from where he’s using a guy’s head as a battering ram to shove another couple of guys over.
For one second, a second Remy will later not be sure happened, heartbreak bleeds through Logan.
Remy holds eye contact, shakes his head minutely. “I got the upstairs,” he yells.
Logan considers him. Nods.
This thing between them, that’s for later.
Remy jumps onto a trash can, takes a long stride to the second floor and darts flaring cards at the eyes of a Black Hander climbing through a window. The thug falls. Remy turns to thug's counterpart, who’s coming across the wall like a spider. Remy plants a boot in the man’s chest, sends him sprawling off the wall and down two stories to the cracked cement terrace.
A sub-machine gun starts up again. Logan grunts in pain, but fights on, as always.
Remy sights the shooter, on the roof of the house across the back yard. He unslings his staff. Time for some drama. Remy pulls himself onto the roof above him, runs, and jumps, pushing all his energy through the staff, then into the earth, and he‘s flying, soaring, landing on the bad guy feet first.
The shooter rolls, and Remy stumbles, and he loses the staff. Remy leaps for the gun, is faster, thief-fast, throws the safety on. Grabs hold of his energy, hard, to keep it from the gun, to keep it from the ammo, and cracks the shooter across the face with his own weapon.
When the shooter falls, all is still.
Remy drops to the ground. Unloads the gun as he walks and drops the ammo into a trash can. His blood is up, his nerves sing. He wants to cook off those bullets like firecrackers. He sets the gun down neatly against the house, and finds Logan coming around from the front.
“Did we get ‘em?” Remy stops in the dark alleyway between the safe house and the neighbor dwelling.
Logan gives a short nod. There’s only one thing he wants to talk about.
“They had my father,” Remy says, as bare and honest as he has ever been with Logan. If Logan does not understand - if he does not accept his reason - then Remy must walk away. He will not cheapen that decision. He cannot.
“Got it,“ Logan says.
Remy can see, hear, that Logan still hurts. There’s nothing Remy can do about that.
Perhaps he can help the pain fade.
Logan steps close.
Remy stands patient, lets Logan scent him, at his throat and under his jaw. It’s not quite an embrace; Remy has the interesting sensation of being handled, inspected. He shivers, as if someone has walked over his crypt, and presses closer to Logan, a thigh between his. Logan is half-hard against Remy’s thigh.
Then Remy is, too.
“Mon fils?” The elder Le Beau speaks from the street.
Remy stills. The last thing he wants to do is introduce his lover to his father with a hard-on straining his pants.
Remy takes a deep breath. Refrains from snapping at his father like an ungrateful teenager.
“Father, we will join you in a moment, non?”
Remy steps away from Logan. Runs down a breathing exercise.
“You and me, we better be together soon,” Logan says, a little threat, a little tension.
“Later,” Remy says. “I swear. Tonight.”
Logan nods, then jerks his chin at the street. “We been summoned.”
Remy straightens his clothing, takes up his staff, and walks away from the lover he almost lost.
Reconnection can wait.
Because Remy, Remy is a good son.