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"He was behaving really oddly, and then when he wasn’t here the next morning I suspected the worst," said Jean, folding the newspaper with finality.

"And it looks like you were right," said Scott. Wolverine took his cigar out of his mouth and picked up the paper Jean had set down. MUTANT SUSPECT IN NEW ORLEANS MASSACRE.

"I don’t know. This ain’t Gumbo’s style."

"Oh for God’s sake!" burst out Rogue. "Y’all can’t believe he did this!" Jean’s mouth crimped regretfully. Scott came over and placed a hand on Rogue’s shoulder, consoling.

"We have to look at the evidence, Marie. The New Orleans police department has a fingerprint matching Remy’s at the scene of the crime. The scene itself is marked with explosion burns, and most of the victims were either blown up or had their necks broken." Rogue glared up at Scott, angrier than the other X-Men had ever seen her.

"Screw you, Scott," she said harshly. "All of you for thinking he’s guilty!" She jumped up and fled the living room.

"Rogue!" shouted Jean, jumping up. "You come back—" Wolverine reached out and yanked Jean down next to him on the sofa.

"Nice job, One-eye," he said, stubbing out the cigar and walking after Rogue. Scott dropped his head into his hands.

"Why can’t I get through to that woman, Jean?" Jean came over and rubbed his shoulders.

"Relax, honey. This is a bad time for all of us."

"I suppose we should try to find Gambit and bring him in," Scott sighed.

"I’ll use Cerebro," said Jean. "I’m sure this isn’t what it looks like, Scott." Scott looked up at her, and Jean saw her own worried face reflected in his glasses.

"What if it is, Jean? Remy could really be dangerous if he ever got it in his head to turn against us."

"I’m sure he’s just…confused," said Jean soothingly, although in her mind she was recalling the incredible jolt of Remy’s uncontrolled telepathic power that had come surging up when she tried to read his mind. A telepath as powerful as herself, with kinetic blasts that could level buildings and empathetic charm that would make it all too hard to see him coming…Jean didn’t want to think about that.


"So, leavin’?" said Logan from behind Rogue. She was angrily slamming her suitcase into the trunk of her little car.

"That’s what it looks like, doesn’t it?" she snapped at him.

"Hey, babe, you got no call to take my head off," he growled back in the same tone. Rogue heaved a heavy sigh and turned to him.

"Sorry, Logan."

"’S alright," he said. He came over and leaned against the trunk with her. "What do you honestly think you can accomplish by running after the Cajun? He’s stubborn as a cement block."

"I have to help him," said Rogue. "He didn’t do those awful things." Her lip twisted. "Probably that bitch Bella Donna, trying to frame him." Logan came around to face her.

"I ain’t one for fatherly advice, and I ain’t gonna stop you, but listen to me first." Rogue didn’t slug him, so he went on. "I know Gumbo may seem t’be a victim here, but in my experience, crazy as he is, he usually knows what he’s doing. I’d be careful, Rogue. Real careful."

"I will, Wolverine, but I will not believe Remy is the guilty one here!" said Rogue. She took her car keys out of her pocket. "I have to go."

"Give me a holler if you find him," said Wolverine, patting his cell phone.

"I will. Thanks, Logan." Logan shrugged one shoulder.

"Don’t mention it."


Remy felt the search…a very unpleasant sensation he could live a lifetime without experiencing again. "Cerebro…merde," he muttered, pulling the car off the road. He was in Georgia, near Atlanta, trying to decide whether he should go back to the X-Men. If they were hunting him with Cerebro, the answered seemed like a big fat non. He might have the advantage here—apparently his telepathy hadn’t been a one-time thing. He could read minds and feel probes just like Jean or Xavier. Maybe…

Jean? Her mind fluttered, startled, and then she answered. It was a truly weird feeling, Remy decided.

Remy. Where are you?

Seems like you know, chere. A pause, where the empath portion of Remy’s brain felt embarrassment come off her.

Yes…we’re worried about you. Rogue especially.

Dat why you’re huntin’ me down?

It’s not like that, Gambit. Remy felt anger flare. After all he had been through, at their hands, and they still didn’t trust him father than a thief in the night.

Explain to me how it ain’t like dat, Jeannie. Explain.

We…you have a problem, Gambit. You need help. Remy felt his mouth twist into a sardonic smile.

Yeah, boy howdy I need help. I might actually have as many wonderful powers as de Great Jean Grey. I might actually become de most powerful X-Man. Dat would be a real shame.

Gambit, if you’re going to take that tone…

You’ll what, Jeannie? Put de psychic whammy on me? Gambit scared, chere. Gambit shakin’ in his little spaceboots. Jean was angry now, the prickly sensation creeping along his skin.

You come back immediately. We have to get this mess sorted out. Gambit smiled for real.

Nah, I don’ t’ink so, chere. Gambit havin’ too much fun.

REMY—He shut off the link. This telepathic stuff was really pretty damn easy. Xavier and Jean made it out like such a big, sacred thing, when all it was were some physics and a little extra brainpower…

"Ah, crap," said Remy, realizing what he’d just said to Jean. "CRAP," he said louder. What the hell was he thinking? You weren’t, came the obvious answer. Remy let off a string of his most creative French curses, building…and then dying down. He tilted a side mirror of his car to look at himself. His headband and the collar of his uniform framed his pale face, as usual. His red-copper hair was flopping in his eyes, and he pushed it away. His eyes…his eyes scared him. The black pupils seemed to have grown larger, pushing the red that had earned him the name Le Diable Blanc to the outermost edge. His eyes sent a rush of feeling coursing through him, wild, dangerous feeling that had never come before. And in spite of himself, in spite of his inbred caution, Remy liked it. He had liked mouthing off to Jean, who was, he faced it, snooty and bossy towards him most of the time. He had, on some level, been secretly proud that he’d managed to take out that many Assassins and have only bruises to show for it. I like dis, Remy realized. Been too long since I been bad. Dis is damn enjoyable. He didn’t have to hold it in anymore, all the rage of the X-Men’s and Rogue’s betrayal, his residual pain over New Orleans and Bella Donna, his secret impulses to behave like the thief he was. He could let it out any goddamn way he pleased, and if anyone got in his way…Remy looked at his eyes again, and slipped the ace of spades out of his sleeve. "Pow," he said softly to his reflection, then laughed. On the dark country road, his laughter deepened and became an all-out laugh of pure freedom, raging and fast and deadly. Remy LeBeau’s heart darkened forever as the sun set behind him, and his giddy laugh was only broken when his cell phone/communicator rang. "’Ello!" he said gaily, now admiring his nearly black eyes in the rearview mirror.

"Remy!" said Rogue. "Thank God I got you."

"Well cherie, as I recall you don’," said Remy, cutting and intending to cut Rogue to the quick. She took in a breath on the other end of the line.

"Where the hell are you? Jean and Scott want your stupid Cajun head." Remy propped his feet on the steering wheel and reclined like a male model, in a pose that he knew would cause traffic accidents if any female drivers happened by.

"Where I am," he said in the same light tone. "Well, Roguie, dat’s for me t’know…" He chuckled again, his bedroom laugh this time. He’d bet dollars to dimples he sent a shiver down the girl’s spine. "An’ you t’find out. Do call again." He pressed the END button on his phone before Rogue could squawk at him again. He tucked the cell phone back in his pocket and started the car, squealing out onto the road just in front of a large, rusted pickup bearing several members of the Georgia redneck population.

"Watch where yer goin’, dickhead!" one yelled.

"Moi?" said Remy, pointing to his chest. "Tsk tsk, homme." He looked back at the rednecks in challenge, and then accelerated, the Kharmann Ghia’s 8-cylinder whining. The men took the challenge, pulling into the lane next to him, neck and neck with the little car. Remy let them keep the illusion of winning until the two vehicles reached a sharp curve with a drainage ditch on the lower side, then Remy turned his head and looked. The pickup’s left front tire glowed with a kinetic light, and on the next revolution exploded with a concussive pop, the truck overshooting the curve and plowing straight into the ditch. A fire lit on impact, and the rednecks took off yelping and cursing into the night. Remy let the energy in his eyes fade slowly, not blinking, which he knew from experience caused a painful sting. The wind from the road blew the smoke away, and Remy reflected in passing that it was nice to have that ability back. He almost hoped someone else would do something to provoke him so he could test out the telepathy and the kineticism all at once. There had to be a bar around here somewhere. It was Georgia after all.


So you’ve come to accept it.

Oh, oui.

Stop that mental chuckling, it’s jostling me.

So sorry. You whine a lot, y’know dat?

I consider myself logical. Now that we have reconciled our duality, don’t you think it’s about time we form a plan?

Oh, I have a plan mon frere. Don’ you worry ‘bout dat.

Admirable. May I best advise you on your course of action?

Gee, let me t’ink. NON.


Didn’ work out like you planned? I all broken up.

Of course not. Will you at least let me in on your…newfound philosophy?

Why sure, homme. Five words.

And they are?

No more Mr. Nice Guy.

Go on to Chapter 5