Guilded Darkness

His senses had adjusted after days in darkness. His kinesthetic sense rode at a fever high pitch, constantly relaying him the proximity, movement, and velocity of everything around him. Emotions brushed against him from every direction, alerting him to people and their identities. The more he focused on accessing and processing the data coming in, the less he felt like a human battery just waiting to explode. The pain in his hands was a heavy thrum, the energy begging to be unleashed.

Footsteps drummed against the wooden floor of the hallway far away. He reached out, capturing the steady purpose, measuring the rhythm, the speed, and he relaxed fractionally. He waited as more footsteps joined the first and they passed two, three, four doors to reach his.

Only the first came in.

A heavy masculine hand rested on his shoulder.

"It be time, fils." His Pere's voice was rich and firm, giving away none of the reservations his empathy had revealed.

He sat up and swung his legs over the side of the bed, retrieving his waiting bag. He followed through the silent gathering of the most important men in their family. They did not speak. They did not need to. He felt their strong support reeling off of them in waves. Their stillness was a cherished sign of respect, acceptance.

His Pere led the way out through the great hall and the heavy front doors of the complex. The street was quiet today, no doubt under family orders.

A car door was drawn open in front of him.

He slid inside.

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"Is that really necessary?" Professor Charles Xavier asked, hesitating only slightly. He indicated the heavy black blindfold wrapped tightly around the young man's eyes.

His potential student sat in a chair across from the Professor with a casual slouch that seemed anything but. Messy auburn hair fell almost to his shoulders and hung some in front of the blindfold. He was too thin for his height, a little over six feet, but somehow made it look natural. A brown duster hung open over his white t-shirt and jeans.

Jean-Luc LeBeau chuckled lightly. The man had called Xavier five days ago about enrolling his mutant son in the school and would be one of the Institute's few paying parents.

He laid an affectionate hand on his son's shoulder. "Let's leave dat up t' Remy."

Remy cocked his head ever so slightly, a wry grin twisting his lips.

Xavier had his own qualms and questions about this particular mutant. He'd been emitting a crackling indecipherable buzz since his arrival that precluded any attempts to penetrate him telepathically. Not seeing his eyes made him that much more unreadable.

"We could have glasses made," the Professor offered.

"Dey'd slip," Remy replied noncommittally.

His mental signature suddenly spiked then vanished altogether, leaving Xavier in a bit of shock. He held in his expression even if Remy couldn't see his reaction.

"Y' say y' c'n help wit' all kinds of powers?" Jean-Luc pressed.

Xavier nodded. "Many of our students possess dangerous potential. We have been able to help most, if not all, of them significantly. Full control, of course, takes years to master."

Jean-Luc nodded, still frowning. Remy's expression was completely unreadable. Xavier could tell from the stray thoughts slipping out that the man was very worried about his son.

"Bien. If y' c'n handle it, den dis be de best for all o' us." This last was accompanied by a reluctant sigh.

They discussed further details of the tuition and boarding arrangements. Jean-Luc insisted on Remy having his own room, and Xavier didn't feel like arguing the point.

Through it all, the young auburn-haired teen said nothing, silent in face, mind, and word.

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Bobby opened the door to the Professor's office at his mental bidding and was surprised to be faced with a tall teenager shuffling a deck of cards with one hand and wearing a blindfold.

"You called?" Bobby asked uncertainly.

Professor Xavier smiled. "Yes. Bobby, this is Remy. Remy, this is Bobby."

The stranger jerked his head in Bobby's direction, giving the uncanny impression of seeing despite the covering on his eyes. Could he be another telepath?

"Would you show him around and get him settled?"

"Yes, Professor." Bobby took the proffered packet with room number, key, and class schedule. "Come on," he said to Remy, then hesitated, glancing at the blindfold.

Remy smoothly walked toward him and Bobby decided to let him keep up without verbal directions for now. He didn't seem to need them.

"Let's hit your room first."

Remy walked soundlessly. It was unnatural. As they went upstairs, Bobby couldn't help but feel he wasn't being followed at all and constantly glanced over his shoulder. Whenever he slowed too much, Remy simply stopped and let amusement quirk at his lips.

"So how old are you anyway?" Bobby finally threw himself on conversation, hoping to shake the unsettled feeling.

"Seventeen." Remy's voice was heavily accented, but the word wasn't enough to identify where he was from.

It didn't work. The new student still trailed him without the aid of sight, maneuvering easily around minor obstacles like furniture and the occasional fellow student and climbing the stairs, seemingly without thought. All of his movements were cloaked in absolute silence.

It was unnerving.

The first hesitancy came at the door to Remy's room. It was a single: one bed, one desk, a little more cramped than the doubles, but minus the extra hazard of another person.

Remy stopped in the doorway, groping both sides with his hands. The right one trailed upwards along the frame until it found the top. Remy nodded, took a deep breath, and stepped in. His hand trailed the wall to his right until it encountered an obstacle. He would lean over and run his hands all over each piece of furniture, each door, even trailing across the back of the closet, until he had walked around the entire room in this manner. Suddenly, Remy stopped in the middle of the room.

Bobby had watched everything with great interest and he wondered what the mutant would do next. He didn't have to wait long.

With an abrupt push of his legs, Remy leapt up in an impossible flip and touched the ceiling, catching the edge of the light fixture in the middle, then landed in a crouch on the floor again.

He leaned back on his heels and tilted his head as if in thought. He faced toward the door.

Bobby turned to see Piotr walking up. The Russian gave the mildest of smiles and went on by. Bobby whirled back to Remy, who was smirking beneath the black cloth.

"Did you hear him?"

A low chuckle rumbled out of Remy's chest. "Non." He quickly stood and dropped his bag on the bed by shrugging it off his shoulder. His hands stayed close to his jacket, reminding Bobby of Rogue. "We finish de tour, no?"

"Yeah." Bobby frowned. "French, right?"

Remy shrugged as they continued down the hallway.


"It's Cajun," Remy snapped suddenly. He rubbed the back of his neck, looking strangely uncomfortable compared to just moments earlier.

Bobby didn't like the change. It looked too much like... Well, he'd bet a fortune Remy was a good bluffer on how well he was doing. "You okay?"

A short, sharp nod. Remy relaxed his body language smoothly and slipped on a languid smile. "Lead on, ami."

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Remy slid one hand into a pocket and focused on charging a deck of cards and reabsorbing the charge. The ache in his hands decreased by a fraction, but the bottled up feeling of energy getting ready to reach beyond what he could touch was reduced exponentially. If he could just stay ahead of it, no one was going to die.

That's what he kept telling himself, hoping that the words were more than pretty gilded lies.

He followed Bobby's motions with a narrow focus, applying all his senses to the task of copying the boy's path in front of him exactly. He only varied for the occasional passerby. It was exhausting work, keeping his face and body language in check so as not to give away how he was feeling, but to stretch out so much and calculate so carefully.

Energy hummed around him; he was startled to find it in some of the people moving about. The idea that he could release it in them...

He focused on the motion. Bobby led him quickly through a long straightway, down some steep steps that nearly bested his abilities, and stopped at various intervals to motion into doorways while naming the rooms. The words required too much effort to understand. Remy concentrated on absorbing the stream of sound as just that, to be deciphered later.

Loud, jumbled talking began to float past his ears. He narrowed his eyes as he realized they were moving toward the noise. He stopped cold and tuned in to what Bobby was saying.

"And this is the dining room. It's kind of like a cafeteria, including being opened and closed at certain times..."

Remy grimaced and started to move forward again. The movement in front of him slowed, so he followed suit.

Concern leaked out in Bobby's voice. "You okay?"

This was the second time Bobby had noticed something was wrong. Remy wanted to frown at himself, but couldn't, so he just nodded and smiled.

"Absolument." Remy gestured toward the cacophony of voices. "Devons-nous continuer?"


"Shall we continue?" Remy repeated in English.

"Yeah." Bobby started forward again, but his steps were not so straight.

Remy cursed himself for letting the strain show. But now, he was wholly focused on Bobby and the other moving targets in their path. He couldn't afford to listen to his guide or to berate himself.

Bobby led him to a side table. Soft girl voices intermingled with laughter and a couple of guy's guffaws. He reached for an empty chair, groping for a moment, then pulled it out and sat down. He was able to tune back into Bobby's words.

"This is Jubes with the gum, Kitty's laughing—" As he said each name, a hi came out, and Remy reached out to identify the empathic signature. "—Piotr's the real quiet one, John's flicking his lighter (he's a real pain), and this is Rogue, next to you."

Her voice was the softest. "Hi, sugah," she drawled in a sweet Southern accent.

He cocked his head and identified it. "Mississippi."

Her startlement brushed against him. "How'd ya know that?"

"I'm Cajun." He chuckled low in his throat. "And y're a belle femme. Pleasure to meet y'."

The girls tittered a little. The lighter snapped shut. But Rogue just replied with an amused tone of voice.

"Ah could have crooked features and a splotchy complexion for all ya know."

He leaned toward her with a smirk. "I have a good sense for dese t'ings."

A soft wave of pleased embarrassment spiked through her emotions. A matching wave of irritation and jealousy rode in from the Bobby quarter.

Remy looked sharply in that direction as chair legs scraped and Bobby seemed to have sat down.

"What're you in for?" Kitty asked brightly. "What's your power?"

He leaned back and gave her his nicest smile, reaching out with the charm. He flicked out a set of cards and set them dancing, shuffling them with finesse. Then he charged one, spinning it off to explode high above their heads.

"Whoa!" Jubilee and John said in tandem.

More cards went flying. He aimed them carefully, very carefully, high since he couldn't see around him. Charging them felt good, like relieving the pressure on a dammed river. The sounds of explosions, the flashes of movement, the consternation all around him. It felt good. Normal.

He exhausted the deck and then turned back to Bobby, nudging at the earlier feelings of concern. "Bobby. Could y' get m' some food?"

"Sure." The answer was prompt, the irritation forgotten.

Jubilee and Kitty nudged and giggled. John was feeling a small amount of respect.

"Cool," he said, flicking the lighter.

Remy relaxed a bit. So far, so good.

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Charles Xavier frowned in puzzled concern as the students settled down in the aftermath of that brilliant display. Remy smiled among his new acquaintances, and Bobby brought him a plate of food.

Nothing about what he had just seen gave the Professor the impression of someone who needed help with his abilities. He seemed extremely comfortable with using them. The gift itself was rather impressive.

But Jean-Luc's worry had been overwhelmingly strong in the office. Xavier was certain that Remy was in trouble if he didn't get help.

But why?

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Night was worst.

Darkness closed around him with a presence he could almost taste. He lay awake in his room, wishing, hoping for sleep, but knowing the price for it would be nightmares of the theatre, of Bella.

He was restless with the pent-up tension, energy, pain. Remy pounded one fist into the soft mattress, then growled with frustration and launched from the bed.

He padded across the wood floors over to the window. Was the moon shining? He flattened his palms against the glass.

He wanted to claw at the heavy cloth binding. He wanted to rip it off. He wanted to see!

Suddenly, his mood shifted. He whirled around, moving quickly toward the desk, pocketed his bo staff and two decks of cards, then grabbed a t-shirt and slipped it on. It was time to case the place.

Without Bobby.

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