Guilded Secrets

Remy yanked his senses in sharply. The traces of heat and electrical energy died from his feelings.

Nobody moved for a long moment, long enough for him to detect the shift in his input. The slightest sound, the breathing of the other two occupants of the room, became sharpened and heightened as he focused on it. He could taste the acrid traces of explosions he had initiated. He could feel the dampness of sweat soaking his shirt and smell it faintly, mingled with the soft fragrance of the doctor's perfume.

One of them moved. He placed the motion, the speed, the velocity. Perhaps an arm moving. Remy located it in the mental blueprint he had engraved upon his nearly perfect memory and identified the motion with the woman.

"We done here?" he demanded finally, the silence grating upon him.

He didn't want to hear so well, not when it wasn't something special he was born with. The gift had been born out of necessity, an urgent need to survive on the deadly, night-clouded streets of New Orleans. It had been honed by years of intense training and discipline. It was something he often tried to drown out.

"I need to do some more evaluating," the doctor said softly. "Perhaps we can continue in the medical bay."

It was a mild command, put in the form of a request. He didn't argue, just shoved his hands in his pockets and followed quietly as she moved ahead of him. His senses tracked and latched onto the motion of the man, Scott, moving in behind him. Remy froze.

"Y' first, mon ami," he said, gesturing Scott on politely.

Scott hesitated, his motion slowed to almost nonexistent.

Remy narrowed his eyes at the man, even though he couldn't see.

"Scott?" The doctor's voice was gentle like a forgotten whiff of his mother's.

Remy stiffened, but followed as Scott went on. He was content to follow the two of them. His blueprint guided him unerringly through the labyrinth and he didn't have to worry about what was going on behind him. That meant more to him than he thought it would once he'd turned his heat detection off.

They entered the medical bay and Remy immediately located the more comfortable of the two beds. He swung himself atop it to sit.

"What's y'r name anyway, chère?" he asked curiously, cocking his head and looking in the direction of the two people moving around.

"It's Jean Grey," she said lightly. "Scott, you sit there." She came forward, waving something in her hand, probably a clipboard, then settled in front of him and scribbled a few things down. "How old are you exactly, Remy?"


He felt slight probing against his mental shields, but they were on full strength and she didn't even come close to denting them.

"I won't read your thoughts against your will, you know" she said, her voice tinted with exasperation. "You don't have to do that."

He refrained from any response whatsoever.

She started scribbling again. "When did your powers first manifest?"

"Seven." He left out the part that he'd been born a mutant, complete with the mark of the devil he was called. Remy never found it necessary to provide information that wasn't requested.

"What happened?" Her head moved.

He gripped his knees a little harder. "Card game. Blew up my hand."

"Your cards or your actual hand?"

He stripped off a glove and reached out, showing her the silvery web of scars running across his fingers and wrist. He knew what they looked like, knew that the years had reduced their hideous appearance into something barely there, a reminder of pain unlike any he had known before. And now knew again.

Jean's fingers traced over him lightly, then she went back to scribbling. "I see."

Did she? He pulled back his hand and clenched it loosely before pulling the glove back on.

"Why do you wear the gloves?" she asked, curiosity ringing in her tone.

He shrugged. "Lots o' t'ings charge real well."

The pencil paused. "I thought you said you weren't having problems with touch."

"Non." His powers had exploded six days ago into an inferno of energy and senses and scope that he had little to no control over. He'd overworked the senses, trying desperately to keep a handle on the energy. "If de charge get too strong," he admitted, "den touchin' a problem too."

Scott murmured a swear word.

Remy retreated inside himself. He ignored the next questions, not even hearing them. Why was the man in here? He looked around the room, wishing desperately to see.

Jean's hand settled on his knee and he tuned back into her.

"Remy? Are you okay?"

He slid off the bed, brushing her hand away. "We done here?"

She hesitated, then acquiesced. "Perhaps we should continue after lunch."

"Oui. Fine." He clipped the words and slipped past her out into the hallway.

Like hell they should.

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Ororo Munroe, weather goddess and history teacher extraordinaire, also known as 'Ro or Storm, smiled broadly at the new student when he appeared in the doorway to her classroom. She welcomed him with her usual warmth and received a slight smile in return. His eyes were well hidden beneath the heavy blindfold and a brown trench coat and languid posture hid anything revealing about his body language. But his smile was genuine and friendly.

"Your seat is along the side, next to Kitty," Ororo began only to be cut off by the aforementioned student's bright exuberance.

"Over here!" Kitty said cheerily, waving her arm.

The arm wave was probably unnecessary, but Remy cocked his head slightly as if listening, then walked easily over to the empty chair and dropped into it.

'Ro glanced back at the blackboard. She had asked the Professor earlier how to adapt her teaching methods to a sightless student. His suggestions included reading everything out loud and assigning study partners for homework.

She decided to go over the main points on the board to start.

Kitty whispered something close in Remy's ear, drawing a Cheshire grin, mysterious, coy, amused. He whispered something back.

'Ro sighed, but decided to let them for the first day. He needed to get his bearings more than anything else.

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Jean stepped into Professor Xavier's office with a tired smile. She rubbed her temples and settled into a plush leather chair.

"Are you all right?" he asked, slight concern in his eyes.

"Mm." She nodded. "He's just so...complicated."


At her nod of confirmation, he settled back in his chair prepared to listen intently. "Did he allow the medical exam?"

Jean hesitated. "Yes. No. He zoned out after a certain point. He just...didn't want to talk about it anymore." She shrugged apologetically. "It's not going to be a quick and easy with him."

"Did you go over his gifts?"

"Yes. I did." Jean sat up and handed him a thin file folder. "I've left out some of the details he asked me to keep confidential. Basically, he's an alpha class mutant, very high level, with the ability to release the potential energy in objects and make them explode. He also seems to have some sort of telepathic ability that he says isn't telepathic. I've never seen mental shields like his anywhere."

Xavier felt surprised, even if he'd experienced those shields as well. "You say he isn't telepathic."

"He says that," she corrected and then continued frankly. "He's doesn't like to answer questions and he doesn't really like me to ask them. Personally, I think the only reason he even submitted to the evaluation was because he needs control. I didn't even get to run his physical."

"Perhaps you should start with that next time," Xavier suggested. "Before going back into his mutation."

Jean looked dubious, but nodded. "Okay. Anything that helps."

The Professor considered whether to show her his own discovery, but decided to wait until she'd completed her evaluation. After she left the office though, he reached in his desk drawer and pulled it out.

An article from a major newspaper in New Orleans bore the striking headline: "Mysterious explosion kills 72 at the Belle Orleans Theatre." More had ended up in the hospital, injured to varying degrees. The picture was the most telling, however. It was full color and Xavier couldn't help but think of playing cards in the dining room dancing through the air as he studied the haze of pink light surrounding the building as it went up in smoke.

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