Chapter Three: Les Règles du Jeu

"The Rules of the Game"

- Ya know even the slightest physical contacts means Ah'd absorb ya mind and powers! -
- Worse fates spring t'mind, chère. -

Rogue and Gambit, X-Men #8

Chere stared up at Remy. She didn't feel like anyone had ever called her dangerous or beautiful like that, like it was some sort of irresistible combination. She didn't think anyone had ever looked at her like that either, like they were literally drinking her in.

She hesitated, then asked, "You know him?"

Remy shook his head. Several strands of hair fell across his eyes and she wanted to reach out again and brush them away, but instead she waited for his explanation. It didn't come. Remy turned away, looking troubled, and folded her ruined clothes one by one, returning them to the drawer.

"Remy?" Chere scrambled off the bed and went to him.

He stiffened when she touched his shoulder.

"What is it?" she asked, keeping the panic from her voice.

Her only ally right now had retreated into himself. She was fairly certain by now that she hadn't known him for a long time before her memory loss, but he was all she had now and whatever their relationship was, it was close.

Remy's dark red eyes met hers. He was still thinking, she could tell.

"I met him once. Fought him," he finally said. "But that was a long time ago, Chere. I was still a pup."

She shrugged one shoulder. "You've been working that long."

His eyes blazed abruptly, then dimmed. "How do you know that?"

Chere froze and frowned. How did she know that? She worked it over in her head and could only guess it came from the dreams and that liquid shadow in her mind that hid behind the other personalities. "You're in my head somehow."

He studied her but didn't seem angry or even surprised.

She glanced at the dog tags in her hand. "Will this help you find him?"

Remy pulled away from her and shrugged. "Anything helps, Chere. I don't have much in the way of leads unless you give them to me." He suddenly looked tired in her eyes. "I never found him under that name before, so the odds aren't that good I will this time."

"Oh." It was so hard to just not know. But Remy was right. Her lack of memory wasn't helping him in his search.

His hand drew her chin back up. "Unless he's looking for you."

She caught her breath. "Do you think he is?"

"If he isn't, he's a fool." The words were harsh and flat.

The effect wasn't.

The effect was a warm feeling filling her entire body that Remy would feel that way. She wondered again how they had met before this and not managed to exchange names—and what exactly their relationship was.

Remy covered her hand with his, the dog tags jangling a little with the motion. "I told you I'd find him. I will."

At that moment, the phone rang, seeming overly loud to Chere who had only heard Remy's quiet voice and steps since waking.

Remy released his grip and marched to the nightstand to pick up.

"Gambit," he answered, his voice coolly professional. Then he frowned. "Henri. Slow down."

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"You've got to get out of there, Remy," Henri said into the phone.

Mercy stood behind him, furrowing her brows in deep concern.

His little brother sounded impatient and confused. "Get out of where?"

"Where? There. Wherever you are." Henri ran a hand through his hair. "Bella Donna called. Said someone pulled a contract on you. That someone who knew where you were had sold you out."

A hiss of air sounded on the other end. "Bella?"

"Look, frere, for all the bad blood between you two"—he heard Remy swear at his choice of words—"she doesn't want to see you dead. This is serious, Remy. We're talking a three million dollar contract on your head!"

Dead silence greeted that.

Mercy stared at Henri in shock and sat down hard on their bed.

Finally, Remy responded in a very quiet voice. "Did she say who sold?"

"Your last employer."

This time, there was no silence. Only a cold, methodical blue streak in three different languages, never repeating a word once.


Remy sighed and quit swearing. "Don't call. I'll take care of this and let you know when we're clear."

"Don't die." Henri couldn't care less about calling.

"Don't worry, frere. I haven't yet." The line went dead with a decisive click and Remy was gone.

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Remy turned to face Chere. Her eyes flickered with barely concealed concern, but her face was nearly unreadable.

He considered. She was vulnerable from her amnesia and had complete trust that he would take care of her. While her body still bore bruises, she was healing remarkably quickly. Despite the bullet holes in her shirt, she herself had none, a puzzle he had formerly shelved for more pressing matters. Looking at her now, she might be ready to take on another challenge like the one that had landed them in this room.

He'd promised.

"Bit of a problem, Chere." He kept his tone even.

"What?" She matched him, only conveying a whiff of curiosity.

He hated doing this, but he decided to throw the decision on her and see where everything fell down. So he pulled out the chair and sat. She came forward warily as if he might be laying a trap.

"I just got word that we need to relocate, so that leaves us a couple of options."

She nodded, still following.

He ticked off a finger. "One: I can leave you with some friends and all the stuff we got so far, and they find your Wolverine."

Before he finished, she was already shaking her head, her green eyes wide with a nameless fear.

"Or two..."

She stilled.

"You come with me."

"I'll come," she answered. Too quickly.

"Non." He leaned forward, certain the energy he felt flaring within made itself shown on his face. "Listen first, Chere. Decisions after."

She lifted her chin. "I'm listening."

"Someone's put a contract on me." He said it firmly, willing her to understand what he was really asking. "Where I'm going, someone's going to try to track me down, probably kill me. You come along, you'll be in for trouble."

"You want me out of your way," she said flatly.

"Non. I want you alive." He sighed, leaning back again. "But I don't think it matters either way, as long as you're amenable."

She lifted an eyebrow.

He studied her and then let out a disgusted sigh. She had no idea how strong she was. "Chere."

"What?" she snapped, green eyes coming alive.

"Do you even know what you do?"

That shook her a little and she stepped back. "You mean for a living?"

"Oui." He smiled just a little, not his nicest smile. "For a living." He'd slipped into his Gambit persona, trying to push her a little in the right direction.

Chere measured him, then closed her eyes halfway and breathed in a long, long breath like she always did before trying very hard to remember. Her gaze into nothingness sharpened, then slackened. Her body stiffened slightly, she sniffed sharply, and her jaw tightened.

"I worked with him," she said flatly.

Then suddenly, she shook herself and her eyes seemed to grow greener and her expression changed. She was breathing inward again and her eyes widened and brightened. Slowly, the iris began to turn brown.

Remy sat straight up and watched in growing horror as the color moved from hazel to brown to amber to crimson. At the same time, the whites slowly dimmed and turned black. His eyes stared back at him. He could feel her energy signature humming with his restlessness.

She stared off out the closed window. "Sentry," she said flatly again. This time, her accent was tinged with Cajun. That's when he realized her first statement wasn't in her own southern voice.

Then slowly, the black began to lighten. The red turned to amber, then brown, then hazel, then slowly swirled back into green. She shook herself like she had before, and her unfocused eyes landed on him.

He was still staring in shock.

Chere's breath caught sharply. Recognition flashed across her face and she came toward him quickly, shaking her head, and saying, "Please, please don't be afraid of me, Remy. Please don't be afraid."

He could hear the fear in her voice, the uncertainty, and see the panic in her beautiful eyes. As soon as she was close enough, he snagged her by the wrist and pulled her into his lap.

She stopped breathing.

He ran a gloved finger down her arm, still studying her and trying to absorb what he had seen.

She caught her breath in a gasp and buried her face in his shoulder. "I don't want you to be afraid of me," she whispered.

He didn't allow himself a response. She was a woman to be afraid of. He wasn't afraid only because he did not allow himself fear. But a sharp need for understanding hovered just beneath his skin. He continued to trace her arm with his hand. He needed to think.

She had his eyes. She had nightmares. Constant nightmares. She knew how long he'd been working. She had no bullet wounds.

He frowned. Wolverine healed, he remembered dimly. Snapshots and pieces almost starting to fit together.

She had studied his clothes.

Suddenly, he gripped her hard and pulled her chin up to look at her.

She wasn't afraid either. Just hopeful, maybe desperate. Somehow that look told him just how often she'd been rejected, whether she remembered it or not.

"Remy, I—"

He cut her off with a kiss.

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He tasted like spices and cigarettes and something indefinable but utterly Remy. He was also flooding inside her. She pulled away from him with a gasp, reeling with his memories, sensations, and more. She dug her nails into his shoulders. It was too much to take in.

Her world exploded with new knowledge. She could feel the molecules around her, humming statically, their energy begging to be released. Remy's heartbeat felt so close. Every tiny shift he made registered in this new strange sense of energy. She could feel the intensity of his interest. His emotions felt...shielded, but she could feel them.

She was restless and warm and the energy was rising up in her. The urge to charge something was incredible. Her mind suddenly filled with details as to exactly what that meant.

His personality inside her head got stronger and more real. She was feeling his feelings, thinking his thoughts. He wanted, needed, to know what made her who she was. What happened when people touched her skin.

And he'd wanted that kiss.

Abruptly, the information began to ebb and ease into her. She could see some portion of herself she no longer had access to shift out of the shadows at the corners of her mind and methodically, almost brutally, categorize the flood and move each part into specific areas of her psyche.

The whole thing was over in seconds. Three, her internal housekeeper provided then vanished.

Chere stared into Remy's red eyes, now almost hectically brilliant as they focused entirely on her.

Remy swirled easily through her consciousness, no longer so overwhelming. She wanted another kiss badly.

"Remy," she breathed. Their closeness rendered anything louder excessive.

He ran a hand through her hair, tangling it around his fingers.

"Kiss me again."

His eyes dimmed and he shifted beneath her. She felt the movement inside her as well as out.

"I'm not a gentleman, Chere." He seemed uncomfortable. Sorrow lurked at the corners of his eyes.

Chere smiled. "I never wanted a gentleman."

Surprise flared but he leaned in closer. "Brief," he whispered.


He kissed her again.

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