Dead Hand

Gambit read the message through. It was hand-written and the envelope had been addressed to Remy LeBeau. The greeting, however, was "Dear, Gambit." He set the invitation on his desk and fished out the formal cream stationary and a fountain pen. He pulled on his thing leather gloves before opening the box to remove the paper.

His father was a gentleman from the early twentieth-century. There were certain habits he had trained into his sons. One of those was that formal invitations were to be answered in kind. Gambit's guild training kept Remy from leaving fingerprints on his letters. He didn't even leave them on love letters. He opened the black ink carefully and dipped his pen.

"I would be delighted to attend you dinner part on the fifteenth. I shall not be bringing a guest. Warmest regards, Gambit." He blotted the note. He folded it and put it carefully into its envelope, making sure that no hairs were included. He used a damp sponge to seal the envelop, then added his wax seal. What did the New York Guildmaster want with him, him wondered as he put the note into the mail-box. He could have placed it into the school mail, but he didn't want anyone to get curious.

Warren touched down next to him as he walked slowly up the school's drive. "I'm assuming you just got invited to a dinner party on the fifteenth. What's going on?"

"Merde. You know who else got an invite?"

"Tashihiro from Nakamura Industries. Blaisedale from Hawthorne."

"Either he wants t' cut a deal or he's tryin' to kill m'e."

"Kill you?" Worthington smirked. "Really?"

"Lemme talk t' a few folks. Mebbe once I know the guest-list I can guess. Mebbe he just wants t' play some high-stakes cards, oui?"

"Penny Royal will be there."

The normally graceful Cajun stumbled. "T'ought Pen was dead. Y' know, bein' as I was at her funeral not t'ree years back." This was just the sort of complication Remy didn't want. Penny was an ex-everything: ex-friend, ex-partner, ex-lover. "I ought t' take Rogue just f' spite."

"I thought you two had broken up again. Angel's eyes were full of malicious glee. He'd been the only witness to the latest end of the Southern Wars. Luckily, Rogue had pulled the punch or he'd have been a witness to murder. Gambit scowled at him and the reminder of the two weeks of nothing but soft foods.

"We did. Don't mean she won't go wit' me as a partner."

"This is where I'm supposed to give you some unsolicited advice because I'm older and wiser. See, I really don't care enough. Still, at this little party I want someone to watch my back. You'll have to do."

"Why, cher, y' have such great faith in me," Remy drawled. "Ought t' let 'em have y'."

"For one night only. Full truce."

"Sure, Ange. Truce." They shook on it. Warren took to the skies. Remy watched him for a moment. He shivered. If both of them had a bad feeling about this meeting, they should probably arrange for back-up. He glanced at the Mansion, then the boathouse. The kitchen curtains were billowing out of the small window of the boathouse.

Neither option was safe. He needed to think. He didn't bother to go inside the Mansion. He lit a cigarette and took a comforting drag. He fished out his cell-phone. He needed information.


Warren hated having to work with Gambit, but he'd never figured out why. There was just something about the man that set his teeth on edge. It could be his attitude or the fact that he didn't give a damn what Warren thought of him. Then again, it could be knowing that one day he'd be facing him over a negotiating table for a business deal. Warren never liked businessmen.