Chain of Command

(NOTE: Second in the new "series" of stories Iím working on set five years after the Guild Unification. Given things Iíve found out regarding the comics, I thought it would be a good idea to tie that in and go from there. So thatís what Iím doing. I donít own any of them, but I do own the idea. Enjoy.)

"Well, dis is it."

Remy LeBeau, also known as Gambit, stood on the front porch of the Garden District safehouse he had once called home, but had passed over to his family after the assassins half of the Guild lost their mansion. He had phoned them two hours before requesting that they all meet him there. He had something very important to talk to them about.

With a fleet of butterflies in his stomach, he opened the door and went inside.

Tante Mattie was waiting for him on the other side of the door. Despite her age of 124, she was just as spunky and alert as sheíd ever been and was still firmly planted in the home as mother figure and healer to the eleven thieves and assassins she called her children. "Deyíre waitiní on you, child."

"I know, Tante. Iím jusí nervous."

"Remy, listen to your Tante. Youíve done a lot of tíinkiní Ďbout dis in recent months aní lord knows youíve talked to me enough Ďbout it. Deyíll understand, aní if dey doní understand, deyíll find a way to deal wití it. You jusí gotta be honest wití dem."

Remy nodded and headed up to the library on the second floor. Seated around the large mahogany table in the center of the room were the people he called family: the Unified Guild of Thieves and Assassins. Remy had to chuckle to himself as he looked at them from the doorway. Even after five years of unification, some things hadnít changed. The thieves were on one side of the table, and the assassins were on the other. The only one comfortable enough to sit in the middle, at the far end, was ZoŽ, who was the only person present not originally from New Orleans. The only spot empty was the end closest to the door, where Remyís chair was.

"Go on, child." Tante Mattie urged from behind him.

Remy nodded again and opened the door. As he did so, eleven pairs of eyes turned to him and silence filled the room. He entered and took his place at the head of the table, but didnít sit down.

"I called you all here for dis meetiní today for a reason." He began. "Iím goní keep it as to de point as I can. Three years ago, I handed dis house over to all of you. Tíank you for not burniní it down or blowiní it up."

"Both of which are possibilities." Emil Lapin, Remyís cousin and best friend in New Orleans, piped up.

"I know." Remy smiled. "Anyway, as Iím sure youíre all aware, itís very difficult for me to go back aní forth bítween here aní New York all de time. My job wití de X-Men keep me so busy I donít get a chance to come back here nearly often enough to be a suitable leader for this Guild."

"What are you sayiní, Remy?" Remyís sister-in-law, Mercy LeBeau, asked quietly.

"Jusí hear me out, Merce. Iím gettiní to it." Remy replied. "Now when my father left five years ago, he put me in charge with the idea dat I was to lead a unified Guild towards de resurrection of de Old Kingdom. I did as he asked reluctantlyÖaní you all accepted it, some more reluctantly dan others. I appreciate de faith you put in me to allow me to do my job as best I could. However, never did my father say I was to remain Guild leader until the resurrection occurred. Nowhere in de prophecies does it say dat. Aní datís why I called dis meetiní."

"Remy..." Bella Donna Boudreaux, Remyís ex-wife and Viceroy of the Guild, started. Remy cut her off.

"Bel, Iíve been tíinkiní Ďbout dis for months. Probíly close to a year now. Jusí ask Tante Mattie if you doní bílieve me. Iím runniní myself ragged here. Iím to de point where Iím unable to give one hundred percent to de X-Men or to you guys, aní datís not fair. Now my dilemma for de pasí year has been, which do I choose?"

Remy finally sat down and looked at the Guild members in front of him. Each of them was looking at him curiously. Somehow by this point they had all figured out what he was going to say to them, but they wanted to wait and let him do it himself, instead of jumping to conclusions.

"Did you decide?" Mercy asked amid the heavy silence.

"Oui. I was recently appointed to a different X-team, as you know. I weighed how confident I was in leaviní dem to deir own devices, against leaviní you to yours. It wasní an easy decision, but somethiní Mercy said to me five years ago stuck wití me. She said, and I quote, ĎWe been doiní dis a long time witíout you as our boss-man, Remy.í And datís absolutely true. De eleven of you are more dan capable of takiní care of tíings here witíout me. Now Iím not de leader of dat X-Men team, but de kid who isÖis jusí dat. A kid. Heís inexperienced aní it shows. It wouldní be fair to him, or to de team, to skip out on dem after such a short period of time."

The Guild was silent for a long time after Remy finished speaking. He waited as the information sunk into their minds. He wasnít surprised when Emil was the one who spoke up next.

"Youíll come back woní you, Rem?"

Remy smiled. "Always. I have a home here, aní you guys are my famíly. I ainí Ďbout to turn my back on you or dis city. If you ever need help, all you have to do is ask me. I jusí woní be your boss-man anymore."

Emil nodded.

"If you arení, den who is?"

That question came from Questa, who was probably one of the craziest, most psychotic people in possibly the whole country. Remy smiled.

"Well, I could say dat itís up to you guys, but at least right now it really isnít. If someone wants to argue it at a future dat youíre moreín welcome to it. But as far as Iím concerned, de leadership passes directly to Bella Donna."

Belís eyes widened a little at that news. She hadnít doubted it, but had been thinking he would have tried to skip her and make his cousin Theoren Marceaux the leader, seeing as Theoren was the highest-ranking thief.

Remy continued, as if reading Bella Donnaís mind. "Itíll be up to Bel what she does with the Viceroy position once Iím gone, but Iíd like to tíink sheíd do de right tíing. If nobody has any questions, I tíink my portion of dis meetiní is over."

He stood up and moved behind the chair, then looked at Bella Donna with a smile. "Chere? I tíink dis seatís yours now."

Bella Donna smiled, stood and moved over to take her place at the head of the table as Matriarch of the Unified Guild. "Tíank you, Remy..."

Remy nodded. "Iíll be in touch." With that, he left the room, walked down the hall, down the stairs and, after bidding a warm goodbye to Tante Mattie, left the safehouse.

Up in the library, Bella Donna looked at the Guild...her Guild now. "I could be selfish and do what the assassin in me is telliní me to do...but we all know dat selfishness is not de way to a good unification. Remy worked very hard to get our two Guilds together aní keep us together aní I doní waní tírow dat Ďway on a whim. It would put us right back where we were five years ago aní everyoneís hard work aní sacrifices would have been for nothiní."

The thieves and assassins looked at her, waiting to hear what she was going to say. Two faces around the table looked nervous and uncertain, emotions that didnít become either man. One was Theoren, the other was Gris-Gris, who was the highest-ranking assassin in the Guild. However, Bella Donna had a twist to throw at them that would shock them all.

"Wití dat beiní said, my first official job as Matriarch of de Unified Guild is to appoint a new second-in-command...a new Viceroy. I doní tíink it would be fair to appoint an assassin to de position, as de tíieves need proper representation as well. Dere is only one tíief in dis room who I feel would be suitable to be Viceroy aní who I want to lead de Guild beside me. Dis person has shown time aní again over de pasí five years dat dey have good leadership qualities aní care Ďbout de well-beiní of de Guild as a whole. Dat person is Mercy LeBeau."

Ten sets of jaws dropped as Bel motioned for Mercy to take the seat at the table formerly occupied by her, to her right.

When Mercy was seated again, Theoren spoke up. "Good call, Bel."

"Indeed." Gris-Gris agreed. Both he and Theoren were shocked and a little disappointed, but they also understood Bella Donnaís reasoning and couldnít disagree with it. They knew she and Mercy would make an excellent team to lead the Guild.

They knew it, and more importantly, the whole Guild knew it. Remy was no longer in power, and a new day had arrived to carry the Guild forward into the future.