If I could tell dem all one thing, it's that life is too short to worry 'bout t'ings you can' control. I wish I could tell dem…maybe dey'd listen. Den 'gain, maybe dey wouldn'. Who knows?
I also wish sometimes dat I could turn back time an' change de way t'ings worked out. Not only for me, but for all of dem. Oh I could say I'd only change t'ings for me, but I'm not dat selfish, even if I am dead. Dey all d'serve to be happy, an' I don' t'ink a single one of dem is. I know I'm not.
Am I s'posed to be? Happy, I mean. I don' know. No one's ever told me. Heaven's weird like dat. Dey don' tell you what to expect, dey jus' take you here an' leave you to fend for yourself. Of course, it's not bad here. I can talk to my grandparents, who I've never met, an' my mother, who I haven' seen since I was little. Den dere's all de other members of the T'ieves Guild who've died. It's great. We spend a lot of time watching de others, keepin' an eye on dem, makin' sure dey're okay. I'm not too sure what we could do 'bout it if dey weren' okay, but I'm sure we'd t'ink of somet'ing.
I'm not really sure why I'm writin' dis. Actually, dat's not true. I'm writin' it b'cause it has to be written. It's not de story of my life, it's de story of our lives. De lives of de New Orleans T'ieves Guild, as seen by me, Henri LeBeau. An' ninety-nine percent of de story is stuff we couldn' control. Not our fault…we jus' didn' have a choice in de matter.
I can't really blame my father for leavin' de Guild. I mean in all honesty, de man is over a hundred years old (an' looks about fifty, t'anks to de Elixir of Youth), surely it was time for him to retire. I've watched him closely since I died, an' I know he hasn' really ever been happy since. I can understand dat…I was de last blood relative he had. I know de Guild is his fam'ly, but it's not de same.
De Guild's funny dat way. De members are a fam'ly, dey will do anyt'ing for each other, no matter what. Dey'd even die for each other. Mais, none of de members (right now anyway…it was different b'fore we started bein' killed off by de Assassins) are actual blood relatives. It's funny how de relations work an' how not bein' blood relatives never stopped us from bein' a fam'ly.
Back to my father, I wish de prophecies hadn' told him to do de t'ings he did. I know he had to do dem, I was dere wit' him when he read de prophecies. He agonized over it for days, an' I know he hated doin' it.
De unification of de T'ieves an' Assassins Guilds was one t'ing. I t'ink Papa kind of lost his goal for dat once Marius died. I mean, he still wanted de unification, but I t'ink it was more b'cause de prophecies said so, not b'cause he t'ought it was a good idea. Every time de subject ever came up, we all opposed it…de Assassins did so many bad t'ings to us, to our fam'lies over de years…joinin' wit' dem wasn' somet'ing we were willin' to do without some strong resistance. An' Papa wasn' oblivious to dat. Marius hadn' been either, dey jus' had to do what de prophecies told dem to do. So dat's what Papa did.
De prophecies also told him to leave New Orleans an' never go back. He had to give up his leadership of de T'ieves Guild an' leave. I know dat hurt him…he'd been de leader of de Guild for a long time, ever since Grandfather died in de early 1920s. He never complained, t'ough, an' he left, feelin' heavy-hearted, maybe, but he still left.
Papa did what de prophecies said regardin' dat too. Dey stated dat le diable blanc (which for dose of you who don' know any French at all means "the white devil with the red eyes" or somet'ing close to dat, anyway) would lead de Unified Guild to whatever resurrection is goin' to happen in de future. Oui, dere's goin' to be a resurrection of some sort. You're probably t'inkin' I should know 'bout it, but remember what I said b'fore? Dey don' tell me anyt'ing.
Somet'ing else Papa did dat gave me cause to wonder if de prophecies were all we t'ought dey were, was jeopardize Remy's leadership before he left. He told Gris-Gris, who is an idiot if ever dere was one, and Theoren, who was jus' following orders, to destroy valuable Guild documents, without tellin' anyone. Dis made everyone start to wonder if Remy was a suitable leader, an' dey held a vote of confidence. Dat whole t'ing hadn' been done in almost a hundred years, an' it was as stupid today as it was den. If I could've complained 'bout it, I would've. Not dat dey would have listened to me.
I miss my father a lot (picture me sighing here…if you can even picture me at all…oh well). He was a good man, a legend in de world of T'ieves Guilds. He was respected, somet'ing not many people ever are. He was also a good father…not only did he manage to raise me from de time Mama died when I was three, but he also adopted Remy an' raised him too. An' dat was no small feat, let me tell you!
Papa also t'ought of de other members of de Guild as his children, even Theoren an' Claude, who are pretty close to him in age. I t'ink, in a way, de members of de T'ieves Guild will always be Jean-Luc LeBeau's children, I t'ink de Guild will always be his Guild, no matter if de unification lasts, no matter how long it lasts.
Den, when I was twenty-three, I finally got my wish. Papa was down town in New Orleans, talkin' to someone, when dis little kid tried…an' succeeded, I might add…to pick his pocket an' steal his watch. Papa was furious, de watch was an antique dat had belonged to my grandfather, but he couldn' stay mad at de kid. I t'ink part of it was de fact dat he missed havin' a petit around de house. It took a lot of work, but he an' I, along with Tante Mattie (more 'bout her later too) managed to win de trust of de small one, an' b'fore long, Papa had adopted him.
Remy was ten when he joined our fam'ly. He'd spent de first ten years of his life on de streets of New Orleans; he didn' have a home until he came to live wit' us. For de next eight years, we raised him an' he eventually b'came a full member of de Guild, like de rest of us. After dat, all hell broke loose, an' it was technically all de fault of Papa an' Marius. An' de prophecies. Damned unification ideas.
Papa an' Marius had arranged for a marriage b'tween Remy an' Marius' daughter Bella Donna in an attempt to unify de two Guilds. Would it have worked? I have no idea. I do know dat it didn' work. Bel's brother Julien, who was a year younger den me, decided to get all macho an' he challenged Remy to a fight (I never said Julien was smart. His sister's not much better). Remy accepted de challenge (he didn' have much of a choice…he had to for de honor of de T'ieves Guild) an' ended up killin' Julien. It may have been (an' was) an accident, mais, it ruined de whole unification plan at dat point.
Remy left, b'came a member of de X-Men…an' only came back once b'tween den an' de day Papa left de new Unified Guild in his hands. Ironically enough, de day he came back was de day I died. I had gone up to New York to get him for de tithing, an' de Assassins followed me. Dey killed me, an' Remy took my body back to New Orleans with him.
New Orleans isn' Remy's home anymore…he doesn' fit in with de people here, an' he isn' a t'ief anymore. Yet, he goes dere quite often dese days…he got stuck bein' de leader of de Unified Guild when Papa left. He isn' happy 'bout dat, but I have to admit, it's better dat he's de leader. De only other logical choice would have been Bel, an' I'm sorry, but de T'ieves would have stood a chance if an Assassin was at de helm.
I'm proud of Remy. I love him dearly, even now. He's de only brother I ever really had, an' he isn' a bad kid. He's got a lot of responsibility on his shoulders at de moment; not only is he leader of de Unified Guild, but he's also de leader of a team of X-Men. Why de X-Men divide demselves into two teams is beyond me, but I never tried to understand dem anyway, so does it really matter? He'll do jus' fine. I know it. How? B'cause I'm watchin' over him, an' I know he'll be okay. He's a fighter, a survivor. An' if anyone can make dat foolish unification work, it's him.
For years she's been de spiritual, emotional an' moral guide to both Guilds…an' if I could find somet'ing good 'bout de unification it's de fact dat she now only has one Guild to worry 'bout, instead of two. B'lieve me, de members of dose Guilds are far from bein' saints. Dey're not bad people, really (well de T'ieves aren' bad people…I can' speak for de Assassins, but dey've always seemed pretty bad to me) but some guidance from Mattie has always been accepted, even if sometimes dey don' want to listen to her.
One t'ing I like 'bout Mattie is de fact dat she talks to me on a regular basis. I really do mean everyday. She's de only one who has realized dat I'm always dere. I never leave any of dem. Dat's one good t'ing 'bout bein' a ghost…you can be in eight places at once, unlike mortals.
If you were to ask me, if you actually could ask me, I'd have to say de people I miss de most, aside from Papa an' Remy, are my best friends. As de oldest, I have literally known Genard, Mercy an' Emil since dey were born. De four of us were always a team inside de Guild, even t'ough we're all very different.
I t'ink Mercy an' I were de most alike. Maybe dat's why we got married. I love her so much, an' I miss her like I never t'ought possible. She was, an' still is, a ray of sunshine in my life. One of my favorite t'ings to do is watch her when she's sleeping. She looks so peaceful, an' she's so beautiful. It makes me feel good to watch her.
Mercy is one of de more laid back an' relaxed members of de Guild. Peaceful too. She does her job de best way she can, an' goes 'bout her life bein' herself an' not worryin' 'bout anyone 'cept herself an' de people she loves. Some of de others could learn from her, 'specially de Assassins.
In a way, Genard an' Emil are a lot alike, yet dey're also unique.
Genard, who often got called four-eyes when we were kids b'cause he has to wear glasses, is a total bookworm. He never went to university (Emil is the only one of us who did) but I honestly b'lieve he has read every book in de entire city of New Orleans, except maybe for de phone book.
Having read so much, he's also a walkin' encyclopedia. I don' t'ink dere's anyt'ing he doesn' know. De funny t'ing is, about 60% of de knowledge in his head is totally useless information dat no one needs or wants. He doesn' care, t'ough, he just keeps reading. If the information is in a book, chances are, he already knows it, or he knows where to find de book.
Emil, on de other hand, spends most of his time sittin' in front of his elaborate computer system. We learned very early on dat Red (we nicknamed him dat b'cause of his hair) had quite de affinity for numbers an' computers…technology in general. He went to university for four years an' b'came de best computer specialist in New Orleans, an' possibly all of de south. Dere is not'ing he can' do with a computer.
He can be a bit of a space cadet, t'ough. Once he gets in front of de computer, he tends to tune out everyt'ing dat's goin' on around him, unless someone doesn' let him. An' if he's no careful, one of dese days he's goin' to end up bein' wanted by de FBI, de CIA an' Scotland Yard all at de same time. If he isn' already…he absolutely loves tryin' to hack into different security systems. I t'ink it's his favorite pastime.
Mercy was my best friend in de whole world. She an' I were like kindred spirits, if you read "Anne of Green Gables" an' I t'ink, if she had died first, I wouldn' have been able to live without her. I'm so proud of her for bein' as strong as she is. She's a remarkable woman, an' one of de most trustworthy people I know. An' oui, I realize de irony in dat statement. A trustworthy t'ief. Who knew?
An' if Mercy was my best friend, den Genard an' Emil were my partners. De rest of de Guild called us de Three Musketeers, an' for good reason. We always did everyt'ing together. When we were little, dat meant getting into trouble. We jus' always stuck together, no matter what. I watched de whole Guild jus' after dey found out I'd died. It worried me dat everyone else, Tante Mattie, Theoren, Claude an' Zoe, took care of an' comforted Papa, Remy an' Mercy. All of dem, at first, forgot 'bout how close Genard, Emil an' I were. Dey were hurt by my dead more den dey have ever let on to anyone but Mercy.
I love my friends, an' I miss dem in de worst way. Dey were, an' still are, very important to me, an' if anyt'ing ever happens to dem I don' know what I'll do.
I don' know Zoe all dat well…I died not long after she joined us. I've watched her, t'ough, an' I t'ink she's a loyal, smart girl who'll be in de Guild a long time if dey'll let her. She's de only one handlin' de unification well, an' dat's somet'ing. I guess it's b'cause she wasn' around for all of de history b'tween de T'ieves an' Assassins in New Orleans.
Dey really aren', t'ough. Dey care 'bout de others a great deal, dey jus' don' know how to really express demselves when it comes to t'ings like dat. Dey often come across as bein' mean and cold, mais, dey aren', once dey let dere true selves show t'rough.
Dey're strong, loyal, an' dey know how to get t'ings done, quickly an' efficiently. Technically, b'cause Papa's gone, dey're de last ones of de old generation, an' even t'ough Remy is de leader, it's really dem who take control of de T'ieves at least. I don' t'ink any of us is really capable of tellin' de Assassins what to do, 'cept for maybe Remy.
Neither one of dem has ever really liked Remy. Maybe it's b'cause dey're old-fashioned, or maybe dey jus' don' like mutants, I don' know. I t'ink dey accept him as leader mainly due to de fact dat dey respect Papa an' figure anyone raised by him is okay as a leader. 'Gain, I don' know. Dey don' talk 'bout it, an' even t'ough I'm a ghost, I can' read minds.
I almost hope dat happens. It would be nice to see de looks on all dere faces when he suddenly shows up an' tells dem what's what. B'cause he would. He wasn' de leader of de T'ieves Guild all dose years for not'ing. He picked up a few tricks, an' I know he's not 'fraid to use any of dem. An' all de rest of us who have died will be right dere, t'rough everyt'ing no matter what happens.
All dose people mean de world to me, an' to many others here wit' me. We're not saints, we're not perfect, even now, but in a sense, we're guardian angels to the people we love. I would never dream of leavin' any of dem, not for a second. I'm too scared somet'ing will happen an' I'll miss it.
Life's too short, mes amis. It really is. If you t'ink of all de t'ings I didn' get to do in my life b'cause I died at a young age, you'd realize dat. Don' worry 'bout de petty t'ings, includin' de problems wit' de unification. Live each day like it's your last an' have a good time. You have people watchin' over you who love you very much, an' if you show up here wit' us b'fore we t'ink it's time for you to, den we'll kick up a fuss like not'ing you've ever seen.
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