Jean-Luc woke up at five in the morning feeling worried. He couldn't understand it because it was the first time since leaving New Orleans that he'd felt scared or worried about anything, and it didn't make any sense. Frowning, he got out of bed and walked over to the window of his Paris townhouse and looked out into the quiet streets below. He suddenly wished he'd kept in touch with the Guild over the past couple of years…he had done exactly what the prophecies had told him to do. He joined the Thieves and Assassins Guilds into one Unified Guild and then left them in the hopefully capable hands of his younger son Remy.
He knew in his heart that the remaining members of the Thieves Guild were okay. They were strong, and they supported each other through whatever happened to them. More than friends, they were a family, a unit that would stick together no matter what. But all of a sudden, he was worried about them even though he knew how capable they were at handling tough situations. He had done what he had to do, he hadn't had a choice, and he hoped they forgave him for his actions.
Sighing, he closed the curtains and went back to bed. It was too early for him to get up. After all he was over a hundred years old even if no one could tell from looking at him. He fell asleep fairly easily, even though he was still feeling worried for reasons he didn't know and didn't understand.
Jean-Luc didn't know when the dream started, but he couldn't believe what he was seeing when it did. First he saw himself standing in the library at his mansion in New Orleans. He was alone at first, and then all of a sudden he found himself looking at a group of men he had not seen in awhile.
The first to appear were his father, Jacques and his son Henri. Soon, Francois Lapin, Pierre Alouette and Jacques Cordeau joined them. Then came Rouler, Belize and Etienne Marceaux, who were the grandfather, father and brother of thief Theoren Marceaux, and Louis and Marcel Potier, grandfather and father of Claude Potier.
Jean-Luc stood there in awe, staring at them, unable to believe his eyes. He hadn't seen his father, Rouler or Louis in almost a hundred years. Belize and Marcel had been his best friends all throughout his life, until the Assassins had killed Marcel, and he had been forced to kill Belize. Etienne had been killed as a young teenager, and in the dream was the same small boy he had been when he died. Henri, Francois, Pierre and Jacques had all died fairly recently. The one thing they all had in common was the fact that the Assassins had killed every one of them.
"What are you guys all doin' here?" Jean-Luc asked, wondering what the hell was going on. It was only a dream, but yet he knew something had to be up if they were suddenly in the library of the mansion.
Etienne went over to him and, looked up at his uncle. Jean-Luc smiled questioningly at the thirteen year old boy.
"What is it Etienne?" he asked.
"You have to go back, Uncle," the boy said. "You have to."
Jean-Luc looked at the older men as the spirit of Etienne disappeared again. It appeared that his job was done. "I can' go back…de prophecies told me to leave an' never go back…"
"You gotta listen to de kid, Papa. You have to go back." Henri explained.
"But de prophecies…" Jean-Luc faltered.
"Jean-Luc, sometimes you have to forget de prophecies an' do what your heart tells you to do." Rouler commented.
"What, so you guys are supposed to be tellin' me what my heart wants me to do? Is dat it?"
"Dat is exactly it," Marcel said. "You have to go back. You woke up earlier feelin' worried. You don' know why. We're here to tell you why."
Jean-Luc turned to his father. "So, why? What's all dis 'bout?"
"What are we tellin' you?" Jacques LeBeau replied. "You have to go back."
"But…I was told not to. I was told I shouldn', no matter what. I can' jus'…" Jean-Luc protested.
"Jean-Luc, get a clue!" Belize exclaimed. "You t'ink we'd all be standin' here in your dreams for no reason if it wasn' important?"
Jean-Luc tilted his head in confusion. "Okay. I woke up a little while ago, worried about dem for some reason, an' now you're all here tellin' me to go back. So, what's goin' on? Why do I have to go back even though I was told not to? What's so important? Tell me, dammit!"
Henri sighed. "Papa…listen to me. Listen to us. De unification failed. B'cause Remy spends most of his time in New York wit' de X-Men, de Assassins stopped listenin' to him an' went back to listenin' to Bella Donna. De others are in trouble an' Remy can' get dere to help dem."
"Dey need you, Jean-Luc. You have to go to dem. Now." Louis said firmly. "Or else all of dem will be killed."
Jean-Luc frowned. "What's wrong? Why will dey be killed?"
"De Assassins have dem locked up in a cell or a cage or somet'ing, we can' really tell," Marcel replied. "As much as we can figure, de plan is dat de Assassins are goin' to kill dem one by one until dey're all dead. It's up to you to save dem. So wake up an' get your butt back to Nawlins, pronto, mon ami."
"Jean-Luc, always remember one thing," his father told him before they all disappeared. "We are always with you an' de others. You can' see us, but we're always by your side. Through everyt'ing. Now go an' save dem b'fore it's too late."
Jean-Luc woke up with a start. He blinked a few times in the darkness, allowing his eyes to focus. At first he didn't know where he was, because the dream had been so vivid, so real. Then he remembered that he was in Paris and had been for the past two and a half years.
"Dey need me," he whispered in the dark room. "If someone doesn' save dem, dey'll all be killed by de Assassins an' den Remy an' I will be de only ones left. I can' let dat happen. I guess dat settles it. Screw de prophecies. I'm goin' home."
With that, he threw the covers off and swung his legs out of bed. He turned on the light and got dressed. Then he quickly threw some clothes into a suitcase and left the townhouse, driving to the airport at the rate of no man's business, praying there were no cops around.
"I need to know when de next flight to de United States is," he told the woman behind the counter.
The woman nodded and checked the computer. "You're in luck, Sir, the next flight to the US leaves in two hours."
"An' where in de US is it goin'? Not dat it really matters, I'm jus' curious. I have to get back there as soon as possible." Jean-Luc said.
"It's goin' to Atlanta, Georgia, Sir. Would you like a ticket?"
"Yes, thank you."
Jean-Luc paid for the ticket and went to the appropriate gate to wait for his flight. He knew the spirits of the dead thieves were with him and it made him feel a little better about the whole thing. "De rescue party's comin', guys," he whispered so no one would hear him talking to himself. "Jus' hang on until we get dere." Somehow he knew the spirits would help him save the rest of the thieves from the assassins. He didn't know how he knew that, he just did. His heart told him so.
"We're doomed. We might as well accept dat right now." Theoren said quietly. They all spoke quietly. The cell they were in wasn't all that big, and there wasn't a lot of noise around them. Talking loud was unnecessary.
"We are not doomed, Theoren, what a thing to say!" Zoe replied hotly.
"T'ings ain' 'xactly peachy-keen, Zoe," Claude told her, seeing that Theoren would not reply. "We may not be doomed, true, but I don' t'ink we stand much of a chance of getting out of here alive. Tante Mattie can' help us an' far as we know, Remy's up in New York battlin' de FOH wit' de rest of de X-Men."
"Well, what's keeping us here, anyway?" Zoe demanded. "We're thieves for crying out loud! We break into places all the time! Why aren't we trying to find a way to break out of here instead of sitting around like we're about to receive our last meal?"
"Zoe, we're in a blasted cell, in case you didn' notice," Theoren said. "Like a jail cell, only guarded by Assassins who wouldn' hesitate to shoot first an' ask questions later. Dere is one door. Dat one. De one guarded by de aforementioned Assassins. Dere are no windows. Jus' how do you propose we get out of here?"
"Oh, I don't know, why don't we try thinking about it?!"
"Would de three of you jus' shut de hell up?" Mercy exclaimed angrily. She, Emil and Genard were sitting in a row, their backs against one wall of the cell. "Dis isn' de end of de world, an' you don' see us getting all freaked out over here. We still b'lieve somet'ing will stop de Assassins. If you don' want to b'lieve dat wit' us, fine. But do it a little quieter, compris?"
Zoe, Claude and Theoren all looked at Mercy and then at each other. "Gentlemen, I think we've just been told." Zoe grinned. Turning to the other three, she said, "You're right. We're sorry. This whole thing is just so…frustrating."
Emil snorted. "Really? You don' say!" he replied, his voice dripping with sarcasm. "Zoe, why don' you try tellin' us somet'ing we don' already know?"
"Relax, Red," Genard said quietly. Then he said, "All dis arguin' isn' helpin' us any. In a sense, Zoe's right. Why are we jus' sittin' here like we're givin' up? De least we can do is sit here an' t'ink of ways to get ourselves out of dis alive. We are de last survivin' members of de New Orleans Thieves Guild an' dat don' mean diddly squat if we give up. Someone will get us out of here, even if it isn't us getting ourselves out."
"Oui, you're right, Genard. But we've been stuck in here for three days. How much longer are dey goin' wait b'fore dey decide it's time to start killin' us?" Theoren asked cryptically. He didn't mean to be a downer on the others, he was just tellin' it like he saw it.
"Guys, hush!" Claude suddenly hissed. He tilted his head toward the door. "Dere's somet'ing goin' on out in de hallway."
"What is it?" Mercy asked.
"Sounds like someone's fightin' our guards. Dis jus' might be our lucky day."
Five minutes later, the commotion in the hall stopped. The six thieves looked at each other, wondering what was going on. Suddenly, they heard a loud gunshot and a bullet shot through the door, right by the handle, destroying the lock.
"Okay…it ain' Remy." Emil commented. "He would have jus' blown de whole door off its hinges…"
"And it isn't Tante Mattie, because she doesn't like guns." Zoe said.
"But if it isn' either one of dem…den who is it?" Genard asked with a confused frown as the door opened. The six thieves backed away from it, slightly nervous about just who might be on the other side.
They didn' have to worry, though. A very familiar person stepped out of the shadows by the door and smiled at them as he entered the cell, his gun still smoking slightly from when he fired it moments before.
"Jean-Luc…" they all whispered in unison, eyes wide with wonder and relief.
"You know somet'ing? I'm getting too old for dis kind of t'ing…" he said, raising an eyebrow at his astonished thieves. His thoughts shocked him. He'd called them 'his' thieves. He still considered himself to be the rightful leader of the Thieves Guild, no matter what the prophecies said. He loved the six people in front of him as a father loves his children, and he was never going to leave them again. He realized that when he saw them. "C'mon, lets get you out of here, huh? Dis place ain' suitable for anyt'ing."
A little while later, as the seven thieves sat around the living room of the LeBeau mansion, talking and joking around like nothing had ever changed, Theoren approached Jean-Luc.
"You're back for good, aren' you?" he asked.
Jean-Luc nodded. "Oui, until de day I die. I shouldn' have left in de first place."
"You had to. An' I'm glad you're back. We missed you a lot. Not'ing was de same. De whole unification t'ing was a joke."
"I guess Remy will be happy to hear I'm back…I know he didn' want to be de leader any more den I wanted to stop."
"Yeah we kinda got dat impression from both of you…hey, uh, how did you know, anyway?" Theoren asked.
Jean-Luc sighed. "I had a dream early dis mornin'. All de thieves who had died in de past hundred years who meant anyt'ing to any of us alive today…fam'ly, I mean…were in it. Dey told me. When it was over, I woke up immediately, an' knew I had no choice but to ignore what de prophecies said an' come back here to save you. I realized when I got here an' saw you all dat I wasn' goin' to leave again."
"What 'bout de prophecies?"
"Forget de prophecies. Dey were wrong 'bout de unification, an' dey were wrong 'bout it bein' best dat I leave an' never come back. Dey don' matter anymore. What matters is us, de people in dis room." Jean-Luc replied. "De people who make de prophecies are jus' goin' to have to understand."
Theoren smiled and nodded his head in satisfaction. "Welcome back, Jean-Luc."
PART TWO: DIFFERENCES OF OPINION
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