Author's Note: In this VERY alternate reality story, I ask the question, what if Gambit were female? What would she act like, look like, ect? Don't think I'm a complete weirdo, it's just the kind of thing you think up when you're a lonely homeschooler stuck in a hick town. Anyway, the plot is about finding and losing your first love, with no regard whatsoever for the plot and characters of the comics, cartoon, or the fact that Rouge exists.

Disclaimer: I don't own the X-men, Gambit, or any other people Marvel made up, even though I wish I did. So don't sue alrighty?


Jeanne Louise LeBeau wished she was anywhere but sitting in this living room. Across from her, two sullen blond men, one young, one old, were glaring at her. Jeanne Louise glared back. She was sixty-two, too old to brook with such nonsense, even from the head and heir apparent of the Assassin's Guild. "I called you 'ere to discuss a peaceful option, a fini to this costly war," said the older one in a grating French accent. "But obviously you are unwilling to listen." Jeanne Louise upped her glare to steel-melting and leveled her hard brown eyes on Gervaise Bordreaux's baby blue ones.

"I unwillin' to listen when it involves my child bein' sold like hot merchandise," she said. Her accent was rich and soothing, a sharp contrast to Gervaise's. His son, an insolent, spoiled brat, snorted into his fashionable Paris goatee.

"From what I 'ear, Madame LeBeau, your daughter would 'ardly be considered a prize in the better circles." It was a mistake. Jeanne Louise's eyes narrowed to the dangerous point, a point all her employees in the Thieves Guild knew and feared.

"As opposed t'de circle a scum you-all crawled out of?" she said cuttingly. Drake Bordreaux's expression changed to one of rage, and he started for the stately older woman, who could have been a plantation wife if it was not for the pressed business suit and the gun she carried in a shoulder holster. Gervaise yanked his offspring back down onto the horsehide sofa, but he too was looking hostilely at Jeanne Louise.

"This is war, Madame. You do know that."

"Chere," said Jean Louise, rising. "It been war for years now." She turned and strode majestically from the room. Gervaise muttered a choice curse at her back, then turned to his son, who was still pouting about the thief's earlier remark.

"I believe it's time we took extreme measures, Drake," he said. Drake brightened at the thought of getting to kill someone.

"What do you require of me, Papa?" Gervaise stroked his chin, one hand at the small of his back like an old Southern gentleman.

"Not you, my son. I think it's time we called in an outside agent." Drake's face fell. "But the plan," said Gervaise. "Yes, the plan will be glorious to watch."

"Bust! Bet again?" said the dealer. The five card players in the riverfront dive all eyed each other, wary. Two furtive men, who had been signaling each other through the entire game, without much effect on their winnings, backed out. A third man in a biker jacket examined the two remaining players and also laid down his hand. They had all been sensing this showdown since the game began-the angelic blond man, who was dressed too nicely to be anything but a drug pusher, and the younger woman in smoky sunglasses that hid her eyes. The biker had been shooting what he perceived to be charming looks in her direction all evening. Even with her eyes masked, the men could see her skin was pale and flawless, her hair a shining auburn and her figure in the leather jeans, black tank top and high boots was perfection. She didn't have the model look-far from it. Her arms were finely muscled, and she curved in exactly the right places. But she played cards with such absolute concentration that she discouraged any attention. And she was good. Very good.

"I bet," said the drug dealer. "Fifteen hundred." He looked in a challenge to the redhead. She looked back and smiled amusedly.

"I see dat," she said, laying a stack of bills on the pile already in the center-the games here were strictly cash, no chips.

"Cards?" said the dealer.

"Three," said the pusher.

"Non. None for me," said the redhead. "I raise-one t'ousand." The three

players who had dropped out were captivated by her musical speech, the pusher sweated. He laid the money down, and then called.

Remy sat back with victory. She'd backed the worthless blond into a corner, he had no more money and sweat was starting to work under the collar of his immaculate white shirt. He had been a decent player, though, until that point, but no one beat Remy LeBeau at the card table.

Remy cheated, of course. She'd almost feel guilty if she didn't. Her mother-stepmother, she corrected herself, although technically Jeanne Louise was her foster parent, had raised her with an eye towards opportunity and larceny in her heart. The older woman had sensed the magic in Remy's graceful hands-she could manipulate a deck of cards with more skill than any player she'd met so far.

"What've you got, sweetie?" said the pusher. Remy's voluptuous lips curled upward.

"Straight, mon ami. If you beat dat, dis girl lost her touch." The pusher threw down his cards and cursed. Remy gathered the bills into a neat pile and tucked them in the back pocket of her second-skin jeans. "I got to be goin', but I t'ank you gentlemen for a lovely evenin'." She stood and took her light coat from the back of the chair.

"I don't think you're goin' anywhere just yet," said the pusher, standing up as well. He came nose to nose with Remy. "I don't know how you cheated, but I know you did." He grabbed Remy's arm with the experience of a violent man. "And I want my money back." The dealer and the other players cast looks at each other. None of them would get involved.

"I don' know what you talkin' about, homme," said Remy. "But I suggest you let go a me before one of us regrets it."

"Bitch," said the pusher in response, hauling back and slapping Remy square in the face. Her stylish glasses clattered to the floor, and the pusher paused for an instant, shocked. Eyes, red in the pupils and black in the whites, stared back at him. They were not happy. "A mutie..." breathed the pusher.

Remy took advantage of his disgust to sweep his feet neatly out from under him and send him sprawling on the floor. But now the other players were up and around her-a gambling dispute they could ignore, but a mutant in their bar they could not.

The biker brandished a hunting knife. "You're goin' nowhere, mutie." Remy's eyes narrowed, in a perfect replica of Jeanne Louise's look, and one of the cards from the table appeared in her hand, glowing with what looked like unearthly light.

"First one dat gets an idea get dis," said Remy coldly. Here was another gaming spot she could never come back to. She sighed inwardly as she took a heavy step towards the biker, and he almost involuntarily backed away. Remy turned when she was safe at the door and tossed the card away. It went out with a gentle poof. "Au revoir, gentlemen," said Remy as she disappeared swiftly into the night.

As Remy vaulted the fence of Jeanne Louise's ancient antebellum house, her mind was still turning over the events of the night. Least on her mind was the fact that Jeanne Louise had a curfew for all her thieves, daughters and employees alike, and the penalties for breaking it were severe. She could never go back to that bar or the ones on the streets around it-word would get out about the 'mutie girl' who played cards a little too well. Remy's teeth clenched at the senseless hatred she saw in so many faces around her-even some of Jeanne Louise's own men barely hid their disgust.

Her train of thought was interrupted by a shadowed figure slipping through the cypress trees that surrounded the house for essential shade in the stifling Louisiana summers. Remy smiled slightly-an intruder had breached Jeanne Louise's security. Probably an agent from the worthless Assassin's Guild-although it was unlike them to be so bold.

Remy crept on silent feet gained from years of burglary, slipping among the trees after the intruder, and then swiftly tackled the most handsome man she had ever seen.

"Whoa!" he shouted. "Hey! I'm on your side!" Remy pressed a knee into his chest, and looked closely at his face. He had unevenly cut black hair that went just past his shoulder, and had been gathered into a fashionable ponytail until Remy landed on him. His eyes were the deepest blue she had ever seen-like a cold ocean, clear and fathomless. They looked at her in return, and Remy realized this normal, albeit very attractive intruder was seeing her odd eyes while she stared into his ordinary, though hardly run-of-the-mill ones. She hauled him to his feet before his surprise could turn to anger or distaste. "Ouch! Hey, watch the jacket, will you?" Remy had him by the collar of his expensive leather specimen.

"Should have t'ought of dat before you broke in, chere," said Remy, unconsciously using Jeanne Lousise's sentiment.

"For god's sake," said the intruder. "I'm here to see Jeanne Louise LeBeau."

"Oui, and maybe to take a shot at her?" said Remy conversationally. "I know she had a meeting with you people today." The intruder rolled his eyes.

"Look, I'm not with the Assassin's Guild, and if you let me talk to Jeanne Louise you'll see." Remy raised a manicured eyebrow.

"From what I see, homme, you got yourself caught is all." She hauled the intruder to the side door of the house, which had a rigged lock Remy herself had fixed so she could come and go after curfew, and pushed it open. Checking swiftly to make sure none of Jeanne Louise's men were on patrol, she yanked the man inside and shut the door, bringing him close to her as she did.

"Sure your mother will approve of this?" he joked, close enough for his breath to ruffle Remy's hair.

"Maybe some time in de cellar will cool you off, non?" said Remy as she dragged him into the back parlor of the house. It was dim, with only a single, low-watt Tiffany lamp left burning. The cellar door was at the far end. Remy started for it, when-

"Renee!" Remy stopped in mid stride, her eyes closed with irritation.

"Don't call me dat, Mama," she said as she turned. Jeanne Louise was standing in the archway leading to the rest of the house, still in her immaculate suit at the late hour of the night. She didn't look pleased.

"All I ask is for simple rules t'be obeyed," said the mother of the thief, "and I don' even get dat. It bad enough you stay out all hours god-knows-where, but you bring dem home, right under my very nose-"

"He was breakin' in, Jeanne Louise," said Remy. "I here de whole night, honest." Her eyes widened and she suddenly looked like any sweet teenage girl who could never, ever lie to her mother.

"Oui, I'm sure," said Jeanne Louise. She had known Remy since she was ten years old, and knew just how outrageous a lie the girl would pull to cover her tracks. She was absolutely incorrigible, but hadn't Jeanne Louise been the same way when she was eighteen?

"If I may say something," said the intruder. "I was supposed to meet you this morning, Jeanne Louise, but I had car trouble coming down through Georgia and I didn't make it until a few minutes ago. And then your gate was locked, and..." he shrugged apologetically. "Thief's instinct." Jeanne Louise eyed him.

"You Nathaniel Denver?" The man nodded, and flashed a charming smile.

"That's me."

"Nathaniel Denver?" said Remy. "The jewel t'ief?" Denver extracted his jacket from her grasp.

"It's a pleasure to meet you, Miss LeBeau," he said, taking her hand and kissing it briefly. Jeanne Louise watched with a hidden smile. Few men could resist her daughter, and she had long ago given up trying to fight it.

"You coulda knocked, you know," said Remy, softening. Denver shrugged.

"Yeah, but then I wouldn't have met you." He smiled. Remy smiled back.

"Don' stand dere gawping, Renee, show de young man his room," said Jeanne Louise. "He'll need rest, we 'ave a big job for him." Remy sighed with exasperation.

"Jeanne Louise, please don' call me Renee." Denver chuckled as she led him into the front hall of the house and up the stairs.

"Why don't you like Renee? More important, how did Renee get changed to Remy?" Remy smiled over her shoulder at him.

"When I was real little, I couldn't talk all dat well, and my name came out sounding somet'in like 'Renny', which kind of mutated into Remy, and it stuck." Denver smiled again as they reached the sumptuous hallway on the second floor, papered in antique red wallpaper and lit with mellow wall sconces.

"They're both beautiful names."

"Jeanne Louise only calls me Renee when she's mad about somet'in I did." Remy chuckled. Denver was captivated by the musical sound. "Which is most of de time." They reached a polished, carved door and Remy pushed it open. "Dis is your room." Denver stepped in. The room had dark wood walls and snow-white covers on the bed, which was wrought iron with a filmy canopy. The thick carpet was also white, and the appointments of the room were expensive antiques.

"Who says crime doesn't pay?" said Denver as he sat on the bed and bounced once. Remy grinned.

"Not me, chere." Denver was beginning to see a pattern-Remy's smile was dazzling and made his heart beat faster, her grin was mischievous and full of innuendo. He didn't want her to leave, in fact wanted her to stay the whole night. Easy, Denver, he told himself. She's the boss's daughter and you've got a job to do.

At the same time Remy was thinking, I could fall into 'is eyes and never get out. I wanna stay right here for de night, or longer. Her more logical side warned her; Yeah, femme, but those eyes could drown you too. Got to be careful with dis kind. "Well," she said aloud. "Sleep well, mon ami." Denver patted a spot beside him on the bed.

"Stay. I want to hear about you. The infamous Remy LeBeau, most promising thief in the South." Remy giggled.

"How can I resist dat?" She took a seat in the chair across from him, her built-in caution meter making her. "Shoot, homme. What d'you want to know?"

"For starters," said Denver. "How did you get adopted by Jeanne Louise?"

"She found me on de street," said Remy. "It was my dumb luck to pick de pocket of de most powerful criminal in New Orleans."

"They call her the Queen of Thieves," said Denver. "And she trained you?"

"Oh oui, and how. Six a.m. up every day until I was thirteen, training in everyt'ing you could imagine, and den I went out on missions almost every week after dat. Jeanne Louise wants someone to inherit de Guild who's actually worth having it."

"She doesn't have any children of her own?" said Denver. Remy's look became far-away.

"She does. A son, Henri. My step-brother." Denver gave her a perceptive glance.

"You miss him. Did he die?" Remy shook her head.

"Non, chere, he just don't want anyt'ing to do with Jeanne Louise or de T'ieve's Guild. He lives north somewhere." Denver reached across and patted her hand.

"Sorry. You two must have been close." Remy nodded, smiling again.

"He was my best friend until he left. He protected me and he taught me dat being a t'ief doesn't mean you leave your soul on de doorstep."

"I have a sister, much younger," said Denver. "She's in fifth grade this year."

"You can't be dat old," said Remy. Denver shrugged.

"Not really. I'm twenty. But in this business, you feel older. Know what I mean?" Remy nodded.

"Oui, I certainly do. You believe I'm only eighteen?" Denver nodded and smiled.

"A very beautiful eighteen." Remy smiled back, and Denver was hard-pressed to keep his seat.

"Tell me about you, Denver," said Remy. Denver shrugged.

"Nothing to tell. My life was completely boring until I decided being a thief was a more profitable occupation that slaving through engineering college."

"Well, where are you from? What's your family like?" said Remy. Denver leaned across the space and took her hands.

"We're talking about you, Remy." He looked down, then back into her eyes. "Would you think I was a real space shot if I told you that you are the most beautiful woman I have ever seen on this earth and I would like nothing better than to kiss you?" Remy shook her head quickly.

"Non, chere. Not at all." Denver smiled more broadly.

"Good." Without further ado he pulled Remy up and to him and kissed her with more passion than she'd ever felt from a man. Their bodies melded as if they'd been made to fit together. One of Denver's hands gripped at the small of her back, the other stroked her hair gently as the two of them lost themselves in the kiss.

There was a sharp knock on the door. "Remy chere, time for bed. I need you t'run errands tomorrow." Remy pulled away from Denver, their lips lingering for a moment.

"I have to go," she whispered. Denver's lips brushed her ear.

"Dream of me."

Remy didn't see Denver until suppertime the following day. Jeanne Louise had sent her into the city with a long list of errands to run and people to pay off. Denver and her mother were just coming out of Jeanne Louise's office when she returned. Unaccountably, Remy was filled with sudden panic. She barely knew this Denver, not that she was one for knowing a man's whole life story, but she literally knew nothing about the handsome jewel thief. Dis situation is bad, mon ami, her inner voice warned. Remy ignored it, as she so often did.

Denver spotted her and took his leave of Jeanne Louise to walk her upstairs. "Last night-" Remy started.

"We moved fast," said Denver. Remy nodded regretfully as they came to the top of the stairs.

"It nothing personal, chere, it's just I don' know much about you." Denver took this thoughtfully, then turned the full force of his fathomless eyes on her.

"Do you mind?" Remy looked back at him, her mouth curving into a tempting smile.


Denver gave his short nod and said again, "Good." They looked at each other for a moment, then with unspoken consent Denver swept her off her feet and carried her to his room.

Gervaise and Drake looked decidedly uncomfortable in Jeanne Louise's parlor, and she was relishing it. "Now, meis amis, you wished to discuss somet'ing?" Gervaise nodded shortly.

"We will give you one more chance to agree to the terms of our treaty." He shot a look at his insipid son. "After that, there will be no going back." Jeanne Louise raised one manicured eyebrow.

"Are you threatening me, Mousier Bordreaux?"

"Not in so many words," said Gervaise.

"Well dat's what I'm hearing," said Jeanne Louise. "And de answer is de same: a big fat non." She looked at the ceiling with a faint smile. "Renee has other plans for herself, it seems." Gervaise stood and flung his arms in a dramatic French gesture.

"As you wish, Madame LeBeau. I only hope you regret your decision."

"When I 'ave nothing else t'do," said Jeanne Louise, "you can be certainment I will." Drake stood as well, and the duo stomped out of Jeanne Louise's house. Jeanne Louise sat in her favorite armchair with a victorious smile.

Remy was curled in Denver's arms in an insanely comfortable position when the phone beside his bed rang. He reached over her and lifted the receiver. "Yes? Yes, Mrs. LeBeau. Alright. We'll both be right down."

"Jeanne Louise?" said Remy. Denver nodded.

"We have a job tonight. Me, you, and three others. The jewelry store and lapidary on Hoyt Avenue."

"I know de place," said Remy. "Dey just got an shipment of emeralds in from Brazil." Denver shook his head.

"You're amazing. In more ways than one." Remy chuckled.

"I know, chere." She turned so she could look him in the eye. "At de risk of scaring you out of your wits-dis isn't just a short term t'ing. Is it?" Denver shook his head.

"No, Remy." He cupped one side of her face with his strong hand. "I never believe there was a 'one' out there, for anybody. I never wanted to be tied down. But changed that. I saw your eyes and I knew-you were for me." Remy smiled and kissed him lightly.

"Dat's all I wanted to hear, chere." She got up and pulled on her socks and boots, grabbing her long coat off the chair and slipping it on over her customary black tank top and jeans. "Come on. Those emeralds are callin' my name."

"Alright," said Remy, casting her devilish eyes around at the four men. They were in the back of a black van parked half a block away from the jewelry store. Denver was closest, where he could give her hand the occasional squeeze, then her cousin Lapin, and two of Jeanne Louise's younger men, an electrician and a lookout. "Dis is the biggest, most swanky jewelry store in de South, and dey have a big box o' emeralds just for us."

"I love capitalism," said Lapin. Remy shot him a look.

"Alarms and motion sensors on de back windows. Wired into their own generator in de basement, so no shorting out de box. If de system goes off at any point, an alarm will sound downtown at de police station."

"Which is a bad thing," said Denver. "So we go in from the roof. The skylight is the only window not hardwired."

"And dat's because dey have a variable laser maze throughout de main room, up to de ceiling," said Remy.

"This sounds impossible," said Lapin, who had gone to boarding school and cultivated traces of an irritating British accent. Remy grinned at him.

"Don' you trust Cousin Remy, Lapin?" she asked. "Mr. Denver here has a gadget he himself designed dat will get one person in to shut off de maze." She spread her hands. "Den we go in and 'elp ourselves." Lapin nodded.

"Good plan. What's your gadget, Denver?"

"It's called a reverberating electromagnetic shield," said Denver. "It emits a force field that vibrates at the same frequency as the laser beams, and makes them think they haven't been disturbed."

"How do you know the frequency?" said Lapin, always the nitpicker.

"I know the frequency of every major manufacturer of laser mazes," said Denver. "Cost me a chunk of money."

"Are we ready, gentlemen?" asked Remy. Lapin nodded. Denver pecked Remy on the cheek.

"Ready." Remy rolled open the door of the van.

"Den let's do it."

Remy marveled at how graceful Denver was during a mission. He lowered himself expertly down on a cable; the laser beams not even flickering as his force-field encased body passed through them. Remy had blown open the heavily locked window as quietly as she could, but she had a feeling that Denver was going to be the star of this job.

Denver landed on his feet like a cat as he hit the floor, and walked almost casually to the main power box and switched it off, effectively shorting the laser maze, the window alarms and the system that sent the signal to the police. Remy, then Lapin, then one of the men followed him down the cable. The lookout stayed on the roof with binoculars. Lapin cracked open the regular jewelry cases, taking only the best pieces, while Remy and Denver went for the silver safe behind the counter. "I know it hits a nerve when people mention your...abilities," said Denver. "But I really hate cracking safes." Remy kissed him lightly.

"For you, chere, anything." She placed her hand just to the left of the handle, where the tumblers lay inside the steel door. Her hand glowed, the door glowed, and a ragged hole appeared with a boom. Lapin winced at the noise, but went back to stuffing a ruby coronet into his black duffel bag.

Denver and Remy looked into the hole, stopping for a moment to take in the cool brilliance of the square-cut emeralds. Remy took one in her hand, turning it over. "Not as beautiful as you," said Denver, and kissed her ear as he reached for the rest of the jewels.

"You get much more charming, chere, you gonna melt me," said Remy. Denver zipped up his bag and walked away from her.

The lookout suddenly let out a yell. "We got company, Miss LeBeau!" Remy's head snapped up.

"Cops?" she yelled up to him.

"No! They're coming in the-" The door of the jewelry store was blown open, throwing Lapin across the room and behind a display counter, where he lay still. Remy spun to the noise, back to the wall. The black-clad forms standing in the door were all heavily armed.

"What the..." said Remy. Denver had been just short of the explosion's expansion, and he still looked handsome and collected.

"I'm sorry, Remy." One form stepped forward and took his duffel bag. Remy's mouth opened, then closed. Her eyes grew hard, demonic almost.

"You set me up." Denver nodded regretfully.

"I had no idea you would be the incredible woman you are. None of that was fake." He looked almost sad. "This was something I was hired to do. I really am sorry." Remy seared him with a glare.

"I hope you burn in hell, Denver." Denver sighed and drew something from under his shirt.

"Forgive me, Remy. I love you." No one in the surrounding houses heard the single shot ring out.

"I am relieved your child is alright," said Gervaise, sipping the tea Jeanne Louise had given him.

"Her body armor saved her. De scum didn't know she always wears it under her shirt." Jeanne Louise twisted her hands together. Remy had suffered nothing but a nasty bruise, but she had come home, gone to her room, and not come out for the past day. Jeanne Louise knew betrayal was working its way through her daughter's heart.

"It was very fortunate about the armor," agreed Gervaise. "Remy related the fact to my son some months ago." He set down his cup and saucer on the coffee table. "Jeanne Louise, for a moment let my put aside my differences with you and say, completely sincere, that I believe your daughter would benefit from a companion. And the treaty would be set firm." He looked her in the eye. "This may be the first of many attempts on Renee's life. She is becoming a very important figure. I can offer her security." Jeanne Louise felt helpless and hated it. She knew she couldn't protect Remy any longer. It didn't occur to Jeanne Louise that maybe Remy was ready to protect herself.

The wedding was a small affair, attended by Gervaise's family, Lapin, Jeanne Louise and a few conspicuous bodyguards for each side. Jeanne Louise attempted to fix her daughter's red hair, arranged under a fashionable veil for the ceremony, but Remy moved her hand away roughly. "Chere, dis is for your own good, and for-"

"De good of the Guild, I know," said Remy. She looked past her dressing table to the manicured back lawn of Jeanne Louise's house. Drake Bordreaux was talking and joking with his father and bodyguards, blond hair gleaming like a helmet. He was handsome and sophisticated, as could be expected from a son of Gervaise Bordreaux. Remy knew she'd never be able to look into his sky-blue eyes without remembering Denver's gazing softly down on her, full of tenderness and He didn't love you, femme. He used you, just like Jeanne Louise and Gervaise bargained you for peace between the Guilds.

But he said he loved me, argued Remy to herself as she fixed the white camellia into her hair, stood, and smoothed her dress.

Words aren't worth de air dey use, you know dat. You, of all people, should know dat. Remy gave herself one last look in the mirror. Better make de best of it, femme. Who knows, you and Drake might get along all right. Forget Denver, forget he ever lived. "I will," said Remy aloud.

"Say what?" said Jeanne Louise. Remy gave her stepmother a cold look, an impersonal look that cut Jeanne Louise more than any words they had ever exchanged. Remy had given her up, given up trusting her in the least. Jeanne Louise closed her eyes for a moment as Remy swept from the room. Tears were an unknown thing to the Queen of Thieves, but they came to Jeanne Louise LeBeau just the same.

"You look lovely, ma cherie," said Gervaise as the orchestra struck up a tune. He took Remy's elbow at the end of the aisle, and they began to walk, step-touch, step-touch, towards the podium and Drake. Remy held herself aloof, never acknowledging the old assassin. When they reached the podium Gervaise handed her off smoothly and went to his seat between his wife and Jeanne Louise.

"Dearly beloved," started the minister. "We are gathered here today, in the sight of God, to join this man and this woman..."

"So, cherie, for our honeymoon I 'ave chosen a stay in the South of France, Provence. A darling chateau." Drake smiled at her, totally possessive. Remy knew then and there that she would never love Drake Bordreaux, mostly likely despise him for the rest of her life. The wall to the yard was just over the minister's shoulder; one jump and Remy would be free. She looked over at Jeanne Louise. Her mother looked haggard, like it was a funeral rather than a wedding. Remy knew what, logically, she had to do.

"Do you, Renee LeBeau, take this man to be your lawfully wedded husband?" said the minister. Remy looked back at Drake.

"I do."


Dear Jeanne Louise,

It's been two days now, and I imagine Gervaise has either had a coronary or gone completely cuckoo. As for Drake, I left him a nice little note in our boudoir. I thought I owed him that. If you're mad at me, Mama, I don't blame you, but I think you'll also thank me. I stood Drake for two months, long enough for you to gather enough intelligence about the Assassin's Guild to put up a real fight against them.

Don't think I did it because of love for you, or even compassion. I cover myself. That's something you taught me. I can't forgive you for crumbling to Gervaise's pressure, and I don't expect you to forgive me for getting out.

That said, I won't tell you where I'm going, except that it's some place where no one will look at me like I belong in a circus, or a cell. I've been a thief for a long time and a damn good one too. I was born lucky, Jeanne Louise, and I think it's time to make some of that up.

If you ever see Nathaniel Denver again, tell him I'm still looking for him. You don't betray a LeBeau and get away with it, as you well know. If you think I ever loved him you're mistaken-

Remy erased the line. It was a lie, and lies were something she'd had too much of in the past months.

I was a fool for loving him. I know that's what you wanted me to say. If we never meet again I'll be happy, but if we do...then we'll play out this hand.

Renee LeBeau

Remy LeBeau dropped the letter in the rural mailbox at the gas station somewhere in Virginia. She got back into Drake's red Kharmann Gia convertible and heard the engine purr to life. This was her now, the new Remy LeBeau. The one who didn't fall for smooth looks and blue eyes, the one who didn't buckle to the pressure of her family. As she gunned the engine and saw the road fall away before her, a new mantra started through her head. Remy don't need anybody. I don't need anybody. Denver had been right. There was no 'one' for anybody, no predestined love...Remy sighed. She couldn't even convince herself to believe that. She shook her head at her reflection in the rearview mirror. "Can't do anyt'ing about it. Always catches you in de end. 'Till then, Remy just play de cards the way dey delt."