Disclaimer: This is a work of fan-fiction. The here fore used characters belong rightfully to Marvel or Image and I just borrowed them. The only profit I hope to achieve with this is the pure pleasure of the reader, so no copyright infringement intended. Please do not sue me, I don’t have money and won’t be getting some from this story. Dialogue used in the beginning of the story was taken directly from WildC.A.T.s/X-Men, The Silver Age and it is also not mine.
Author’s notes: The story is the sequel to Breaking the Law and starts right where the other one has ended. It also refers to the WildC.A.T.s/X-Men Crossover The Silver Age and it is set at the beginning of the comic book.
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Victim of changes
'You're tryin' to find your way through
You're tryin' to get some new direction
Take another look around
you're not going anywhere
realised you're getting old
and no-one seems to care
You're trying to find your way again
you're trying to get some new...'
"Victim of changes"; Judas Priest
“So, mon ami…whatcha in for?”
The man in the cell near Remy’s looked up. He was shackled like Remy had been before with heavy chains, at least until Remy had gotten rid of his. The man was blond, muscular and had a tattoo of a rising cobra with a roman seven on his upper arm. He turned to face Remy and looked puzzled at him with his blue eyes.
“Whatcha in for?” Remy repeated his question. He rose and went over to the bars, out of his pocket he fetched a crumpled package of cigarettes. His clothing too was torn just like the others and his reddish brown hair unkempt. Remy ran his fingers through his hair to bring some order into them and showed a friendly smile while he still tried to figure out the other man.
The name of the blond prisoner was Cole Cash, but it wouldn’t be him in the end, who would introduce himself to Remy. He also began to scrutinize the inmate of the cell next to his, he found his eyes a bit unnerving, the red on black like those of a being not from this world. He seemed to be quite young and Cole didn’t consider himself much older than him. If he judged by his looks, he must have been here for a while.
“Does the term “solitary” mean anything to you?” Cole answered with a question and hoped to have nipped the other’s interest in the bud. He didn’t want anything but to be left alone with his thoughts. Although he felt a silent curiosity awaken in himself concerning what must have brought such a young and innocent man into prison, and for all into a prison in the middle of the south American jungle.
Cole himself knew exactly what had brought himself here and he also knew a part of the why, but if he kept thinking a bit harder about this, he didn’t know so well what reason it had been that hade made him join the military and how he had ended up with Team 7, the elite force unit he had belonged to.
The boy, Cole mustn’t have been that older than him, but he couldn’t stop seeing him as a boy after all he himself had seen and done during his time in the military, didn’t look like a soldier to him, and most of the other prisoners here either were soldiers of fortune or some other scum that crawled through the jungle. He didn’t seem to be the type to follow orders to him, with his pretty face he probably wouldn’t have survived the drill Cole had behind him during his military training nor would he have had any chance in real combat not to mention war. No, he really didn’t look to him as a soldier and for a mercenary he also was too young. He more seemed to be a boy who still had every option open life had to offer for him but still he was sitting here, and had been shackled like Cole was, he had noticed the chains lying now on the floor.
“Means somet’ing to me, doesn’t tell me why ya in solitary or here at all”, Remy returned. He was well aware, that the stranger scrutinized him and a bit surprised for he seemed not uncomfortable because of his eyes like so many others before. He must have seen other things so he would not be scared off by what marked Remy so obviously as a mutant. In prison anyway they all were equal. No, if he was in the military, he probably had seen a lot of other things before.
Remy himself was also pretty sure what it had been that brought himself in prison and he had spent enough time here to know that he wanted to get out of here as fast as possible. To his regret he still hadn’t come up with a plan on how to manage that, to escape from here and Remy would leave the use of his powers, over which he still hadn’t gained complete control, only as a last option. He couldn’t risk that they wouldn’t work in the needed moment or went out of control like they had gone once before. Remy shuddered at the thought of this one time and at what had happened then. He had almost killed a lot of innocent people and himself by the time he had managed to get his control of his powers back with the hardest concentration and efforts. For that it was a welcome distraction to talk to the other man in the nearby cell, even when he didn’t look to be the talking type. But Remy was curious to know what might have been his story.
“What can I say, been the wrong time at the wrong place and did the wrong thing”, it came from the other cell after a while. Cole thought of the answer he had given to the boy and came to think, that it hadn’t been the whole truth, as hard as he wished to be honest with him, well the part with done the wrong thing was definitely a lie. It had certainly not been the wrong thing to save the innocent men, women and children from being shot in cold blood by the madman who had hired him as mercenary a while ago, right before he came here. It had been the reason for him ending up here and probably be here for a long time; Cole had lost track of time on how long he already was in this prison. If he thought about it now, he was the right time at the right place and had done the right thing, but that was hard to explain and the boy probably wouldn’t understand it anyway. But the boy with the strange eyes only nodded sympathetic, as if he could understand well, and Cole asked himself once more, what it must have been that had lead him into this rat-hole.
“Why are you here?” Cole wanted to know and went to the bars. He glanced directly into these unnatural eyes and found great pain lying behind them, understanding for him but also a certain pride.
“Why ya wanna know dat?” Remy asked, he had felt that the man had hidden something from him, but that his answer would be all, he would be hearing from him. And he had felt some pain in his answer too.
“You asked me, only thought it fair.”
Remy nodded and had to admit that this guy was right. It was only fair if he told him, too.
“I am a t’ief”, he finally answered. “Stole in de wrong house from de wrong person.”
Remy decided to also leave it to this answer. It was to a certain point the truth, he had been arrested for stealing from a very influential person who thought to teach him a lesson and send him here, but he didn’t have to tell him, what kind of truth really was lying beneath this answer, namely how he ended up stealing from this influential person in the first place, what had brought him this far south.
He didn’t have to tell the stranger that his family, or more those he thought for his family had betrayed him, deceived him and in the end exiled him.
The woman he loved was lost for him for ever and that also was a pain that sat deep inside, it was too fresh right now. Remy remembered well that on the day of their wedding he had been forced to kill her brother in self-defense, something that had given the mark for the change and something he wanted to be undone more than anything else. His face still followed him when he closed his eyes just like the faces of all the others, his love and his family, who had cast him out. It would be better for all if he left, that’s how they tried to sweet talk it, but Remy knew better. It was more a welcomed opportunity for them to get rid of the hated stray dog, that to add was also a stinkin’ mutant. Even his father, no adoptive father he corrected himself, although he had always seen him his real father, had agreed to that, that Remy had to leave, to ensure the peace between the Guilds, for the good of everybody else. It had been easy for him, easier than it had looked, Remy had been able to feel that all were extremely relieved to have gotten rid of him.
That was the family who had taken him in, when he had lived on the streets. That was the family who had given him a home when he had none. That was the family of which he had been proud to belong to, to have earned his place among them. That was the family for whom he would have done everything and had been so proud of being a part of.
That couldn’t have been his family, for a true family would have never betrayed and deceived him like they had done and it did hurt Remy even more because he could feel their emotions so clearly, could read so well that they hadn’t considered him worthy enough being a member of their respective family, no matter how hard he had tried to belong to them.
Remy on his part had done always everything for his family, for it was the place he belonged to and who had given him a home when he had needed one and so he had left, to bring back peace to the family whom he after all still brought deep feelings to and loved. He had gone to make sure, that the man he was allowed to proudly call father was able to bring back peace to the family and the Guild business. And when he had finally gone, he could feel that his father had felt deep inside him a silent guilt, which would grow and become more nagging to have let Remy down and that made him hope, to be one day able to return to his home, his family.
“Dat’s all”, Remy added, he didn’t want do reveal more. “We have somet’ing in common den, bot’ bein’ de wrong time in de wrong place and now we are in dis hole.”
“Looks like that”, Cole replied, in his stomach he had the feeling that the boy didn’t tell him everything but that he wouldn’t hear more whether he asked for or not. Well, he respected his privacy and didn’t ask further. He himself hadn’t told him the whole truth too. Cole had seen the pain in his eyes and wondered now, if it could have something to do with why he was here. Nobody should have to endure such pain in these young years, but on the other hand nobody should have experienced the things Cole had seen or done.
At the end, they both were victims of a change that had fulfilled itself within them as well as in the people who surrounded them. He had become a mercenary because of this, a man who did almost anything for money and who could be bought if the price was right. The boy had become because of something Cole didn’t know a thief, someone who stole from others and probably would do anything for a good enough reward. Both had ended up here, because of different reasons and it was not certain whether they would ever find a way out. It was possible that they would always remain the victims of some change, for this was something that would never change.
The boy got himself a cigarette out of his package and held it in his hands. Cole gestured him to give him one too.
“Light?” Remy asked and the tip of the cigarette began to glow as it was being charged kinetically and lit up that way.
“Nice trick”, Cole remarked, he had never seen anything like this before, but in the eyes of the boy something flashed. He still seemed unable to see him as anything different but a boy. Had the service in the military made him that old?
“I don’t do tricks”, Remy returned and gave Cole the cigarette. He lit himself another one up and inhaled the smoke then blew it into the dark close cell.
“Oh. Then how’d you get out of your shackles?” Cole wanted to know, Remy simply shrugged.
“Maybe I just ain’t as dangerous as you are”, he answered, grinning broadly.
“Maybe”, Cole doubted that much in the light of what he had seen him do with the cigarette He asked himself why the boy still was here when he possessed such abilities, and the only reason he came up with was the fact that he probably didn’t have any control over it, at least not an exact one. Cole knew well what it meant to have no control over ones powers.
Remy watched the other one, in a certain way his emotions seemed to be honest and Remy knew that he was thinking about him, probably wondered what that was about his powers, and he felt a slight understanding for himself coming from the other man. But the man hadn’t been completely open to him, at least concerning the reason for his imprisonment. Remy did want so much to trust somebody again and he counted on that the other wouldn’t betray him, there were no signs of it.
Remy just wanted to help him get out of his shackles as the doors opened with a loud creak and a stranger appeared in the door. They couldn’t see him very well, all they were able to make out was that he was wearing a eye patch over one eye and had a lit cigar in the corner of his mouth.
“Which one of youse guys is Cole Cash?” he asked them with a rough voice, one that didn’t allow any protest.
“De ugly one”, Remy shot back and grinned. He must have come for the other because beside them no other prisoner was there. And it was nice to know, that the other one now had a name he could attach the face to, even if he was likely to never see this guy again.
“That don’t narrow it much down”, the stranger replied, he must have lost his sense of humour some time ago or have had a drastic chance concerning it. He gave the other the choice, made Cole an offer to help him with doing a job for him and being free in return for it or to rot in this place. It was something, the other, Remy knew now his name was Cole, couldn’t refuse, he himself would have given anything for an offer like that, even his soul at this time. Cole accepted the offer and left the stinking prison cell with the stranger. Remy was left alone in the dark cell.
Cole silently wished the boy luck and that he too would get a chance to get his life back, get back the control over his life. Somebody that young shouldn’t rot in a place like this, shouldn’t even end up here in the first place. He hoped, that for the boy too would come the time when he no longer would remain a victim of the changes life had but could profit from them and he hoped that also for himself.
Remy asked himself, what it probably could have been that Cole hadn’t said, the thing that had brought him into prison, but his thoughts soon returned to the more urgent question at hand, that occupied him: How could he get out of here?
After quite a while, Remy didn’t know how long that had been, for he had lost his sense of time some time ago, the door opened again with the creaking sound and a dark clothed stranger entered the room. An eerie aura surrounded him but he still demanded authority as he stood there. What caught Remy’s eye was the fact that he was unnaturally pale, his eyes sparkled diabolically red and the mark of a red diamond was on his forehead. As the stranger smiled, he displayed two rows of sharp white teeth. Remy pretended to ignore him but instead he studied him closely out of the corner of his eyes. Because nobody else was there with him and it didn’t look as if the stranger would keep him company in one of the free cells, he must have come because of him. As a matter of fact, Remy didn’t believe that any cell could probably hold the stranger for long.
“I have been following your career”, the stranger began without introduction, his voice sounded surprisingly soft, though it had a distinct metallic underlying.
“Nice for you”, Remy returned. What use could he possibly make out of this, all he wanted right now was to get out of here and not listen to the ramblings of this guy.
“You have special abilities, which could prove very useful”, the stranger ignored Remy’s sarcastic answer.
“Tell me somet’in’ I don’ know already.”
“I could have good use for a man with your abilities and your reputation”, the stranger stepped near until he stood right in front of the bars. Remy felt his glare rest on him. He felt the uneasiness rising, he had felt since the arrival of the stranger. But the offer sounded quite tempting.
“You could do me a favour and I will do you a favour in return and arrange you to be released”, the man ran his fingers tenderly over the cold steel bars, Remy couldn’t get rid of the uneasy feeling that kept his hold on him.
“Why are you still here anyway? You could have blasted your way out of here any time you wanted. Oh, I understand”, he said slowly. “You cannot control your powers and fear to loose control over them, am I right?”
Remy resisted the urge to nod, he had the strange feeling that this stranger knew much more about him than he was willing to tell him or Remy liked him to know. But how could he have gotten that much knowledge, about him and his powers, and what was it he wanted from him?
“I can also help you, to control your powers”, the stranger continued, well aware of Remy’s anxiety. “If you will do me a favour and carry out something for me, do a job for me.”
“What do you want from me?” Remy finally wanted to know, his uneasiness growing to infinite proportions. Something very eerie surrounded the stranger, but Remy didn’t want anything more right now than to get out of his cell. And to achieve that, he would have sold his soul to the devil right now.
“You will carry out a mission for me and for that I will get you out of prison and to add to that, I will help you gain control over your powers. That is more than fair as payment, don’t you agree?” the stranger smiled, a smile that made shivers crawl over Remy’s back. He swallowed hard and showed all the protests of his instinct in the background of his mind.
“Okay”, he said after a while. Remy didn’t ask, what it might be, what kind of favour or job the stranger wanted him to do, the only thing he wanted was his freedom back. After that one job for the stranger it would be done for him and if the man could help him, to get control over his powers Remy saw that as a bonus. Only one job and he would never see this strange man again and he was out of his cell, back to his life.
Each fibre of his mind screamed in alarm, not to trust that man, but the desire to leave this cell as fast as possible was stronger than any reason. Remy so much wanted to get his life back and would do anything for that. He wanted nothing more than to bring control back to his life, that he could be in charge of his life again. Only one job, what else could there be?
“Excellent”, the stranger opened the cell doors that swung open with a light screaming sound. Remy stepped hesitatingly out of the cell and smiled.
This was his chance for a change, to start a new life. He would start again from the beginning, bring order in his chaotic life after he would have finished this man’s job for him. He would have his freedom back, to decide over his life again and someday he would be able to return to his family.
“Who are you anyway?” Remy asked the stranger, it was of interest for him, who his mysterious saviour was, but after all it didn’t matter to him for Remy was already planning on never seeing him again afterwards. At least in this he wanted to listen to his instincts and feelings.
“My name? Ah, sure, my name is Essex, Dr. Nathaniel Essex. And I am convinced that we indeed will be having a very cooperative and productive partnership in the future.”
(inspired by WildC.A.T.s/X-Men The Silver Age, page 1-2)