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28 May 2006 @ 11:20 am
The Streets Chapter 1  
Title: The Streets Chapter 1
Author: Spikers91
Warnings: little language, imagery in coming chapters
Universe: pretty much whatever fit with what I wanted to write
A/N: feedback is greatly appreciated, since I have no idea if this turned out like I hoped. Enjoy!

He knows when he wakes up to water dripping onto his forehead that it is going to be a bad day. Especially since he’s always been able to feel the rain, no, more like the movement of raindrops falling through the air, and because of this, he knows it’s not rainwater that’s dripping onto his head, sliding into his hair, and soaking his old pillow beneath.

That thought has exactly one quarter of a second to register before he shoots off the tiny, creaky and rusted cot, all the while cursing a streak bluer than the ocean. He scrubs at his forehead with his hands, refusing to actually consider what might be soaking into his bloodstream via his skin at that very moment…

He ducks back over to the cot, carefully avoiding the leak, and pulls a half empty bottle of water out from under the cot’s frame. He pours an ounce or two onto the corner of his threadbare blanket, and uses it to carefully wipe his forehead, auburn hair, and the back of his neck. He knows it’s far from sanitary, but without options, he has very little recourse.

With a defeated sigh, he reaches under the cot once more, and pulls out a pair of worn blue jeans. He hopes the holes ripped into the knees, the tattered cuffs and torn pockets make the pants look more like a favourite pair, rather than the only ones he owns. He splurged yesterday; after the tourists and locals alike were safely tucked away in their beds, he took what few articles of clothing he owned to the 24-hour Laundromat. It cost him a dollar to wash and dry his shorts, pants, sweatshirt, pillowcase and blanket. It doesn’t seem like a lot, even to his warped standards, but it means it’s one more dollar he’ll have to find somewhere else.

But he doesn’t care about that now. He doesn’t care because his stomach is growling at him, there are three creased one dollar bills left in his pocket, and he only has one smoke left.

He pulls his sweatshirt out from under the cot, and slips it on, because even in New Orleans, the mornings are chilly. Sunglasses he swiped from an internet café downtown finish off his ragtag ensemble, and he ducks out the hole in the wall entrance at the back of the room.

He lives, though that might be a stretch of the imagination too far even for him, in the back room of a condemned building. He’s not sure why it’s still standing, or why he hasn’t been kicked out of it yet, and he’s not really into asking questions. With any luck, it’ll collapse, or get torn down while he’s sleeping, and he won’t have to go through another day of this

He looks up at the sky with a sneer as he steps over fallen brick and wooden beams. It’s appearing like it’s going to be a beautiful day, and while that generally makes finding a mark easier, it doesn’t serve to put him in a better mood.

He tucks his hands into his pockets as he joins the crowds of people already milling about the sidewalk. New Orleans is a predominately tourist town, at least in the part near where he lives. The locals tend to gravitate closer to the outskirts of the city, away from the problems a person would find in any place highly populated by strangers. All that means for him is there is always an abundance of fanny packs and large canvas purses for him to slip his hands into.

He begins almost immediately, nimble and practiced fingers slipping into bags, back pockets, and windbreakers. He’s unusually gifted at this; after a few minutes, and a few marks, he has nearly a hundred dollars in his jean pocket. He doesn’t feel an ounce of remorse over what he has done; the people who visit this part of town have money to spare, and him getting it now means he can turn down other…avenues…that will assuredly present themselves later in the day.

He buys breakfast at the first shop he sees, a large Styrofoam cup of coffee and a couple of freshly baked pastries. He picks up a new pack of cigarettes in the novelty store next door, and pays for them honestly. They’re kept behind the counter, as if in anticipation of someone like Remy, and he just doesn’t feel up to the trouble it would cause to try and swipe them from underneath the shopkeepers nose.

He takes his newly acquired goods to his favourite spot in all of New Orleans, which is thankfully rather quiet given the time of day. He’s not entirely sure he could deal with the curious glances of onlookers. He sits down, and makes short work of the breakfast food, and tucks his cigarettes into the pouch of his sweatshirt.

His old, oversized boots hang limply in the space below his feet. Underneath the stonewall on which he sits, the Mississippi River thrums with power, even at it’s narrowest. The current is strong enough that he can feel its vibrations through the rock beneath his seat; it’s moving quickly enough that he’s apparently the only local stupid enough to get this close. Down the river a-ways, he can see a couple of tourists standing at the wall, leaning over to take pictures until a passer-by warns them of the danger. The young man can almost hear their words as if he were standing right next to them.

‘You really gotta be careful, enh? Dat river’s goin’ s’fast all you’d hafta do is fall in, and you’d be lost.’

Unsurprisingly, no one approaches him with a kind warning, worrying over his well being enough to speak to a stranger. This does not surprise him. He has seventeen years of precedent on his side, to know without having to see it through that he will be ignored.

He takes a final drag on his cigarette before flicking it into the churning river below. Such thoughts are useless at a time like this; they will not help him get through another day.

He pivots on the protective wall, and hops down onto the cobblestone street. It’s rare to find him in the tourist part of New Orleans, but he learned long ago that there’s no fooling the locals. Those born and raised on the Bayou know of the danger of pickpockets, even in their fair city. Only out-of-towners, people who haven’t yet been warned to keep their personal effects close to them, are suitable targets. If he tried to go after a local, he might get a hot meal and a dry bed in a holding cell, but they’ve got enough on him at this point that it is likely he wouldn’t be seeing daylight again for a long time. And if there’s one thing this street kid prizes, it’s his freedom.

He broke into an unused hotel room the day before to take a quick shower, give himself a little haircut, and make sure he was at least halfway presentable. People are less likely to suspect a kid that looks like one of them. The relaxed way in which he holds himself, combined with the sunglasses and worn clothes he wears, he looks like a young man out for a walk to enjoy the beauty of the Louisiana spring day, rather than a thief looking for a mark.

On such a beautiful day, the streets are rapidly filling with tourists. The sidewalks are almost packed with people window shopping, stopping to ogle at the trinkets, and knick knacks that are so common in New Orleans. He falls in easily with the crowd, pauses to run his fingers over some silver jewelry, pretending to admire it while in fact he is calculating how much he could hawk it for. He spots the shopkeeper eyeing him
suspiciously, and maybe he overdoes it a little with the innocent smile. But the shopkeeper answers in kind, and the young man continues on, hands shoved deeply into his pockets, sauntering down the streets as though he has no more pressing matters on his mind. His stomach grumbles in protest, but he ignores it. Two small pastries and a cup of coffee don’t go very far when he hasn’t eaten properly in three days.

He walks another block or two, and is deciding that maybe it’s worth it to light up another precious cigarette when he sees her. She’s perfect. Standing at a storefront a couple of yards down the street, the woman is rifling through some hand-died silk scarves. She has beautiful, long red hair, pulled back at the nape of her neck and held there by a single elastic. She’s wearing jeans and a grey long sleeved t-shirt with a dark blue X encircled on the right breast pocket. A large, white canvas purse is slung over one shoulder. There are a couple of men standing at the same table, but she doesn’t speak to any of them, and they don’t seem to be together.

A smile threatens to lift the corners of his mouth, but he keeps it down. This mark should be easy enough, but he has done it enough times to know that over confidence will only ruin his chances. And given the wad of bills currently residing in his front right pocket, he doesn’t really need to hit another mark. But something about this woman calls to him, and if taking her vacation money is the only way he can get close to her, he will do it.

He takes his hands out of his pockets, lets his arms relax and hang low at his sides. No matter how many times he does this, the butterflies always appear in his stomach before hand. He guesses it’s a good sign that he hasn’t become immune to the immorality of stealing.

He flexes the fingers of his right hand as he nears her, turns his head to look back over his shoulder as if conversing with someone behind him, and runs square into her. Just as he was hoping, she’s knocked to the ground with a breathless gasp, the contents of her purse spilling out around her. He crouches next to her, begins to open his mouth to apologize and gather her things, when a hand shoots out from nowhere and snags his arm. The man holding onto him tightly enough to grind the bones of his wrist together is short, but thick with muscle. His face is half covered with wiry facial hair, as black as ink to match the outrageous spikey tufts on top of his head. His blue eyes are icy cold, but nonetheless, the young man sees nothing malevolent in the expression. The woman he knocked over is watching him with wide eyes, but he doesn’t see any fear in her expression. He pulls on his wrist, but unsurprisingly, his captor is not letting go.

“Lemme go, homme!”

A crowd has begun to form around them, everyone eager to see what’s going on, but none too ready to offer a lending hand. The young man begins to struggle in earnest. He stands, tries to twist his arm out of the older man’s grip, but feels only pain. The sunglasses tumble off his face, and the lenses pop out and crack as they hit the cement of the sidewalk.

All at once, he feels the hold on his wrist weaken.

“Jeannie, it’s him!”

He doesn’t spare a moment to wonder what those words mean before he takes advantage of the moment’s hesitation. He grabs a piece of jewelry off the table next to him, and transmits to it a weak charge; strong enough for an impressive bang, but not so strong as to hurt any onlookers.

He throws the silver bracelet onto the sidewalk, and successfully jerks his arm free of the once iron grip. Without waiting for the small resultant explosion, he vaults over the table, pushes through the gathered crowd, and makes a break for it.

He hasn’t gone more than twenty feet before a muffled boom sounds behind him. He ducks into the nearest alleyway, his fast and panicked breathing echoing around the brick walls. He runs for a hanging fire escape ladder, leaps towards it and grabs on to the third rung. The whole structure creaks and groans as he pulls his thin body up to the next platform, but it holds together.

He becomes peripherally aware of the short, hairy man entering the alley only a few minutes behind him, just as he swings up onto the platform. He’s not sure why he’s so intent on running, why he’s so desperate to escape from their clutches that he can feel his heartbeat pounding erratically throughout his body. He can’t feel any harmful feelings on their part, just a general sense of concern, and a strange sort of dedication. That right there should be enough for him to throw in his towel, and relinquish himself to them. But he’s learned many a painful lesson about misplaced trust, and the last thing he wants it to be subjected to another reminder.

So he bolts across the asphalt roof, running as if the very fires of hell were licking at his boots, which, he realizes as he leaps over an intake duct, they very well might be. He can’t hear anything behind him, but that tells him nothing. His own abilities make him understand better than anything that nothing in his world is impossible.

He reaches the edge of the roof, and after wasting a moment on hesitation he jumps, landing heavily on the fire escape platform twelve feet below. The meager amount of his weight on its supporting pieces prove to be too much, and a great screeching sound can be heard as metal twists and distorts. The left side of the platform comes free from the brick wall it was attached to, and promptly throws the young man into a forward roll. His hands scrabble against the grated metal, breaking skin and bruising knuckles, but he is unable to find purchase. Before he can do anything but gasp for breath, he is falling, so hard and so fast, back down to the earth.

He has only the briefest flash of what his head will look like smashed against the pavement below before all downward motions suddenly stops. He’s hanging in mid-air, with nothing appearing to hold him there. If he thought his heart was beating fast before, it is now more comparable to a runaway train. He becomes certain that if this situation does not resolve itself quickly, he might die of a heart attack before it gets a chance to.

The short, hairy man appears from around the corner, and steps over a fallen garbage can to near him. The young man panics, pulls against whatever bonds hold him there, but it is a waste of energy. He continues to hang.

“Easy there, kid,” the older man says. “I ain’t gonna hurt ya. Just relax. You won’t be getting free otherwise.”

He speaks with an accent the young man cannot place, and has no interest in trying to. Behind him, a red haired young woman comes forward, the same woman whose purse he tried to rifle through earlier. Accompanying her is a tall, slim man with brown, crew cut hair and a strange sort of red-lensed visor wrapped around his eyes. None of them seem at all surprised to see him floating a good six feet above the gravel.

“I gotta give you some credit.” The hairy man begins speaking again. “No one’s ever surprised me like that. Guess I shoulda been more careful.”

The slim man with the visor displays a look something akin to shock as he glances at the other man, before turning to the red haired woman. “Jean, can you set him down?”

She focuses her gaze on the young man. “I don’t know, Scott.” She’s looking right into his eyes, but she’s speaking to the man she stands beside. “I don’t want him to try to run. He might hurt himself. He’s awfully scared.”
“Y’damn right he’s scared!” The young man shouts, characteristically not filtering his words before letting them loose. “He’s hangin’ fuckin’ six feet off de ground!”

He struggles once more, tries to wiggle loose of the invisible hold, and while he does lower a few feet, so close to the ground he feels he might be able to grab a handful of gravel, the bonds constricting him do not loosen. He hangs his head with a sigh, and allows his body to relax.

“We just want to talk to you,” Slim says, taking another step forward while one hand adjusts the visor on his head. The young man isn’t sure why, but he senses the visor is some kind of weapon, and at the same time, he is in no danger as a result of it.

He doesn’t say anything, just quirks up an eyebrow in response. Slim takes that as some kind of promise, then moves forward with the exchange. “Let him down, Jean. He’s not going to run.”

The other man’s confidence infuriates the young man, but when his boots finally touch the ground, he does not flee. He straightens out his sweatshirt with exaggerated care, and brushes imaginary dust off his jeans. When he looks back up, his red on black eyes have narrowed.

“My name is Scott Summers,” Slim says, pointing at himself with his thumb. “These are my colleagues, Dr. Jean Grey, and Logan.”

Red and the hairy man acknowledge him respectively. He spares them little attention before focusing on the man who called himself Scott. “What de hell d’ya want?”

Slim glances at his buddies with the barest hint of a smile on his face before saying, “We just have a friend who would like to talk to you. That’s all.”

The young man’s shoulders slump. It seems as if these people went to a lot of trouble for something they could’ve asked outright. He sighs almost inaudibly, and nods his head. “D’accord. Where is he?”

Dr. Grey answers in place of Slim. “He’s staying at a hotel downtown. We can take you there.”

The young man nods again in response. He learned many years ago that there was no delaying the inevitable. He had a certain place in society, a certain role he was expected to fill, and pretending otherwise wasn’t going to help any. He didn’t have to like it, but if he wanted to live, he’d damn well better do it. He isn’t going to risk his life on the assumption that these people will take no for an answer; not when they tried to hard to catch him in the first place.

“There something we can call you, kid? Put a name to the face?” The hairy man seems to understand at which distance the young man is comfortable, and makes sure to stay outside of that fluid measurement. Dr. Grey, on the other hand, walks close enough on his opposite side to brush his fingers with her own. He digs his hands into his jean pockets to avoid such contact. Slim walks several steps ahead, assuming the role of leader as the young man guesses he does often.

“Call me Remy,” he says, offering no last name, and is pleased when no one asks for one.
Current Mood: boredbored
Current Music: God That Failed
Kattxenokattz on May 28th, 2006 05:08 pm (UTC)
Interesting premise so far. Can't wait to see what you do with it.
The Demented Ferretthedemntdferret on May 28th, 2006 07:28 pm (UTC)
I read this on FF.net, hadn't gotten to comment yet though. It's a very good, promising beginning. Hope to see more.
queen_isaqueen_isa on May 30th, 2006 07:32 am (UTC)

Ive been readin' your SPN fics -- i LOVE the "thorn inside"! And now, i love your x-men one! Mind if i friend you?
spikers91 on May 30th, 2006 04:52 pm (UTC)
Please do! One can never have too many friends. I'll friend you right back.