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Sinister Intent: Chapter Six

Mac O'Roni

     He allowed himself the luxury of a long shower. It had become a necessity by this point, since he was still seething from his confrontation with the good professor.
     By the time he turned the water off he was feeling a little more himself. He shook the water out of his eyes and reached through the curtain, grabbing his bath towel blind from the rack without fumbling. He dried his face and then hesitated, realizing the significance. He didn’t really have to “see” something to know exactly where it was in relation to his body—his biokinetic energy had a rather useful side effect of increasing his spatial perception to near supernatural levels. But when he was wet the effect was dampened, no pun intended.
     “Anot’er t’ing Sinister mess wit’, hein?” he muttered. As a child, he’d had a terrible habit of talking to himself—animated conversations, sometimes. He’d mostly outgrown this but he still thought aloud more often than was strictly “normal,” especially under strain. He’d been under more strain in the past couple of days than in the last year or better, as long as you overlooked that little Antarctic escapade, which he tried very hard to do. This coming, as it were, practically on top of that made it a wonder, even to him, that he wasn’t a stark raving lunatic.
     He finished toweling off and stepped out of the shower, tucking the towel around his waist. He ran a comb through his hair and stepped into his bedroom to change clothes, mind fully preoccupied with thoughts of what Sinister had done to him. As usual at such times, he completely overlooked the pinging warning of his spatial sense.
     Jean Gray was sitting on his bed, demure, just as though she belonged there. He leaped back into the connecting bathroom with an undignified yelp.
     “Jesus, Jeanne, what d’hell you doin’ here?” he panted around the corner, safely hidden behind the door. “Don’ you know better dan t’come int’ a man’s room when he be showerin’? Men on dey own liable t’come dancin’ out buck nekkid, girl.”
     “That would have been a pity, wouldn’t it?” she said, laughing a little. She flirted with him—indeed, she had once admitted to Cyclops that she found Gambit quite attractive, at which point Scott threatened to drop a truck on him—but by and large her feelings were more maternal than anything else. Jean couldn’t help being a mother hen to all the poor little shipwrecked waifs the Xavier Institute attracted.
     “How’jou get in here, anyway?” he asked. “I t’ought I lock dat door.”
     “You shot the deadbolt, but you didn’t actually lock it,” she admitted. “I opened it telekinetically.”
     “Great. Gambit ain’ de only one here wit’ a flair f’breakin’ an’ ent’rin.”
     There was a robe lying across a chair near the bathroom door. Jean watched as Gambit snaked one long arm around the corner and snagged it. In a few moments he appeared again, safely covered.
     “What’chou doin’ here, Jeanne?” he asked again. “Gambit already had a run-in wit’ de local telepat’ic community, an’ dat jus’ about enough f’one damn day.”
     “Relax,” she said, placatingly. “I’m not here to try and psychoanalyze you. I just thought that, you being the private sort, you might like me to give you a little help controlling your newfound telepathy.”
     He was instantly wary. “An’ how you do dat?” he asked.
     “It’s not very difficult. All I have to do is give you a psionic memory packet containing all the basic training I received. There will be a specific thought for you to use as the key to opening this packet, and when you do, it will be as though you had already undergone all of it yourself. I don’t like to do this but you’re really very strong,” she said, her expression blanching a little. “Much stronger than younger emerging telepaths are. I really don’t understand—it seems that you’re broadcasting, but not receiving. It’s as though your psionic shields are still protecting you from others’ thoughts, but have stopped blocking your ability to send. Your psionic shielding is pretty much innate, isn’t it? I’ve always had a strong suspicion that you were somewhat telepathic, or at least telempathetic, and sometimes that results in natural shielding. I would assume that your biokinetic energies also help strengthen your psionic interference.”
     His expression was utterly blank through most of this barrage of verbiage, and as she wrapped it up he held up stalling hands in self-defense. “Wait a minute, wait a minute. Hol’ up, there, Speedy. Basic’ly what you sayin’ is you wanna go pokin’ roun’ in ma head an’ put somet’in else in dere I never asked for. I kin’a had enough a’ dat, too, recently.”
     “Actually, I’m tired of always having to be the one who goes ‘pokin’ roun’’ in everyone else’s head. Why don’t you come to me, instead?”
     “Why ev’ybody gotta make fun a’ de way Gambit talk, hein?” he muttered.
     “An’ how’m I ‘spose a’ do dat?” he said more forthrightly.
     “Easy. You send your thoughts without really even meaning to. With a little concentration, you can send your entire psionic presence. Just focus on where you want to go.”
     “You sure dis safe?” he asked mistrustfully.
     “Sure. I’ll be right there if anything goes wrong. Probably the worst that could happen is that it doesn’t work at all.”
     “All right, I ‘spose I could give it a shot,” he said. He closed his eyes and focused.
     It wasn’t as difficult or quite as strange as the physical action of flying, which was something he’d quickly decided was hardly as easy as real birds made it seem, but it was a unique feeling. In an instant he felt himself propelled through what felt for all the world like a wind tunnel, and found himself standing in the strange and always (to him) disconcerting landscape of the psionic plane.
     “Not bad, rookie,” Jean said. Her psionic presence floated just ahead of him. “Not bad at all.”
     “Can' we get dis over wit’?” he pleaded. “Dis place give Gambit d’creeps.”
     “Sure thing.” She pressed a small envelope into the palm of his hand. “Nifty how this works, isn’t it? The mind is a fascinating organ, you can never get its limits. Anything you can imagine can happen right here.”
     “Someone recently tol’ Gambit he don’ have much of an imagination,” he said. “An’ I jus’ wanna get outta here.”
     “All right, all right, you can leave. Just let me give you the key first. When you want to open that, all you have to do is hold it in your hand and say ‘supercalifragilistic.’”
     “Leave it t' you to go d'Mary Poppins route,” he groused. “Do it still work if y’got a Cajun accent?”
     She looked uncomfortably uncertain. “You…might want to try pronouncing it very carefully…” she amended.
     “Great. What if I can’t?”
     “Maybe I should make another packet,” she suggested.
     “Naw, naw, dis be fine. I’ll manage. T’anks, chère, I ‘preciate it. Now, where’d I park d’car? You remember?”
     Jean laughed; the first thing he heard upon returning to the physical world. “If you have trouble simply imagining yourself opening that envelope,” she advised him, “you might have to reenter the psionic plane. But it should be no problem, you clearly have a sense of how to get around there.”
     “Had some experience dere,” he said. “Not dat I wan’ed any. Somet’in you ten’ t’ get whet’er you wan’ it or not, roun’ here.”
     “Well, in time you may actually learn to like your extra-sensory abilities,” she said. “I’m going to the medical wing to see Scott—Dr. Reyes says he seems to be coming around a little. I’ll see you later, Gambit.”
     “See you, Jeanne,” he said. “And Jeanne?”
     She turned in at the door. “Yes?”
     “I’m sorry ‘bout Cyke. Chuck tol’ me dat Sinister…well, he seem t’maybe have los’ in’rest in ‘im. Try t’ make me get rid a’ ‘im.” He hung his head sheepishly.
     “Not your fault, Gambit. Scott will be all right.”
     “Yeh,” he muttered, as Jean left and closed the door behind her, “but will Gambit?”

On to Chapter Seven!