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FIC: wheel spin [off balance part one]

Fandom: X-Men
Characters: Gambit, Charles, Erik
Rating: R
Warnings: Rape. Brutal death.
Summary: The first part of the 'Off Balance' series. Charles heads to New Orleans to track down a new team member. But Remy Le Beau is a dangerous man, and he doesn't take kindly to being your plaything.

Written for this beautiful and disturbing prompt at the X-Men kink meme.

wheel spin [off balance part 1]

me and a gun
and a man on my back
but i haven't seen barbados
so i must get out of this

        - Tori Amos, 'Me and A Gun'

i get the feeling you’re not ordinary
i got a head like falling masonry…
i meant to get you, let there be no doubt,
you wanna try and get your teeth knocked out?
        - Supergrass, ‘Mary’.


Charles knocks on the door of the shack, and nobody answers at first.

“Monseiur Le Beau?” he asks, and then he realises the door is open. He pushes it gently, and it swings wide. Charles calls again, not wanting to intrude. Aside from anything else, it smells appalling. But this is the bet, and he is determined to wipe that smug expression of Erik’s face.

I bet you fifty dollars mine comes with us and yours doesn’t.

Yes, but that’s only because you’ll punch yours if he doesn’t, my friend.


“Yes yes, ah hear’ you th’ first time,” mutters a voice like thunder from inside. “You fixin’ to come insi’ or what?”

Charles takes a step in, squinting in the gloom. He hears him before he sees him; the unmistakable snap and scrape of a pack of cards being shuffled; hard plastic and cardboard. Through the boarded up windows, he can see the man lounging on the bed, his long limbs languid in the heat, flicking the cards back and forth so they sound like ripping paper.

“What you want, boy?” asks Le Beau, not looking up. “Vincen’ sen’ you up for d’money, oui? Well, you can tell him fro’ me, I don’ have it, an’ I not goin’ to, and he wanna argue, he come up here himself.”

“Monsieur Le Beau,” Charles says, trying to conceal his grin, “I’m not here for any money.”

The cards in his hand snap together, and Le Beau finally looks at him.

“Ah,” he breathes, and it sounds like a gasp or a shudder, “no, I see dat. You don’ exactly look like muscle. Mo chagren, boy, I had you mistook for one of dose - well, lemme just say dere some not very nice people here.” With one fluid movement, Le Beau stands, unfolding, all arms and legs and nearly a foot taller than Charles. He sticks the cards in the pocket of the trenchcoat he is wearing in spite of the humid summer.

“You here for something else, cher?” he asks, and there is a wicked grin playing round his lips. “You got a bet you need makin‘ right? Books dat you need keepin’? Or maybe you here to get sometin a little more… special? Ah get it for you, boy. You name your prize, and I name de price.”

“I’m actually here to make you an offer, if you’re interested, Monsieur Le Beau,” Charles says, still smiling in spite of the smell. Le Beau has a charm of his own, and a smile that would make the most enchanting whore jealous.

“Ah, right, oui,” he says, sweeping something unnameable off the bed and onto the floor. “You sit down, mon frere, and lemme give you some Lousiana hospitality.” He pulls a bottle from under the bed, pulls the cork out with his teeth and spits it to the floor before pouring a thick amber liquid into two glasses and passing one to Charles. To his surprise and relief, it is sparkling clean.

“Thank you, Mr Le Beau,” begins Charles, but Le Beau interrupts, sitting down beside him and folding one long leg over the other.

“You call me Remy,” he says, eyes flashing. Charles inclines his head.

“Remy,” he says, “you can do things others can’t, can’t you?”

Remy laughs out loud. “Oh, what zey say is true, sha. Min’ you, depends if dey talkin’ ‘bout mah card playin’ or mah other skills…”

“I’m sure you’re very good with cards,” Charles agreed, “but that’s not what I’m referring to.” He reaches out, just for a moment, feels a mind that crackles with excitement in a way most minds don’t, and cherry picks the most vivid image. “Or perhaps it is, actually. Remy,” he says, leaning forward and gently placing a hand on the other man’s, “you are not alone.”


Remy listens to Charles’ pitch in complete silence, his face for the most part unreadable. His breath is a little faster, perhaps, and his mouth a little thinner, but he stays completely still, like an animal avoiding the hunt.

“So,” Charles finishes, “what do you say, Remy? We can make a start today - you can come back with me and Erik this evening. We can nurture that amazing talent of yours. We can help you realise what you were born to be.”

Remy scratches the stubble on his chin. Then he stands up, faces away from Charles. His hands reach for the cards on his pocket, and he flicks them rapidly between his fingers in a stuttering rhythm.

“Are you serious?” he asks.


“You tink,” he says, slowly, “ahm not what ah was born t’be?”

“I think you could be more,” says Charles, truthfully. “You feel you have to hide your mutation. But you could save the world with it.”

“Ahm no’ hiding!” he snaps, but there is hurt in his voice; a dangerous edge Charles feels offput by.

“What could you do with those cards of yours, Remy,” he says quietly, “if you were being true to yourself?”

Remy stills, the cards silenced, his back a solid wall. Then, in a movement so quick it’s like lightning he rifles the cards through his hands, spins round, and sends them flying towards Charles. Charles ducks, flinging himself on the bed as they shoot past him. When he sits back up, they are sticking into the wall, embedded a full inch into the wood.

“My god,” says Charles, impressed, “that’s amazing.”

“Dat’s not’ing,” Remy snorts, “dey go t’rough heads as well.” He smiles, all teeth, and for a moment Charles is horribly reminded of Erik.

“Your energy is a wonderful gift.”

“An’ you’re deluded,” Remy says, grinning without humour. He pokes his head with one finger; twists it as a symbol of how mentally far gone he thinks Charles to be. “You tink they just gonna let you walk away af’er all dis?”

Charles says nothing, watches Remy rub his fingers together in irritation. A spark flashes.

“Lemme tell you dis,” says Remy, suddenly low and urgent and almost angry, “ah am not goin’ to be anyone’s slave, and ah owe nobody not’in.”

Charles leans forward. “We’re trying to save the world, Remy.”

“Don’ try and guilt me, boy,” Remy snarls, “it won’ work on me. Ah’m not dyin’ for you. I’m no’ throwin’ my life away for you. I‘m not rottin‘ away for you when dey decide ‘m not exac’ly a poster boy.”

“You don’t understand-”

“No, you don’ understand,” he shouts. His voice is cold with fury, and his eyes are dark. He moves towards Charles. “You wan’ me to join dis little club o’ yours? Go fuck yourself.”

There is a pause. Charles stands up.

“I’m sorry to have inconvenienced you, Mr Le Beau,” he says, politely. Remy nods, still fuming over something in his mind it hurts Charles to look at. “Please contact me if you need me.”

He hands over a business card. Remy takes it in his gloved fingers, looks at it, looks back up at Charles, and the card explodes into fragments. Charles grimaces. “I’ll see myself out,” he says, and turns to the door.

“Wait,” says Remy, voice almost hoarse. “You don’ tink dis is a trap?”

“No,” Charles says, heart in his mouth. “No, my friend - whatever you think you have done, this is amnesty.”

“I’m a thief,” says Remy, smiling thinly. “Ah hurt people bad.”

“I am sure,” says Charles, meaning it wholeheartedly, “that you are more than that, Remy.” He risks a step back into the room, and Remy looks at him, raises an eyebrow, sweeps his red eyes up and down the length of Charles’ body and settles on his lips.

“Oui, you are, aren’t you?” He smirks. “You’re trés naïve, cher, for one so pretty. Bet you never think no-one in the world would hurt you.”

“As a rule, I find people are kind to you if you are kind to them.”

Remy snorts. “Someone ought t’ break your heart, cher. So you know how it feels, you know wha’ I mean?”

“The whole world, my friend,” Charles says, bringing them back to the subject at hand, “the whole world at your feet.”

“Ah’d rather ‘ave you a’ my feet.” Remy takes a step forward, and then those long fingers flutter and come to rest on Charles’ waist. He leans in closer. Charles freezes for a moment; breath hot on his neck, and lips pressed against his ear. They are all he can feel, intense and burning and pinpricks of sensation. “Or in whatever way you wan’,” he continues, his voice a purr. “You li’ it on your knees, cher?”

Charles forces a smile, and firmly but gently removes the hand from his body and takes a step back.

“Thank you,” he says, “but I’m not interested.”

“You sure, cher?” Remy grabs his wrist tightly, pressing his body against his. “You sure,” he repeats, “you don’ wanna try persuadin‘ me?”

“Sure,” says Charles, his tone like ice, pushing him off. “Monsieur Le Beau, if you’re not interested that’s fine-”

“Oh, I’m interested alright,” he grins. “You got a trés beau mouth, cher, anyone ever tell you dat?”

“Tragically not,” says Charles, still trying to salvage this situation with humour. “It’s been a hitherto unnoticed feature.”

Remy makes a noise in the back of his throat like a dog. Charles takes a step back again, shaking slightly. “I’m sorry we couldn’t work something out,” he says, his voice very definitely not trembling, “but I must go now.”

Remy stands with him, crosses the room in a second, places his hand on the door and lets the purple sparks fly from it.

“You come ‘ere,” growls a voice that is low with fury and arousal, “tryin’ to set me up-”

“Monsieur Le Beau,” Charles begins, half irritated and half scared, now.

“Ah tol’ you t’ call me Remy,” he whispers, and he removes his hand from the door. Charles runs to it, pulls at it, but it remains tightly shut. Charles turns to Remy, whose eyes have lost all spark they once had. “You want t’ control me, friend? Because dat’s how it soundin’ to me. An’ ain’ no-one gonna do that. No’ again.”

“I never meant-” says Charles.

“Maybe you don’, but it soun’ clear enough they gonna keep you an’ use you like a little dog. Someone ought to show what dat feels like, before you drag us down wit’ you.”

“Just - open the door, and I’ll leave,” says Charles, desperately.

Remy smiles, and he grabs for Charles’ jacket, charges it up with sparks of fire, and throws him without straining onto the bed, where he sticks, face up.  His mind is a frightened animal, trapped in a cage and needing to lash out.

GET THE FUCK OFF ME, Charles thinks, blazes through Remy’s head, but Remy just laughs as he bounds over to the bed, jumps on it like an excited child. Charles thinks it again; makes it an order this time, starting to panic, but before he can get it out Remy places a finger to Charles’ temple. A jolt of electricity, static and painful, shoots through Charles’ brain, scrambling any thought he might have had.

“Remy, please,” he tries, but Remy repeats the motion, the static filling Charles’ head with nothing but white noise and pain.

“I tol’ you,” he says, pressing his face against Charles’ so close Charles can feel his hot breath on his cheeks, “you don’ get to control me.” Charles opens his mouth to speak in actual words, but Remy slaps him hard across the face, sparks flying.

“Non, cher,” he says, and then he presses his mouth to Charles’, forcing his lips open, sliding his tongue inside before pulling away again to gasp with relish, “you still don’ understan’, do you? You don’ get to talk.”

He rips at Charles’ clothes then, tears them from his body, keeping him pinned under his weight to the bed, and raises his hand every so often to send the charge through Charles’ skull. Charles rolls his head back, screws up his eyes, his breathing fast and laboured. It hurts like nothing he ever knew could, and all he manages to think before the fire consumes him is I’m going to lose this bet. He would laugh, but it hurts, and he knows he should fight back. The bile is in his throat. All he can manage is one last thrash, one last lunge for Remy’s throat, before Remy forces a hand to his mouth, and another to his cock, and the sparks that fly then are white hot and wrong.


Deep in Charles, fucking him through the blood and the strangled screams, Remy’s mind is a hive of fire and ice and electricity, and it is no wonder that here, damaged, it is too intense for him to see much else than Charles, spread out before him, open and wide and unwilling.

It is no surprise he doesn’t see the hand gripping his, and Charles’ eyes flying wide open, filled with hatred and anger and pain.

you will get your fucking hands off me
you will pay for this

“Cher-” Remy begins, but he is cut off by every spark in his body turning inwards, and then there is screaming in his mind; everything Charles felt magnified. Knives in his skull, twisting inwards. Remy opens his mouth in a cry that never comes, his face contorted with agony, and then a second goes on for a million years, and never seems to stop…


Erik smashes the door down in his hurry to get in, the explosion of light and sound he saw from yards away still ringing in his ears, the panic and bile in his throat. He steps into the room, and into a pool of blood on the floor. There is a sodden playing card floating in it. He looks up; blood on every surface, and a smell like a charnelhouse or a corpse pit.

And in the centre of the bed, sitting upright, naked and covered in blood himself, eyes looking empty, is Charles.

“Charles,” says Erik, coming forward, the fury vanishing to be replaced with desperation, “what happened?”

“I killed him,” Charles says, in a strangled voice, “I killed the fucker. Blew his brains out with his own thoughts.”

Erik looks at him, and realises that he isn’t in any way empty, but filled with something new instead.

“What  - did he-”

The image that slices through Erik’s brain hurts like a shard of glass, and Charles’ white hot anger flashes with it.

“Fuck, Charles, I’m sorry, I’m sorry-” he says, reaching to touch Charles, to hold him, to feel that he’s alive again, and realising just in time that it isn’t about what he wants. “We need to get you back, we need to get you to a hospital-”

“He fucked me,” Charles hisses, and the brutality of the words, of hearing it said like that, stops Erik in his tracks. “I let him do it. Why did I let him do it?”

“You didn’t let him,” Erik says, certain - after all, didn’t he just see the whole awful thing in his own head? - and placing a hand next to him. Charles doesn’t look at it.

“Bastard,” he snarls.

“I know,” Erik says, on autopilot.

“No,” says Charles, staring at him, unable to laugh but unwilling to cry, “you don’t. You really fucking don’t.”


part two: laydown


( 14 orders placed — orders at the bar )
(Deleted comment)
Sep. 2nd, 2011 08:40 pm (UTC)
Oh, thank you so much!
(Deleted comment)
Sep. 2nd, 2011 08:40 pm (UTC)
Thank you. I'm afraid his day is probably going to get worse.
(Deleted comment)
Sep. 2nd, 2011 07:27 pm (UTC)
Oh, this was wonderful. So intense, and such a perfect Charles voice. Can't wait for more!

p.s. Might I friend you, so as to keep up with the lovely fic?
Sep. 2nd, 2011 08:44 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much!

Of course you may! Friends are wonderful, and the more the merrier. I see from casual stalking that you are a Foo Fighters fan and a Joss Whedon fan and these are things which make me already fond of you :)
Sep. 2nd, 2011 09:12 pm (UTC)
Ha, casual stalking ftw! Also, I love your icon. ("The HAIR...!" Poor River.)
Sep. 3rd, 2011 10:52 pm (UTC)
I forgot to ask - do you object to being friended back? *g*
Sep. 5th, 2011 03:27 am (UTC)
No objections--friends are always welcome! :D
Sep. 3rd, 2011 02:35 am (UTC)
*bouncing in her seat* You. Rock. I love this so so SO much I can't even articulate it.

The raw emotion is PERFECT. Somehow people never seem to give Charles a believable amount of anger... He is human (sorta) not a saint by any means, and people (authors) seem to forget that, no matter the situation. You nailed it.

I just had a REALLY crappy day, and finding this in my inbox was pure awesome.*G*

I love how Charles is his nice polished self at the start of things, then at the end all of that has been utterly striped away, and we get to see exactly how UTTERLY AND COMPLETELY EFFING SCARY Charles is capable of being.(I bet this is the most consecutive times he's ever said the word 'fuck' in his life)

And I loved how Erik really has NO idea how badly this has damaged/changed Charles and really doesn't know quite how to react yet. He THINKS he understands, what with the whole thing being projected at him, but, boy do I have a feeling he's wrong. I guess he'll find out soon enough.

Oh and this is going in my permanant fic library ASAP!*G
Sep. 3rd, 2011 10:47 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much! Pleasing the OP is always intention number 1, so that's A Good Thing, and I'm glad it managed to at least partially salvage your day. I'm having a really interesting time writing it, particularly the research involved, so thank you for the prompt.

The break down was roughly conceived like that, yeah. Erik doesn't understand that everyone grieves differently, I suppose. It's going to be hard for him as well.

Hurrah! I hope you like the sequels just as much!
Sep. 3rd, 2011 10:02 pm (UTC)
This is excellent.

Will you be posting update notifications on the meme?
Sep. 3rd, 2011 10:51 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much; I really admire your art, so it's very flattering to get such a nice comment from you. I will indeed, so you can keep an eye on it there or via the journal.
Sep. 3rd, 2011 10:53 pm (UTC)
Really, thank you :D Roundabout flattery all around!

Yeah I get notifications in my email for the meme thread so that way I'll get instant info when you update even if I'm offline >:)
( 14 orders placed — orders at the bar )

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