"What do you call this thing?" Antoine asked as Fantomex piloted his spaceship, Benoit resting on a table behind the co-pilots. Darkforce matter held tight to the wound on his head, keeping the bleeding minimal but internal damage was no doubt still being done. They had to get him to a hospital and immediately.
"EVA," Fantomex said, "you could call her my nervous system."
"Amazing," Antoine said, "I never would have suspected that the world-famous thief Fantomex was a mutant like us
you are Fantomex, are you not?"
"That is my name, yes," Fantomex said from beneath his mask. All Antoine could see of him was the area around his blue eyes.
"From what I can tell, you appear to be very young, that is why I asked," Antoine said, "you must share the secret of your eternal youth sometime."
"Just a part of my power, I guess," Fantomex said, "we're almost there, are you ready?"
"As I'll ever be," Antoine fixed up his torn uniform with a quick manipulation of Darkforce energy, restoring the New Mutants style outfit to its original condition.
EVA hovered in the emergency bay, as Antoine and Fantomex went to work unloading their rapidly dying patient. The doctors on hand saw the emergency rushing in and came out to help.
A commotion was started as people saw Fantomex there, recognizing him far more readily than the X-Man working beside him. Antoine drew up a shadow-wall to keep back those persons who were not medical personnel, patients and family thereof who came out to get a look at the heroes.
"Everyone, stay right where you are," said a man as Escouade M swarmed on the scene, having followed EVA's flight across Paris as soon as it was first called in by a startled housewife.
"Escouade M," Fantomex said, "this is going to become very interesting."
"No, it will not," Antoine declared, as he drew up a taller wall before the riot troopers, blocking their path. "My brother is dying, gentlemen! Save his life and you will have La Nuit in your debt forever!"
The doctors rushed him inside as Fantomex crossed his arms, watching the policemen outside with Antoine still focused on his wall of shadows. "Going to let them in?"
"My brother is a wanted fugitive from the law," Antoine said, "while I am an X-Man."
"I'm an outlaw myself," Fantomex pointed out. "Give me time to get out of here, eh?"
"Of course," Antoine said, and Fantomex flipped overhead, hand reaching out to grab a rope descending from EVA, and the spaceship flew off with him climbing aboard. "Au revoir!"
Fantomex waved farewell as Antoine let down his shadow-wall. The troopers stormed towards him until he put up a hand, palm out, and they stopped dead in their tracks, terrified of a powerful mutant such as La Nuit. They were more used to harassing children.
"My brother, Nocturnus, is inside," Antoine said, "he is receiving necessary medical care. If he does not receive it immediately, he will die. I promise on my life that he will not escape the hospital; I will see to his security myself. When he is well enough, he will be handed over to the proper authorities for arrest, to go to trial for his crimes."
Escouade M stood, watching him. "Does that satisfy you, or must you have blood today?"
It satisfied them.
ELSEWHERE IN PARIS
Dr. Kilgrove struggled to his feet, his head aching something terrible. The shredded flesh of his face reconstituted itself, as Darkforce energy bled all around the gunshot wounds. Kilgrove scratched at the itchy skin as it sewed itself back together again and began to rapidly heal.
Though his face would never again be what it was, it would be no more malformed than it was before Fantomex had seen fit to shoot him in the back of the skull. The DNA graftings had been a success!
Kilgrove stumbled over to the counter, still out of step, his neural networks still rewiring themselves. It might be a few days before his fluidity of motion was back to normal; he hoped he would still be able to talk.
He pulled a notebook out of the drawer and unclipped a pen from his pocket. He opened the notebook and leafed through it until he found the first fresh page. He wrote down the day's date and began to record his findings.
Inky darkness filled his eyes as he scribbled furiously against the page.
"No powers," Benoit said as he walked down the hall, carrying his IV cart with him. "No more powers. What a
relief? Loss? I don't know."
"It is for the best," Antoine said, "without power one cannot abuse it."
"I still have my knowledge of a few bits of mystical arcana," Benoit said and laughed before the pain was too much and he had to stop again. "My head
"Are the headaches still as bad?"
They stopped and Antoine helped his brother to sit down.
"I don't think so, no. The doctors think they'll go away with time. I don't know what that bastard did to take my power away, but
well, I am glad for what Fantomex did. Truly glad."
"Except that we will never know, now, just what happened," Antoine said.
"For the best, I'm sure," Benoit said. "I'm weak, little brother. I am not going to last long"
"Don't say that," Antoine said, "you'll live as long a life as anyone else"
"That's not enough," Benoit said, and the glimmer of madness was in his eyes, just for a moment. "I could be more, do more, have more
"You will have enough," Antoine said, helping him back up as they started back towards his room. "When you are out of prison, you can come and live with me. I will take care of you for however long you need me to. I will finally repay the debt I owe to you several times over, Benoit."
"I tried my best," Benoit said, "it was not easy, being as I am
but I tried."
"I know you did," Antoine said, "and that is why I am going to be very glad when you surrender yourself to the authorities and do not put up a fight."
"What can I do?" Benoit said. "I have no powers, no henchmen, and my brother is an X-Man. I wouldn't last two minutes in a fight with you now."
Benoit gave him the heartiest slap on the back he could muster.
Dr. Kilgrove sat in his new laboratory, hidden in the sewers beneath the streets of Paris. He couldn't stay in the old one; besides the wreckage, there was the simple fact that La Nuit knew where it was. If he stayed, surely the mutant would return and see that he had gone.
"I am dead to the world now," Kilgrove said, "so be it. Now I might continue my research without the public spotlight on me. It will be better this way."
"I've always held that opinion," Fantomex said as he entered the dingy, damp sewer room. Kilgrove stared at him with his large black orbs.
"Did you have to shoot me so?" Kilgrove said, motioning towards the back of his skull.
"It did the trick," Fantomex said as his form began to shift. "They had no idea. I have seen firsthand that your work is a success and I grant you the privilege to continue it."
"Thank you, master," Kilgrove said. "I still possess power over the darkness!"
"Study it thoroughly," Apocalypse said, "and let me know if you find out anything that might be of use to me. One must know his enemies better than they know themselves."
Kilgrove nodded and returned to his writing.