Subject: Family Matters, 6, REPOST, part 1 (M/m, mild punishment, no sex, mostly plot development)
From: DSWDiane@GNN.com (Diane)
Date: 1996/08/10

Family Matters, Chapter 6

Please see disclamer on chapter 1.

Sincere thanks to Idgy and Vashti who did extensive editing on this work, especially Vashti who copy edited like a pro and gave me excellent advice on the structure of the story. Any remaining typoes are all my fault, not hers.

* * *

Remy had been lying face down on this bed when a gentle knock signalled the entrance of his recently found father. He was half asleep and dimly aware that Logan was still in the room. He felt comforted by his silent presence as the ice cooled the heat and eased the pain in his very well spanked bottom. He stiffened and shrugged the ice bags off his butt, while quickly pulling up his pants to cover himself.

You are relieved of Remy watch, Logan," he heard the professor say with an amused and caring tone in his voice. "I'm here to be with my son."

Remy felt a sinking feeling of dread in his stomach. He wasn't at all sure he was ready to face his father who was the most ethical and humane person he had ever known.

He heard Logan apporoaching his bed and rolled over to face this all important figure from his childhood.

"You okay, boy?" Logan asked gruffly. Remy nodded, as he avoided the eyes of his father. Logan looked at him carefully and shook his head, "You are nowhere near okay. Don't lie to me, Remy.

Remy felt an intense tightening in his chest and guts and tried to talk past the constriction, "I did't mean t' lie. J'st tryin t'. . ." He couldn't find the words to explain his feeling of dread and sinking dismay.

Logan leaned over and cuffed him lightly on the side of the head. Remy ducked away and managed a faint grin at the affectionate swipe. "It's okay," Logan said. "I'm goin' now. Leavin' you and your father to work things out. Can you handle it?"

Remy nodded despite his uncertainity about what he could handle. Logan turned to the professor. "He's all yours, Chuck. I'm gonna find some food."

* * *

"You TOLD Forge that I spank you!" Logan stared at Storm with aghast horror. The sandwich he had carried up from the kitchen lay half eaten on a table beside them.

She felt a clench of dismay in her stomach and looked down at the floor. There was anger in Wolverine's voice, an anger that scared her badly. She nodded.

"How dare you, girl?" Logan's voice was a rumble of angry dissatisfaction. "How dare you reveal our private business to someone else?"

Tears rose in her eyes. She had never heard him sound so angry with her. Her voice trembled, "I was close to him for a long time, love."

"I can't begin to see how that entitles him to any details of our sex lives," Logan said in a cold fury. "I can understand you telling him that we are lovers, but not what it is we do when we are alone together. THAT was none of his business."

Storm stared at the floor, afraid to look into his angry eyes.

"You had to show off, I suppose. Had to let him know that he didn't give you what I give. Had to rub it in. Tell me, something, Ro, did you ever ask him directly like you asked me?" Ro's face burned with shame as she shook her head, still looking down.

"Answer me, woman, out loud! Did you ever tell him what you wanted?"

"No," she barely whispered.

"You couldn't be honest with him about what you wanted, but you took it upon yourself to blab our private sex life to him." Wolverine shook his head.

Tears welled in Ororo's eyes, but she didn't look up. She didn't want him to think she was trying to manipulate him with her pain.

Logan felt an old and familiar rage rising within himself. He took several deep breaths. "I'm too angry to talk to you about this any more, 'Ro. I'm too pissed off to even be in the same room, right now. I'm outta here." Logan whirled and stomped out shutting the door to her loft firmly behind him.

Ro sank to her knees, sobbing with grief, pain, guilt, and shame. She felt utterly abandoned and sure it was her own fault. She wondered if she had ruined everythng forever between her and Logan as she had surely ruined everything between her and Forge. She clutched her arms across her stomach and cried like a child.

* * *

As Logan paced away from Storm's loft, he could hear her begin to sob. A part of his heart was touched, and he was tempted to go back to comfort her, but his old nemesis of all consuming rage had its dark fingers clutching at his guts. He started for the danger room, intending to work his anger out as best he could with the most intense programs he could select.

"Logan." Scott's voice penetrated the dark haze of his mood.

"What?" he tried to tone down the snarl in his voice, but barely managed. Scotty stiffened at the anger in Wolverine's voice, but realized it probably has little to do with him. And he was fairly sure he didn't want to know what it was about.

He spoke gently and carefully, "The Professor has asked that we all meet at about 22:30 hours to discuss the situation with Sinister and the traitor and begin to make our plans to address the issue."

Logan looked at his watch. It was about 8:30 pm. He nodded. "Where?" he asked.

"In the war room."

Logan nodded again, "I'll be there." His voice was still tight with suppressed rage.

"Thanks," Scott said carefully. "I, uh. . . was on my way to tell Ro."

"She could probably use some company, right now," Logan admitted grudgingly. "I'll be in the danger room if anyone wants me. Is anyone with Remy?"

"Didn't you leave him with his father?" Logan nodded and began to move impatiently toward the stairs.

"Uh, hmmm, uh," Scott fidgeted.

"Spit it out, Scotty."

"Is there anything I could do to help? With whatever it is that you seem to be upset about?"

Logan's laugh was short and bitter, "Not right now, Cyke. Maybe later." He disappeared down the stairs leading to the basement and the danger room.

* * *

The professor had watched Remy silently for several minutes, aware of his son's intense discomfort and caught half way between feelings of concern and mild amusement. He could well remember the intensity of his own emotions when he was in his early twenties and was not surprised to see his own deep and passionate feelings mirrored by this young man who was his son.

Charles was in his wheelchair. He moved it over to Remy's bed and pulled his body out of it and onto the side of the bed next to Gambit. Remy continued to feel a churning iciness in his guts and wouldn't meet the professor's eyes.

"Can you help me, Remy?" he asked gently. Remy shook himself out of his self-absorbtion and felt a new stab of guilt at his obliviousness to his dad's need for help. He sat up and helped his father get his useless legs onto the bed, still avoiding his eyes.

Charles leaned back against the pillows at the head of the bed and looked around the room. "You've not put much of yourself into this room, have you, Remy?" he asked casually.

Remy looked around. He had kept the room neat, but his father was right. No pictures, no momentos, little of himself as a person. Well, sometimes he felt as if there were little of himself as a person. "Didn't really think I'd get to stay for long," he admitted in a voice close to a whisper.

"That is no longer an issue, son. This is your home from now on, no matter what you do." Remy felt tightness gathering in his chest again. He also felt an iron determination not to cry again. It didn't help at all that he also felt more like a ten year old than a 22 year old. And it also didn't help at all that he felt like a complete failure as a person.

"No matter what I do?" he asked tightly.

"Of all the things you are capable of doing, no matter what you do," Charles said easily. "I've been in your mind, Remy. I know what you are capable of doing and nothing you are capable of doing would get you expelled from my home. Oh, there are some things you are capable of doing that would get you punished severely, particularly if you lose control of your temper or those wildly self destructive impulses. But nothing that would get you expelled."

The nausea and dread in Remy's stomach receded slightly. He relaxed a little. "Dat not easy for me to b'lieve," he admitted. "I not sure ya know what I capable of."

Charles vaguely felt a psychic cry of distress from Ororo which worried him deeply, but he had his son's heart in his hands, and he trusted Storm to handle whatever problems she was having without his help at that moment. More so, he knew it involved her and Logan, and he trusted both of them.

"What is it that you feel so guilty about, Remy? Can you send it to me?" he asked. Remy took a deep breath and tried to marshall his thoughts before sending them to his father. He failed to produce much order to the chaotic mess inside his mind.

The professor's mind was flooded with the pre-rational and almost incoherent memories of a small child, with feelings, images, snatches of narrative memories. Mostly there was a sense of feeling secure, loved, and protected and then abruptly lost and abandoned, accompanied by a determined conviction that it was somehow all his own fault.

That, somehow, he had been much badder than he could remember and must have deserved all the pain and loss. And some part of him had been trying to prove to everyone, himself included, that he really was the bad person who had deserved what had happened to him as a child.

Charles shuddered and tried to remain calm. It upset him deeply that his son had suffered such trauma and upset him even more that he blamed himself. "Remy, you were a perfectly normal and delightful child. No, I'm sorry. You were a not a normal child. You were very gifted, very bright, and very loved. None of what happened was your fault."

"I can' b'lieve dat," Remy said quietly in a tone of voice that indicated that any contradiction of his opinion would upset his view of the universe.

"You can't or you're afraid to?"

"It don' make no sense, if it weren't my fault . . .?" Remy stopped talking, utterly confused by the notion that he could have been so traumatized and punished if it were not his own fault.

"No, son, it makes no sense. None of what happened to you makes any sense. It was senseless and tragic and totally out of your control. You were a little boy, Remy. You had no control or power over what happened."

"You really t'ink it was't my fault?" he asked as if with repetition of the idea it might start to make some sense.

"No. It wasn't your fault."

Remy turned away from his father, swung his feet off the side of the bed, turned toward the head of the bed, braced his feet against the floor, and slammed his fist into the wall almost hard enough to break his fingers.

Charles winced and restrained himself from physically intervening. Through his link with Remy he could feel the pain in his knuckles. "How could it have been your fault?" he asked patiently.

Remy hesitated. "I. . . had been," Remy felt his throat closing as he tried to speak, "mad. . .at. . .you."

Send it to me Charles ordered simply.

The child Remy had misbehaved the day before the attack. He had simply refused to cooperate with requests to put away his toys, stop playing his computer games, or eat with his family. His father had finally, with exasperation, given him a time out and had withdrawn his computer privileges for two days. The little boy had been furious with the discipline and remembered hating his Daddy and wishing him dead. They had reconciled before he went to sleep that night, but he remembered his angry impulsive thoughts. In the morning, his wish had come true.

The adult Remy froze in anticipation of the fact that his father would finally understand what an angry and destructive child he had been.

"It's pretty common for a small child to be that angry with a parent," Charles said in a matter of fact tone of voice. "Little children don't really even understand what death means. They just perceive it as the ultimate punishment, but fully expect the dead parent to reappear afterward. Your wishes were not that powerful, Remy. It was a coincidence. Let it go."

"I can't. I was bad den. I still bad." Remy sat tightly on the edge of his bed, head in his hands. He did not want to relinquish his sense that he had some measure of control over what had happened to him even if the price he paid was self-hatred.

Charles felt a surge of anger at his son's determined guilt and anger at himself. "NO. Stop this, boy, or I will spank you again, myself," he said emphatically.

Remy's heart froze. He felt utterly paralyzed with shock. "You never spanked me," he protested.


Remy thought. "No," he admitted. "I don' ever 'r'member you spank'in' me."

"Good. I don't believe in spanking as an effective mode of disipline for little children. I believe it stops bad behavior pretty quickly, but it is useless as a method of establishing good behavior. Positive reinforcement is the most effective means of shaping behavior with withdrawal of approval and attention as the most effective method of extinguishing bad behavior."

Remy relaxed the tension if his muscles a trifle. "Logan. . . spank'd me. . .once," he admitted hesitantly.

Send it to me

*Little Remy had seen a bare bottom spanking in a cartoon. He was profoundly curious about what it was like to receive one. He was determined to make one of his many parents show him what it felt like. It seemed like an interesting alternative to the scoldings and time outs he usually received as discipline for his willful stubbornness.

He and Logan went on a camping trip when the child was about four years old. He had been adamantly uncooperative and defiant. Logan had told him over and over to stay close to camp and not wander off on his own in the woods. He had defied the order repeatedly. Finally, Wolverine had put him a time out under a nearby tree.

Remy had sounded off, "You can't make me stay here, unless you watch me all the time. I can still go 'splorin' if I want to."

Logan looked at him carefully. "Remy, I will punish you if you violate your time out," he said quietly.

"So what? So how? You gonna spank me?" the little boy demanded.

"That what you want, kidlet?"

"'Course not."

"Well, what did you have in mind, little guy?" Remy shut his mouth and glared at his godfather. He couldn't meet his eyes for long, and he stared sullenly at the ground.

"Kiddo, if you violate your time out and wander off again you will be spanked. With your pants down and your bottom bared," Logan said firmly. Remy didn't look at him.

"Did you understand what I said to you, child?" Logan asked. Remy nodded, still pouting.

Logan returned the business of setting up camp. Little Remy waited until Wolverine's attention was fully engaged with a recalcitrant tent and slipped away. He followed the nearby stream for a while before he realized that Logan could easily follow his scent over the ground. He was a smart child. He pulled off his shoes and socks and waded into the water, moving up stream. He felt quite proud of himself because he figured that Logan would assume he went downstream with the easier flow.

After what seemed like hours to the little boy when his feet were numb with cold, he climbed out of the mountain stream and wandered into the woods. He was hungry and shivering. And he was ready to be found. He just wasn't sure how to arrange what he wanted.

He looked longingly at several bushes bearing fruit, but he knew better than to sample their wares. He had been well taught to avoid the possiblity of poisoning himself. None of the nearby bushes were familiar to him.

His feet were very cold and he was very tired. The sun was sinking. Surely, his Wolvie would find him soon. He sat down beneath a tree and felt very scared, wondering if he had outsmarted his own self. The sun touched the horizon, and Remy began to panic a little.

Logan had told him later that he had noticed his disappearance very quickly and had gone after the child, upset with himself for not noticing the defiant neediness exhibited by the boy. He was very worried.

Logan told him that he had found the discarded socks and shoes beside the mountain stream and wondered which way the child might have gone. Twilight was approaching, but he didn't doubt his ability to track the boy. What worried him was the possibility of predators catching the scent of an unprotected human child.

He guessed that Remy would have chosen upstream and started that way immediately, sniffing carefully at each bank while freezing his feet in the icy stream.

Night fell. Remy huddled beneath his tree and thought about lions and tigers and bears. He was really scared. Where in the world was his "Wolvie?" He started to cry.

Logan's sharp ears had immediately detected the sobs of the little boy. He jumped out of the brook and ran like the wind.

Little Remy was in a state of panic and crying very hard when he heard a rustling in the woods near him. He felt a simultaneous sense of hope and fear. He wanted the noise to be made by his "Wovie," but he was terrified it was a bear. His heart leaped when Logan appeared out of the trees, and he held out his arms to be picked up by his godfather.

Logan gathered him up. "Shhh, kidlet, shush," Wolverine said gently. "I'm here. You're safe. We're going back to camp."

Logan carried him gently through the woods. The little boy's sobs subsided about halfway back to the camp, and he started to worry about the consequences of his misbehavior. Suddenly, the idea of a spanking didn't seem at all attractive. He wished he had never wandered away. With some sense of desperation, he hoped that Logan would consider his lonely fear in the dark to be punishment enough.

"Are you gonna spank me?" he asked in a small voice as Logan carried him. He felt Wolverine's arms tighten around him and there was a pause before his godfather replied.

"That's what I told you I would do," Logan said with a tone of utter finality. Remy started to cry again.

"Please don't," he begged. "Please."

Logan made no response. When they got back to the campsite, he sat down upon a log and put the child on his feet in front of him. He put one hand on each side of the little boy's waist and said gruffly, "What did I say I would do if you violated your time out and wandered off again?"

Remy hung his head and sobbed. He really didn't want to know any more what a spanking might feel like. He just wanted to feel safe and loved.

Logan asked again, "What did I say I would do if you wandered off again?" His voice was patient, but determined and full of steely resolve.

Remy gulped, "Please, don't spank me." The idea no longer seemed enticing at all.

Logan sighed deeply. As he later explained to the child, he had asked for it and much as he regretted his threat, he was obligated to deliver. He pulled the boy over his knees.

"NO!" Remy screamed hysterically. Logan shook his head and took down the little boy's shorts.

"NO, please! Please, don't spank me!" Remy was beside himself. Logan took his underwear down and bared his bottom. The little boy felt a profound sense of terrified dismay with his bare bottom upended over Wolvie's knees. Logan delivered a very hard spank to the bare fanny over his knees.

Little Remy was shocked beyond belief. It actually hurt and he had never been hurt by anyone who loved him.

"WOLVIE!" he screamed in terror and disbelief, "You HURT me!"

"Yep," Logan acknowledged, "that's what a spanking is supposed to do. Hurt."

He delivered all of about ten solid spanks to the bare bottom of the little boy. It seemed endless to the child. Remy felt deeply shocked and betrayed. Never had one of his "parents" hurt him physically. He sobbed with panic and distress.

Logan pulled the child's pants back up and gathered him into his arms. "I didn't want to do that," he said, "but you seemed desperate to find out how it felt."

Remy cried as if he had been wounded to his heart. Logan held him tightly. "I'm sorry, kidlet," he said sincerely. "I should never have promised you a spanking, no matter what you asked for. You don't deserve to be hurt. Not ever. Not by anyone. It's not okay to hit people. I'm sorry. I was wrong."

Remy felt a deep sense of relief and his sobs eased. "Thank you, Wolvie," he gulped. He thought for several minutes about what his 'Wolvie' had said.

"It's never okay to hit?" he asked, totally confused because he knew his whole family fought against 'bad guys' on a regular basis. He heard Logan chuckle reluctantly.

"Child, you are too damn smart and curious for your own good," he said. "Look, it's only okay to hit to defend yourself or to fight bad guys who are trying to hurt other people. But even then it's best to restrict yourself to the minimum amount of force necesary to contain the problem."

"Huh?" Some of that made little sense to the child. He heard Logan sigh.

"Remy, do you remember about a month ago when you were at day camp and some of the bigger kids started picking on your friend, Cindy, and calling her a little mutie?"

"Uh huh," Remy had no idea what the incident described had to do with his question, but he was listening.

"They were shoving her back and forth and you jumped off the swing and told them to stop and leave her alone."

"Uh huh."

"They didn't listen to you so you lost your temper and started to throw mud at them. Cindy managed to run away and tell a teacher who came over and stopped you. You got in trouble because you were throwing mud."

"Yeah," Remy had not thought any of it fair. He knew he was 'sposed to go tell a teacher if there was a problem, but the other boys were hurting his friend and would have kept it up if he hadn't intervened.

"You were right to defend your friend. That's when it's okay to use force, to stop other people from hurting someone else or from hurting you. But for the most part it's best to go get an adult who can help."

Remy thought about it. Made sense to him. But his feelings were still hurt.

"So is it ever okay to give someone a spanking?" he asked very quietly. He felt Logan shrug. There was a moment of silence.

"That depends on a lot of things, little guy. Can you save the question until you're a little older?"

Remy nodded sleepily, relaxing in Wolverine's arms. He remembered nothing more about that night.*

Charles was almost overwhelmed at the power and detail of the memory.

"When is it okay? Why is it okay now?" the semi-adult Remy asked.

"You're not a child any more, Remy." The professor understood the question. "You know damn well that violence and hitting are not the way to solve a problem. You're old enough to understand that a spanking was a punishment that you deserved."

"Not fair," Remy protested, somehat weakly.

"Yes, son, it is very fair," Charles said firmly. "What would you prefer as a punishment? To be jailed? Expelled? Ostracized? Put on probation?"

Remy shook his head. He couldn't think clearly. He crossed his arms across his chest and held himself as if to contain the confusion of feelings in his chest and stomach. The feelings aroused by the memory of his childhood spanking and the pain and humiliation of the spankings of the last two days blended together into a confusion of shame, relief, and a curious sense of dread that he really didn't understand.

"Did you want to be punished?" Charles asked inexorably. Remy nodded, unable to deny the truth of his guilt and shame. "What choice did we have, son? Either to spank you or withdraw our love? What would you have preferred?"

Remy continued to hold himself tightly. Charles reached over, took his arm, and shook him gently. "Take your time, boy, but I will wait for your answer. Wasn't a spanking the kindest, most loving punishment we could have given you?"

The words penetrated. He nodded. But he continued to feel deeply confused and uncomfortable.

"Son, it is almost 10:00 pm. I scheduled a meeting at 10:30 to discuss the issues brought up by your memories. I want you there. So, you need to calm down and pull yourself together. You are going to be needed to explain the details of what happened. And to fill in the details of what you know about Sinister."

Remy felt a sharp stab of deep dismay. "I can't" he protested. There were still so many of the X-men who had not visited his room. He felt somewhat safe with Rogue, Beast, Scott, Storm, Wolverine and his father, but he didn't know if he could face the others.

"You have to," Charles ordered firmly. Remy tried to collect himself.

* * *

The danger room was occupied when Logan went to work out. He sighed deeply and headed for the gym. He badly needed a way to work through his anger.

Logan was a very private person. He had kept himself to himself for many a year. Ororo's confidences to Forge left him feeling profoundly violated in a sense that he did not even understand. The rage churning in his guts was beyond his own ability to comprehend.

He worked out hard in the gym, but did not succeed in resolving any of his angry feelings. If anything, he felt more coldly furious after the workout than he had felt before. Even as he had occupied his body with serious exercise, his mind had remained fixated on his conversation with Ororo and his strong sense of anger and betrayal. The time of the meeting was rapidly approaching. He headed for his room to shower and change.

* * *

The meeting had originally been scheduled for the war room, but Charles decided his study would feel like a safer environment for Remy. The professor and Remy had gone down early, and Remy curled himself up in the huge leather armchair in which he had endured the entry into his mind, while the professor mentally notified the family of the change in venue. Gambit dreaded the coming encounters with those who had not yet come to speak with him in his room.

He leaned his head against the back of the chair and listened as his teammates started to enter.

Betsy approached him and put a gentle hand on his arm.

"Hi, Gambit," she said softly. "I was going to visit you tomorrow. Thought you might need a few days to recover before you wanted company."

Remy looked up at her. She was scantily clad as usual, showing off her tightly muscled and exquisite body. His eyes twinkled slightly as he looked her up and down.

"You c'n visit any time a' all, Psylocke. Give me pleasure j'st lookin' a' you."

"Well, I can see that you're the same damn rascal, you've always been," she laughed.

"T'ink I be de same Gambit dat I always been, cher. Just a lit'l bruised in de bod and soul," he flirted with her as he usually did. He was deeply grateful for her words of kind concern. And he had always enjoyed playing with the tightly controlled and usually all too serious Psylocke.

"I'd say bruised on your butt, Cajun. And well deserved, too."

"Unkind, cher," Remy protested with a grin even as he feared he was blushing with embarrassment. She notice the slight flush rising on his cheeks and relented.

"I'll come see you tomorrow," she promised. He nodded as she moved away.

Bishop approached Remy, obviously feeling quite uncomfortable. Remy felt a strange combination of sympathy and dread.

"You doing okay, Gambit?" he asked, not quite looking at him.

"Oh, yeah, Bish, I be peachy," Remy answered him flippantly. "You devastated to learn dat I not de traitor you t'ought I be?"

Bishop's body tensed slightly, "I'm sorry I suspected you, Remy," he admitted. "And we have much to discuss. I'll talk to you soon."

Remy nodded and Bishop also moved away. There was no opportunity for Bobby, Warren, or Sam to speak to Gambit before the professor called the meeting to order.

Remy sighed deeply and closed his eyes, leaning back again in the chair. Rogue settled herself on the floor beside him and reached out for his hand. He gave it to her and felt a little less confused and dismayed with his hand in hers. But he still felt uncomfortable meeting the eyes of any of his family.

"We have much to discuss," Charles Xavier informed his X-men. He quickly and explicitly informed the room that Remy was his son from a future time line. Most of the group had already heard that bit of information. Few reacted with shock.

But the next bombshell delivered by the professor shook many of them. He explained that Colossus had been the traitor who had helped Sebastion Shaw to wipe out the X-Men.

"NO!" Betsy protested, "Not Piotr. He would never betray us like that."

"He had lost his mind, Psylocke," Charles explained gently. "He was quite psychotic when he betrayed us. We need to prevent that from happening."

Remy suddenly felt a startled revelation. He jerked in his seat. "It cou'dn' have happened in dis time line," he burst out. Everyone turned to him with curiousity. He avoided most of their eyes, but looked carefully at his father.

"Logan." He said, "In my memory, he had his adamantium skeleton. Dey melted him..." he shuddered slightly as the memory crossed his mind, ". . .down. He not have his adamantium in dis time line."

He felt Wolverine's eyes upon him and glanced over at his godfather who was looking tense and tight. He felt a moment of concern that the anger he sensed strongly was directed at him. His anxiety leaked through his poorly developed telepathic shields at Logan who shook himself slightly and tried to relax.

No, Remy, I'm not angry with you. Not now. Calm down. Logan sent him mentally.

Remy took a deep breath, aware that every eye in the room was on him.

"Good point, son," his father said. "But it may be possible that even in this time line Logan might reacquire the adamantium bonded to his bones."

"Over my dead body," Wolverine grumbled. "Never wanted that shit in my body in the first place."

Bobby laughed briefly and most of the others smiled. They knew they could trust Logan to speak his mind. Storm looked at him hopefully, but he avoided her eyes, leaving her with a sinking sense of despair.

"That may be true, Logan, but even if this a different time line, we may still have the same possiblities with which to contend. We need to protect Piotr from the events that may cause him to break down. We need to monitor Shaw. And we need to know more about the activities of Sinister."

Remy tensed at the mention of Sinister. Rogue's gloved hand tightened against his as he turned his face toward the back of the chair. He held her hand gratefully.

"Remy, I'm sorry," Charles said. "But we must know more about Sinister. You must tell us what you know."

Remy sighed deeply, "I re'lly did't know much ab't what he was doin'. I knew he was doin' research inta what makes us mutants. He had me helpin' collect tissue samples for clonin.' And I help'd wit de clonin' procedures. Lab work, mos'ly."

Scott tensed, remembering his very personal and nightmarish experiences with some of Sinister's clones. Jean felt his distress through their link and put a hand on his arm. He relaxed slightly and sent through the link reassurance that he was okay.

Remy swallowed hard, "I was mostly blind t' what he was r'lly doin.' But den he start'd ta weird me out wit some of de genetic manipulations he was messin' wit. Creatin' monsters, den experimentin' wit what he done, den killin' dem."

"How could you have been so gullible, Gambit?" Warren burst out explosively. Betsy started to reach out toward her lover, but dropped her hand. This was his problem to work out with Remy. There was little she could do. He also had had extemely painful experiences with his body being altered and changed by genetic manipulations.

Remy closed his eyes, "Ain't got no 'cuses, Warren. I was j'st a stupid kid."

Warren looked as if he were on the edge of an explosion of anger. Hank jumped in quickly, "I believe that the operative word in these circumstances is that Remy was indeed just a 'kid,'" he said calmly, springing to Gambit's defense. "He was only about 18 years old, Warren. Do you recall the antics in which you involved yourself when you were 18? I certainly do. Might I remind you. . . "

"I don't think that will be necessary, Henry," the professor interupted. "Let Remy continue his story."

"When I realiz'd what he was doin,' I tried ta get away. He caught me and I had t' pret'nd dat I was willin' t' he'p him ag'in."

Charles interrupted, "You forgot to mention that he beat you senseless, broke two of your ribs and your collarbone, gave you a severe concussion, covered your face and body with bruises and lacerations, left your eyes swollen completely shut, split your lips, and imprisoned you in a small cage until you apologized for your defection and agreed to return to being his 'helper.'"

Warren's angry eyes softened. Rogue's hand tightened on Remy's until it hurt him. She had not known how badly he had been beaten. He leaned over and looked at her carefully. "It be all right, now, cherie. It was a long time ago. I healed," he tried to reassure her.

"Your body might have healed, Gambit," Beast said quietly. "I doubt you healed inside."

Remy shrugged, "I been hurt a lot, Henri. Weren't no big deal. J'st one more beatin.' I done been beat up a lot in my time."

"And I seriously doubt you've completely healed from any of those incidents starting from when you were a five year old child who saw everyone you loved killed in front of you and then was a victim of attempted murder from someone you had known and trusted," Hank said emphatically.

Several members of the family gasped with horror. They had not been told the exact details of what had happened. Remy struggled with himself, trying not to curl up and retreat into a blankness inside his head.

"This is not the time to discuss what might be going on inside of Remy's mind," Charles interjected. "I appreciate your comments, Henry, and I am grateful for your concern about my son, but we need to talk about Sinister right now."

Remy shot his father a grateful look. He continued avoid the eyes of everyone else.

"So, I pr'tend'd to help him ag'in. But I was stockin' up chemicals to explode. I r'lly did't know what t' do. J'st knew I had t' get away," Remy' face flushed. The next part of the story was almost more than he could bear to describe. "One o' his labs was b'neath a theat'r in Seattle. Dat was where I was. I had t'ought I could rescue some of de clones when I explod'd de chemicals and got away. De ones who were r'lly p'ple. Did't work out dat way. Sinister was on t' me. . . "

His voice caught. He could hear the screams in his head. Clones that he had helped to create and raise. People who mattered to him. He had tried to warn them about his plan. Tried to give them escape routes. But most of the clones were immature, not fully developed, limited in their understanding. He had barely managed to escape himself from the explosion and the flames. Tears rose in his eyes. He blinked them back and held his breath, but he started to tremble with the effort of containing his horrendous guilt.

"They were just clones, Remy." Bobby, of all people, tried to offer his support to this fellow X-man whom he had never really trusted and who had captured the heart of Rogue, a woman he wanted.

"Clones are p'ple, Bobby" Remy choked out tightly. "Dey not any less p'ple cause dey made not born. Dere was a li'le girl who. . ." He couldn't speak any more. He held his breath and tightened every muscle in his body, trying to contain his despairing self-hatred. Jerking his hand out of Rogue's grasp, he clutched both arms over his chest, leaning into them. Rogue's eyes widened and she sat up straight, looking imploringly about the room.

Logan, who had been leaning against a wall, stood up straight and moved decisively toward his godson. He put both his hands on the arms of the chair in which Remy sat and leaned over toward Remy's head which was turned toward the back of the chair.

"You are not okay," he said quietly. Remy nodded. Logan turned to the professor. "Chuck, I think we got enough of this for now," he said firmly. Charles nodded.

"Does anyone have anything to say to my son?" he asked.

There was a long moment of silence. Remy froze, sure he was going to hear words of condemnation.

"Remy, you did what you could. It wasn't the best choice, perhaps, but none of us are any position to judge. We weren't there. None of us had been manipulated by Sinister in the way you were. Lied to, betrayed, beaten, and imprisoned," Scott said. There were several murmurs of assent.

Logan shook his head, "I want to get Remy back up to his room. He's had enough."

"I quite agree," Beast said.

"Wait a damn minute," Warren protested. "I got something I want to say to him."

Remy stiffened. Logan turned to Warren with eyes that promised murder if anything was said to further upset one of his "kids." Archangel shook his head slightly and glared back.

"Gambit," he said, "I've worked for Apocalypse. I've felt as much shamed guilt as you seem to be into right now. I've never trusted you before now. Always suspectd you were a con artist of consummate skill who was using us for your own ends."

Remy nodded. He could well understand Warren's opinion of him.

"But," Warren went on, "the more I hear about where you came from and what you went through, the more I realize that I've misjudged you. As far as I'm concerned you did the best you could with what you had to work with. And you might have done better than I would have given the same circumstances. You are a part of this family. I want you here."

Remy froze in startled surprise and then, to his own consternation, tears started welling in his eyes and flowing down his face. He drew his knees up to his chest and put his forehead against them, deeply ashamed of the feelings which he was unable to contain.

"T'anks, Warren," he choked out.

"Let's all take a ten minute break," the professor ordered. "I'll expect all of you but Remy back in ten." Most of the group fled immediately, fairly rushing for the door.

Rogue, Storm, Beast, Scott, Jean, and Logan stayed put. Logan shoved Remy over and gathered him into his arms. Remy leaned against him and sobbed deeply. He was almost as upset about the fact that he was crying again as he was about the subject matter under discussion. He struggled to stop.

Charles moved his hover chair over to Remy. He reached out and put his hand on his son's arm. "Thank you, son. You did very well," he said.

"I wan' t' go t' my room," Remy choked out, holding his breath as best he could, but still unable to stop the sobs that wracked his body.

"No problem," Logan rumbled. "Just calm down a little, boy. You're in no shape to go anywhere right now."

"I. . . a t'tal. . .fuck up," Remy managed to say.

Jean shook her head, "You're a darling, Remy, and we all love you. Very much."

"He can't hear that, Jean," Logan said. "Just give him a little time." His eyes met those of the professor's over Remy's head still leaning against Wolverine's huge chest. Charles nodded.

"Can I just tell him that I love him?" Rogue asked hesitantly.

"He probably knows that, darlin,'" Logan said quietly. "Just let him decompress."

Jean turned to her husband who gathered her into his arms. Scott's eyes brimmed with compassion for the young man in Logan's arms, but he said nothing. They all waited until the storm of grief and shame subsided.

Remy took a very deep breath and pulled himself out of Logan's arms. "I okay, now," he said shakily.

"I doubt that very seriously," Beast said, "but you may be okay enough to make it to your room. Professor, do you really think he should be left alone?"

"No," Charles said, "but we are all needed to discuss what to do next."

"I can send the proceedings to whomever stays with Remy," Jean offered. Scott nodded.

"Who do you want to be with you, son?" Charles asked.

Remy was torn. He knew Rogue wanted to be chosen, but he didn't really want to be with his woman when he was feeling so deeply shaken. He wanted to be with her when he had something to give, not when he felt so depleted and exhausted.

"I wan' you, Rogue," he admitted, "but not right now. I too shaken up. I sorry."

Rogue felt a moment of angry and hurt rejection, but she struggled to sympathise with her love. She wanted him to want her and only her, but she dimly understood his male pride that didn't allow him to fall apart in front of her.

"I wan' you. . ." Remy hesitated and then used the word that had popped into his head, "Dad. . . but you got t' be here."

Charles was deeply touched. It was the first time his son had called him 'Dad.' But he realized that Remy was right.

"Yes, Remy. Much as I wish to be with you, my place is here. So?"

"I wan' eit'er Logan or Stormy," Remy asked for his "godparents."

Before Ororo could open her mouth, Logan spoke, "I'll go with the boy. Jean, darlin,' keep me informed."

Storm tried to meet Logan's eyes, but he kept them turned away from her. She sank down to her knees on the floor, feeling profoundly hurt. Jean and Beast looked back and forth between her and Wolverine, wondering what in hell was going on between the two.

Logan pulled Remy to his feet.

He turned to Rogue, "I do love you, cher."

She nodded, "I know, love," She reached out one of her gloved hands and gently stroked his cheek.

"I'll be by your room, later," she said. He nodded, not trusting himself to speak. Logan guided him out the door.

Hank turned to the professor and said, "I think you have a son in whom you can be proud."

"I think you're right, Henry," Charles said. He turned and looked at Scott, "Scott, you have always been my surrogate son. Can you accept this newest turn of events?"

"Have your feeling toward me changed, sir?" Scott asked hesitantly.

"Hardly, I am simply pleased that I have two sons in whom I can take pride. Quite a pleasant change for me."

All of those left in the room thought for a moment of Legion, the professor's biological son who was driven psychotic by his formidible powers. They felt a moment of sympathy and concern for the man who had brought all of them together. And a moment of acceptance for his obvious love for Remy. Charles was able to guess at their feelings without even using his telepathic powers. He smiled.

"Yes, after all the problems I had with Legion, I am delighted to find I have another son in whom I can take some pride."

Ro sat silently and cross legged on the carpeted floor. Logan had never met her eyes with his. She felt tears forming in her eyes and excused herself to go the bathroom.

Oh, Logan, she thought to herself. *I don't know what I will do if you want nothing futher to do with me. I didn't realize how much I loved you until you turned away."

She leaned on the edge of the sink and cried.

Family Matters, Chapter 6, part 2

Storm gripped the edges of the sink hard and struggled to contain her pain so she could return to the meeting. She heard a gentle knocking. "Ororo?" Jean's voice came through the door. "Can I come in?"

Ro nodded, and then realizing how idiotic it was to nod at someone through a closed door, she released one hand from the sink and leaned over to open the door. Jean slipped quietly inside and shut the door behind her. She stared at Ro with concern.

"Why are you crying? What is going on?" she asked.

Ro shook her head and felt more tears slipping down her face. "I've ruined everything," she said quietly.

"Ruined what, Ro? Does this have something to do with Logan?" Jean was totally perplexed. Ro nodded and started to sob. Jean pulled her into her arms instinctively and held her closely.

Storm relaxed into Jean's arms for a few moments, finding comfort there, and then pulled away. "Didn't Scott tell you that he found us in bed together?" Ro asked. She started to splash cold water on her face.

"No, not yet," Jean was startled and a bit annoyed that secrets had been kept from her and even though she would not admit it to herself, a bit annoyed that Logan may have been in bed with Ro. "You and Logan? In bed? How long has this been going on?"

"How long have we been making love? I guess for about a day and a half or so," Storm smiled again. It had felt much longer than just a day and a half. "I think we've made love all of about three times."

"Three times in about 24 hours while dealing with all this mess? When have you slept?"

"Before dinner. A few hours last night and this morning. Not much."

"Are you in love with him?"

"Jean, I don't think I've slept with a man I wasn't in love with since I was Remy's age. Yes, I think I am very much in love with him. And by the goddess, it was the best sex I ever had." Ro shivered with delicious memories.

Jean almost laughed aloud at the look of dreamy fulfillment that momentarily crossed Ro's face. "You know I'm jealous," she confided. "If I had not met and fallen for Scott before I met Logan, I don't know what would have happened between me and him."

"Oh, I know exactly what would have happened," Storm laughed. Jean mockingly smacked at her arm.

"Don't tease me, Ro. Tell me about it."

There was an insistent knock at the door. "Jean? Storm?" Scott's voice sounded on the other side. "I don't know what you ladies are doing in there, but the rest of us are ready to resume the meeting."

They heard him say faintly to someone else, "What DO women do in bathrooms together?"

"Group therapy?" They heard Bobby suggest. Both women got a sudden attack of the giggles.

"Close enough," Jean snorted.

"I'll tell you about it later," Storm said quietly as they each tried to stop laughing. They left the bathroom to go back to the meeting.

* * *

As Remy turned toward the stairs to go up to his room, Logan stopped him with a hand on his arm. He turned him toward the door. Remy stopped and looked at him with bemusement.

"You need a cigarette," Logan said with certainness. "And I want a beer and a cigar. We're going outside. My responsibility."

Remy wasn't about to argue. He willingly followed Logan out the door. He lit up as soon as they hit the porch. "Wait here," Logan directed him. Remy sat down on the steps and drew hard on his cigarette, enjoying the cool night breeze and the stars above.

Logan was back in a minute with a small cooler. He handed Remy a Samuel Adams Summer Ale and took one for himself. Remy stomped out the cigarette on the steps and put the butt in his pocket. "Dock or trees?" Logan asked the younger man.

"Trees, over near de lake."

They headed across the lawn. Remy broke into a sprint and launched himself at a branch of one of the nearer trees. Almost anyone else would have missed and fallen, but acrobatics were one of his specialities. He swung himself up easily with one hand and without spilling a drop of his beer, he caught his legs on the next lowest branch and settled down comfortably.

Logan chuckled and handed his beer and the cooler to Remy before swinging himself up a little more carefully. He pulled out one of his cigars and lit it, leaning back against the trunk of the tree. Remy drained the beer in his hand and put the empty bottle in the cooler which he settled into the crook between his branch and the trunk. He stood and started to climb up higher into the tree.

"You looking for anything in particular, boy, or just using those muscles of yours?" Logan asked.

"Just climbin'. Is dat okay?"

"I ain't got no problem with you doin' whatever you want."

Remy moved out far along a large limb and launched himself at another tree which seemed ridiculously far away. He caught himself with both hands and swung himself up into a handstand catching the next branch up with his legs and using his leg muscles to swing himself up again.

"Just don't break your damn fool neck," Wolverine warned. Remy laughed and swung himself up and out again, feeling a sheer delight and pleasure in moving his body and using his strength. He hadn't realized how much he depended on regular workouts to keep his feelings under control until he had been deprived of one for a full day. He launched himself again.

Logan watched, feeling a slight subsiding of his angry mood as he drained his beer and took another from the cooler. We're meeting again. Jean's voice came to him.

Send it to me, darlin'.

Where are you?

Up a tree. Drinkin a beer and enjoyin' a cigar while Remy plays at brachiating.


*Look it up, darlin'."

There was a slight pause. Logan chuckled. He knew Jean would eventually get around to looking it up, but there wasn't much opportunity at the moment. *Isn't he supposed to be in his room?* Her voice was acerbic in his mind.

So, shoot me. I'd heal anyway. He made his mental voice sardonic in response to this woman he had long loved. *Thought the boy could use some time outside. He's earned it. What's goin' on?*

Jean allowed him to see and hear the events in the meeting. The professor was describing the exact events that led up to the massacre at the mansion. And explaining what little Remy had seen and experienced: Rogue and Lilandra shot and murdered in the kitchen. Her own attempts to get Remy to safety. She started to send Logan the memories she had actually experienced inside Remy's mind. Their entrance to the study where Charles had laid dead with half his head blown away. Scott's lifeless body on the floor half covering their dead daughter, Remy's best friend, whom Scott had obviously tried to shield from the relentless weapons of the mercenaries hired by Sebastian Shaw. The report made by the mercenary captain of how many people had died before they managed to take out Wolverine himself. The appearance of Piotr with Jean's dead baby in his hands. Her own escape through the secret door in the study, leaving Remy feeling totally abandoned. The mad eyes of Piotr as seen by the little boy when Colossus approached the child and picked him up by his neck to snap it and kill him.

Jean pulled back as much as she could and tried to filter the horror of the memories she had gotten from Remy as a terrified small boy. His telepthic powers had prematurely emerged in response to the danger, and he had used them to psychically kill Piotr. But his lack of training in his psychic powers had left him unable to figure out how to get out of Piotr's mind as he died. He was trapped in the mind of a dying psychotic who happened to be an adult he had known and trusted as a friend. The experience was unbearably frightening to the child and he retreated into disassociation. The next thing and only thing Remy remembered was waking up alone and friendless in New Orleans in a far distant past.

Logan shuddered at the images. None of that will happen, darlin' he sent to her.

"And what will happen to Remy if we change the time line in which he was born? Will he simply disappear? And what about Bishop?*

*We've had other visitors from other time lines who stick around even after their personal time line failed to occur in this reality. Let's not worry about it, Jean. I think we'll find a way to keep Remy and Bishop.* He watched as Remy started to swing through the trees back toward him and grinned at the obvious pleasure Gambit was having at his exercise.

Jean sent him images of the reactions of the other team members. He noted that Cable had joined the party and was listening intently. The other members of the X-Men were frozen with shock and pity as they heard about the multiple traumas Remy had experienced as a little boy.

"We need to get this information to Moira and Kurt immediately," Betsy said firmly. "Piotr is on Muir Island and last I heard not very happy that Kitty has seemingly fallen in love with this Peter Wisdom person. He needs our help."

"He has lost more than most could stand," Charles said quietly. "His sister was our first death from the legacy virus. He had lost both his parents. His brother, Mikhail, went insane. He does need our help, and I think I am the most likely candidate to go and assess the situation on Muir Island and see what kind of help that Piotr needs. I'd like Hank to go with me."

Beast nodded and scratched absently at the blue fur that covered his body. He leapt up to hang from the ceiling fan which had been especially fortified to support his formidable weight.

"And we need two teams," Charles directed, "one to investigate and moniter Sinister's activities and one to infiltrate the New York Hellfire club and see what Shaw is planning. Warren, are you still a member through your father's legacy?"

Archangel shrugged, "It's not my cuppa tea, but I can certainly get in the doors. Who is with me?"

"I thought Shaw was dead," Bobby objected. "Killed by his own son, Shinobi."

He mighta got better. Logan sent his own message to Jean, quoting himself. Those were the words he had said over and over as, thanks to his mutant healing factor, he had healed from impossible wounds. Many a villian had gasped at him, "I thought you were dead," to which he had replied, "I got better." Jean chuckled and relayed the message from Wolverine.

There were several chuckles from the others. Charles was not particularly amused. "So, Warren to the Hellfire Club," he said, "With Psylocke, Iceman, and Cannonball as back up. As for the rest of you, I want you to find and moniter Sinister and his clones, especially the Marauders."

"Your mission should you decide to accept it. . ." Bobby grinned. Everyone chose to ignore him.

"Cable, I would like you and X-Force to stand by as needed," the professor ordered.

Cable nodded, looking extremely thoughtful. Logan imagined that he was bemused at the thought that another time traveling, prodigal son besides himself had emerged.

"What about Gambit?" Scott asked.

Charles sighed. "Remy is still under room restriction. We will handle this situation without him until he is free."

"He ain't gonna like that," Rogue said.

"He is going to live with it," the professor said firmly. "Now I suggest we all get some sleep. We'll head out in the morning. Jean, did Wolverine get this?"

"Yes, sir," Jean acknowledged their orders. Well, did you get it? she asked Logan.

*Yup. In the morning. I'm with you and Scotty. Acknowledged."

Logan prepared to sign off. He felt Jean's hesitation within his mind. He asked, *What is it, darlin'?"

None of my business, but what is going on with you and Ro?

Nothin' I'm ready to discuss. Logan felt a return of his anger. Jean withdrew.

* * *

Remy settled into the branch above Logan, pulled two more beers from the cooler, opened his, and lit a cigarette. He offered the other one to Wolvie who took it without a word. The scowl on Logan's face froze him to the branch on which he sat.

"You, uh. . . mad at me?" he asked.

Logan took a long drink at his beer and directed his scowl at the boy above him. "Not everything has to do with you, boy," he said abruptly.

Remy was stung. "Did't t'ink it did, mon ami. Just ask'ng."

His voice was full of bravado, but Logan could hear the hurt underneath. Wolverine tried to calm down. "Sorry, Remy," he said carefully. "I have my own demons to deal with."

Remy shrugged, "Dat not a problem for me. I know lots 'bout demons."

They both drank their beers in companionable silence. Remy reached down for Logan's empty and pulled another two out of the cooler. He lit another cigarette as Logan lit up another cigar.

Three beers were not a lot, but Remy started to feel a little high. He swung himself out again and started to pull himself branch by branch up and down the tree, stretching every muscle in his body and feeling better than he had felt in days. His bottom was still sore as hell and he was well reminded of how thoroughly, and deservedly, he had been spanked. The intense feeling of guilty shame and despair he had endured for the past two days started to subside back to the usual levels of guilty shame that he lived with constantly.

Logan once again felt his anger start to recede. He finished the beer he was drinking and asked Remy to pass him another on one of his trips down the tree. There was a long period of silence.

"Logan," Remy said.


"I sick and goddamm tired of cryin' all de time," he confided. "What do I need to do t' stop?"

"Finish it." Logan said quietly.

"What dat mean?"

"Finish your grievin', boy. You had a childhood from hell, but at least you remember it now." Logan took a long drink from his beer. "Wish to hell I could remember mine, but I don't. Can't trust my own memories at all. Don't know what was implanted by the Weapon X programming. You're lucky, kiddo. At least you know now what happened to you."

Remy swallowed hard and there was several moments of silence. "Uh, Wolvie," he offered tentavitely, "Why don't you ask my Dad and Jean to mindprobe you like they did me?"

There was a long pause before Wolverine spoke. "Might be an option, but my mind is my own, boy. I don't want other people in there," Logan tried to explain, "and to be honest, I'm not sure I want to know what might be found out." Wolverine finished his beer. "And," he said, "it is time to get you back to your room."

Remy felt a profound sense of chagrin. He did not want to go back to the four walls of his bedroom. "Now?" he asked.

"Now, Remy. It's late and I'm tired. I have to be up at 0600 to be on the Blackbird. Scott, Jean, Rogue, Ro, Bishop and me are going to investegate Sinister and the Marauders. Warren, Bobby, Sam and Psyclocke are going to Hellfire club. Your father and Beast are going to Muir Island to check out Piotr's condition."

"What about me?" Remy protested feeling more distraught at being left out of the missions than he felt about the stifling confines of his room.

"You're still on room arrest, boy," Logan said as he finished his beer and put out his cigar.

Remy felt a moment of intense disappointment. He had not even considered the idea that he might be left out of missions. "But, I can help you wit Sinister," he protested.

Logan reached for the cooler and held it in one hand as he swung himself out of the tree with the other. He looked up at Remy who was holding his half-finished fifth beer. "That's kinda irrelevant in these circumstances. Now, Remy. Time to go inside."

Remy finished the beer and carefully tossed the bottle down to Logan. He said nothing about the outraged emotions churning in his guts and swung himself out of the tree with a flip. His landing was uncharacteristically clumsily, his balance disturbed by the alcohol he had consumed on an empty stomach. Logan reached out an arm and steadied him.

"Have you eaten at all today, kiddo?" he asked. Remy shook his head. Logan continued, "Then we'll grab you a sandwich before you go back to your room."

Remy shook his head again, "Not hungry," he said flatly feeling nothing but empty depression.

Logan shrugged, "Your choice, boy. Get your butt inside."

He escorted Remy up the two flights of stairs to the men's wing of bedrooms, leaving him outside his room.

"T'anks, Logan," Remy said carefully, trying to contain his raging feelings about being confined to his room while his team mates investigated the villains.

"De nada," Logan shrugged and headed for his own room.

* * *

Rogue had left the meeting and gone to her room to collect the Genoshan slave collar that nullified her powers. She put it in a pocket of her cut off shorts and flew out of her window and around to Remy's room. His window was open and she let herself in, surprised to find the room empty. She had expected to find Remy and Logan there.

She prowled around the room, noted that Remy had eaten not one bite of the dinner she had made for him, and finally sat down at the computer to play games until her lover showed up. She had no idea where he might be.

There was only so long that SimCity could hold her imagination. She closed out after her sixth disaster, beginning to feel quite irritated and put upon, opened Solitaire. First, he had not chosen her to be with him and now he had disappeared. She thought about leaving, but decided to wait him out.

She won two games of solitaire out of about fifteen and got thoroughly bored. Her irritation continued to mount as she went over to the bed, put on her collar, and tried to doze a little. But her mind kept wandering to her grievances and a strong sense of being treated badly and taken for granted. Her irritation continued to mount.

Behind her eyes, she started to develop a satisfying fantasy of telling Remy off and earning a contrite and sincere apology. She imagined confronting him with all of his various inconsiderate behaviors and his lack of worthiness to be in her life. She found a sense of satisfaction in imagining him to be scared of losing her and reduced to tearful apologies.

When the door opened and Remy came in, she opened her eyes and stared at him. For a moment his eyes lit up in a delighted grin, but before the smile registered in her perceptions, she had already started her attack.

"WHERE the HELL have ya been, you Cajun fuck-up?" she flared, feeling immediate regret as the smile faded from his face and he faced her with wary guardedness.

"I been outside wit Logan," he said simply. "Smokin' and drinkin' beer." She noted the flush on his face and felt a new flare of anger at what she assumed was his drunken state. It didn't occur to her until later that the flush might have been his response to her anger.

"So, now ya're drunk as hell," she said bitterly. "Great way for us to continue what we started last night. Guess ah don't mean much to ya."

"Cher," Remy started in a tone of voice that was tightly controlled but attempted to be conciliatory, "I needed a break. I not drunk at all, j'st a little buzzed. Only had five beers."

Rogue was not appeased. Five beers would have made her drunk as hell. It didn't occur to her at the time that he had at least forty pounds more of body weight to absorb the alcohol. "Ya're a selfish bastard," she announced coldly. "Is that the real reason ya wanted Logan instead of me? So ya could do some stupid male bondin' and drink and smoke. Ya got that little interest in makin' love to me?"

"Rogue, dere is nothin' I rather do dan make love t' you. I j'st needed some time t' chill out."

Rogue was not listening. "An' ya didn't even eat an'thin' ah cooked for ya. What did ya do? Grab a sandwich? Ya're a total asshole."

Remy's face tightened, but he didn't say a word.

"Ah think ya're a user and ya don't give a damn about me." Remy was saying nothing Rogue wanted to hear. No apologies, no contrition. Her anger surged and she decided to escalate. "Ya just wanted to get laid by the most unattainable woman around and now that you done had me, ya don't care about me at all any more."

She was satisfied when she saw him flinch, but less than happy when she heard his response, "You not listenin' to me at all, cher. What is your problem?"

"Ya're, ya bastard."

"I don't need dis, cherie. I tired and feelin' bad already," he said softly. His face and body were tight with his effort to contain his raging disappointment and his discomfort with this unexpected attack. "We gettin' nowhere wit dis tonight, and you gotta go on a mission t'morrow dat I not allowed to be on. Maybe, we should let it go and try t' talk some o'ter time." He was trying hard to defuse the situation.

Rogue felt an intense sense of rejection and disappointment. Her fantasy was not coming to the resolution she had hope for. She leaped to her feet beside the bed and confronted Remy. "Ya don't care about me at all," she raged. "Ya are the kinda o' selfish, uncarin' asshole that should be workin' with Sinister instead of bein' with the X-men. I hate ya." She badly wanted him to say the right words to calm her down and reassure her, but she couldn't stop herself from escalating the fight.

"If dat be de way you r'lly feel, den I don' even know why you here." Remy was obviously struggling to contain himself. "You want me to be wit Sinister? Dat not what I want. But you entitled to your opinions, girl."

Rogue strode over to the uneaten plate of Cajun food she had made for Remy and picked up the plate full of jambalaya. red beans and dirty rice. "So wear this, ya bastard. It'll be the last time I ever cook for ya." She flung it in his general direction and immediately felt a moment of intense horror at what she had done.

Remy raised his arm to protect his face and got thoroughly splattered with rice, beans, shrimp, sausage and sauce. He took a deep breath.

"I t'ink you want and need anot'er spankin', girl," he said with quiet anger.

Rogue froze in startled dismay. This was not a part of her fantasy. Remy strode the few steps to close the gap between them. He took her by her upper arm. Ashamed already of the ferocity of her attack and the vicious cruelty of what she had said, Rogue did not resist. With his other hand, Remy reached around her waist, unfastened the button at the top of her shorts and unzipped them quickly. Down came the shorts and he planted a powerful spank on the seat of her panties.

He marched her to the corner, spanking her soundly every foot of the way. Putting his fingers in the waistband of her panties, he announced, "And now I gonna take your panties down, lit'le girl. Put your nose in de corner, p'tite. NOW." He pulled her panties down to just below her bottom and gave her bare fanny three solid swats.

Rogue shivered with humiliation and dismay and did as she was told. A curious mixture of intense feelings rushed through her. Embarrassment and shame, remants of her anger and a strange combination of fear and anticipation. And some part of her recognized that she deserved a spanking for her angry tantrum. Her bottom burned slightly from the spanks she had received and tingled in anticipation of the long and hard spanking she knew was coming.

"I had too much to drink to trust myself to spank you right now, cher," Remy said carefully. Rogue felt a fresh stab of dismay at the thought of waiting bare bottomed in the corner for who knew how long and then felt even more sick when she heard his next words. "I gonna ask Stormy to bring me some food and water before you get your spankin'"

Rogue felt totally humiliated. She put her nose in the corner as she had been told to do, but she protested, "Ya not gonna let Storm see me standin' here with my bottom bare?" she felt moisture building in her crotch even as she asked. She thought about stripping off her collar and flying away and then thought again. The last thing she wanted was to make Remy even angrier. She knew he was indeed going to spank her bare behind and that she wasn't going to take off the collar to stop him.

"Oui." Rogue realized that Remy must have contacted Storm psychically. She felt an agony of embarrassed fear and another urge to run away. She was torn in two. But she wanted resolution of the conflict between her and Remy and then there was that strange sense of somehow not unpleasant dread. She stayed in the corner with her bottom bared.

Within several minutes, there was a knock at the door. Rogue heard someone enter and then heard Storm's voice.

"You wanted sandwiches and water, Remy. I brought both," she said quietly and then her voice gained a note of interested amusement. "Is Rogue about to get her bottom spanked?" Rogue shivered with embarrassment.

"As soon as I sober up completely," Remy said, "I gonna put her over my knees and spank her long and hard."

Storm chuckled quietly. "She has an adorable bare bottom, dear, doesn't she?"

"I t'ink it's cute," Remy was wolfing down his sandwich and drinking water quickly. "And pr'itty soon it gonna be bright red and cute." Rogue shivered again. This experience was more humiliating than she had ever imagined. And she was more aroused than she could understand.

She felt Storm put a gentle hand on her shoulder. "Sweetie," Ro said quietly, "I love, hate, dread, and enjoy getting my bare bottom spanked, too. Don't think you're alone, babe." Rogue was startled and intrigued. Storm spanked? And enjoyed it? She wanted to hear more, but didn't dare to ask.

Rogue heard Remy continuing to eat and drink. Ro squeezed her shoulder gently, "Enjoy the love making that comes after while your bottom is on fire, Rogue. It's the best. And you do have a lovely butt."

Storm move away. "Do you need anything else, Remy?'

There was a silence in which Rogue imagined that Remy shook his head. But no. "Actually, I t'ink I need a shower. Would you stay here wit Rogue while I clean up."

"You do look rather a mess and quite uncomfortable. Did Rogue decide you needed to wear your dinner?"

"Somet'ing like dat. You stayin'?" There was a slight pause. "T'ank you, Stormy," he said, his voice muffled by the food in his mouth.

"You're very welcome, dear," Ro chuckled again. Rogue heard the door open and close behind Remy. She clenched her bottom in anticipation of the spanking to come and wondered if Ororo was looking at her. Tingles of dread, fear, and unexpected anticipation sparkled in her naked butt and up and down her spine. She had never before in her life felt so humiliated, aroused, embarrassed, and excited.

"Would you like to hear about me and spanking?" Ro asked gently. Rogue nodded with her nose still in the corner. She was very interested and hoped that maybe Ro's revelations would take her mind off her own embarrassment and fear. Ro continued, "I've had fantasies about being spanked for years. I actually think most of my orgasms come with spanking fantasies. And I have always imagined that it was for punishment with me helpless, and bare bottomed under the loving discipline of a powerful lover."

Rogue nodded again. She had spent much of that day fantasizing and remembering the spanking she had gotten the night before and had been intensely aroused by her thoughts.

"You can talk to me, you know," Storm said with a smile in her voice. "He'll be gone awhile and I won't tell him."

"What do you like about it?" Rogue asked tentatively.

There was a long pause. "I think, I really like the sense of being controlled and punished by someone who loves me. Oh, Rogue, I get so tired of being powerful and in charge and responsible. There is something purely delicious about feeling like a naughty little girl, over the knees of someone I love who is going to take down my panties and blister my bottom."

Rogue nodded. She could understand what Ro was saying. She, too, was a very powerful woman who had been hated and feared by many a man. She sighed deeply, profoundly grateful for the Genoshan slave collar that relieved her of her frightening powers that rendered the touch of bare skin against any other an instrument that robbed that other of his or her powers, memories, and even life. She had been emotionally starved for many a year.

During her time with Mystique, she had used her powers to hurt others who did not deserve it. She had been left her with a enormous reservoir of guilt and shame. She wondered for a moment if part of the bond between her and Remy was their mutual guilt and shame for the lives they had lived before they joined the X-men.

"There is much in my life about which I feel very guilty before the professor recruited me." Storm's words eerily matched Rogue's thoughts. "But once I joined the X-men, I did a damn fine job of becoming a responsible leader and an exemplary member of the team. I put my own needs on hold for years. And with Forge, I found a lover as responsible and compulsively 'good' as I was. We did have a caring and respectful relationship, but we had little fun in or out of bed."

"Is it Logan who is spanking you?" Rogue blurted out with surprise and interest. She was unable to stop herself from turning to look at Storm's face which was a study of delighted, satisfied memories and dismayed upset. "What is wrong, Ororo?" Rogue felt badly that her question seemed to have so upset her friend.

"I shouldn't answer that question," Ro said. "He's already furious with me. But yes, Logan has bared my bottom and spanked me hard and long at least four times in the past day or so. And we have had wonderful sex." She sighed deeply and tears rose in her eyes.

Rogue was concerned. She was still aware of the strange feeling of her panties pulled down just under her bare fanny, but she was more worried about the tears in Ro's eyes than her own predicament. "Why on earth is he angry with you?"

Ororo shrugged, "I told Forge about it. And Logan is furious that I violated our privacy. . .And now I'm doing it again." She shook her head slightly and a tear slipped down her lovely light brown face.

Rogue felt a moment of internal struggle and then pulled her panties and shorts back up to cover her butt. She left the corner and walked over to Storm putting an arm around her. "He'll get over it, sugah. Logan got a lot worse bark than he got bite."

"I hope so," Ro leaned against Rogue for a moment and then came to her senses. "By the goddess, Rogue, I didn't mean to get you in any more trouble. You should not be out of that corner and certainly not with your pants back up. Remy is not going to be happy with you, child if he comes back and catches you."

"Don't care," Rogue said with stubborn defiance. "What he gonna do? Spank me harder? Who cares?"

Ro smiled with tears still gathering in her eyes. "You might care once he starts in on you, sweetie.

Rogue waved one hand in the air. "So, ah think ah gotta a long hard spankin' comin' anyway. Right now, ah'm concerned about ya." She paused for a moment and after a brief internal struggle, confided, "Ya know, Logan spanked me once." Storm stiffened and Rogue filled in hastily, "There was nothin' sexual about it, Ro. Ah had misbehaved badly and he took my pants down and blistered me with a paddle. Ah was about 18. It scared the hell out of me and ah learned a lesson."

"Would you tell me about it?" Storm asked feeling slightly aroused.

They both started as the door knob of the room started to turn. "Remy," Rogue gasped as she started to move as quickly as possible back to the corner unbuttoning and unzipping her shorts.

It was too late. Remy stood in the doorway with a wooden backed hairbrush in his hands. He looked at Rogue with bemusement. "So you could't stay in your corner, p'tite. You gonna regret dat a lot."

"Remy," Ro tried to intercede, "it was my fault, not her's. I started crying and she came over to comfort me."

"Well, dat makes de circumstances extenuatin' but ain't no real excuse," Remy marched over to Rogue, whirled her around to put her back in the corner and jerked down her shorts. He gave her two very hard whacks with the hairbrush and then took her panties back down to just below her bottom and gave her another four. "Now, you stay in dat corner, girl, 'till I tell you dat you can come out."

"What you cryin' 'bout, Stormy?" The tone of his voice was worried and dismayed. He loved Ro deeply and didn't even like to think about her being hurt. "Personal stuff, darling boy," Ro said carefully. "And I think it is time for me to leave you and Rogue to work out your difficulties. Spank her hard, Remy. She'll love you for it."

"I plan t' spank her 'til de tears fly and she's beggin' f' mercy," he said with determination.

Rogue felt her stomach clench. Her bottom burned fiercely from the smacks from the hair brush which hurt much more than his hand.

"Goodnight, both of you. Rogue, I want to talk to you later. Remy, remember what I told you."

Rogue heard the door open and shut as Storm took her leave. She felt a sinking sense of fear in her belly.

"I gonna drink some more water and sober up completely," Remy announced. "You just stand dere, cher, and t'ink about hard you gonna get your bare bottom spanked."

Rogue's stomach tightened with dismay. She felt sick with apprehension and still felt moisture building in her crotch. The complexity of her emotions was almost overwhelming.

* * *

Storm left Remy's room and headed back to her loft. She wanted badly to find and talk to Logan, but she knew it was much better to leave him alone until he was ready to talk to her.

She spent some time watering her many plants and then lay down on her bed. She knew she would sleep little if at all, but she also knew she was expected to be ready and prepared for the mission which would begin in less than five hours. The estrangement between her and Logan left her feeling lost and deeply hurt. She felt a moment of intense envy for Rogue who would surely be soundly and thoroughly spanked and then soundly and thoroughly fucked before the activities that awaited them the next day. Tears rose in her eyes again and she started to cry quietly and hopelessly. She was deeply afraid that Logan would be unable to forgive her.

* * *

Logan sat in deep meditation in his room. He also knew that sleep would not come easily to him, but he could not find his center and he could not rid himself of the anger that he could not clearly understand. He tried again and again to reach the depths of quiet and stillness that he knew were possible. His meditation was interrupted over and over by memories and images of Ro's bare bottom under his spanking hand and their intense and satisfying love making. He was quite sure that this was not the best way to prepare himself for a mission. He thought about going up to the loft, but his anger at Ro's violation of their privacy kept intruding. He sighed deeply and continued to try to find peace within himself.

* * *

Mystique stared at Forge with dismay and horror. In her entire life her bottom had never been so sore and pained.

"You can't be serious," she protested. He simply looked at her and put his hand between her legs from behind. He inserted two fingers into her vagina and rested his thumb right at the little hole to her anus.

"I'm as serious as a judge," he said with firm quietness. "I plan to spank you again and again until you feel more punished than you ever imagined possible." She felt a deep sense of dread and fear. He continued, "Right now, I am going to take you down to your room and you will obey my guiding hand between your legs. It will be too damned bad for you if anyone sees us as I propel your bare butt down to your room. Once we get there, I plan to bend you over and spank you again. Then, I will expect you to change your clothes, you infuriating, monstrous child. I want you to take off your costume, put on panties and hose and a skirt. And I plan to take those panties down under your skirt and keep my hand right where it is now while we go outside and cut us a switch to use on your bare behind."

Raven wiggle her lower body against his firm and controlling hand. She felt intense spasms of sexual arousal and intense fear about what he had planned for her.

"What stops me from metamorphing into something you can't control?" she spat at him. "Oh, yes," he chuckled. With his hand between her legs he propelled her into the inner lab of his quarters. She felt embarrassed and humiliated at his guidance especially by the thumb pressing hard against her anus, but she moved as he directed. They entered the lab. He bent her over a chair arm and gave her red and sore bare bottom several severe spanks. She yelped her dismay.

"Stay put," he ordered, "I want to see your punished bottom high and unprotected over that chair."

She considered disobeying, but did as she was told.

Forge made several adjustments to the computer. "Now," he said emphatically, "the chip in your head that prevents you from morphing to any X-personnel now prevents you from morphing at all. You had better start preparing for the longest, hardest collection of bare bottom spankings you have ever imagined."

Raven felt a deep sense of horrified chagrin and also more turned on than she had ever felt before. She knew Forge would deliver on the spankings he promised. She also knew she was about to have almost as much sex as she desired with the man who was going to spank her soundly repeatedly.

To be continued.