Subject: Family Matters, chapter 16
From: Dswdiane@aol.com
Date: Thu, 17 Jul 1997 18:09:54 -0400 (EDT)

Family Matters, chapter 16

Bobby knocked on Remy's door. "Who?" He heard Rogue call out.

"Just me," he responded. Rogue looked at Remy who nodded.

"C'mon in, Bobby," Rogue said quietly. He slipped inside the bedroom. Remy was curled up in Rogue's arms in the window seat and still crying quietly, the tears sliding almost silently down his face.

"He hasn't stopped crying since ah got here," she said helplessly. "Ah don't know what to do to help him." Remy tried hard to stop, but all he could think about was the next spanking he had coming. He leaned on Rogue and tried to get a grip on himself.

"Hey, Remy," Bobby said. "It's okay."

"No, it's not," Remy gasped out. "I gonna be blistered again t'morrow an' I can' stand it." Bobby looked at Rogue and shook his head.

"Rem," he said quietly. "It's just a spanking. It's not the end of the world. Dammit, it's just a little tree."

Remy chuckled even as he cried. "Okay," he said. "So you willin' t' take it for me?"

"Not in this lifetime," Bobby said honestly. "Remy, my friend, I wouldn't trade places with you for all the tea in China. And I'm sorry. You're gonna be in serious pain this time tomorrow night. Just like I would guess you're in serious pain right now." Bobby squeezed himself into the other end of the window seat and patted Remy on the leg.

"It's not de pain in my butt dat's makin' me cry, y'know," Remy said.

"I didn't imagine that it was, Remy," Bobby said. "I imagine it's feeling punished. That seems to be what does it for me. I still feel shaky and a little weepy from getting my butt blistered tonight and I ain't facing the same tomorrow. If I were you, I'd be miserable, too."

"What does it for you? What is it about feeling punished dat gets t' you?" Remy asked. "I just askin' cause I tryin' t' understand myself. If you don't wan' t' answer dat's okay wit me."

"I don't mind trying to answer, Rem," Bobby sighed and thought about it. "I think it has to do with feeling ashamed and helpless, sorta. Like here I am over the knees of the man I respect and love more than my own real dad and he's so disgusted and disappointed with me that he thinks I deserve these whacking smacks. And it sure doesn't help to have my pants pulled down." Bobby shuddered, remembering.

"I t'ink I hate dat even more dan the pain," Remy agreed. He took a deep breath. "An' the pain is pretty damn bad. An' not knowin' when it's gonna stop."

"That's part of what makes me feel so helpless," Bobby said. "And I'd be scared out of my mind if it was Logan instead of the professor. I imagine he packs a wallop."

Remy chuckled. His tears were slowing and he felt somehow better to actually be talking about it. "Since I seem t' be in de position t' compare, I'd have to say dat Dad packs a wallop, too. He got a lot of strength in dose arms. But Logan does hurt more." He sat up, kissed Rogue on the cheek, opened the window wider, and lit a cigarette.

"Hell," Remy said. "I can deal wit de pain. But y'know, I t'ink part of what hurts so bad is dat it's comin' from someone I love. An' knowin' dat I brought it all on myself. An' being treated like a little kid."

"Except I don't think little kids ever get spanked around here," Bobby chuckled. "Only big ones."

"Well, den feelin' like a little kid." Remy finished his cigarette, dropped it in his coke can and lit another.

"Yeah, feeling like a little kid ranks right up there with why it hurts so bad. Although, you know, Remy, when you're feeling like a little kid, I think you're a hell of a lot more scared and lost than me." Bobby said quietly.

"Oui, Bobby, I feel awfully scared and lost." Remy nodded and his eyes welled with tears again. He tried to blink them away.

"And I don't like feeling like I misbehaved like a damn stupid kid," Bobby said hastily.

"Oui," Remy acknowledged. "An' de funny t'ing is dat some of why I cry while it's happenin' t' me is relief. Like I know dat when it's over, it's gonna be over and I gonna be forgiven for what I did wrong. Except dis damn time, I did so many damn t'ings wrong dat it seems like it's never gonna end. An' it sure as hell don' help t' have everyone watching."

"Amen," Bobby said. "But y'know Remy, most of us don't watch. It's too painful."

Remy shrugged, finished the cigarette and lit another. Rogue glared at him. "I know, cher," he said. "I smokin' too much. I'm sorry. Dat don' help too much, Bobby. I still know everyone's dere and listenin' even if dey ain't watching."

"I know, pal," Bobby said sympathetically.

"What got int' you, anyway?" Remy asked. "What'd you lose your temper bout?" Rogue shot Bobby a warning look and he shrugged helplessly. He didn't know what to say.

"Well," he hedged and then blurted out. "I was mad as hell that Logan was going to spank you again. I thought you'd had enough."

Remy looked at him with dismay. Rogue rolled her eyes and glared at Bobby who shrugged helplessly again.

"Den it was my fault," Remy said miserably, his eyes filling once more with tears. He took another drag on his cigarette, looked down and out the window, and put it out.

Bobby leaned forward, grabbed Remy by his arms and shook him gently. "Look at me, friend," he demanded. Remy raised his eyes to Bobby's with tears still brimming. "It wasn't your damn fault. I lost my temper. I broke things. I smashed out a window. You didn't make me do any of that. I did it myself. And I don't fucking appreciate you thinking that you have that kind of power over me. Got it?"

Remy nodded, startled as hell. A couple of tears spilled over. "Sorry, Bobby," he said quietly.

"You got nothing to be sorry about, you stupid Cajun," Bobby said with rough affection. "But you gotta stop thinking that fucking everything that goes wrong is your fault. You think you're God or what?"

"I am de lord of de morning." Remy suddenly laughed out loud. Bobby let go of Remy's arms and started laughing, himself.

"He who comes with the dawn," he chortled. Rogue looked at both them with confusion. "It's from a book, Rogue. A whole damn series of books, called The Wheel of Time. And Remy, I don't think you'd make it as Rand. You strike me more as the Matt type." Remy kept chuckling and lit yet another cigarette. He took a couple of deep drags and there was a knock on the door.

"Who?" Rogue called out, looking at Remy's cigarette warningly. He held it out the window.

"It's me." It was Charles' voice. Remy frantically stuffed the cigarette into his coke can and fanned air out the window. Bobby laughed, helping him.

"C'mon in," Remy said quietly. Charles maneuvered the hover chair into the room and raised an eyebrow at the smell of smoke.

"How long has it been against the rules to smoke in the house, Remy?" he asked sternly.

"Bout two years," Remy answered looking his father straight in the eye with a slight flush on his face.

"And I haven't actually seen you doing it," Charles said carefully. "I suppose you could have carried that smell in from outside. You aren't going to smoke in here, are you?"

"No, sir." Remy sighed with relief.

Charles looked at the three young people sitting in the large window seat and sighed. It seemed like eons since he'd been that young. "I came to say goodnight and check on you," he said gently. "How are you, son?"

"I don't know, Dad," Remy said. "Pretty shaky, I guess. And real, real sorry dat I got myself int' all dis trouble." Tears rose again in his eyes.

Bobby got up, sensing that Remy and his Dad could use some time alone together. "Hey, Roguey, why don't you and me make some hot chocolate and bring some to Rem."

"Sure," Rogue agreed. "You want some cocoa, Remy?"

"Oui," Remy said. "With marshmallows, please."

Charles moved his hover chair over to the bed. "Want to help me out of this thing, son?" he asked. Remy came over and helped Charles get himself onto the bed, sitting up against the headboard. Charles held out his arms to his son. Remy curled up beside him and moved into his father's embrace, putting his head on Charles' shoulder. Tears continued to well in his eyes.

"I'm really sorry," Remy said shakily.

"I know you are, child," Charles said gently. "Logan told me that you asked him if you could just cry all day tomorrow. And, Remy, if you need to, you can. But I think it would also do you some good to work out in the danger room. And I was planning to send you and Bobby to the hardware store to buy some glass and asking you to repair the windows in the study. Don't you think it might do you some good to have some constructive activities?"

"Yes, sir," Remy said. "I t'ink I'd like dat. But I don't t'ink I could do much in front of de computers witout my mind wanderin' and t'inkin' about what's gonna happen t' me." And suddenly he was thinking about what was going to happen to him again the next evening. He choked up and started to cry again.

Charles held him closely and sighed. "You're thinking about the spanking you're going to get tomorrow," he said. "And no, I didn't have to even go through our link to pick up on that. Talk to me about it, son."

"I just don' know if I can stand it, Daddy," Remy sobbed out. "I feel so punished, already. I been spanked over and over and over, by Logan and by you and even Hank, a little. I know I been really, really bad, but I feel SO punished. I don' wan' t' be punished any more. And my bottom hurts." He sounded like a despairing child.

Charles sighed again very deeply. His heart hurt for the boy. "Remy, I don't know what to say to you," he said quietly. He wondered if maybe his son had been overly punished. "Son, how would you feel if I did cancel the punishment? How would you feel if I told Logan that you have been punished enough?"

Remy's stomach sank and he felt even worse than before. He'd heard the question before from Logan, but knew that Logan wasn't serious about withdrawing the punishment that had been promised. He knew his Dad was earnest in asking. He started crying almost hysterically, gasping for breath and shaking. His father looked down at him with worry.

"Remy, you're going to hyperventilate. Slow down, child, and breathe." Remy was indeed starting to feel the tingling that precedes hyperventilation and did as he was told, but continued to sob in despair. "Tell me, son. What just happened?"

"An' dat would. . . feel even worse," Remy sobbed out. He took a deep breath and forced himself to calm down enough to talk. "I deserve t' be punished more. An' I know it. I just don' wan' t' know it. I wan' t' be dead, Daddy, an' please don' be mad at me for saying' dat. I don' wan' t' be spanked any more. I don.' But I know I deserve it. I don' know. I jus' don' know."

"I'm not mad at you, child," Charles said with affection. "If you do anything at all to hurt yourself, I'll be very angry with you and you will end up back over my knees, but I'm not mad at you for feeling like you want to be dead. What you're saying, son, is that you don't want to be spanked again, but you know that you need to be spanked again. You're not going to feel right with yourself or right with us until you've been punished for that drunken, reckless bike trip."

"An' for lying. An' for disobeying you bout my room restriction. An' for not bein' where I was sposed t' be while de rest of my team was in combat," Remy admitted miserably. He started to sob again, desolately. Charles held him closely.

"I'm proud of you, son, for being so honest with me," he said gently. He stroked Remy's hair. "You're miserable and ashamed about what you did and you know you need to be punished."

Remy nodded and continued to cry. "My bottom hurts, Daddy," he wept out, sounding all of about eight years old. Charles almost chuckled. For all that he had missed Remy's real childhood, he almost felt as if he were being given an opportunity to relive it with him and repair some of the damage that had been done.

"Do you think it's bruised, child?" he asked.

"I don' know," Remy said shakily. "I don' t'ink so."

"Why don't you let me take a look, son? If you're bruising, I want to get some ice on it. Roll over on your stomach, Remy." Remy flushed with embarrassment, but did as he was asked. He reached for his waist and pulled his pants down himself and his father sucked in his breath as he looked at Remy's still reddened behind.

"I bet that does hurt, child," he said sympathetically. "It looks like it stings like hell, but no, it doesn't look bruised. You may have some red marks, but no real bruises. Logan was careful. It'll feel better by morning. And it still might help to have some ice on it." Remy shook his head as he pulled his pants back up.

"If I have to lie here with ice on my butt, it's just gonna remind me of what happened and what's gonna happen," he objected. Charles gathered him back into his arms.

"Now, I think we need to talk about those memories you bombarded us with," the professor said firmly. Remy shook his head frantically.

"I don' wan' t.' Not tonight, Daddy, please. Can't we talk about dat t'morrow." His breath caught on another sob.

"Remy, I don't think it can wait until tomorrow. Those memories were intense." Remy started to sob as the memories came rushing back into his head. "Son, let me come in and help you with it. Let's do some of this inside your mind." Remy nodded and Charles followed their link into his son's thoughts.

Beating after beating was cascading through Remy's head. Charles found the semi-adult Remy inside and put his arms around him as they watched the images of the child being beaten. Tears were running down both their faces.

Daddy, I don' know how I lived, Remy communicated. Charles nodded.

*It's a miracle, in some ways, but I think you're a survivor, son. I hope you know that all this shouldn't have happened to you. It was wrong. And it damaged you badly.*

I feel damaged. Remy's inner voice was despairing. *I feel like ruined, damaged, useless goods. OWwww.* His father's hand had descended soundly on his sore bottom.

You are NOT that kind of damaged, child, Charles said firmly and with exasperation.

Yes, sir. I'm sorry. Remy's inner voice was miserable. He felt his Dad's arms tighten around his body on the bed.

They continued to examine the beatings that Remy had experienced as a child on the streets, usually from other street children. He cried helplessly and hopelessly and his father held him closely. *Yes, son, you need to cry about this. All of it. It should never have happened.*

I can' take much more. Daddy, please, can we stop now?

We need to get the one from Essex, Charles directed steadily. Remy shook with fear, but they went there. Charles watched grimly as Remy relived the memories of being beaten by Sinister.

*This should never have happened. I don't often feel like killing someone, but I'm close to feeling that way about him.* Charles' internal voice was enraged.

I'd kinda like to do dat myself. Remy admitted. *Can we stop, now, please?* Charles led him back to his body which was shaking with sobs.

"It's okay, child," Charles said as he held Remy tightly. "It's all in the past now. If I have anything to say about it, you'll never be beaten again. I know you ended up feeling beaten tonight and I won't let that happen again." He hesitated a moment and then asked, "Son, you don't usually feel beaten when you're spanked, do you?"

Remy shook his head and tried to control his sobbing. "Beatin's have t' do wit fists and kicks and de person beatin' me not caring not'ing bout me. I know when you or Logan spankin' me dat you love me. Dat you just punishin' me cause you love me." His breath caught and he started to cry again. "You hold me. . . an' you're in control. . .not like bein' beaten up."

"And you should have been held tonight," Charles said bleakly. "I'm sorry, Remy. We were all wrong to let that happen."

"No one knew. . .I was gonna. . .freak out. . .like dat," Remy gulped out.

"And now you have all these memories to deal with," Charles said, sighing.

Remy nodded. "I gonna. . . have t' cry. . . bout all dis again?" he asked as he sobbed.

"Probably, son. You have to cry about in order to heal. And I would give my life to change what happened to you as a child, in order to prevent the need for so much healing of so many wounds. I love you, Remy."

"I love you, too, Daddy," Remy gulped out. He took a deep, trembling breath and after a moment's pause admitted, "An' I was smokin' in here. In de house. I don' ever wan' t' lie t' you again."

"Do you really think I didn't know that, child?" Charles asked with a lifted eyebrow. "You didn't lie. I gave you an out. And I'm not going to acknowledge this particular confession. I appreciate it, but it's really not a very big deal. Though I do wish you'd stop smoking." Remy relaxed into his father's arms and gradually stopped crying. He subsided into deep, gasping breaths.

"Have I told you, son," Charles said softly, "that I'm touched and grateful that you feel safe enough with me to call me Daddy, instead of just Dad or sir or professor?"

"No," Remy gulped out. "But you are, aren't you?"

"Yes, child," Charles said affectionately. "I'm all yours."

"I'm tired," Remy admitted.

"Me, too, son." Charles patted him on the head, motioning toward his hover chair. Remy helped him into it and got another hug before his father went out the door.

Rogue and Bobby were sitting on the floor in the hall outside his door, drinking cocoa, and holding a cup for him with the marshmallows melting. Remy took it from them.

"Bobby," Charles said. "Do you think you could spare me a few moments of your time?"

"Sure," Bobby said, as he stood up. He wasn't very surprised. In the past, when he'd been punished, Charles had usually checked in with him at bedtime to make sure he was okay.

"Finish up with Remy and Rogue. I'll go on down to your room and wait for you," Charles said. "And take your time. I'm in no hurry."

Rogue, Bobby, and Remy went back into the room. Remy sipped the cocoa, settled back into his window seat on his cushion, and looked carefully at his friend and lover. "T'anks, it's good and, guys, I'm worn out," he admitted. Bobby nodded.

"Me, too," he said. "So, I'll say goodnight, Rem."

"Night, Bobby," Remy said. Bobby saluted and went out the door.

Rogue looked at Remy. "You want me to go?" she asked. Remy shook his head.

"I just wanna go t' bed," he said. He finished his hot chocolate and took her in his arms, guiding her over to the bed. They made love and Rogue sank into sleep almost immediately. Remy tried to sleep, but it didn't come to him. He was still tormented by images of his next spanking and his previous beatings.

Charles looked at Bobby as he entered his room. "I was planning to come see you next after I checked on Remy," he said. Bobby nodded and felt tears welling in his eyes again. "Are you okay, Bobby?"

"Mostly," Bobby said. "I don't know why I acted up the way I did, sir. I'm sorry."

"Bobby, I've told you to put it behind you. It's over," Charles said firmly. "I'm just concerned about you. You look almost as weepy as my son."

Bobby nodded as a couple of tears spilled. "I think it was mostly just the shock of it all," he said unsteadily. "I haven't gotten myself in that kind of trouble in years. It was kinda scary. And I'm kinda shook up."

"Do you think you might be identifying with Remy a little?" Charles asked. "When you first came here with Scott, Jean, Warren, and Hank, you were the youngest of them all and much more likely to get in trouble and stay in trouble. And you had the most unhappy family background."

"Being in the orphanage hadn't really been a happy experience for Scotty," Bobby objected.

"No, but his parents had loved and accepted him before the plane crash," Charles said. "I'm not sure you and your father had ever had a peaceful relationship even before he found out you were a mutant."

"No," Bobby admitted. More tears welled and spilled.

"I used to think that you tested the limits with me in order to find out if I'd reject you as your father had," Charles said gently.

"And instead it just got me spanked," Bobby said with a rueful grin as tears continued to brim.

"And now you see Remy testing limits in the same way as if trying to get himself rejected," Charles said. "Though I must say he's definitely more talented than you were at getting himself into very deep trouble. And he's getting punished rather more severely."

"I think that's part of what bothers me so much," Bobby said shakily. The professor raised a questioning eyebrow. Bobby's knees suddenly felt a little weak and he walked over to his bed and sat down. He looked down at the floor and gulped. "I did some of the things Remy's being punished for and I never got caught. I never confessed, and I got away with them," he said in a rush.

"Bobby," Charles said with amused affection. "That's called being an adolescent. Do you want to tell me about it now?"

"I think so," Bobby said. He looked up at Charles, took a deep breath, and started. "I don't guess you'd even want to know how many different drugs I've tried."

Charles shook his head with a shudder. "Bobby, I really don't want to have a clue about how many times you or Remy have used drugs. Let's just say that I'll assume normal adolescent experimentation that was perhaps a bit on the wild side."

"Maybe more than a bit. I never shot up, but I've snorted white powders that were supposed to be cocaine."

"And when is the last time you did that?" Charles asked.

Bobby shrugged. "Years ago. I didn't like it." He took another deep breath "And I've driven drunk, more than once."

"More than once?" Charles asked sternly. Bobby flushed and nodded.

"Only twice when I was really drunk. Another couple of times when I was just a little tipsy."

"What on earth were you thinking, Bobby?" Charles demanded.

"I wasn't thinking, sir," Bobby said uncomfortably. "One time I went to a party with a girl and I thought we had an agreement that I'd drink and she'd drive and she left with another guy. After I had about eight beers. I quit drinking when she left and tried to sober up. And home was only a few miles away so I just did it. And it was scary and I didn't like it. I drove real slow."

"And the other time that you were really drunk?" Charles asked coldly.

Bobby shifted uncomfortably on the bed. His bottom tingled from the knowledge that he probably deserved to be soundly spanked. He gulped and looked down at the floor.

"I was with some friends and we went down to school to see a movie. It was when I was in college. We took a big bottle of vodka and drank it while we were watching '2001.' And it's a long movie." Bobby took a deep breath. "My friends got bored or something and took off, but I was into the movie. I didn't realize how much I was drinking. When it was over, I was so drunk, I could hardly walk. I went to the bathroom and had to lie down on the floor for a while. Then I realized that if I got caught, I could get thrown outta school."

"And?" Charles said sternly.

"All I could think was that I had to get off campus," Bobby said miserably. "So, I drove home. And it was awful. I drove real slow and real careful. And I kept braking for red lights half a block away from them. And staring at the lines in the road to stay inside them. It was real late and there wasn't much traffic, but I was scared to death that I'd get busted. I got home and went inside and swore I'd never, never do that again." He took a deep breath and felt tears welling in his eyes.

Charles looked at Bobby and noted the tears. He nodded. "And if you'd caused an accident and hurt or killed someone?" he asked implacably.

Tears overflowed and ran down Bobby's face. His voice was shaky as he replied, "I woulda gone to jail," he said. "And I woulda deserved it."

"And you still would have had to answer to me," Charles said quietly.

"Yes, sir." Bobby's voice caught on a sob.

Charles sighed. "And how long ago was this, Bobby?"

"I don't know exactly," Bobby gulped out. "When I was in school. I guess I was about twenty."

Charles sighed again, noting the tears running down Bobby's face. He willed himself to calm down. Much as he disapproved, he realized that Bobby felt more than sufficiently guilty and ashamed.

"So, you tried some really dangerous stunts and you scared yourself and disapproved of yourself and learned some lessons," he said gently. " Like I said, son, normal adolescent idiocy. The drunk driving was more than a little out of line, but it sounds like you learned on your own that it was too seriously unthinkable to consider doing again. Bobby, stop staring down at the floor and look at me."

Bobby looked up at Charles and found nothing on his face but acceptance and affection. "You're not going to punish me," he said. "You're not even mad at me. Not any more." Tears continued to roll down his face, and his breath caught in another sob, but it was one of relief.

"Bobby, why on earth would I be mad at you or punish you for behaviors far in the past that you've outgrown on your own? What would be the point?" Charles asked with concern.

Bobby shrugged, starting to feel as if a weight were being lifted from him. The tears stopped welling and his bottom stopped tingling. He was fairly sure he wasn't going to get a belated spanking for what he had done years before. But it still didn't feel quite right to him. He protested, "But Remy's being punished right now for doing the same kind of things."

"And he's done them here and now, and managed to get himself caught and obviously is testing limits the same way you used to when you were much younger and probably for the same reasons," Charles said calmly. "Just like you did tonight when you lost your temper in the study. And trust me, Bobby, if you go out and shoot up drugs or drive drunk or try to get yourself killed, you'll be in the same position he's in right now. You'll get yourself spanked. I don't care how old you are. If you act like a self-destructive irresponsible child, you'll be treated like one."

"Yes, sir," Bobby said. He grinned at Charles with an impish glint in his eyes. "And how did Logan get treated for being self-destructive today?"

"Why don't you ask him?" Charles suggested with a raised eyebrow. "Why don't you ask him in the danger room under combat conditions? Though I would advise you to be prepared for almost any kind of response. He might laugh and tell you. And I don't think he'd do any permanent damage."

"I don't think so," Bobby said.

"Seriously, Bobby, if you do want to know, ask him. Logan may have his moments of being self-destructive, but he is an adult. He's not a child in any sense, sometimes not even in the healthy sense. He'd probably tell you."

"Not sure I wanna know," Bobby said.

"And it's late and we're both tired. Are you feeling better?"

"Much better," Bobby grinned at him. "Thank you helping me make sense of what I was doing."

"You're welcome, son." Charles brought the hover chair over to Bobby's bed and reached out to tousle his hair. "Good night, Bobby. Danger room, right after breakfast."

"Good night, sir."

Remy finally gave up on sleep, got up, and got dressed except for his shoes. He thought longingly about the liquor cabinet downstairs, but he restrained himself. He wanted to be in trouble with Hank and his Dad about as much as he wanted to be back in Sinister's hands. He went out his window and up on the roof, taking his smokes and his pillow with him.

He was startled when Logan suddenly appeared beside him, but not really surprised. Logan was more than capable of approaching silently. And just as much of a night owl as he was.

"Hi, kiddo," Logan said. "Having a hard time sleeping?"

"Yeah," Remy acknowledged. "You, too?"

"Yep," Logan said, looking at him. "Let's talk, Rem."

"What do we need t' ta'k bout?" Remy asked warily. He lit a cigarette.

"Kidlet, I hurt you bad, tonight and I didn't mean to," Logan sighed. "I wanted to apologize to you."

Remy drew deeply on his cigarette and felt tears welling in his eyes. "No," he said. "You were just punishing me. An' I deserved it." Tears started to run down his face. His stomach froze up and his chest tightened as he remembered what had happened in the study and what he'd done to deserve it. He looked down. Logan took his chin in his hand, raised his face, and held it gently.

"Remy, you're a complete mess right now," he said with worry. "Look, kiddo, you did deserve to be punished. But, you didn't deserve to be scared out of your wits and left feeling lonely, alone, and plummeted back to your memories of being beaten. I screwed up bad. Will you, please, damn it to hell, let me apologize for screwing up? I'll never, never spank you again without holding you over my knees or under my arm at the very least. I won't let go of you again."

Remy looked at him carefully with tears still brimming and tried to grin. "Not even if I steal your bike again?" he asked, his voice still trembling. Logan chuckled and shook his head.

"Not even if you steal my bike, kiddo. Though the rest of that threat still stands. I'll just sit on the damn thing, put you over my knees and blister you. You planning on stealing it again, boy?" Remy shook his head without dislodging Logan's gentle grip on his chin.

"Never in a million years," he said fervently. Logan patted his cheek.

"Good," he said. "Now do you accept my apology, kidlet? I didn't mean to hurt you, but I did and I'm sorry and I feel rotten about it."

More tears fell from Remy's eyes. "I don' wan' you t' feel rotten, Logan," Remy said. "You didn' mean t.' Of course, I'll accep' your apology, but you really don' even need t' make it. I understan' dat you were makin' me b. . . bend over de arm of de couch t' give you room t' swing de b. . .belt." Remy's breath started to catch against the tightness in his chest.

Logan sighed again deeply. He grabbed Remy and pulled him into his arms, making sure they were both securely balanced on the gentle slope of the roof. Remy almost immediately started to sob.

"And the damn belt was another bad idea," Logan said gruffly. "And I'm sorry about that, too. Talk to me, Remy. Tell me what's in your head."

"It was awful," Remy sobbed. "It was just awful. I'm sorry, Logan, but it was really awful."

"When I was strapping you with the belt?" Logan guessed. Remy nodded.

"It was awful when you were scolding me an' I felt rotten an' it really hurt, but when you stopped talkin' t' me, I just felt lost."

"What hurt, kidlet, the scolding or the strapping?"

"Both," Remy gulped. "And den you said it was gonna be long and hard and I t'ink I started to panic. And den you stopped scolding me, an' for a minute dat felt better, but den it just kept hittin against me an' it hurt really bad an' I felt all alone. . ." He started to sob so hard that he couldn't get words out any more. Logan held him tightly and felt like hell.

"It wasn't hitting you, Remy, I was ," Logan said roughly. "And I'm sorry, kiddo. I never meant to make you feel so alone and lost. You're not alone, kidlet. I hate it that you felt so lost and scared. I'm really sorry. I feel lousy about this."

"I don' wan' you t' feel bad," Remy protested. "Dat just makes me feel worse. I was bad an' I deserved t' be punished."

"Damn it, Remy, aren't I allowed to make a mistake and feel bad about it?" Logan felt close to shaking him with exasperation. "And you weren't bad. You've never been bad. What you did was bad. You, as a person, are not and never have been bad."

"Feels dat way," Remy protested.

"What way? Like there's good Remy and a bad Remy?"

"No, not really," Remy admitted. "Only a bad one. No matter how hard I try, I can't seem t' find a way t' be good."

Logan sighed deeply and shook his head. "Remy, that's nuts," he said with finality. "And nonsense. And it makes me so damn mad I can't see straight. What on earth does it feel like when you do good? Like when you blasted damn Essex?"

"I don' know," Remy sobbed. "It don' matter. An' it's never enough. I always feel bad about me, unless I'm right in de arms of de people I love."

"Remy, that's too damn much weight to put on those of us who love you." Logan said. "You gotta learn to care about yourself."

"I can' even like me, Logan," Remy protested. "I can' imagine carin' bout me."

"REMY!" Logan shook him hard. Remy gasped. Logan felt rage building within him and tried to control it. He didn't even know who the rage belonged to. And he didn't really want to direct it at Remy, no matter how exasperated he felt. Nevertheless, he sounded furious as he exploded, "What in the hell can I do? How in hell can I convince you that you're just damn human, even if you are a mutant? And that part of being human is being imperfect? You think I'm perfect, kiddo? Well, let me tell you, I fuck up all the damn time. You wanna know how bad I fuck up? You wanna know how often? I'm not, dammit, gonna take the weight of havin' to be perfect so you can keep up this damn delusion that some of us can be. We all fuck up, kiddo. Get over it."

Remy was sobbing so hard that he shook. He couldn't speak. Logan's anger was terrifying. He didn't really hear what had been said to him. All he heard was the rage.

Then, suddenly, Gambit was there to deal with it. He jerked himself out of Logan's arms, backed away, and glared at him. He pulled a card from his sleeve and held it up, preparing to charge it. Remy was put "on hold."

"You wan' a fight, mon ami?" he asked, dangerously. "I give you one, no problem."

Logan smacked his hands to his head and held it, squeezing tightly. He fought the impulse to extrude his claws. He kept underestimating how sick this kid really was. And he backed off. "No, Remy," he said gently. "I don't want to fight you."

"No?" Gambit asked. "Den why you yellin' at me, Wolverine? I don' need dis shit. I t'ink dat maybe I be better off just outta here."

"Remy," Logan said tensely. "I'm sorry. I've screwed up again. I was just tryin' to tell you bout that, kiddo."

"I not your kiddo," Gambit said. He looked around. "You wanna a fight or not, mon ami? I be damn happy t' give you one. An' den I gonna blow dis joint. I sick an' damn tired of bein' yelled at and beat on."

Logan was so angry and frustrated that he felt ready to burst. "Remy," he said. "I don't want to fight you, but if you give me no choice, I will. You ain't leaving us. I won't let you. And if you do manage to get away, boy, I'll come after you and bring you back."

"Don' t'ink so," Gambit balanced himself carefully, prepared to engage. "An stop callin' me Remy."

Logan kept a wary distance. "I'm callin' you Remy because you are Remy. Take some deep breaths, kiddo, and think about what you're saying and doin'. Just think."

"Don' fuckin' wan' t.' An' don' fuckin' call me dat."

Logan took several deep breaths and tried to find his center. He knew he had to calm down to deal with this Cajun who was in a blind rage. His anger faded completely and was replaced by almost overwhelming pain and worry. Tears welled in his eyes.

"Dammit, Remy, I don't know how to deal with this. You want to beat up on me, go ahead. As I been trying to tell you, I fucked up with you over and over today. I'm sorry. I'm more sorry than I can say." A couple of the tears slipped out and fell. "And I'm sorry as hell that I fucked up so bad that you don't even want me to call you kiddo. I'll try not to." Logan kept his eyes on Remy who watched him with wariness mixed with growing confusion. Tears continued to leak and he felt intense despair.

"You tryin' t' trick me," Gambit said guardedly. The Remy inside him was demanding to have a voice, but he wasn't at all sure it was safe to let him out.

"Jesus, fuck, Remy, when have I ever tricked you?" Logan choked out past the lump in his throat, the tightness in his chest almost painful. "I'm tellin' you: I fucked up every damn thing with you today and obviously I'm still fucking up and I just about can't fucking stand it. I'm so mad at myself I can't see straight. You want me to prove it to you, kiddo?" Logan backed up far enough from Remy to make it obvious he was not a threat.

With a "snikt," one set of his claws were out and in a quick rushing movement he jammed them part way into the side of his own face and dragged them down leaving behind a triple row of bleeding slashes. Remy dove on him, grabbing both arms, knocking him to the roof, and landing on Logan's chest, holding his arms down against the shingles. Logan retracted his claw and looked up at Remy with tears continuing to leak and mingle with the blood.

"Don't you ever, ever, ever, fucking do somet'ing dat crazy again, Logan," Remy practically screamed into his face.

"Why fucking not?" Logan spat back. "You the only one around here who's allowed to be fucking crazy? Don't I get a fucking turn?"

"Not like dat, you don't," Remy glared at him. He was completely back to himself and caught halfway between anger and terror. "What in de fuck is wrong wit you?"

"That's what I been tryin' to fuckin' tell you, kiddo." Tears were still falling down Logan's face. Remy stared down at him anxiously.

"I let go of your arms, you ain't gonna do nothin' dat crazy again, are you?" he asked uneasily. He felt tears welling in his own eyes and tried to blink them back.

"I don't think so," Logan said. Remy glared at him with tears brimming. "Are you gonna lose it again and threaten to take off and act like someone I hardly know who hates me? Cause I don't know what the hell I'd do if we go through that again." Logan's breath caught more than once.

"I'm sorry, Logan," Remy said quietly. "No, I won' do dat again. Didn' really mean t' do it just now. Don' know what happened." He swung himself off Logan's chest, let go of one arm, and used his grip on the other to pull Logan to a sitting position and then into an embrace. "But we talk bout what happened wit me in a lit'le bit. Right now we need t' talk bout what goin' on wit you, okay?" Logan nodded acceptance and took a deep, shuddering breath before speaking.

"I been tryin' to tell you, kiddo, I fucked up with you today and I'm sorry. And all you can fucking do is talk about how much you hate yourself which just makes me feel even fucking worse, because it's my damn fault that you feel so bad." Remy shook his head.

"Now, I t'ink I gettin' a good taste of how I must sound when I drivin' you crazy," he said with irony. Logan chuckled.

"You may have something there, Remy" he admitted unsteadily. "But I feel like shit."

"And maybe part of why you feel like shit is same reason dat I do," Remy said quietly. "Maybe it has t' do wit de t'ings dat done happened b'fore in de past when we was little kids."

"Maybe, Rem, maybe. I don't know." Logan pulled himself out of Remy's arms and looked at him intently. "But I do need you to hear that I fucked up and that I'm sorry. I need that from you, kiddo."

"You got it, mon ami. You t'ink dat you fucked up and you're sorry. And apology accepted. And maybe you did fuck up, but I don' t'ink you meant t.' And I didn' like dose damn memories, but I proba'ly needed to deal wit em," Remy shrugged, tears welling again in his eyes.

Logan sighed deeply and put his arms back around Remy holding him tightly. "Thanks, kid," he said.

"I know you love me, Logan," Remy said, his own voice trembling a little. "And I love you. An' I really don' know what happened a few minutes ago when I seemed t' forget bot' of dose facts."

Logan nodded his head and again tried to center himself, but between him and his center was an enormous pit of pain. He couldn't escape the tightness of his chest or the lump in his throat. He knew he could swallow it if he tried hard enough, but he wasn't sure that was the best example to set for Remy. He took a deep breath that caught in a sob.

"Oh, fucking hell," he said angrily. "Remy, could you handle it if I just cry my guts out for a few minutes?" Remy looked at him askance.

"What you t'ink, Logan? I gonna go t' pieces?" he asked irritably.

"Well, kiddo, you been doing a lot of that recently," Logan said with sound halfway between a laugh and a sob.

"I okay right now," Remy said evenly. "I t'ink dat shit you did wit your claws done shocked me back to my senses in a way. T'ink I realized dat I can' just expect you t' take care of me all de damn time."

Logan nodded, took a deep, shuddering breath and let go. He sobbed deeply from his guts for as long as he needed to and then relaxed slowly. Remy just held him and thought hard about how selfish he'd been.

"You wanna tell me what dat was about, mon ami?" he asked quietly.

"Feelin' rotten about hurting you, kiddo. And feeling scared that I'd lost you a few minutes ago. I've lost a lot of people I love, kid. And if I'd lost you just then it would have been my fault for the way I blew up at you." Logan voice was still shaking, but he was calming.

"Still don' know what happened den, Logan," Remy said. "But you wouldn' have lost me for good. I been in dat place before. I come back from it."

"You dissociated again, kidlet," Logan explained. "And went into fighter mode. Put that hurtin' kid in a safe place and got ready to protect yourself. You really think you would have come back?"

"I t'ink I mighta got a few miles away, but I'd have started to remember how much I love everyone here and how much dey love me. I woulda been back. And I woulda been scared dat I be in big trouble again."

"I don't think so, Remy. Not for running away while you were dissociated."

Logan extricated himself from Remy's arms and looked around for his bottle of Glenfiddich. He rolled over, grabbed it and took a huge swig straight from the bottle and then another.

"I'm gonna get drunk," he said decisively, lifting the bottle to take a third deep swallow. He whirled as he heard movement behind him and relaxed as he saw Hank approaching from above them on the roof. "Hi, Hank."

"How long you been up here?" Remy asked.

"Since not long after I yelled at you, and you lost it," Logan said quietly.

"So you know I saw what you did with your claws?" Hank asked dangerously.

"Yep." Logan took another deep swallow from the bottle. "And I woulda told you about it if you hadn't seen it. Thanks for lettin' me handle this, friend."

"Oh, I came real close to intervening a few times," Hank said. Logan took one more slug and Hank reached out and grabbed the bottle. Logan let him, with a shrug. "And you're not drinking any more. I'm taking both of you semi- psychotic idiots down to med lab and giving you something to help you sleep. If you don't get some rest, or you're going to get yourselves hurt badly in the danger room tomorrow from sheer exhaustion."

"And, if you're going to whack the hell out of me," Logan said with a grin, "it would be a lot safer in the house than on the damn roof." Hank glared at him, grabbed him by the arm, lifted him easily to his feet, and whacked him on the butt so hard that Logan's feet almost flew out from under him. Hank continued to hold him firmly by the arm, helping him regain his balance.

"FUCKING hell, Hank," Logan protested as tears rose in his eyes again. Remy stared at both of them with his eyes wide. Logan started laughing.

"C'mon, Hank, one more swig, okay?" he asked. Hank shook his head and handed the bottle back to him. Logan took another swallow, corked it, and gave it back to Hank.

"Let's go inside," he suggested. Hank nodded his assent and looked at the bottle in his hand.

"Did you have to choose a single malt Scotch to gulp like a bottle of beer?" he asked with a groan.

"Sure, why not? I like how it tastes." Logan grinned at him, grabbed the shot glass, and started down. Remy lit another cigarette and followed him. Hank took the rear. They swung themselves down to the porch.

"Let me finish my smoke," Remy requested. Hank nodded and Logan sat, carefully, on the step, wincing slightly.

"Damn it, Hank, but you can deliver a solid whack," he complained. "And I think that makes it eight in one day. If I didn't have my healing factor, I'd be black and blue."

Remy choked. "Eight?" he sputtered. "You've whacked Logan eight times t'day? That hard?"

"I'm not so sure that you haven't earned a nine and ten," Hank said grimly to Logan. "One for each one of those slashes down your face."

"You might be right," Logan sighed. "But you gotta admit, it worked."

"And are you absolutely sure it was the only thing that would have worked?" Hank asked, with continuing ire in his voice. Logan shook his head. "I think you wanted to do that to yourself, old friend, and healing factor or not, I know it hurt you and I don't like it one little bit."

"I didn't much like it either." Remy took a deep drag on his cigarette.

Logan shrugged. "You can please some of the people all of the time, all of the people. . ." He stopped as both Hank and Remy glared at him. "Okay. All right. I screwed up. Again. Yegods, I ain't havin' a good day. It wasn't the best plan. I was upset and not thinking clearly. And it's not the first time I've done it. Probably won't be the last."

"It wasn't the first time you've done it?" Hank shook his head. Logan grinned up at him.

"Usually works great at stopping a fight with a person I care about. Which is what I was trying to do. But mostly, I've done it alone when I'm mindlessly upset. Oh, yigh, I can see it in your eyes right now. Nine and ten."

"Logan, do you know what that kind of behavior is called?" Hank demanded.

"It's called self mutilation," Logan grinned again, ruefully. "It's usually only done by adult survivors of child abuse. Women do it more than men, but men usually do it more extremely. And men who do it are more likely to be violent toward others. Hey, have I ever been known to be violent toward others? Want to know more about it? I read a lot."

"Sure, Logan, tell us more about it," Hank sat down and put his head in his hands, groaning.

"Well," Logan said cheerfully. "It makes the self mutilator feel better for two reasons. One: actual physical pain is easier to deal with than the pain inside. Also tends to be a distraction. And two: actual physical pain releases endorphins in the brain which have a sedating and/or euphoric effect. So, it can become habit forming." Remy stared at Logan in aghast amazement and started laughing at the irreverent, almost merry tone of his voice.

"And just how frequently do you indulge yourself in this blatantly pathological behavior?" Hank asked with a semblance of patience.

"Oh, I dunno, maybe once every five or ten years," Logan replied. Hank breathed a long sigh of relief, reached out, and smacked him briskly on the side of the head. Logan snorted. "Had you worried for a minute there, didn't I, Doc? And don't do that again. My ears are ringing."

"I didn't use a tenth of my strength," Hank protested.

"I know. And my ears really are ringing," Logan laughed.

Remy shook his head and lit another cigarette which Hank promptly snatched out of his hand. "How much have you been smoking, kid?" he demanded.

Remy shrugged warily. "Why you askin'?" Hank folded his arms over his chest and looked at Remy balefully.

"I don' know," Remy said evasively. "Haven't been counting."

Hank shook his head with profound aggravation. He was beyond upset with both Remy and Logan, and he was tired as hell. "Remy, I'm restricting you to ten cigarettes a day," he announced. "And all of us are going into med lab, right damn now. Put out that blasted cigar, Logan."

"Ten?" Remy was aghast. "You got t' be kiddin,' mon ami."

"Do I look like I'm kidding?" Hank asked mildly. Remy groaned.

Logan looked up at Remy and shrugged again with resigned acceptance. "It never fails," he said. "Once things start going to shit, they keep going to shit."

"Oui, mon ami, I t'ink I noticed dat phenomenon. T'ink it's called entropy." Remy grinned at him and gave him a hand up. They followed Hank to med lab.

Hank examined Logan's face under the bright lights in med lab. The faint white scars where he had slashed himself would be gone by the morning. Hank sighed. "How much have you had to drink, Logan?" he asked.

"In my lifetime or just tonight?" Logan asked. Remy snorted. Hank looked at Logan carefully, raised his right hand, looked at it, and looked back at Logan who was shaking with suppressed laughter. Logan raised his hands in capitulation. "I don't know, Hank. Hell, the bottle was almost full when I started."

Hank looked down at the bottle which was more than half empty. He shook his head again. "You should be drunk already," he said irately.

"Been taking it slow, and I'm not sure I'm not. I feel pretty punchy," Logan admitted.

"Some of that is stress," Hank said, "and those damn endorphins you were talking about which also get released when one cries. I'm going to give you a mild tranquilizer." He got out drugs and dispensed them. "Now, will both you guys, please, try to get some sleep? It's after 2:00."

Logan shrugged. "What about nine and ten?" he asked, his voice still unsteady with mirth.

"Later, Logan," Hank promised grimly. Logan nodded with a grin and gestured to Remy.

"Let's get outta here, kiddo, before he changes his mind."

"Wait a minute," Hank said. He held out his hand to Remy. "Your cigarettes. Now. And you can bring me the packs you have in your room at breakfast." Remy groaned and handed over the pack. "Fine, now, give me the ones that you slipped out and hid." Remy groaned again and handed over another four from his pockets. "Is this all? Answer me." Remy sighed and pulled out two more. "Remy, answer me."

Remy pulled out two more from the waistband of his pants and gave them to Hank. "Dat's absolutely all of dem, Henri," he said.

"Fine," Hank said. "I'll give you ten every morning. Goodnight, Remy. You, too, Logan." He reached out and tousled Remy's hair affectionately. Remy ducked away with grin.

"Night, Hank," Logan said. He grabbed Remy by the arm and pulled him out of med lab. Logan looked at Remy as they headed up the stairs. "You sleepy at all, kiddo?" he asked. Remy shook his head. "You wanna decompress a bit?" Remy nodded gratefully. "Let's go to my room."

They made their way to Logan's room. Remy went for the window seat, sat, winced and stood. Logan tossed him a pillow. He put it down on the seat and tried again. Logan turned on his stereo and put in tape.

"Can you tolerate late sixties and early seventies rock?' Logan asked. Remy nodded and Logan flipped it on. The opening bars of "Gimme Shelter" softly filled the room. "This sounds better at four times the volume, but the last thing we need to do is wake up the house or get Hank up here to yell at us." He pulled a bottle of scotch out of a drawer and grinned at Remy's shocked expression.

"In case you haven't noticed, Rem, I ain't the world's greatest at following orders. I said I was gonna get drunk and I'm gonna get smashed. You want a cigar or, hmmm, I probably got an unopened pack of Camels around here somewhere."

"Either," Remy said gratefully. Logan started rummaging through drawers.

The words of the song echoed through the room with "Rape, murder, it's just a shot away. It's just a shot away." Logan sang with it in an undertone. He found the cigarettes as the song ended and tossed the pack to Remy . Remy considered his promise to his father not to smoke in the mansion again, but decided he had only promised not to smoke in his own room. This was Logan's room, not his. He opened the pack and lit up. Blue Oyster Cult started playing "Don't Fear the Reaper."

"What is dis tape, Logan?" Remy asked. Logan shrugged.

"I made it myself. Just some of my favorites."

"What's on it?"

"This and that, some Stones. Some Who. Some Zappa." Logan shrugged again. He settled into the other side of the window seat, got the shot glass out of his pocket, poured scotch into it, and tossed it back. He offered the bottle to Remy who hesitated, staring at Logan.

Remy's stomach froze and his ears roared. His mind whirled with confusion. He didn't want to get himself in trouble again, especially not with his father, and he started to shake his head. Then he looked into Logan's eyes, saw the remaining vestiges of bleak despair, and took the bottle. His stomach clenched as he raised it to his mouth. He shrugged and knocked back a slug, shuddering as the scotch hit his stomach.

"Logan, we're being bad," he protested. Logan shook his head.

"Nope. I'm not bad and neither are you. We might be misbehaving." He grinned. "Hell, we damn straight misbehaving. Happens sometimes. And it ain't nobody's business but our own. " A new song started.

"What's dat?" Remy asked.

"'I Wouldn't Change a Thing.' First Rod Stewart album," Logan said. "Best album he ever did, I thought. Right after he left Jeff Beck. Back up band had Ron Wood and Keith Emerson. You got a clue who any of these people are?"

"Yeah." Remy took another sip of scotch and handed the bottle back to Logan who poured a shot, tossed it down, and poured another, handing the bottle back to Remy.

"So, where are we with each other, kid?" Logan asked.

"I love you, Logan," Remy said simply. "An' I seem t' need you right now. An' you scared de hell outta me t'night when you slashed your claws down your face." Remy took another shuddering swallow from the bottle. He was starting to feel the effects of the trank he'd been given by Hank and he yawned. Logan nodded with satisfaction as he watched Remy yawn. He finished the shot in his hands and reached for the scotch. He poured another shot and gave it back to the Cajun who took another gulp.

"Love you, too, kiddo. And I meant to get your attention," he said. "You were being a little difficult." His voice was starting to slur a little, and he sipped carefully from his glass.

"I was being tres difficult," Remy admitted, taking another deep swallow and yawning again. He felt tears welling again in his eyes and he looked up at Wolverine. "I'm sorry." He lifted the bottle and sipped again.

"What are the tears about, kidlet?" Logan asked gently.

Remy took another swig of booze. "I was awful t' you," he said shakily. "Threatenin' t' fight wit you and run away. I'm sorry."

"Nothin' to be sorry about, kiddo," Logan said, finishing the scotch in his glass and reaching for the bottle again. Logan poured another. He gave the bottle back to Remy who sipped again. "I freaked you out by yellin' at you. You were stressed out and upset and you reacted. It was my fault, not yours. And don't argue with me, okay?"

"Okay," Remy said shakily. "But de ot'er t'ing dat I need you t' know is dat I realized how damn selfish and self-centered I done been lately. I been so caught up in my own pain an' guilt an' misery dat I hadn' t'ought much bout de fact dat you might have feelin's, too." He took another deep swallow of the scotch and one of the tears welling in his eyes slipped out and down his face.

"Remy, when you're in a lot of pain, it's damn hard not to be self-absorbed. It goes with the territory," Logan said gently. "It's part of being human. Don't be so hard on yourself." Remy started and shook his head at Logan as the stereo started playing Devo performing "Whip It."

"That's not late sixties or early seventies," he laughed.

"So, shoot me. I like it." Logan finished his shot, took the bottle back, poured another, thought for a second, shrugged, tossed it back, poured again, and gave the bottle back to Remy who took a slug as he sang along with the song. As it finished, he lit another cigarette. Logan lit a cigar.

"What's dis one, Logan?"

"'Four and twenty,' Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young. Followed by some Byrds and some Buffalo Springfield, and then back to Crosby, Stills, and Nash with 'Judy, Blue Eyes.' How you doin,' kiddo?"

"I'm feelin' woozy, Logan," Remy admitted. "But de tireder and sleepier I get de more I get back t' t'inkin' bout what's gonna happen to me t'morrow." His eyes filled with tears. Logan shook his head and very quietly sang along with Stephen Stills.

"Morning comes the sunrise and I'm driven to my bed. I see that it is empty and there's devils in my head. I embrace the many colored beast. I grow weary of the torment. Can there be no peace? And I find myself just wishing that my life would simply cease."

"Yeah, dat's just about exactly how I feel," Remy chuckled as a couple of tears overflowed. He took another slug of scotch. Logan took the bottle, poured another shot, tossed it back, and put the bottle down on the floor.

"I think we've both probably had enough." Logan reached out and pulled Remy into his arms. "Kiddo, I'm willing to bet your bed ain't empty."

"No, Rogue's dere sleepin,'" Remy admitted as they listened to "Wasn't Born to Follow." He put his head down on Logan's shoulder as tears continued to roll down his face. "I like your music, mon ami. It fits you."

"I'd hope so," Logan chuckled, stroking Remy's back. "And what's Rogue gonna think if she wakes up and you're not there?"

"Dat I was too upset to sleep, proba'ly," Remy said, the tears still dripping.

"You still thinking about tomorrow?" Logan asked. Remy nodded and started to sob quietly. Logan sighed deeply and held him close. "Kidlet, I truly wish that there was something I could say to make it all right, but there ain't. You're gonna get spanked again tomorrow and it's gonna hurt your bottom and your feelings and there's nothin' to be done about it except live through it and put it behind you." Remy cried harder and Logan continued to stroke his back. "Go ahead and cry it out, child."

"Chestnut Mare" started on the stereo and Remy listened to the words as he cried. His eyelids were drooping and before the song was over, he had managed to cry himself to sleep. Logan sighed, wondering what to do with him and decided it wouldn't be too much trouble to just carry him to his own room if he could manage to keep his balance with the amount of scotch he had in him. He stood up tentatively with Remy still in his arms and took a couple of experimental steps. Decided he could just make it if he was careful and moved slowly. He did, barely, with a couple of near disasters, but Remy's room was only a couple of doors down from his.

When he got back to his room, Bob Dylan was complaining about being stuck in Mobile with the Memphis Blues again. Logan poured himself a final shot of scotch, lit a cigar, and looked at the clock. It was a little after 3:30. He listened to the rest of the song, turned off the stereo, and fell into the bed. He was out almost before his head hit the pillow.

Remy felt as if it might just be impossible to pull himself out of the deep sleep into which he'd finally sunk after what seemed like several days of weird hours, sleepless nights, and daytime naps. Rogue had talked to him about waking up several times and he kept mumbling "in a minute," and nodding off again. Through his hypnotic stupor, he vaguely heard the door open and Rogue complaining.

"Logan, he smells like a cross between a distillery and a smoke lodge and ah can't get him to budge. And ya look like hell."

"Thanks, darlin.' Nice to know the outside matches the inside. I'll budge him."

Remy groaned, pulled his sheet tightly around him, and put his pillow over his head. It was snatched off, the sheet unwound with a brisk twist. He was grabbed by the shoulders, and jerked to his feet.

"Well, gosh," Rogue said. "Why didn't ah think of that?"

Logan chuckled. "Mighta been hard for you to do while you still have that collar on, girl. You go get ready for breakfast. I'll take care of your boyfriend. Scoot."

Remy blinked blearily. His head ached and he felt vaguely nauseated. Rogue gave him a quick kiss, took off her collar, and went out the window.

Logan stood in front of Remy with his arms crossed over his chest. "You think you might live, kiddo?" he asked gruffly.

"I'm not sure," Remy said. "Not sure dat I wan' t.'" Logan chuckled. His hair was still wet from the shower and his eyes looked puffy and bloodshot.

He reached over to the bedside table and picked up a glass and some white tablets. "Drink this and take these," he ordered. Remy shuddered, but did as he was told. "Just aspirin and ice water, Rem. Drink up."

"I feel sick, Logan," Remy shuddered.

"Oh, well," Logan said with no great sympathy. "I've done thrown up three times this morning and I'm still living. C'mon, kiddo, you gotta hit the showers. You go downstairs smelling the way you smell right now and Hank's gonna be on you like a duck on a June bug. What are you gonna say if he asks if you were drinkin' and smokin' after we left med lab last night?"

"Oh, mon Dieu," Remy groaned, shuddered, and headed for the door. Logan followed him.

"The best way to avoid lyin' is to avoid questions, kiddo," Logan informed him.

Remy turned and glared at him. "You t'ink you tellin me somet'ing I don' know, mon ami? An' I not sure I wan' t' keep any more secrets anyway. I done enough of dat for six lifetimes."

Logan stopped dead in the hallway and took a deep breath, as his stomach sank. "You plannin' to confess, kidlet?" Logan asked. "Oh, boy." He took more deep breaths and endured a hollow nausea as he contemplated the trouble Remy would be in if he admitted to drinking. He felt even sicker as he realized how responsible he was for the drinking.

"I don't want t' keep any more secrets," Remy said stubbornly. "Sides, you told me, yourself, dat it was best t' confess."

Logan stared at Remy with dismay, apprehension, and respect. "Remy," he said, "I understand what you're saying and you might even be right, but kiddo, y'know, you're likely gonna get spanked again. And I'm not sure I could stand it, knowing that it's my damn fault. You've already got enough to handle. YIGH, wrong thing to say."

Remy's eyes widened for a moment as he was suddenly overtaken with the realization of what already lay in store for him that day. A wave of nausea rushed through him and he gagged. Logan grabbed him by the arm and pulled him urgently toward the bathroom, brushing past Warren who was coming out.

"Morning, guys," Warren said cheerfully. "Bobby's been in the shower for an age. Hey, you both look like hell."

"Thanks a bunch for that exclusive inside scoop," Logan growled as Remy bent over the toilet and started retching. Warren lingered in the doorway.

"Is he okay?" he asked worriedly. Logan glared at him with exasperation.

"I gather that you're not a morning person, Warren," he observed sardonically. "Or is this just your chosen day to make stupid observations and ask stupid questions?"

Warren glared at him for a moment and then started to chuckle. "Maybe it's just my day," he conceded. "Sorry, Logan. Did you guys tie one on last night? It wouldn't surprise me after what you both went through in the study. Think I would have been tempted to tie two on."

Remy finished retching into the toilet, sank to his knees on the floor, and simply started to cry, quietly and hopelessly. Logan sighed, crouched in front of the kid, and gathered him into his arms. He moved over to sit against the bathroom wall, holding Remy closely.

"Thanks, Warren," he said. "Actually, I tied about fifteen on. And, for your information, Remy had been forbidden to drink any more booze this whole week by his Dad and by Hank. So, if I was idiot enough to offer it to him and he was fool enough to drink it , he'd be in monstrous trouble. For that matter, I don't think the professor would be terrifically thrilled with me."

"Got it," Warren said. "I haven't seen a soul throwing up this morning, not me, no, sir. I just took my shower, got dressed, and left Bobby hogging the bathroom. If Remy's a little late for breakfast, maybe it's because el Bobbo wouldn't get out of the shower." Logan nodded gratefully. Warren gave him a salute and departed, acutely troubled about Remy's situation.

Logan held Remy tightly and rubbed his back, gently. "It's okay, kiddo," he said. "It's okay. You're gonna be okay."

Remy shook his head, feeling sick and intensely miserable. "I not gonna be okay," he protested shakily. "I done got myself in trouble again an' I already in more trouble dan I can stand."

"Goddammit, Remy," Logan spat out, "if you're worried about drinking, this one is on me. I'll take the blame. I don't enjoy getting yelled at, but I can take it. You got enough to deal with."

"You didn' hold no gun t' my head, Logan," Remy sobbed. "You just offered an' I accepted. I don' t'ink my dad let you take de blame for me."

The shower cut off and Bobby's hand reached out to grab a towel. He heard Remy crying and stuck his head out. "What in hell is going on?" he demanded, glaring at Logan. He stepped out wrapped in a towel.

Logan rolled his eyes. "I am about to pop my claws, stick them in my own stomach, and see if I can commit seppuku before my damn healing factor kicks in," he announced. Bobby's eyes widened with alarm. Remy jerked himself out of Logan's arms, stopped crying, and glared at Wolverine.

"Don' you dare even t'ink about it, mon ami," he said forcefully, poising himself to jump on Logan if he even started to try what he had just threatened. Logan looked calmly at Remy and, almost against his will, started to laugh.

"I thought that might work," he choked out, unsteadily. Remy glared at him furiously and raised his hand above his shoulder. Logan looked at him evenly and nodded, still laughing. Remy brought his hand down in a ferocious smack against the side of Logan's head. Wolverine's head rocked slightly, but he continued laughing. "Nowhere near as good as Hank, kiddo," he gasped out. "But not bad."

Bobby gazed on with frustrated bewilderment. Remy continued to glare at Logan for a moment and then started to laugh himself.

"Okay, Logan, you proved your point," Remy gasped out. "I'm okay. I'll survive all o' dis an' you don' need t' commit seppuku."

"Get in the damn shower, kiddo," Logan demanded. "I'm runnin' outta patience." Remy nodded, stripped off his clothes, and got in the shower. Bobby glared furiously at Logan.

"What in hell was that all about?" he demanded. "You scared the hell out of me with that seppuku stuff."

"Scared Remy, too," Logan said calmly. "Scared him right out of his attack of misery. Which is kinda what I'd hoped to do."

"Oh," Bobby said thoughtfully. "I assume he's still miserable about what's gonna happen to him today."

"Mostly. Also miserable that he sorta got drunk last night after his Dad and Hank both told him he couldn't drink for a week. Which was my fault."

"Oh, hell," Bobby groaned. "Well, is there any reason for them to know?"

Logan shrugged. "He seems to think so. And makes me feel like hell. Like I said, Bobby, it was mostly my fault."

"How was it your fault?"

Logan explained, giving a seriously abridged version of the events of the early morning hours as Bobby shaved. "Oh, geez, Logan," Bobby groaned. "The professor's gonna be ready to murder you. Why is there any damn need for anyone to know a thing about it?"

"Thanks, Bobby," Logan said sardonically. "That's just what I wanted to hear. And Remy doesn't want to keep secrets any more. It's his choice and I gotta respect it." Logan shrugged.

"Geez, what a mess," Bobby said, shuddering. "And, hey, Logan, if you need to calm him down again, well, promise you won't tell anyone?" Logan nodded. "I usually have some pot around." Logan raised an eyebrow.

"Really?" Bobby nodded. "Y'know the professor would have your butt if he knew you had drugs in the mansion." Bobby shrugged.

Logan went over to the shower and reached inside the curtain. He turned the hot water off completely and turned up the cold. Remy emitted a sound that sounded very similar to a shriek as he was hit by the icy spray.

"Stand in it until you get used to it, kiddo," Logan ordered. "It's a great hangover helper." Remy shuddered, but indeed felt the pain fading from his head as the cold water cascaded over him.

"Bobby, do me a favor," Logan requested. "Go downstairs and get us a glass of cold, cold water from the fridge. And if anyone asks, we'll be down in just a few." Bobby nodded and took off. Remy reached for a towel and Logan handed him one. Remy emerged from the shower with the towel wrapped around him and grabbed another to dry his hair. He searched around for his shaving gear.

Logan leaned against the wall with his arms crossed across his chest. "You determined to confess that you were drinkin' last night, kiddo?" he asked.

"I t'ink I have t,'" Remy said shakily. Logan sighed.

"Well, can I, please, make a suggestion?" Logan asked. Remy nodded. "Ask your Dad if you can talk to him after breakfast. Let me go with you. And we'll tell him about it privately and deal with it together."

Remy nodded and tears rose in his eyes again. He met Logan's eyes in the mirror as he shaved. "You really do love me, don' you, mon ami?"

"More than I can tell you, kidlet," Logan said.

Bobby reappeared with the water. Logan opened the medicine cabinet and handed Remy more aspirin as Bobby tried to convince his friend that confession wasn't always the best route to follow. Remy wasn't having any of it.

"Anyone ask about us, Bobby?" Logan wondered.

"They're holding breakfast for you guys."

"Great," Logan sighed. "C'mon, Rem, let's move it." Remy nodded and moved it.

Remy gulped as he and Logan entered the kitchen where breakfast was laid out on the table. Most of the group was out on the back deck, chatting. Storm approached Logan who gathered her into a hug.

"Sorry I ran out on you last night," Remy heard him say quietly.

"It's not a problem, love. I know you had demons to wrestle," Storm replied softly.

"Well, it's about damn time," Warren announced. "Hey, gang, we're all here and I'm starving. Professor, isn't about time we got another shower in the men's wing. We're all tired of Bobby making everyone late while he takes his three hour showers." Bobby glared at Warren for a moment and then took in his meaningful look and realized he was being used as an alibi for Remy's lateness. He grinned.

Remy took his seat, not looking at anyone. He felt new surges of embarrassed shame as he remembered that most of his family had last seen him sobbing his heart out after a spanking. Betsy passed his chair on the way to hers and dropped a gentle kiss on the top of his still drying long hair. Jean stopped to give him a hug around the neck. Bishop clapped him on the shoulder as he crossed the room to his seat. Scott tousled his hair on the way to his. Tears brimmed again in his eyes. He felt truly loved and several tears overflowed and ran down his face. He looked down at his plate, trying hard not to sob.

Betsy tried to come to his rescue. "Hey, Cajun," she said. "As I said last night, you might be a real mess, but you're our mess and we love you." He gulped and nodded.

"Look," Logan said matter-of-factly, "I'm hungry. Could we all just leave Remy alone and pass the food?" Sam grabbed the platter of eggs and passed them around. Betsy passed the toast. Warren grabbed the bacon and took several rashers before passing it on. Remy put eggs, toast, and bacon on his plate, but had little appetite. He was desperately unhappy.

"Dad," he said, "can I please talk t' you after breakfast?" He still couldn't look up at anyone and he played with the food on his plate.

Charles looked at him with concern. "Of course, son," he said. Remy heard the love in his voice and felt relieved. He managed to eat a few bites of eggs and toast and drink his juice. Then he sat silently, still looking down and feeling very unhappy.

"We're going into the danger room at nine hundred hours," Scott announced. "I'm leading Wolverine, Bobby, Betsy, Rogue, and Sam. Storm, we agreed you would lead Gambit, Bishop, Warren, Hank, and Jean. Is that clear?" Everyone nodded as they ate. Remy continued to feel miserable. He ate a little more and then just stared at his plate.

Breakfast ended. Remy looked up at his Dad who nodded. "I'll see you in the study, now, son," he said.

"I'm coming with him, Charlie," Logan announced.

The professor sat behind his desk as Remy and Logan came in. He had no clue about what was going on and he was worried. Logan sat on the couch, put his feet up on a table, and crossed his arms over his chest. Remy looked at his father with tears welling in his eyes.

"I drank last night," he blurted.

"Oh, Remy," Charles said with deep sigh, "what am I going to do with you?" The exasperated stress in his voice sent Remy right over the edge. He started sobbing. Logan sat up, reached out, grabbed Remy by the arm, pulled him over to the couch, and down into a hug.

"Let me tell you about it, Charlie," he offered. "I think this kid's too upset. And it was my fault anyway, far as I'm concerned." He held Remy tightly and proceeded to give a detailed account of the events on the porch and in his room the night before. When he finished the professor was looking at him with an expression half way between bemusement and exasperation.

"Logan, were you out of your mind?"

"Yep, don't have any doubt about it."

Charles sighed. "I'm tempted strongly to write this whole experience off as temporary insanity on both your parts," he said.

"Sounds like a winning plan to me," Logan said.

"Logan, what were you thinking?"

"I was thinking that the kid was stressed beyond belief. Not the best time to take his smokes away. And I was drinking. And I'd been drinking. Didn't make sense to me to drink in front of him and not share. Hell, I don't know, Charlie. I just wanted to him to calm down."

"So, you weren't willing to wait and see if the tranquilizer Hank gave him would work. And you encouraged him to drink after taking it and drank yourself. And you know very well that the sleep you get after drinking isn't decent sleep," Charles said severely.

"Yep," Logan conceded. "Look, I fucked up and fucked up bad. I was damn clear that Hank had no business telling me to stop drinking. Ain't nobody gonna tell me whether I can get smashed or not when I want to. So. . ." He paused, groping for words.

"So you proceeded to get Remy mixed up with yourself and encouraged him to drink when he'd been told not to?" Charles demanded.

Logan groaned. He badly wanted to put his hands to his head but his arms were still around Remy whose crying was starting to quiet. "Isn't that part of the biggest problem I have with Remy, period?" he asked with frustration. "He reminds me too damn much of myself."

"So that means that when you go into self-destruct mode, you're going to encourage him to self-destruct with you? You need company? That amazes me Logan. You're usually perfectly happy to go off alone and pick a fight with Hulk or some other such nonsensical behavior when you're feeling self- destructive."

Logan groaned again. "I never picked a fight with Hulk," he protested mildly. He thought for a moment and admitted reluctantly, "But I sure haven't walked away when it would have been the sensible thing to do."

Charles nodded his acknowledgment of Logan's honesty. "Did you know that Remy had been told not to drink?"

"I knew," Logan admitted. "I offered him a drink earlier. He turned it down and told me."

"As well he should have. How would you feel right now if I ordered you to give him the spanking he earned for drinking when he'd been told not to?" Charles asked grimly.

Logan's eyes widened slightly. He felt a deep and sickening sense of horror. "Charlie, I couldn't, and I wouldn't. I'd die first," he said.

"You think you could stand it if you had to sit there and watch me give him one?"

Logan let go of Remy abruptly, stood up, and headed for the door. "Excuse me for a second," he announced. "I gotta go throw up." He exited quickly.

Remy looked over at his father with tears still running down his face. His voice shook, "Dad, please, don't be so hard on Logan. He didn't make me drink. He offered and I took it. It wasn' his fault."

Charles wordlessly held out his arms to his son who went over and accepted his embrace. "It's okay, Remy," Charles said gently. "Logan will survive and so will you. And you're right and you're wrong. You are responsible for your behavior. But you look at Logan as one of your parents, don't you?"

"Yes, sir," Remy said. "But he's also my friend."

"Doesn't matter, child. He had no business encouraging you to misbehave and he knows it. He's not a fool." Charles held Remy tightly and stroked his back. He keyed the com unit built into his hover chair and sent a message to Scott that Logan and Remy would be late to the practice in the danger room on his authority. He suggested that it be postponed until 10:00. Remy managed to stop himself from crying, pulled himself out of his father's arms and sat on the floor at his feet, looking and feeling despondent.

Logan came back in, looking pale and shaken. "So much for breakfast," he said quietly. "Charlie, Remy really doesn't deserve to be punished. It was my fault."

"Are you suggesting that he doesn't have the capacity to make his own choices?" Charles asked severely. Logan sighed deeply as he sat back down on the couch.

"No, sir," he said quietly. "But I egged him on. It was my fault."

"Yes, a very great deal of it was your fault, Logan," Charles said furiously. "And I think I'm angrier with you than I've ever been. Remy trusts you and you betrayed his trust." Logan closed his eyes and put his head in his hands. He felt like hell.

"But, Remy," Charles continued, "based on what I've heard, you knew Logan was under enormous stress. You clearly knew that I'd told you not to drink. You knew what you were doing when you took that bottle from Logan's hands. He didn't talk you into it."

Remy gulped with dismay, but nodded his head with forlorn resignation. "You're going to spank me, aren't you?" he asked.

"I don't want to, child," Charles said gently. " But I told you not to drink and you did. What can I do?"

"I t'ink I proba'ly got it comin' t' me," Remy said unhappily. Tears welled in his eyes.

"No, you don't kiddo," Logan interjected. "This one is my fault. Damn it, Charlie, can't you find some way to punish me instead?" Logan's voice was shaking.

Charles raised an eyebrow. "I think it would punish you quite thoroughly to have to watch Remy being spanked," he said evenly.

"Damn it all, I meant punish me instead of him," Logan spat out.

"How Logan?" Charles asked. "The thought of spanking you is absurd. I know Hank's smacked the hell out of you several times lately, but that's simply been to remind you that we love you and need you. There isn't any kind of physical pain that I'd be willing to deliver to you that you wouldn't shrug off. What do you suggest?"

Logan grabbed large handfuls of his hair and pulled hard. "I don't know, Charlie. Send me away for a month or two. Ostracize me. Throw me out of the damn X-men altogether."

"NOOO," Remy wailed, bursting into uncontrollable tears and sobbing as if his heart was breaking.

"Good thinking, Logan," Charles said with profound aggravation. "Very good."

Logan sighed deeply, sat down on the floor beside Remy and gathered him into his arms. "I'm sorry, again, kidlet. I ain't goin' anywhere. I promise." He stroked Remy's back and made soothing noises. Tears welled in his own eyes. "Dammit, Charlie, I don't think the kid deserves to be punished this time. It feels wrong to me. I don't know why. It just feels damn wrong." Tears started to roll down his face.

"Maybe, you just don't like your responsibility in this situation," Charles said bitingly. He shook his head. The entire situation disturbed him. He didn't want or need Logan going over the edge. And Remy didn't seem to be in very good shape either. "I'm going to call Hank and ask him to help us figure this out." He reached out with his mind and called.

Hank arrived quickly, looked at Remy sobbing in Logan's arms on the floor and sighed with astonished aggravation. "Now what?" he demanded of Charles. Charles almost laughed at the tone of long-suffering exasperation in Hank's voice. He explained.

Hank listened to the story with ominous silence broken only by a gasp when the professor told him that Logan had offered the scotch to Remy. He directed a single furious glare at Logan who shrugged helplessly with tears still rolling slowly down his face.

"Why did you want me, sir?" Hank asked quietly.

"I was feeling a little overwhelmed with the two of them falling apart on me," Charles said simply. "I wanted your help and your counsel."

Hank sighed and looked over at Logan who was holding Remy tightly as the boy continued to cry. "Sir, I think you might be missing some pertinent data. And I think I can get it out of Logan."

"Please, proceed," Charles requested.

Hank crouched in front of Logan and looked into his face with loving concern. "Would it be okay with you if I helped you make sense of why you got yourself into this mess, old friend?"

"More than okay, Doc."

"When you were up there on the roof with Remy, you really and truly lost it and you know it. When you jammed your claws into your own face and slashed yourself to ribbons, you were crazy with anguish."

Charles gasped. Logan had not told him in detail about the events on the roof. Just that he and Remy had been upset. He had only given him the details about what had happened afterwards.

"WHAT???" he demanded. Logan sighed deeply and told the whole story. As he spoke, Remy's sobs started to ease. Charles shook his head. "It would have helped me a great deal in making sense of this situation, Logan, if you had bothered to tell me how upset you were and why," Charles said severely. Logan shrugged helplessly again, tears still rolling down his face.

"Anyway," Hank said with great patience. "Remy took care of you up there on the roof and you let him. Just like he's taking care of you in many ways right now. And I think it's probably very healing for Remy to take care of you, toughguy. You need it and he needs it."

"You got a point, Hankster," Logan said thoughtfully.

"So, by the time the two of you left med lab, you were emotionally in a condition to see him as a friend and a team mate rather than just a messed up kid. And he's both, Logan, and you know it. He's our team mate and friend and he's a messed up kid."

"I'm following, Hank."

"So when you rebelliously and idiotically pulled out that damn bottle of scotch in your room, you shared it with him as a gesture from one comrade to another." Logan sighed deeply and nodded, feeling some relief of his overwhelming guilt. Tears continued to run down his cheeks.

Hank went on, "Were you even thinking about the possibility that he could end up getting spanked again for drinking when he'd been told not to?"

Logan shook his head. "I wasn't thinkin' much at all, Hank, but mostly I was just thinkin' that it wasn't anybody's damn business if I wanted to get drunk nor any of anyone's damn business if I shared the bottle with Rem. I honestly thought that we'd just keep it to ourselves."

"You weren't thinking at all about the Remy who's a child who just found his Dad and wants to stay straight and honest with him?" Logan shook his head and his breath caught slightly.

Charles took a deep breath. "Of course," he said with sudden understanding. Everyone looked at him. He smiled. "It just reminds me of what Bobby and I talked about last night. I won't go into detail, but part of what Bobby told me was that there were ways he had seriously misbehaved and never been caught and never confessed. Normal adolescent behavior."

"Separating and individuating," Hank said. Logan nodded. Remy looked up at Hank with confusion. Hank explained, "It's part of adolescence, Remy, to try things out and keep it from your parents. Part of finding out who you really are, separate from their influence." Remy nodded. He understood.

"But that isn't where you are, Remy," Hank said gently. "You're re-bonding with your parents. You don't want or need to separate right now. You need to connect." Remy nodded again.

"As for you, Logan, you're so separated and individuated that it's not particularly healthy," Hank said quietly and sadly.

"Don't you think I know that, Hank?" Logan asked, his voice breaking.

Hank looked at him with loving concern. "And a part of what you're doing, old friend, is connecting deeply with Remy. Trying to heal your own wounds around separation and individuation. In a relationship that feels totally safe to you. Where you can be the parent and take care of a child who needs you and depends on you. You do that a lot, you know?"

"Yeah," Logan said unsteadily. "But now, I've made it unsafe for him."

Remy felt a moment of terror. "No, you haven't," he protested strongly. "No, Logan."

Charles was exasperated. "Logan, would you, please, not scare my son out of his wits?" he requested furiously.

Logan sighed deeply. He pulled Remy tightly back against his chest. "Kidlet, I'll find a way to make it safe for you. I ain't gonna run away and leave you. I promise." A part of him screamed a protest, but he ignored it.

"The problem," Hank continued patiently, "is that when the closeness feels strong enough and secure enough, the damaged child inside of you escapes and demands to have his needs met. And Remy loves you enough to try to meet them. You wanted a friend to drink with last night. You were lonely, Logan."

"Fucking hell, fucking hell, fucking hell," Logan repeated as if chanting a mantra. More tears ran down his face. "Damn you, Hank McCoy. You're on to me."

"Well, Logan, you might well be a mystery wrapped up an enigma, but you make sense to me," Hank said mildly. "And where is that a quote from?"

Remy hugged Logan tightly. "It's okay, Logan. I don' care how fucked up you are. You mean de world t' me."

"Know that, kiddo," Logan said shakily. "Damn it, I've cried more in the last day than I cried in the last ten years, hell, since the damn Weapon-X project took my damn memories from me. Even more than when Mariko died. I fucking hate crying. I'm getting sick and damned tired of it."

"You're doing what you need to do, Logan," Charles said firmly.

"Well, I don't fucking like it," Logan said unsteadily. "And weren't we all supposed to be in the damn danger room an hour ago?'

"I told them to postpone," Charles said. "You're not running away from this, Logan. I'm damn tired of you running away."

"I'm sorry," Logan struggled to get a grip. "I don't know what to do except run away. It's easiest." Remy held him tightly.

"It's okay, mon ami," he said quietly.

"No, kidlet, it's not fucking okay," Logan protested. "Your Dad was right. I betrayed your trust. And I don't fucking know how to make peace with myself about that. I know you fucking forgive me. I just don't fucking know how to forgive myself."

"Logan, do you think you could fucking manage to get through a sentence without using the word fuck?" Hank asked mildly.

"Fuck, no," Logan grinned as tears continued to roll down his face.

"Logan," Charles said gently. "Come here please. Remy, let go of your godfather and probably your most cherished ami. Hank, would you hold on to Remy?" Hank sat down on the floor, grabbed Remy, and pulled him into a warm embrace. Remy relaxed gratefully into the huge, powerful, furry blue arms.

"This will work out, Remy," Hank promised gently, stroking the wild, auburn hair out of Remy's wet face. He reached up and grabbed a box of tissues, passing a handful to Remy and another to Logan.

Logan rose and went over to the couch. Charles patted the cushion beside him, and Logan sat. He looked Charles straight in the eyes, his own still overflowing with tears. The professor turned, reached out and gripped Logan by both upper arms. His large hands didn't begin to encircle Logan's huge biceps, but still held them with a comforting grip.

"Logan, when I said what I said about you betraying Remy's trust, I was very angry and I didn't understand the entire situation," he said calmly and firmly. "I think, now, that I was wrong. You weren't betraying his trust in you. You were honoring him with your trust in him. You were promoting him from a screwed-up, needy kid to a comrade, just like Hank said. No, stop, don't say a word until I finish. Yes, your judgement was shot to hell. But you were drunk and upset. Give yourself some slack."

Logan shook his head. "I can take that in, Charlie, but it don't matter."

"NO, Logan," Charles said. "Pay attention to me. I don't know exactly what was going on inside of you, but I do know one thing that's quite important that we haven't discussed. You lost Remy completely, twice in one night. He dissociated here in the study and then again on the roof. Both times must have scared you witless. I know you, Logan. I've been in your head. Loss and abandonment are enormously frightening issues for you. It must have shaken you to your core to lose this kid twice in less than a few hours. And I know that you thought it was all your fault."

Logan took a deep, shuddering breath, and nodded, tears still leaking. "It was my fault," he said.

"No," Charles said. "You didn't create the conditions that led to my son's capacity for disassociation. You didn't abuse him when he was a child. And before you can even start, you haven't abused him recently. Not at all. Not even once. None of us knew what Sinister had done to him. None of us knew how badly he'd been beaten as a child. We all allowed the spanking in the study to take place over the arm of the couch instead of over your knees. "

"Hank had reservations," Logan argued, "and I didn't listen."

"And, I didn't dissent very hard or long," Hank said. Remy trembled in Hank's embrace. He was beyond distressed at Logan's anguish.

"Logan, I love you an' I need you an' dis is all my fault for bein' such a mess." Remy started to sob again. Logan sat up straight. He, Charles, and Hank all exchanged a look of concern.

"Remy's had enough," Hank said. There were nods of agreement. Logan got up and went to Remy. He took him from Hank and hugged him.

"Remy," he said. "I'm gonna be okay. I'm just freakin' out cause I need to freak out. It's got a little to do with you, but mostly it's got to do with my own demons. You need to go decompress with Hank. And let me and your Dad finish dealin' with me. Can you handle that, kid?"

"No," Remy protested. "I don't want to leave until you're okay. All I'd do is worry. An' I don' wan' t' leave til I know whet'er or not I gonna be punished. Don't make me leave."

"Remy." Logan thought carefully. "Your Dad is right. It upset the hell out of me to lose you twice in one night. But you didn't exactly choose to dissociate. If you start blaming yourself, you are gonna make me feel even worse. I don't think I can stand it. And it makes me feel fucking dizzy. First I blame it all on me. Then you blame it all on you which make me blame myself even more which makes you blame you even more. Y'know, maybe we're both being a little crazy."

"A little?" Hank asked with eyebrow raised. "I'd also say you're both being grandiose. Mistakes were made. And things just happened."

Logan sighed deeply. "Hank, you got a point."

"I still wanna stay," Remy said stubbornly.

Logan looked up at Hank and then Charles who both nodded. Remy sat up and shook his head as Hank held out his arms. "I wanna just try t' keep myself t'gether for awhile. I'm tired of being treated like a wounded child."

"You are a wounded child," Hank said clearly. "But it's okay for you to sit by yourself. You need me, I'll be right here." Remy nodded. Logan clasped Remy on the shoulder, went back to the couch, and sat.

"Logan, did you hear me say how much we love you and need you?" Charles asked.

"Sorta," Logan said. "But it don't matter. I fucked up, bad, with this kid who means the world to me. I set him up to be punished again. And he needs another punishment like a hole in the head. I wanna be dead."

Charles started to say something, but Remy burst in. "Logan, blast it." He jumped to his feet and started pacing. "I may act like a fucked up kid most of de damn time dese days. I sure feel like one. But Hank was right. I'd been dere for you on de damn roof. An' I was feeling mos'ly okay. An' I knew what I was doin' when I took dat bottle and I t'ink Hank was right. I wanted t' drink wit you as your friend an' comrade, an' I'm tired, tired, sick and fucking tired of you actin' and soundin' like I was a five-year-old who you fucking offered candy t' after I been told not t' eat any. I wanted t' get drunk wit you. I even t'ought bout de trouble I was gettin' int.' Remember. So, will you, damn it, stop takin' all de blame for what I done brought on myself." He sounded stressed and frustrated.

Logan blinked. "Remy," he started. Charles and Hank looked at one another with startled eyes full of grateful respect for what Remy was saying.

"NO," Remy whirled on him and glared furiously. "I t'ink you were right b'fore. I fucked up an' you fucked up an' we both t' blame for what happened. You ain't in charge of what I do, Logan. I am. An' if you don' stop dis stupid trip you on of blamin' yourse'f for what I damn well did myse'f, I gonna ambush you down in de danger room and beat you silly."

"Well, you could try, kiddo," Logan said mildly. "But I wouldn't count on it."

Remy just glared at him again. "You even hear what I sayin' t' you?" he demanded.

"I hear what you're saying, Remy," Logan said evenly. "And you're right and I'm sorry." He rather felt as if he had been picked up and shaken until some of the confused mess inside him had been knocked back into place. He looked at Remy with affectionate respect. "And damn well said, kiddo."

"T'anks, an' damn it, I love you, too," Remy answered the emotion in Logan's voice. "But I ain' never gonna get t'rough all dis shit if you just treat me like a baby. I ain' no baby."

"I think I kinda got that, Remy," Logan said. His voice started to tremble a little with laughter. "But you gotta admit, sometimes, you sure act like a five- year-old."

Remy's eyes blazed with fury. Suddenly, he was holding a card which he charged and flipped right at Logan's head. Logan caught it quickly in both hands and contained the explosion.

"GODDAMN IT, REMY!!" he yelled with pain as his hands burned. Remy nodded in satisfaction. Hank was ready to explode with glee, but contained himself.

"Remy, if you ever do that again in this study while you're in your right mind, I'll spank you until you're wailing," his father said somewhat unsteadily, his chest shaking with suppressed laughter. Remy nodded.

"An' I'd deserve it, Dad," he acknowledged. "Not so sure I don' deserve it right now." He went over to Logan.

"Lemme see your hands, Logan," he requested quietly. Logan held them up for Remy's inspection. The palms were covered with blisters and angry burns that were starting to heal as they watched. "Oh, mon Dieu, I didn' mean t' hurt you dat bad. I musta given it more of a charge dan I meant t.' I'm sorry, mon ami."

"I guess you were kinda pissed off, kidlet," Logan said ruefully. "Truce?"

"Truce," Remy agreed. He and Logan looked at one another with weary and wry affection.

"Remy," Charles said gently, "Come over here to me." Remy approached his father. Logan moved to the end of the couch and gave Remy room to sit with his Dad.

Charles held his arms out and Remy fell into them. "I'm sorry I disobeyed you, Daddy," he gulped out.

"I know that, son," Charles said, holding him.

"Are you gonna spank me?" Remy asked in a shaky voice. Charles looked up at Hank who shook his head.

"I'd vote no," Hank said quietly. "Remy was taking care of Logan when he took that bottle from him and drank with him. Logan needed the company and needed to feel like he was giving something to Remy. I don't think there's any way Remy could have said no at that point without feeling as if he was betraying the person who probably matters to him more than anyone right now. And to be honest, I think he made the right choice and even the mature choice. He put the needs of his friend ahead of his own need to stay out of trouble."

"I did wanna get drunk," Remy said unsteadily. "I was still upset."

"And, again, I appreciate your honesty, son, but Hank has a point. If Logan hadn't needed you to drink with him would you have gone after some alcohol on your own?" Charles asked.

"I don' t'ink so," Remy said. "But I mighta opened another pack of my smokes."

Charles chuckled. "And I hadn't forbidden you to smoke, son. Hank had, and that's between you and him. All right, Remy. This time you're granted amnesty. But not again. Are you going to drink another drop of alcohol this week?"

"No, sir," Remy said vehemently.

Charles looked at Logan. "Are you going to ask this boy to drink with you, Logan?"

"I'd rather put on a tutu and dance in a ballet," Logan said with conviction. Hank and Remy burst into laughter as the image sprang into their heads and Charles shook with mirth.

"Now, can we go, PLEASE, go ahead and go to the danger room?" Logan asked. "Can we put this all behind us?"

"I'd like to spend a few more minutes with you, Logan," Charles said quietly. Logan groaned. "I'm not going to lecture you any more or force you to face anything else. So calm down, old friend. Just want to clear up a couple of points."

"You got it, Charlie," Logan said. He leaned back on the couch, put his feet back up, and crossed his arms back over his chest.

"Remy," Charles looked at his son. "You handled this situation very well. The whole thing. I'm more proud of you than I can say. And I'm very, very pleased and proud that you confessed."

"T'anks, Daddy," Remy mumbled.

"And you did a damn fine job dealing with Logan," Charles said quietly. "I think you're healing a little. Now, go get dressed for the danger room."

Remy extricated himself from his father's arms and turned to Logan. "Your hands okay, Wolvie?" he asked. Logan unfolded his arms and showed his palms again to Remy. The blisters were gone and the red was fading. He reached out and ruffled Remy's hair.

"I'm fine, kid. Go get ready to get your butt whipped in battle."

"We see bout dat," Remy said as he fairly dashed out the door.

"You want me to stay or go?" Hank asked.

"Stay," Charles said. "I think you need to hear what I have to say." He turned to Logan. "I'm not completely sure what all is going on with you and Remy, but it seems to do him enormous good to come to your rescue. So, I just wanted you to know that for all that you demonstrated abysmally bad judgement last night, maybe on some unconscious level you knew that Remy needed to feel needed and helpful. Maybe you didn't screw up anywhere near as badly as we all thought you'd done."

"I think you have an excellent point, sir." Hank nodded.

Logan groaned again. "Can we fucking, please, just stop all this damn probing and analysis and get on with things. I've had about more of it than I can damn stand. And I ain't gonna keep fucking up just to help Remy."

"No, Logan," Hank chuckled. "If I know you, now that you're in serious self- destruct mode, you'll just keep landing yourself in trouble because you can't help it."

"Gee, thanks, Hank, I really needed to hear that. What a reassuring thought to take with me to the danger room," Logan growled even as he was unable to suppress a corroborating grin. "Goddamn, you people know me too damn well."

"Go suit up, Logan," Charles said. "And try not to accuse Remy of acting like a five-year-old again. I'm tired of explosions in the house."

"You got it, boss," Logan grinned again. "But, hey, ain't no problem with explosions in the danger room, is there?" His eyes sparkled with devilment.

"No," Charles started laughing. "If he lets you push his buttons in the danger room, you can both deal with whatever comes up or blows up."

Logan went out chuckling. Hank and Charles looked at one another and gave in to their laughter.

"What are we going to do with those two?" Charles asked unsteadily.

"Whatever needs to be done, sir," Hank laughed. "But they're really doing an amazingly good job of taking care of one another. It's rather fascinating actually."

"I'm torn between astonishment, horror, and gratitude. And hope desperately we all survive." Charles shook his head. "And Hank, you have an appointment in the danger room yourself."

To be continued.