Subject: Family Matters, Chapter 18
Date: Sat, 4 Jul 1998 23:56:36 EDT
When they got to the top of the stairs on the third floor, Logan pushed Remy in the direction of the bathroom. "Get out of that filthy, tattered mess and throw it away," he advised. "I'll get you some clothes from your room while you're in the shower." Remy nodded and headed for the bathroom door.
Logan went into Remy's room. He rummaged in the dresser, quickly finding some underwear, some shorts and a t-shirt. Grabbing them, he headed back toward the door, almost colliding with the professor, as Charles entered in his hover chair. Logan paused.
"How's my son?" Charles asked. Logan shrugged.
"He's a mess, Charlie," he answered. "So what else is new?" Charles sighed deeply and guided his hover chair to the bed.
"Would you help me get out of this chair and onto the bed?" he asked. Logan came over to help. Charles sighed again as he arranged himself on the bed. "Logan, help me, please."
"You got it, boss," Logan said.
"He obviously misbehaved in the danger room exercise," the professor said. "Do you think he needs me to be angry with him?"
Logan thought for a moment and shook his head. "Are you?" he asked.
"No, not at all," Charles said quietly. "I'm more worried than anything else. He's almost over the edge. I can feel how upset he is through my link with him. All I really want to do is offer him some love and comfort. I don't approve of what he did, but I understand it. And, Logan, I love him more than I know how to say. Blast it all, he doesn't mean to misbehave. He just gets driven by his needs."
"You understand it?" Logan said. "I don't. Could you try to explain it?"
Charles sighed yet again. "Logan, I think Remy loves you and needs you more than I can comprehend. I'm beginning to suspect that when he was little, you were more of a father to him than I was. He idealizes you and adores you and seems to need your love and approval more than he needs mine. I don't understand it. I don't know what was happening when he was small. It hasn't happened yet and all we have to go on are his memories. He needed to fight with you despite all orders to the contrary. It has something to do with him needing you to love him."
"I DO love him," Logan protested. He sat down in a chair and put his head in his hands. "Dammit, Charlie, I don't know how to handle this kid. I have my own problems to cope with that he's stirring up like fearsome hell. I'm doing the best I can."
"Logan, you're doing a fine job of handling Remy even if you did get drunk with him last night," Charles said firmly. "I think you both needed to do that. And it worked out well. You're doing fine with him."
"You really think so?" Logan asked, with deep worry in his eyes. "Dammit, Chuck, he's such a disaster area. And I'm not at all sure he can handle Ro being mad at him and punishing him. Hell, I'm not sure he can handle any more punishment at all. I think he's had enough."
"No, Logan," Charles said gently. "He needs all the punishment he's earned. Trust me on that one, old friend. Please."
Logan groaned and shook his head. "Chuck, I think if that kid cries one more tear, I'm going to fall apart and cry with him. I almost can't stand it. He's hurting so bad. It tears my heart to pieces."
"Good. He needs you to love him that much," the professor said. "And he still needs every spanking he's earned. Logan, how could I trust you to punish him if it didn't hurt you as much as it hurts him? He needs to cry every tear he's crying. And it hurts me, too. Blast it, don't you know it hurts all of us?"
"Yeah," Logan said quietly. "I know. But I'm the one who makes him cry and cry and cry. I'm the one who blisters his butt until he's sobbing his guts out. I don't like it."
"I know," Charles said with sympathy. "I've done it, too. And I didn't like it either. But he does need it, Logan."
"I know, I know, and dammit, Charlie, he's crying again. I can hear him. I've left him alone too long." Logan rose to his feet and started for the door.
"Go take care of him, please. I'll be waiting here for him when you get back." Charles said.
Logan sped down the hall and entered the bathroom without knocking. Remy was out of the shower, wrapped in a towel, and sitting on the floor with tears running down his face. He looked up at Logan, who gave him the clothes. Remy took them and just held them.
"I'm sorry," he gulped out.
"De nada, kid," Logan said, crouching in front of him. "You have every right to be upset as hell."
Remy pulled on the underwear and shorts under his towel, which he let drop to the floor. He shook with sobs. Logan gathered him into his arms and held him tightly.
"What is it, kid?" Logan said gently. "Upset about Ro and Hank?"
Remy shook his head. "Upset bout everyt'ing," he choked out. "Bout all of last night. Bout dis morning. Bout de danger room. Bout everyt'ing. I just kinda feel like I can' do not'in' right."
"Remy, that's not true," Logan started.
"It don' matter if it's true or not," Remy sobbed. "I jus' feel lost, Logan."
Logan looked down at Remy's drawn, tear-streaked face and thought about what Remy had been through in the past days. He sighed and held him tightly. "Kidlet," he said gently, "just in the last day, you've gotten less than three hours sleep, woke up with a hangover, threw up, ate almost no breakfast, ate no lunch at all, and got knocked out in the danger room. That's without even considering the emotional stress you've had. You need to decompress, kiddo. And you fucking need to eat something."
"I not hungry at all," Remy protested. "I jus' feel sick."
Logan sighed. "Remy, you need to eat," he said firmly. He put his back against the wall and held Remy tightly. "Look, kiddo, try to cry it out for now and calm down."
"I don't know if I can, Logan," Remy gulped out, but he put his head down on Logan's hard shoulder and cried until he felt some beginnings of peace.
"Would it help to talk about it, kidlet?" Logan asked kindly.
"I don' know," Remy said shakily. "I t'ink so, but not right now. We don' have time before de debriefing. And we taking up a lot of time in dis bathroom."
"Yeah," Logan agreed. He had heard and scented Warren waiting patiently in the hall outside. He rose, pulling Remy to his feet and opened the door. "Hey, Warren."
"Hi, Warren," Remy said in subdued tones. "Sorry."
"Nothing to be sorry about, Rem," Warren said lightly. "I just need to shower and change. You doing okay? Hell, forget I asked. Of course, you're not."
"I'm doing kinda okay," Remy said. "And hey, t'anks for asking, man."
"I ask because I care, Remy," Warren said. "And much as you seem to have a hard time believing it, you aren't at all hard to care about."
Remy's eyes again welled with tears, which he blinked back hurriedly. Warren clapped him on the shoulder and disappeared into the bathroom. Logan guided Remy down the hall to his room.
When Remy opened the door, the first sight that greeted him was that of his father sitting on his bed. His heart sank and he was filled with trepidation at what the professor might have to say about his behavior in the danger room.
"Hi, Dad," he said quietly.
Logan paused in the doorway. "I think I'll leave you guys alone together," he said.
"Thanks, Logan," Charles acknowledged. "I'll call you when I'm ready to leave." Logan nodded and left, shutting the door. Charles looked at his son and sighed. "Hi, Remy," he returned his greeting and motioned for his son to sit beside him on the bed. Remy sat down on the edge and looked at the floor. There was a lump in his throat and new tears stung in his eyes. He didn't know what to say.
"Remy. . ."
"Daddy. . ." They both spoke simultaneously and stopped awkwardly. Charles chuckled.
"Do you want me to go ahead, son? Or do you want to go first?"
"Was just gonna say dat I'm sorry," Remy said miserably, still staring down at the floor with tears brimming in his eyes. "I know you tired of me sayin' I'm sorry while I keep on fuckin' up. An' I sorry bout dat, too."
"Remy, you don't need to apologize to me," Charles said. "I know you disobeyed your orders and lied to Hank, but none of that has anything to do with me and you. That's all between you and Storm and Hank. I'm not angry at all."
Remy turned and stared at his father with the tears still welling in his eyes. "You not mad at me?" he asked with confusion. Charles held his arms out. Remy laid down on his bed, curling up and allowing his father to put his arms around him.
"No, child, I'm not at all angry with you," Charles said gently, holding his son. "You didn't disobey me. You didn't put your life in danger. I have no reason to be angry with you, son."
"I fucked up, Daddy," Remy said. "An' I don't even know why I did it."
"I imagine you'll figure it out, child," Charles said. "With the help of Storm and Hank and Logan, all of whom love you. But I wanted you to know that you're not in any trouble with me."
"T'anks," Remy said. "Daddy, I don' wan' t' be in trouble again with anyone. I don,' really. I'm sick and goddam tired of bein' in trouble an' bein' punished. I don' know if I can stand it any more. It hurts. I hurtin' bad. I just wanna run away. An' I know I can.' I know I have t' stay here an' get it all over wit, but, Daddy, I jus' at de point where I jus wanna die 'fore I have t' take any more." Remy started sobbing from deep in his guts, with desperate anguish.
Charles sighed and held his son tightly. "Remy, I don't know if you've figured this out yet, but you happen to be my heart walking around outside my body," he said firmly. "And I think Ro and Hank love you as much as I do. And, Logan." Charles sighed. "I think Logan loves you more than any of us. You and he have some kind of bond that defies reason. But, baby, and excuse me for calling you that, but you are our baby, child, if you didn't want to be punished again, why on earth did you lie and disobey?"
"I don' know," Remy gulped out, still sobbing. "I wan'ed t' fight wit Logan. I did. I don' know why. I jus' had t.' Please, Daddy, please tell dem not t' punish me. Please."
Charles took a deep breath and held his son. "I can't do that, child. I can't and won't protect you from the consequences of your own behavior. You made your choices. You have to deal with the results." Remy sobbed.
"If Stormy p. . .punishes me, Daddy, I gonna. . .k. . .k. . .kill myself," he gulped out. Charles paused for a moment, tempted to push Remy down over his knees and blister his bottom. He took another deep breath.
"Son, if you ever threaten me with that again, I'm going to spank you until you're hysterical," he said sternly. "I mean it, boy. I don't like that kind of blackmail. Don't you dare threaten us losing you, by your own choice. Don't you give a damn about any of us? If you killed yourself, we'd all be devastated. Don't you care at all about how much we love you and how much you mean to us?"
Remy sobbed deeply. "I'm sorry," he gasped out. "Daddy, I'm sorry. Please don' be so mad at me."
"Remy, I wasn't mad at you at all until you threatened to kill yourself," Charles said irately. "That's not acceptable. Do you understand?"
"Yes, sir," Remy sobbed. "I'm sorry. . .I. . .sorry. . ." He was acutely aware of being manipulative and was deeply ashamed. He had no real intention of killing himself, but he really didn't know any other way to communicate how dismayed and frightened he was.
"Shh, baby," Charles said gently as Remy unconsciously sent his confusion to his father's head. Charles stroked his back and head. "Just cry it out and stop trying to be in control of what is happening. You're not in control, child. You screwed up and you're in serious trouble. You can't fix it or change it. You're simply going to have to deal with Hank and Ro giving you the consequences of what you chose to do."
"Daddy," Remy said. "I can' stand Stormy bein' mad at me. I can.' I really wan' t' die."
"And that's okay, Remy," Charles said. "It's okay that you feel that upset and scared. But Ro loves you. We all love you."
Remy cried deeply and thoroughly until he felt some beginning of resigned acceptance. His sobs quieted and he shuddered with after sobs. His father held him. "Daddy, I love you and I need you, but I wan' Logan, now," he said. "I wan' Logan. I need him."
Charles sighed again, wondering about the bond between his son and Wolverine. It was becoming clear to him that Logan had been more of a father to Remy than he had been and he wondered why and what had happened in the unknown future in which this child had been born.
He held his son tightly and stroked him gently, "Remy, if you need Logan, I'll get him for you. Do you know that I love you?"
"Yes, sir." Remy took a deep breath. "Daddy, I'm sorry."
"Don't worry about it, Rem," Charles said gently. "If you want Logan, you can have him." The professor called Logan in his head. Logan responded immediately and said he was on his way.
* * *
Logan had gone up to Storm's loft and waited for her to get out of the shower. She came out, with one towel around her body and another around her hair. She looked at her lover and chuckled. "Cleaned your clock, didn't I, dear?" she asked, referring to their fight in the citadel.
"Oh, yeah," Logan admitted. "You're one damn powerful woman, my love."
Ro unwrapped the towel from around her head and sat down at her dressing table to comb through the long white masses. Logan came up behind her, took the comb from her hands and started to gently work it through her hair. Ro sighed with pleasure and stretched like a cat.
"That feels wonderful, love," she sighed, closing her eyes and enjoying the feel of his careful hands in her hair.
"Ro," Logan began hesitantly.
"What, dear one?"
"What are you planning to do to Remy for disobeying your orders?"
Ro sighed and leaned back as Logan pulled the comb though her long hair. "I was planning on spanking him. I think he has it coming to him. Why?"
"Just wish you wouldn't," Logan said quietly.
"Because he's over the edge, darlin.' He's so upset that I'm worried." Logan sighed. "And I think it's partly my fault. I kept him up late. I offered him Scotch to drink and got him drunk. He was hung over today and scared out his wits this morning. And now he's scared as hell again. He loves you, Ro. He's terrified of being punished by you."
Ro took a deep breath. She was worried about Remy, too. "Are you suggesting that he doesn't need to be punished for disobeying orders and lying in combat?" she asked.
Logan continued to run the comb through Ro's long hair, caressing her with each stroke. "No," he said. "I'm tellin' you that the kid has been punishing himself. He hasn't stopped crying since the exercise ended. He's miserable."
"He deserves to be miserable," Ro said firmly. "He screwed up. Badly. I'm not happy with him at all."
"And he's not happy with himself either," Logan said. "Ro, look, I know he deserves to be punished. I'm just asking you to show him some mercy. Hell, I'm begging. Please, go easy on him."
Ro met Logan's eyes in the mirror and shook her head, smiling at him with bemusement. "And, tell me, love, do you plan to go easy on him when it comes time to punish him for that drunken, reckless bike trip?"
"Goddammit, Ro, you know I can't," Logan protested. "He could have killed himself. There's no way to let him off easy for being self- destructive. It wouldn't be fair to him. But dammit, I want to."
"But you want me to go easy on him for disobeying orders and lying in a combat situation, which is behavior that could endanger all of us?"
"Oh, hell, Ro, it was an exercise. And he just wanted to go up against me. I hardly think it likely that I'd have damaged any of you," Logan grumbled.
"That's not the point, Logan," Ro said firmly. She reached up and took his hand, still holding his eyes in the mirror. Her voice softened. "Sweetheart, I know how much you love him and I know he's hurting right now. And I know he's been punished so much that's he's as fragile right now as old crystal. I'll think about what you're saying when I'm talking to him about what he did. And I might relent. But I don't want him to have a clue. I want him to worry about what he did in the danger room. And I want him to explain himself to me. Satisfied?"
Logan took her chin in his hand, leaned her head back and kissed her. Their open mouths met and his tongue entered. She gasped, turned, and locked her arms around his shoulders. The towel around her slipped to the floor and Logan's hands ran gently, but firmly down her smooth muscular back, caressing her sensually.
She moved her fingers through his hair and they continued to kiss, playing with each other's mouths with their tongues and lips. Her hands moved to his shirt and started to undo the buttons, slipping inside to play with his chest, pulling gently at the hairs there and stroking. He shivered.
"We got time for this, my love?" he asked.
Ro looked over at the clock. "We have about twenty minutes," she said. "Let's do it."
Her fingers slipped to the buttons of his jeans and unfastened them. She caressed them down, cupping his butt with her hands, holding it and stroking it. Logan leaned down, picked her up and carried her over to the bed. He laid her down on it and hovered above her.
"Me on top?" he asked. She nodded.
"And now, love," she said. "We don't have a lot of time and I want you in me, now."
Logan nodded and entered her. Ro gasped and moved her body up to meet his. She came almost immediately, shaking with pleasure. Logan chuckled as he watched the red flush rise on her breasts and he rocked against her, gliding in and out as he felt the spasms of her inner muscles.
It was at that moment that the professor's voice called him inside his head. He groaned with frustration as he answered that he would be right there.
"What is it, love?" Ro asked dreamily still rocking back up against him.
"Remy needs me," Logan said with resignation. "But he can wait till we're finished."
"I'd hope so," Ro said. Logan chuckled and moved in and out of her again, then again, then again, first slowly, then quickly, first gently, then hard. Ro gasped again and thrust her body up. Logan plunged deeply inside her and then pulled out and teased his hard cock against her clit, titillating her to intense anticipation. She pushed up hard again, grinding her pelvis to his crotch and came again explosively.
Logan went deep inside her, once again feeling her spasming inner muscles and let go himself, groaning with pleasure. He fell on top of her, catching his weight on his elbows and grinning down into her contented face.
"Well," Logan said. "That wasn't bad for a quickie."
Ro smacked his butt hard and he grinned. "It wasn't bad, period," she said. "Now, get dressed and take care of your kid."
"My kid?" Logan pulled out of her and accepted the tissues she handed him to clean up. He jerked on his underwear and jeans and shrugged into his shirt.
"He seems to be more yours than anybody's," Ro said as she rose and started for the bathroom. "But, no, dearest, he's ours. All of ours."
Logan was buttoning his shirt as he headed for the door. "And I guess you're right, darlin.' He does seem to be more mine than anyone's. Which is actually okay with me even if it does drive me crazy sometimes."
Ro detoured from the bathroom and stopped him with a kiss. "Take care of the poor baby, will you? And get him to the debriefing on time and in somewhat of his right mind if you can."
"I'll try, my love. I'll try." Logan kissed her again and fairly ran out the door.
* * *
"What's taking Logan so long?" Remy asked his dad with distraught confusion.
Charles chuckled. "I'm not totally sure, Remy," he said. "But the brief moment I was in his head, I got a distinct feeling that he and Ro were very busy."
"Busy?" Remy asked, puzzled. He thought for a second. "OH, geez, Daddy, I didn't meant t' distract him if he was busy."
"I'm sure they took the time to finish whatever they were doing." Charles chuckled again.
"I hope so." Remy flushed. Charles held him tightly and stroked his hair, dropping a kiss on the top of his son's head.
"Don't worry about it, Rem," he said with amusement. "Logan's an adult. He knows how to take care of himself."
"Sometimes," Remy mumbled. "An' sometimes I worry about him."
"Remy, sometimes we all worry about Logan," Charles said quietly. "He's had a hell of a painful, difficult, and traumatic life. But, he's a survivor and when it comes to dealing with you, child, he does just fine almost all the time."
"Most o' de time," Remy said. "But I bring up a lot of pain for him. An' I hate it."
"You're helping him recover his memories, Remy," Charles said. "And he needs to recover them, however painful they are. Don't worry, son. You and he are very good for each other."
"Sometimes," Logan said as he opened the door to Remy's room. "Not that I have any doubt that Remy is good for me. Just question sometimes how good I am for him, especially when I get him drunk in the middle of the night." Logan walked over to the bed. "What's up, guys?"
Remy looked up at him with his eyes full of tears. "I jus' wan'ed you, Logan," he said tremulously. "I'm sorry." Charles met Logan's eyes with his own and shrugged. Logan nodded and proceeded to help the professor get into his hover chair.
"Stop apologizing, Rem," Logan said roughly. "You want me, you got me. I love you, kidlet." He sat down on the bed and pulled Remy into his arms. Remy put his arms around Wolverine and started to sob again, resting his head on Logan's shoulder.
Charles looked at Logan. "We're scheduled for the debriefing in about five minutes. Please, do your best to get him calmed down and downstairs as soon as you can. Oh. . .did you and Ro finish what you were you were doing?"
Logan looked at Charles askance. "I get no damn privacy round this damn place," he complained. "Yeah, we finished what we'd started, Chuck, and we're both fine." Charles laughed and went out the door.
Logan looked down at Remy who was crying hard on his shoulder. "What is it, kiddo? Why you so upset?"
"I don' wan' t' be in trouble again," Remy gulped out.
Logan sighed and held the boy tightly. "Rem, you probably should have thought of that before you disobeyed your orders and lied to Hank," he said gruffly. Remy nodded and cried harder. Logan sighed again and shook the Cajun gently. "You gotta calm down, kiddo. We got to get to the debriefing. And you need to eat. You're a damn mess."
Remy nodded again and tried to swallow his sobs. "No," Logan said. "You need to cry until you're finished, kidlet. The rest of our family can wait. It's okay. Go ahead and cry."
Remy accepted what Logan had said and cried hard and deeply until his sobs quieted. "L. . .Logan. . .are you mad at me?"
"No, Remy," Logan said. "I don't know why in hell you needed to fight me so badly that you disobeyed orders and lied to Hank, but I don't really give a jolly damn. I thought it was kinda fun, myself. Kiddo, you're a warrior. Give me some time to work with you and train you and you could beat anyone I could and me, too. Especially with your psychic powers if you get some help with them from Jean and Bets and your Dad."
"T'anks, Logan, but I never really wanna hurt you."
"I know that, kidlet, but, hey, you do wanna beat me in a fair fight, don't you?"
"I really don' know," Remy's sobs were subsiding. He pulled himself out of Logan's arms. Logan looked at him carefully and nodded.
"You ready to go downstairs, Rem?" Logan asked. Remy nodded. "Will you promise to try to get a sandwich down?" Remy nodded again. Logan pulled him to his feet and they went out the door.
* * *
Logan stopped in the kitchen on their way to the study to debrief and grabbed several sandwiches, handing one to Remy.
The professor was already speaking when they came in. Logan sat down on the floor and leaned against the wall. Remy sat down next to him and took a bite of his sandwich, a turkey club with bacon, normally one of his favorites. After the first bite, he realized he was ravenous and gobbled several more bites.
Then abruptly his stomach shut down and he felt nauseated and unable to eat another bite. He stared down at the sandwich and put it down on the floor beside him. Logan looked over and shook his head.
"Is that the best you can do?" he asked quietly. Remy nodded. "Remy, if you don't eat, you're going to make yourself sick."
"I already feel sick," Remy answered as quietly as Logan had spoken. Several members of the family looked over at them and the professor stopped talking.
"Do you two have something to contribute to this analysis of what happened in the danger room?" Charles asked with a raised eyebrow. Remy flushed and shook his head, staring down at the floor.
"I was just tryin' to talk Remy into eating something," Logan said easily. "Go on ahead with wherever you were, Charlie."
Charles nodded and looked kindly at his son. "Remy, it would help if you ate," he said.
Remy nodded, still not looking up, picked up his sandwich and forced himself to take another bite. It tasted like sawdust in his mouth and he almost gagged, but he didn't put it down again.
The others continued to discuss the strategies that had been used to protect and break into the citadel and then the discussion moved on to what had happened once the attacking team had gotten in. Remy's stomach tightened.
"Remy," Charles said. "Would you tell us what happened with you and Hank?"
Remy sighed deeply and answered honestly, still looking at the floor. "Hank and me went t' de treasure room," he started.
"Wait a minute," Logan said. "I want to know how you guys knew where it was and where the rest of us were, seemingly all the damn time."
Remy looked up at him. "I linked t' you, Logan," he said. He reached out through the link and Logan felt it immediately.
Logan scowled. "And when did I give you permission to be in my head, kiddo?" he demanded irritably.
Remy started at the anger he heard in Logan's voice. "You never did," he said shakily.
"Then what in hell gave you the right to be there?" Logan's voice was even more angry.
It was too, too much. Remy flared into sudden anger and flung the sandwich toward the waste basket. It missed, scattering lettuce, tomato, bacon, turkey, and bread all over the floor. "You gave my father permission to set it up when I was four or five, dammit, Logan," he spat out. "Nobody asked me a damn t'ing. And if you don' wan' me t' have it, I can just cut it off." He did so immediately and got up off the floor to start picking up the sandwich pieces from the rug. Bobby got up from his chair and started to help.
"Hey, man, chill," he said very softly next to Gambit's ear. Remy nodded and continued to pick up pieces of lettuce. He felt oddly bereft without the old familiar link to Logan.
Logan blinked as he also felt the link disappear. He sighed. "Remy, have you ever considered being just a tad less impulsive?" he asked. "I didn't ask you to cut it off. I just wanted to know when I gave permission for it to be there. And you told me. Now, will you please put it back. I think I like it."
Remy looked up at him with a red flush still on his cheeks. "I'm not sure I know how," he admitted. He looked over at his dad and looked back and forth between him and Logan. "I'm sorry," he said quietly.
"Well, at least you didn't charge the sandwich," Charles said gently. *Pay attention, son.* Charles voice was inside his head and guiding him to the link. He showed his son how to re-establish it and once again Remy felt linked to Logan.
I'm here, Rem. Logan's voice was in his head. *And I ain't mad at you, kidlet. I actually kinda admire the creative way you managed to get rid of that sandwich you really didn't want.*
Remy chuckled as he continued with Bobby's help to clean up the mess he'd made. "T'anks, Logan," he said aloud, relieved to feel the link again.
"Now could we go on with what happened with you and Hank and Logan?" Charles suggested. Remy took a deep breath and continued, relieved he had something to do as he picked up the multiple shreds of his former sandwich.
"We got to the treasure room and Logan wasn't there," he continued. "And the crystal didn't seem to be there either. An' I knew which way he'd gone." He took another deep breath. "So I lied to Hank and tol' him dat Logan had gone another way and that I'd stay and search the room and come after him. Den as soon as Hank took off, I went after Logan, myself."
"Completely disobeying the orders I'd given you," Ro commented coldly.
Remy nodded and described the events on the stairs and in the room below. Scott groaned as Remy described Logan's moment of hesitation with the charged bo and the resulting explosion that had knocked Logan into the wall.
"Logan," he expostulated with exasperation.
Logan shrugged. "Told you I didn't want to hurt him," he said mildly as he started on his third sandwich.
Remy described his own confusion about using his telepathic powers to reach into Logan's mind and his reluctance to hurt him.
"That wasn't a mistake," the professor said firmly. "You shouldn't use those powers until you know how. And certainly not in a training exercise. You could have done some real damage. First item on the agenda tomorrow is you getting some training with me and Jean and Betsy in the danger room."
"Yes, sir," Remy acknowledged before going on with his story. He described Storm's entrance and Logan's efforts to protect him when they were blown against the wall.
"Dammit, Logan," Scott said explosively. "Do you always protect your enemies from getting hurt?"
"Only the ones I care about," Logan said, grinning. Scott glared at him and subsided.
"Stop yelling at Logan," Jean said quietly. "We've all seen him protect people he was fighting from getting hurt badly."
"Thanks darlin.'" Logan said, giving Jean a loving and grateful glance.
Storm felt a moment of intense and unreasonable jealousy. Logan had loved Jean for much longer than he had any other living woman she knew of. Without thinking, she turned her anger on Remy who had finished his story by describing his flight to the roof.
"So, Gambit," she snapped. "you disobeyed your orders in a combat situation. You lied to a team mate in combat. What do you expect the consequences to be?"
Remy examined the rug carefully, looking hard for any remaining fragments of sandwich. Bobby put a hand on his shoulder and then sat himself back down. "I spose dat I'm in trouble," Remy said, still looking down at the floor.
"You suppose that you're in trouble?" Ro asked the air. She glared at Remy, who looked up and caught her angry glance. He nodded miserably. "When we finish this debriefing, Remy, I want you to stay right here in the study. And be damn grateful that I don't tell you to put yourself in the corner right this minute with your pants down."
Remy blushed furiously, his face turning bright red. Tears sprang to his eyes and he quickly moved back over to the wall, sitting down again beside Logan.
Logan frowned at Ro, who met his gaze with a little discomfort. She had been much harder on Remy than she had intended and she was acutely aware of how miserable Remy looked.
"Let's go on with the discussion of what happened," Charles intervened, aware of the high emotions in the room. Most of the family was looking with sympathy at Remy, who stared down at the floor, trying hard to control his urgent need to burst into tears.
Ro sighed and looked away from Logan who turned his gaze to Remy. Jean put a hand on Ro's arm and squeezed gently. "You have every right to be angry," Jean said softly. Ro nodded, grateful for the support, but ashamed of the attack of jealousy that had inspired her rage with Remy.
The discussion continued, but Remy didn't hear a word. He was shaking inside and the tears welling in his eyes started to drip down his face.
"Remy. REMY," he heard his Dad say.
"Yes, sir," he got out in a normal tone of voice.
"You did well in your fights with Betsy and in the whole final battle," Charles said.
"T'anks," Remy said, still looking down at the floor with tears continuing to fall down his face. He hated Storm being angry with him. It hurt, badly. His chest was tight and his stomach frozen. A part of him just wanted the discussion to be over and another part hoped it would never end. He drew his long legs up to his chest and took shallow breaths.
All of the rest of the debriefing went right over his head as he tried really hard to stop crying. Tears continued to escape his control and run down his face as he looked down, hoping no one noticed.
Rogue was trembling with anger when the discussion ended and the group started to disperse. She rose from a window seat, beside the plastic which covered the broken window and confronted Storm.
"Remy's had enough," she spat out, angrily. "He's a damn mess and ya ain't helpin' any."
"Rogue," Storm said softly, still feeling guilty. Remy's anguished, overflowing tears had touched her. "he has to face the consequences of what he chose to do. I won't hurt him."
"Ya've already hurt him," Rogue said, furiously. "He loves ya, dammit. He's upset as hell that ya're mad at him."
"I can see that clearly, Rogue," Storm acknowledged.
"Rogue," Remy protested. He looked up at his love and ignored the tears running down his face. His voice shook. "I screwed up, cher. I deserve for Stormy t' be mad at me." Storm felt deep compassion for the kid sitting on the floor beside Logan. She took a breath and started to formulate a response to Rogue. Charles intervened.
"Rogue," he said, "let Remy deal with his team leader. He'll be okay. The rest of us need to get on with business. I want most of you on the computers, trying to locate Sinister and finding out what he's been up to. Who's in charge of dinner tonight?"
"Me," Logan said. "I'll get on it soon."
"Bobby," Charles said. "As soon as Remy is out of the study, I want you guys to take charge of repairing the windows in here. In the meantime, I want you to be on the computers." Bobby groaned. He hated computer work.
Charles chased the others out, except for Storm, Hank, Remy and Logan. As soon as the door shut behind the rest, Logan put his arms around Remy, who still had helpless tears running down his face. Remy started to sob.
"I'm sorry," Remy said. "I'm really sorry."
"Remy, you can't just jump to your apologies," Storm said firmly. "You need and deserve to be punished."
Remy gulped with dismay. "Can Logan stay?" he asked desperately.
"Of course," Charles said. "Logan, do you want me to put someone else in charge of dinner?"
Logan shook his head. "Nope," he said. "I can still manage dinner. And stay here for Rem."
"Good," Charles moved his chair out the door. As soon as the door shut behind the professor, Storm spoke.
"Logan, please let go of Remy and let me hold him here on the couch," she requested. She looked at Remy. "Yes, Remy, I want to hold you. I still love you no matter how badly you misbehaved. I'm worried about you, child."
Logan let go of Remy, who went over the couch where Ro sat. She took the overgrown kid into her arms. "Remy," Storm said gently, "we need to understand why you did what you did. Why did you need to fight with Logan so badly that you risked getting punished again?"
Remy was shaking hard with deep sobs. "I don' know, Stormy," he choked out. "I really don' know. I jus' had t.' I'm sorry."
Logan walked over to the one unbroken window in the room and looked out, brooding. He didn't like any of this. On some level, he understood exactly why Remy had wanted to fight with him, but he could no more articulate it than Remy could.
"I'm sorry, too, Remy," Storm said, "but that won't do. You have to explain it to us."
"I don' know. . .St. . .Stormy. . ."
Logan came over and knelt in front of the couch. "Rem," he said gently. "Don't try to think about it, kidlet. And don't try to stop crying. Just start talking and see what comes out. Think out loud without censoring it."
Remy nodded and Logan patted him on the back. Logan looked up at Ro. His eyes pleaded with her to go easy on Remy and she sighed yet again.
"Try to do what Logan just said, sweetie," Ro said gently. "Just talk."
"I wanted t' fight wit Logan," Remy gulped out. "I w. . .wan'ed. . .t'. . .fight wit. . .L. . .Logan, be. . .because. . .we've always had more f. . .fun in fightin' wit each ot'er dan doin' almost anyt'ing else. . ." He was overtaken by another vivid memory. He paused before sending it out to Logan, Ro, and Hank.
"I havin' a memory. . . dat might have somet'ing t' do. . . wit it," he said.
"Well, send it to us, Remy," Logan said.
"It might be a little confusin,'" Remy said. "It's from when I was a little kid. . .but I'm dere as a grown-up, too."
Hank was bemused. "I've never thought of that part of it before," he said. "You joined the X-men as you are now before you were born. And you were around as an adult when you were a child? That sounds confusing."
"I didn' know he was me," Remy explained. "Jus' t'ought dat I'd been named after him. Cause he saved my mother's life. An' I don' know what dat was about."
"Just send us the memory, Rem. We'll figure it out, somehow," Logan said. Remy took a deep breath and recaptured the vivid and intense memory that had come to him, sending it out to the others in the room.
* * *
Little Remy, Rachel, and half a dozen other children were playing like mad around and between blankets and lawn chairs in a grassy area. The blankets and chairs were filled with people who chatted and lounged. Logan, Ro, Scott, Jean, Bobby, Hank, Warren, Betsy, Sam, Rogue, and adult Remy were all sitting on blankets very close by.
Little Remy and Rachel both had "light sabers," telescoping plastic swords. They lit up and made the same noises as the light sabers used by the Jedi Knights in the "Star Wars" movies, humming and buzzing all the time and crashing and roaring as they hit each other. Little Remy's glowing, humming light saber was longer than he was when fully extended. He and Rachel were fighting with them when Rachel abruptly stopped, turned her red saber off, and dropped it on one of the blankets.
She sat down next to her mother and complained, "I don't want to always be Darth Vader. How come Remy always gets to be Luke?"
Jean gathered her into a hug. "As I seem to remember he asked for one first and asked for the green one. And as I seem to remember, we offered to get you another green one, but nope, if Remy had the green one, you had to have a red one. He does swap with you sometimes," she chuckled. "Why don't you just declare that Luke and Vader swapped swords?"
"Mommm! That's totally dumb," Rachel protested. "And they're not swords. They're light sabers."
"You tell her, Rachel," Bobby cheered. It was growing steadily darker. Little Remy drifted closer to his family as the light faded.
"Remy," Logan called. "They're going to start. Come back. Now."
Adult Remy started and laughed. "I can't never seem t' get over jumping when I hear my name like dat. Always afraid I got myself in trouble when he yells."
"Ya know ya tickled pink they named the child after ya, sugah. Stop complainin' about it," Rogue said happily.
Little Remy had run up in time to hear the last exchange and decided to ignore it. "How do you know?" he asked Logan.
"I hear em," Logan laid down on the blanket, looking up. "Smell em, too." Remy heard the bang and lay down beside Logan in time to see the sky overhead explode into green and silver glittering streamers.
About 45 minutes later, the crowds around were folding their lawn chairs, shaking out blankets, and gathering their possessions. In the space clearing around the X-family, little Remy and Logan were whirling around each other in "serious" combat with the sabers. As the red and green lights danced around each other the crashes, buzzes, and whirs sparkled through the night like strange echoes of the fireworks before.
Remy laughed with glee as he brought his saber down on Logan's. The lights flashed. The sounds crashed. Logan grinned back him and knelt to gather up the blanket, which he slung over his shoulder as he fended off another attack from Remy. He whirled and grabbed the cooler and laughed as Remy spun round to his unprotected side to attack, almost perfectly executing a maneuver Logan had been trying to teach him for weeks.
For a second, Logan contemplated letting the child connect to reward him, but at the last moment, he raised the red saber and deflected the blow. He flowed to his feet and brought his saber over and down toward Remy's head. He slowed himself almost imperceptibly to give the kid a chance and was delighted when the boy got his saber up over his head in time to stop Logan's blow.
"Oh, good, good, good, kidlet," he called out enthusiastically. The child glowed, laughing back at him.
Logan turned off the saber, reached over and ruffled Remy's hair. "We gotta start for the car, Rem," he said.
"Can we fight all the way there?" Little Remy asked, his eyes sparkling.
Logan grinned, "Don't think that would be the best of ideas, kiddo. We'd slow the others down too much. And we could get arrested for unauthorized saber fighting."
"Yeah, but I don't think I would," Bobby reached for Logan's saber. Logan relinquished it, laughing.
Adult Remy looked down at his namesake. "May I borrow yours, please, p'tite?" The child grinned up at one of the grown ups in his life who treated him like a little brother and handed him the saber.
Logan and Stormy walked on each side of little Remy and they all watched the red and green glowing and sparking as big Remy and Bobby whirled and pirouetted down the street, playing with each other and using all of their considerable skills. The police officers directing the flow of foot traffic grinned indulgently at these two young men, playing with glowing, humming, roaring toy swords.
Remy succeeded in knocking Bobby's saber out of his hands. It spun through the air, flying backwards. Ororo grinned hugely, leaped forward and up, caught it, and parried toward adult Remy who laughed with delight and riposted.
"REMY!" Little Remy called. "Reemmmy! Give Stormy the green one. Please. You take the red."
Both adults holding the sabers burst into gales of laughter and swapped sabers, tossing them through the air.
"Met'inks dere might be somet'ing Oedipal bout dis," adult Remy choked out. He lunged at Storm with the red saber and whirled on down the street after Jean, Scott, Hank, and the others, all of whom were walking half backwards and watching the play.
"Just because the child wants me to play with his weapon?" Ro chuckled as she raced after him, swinging her buzzing saber at his head. He parried and thrust at her.
Ro and Remy whirled, lunged, parried, riposted and danced up the street together. And they were truly dancing with one another, more interested in prolonging the waltz than they were in striking a blow against one another, although neither avoided an opening given by the other. Their dance continued until they were cutting through the parking lot next to the one in which their vehicles had been left.
Storm exploded into motion attacking Remy with every skill she'd ever learned from street fighting urchin in Cairo to well trained X-man. He had been lunging toward her and she spun inside his reach, coming at his neck with the saber and bringing her other hand up inside his sword arm. She grasped the arm and flipped him forward. She whirled to follow through and for a second stood over him, with her saber at his neck, before he rolled away from it and sprang to his feet. Adult Remy's eyes were twinkling with joy.
"Heh, Stormy," he chuckled, "you wan' t' play rough, cherie? I t'ink dat could be fun, neh? But no powers, neh? I t'ink dat be de best idea, don' you t'ink?"
"Of course, you idiot, as much as you can ever stop using yours in combat." Storm laughed. "We're in public."
"Aren't we, though?" Scott groaned. Jean grinned and put a hand on her husband's shoulder.
"They're playing with toy light sabers, sweetheart," she remonstrated.
Little Remy wondered what Scotty was worrying about, but decided it was one of those mysterious grown-up things. He turned his attention back to Stormy and big Remy, who were circling each other warily.
Adult Remy suddenly pulled a card out of his sleeve and flicked it idly towards Storm's eyes. She almost flinched, but ducked away slightly and easily allowed the narrow cardboard to strike her chin. She shook her head.
"Not that easy, Rem." She smiled. "You said no powers. I trust you."
"Bad mistake," Big Remy grinned, threw himself to the ground and swung out a leg to topple Ro who fell, rolling and swung her saber toward where Remy's head had been a split second before.
He flowed to his feet as she did and they circled again. Ro stepped slightly toward Remy and he flowed inside her sword arm. She turned slightly and suddenly Remy's saber was across her neck while hers was jabbed up into the bottom of his rib cage pointed at his heart.
The Cajun grinned down into the Windrider's eyes not far below his own. His face dropped lower for a second as if his lips were aimed toward hers. He paused and then kissed her full on the mouth, briefly, but thoroughly. She pulled back, smiling at him.
"That was nice, sir," she laughed, doing an imitation of an English accent. "Might I, please, have some more?" Remy grinned and lowered his face towards hers again, but she patted his cheek and pulled gently out of his arms.
"I t'ink we both dead, Stormy," Remy suggested.
Ro turned off her light saber. "I think we'd have to call that a draw, Gambit," she chuckled. She looked over at Wolverine.
Little Remy looked up and saw that Logan was grinning hugely. "That looked like fun, darlin.' You enjoy it?"
Ro lit up, her face filled with fun. She walked over to Logan and kissed him on the mouth. He dropped the cooler, put his hands under her buttocks and lifted her, as she wrapped her legs around his waist. He kissed back deep and long.
"Have any of you guys considered the fact that Rachel and Remy have to be at swim team practice at 8:30 am?" Scott asked with exasperation.
Logan let go of Ro, putting her back on her feet, and laughed. "Why the hell do I need to think about it, when I know you will, Scotty?" He raised his hands in capitulation before Scott could say another word. "And you're right. And it's my turn and my problem to deal with when it comes time to drag these kids outta bed. But, hey, Scotty, it's the 4th of July. Chill."
Scott grinned back at him. "Long as you know that you're the one who has to get them up and get them there."
* * *
Remy shook himself in Ro's arms. He wasn't anywhere close to crying at that moment. "It was magical, wasn' it?" he asked in a voice of wonder, totally caught up in remembering how happy he had been that night and how delighted with the playfulness and love of the family who had been his as a child. He wasn't really looking at anyone, just staring into space.
Ororo, Logan, and Hank all looked at one another. They had all relived the memory through the eyes of a happy child and could not help but be infected with his innocent and accepting joy. Ro's eyes suddenly filled with tears as she thought of what had happened to that innocent child.
"Yes, Remy, it was magical," Hank said, finally, trying to contain his own pained grief at what had happened to the little boy. Logan couldn't even speak. He went to the wall and slid down it back to his seat on the floor and stared straight ahead, willing himself to be calm.
Remy came back to the present with a startled jerk. "Oh, geez," he said unhappily, "I guess dat didn' really answer de question, heh?"
"No, Remy," Ro said carefully. "I think you answered the question quite well. And I thank you." Hank and Logan looked at one another and their eyes started to sparkle.
"Methinks there might be something Oedipal about this," Hank sputtered, trying to control his laughter.
Logan's eyes glinted with amusement and appreciation. "Can you believe it was the adult Remy who actually said that?" he asked unsteadily. "About five minutes before kissing Ro on the mouth."
Remy pushed himself out of Storm's arms and looked at the other two guys who were shaking with laughter. He thought about what he had just heard them say and blushed bright red.
Both Hank and Logan caught his movement and turned toward him noticing his embarrassed face. They both stopped laughing immediately. "Remy," Logan started, "how was it for you to remember yourself in your life as an adult. . .well, sort of an adult?"
Remy shrugged, the blush fading as Logan gave him something else to think about. "Strange," he admitted. He thought for a minute and said a little more, "I liked him."
"Bet you did, kiddo," Logan said. "I like him, too." Remy took that in and flushed again. It was entirely too hard for him to see himself as likable.
"I'm still not sure I understand how Remy could have been there both as an adult and as a child," Ro said quietly. Hank shrugged.
"It's a strange paradox, Ro," he said. "Remy, where was the adult version of yourself when the massacre happened? Do you know?"
"I t'ink he. . .I mean. . . I. . ." Remy stopped in confusion.
"Use he," Hank suggested. "That was the case when you were a child. You and he were different people. When you catapulted yourself back in time, you grew up to be that adult in that time line. And that adult became part of your childhood experience."
"Well, he had gone t' Muir Island to take Moira some research stuff or somet'ing," Remy explained.
"So that's how that adult Remy survived the massacre and grew up to become the man who adopted Bishop when he was a child," Hank explained. "And since he was the only surviving member of the X-men, Bishop suspected he had been the traitor."
"So are we going to have a little Remy born in this time line?" Logan asked, bemused at the possibilities.
"I haven't a clue," Hank admitted. "If so, we can only hope that he'll grow up without the trauma of the massacre happening."
"I still don't get how Remy is here, now, when he hasn't been born yet or what happened to that other Remy who obviously had never recovered these memories," Ro said impatiently.
Hank shrugged. "I think it's now a separate time line," he said. "One separate from this one. An alternate reality."
"Oh, yigh," Logan groaned. "I'm much happier with my science fiction in books instead of in my life. I don't even want to think about multiple realities. Gives me a headache."
"I don' t'ink dat I'll be born in dis timeline," Remy said quietly and not very happily. "I t'ink I was a bad mistake."
Hank, Ro, and Logan all stopped their consideration of the perplexities of time travel and alternate realities and looked at him with concern. "What do you mean, Remy?" Storm asked gently.
"I don' t'ink my mother much wan'ed me or liked me," Remy said softly. "I t'ink I was a mistake. And I t'ink it caused problems wit my mother and Dad."
Ororo was horrified. "Why on earth do you think that, sweetie?"
"Jus' memories comin' back at me while you were ta'kin' bout it," Remy said. "Not real clear. Jus dat I was sent here t' live wit you guys. An' I remember my mother visiting and overhearing her and Dad fighting bout me." He looked deeply unhappy.
"What were they fighting about, Remy?" Hank asked gently.
"I don' know, really." Remy's voice caught slightly. "I was little. An' I heard them arguing at night. An' I got outta bed t' listen. It was somet'ing bout how I couldn' have been born wit out somet'ing I didn' understand." His voice shook.
"Remy," Hank said, "you seem to have an almost eidetic memory. Could you send us what you remember of that argument?"
Ro held Remy tightly and frowned at Hank. "Do you think that's wise?" she asked.
"I think it's better than not knowing," Hank said mildly. Ro thought a moment and nodded.
"Go ahead, sweetie," she said gently.
* * *
Little Remy sat shivering on the floor outside his father's bedroom and listened to the angry voices of his mother and Dad inside.
"Charles," Lilandra said. "I know we both wanted a child together. But the geneticists we consulted all told us that cross species breeding between human and Shi'ar wasn't possible. It was your idea to use what DNA we could from one another and to borrow from our friends. And I agreed to please you. But this boy is mostly human. My people won't accept him as my heir."
"You're still his mother and he needs you," Charles said roughly. "It's not fair to the child to let him be raised by us while you visit him less often than once a year. And even then you keep your distance."
"Not fair, Charles," Lilandra protested. "I love him. He knows I love him. But I have responsibilities to my people and he's safer here."
"Does he?" Charles asked. "Does he really know you love him? How could he when he barely sees you? Ororo spends more time with him in a day than you do in a year."
"And he has more of her DNA than he does of mine," Lilandra spat out irately.
"And he has more of the Corsair's than he does of mine, but I still treat him like my son," Charles responded acerbically.
"Oh, do you?" Lilandra retorted. "As near as I can tell, you let your Wolverine act more in the role of a real father than you do. Is that because he was part of this child's genetic soup, too?"
"Not fair, Lilandra," Charles protested. "I don't have the mobility or ability to keep up with an active child the way Logan can. I love the child and he knows it. I doubt he could say that about you."
There were several moments of silence and then Lilandra responded, "Charles, I'm sorry. I do wish I could spend more time with Remy. You know I have an entire empire that is my responsibility. He's a wonderful child and you and your X-men are doing a wonderful job raising him. Must we constantly let this come between us when we do have the chance to be together? Our time is so precious and so brief."
Charles sighed deeply and spoke quietly, "No, my love. I just worry about our son."
"He's a happy child, dearest," Lilandra said. "But I can't really feel he's mine. I think we made a mistake when we allowed him to be created."
"Never," Charles said harshly. "How can you say that? How dare you?"
"Charles, Charles, please, I'm sorry, but that's how I feel." Lilandra's voice was very quiet and softened even more into murmurs that Remy couldn't hear.
Remy had heard enough and more than enough. He crept away miserably and went back to his bed. He clutched his old friend, the brown stuffed bear that he had had since before he could remember and cried himself to sleep.
* * *
Remy was crying despondently as he returned from that memory. Ro held him firmly.
"That sucks," Logan said angrily.
"He has more of my DNA than he does of hers?" Ro said with wonder, looking down at Remy as he cried in her arms.
"That seems to be what we just found out," Hank said, his voice fraught with bemusement and concern. "And more of Scott's father's than of the professor's. And some of Logan's. I think we may need to do a DNA analysis and find out what those Shi'ar geneticists created. And why? Why on earth did they need to use the Corsair's DNA?"
"Hank, for God's sake, the kid is hurtin' and you're talkin' DNA analysis," Logan said explosively.
"Logan. . ." Hank started. Remy intervened.
"Stop it," he said. "Stop it, please. I wan' a DNA analysis. I wanna know whose child I really am. Logan, don' be mad at Hank." His sobs quieted and he looked up at Ro.
"I guess I not just an Xavier," he said with his voice trembling. "I guess I'm a Munroe-Summers-Xavier-Logan mix or somet'ing. Some kind of strange hybrid who was really a big mistake."
"No, Remy," Ro said gently. "Whatever you were, baby, you were not a mistake. Sweetie, would you, please, try to remember that if it had not been for you, I would have been captured by the shadow king? You saved my life. You've saved many lives. And we all want you and need you, sweetie."
"But I shouldn' have been born," Remy said unhappily. "I didn' make my parents very happy."
Ro sighed and looked at Logan who spoke up, "Remy, seems to me that you made most your parents very happy. Like me and Ro. I loved you when you were a kid. And I love you now. It's okay, kiddo."
Remy tried to take that in. He was on overload and deeply upset. He abruptly decided to put all his concerns about his origins on hold and return to the immediate problems at hand.
He turned back to Storm and looked at her hesitantly. "Are you still gonna punish me, Stormy?" he asked with his voice trembling.
"After those memories?" Ro asked. She thought carefully and gathered Remy back into her arms. She spoke carefully. "Sweetie, your memories about your father and mother hurt my heart. But they have little to do with what you did in the danger room. As for the other memory, well, since you sent that to me, I understand why you wanted to fight with Logan. I understand it was fun. But how does that excuse you for not obeying your orders? I understand the feelings, but Remy, when you're in combat, you have to obey orders, no matter what you feel or want."
Remy nodded, feeling tears stinging in his eyes again. He put his head back down on Storm's shoulder and his stomach and chest clenched again.
"RO!" Logan protested. Ro looked up at him over Remy's head and shook her head. Her eyes were stern, but warm.
"Logan," she said. "I was his team leader. It's my job to decide." Logan glared at the floor.
"Are you gonna punish me, Stormy?" Remy said again.
"I don't think I have a choice," Storm said gently. Remy pulled himself out of her arms and looked into her face with tears streaming down his.
"Please, don't, Stormy," he begged. "Just not you. Please, not you." His voice caught on a sob. "I'd rather have Logan beat me with a belt till I bleed than have you spank me. Please, not you." He sobbed again.
"Remy," Storm stared at him. "No one ever is going to beat you till you bleed. And I think you've earned a spanking from me." She took him gently by the arm.
Remy's eyes glazed slightly, he jerked himself away from her, and threw himself across the floor, landing huddled in a corner and looking absolutely terrified and not quite sane. He seemed to go away inside himself.
Logan looked at Hank and sighed. "Dissociated again," he said with resignation. He stood up and started toward Remy.
Ro held a hand up and stopped him. "Dammit, Logan," she said. "I seem to have precipitated this attack. Let me see if I can reach him." She approached Remy cautiously and knelt on the floor beside him.
"Sweetie," she said gently. "Hey, Remy, where are you? Can you try to come back to us?" Remy's face was white and he was trembling. He shook his head. "Remy, why does the thought of being spanked by me scare you so badly?" Ro asked. Remy just continued to shake his head with his eyes glazed and blank.
"Remy," Ro's voice sharpened. "I don't care what you do or how you do it. But if you're caught in some kind of nightmare memory go ahead and send it to us. Otherwise, get back here."
Remy looked up at her, shook his head, and then sent the memory.
* * *
"Stormy," little Remy grabbed at her arm as she tried to study the list of which child was swimming in which event that evening. As the children lined up in front of her and Logan, it was her job to call out the event and his to write it on the child's arm with water-proof marker.
"Logan, this one is in 4, relay, backstroke, lane two. Then 26, freestyle, lane four. Then 54, fly, lane two. Then 72, freestyle relay swimming third, lane four."
"Got it," Logan said writing the numbers and symbols. "And next in line we have Billy Aiken. Hey, girls, we're doing 8 and under boys right now. Jean and Scott are over there doing girls. Wrong line. Trav, we won't be doing the 12 and under boys for at least 15 minutes. Go get wet or something."
"STORMY!" Remy pulled on her arm.
"What, Remy?" she asked impatiently, overwhelmed by the crowds of children in front of her.
"Gus says I can come over for the morning," Little Remy danced up and down. Ro looked down at him.
"And what does Gus' mother say?" she asked. She looked up and around and found Evelyn. "Evelyn," she called out. "Have you and Gus invited Remy over for the morning?"
Evelyn looked surprised and called back, "Well, Gus might have, but I don't have time. Not today."
Ro nodded and looked down at little Remy. "No," she said gently. "Not today. Now go play with your friends, sweetie."
Little Remy looked up at his Stormy and nodded rebelliously. He didn't want to go home. All the adults would be busy and zoo camp didn't start till the next week.
He ran off and found Gus. They put their five-year-old heads together and Remy soon sneaked off with Gus and hid in the back of their mini-van. Stormy and Wolvie were too busy with their assignment of children to the appropriate events to be paying much attention to his exact location.
As the van started and headed down the road, the child suddenly realized that he might be in very serious trouble. It occurred to him that Stormy and Logan might be very upset. He froze and did and said nothing until after the van had pulled into the driveway at Gus' home.
Evelyn found him while she was unloading and immediately dragged the child inside, sat him a chair and called back to the pool. Remy listened as Evelyn talked to the head lifeguard and heard her get Stormy on the phone.
"Ororo," he heard Evelyn say. "Stop being so scared. He's right here with me. . .Yeah, I'll keep him right under my eyes till you get here.
Remy sat in the chair in Evelyn's kitchen and trembled with fear. The little boy was sure he was in deep and serious trouble. It seemed like only moments before Stormy appeared in the doorway. She rushed over to him and pulled him into her arms, hugging him fiercely.
"Oh, by the goddess, Remy, you don't know how worried we were," she murmured. He put his arms around her neck and his legs around her waist and was suddenly startled out of his very young mind when Ro smacked a firm and furious spank against his little bottom. It hurt.
Storm turned him in her arms, bending him over her hip, took his bathing suit down, and smacked his bottom soundly several times. He burst into hysterical tears.
"STORMY," he sobbed out. "You're hurting me." His voice was outraged and beyond surprised. Ro stopped immediately, pulled his trunks back up and held him tightly.
"I'm sorry, sweetie," she said gently. "I'm sorry. You just scared me out of my mind. I'm sorry." She soothed him and nodded at Evelyn who nodded back.
"Hey," Evelyn said quietly. "It's hard not to smack their bottoms when they scare you that bad." Storm nodded again, grateful for the words of support and carried the sobbing child out to the car where Logan waited.
Little Remy continued to cry as if his heart had been broken. "His Stormy" had never struck him before. Storm sat down in the front seat and held the boy tightly.
"What in the hell is goin' on?" Remy heard Logan ask roughly. He heard Storm sigh.
"I just spanked him," she admitted.
Remy felt Logan gather both of them into a hug. "Makes sense to me, darlin.' He scared us out of our wits," Logan said gently.
"St. . .Stormy. . ." little Remy sobbed out, "you hurt me." He felt Ro's arms tighten around him and he relaxed into them.
"Baby," Storm said. "I promise I'll never spank you again, unless you misbehave so badly that I can't maintain control of myself."
"I'll never be that bad, again," Little Remy promised. "Never. I'll never, never, never make you that mad at me again."
* * *
Ro looked down at Remy and sighed deeply. "Come here, sweetie," she said quietly, taking Remy by the arm and pulling him out of the corner. She fairly dragged him over to the couch, but once they got there, Remy knelt on the floor, put his arms around Storm's legs, put his head in her lap and sobbed.
Ro stroked his hair and sighed deeply. "Remy, Remy, what am I going to do with you?" she asked the ceiling. It had nothing enlightening to tell her. "I was your mother, wasn't I?" she asked. "I mean that I acted as your mother just about all the time, didn't I?" Remy nodded, crying too hard to talk. Tears streamed down his face and he shook with sobs.
Ro continued to stroke him and rub his back. "Shhh, sweetie, it's okay," she murmured. "I promise we'll find a way to make it okay." She looked up at Logan who shrugged helplessly. He didn't have a clue how to make it all okay.
"Remy," Ro said, "I think I understand what's set you off. Can I run it by you and see if I do understand?" Remy nodded again. "I only spanked you that one time when you were little?" Remy nodded again. "And you have it firmly in your head that it would only happen again if you were very, very bad? And had somehow just driven me out of my mind?" Remy nodded frantically. "Feels to you like it would be the end of the world? And that I would withdraw from you like Lilandra did?"
"St. . .St. . .Stormy," Remy choked out, "I know dat. . .it's. . .it's. . .c. . .crazy."
"Hush, sweetie," Ro murmured. "You're crying too hard to talk. Baby, I understand." Ro sighed deeply. "Okay, that's it. There's no way I'm going to punish you. You've put yourself through enough hell today. I don't want to be any part of any more of it."
To her surprise, Remy simply cried harder. "Remy," she said gently, "move on up here to the couch and let me hold you in my arms." She pulled on his arms and he moved up to the couch, curling up beside her and resting his upper body on her chest with his head on her shoulder. He sobbed deeply. "What is it now?"
"I. . .I. . .de. . .de. . .deserve. . .t'. . .t'. . .be. . .pun. . .punished," Remy gulped out. "For. . .disobeying. . .y. . .you an'. . .for. . .lyin'. . .t'. . .H. . .Hank."
"Shhh, sweetie," Ro said gently. "You need to cry first, until you finish crying." Remy shook his head and Hank spoke up.
"No, Ro, " he said gently. "The boy is telling us clearly that he feels guilty as hell and wants to get the spanking he earned today. Just not from you."
Remy's stomach sank with dismay. He sometimes hated being so clearly understood. He didn't want to be spanked again. He was terrified at even the thought. But he knew he needed it. He felt guilty as hell.
Hank walked over to the couch and sat down next to Ro and Remy. "Give him to me," he said to Ro. Ro looked over at Logan who nodded reluctantly. Logan's heart and stomach hurt, but he recognized what Remy needed.
Ro relinquished Remy who was gathered up into Hank's strong arms. Hank held him tightly against his chest and stroked his back. "It's okay, Remy," he said. "And you really want Logan to give you this spanking, don't you?"
Remy nodded again. Logan felt a sinking feeling of dismay. He wanted to spank Remy again about as much as he wanted to catch the Legacy virus.
"That's not fair to Logan," Hank said quietly to Remy. "He loves you, child. He hates spanking you. I'm the one you lied to. And I'm going to be the one who gives you the spanking you need to feel right with yourself again." Remy nodded his acceptance. Hank held him tightly.
Ro got up and went over to where Logan sat on the floor. She sank down beside him and turned to him for comfort. He put his arms around her.
Remy began to feel a strange sense of peace and his sobs quieted. Hank continued to hold him closely. "You know that you're going to be crying hard again in just a few minutes, don't you, Rem?" Hank asked. Remy nodded again. He shuddered as he felt Hank turn him in his powerful arms and push him down over his blue furred knees.
Remy's stomach filled with ice and horror and he went very still. He knew he needed to be punished, but oh, he didn't want it. He mostly wanted to go back in time and change what he had done. He felt Hank's hands go the waist band of his shorts and then felt them come down. His chest and buttocks clenched as Hank took his briefs down, baring his bottom. He held his breath.
Then he yelped loudly as Hank's hard, broad hand descended on him. It hurt. And he yelped again as the hand connected again. He put a hand in his mouth and tried to muffle his anguished protests as Hank found a rhythm and started to blaze his bottom with painful, burning spanks. But he really couldn't contain himself. This spanking hurt badly.
Remy started kicking frantically, trying to escape and Hank pinned his legs. He reached back to try to protect his inflamed bottom and Hank grabbed his hand and held it as he continued to smack Remy's bottom. Hank's hand felt as hard and wide as a paddle and delivered whacks with a biting sting.
Remy's chest tightened and shook. A sob escaped and then another and another and he was crying hard again.
"H. . .H. . . Hank, pl. . .please. . .st. . .stop," he sobbed out.
Hank shook his head and continued to blister Remy's bottom. "Remy," he said, "I don't want to do this now and I never want to do it again. If you ever lie to me again or if you ever hurt yourself again, I want you to know that I can deliver a spanking that will make you pause and think. I know it hurts. It's supposed to hurt." His hand slammed down again and again.
And Remy was hopelessly trapped in Hank's grip. There was nothing he could do except sob helplessly. He had never really been spanked by Hank before. And Hank was even stronger than Logan. His bottom blazed with pain and he shook with desperate sobs, feeling bruised and terribly punished. His desolate sobs alternated with yelps of pain.
Hank delivered one final smashing spank to the middle of Remy's bottom and stopped. Remy screamed and then simply wailed, crying like a very small child.
He heard Hank sigh and heard him say, "I NEVER want to do this again, Remy. I hate you hurting this badly. I love you, Rem. I don't want to hurt you even if you do need it. Do you understand what I'm saying to you?"
Remy nodded. His butt hurt bad. And he wanted his pants back up, but he didn't want the hurting flesh of his bottom touched by anything. He sobbed as he lay over Hank's firm knees and heard Logan talking to Hank.
"I'm going to get this kid some aloe for his butt," Wolverine informed Hank, his voice shaking with anger. "And if you ever spank him that hard again, I'll hurt you. I promise. He didn't deserve to be that punished."
"NOOO," Remy cried out. He was sobbing so hard he could barely speak, but he tried. "L. . .L. . .Logan, pl. . .please." It was all he could get out between his desperate sobs.
There was silence for a moment and then Remy heard Logan speak again. "Sorry, kidlet. Really. And I'm sorry, Hank. I know you two love each other. I was being over-protective of you, Remy. I tend to think of you as mine, kidlet." Remy heard the door open and shut as he continued to cry. It felt as if every nerve ending in his bottom was abraded and burning.
Hank stroked his back gently. "I'm sorry, child," Hank said. "But I think you needed it."
Remy nodded. He heard the door open and shut again and then felt the soothing aloe on his butt. It helped. It helped a lot. Some of the blistering, burning pain subsided. His wails quieted though he still was sobbing as if his heart was breaking.
Hank took Remy's pants back up and turned him in his arms, hugging him against his huge and massive chest. "It's okay, Remy," he said gently. "It's over." Remy continued to sob, clinging to Hank's massive chest.
"I wan' Stormy," he said. Hank nodded and looked at Ororo who got up and came over to the couch. She took Remy into her arms.
"D. . .do. . .you forgive me, now?" he asked.
"Oh, baby," Ro said helplessly. "Of course, I do. I love you, sweetie."
"I'm. . .s. . .sorry," Remy sobbed out. "I. . .I. . .w. .. won't dis. . ..disobey you again."
"Sweetie," Ro said, "even if you do, I'll still love you. We're all allowed to make mistakes. It's okay, Remy. Please, stop crying so hard."
"I can,' Stormy. I don' know how." Remy took some comfort from her strong arms around him, but still was in desolate despair. He took a deep, shuddering breath and asked for what he really wanted, "I wan' Logan. I need Logan."
Logan sighed deeply and took the boy into his strong and gentle arms. Ro looked at him with confused dismay. "It's okay, darlin.'" Logan said. "I seem to be his point of reference in a very confusing universe. I don't really understand, but he seems to be my kid. And I don't mind a bit." Logan sat down on the floor, leaned against the couch and held Remy closely.
"It's okay, now, kidlet," he said quietly. "You took your spanking and it's over. Go ahead and cry, kiddo, til you can't cry no more."
Remy did as he was told and cried until his sobs started to subside. He was exhausted from all the trauma and upset of the day. And he had had little sleep to start with. His eyelids drooped and fell and he was suddenly sleeping soundly.
Hank took Remy easily from Logan's arms, carried him to the other couch in the study and laid him down. He took an afghan from the arm and put it over Remy.
Hank walked back over to the couch on which Storm was sitting and Logan was leaning his back and collapsed. All three of them looked at the sleeping boy whose face was still streaked with tears.
"I swear to Ifnie," Logan said quietly and irately, "I don't know what in hell was wrong with Lilandra. A child is a child is a child. All you have to do is love them. How could a mother just abandon her kid like that?"
"How could a mother allow her child to be tied to a tree in the woods and left?" Hank asked mildly.
Logan glared at him. "I don't think one event has a damn thing to do with the other," he protested.
"No, but the one has to do with how angry you are about the other," Hank said. "Lilandra didn't abandon the child. She essentially put him up for adoption. And we seem to have adopted him."
"Should we really call it adoption?" Ro asked, still bemused and startled by the information that Remy had at least some of her genetic material. "I mean, based on what we heard, it seems that we really were the boy's parents."
"I don't think it matters what we call it," Hank said. "We were in emotional reality the only parents he knew. And we haven't even yet considered how upset the professor is going to be when he hears about this memory."
"Oh, fuck," Logan said with feeling. "He's not gonna be happy at all. And I gotta get off my butt and go do something about dinner." He rose to his feet and took Ororo's hand to help her to hers. She rose and put her arms around him.
"We have a lot to discuss later, my love," she said. He nodded and kissed her.
"What about Remy?" Hank asked.
Logan shrugged. "Now that I know about this damn link, I can tap into it. I'll know when he wakes up." He headed for the door and Hank and Ro followed.
* * *
When Bobby came into the kitchen about half an hour later, Logan was sitting at the table with a stack of cookbooks in front of him, intensely studying the one in his hand and making a list. Bobby stared at the book Logan was using and groaned. He went to the com unit immediately.
"Attention, all X-men," he announced to the mansion at large, "especially whoever is in charge of cleaning the kitchen tonight: Red Alert. I repeat, RED ALERT. Logan has gotten out the Nero Wolfe Cook Book."
Logan looked up at him and gave him a glance halfway between a glare and chagrined amusement as they heard laughter and groans from the com unit.
"Bobby, I hardly think that's an entirely appropriate use of the damn com unit," he protested.
"Logan!" Warren's voice came through the unit. "Put that blasted book away, NOW. I'm in charge of clean up and I've cleaned up after you before when you've cooked out of that thing."
"Bite it, Worthington," Logan said calmly.
"What are you making?" Jean's voice asked.
"Bouillabaisse of New Orleans and creole fritters with cheese sauce," Logan announced.
"Yum," Jean responded as Warren groaned.
"Shrimp shells and tails. Two hundred pots and pans. Butter, butter everywhere," Warren protested.
"I'll clean it up as I go along," Logan said as he started to laugh.
"Sure you will," Warren acknowledged with skepticism. "And you'll still leave a mess that'll keep me up till midnight."
"Maybe." Logan continued to laugh. "But you'll enjoy the hell out of dinner."
"Could we please save the com unit for necessary communication instead of chitter chatter?" Scott asked irritably.
"Got it, oh fearless leader," Warren signed off.
Logan looked at Bobby. "When you go out to the hardware store, would you pick some stuff up for me? I got a list."
"So I see." Bobby looked over Logan's shoulder at the list. ""Ten POUNDS of shrimp???? Another ten pounds of red snapper??? Eight loaves of French bread? Jesus, Logan are we feeding the Russian army?"
"We're feeding about thirteen hungry people and I'd like to have left overs," Logan said. "It's too damn much work to only make one meal out of it."
"Saffron? What in hell is saffron?" Bobby asked.
"A spice," Logan replied. He rose and started getting supplies out of the cupboards and refrigerator. "We got cayenne pepper, thyme, peppercorns, bay leaves, good. Garlic, onions, yes. Lemon juice, yes. Plenty of butter. Cream, no. Bobby, add cream to the list. And scallions."
"How much? How many?"
"Two pints of cream. Six bunches of scallions. We got cheddar cheese. Eggs? Yep. Tomato paste? Yep. White wine and sherry, yeah. Okay, we have all the rest of it. What should I do about dessert?"
"How about Little Debbie oatmeal cream pies?" Bobby suggested only half in jest. Logan went back to the cookbook and leafed through it.
"How bout apples baked in white wine?" he suggested. "We got plenty of cooking apples and cinnamon. All you'd need to get me is currants and chopped pecans."
"Logan, if you want to spend the rest the day sweating in the kitchen, it's your call," Bobby announced as he added to the list. "How much of each?" Logan told him and started to work on the batter for the fritters.
"Get the shrimp and snapper from Bob's fish market," Logan requested. "Not the grocery store. I want it fresh. And get the bread from Alon's bakery. I called them and they're holding the loaves for us. Baked this morning."
"Oh, great," Bobby groaned. "Two more stops. I'm beyond thrilled."
Logan grinned at him and continued to measure flour and baking powder. He looked up and then looked over at Bobby.
"Remy's starting to wake up from a nap in the study," he said quietly. "I'd go, but if he sees me, he'll probably just go to pieces again. Why don't you go get him and the two of you can go do this shopping expedition?"
"Is he okay?" Bobby asked hesitantly.
"No." Logan sighed deeply and filled Bobby in on the memories that Remy had transmitted and what had happened. Bobby's eyes widened with shocked dismay.
"Oh, geez," he said. "Poor Rem."
"Yeah," Logan acknowledged Bobby's concern. "Now, go get him. He's almost fully awake."
As Bobby sped out of the kitchen, he heard Logan getting on the com unit and asking Sam and Rogue to come help him in the kitchen.
* * *
When Remy opened his eyes, blinking with dazed confusion about where he was and why, the first sight he encountered was Bobby standing over him with a grin on his face.
"I already measured the fucking windows," Bobby said. "You ready to go get the glass to repair them?"
Remy took a moment to collect himself and remember what had happened in the study. He sat up on the couch and winced as his weight rested on his sore butt.
"Where's Logan?" he asked.
"Logan is playing at being a chef in the kitchen," Bobby informed him. "And he's given us a shopping list from hell. And we gotta hustle, pal." His voice changed from casual chat to real concern. "You okay?"
"I t'ink dat maybe I'll live, but I not real sure I wan' t,' Bobby," Remy said with only a slight tremor in his voice. Bobby put a hand on Remy's shoulder.
"Logan told me about what you remembered, guy," he said. "And what happened. I'm real sorry."
Remy shrugged and pulled himself together. "T'anks, Bobby," he said. "Least it over for now. Let's go buy glass and groceries. And, hey, wait a minute, we gonna take the jeep wit de CD changer?"
"That was my plan," Bobby said.
"Den let me get some CD's," Remy suggested. "I'd kinda like to listen t' some real loud music while we drive."
"You got it, Cajun," Bobby agreed. He followed Remy into the rec room and watched as his friend went though his stash of discs. "What you getting?"
"How bout Smashing Pumpkins, Sisters of Mercy, Jane's Addiction, Lush, and Prodigy?" Remy asked.
"I can hang," Bobby said. Remy took the music in hand and followed his friend to the kitchen on the way to the garage.
Logan was chopping onions with tears dripping out of his eyes as the fumes rose from the pungent vegetables. Rogue was peeling garlic cloves and Sam was grating cheese.
Remy paused to hug Rogue and got hugged back. He looked at Logan who was gasping from the onions and running cold water over the one he was working on. Logan dropped the onion in the sink and turned to Remy. He looked carefully at the boy's tense body and face and held his arms out.
Remy moved into them and was held by Logan for a moment before he pulled away. "I'm sorry dat I'm such a mess," he said quietly.
"It's okay, kiddo," Logan said. "I been a mess a lot longer than you've been. You're okay in my eyes, Remy."
"T'anks," Remy said. He tried a weak and shaky smile out and got a grin in return. Logan smacked him on the butt, gently, to hurry him out the door. Remy still flinched from the pain. But he managed to nod at Logan as Bobby grabbed his arm and pulled him out the back door.
"Hey, Bobby," Logan yelled out the door after them.
"Get some Little Debbie oatmeal cream pies, too, will you?" Logan requested. Bobby started laughing.
"Cause I been wanting one ever since you mentioned them," Logan said.
"On the list," Bobby called back as he and Remy continued to head for the garage.
"We gonna put those discs on random play?" Bobby asked as they climbed into the jeep..
"Why not?" Remy asked.
Bobby and Remy sat in the jeep, discussing the logistics of their expedition as they adjusted the seats and Remy loaded the CD player.