Subject: Family Matters, Chapter 21, part 1 (M/m. M/F, explicit sex)
From: dswdiane@aol.com (Dswdiane)
Date: 30 May 1998 22:56:58 -0700

Family Matters, Chapter 21

Okay, guys, those of you who are reading this novel. I know it has been a long time since I posted a new chapter. My apologies. I've been busy. I hope you enjoy. Usual disclaimers.

Logan paused in the hallway halfway between Remy's room and Storm's loft. He felt a renewed suspicion about Remy's intentions. He contemplated going back and then decided simply to keep an ear open. He had heard every other time Remy had tried to sneak away. There was no reason to suspect that this time would be different. He proceeded to Ro's loft at the top of the mansion.

Ororo was walking back and forth among her many plants with a watering can and pruning shears. She had changed into a short, black, silk nightgown that fell only halfway down her thighs. Her face was grim. Logan sighed, went over to her bed and sat down. She didn't look at him, but nodded briefly.

He thought for a moment and stood up. "Darlin,' I know you're upset. And I'm not real happy myself," he said. "Unless you have something to say, I'm going downstairs and get us a bottle of wine to share. I think we could use it."

Ro glared at him. "Is that your solution to all sorrows, Logan? Alcohol?"

Logan grinned. "A loaf of bread, a jug of wine and thou, my love," he said.

Ro's mouth twitched slightly despite her angry disappointment. "I'll be here with my plants. At least I can trust them not to lie to me or keep secrets."

"Don't be to sure of that, Ro," Logan said. "You might be amazed at how secretive plants can be about their troubles." He ducked out the door. Ro continued her busy watering, feeding and pruning.

Logan was back in moments with a jug of wine, two goblets, a basket of freshly baked bread and butter. "I don't have a clue who put this loaf in the bread machine, but it's ours now. Come sit with me, darlin.'" He settled himself, cross-legged, on her bed. Ro sighed again and walked over to the bed.

Logan handed her a glass of wine. He tossed back the one he had, poured another, and offered the basket to Ororo. She shook her head.

"I'm not hungry at all, Logan," she said. "I'm too upset to even think about eating." Logan nodded and sipped his wine, waiting for Storm to speak. When she finished the wine in her glass, he picked up the bottle and refilled it.

"How could he have done it?" Storm asked abruptly. "How could have stayed here all this time without telling us? And how could he have led the Marauders into the tunnels?"

"I've been thinking a bit about that," Logan said carefully. "And I think he's being honest when he said that he didn't know Sinister's intentions. I can't really imagine being in his boots. Hell, I can't even remember being that young. But if you had been in the spot he was in, wouldn't you have suspected that Sinister had plans to kidnap some of the Morlocks for his genetic experiments? Wholesale extermination hasn't been a regular habit of Essex."

"And not telling us?" Logan just looked at her and raised an eyebrow. She finished her wine and he poured her another glass. "Oh, all right, Logan, I can understand why he didn't tell us. He hasn't exactly gotten a pleased response."

"And I doubt he'll get a pleased response from anyone," Logan said mildly. "The Morlock massacre was the direct cause of why Warren lost his feathered wings and ended up with those metal ones."

"Are you angry with Remy? About the Morlock massacre?"

"I don't know," Logan shook his head and refilled his glass. "I'm angry at the way he dumped it on you. I'm irritated at how obnoxious he's been all day. I feel pissed as hell at the way Essex used him. I doubt Remy had a clue about the massacre. And I doubt he could've done a thing to stop it. He'd been up against Sabretooth before. He wouldn't have had a chance against that psycho when he was 18. Hell, I'm not sure he'd have a chance now. I can't begin to tell you how many times Creed almost killed me."

Logan thought carefully. "No, I'm not mad at him for leading the Marauders into the tunnels and I'm not angry that he ran away. I'm not sure he thought he had much choice. But I want more info. I want to know what Sinister told him. I want to know how he was talked into participating."

Ro shook her head. She hadn't heard much of what Logan had said. She was still too overwhelmed with her own anger, shock, and grief. "I don't know what to think, Logan." Her eyes filled with tears. "I don't think I'd be so angry if I didn't love him so much." Her voice broke on the last few words. "It's as if I just heard that my own son had helped to murder my people."

"Well, darlin,' that is kinda what you just heard," Logan said mildly. He took her glass from her, put both glasses down and gathered her into his arms. She began to cry again, helplessly.

"I do love him, Logan," she sobbed out.

"I know, darlin,' I know." He held her close and stroked her back.

* * *

Remy was still sitting on his bed in his room, trying to think clearly about his dilemma and about how he was going to leave without being caught and stopped. He was acutely aware through his link to Ro of her continuing anguish. He tried to shut down the link and finally managed to erect a shield between him and Ororo.

He rose, went to the communications console and called Muir Island. It was after 9:00 in Westchester county, and he was well aware that he was calling Scotland in the wee morning hours, but he had a hunch. He was fairly sure that someone would be on watch. He just hoped it would be the person with whom he wished to speak.

Kitty answered and Remy felt a stab of disappointment. "Hi, Kitty," he said lightly.

"Well, hi to you, stranger," she answered, yawning as she spoke. "Is the world in danger? Are we called upon to rescue you guys in the good old USA? Or are you just calling in the middle of the night because you have insomnia and nothing better to do?"

Remy turned on his "charm," the old familiar power, probably fueled by his previously unknown psychic abilities, and grinned. "Just bored, cher. And it's not de middle of de night over here, cher".

Kitty shook her head and smiled in return. She had always enjoyed Remy . He reminded her of a younger version of Pete Wisdom, the man with whom she was involved. "It's bit too late here for me to be interested in casual flirting, Gambit," she said cheerfully.

"Oh, ma belle, how unkind. It is never too late t' flirt," Remy continued to banter. "But actually, I had business to discuss wit Kurt. I don' 'spose dere's a chance he's up an' about?"

"You're in luck as usual, you tricky Cajun," Kitty yawned again. "He's right here to relieve me of this Godforsaken night watch. Actually, he showed up about an hour ago and we've been playing chess. I think he's a bit amazed that I might be beating him. And I'm so tired that I think I'll call it a draw, save his poor fragile ego, and take myself off to bed while you guys talk."

"Is Pete waiting on you, Liebchen?" Remy heard Kurt asking in the background. Kitty turned her head and stuck out her tongue.

"None of your business, Kurt," she said with sparkling eyes. "But you do know what a night owl he is, don't you?"

"Jahwol, little one," Kurt move into view. "But, I would be more than happy to finish our chess game, Kitty, as soon as Gambit finishes his business with me. I think you might find that I am harder to beat than you imagine."

"I'm sure you are." Kitty yawned again and winked at Remy. "Have to protect the male ego, you know," she confided in a conspiratorial whisper.

Remy grinned. Kurt gave a mock glare to Kitty. "My ego is quite healthy, Katzchen," he said. "And I would not want to take advantage of your obvious exhaustion. You run off to bed, little girl, and I will talk to our friend."

"I t'ink dat Pete would be happy t' see you, Kitty," Remy offered.

Kitty shook her head. "You guys," she said, "you think the whole world revolves around sex, don't you?"

"It doesn'???" Remy asked with shocked amazement.

Kitty laughed. "You're incorrigible, Cajun."

"Is what you all love bout me," Remy responded. "An,' of course, what you love 'bout your Pete."

"You may have a point there, Remy, but I'm too tired to think about it. I'm out of here. You and Kurt have fun with whatever problem you called about which probably involves the best way to sneak into some poor girl's bedroom."

"Ow," Remy commented. "I t'ink I done been caught." Kitty gave him a farewell wave. Remy heard a door shutting behind her as Kurt faced him on the vid screen.

"So what can I help you with, Gambit?" Kurt asked.

Remy hesitated and then went ahead. "Do you know much 'bout what has been happenin' wit me?" he asked cautiously.

"I've been told most of it," Kurt answered.

"Den you know dat I discovered dat I have de power to teleport myself like you do?" Remy asked.

Kurt nodded. "I think that your powers might have a different source from mine, but yes, I have so been informed."

"I wan' t' ask you for a big favor, Nightcrawler," Remy said. Kurt nodded again and waited. Remy hesitated and then went on, "I wan' t' go int' your mind an' see how you do it. I don' have complete control of my telepathic powers yet, but I t'ink dat I can restrict myself t' jus' lookin' at how you do it."

Kurt hesitated. "Aren't your father and Jean and Betsy trying to help you gain control of those powers?" he asked.

"Oui," Remy said impatiently. "But none of dem are teleporters. Dey not been very successful in helpin' me wit dat one."

Kurt thought for a moment. "If it will help you, Gambit, you may enter my mind. Can you do that from where you are?"

"I t'ink so," Remy said. He looked carefully at Kurt's face on the vid screen and concentrated. Suddenly, he was in Kurt's mind and carefully avoiding any contact that did not concern teleportation. He drank up the knowledge in seconds. "T'ank you," he said as the procedures crowded into his head.

"You're welcome," Kurt looked at him curiously. "Did it help?"

"More dan you could know, Kurt," Remy said quietly. "An' I t'ink I need t' sign off now t' digest it."

"Remy," Kurt said. "When you were in my mind, I got the sense that you are very upset about something. Are you okay?"

Remy paused. "I'm not sure dat I'll ever be okay, Kurt," he said. "My life's a damn mess."

Nightcrawler looked at him with concern. "You're not planning to use what you just learned to leave us, are you?"

Remy's eyes widened. "Why would I do that?" he asked.

"I really don't know," Kurt answered. "It's just a feeling. And, Remy, I warn you, don't even think about it. Logan is my closest friend. I have talked to him recently. It would drive him crazy if you disappeared. I know he would track you down and you would not enjoy the experience. And I know how much your father loves you. Don't upset him any more than you already have."

Remy closed his eyes and felt raging confusion, guilt, grief, and anger. He took a deep breath and collected himself. "I know dat, Kurt. I don' plan to upset anyone again. I'm jus' tryin' t' get control of dese powers so dat dey be a help t' de X-Men an' not a problem." He faced Kurt on the vid screen with his eyes as full of innocent purpose as he could manage.

Kurt looked at him carefully and nodded. "I wish you well, Remy," he said.

"T'ank you, Kurt," Remy said. "Night t' you."

"Good night, Gambit," Kurt responded. Remy nodded and signed off. He walked back to his bed and sat down carefully, wincing slightly as his sore bottom connected and thought.

He knew he needed to speed up his planning process. There was a chance that Nightcrawler would call and alert the others about what the conversation. He reached out to Jean's mind with his shields fully up, hoping she wouldn't notice his incursion.

He wandered through her head for a moment and suddenly in his mind, she was facing him with her hands on her hips. What exactly do you think you're doing, Remy? she demanded.

He flinched. I tryin' t' find out how t' control dese telepathic powers I have.

Aren't we scheduled to work on that tomorrow in the danger room? Jean asked acerbically.

Yeah, Remy responded. I just bein' a little impatient.

Well, get over it, kiddo, Jean said. *This can be done in the morning. Right now is relaxing and unwinding time. We all need to decompress. So get out of my head.*

Oui, Remy sent back. I hear and obey. He terminated the contact.

He thought for a moment about invading Betsy's mind, but decided he had pushed his luck enough for one evening. Invading his "father's" mind was not even an option he considered. He leaned back against his pillows and thought carefully.

* * *

The professor looked up from his paperwork and gazed at Bobby who was still standing with his face to the corner. The vivid red of his bottom was fading to pink. His shoulders sagged.

"Bobby," Charles said quietly, "are you ready to finish this punishment?"

"No, sir," Bobby said irreverently. "But I don't guess I have a lot of choice."

"No, Bobby, you have no choice," Charles said firmly. The professor took his hover chair back over to the couch and pulled himself onto the sofa. "I'm ready for you, Bobby. Come back to me. Don't even think about pulling your pants back up." Bobby swallowed hard and holding his jeans up in front, he walked back over the couch.

"Back over my knees, Bobby," Charles ordered, taking Bobby's arm in his hand and pulling him face down over his knees. Bobby flinched and clenched his buttocks. "Tell me why you're getting this spanking, Bobby," he ordered..

"For blowin' up at the dinner table, freezing Scotty's hand to his fork and throwing my plate at the wall," Bobby said miserably. Being over the professor's knees with his pants and underwear down and his bare bottom turned up toward the ceiling was enough to make him writhe with embarrassment. He felt blood rushing to his face and was sure that it was redder than his bottom.

"I'm not going to use the paddle this time, Bobby," Charles said quietly. "I'm going to use my hand. I think you're going to find that hurts as badly as the paddle. And remember if you can't control yourself, I will call for help."

Bobby held his breath. Then Charles Xavier's strong right hand smacked down firmly. Charles covered every inch of Bobby's bottom and thighs with relentless smacks. Bobby's yelps increased in volume. Charles paused and then started the circuit of spanks over again. The yelps turned into sobs and Bobby began to try to squirm away.

"Are you going to be able to stay in control, Bobby?" Charles asked quietly. Bobby grabbed the edge of the sofa cushion with both hands and held tightly. He nodded his head, still sobbing.

The last thing Bobby wanted was someone else in the room witnessing this punishment. He held his breath and tried hard to stop crying, but the tears continued to drip down his face and as he took another breath, it caught in a sob. Charles' hard hand continued to smack down firmly on his blazing butt and the fiery pain was almost more than he could bear. He began to kick frantically and then fiercely willed his legs to be still.

"I'm sor. . .sorry," he choked out. "I won't do it again." The spanks landed again on his bottom and thighs and he sobbed even more loudly. Then a particularly hard whack landed on the tender flesh right at the juncture of his bottom cheek and his leg. Bobby emitted a wailing yelp and unable to stop himself, rolled his whole body off the professor's lap and onto the floor on his knees. He grabbed his bottom and frantically tried to rub the pain away.

"I'm sor. . .sorry," he gulped out, shaking with sobs. "I'm really. . . really sorry. I. . .can't. . . .can't take any more."

"Then we're going to have to call for help, Bobby," Charles said with resignation. "Because I'm sorry, but we're nowhere close to being finished."

"Why?" Bobby gasped out. "Why?" He felt more than sufficiently punished. His bottom was burning as if the fires of hell had been lit. And he really wasn't sure he could stand any more of it. "Why do you have to. . .sp. . .spank me. . .so. . . long and. . .so h. . .hard?"

"Bobby," he heard the professor sigh again. Then he felt his face being lifted and turned to face Charles's. The hand that had felt so hard just moments before felt almost startlingly gentle. He looked into the professor's eyes and saw there empathic sympathy and firm resolution. Bobby's eyes welled with tears that spilled down his face. "I'm going to give you a moment to think about that question. Then I'm going to let you answer it yourself. And, I'm going to call for help in keeping you restrained. Do you want me to call for Hank or Scott or Logan?

"Not Logan," Bobby said immediately. "And not Hank. I guess it would only be fair for it to be Scotty." His breath caught in another sob.

Charles psychically called for Scott. Bobby leaned his head against the professor's knees with tears welling in his eyes. Some of the pain in his bottom was subsiding but he felt sick at the thought of Scott being there to help continue the punishment. The professor's hand stroked gently on his head.

There was a quiet knock. "Come in, Scott," Charles said. Scott entered and paused. Bobby was on his knees at the professor's feet with his bottom bare, blazing a bright crimson red. Scott closed his eyes for a moment, then entered, shutting the door behind him. He had only recently left Remy's room and was still seething with confused emotions.

"You called me," he said tightly. The professor looked at him with concern.

"What's wrong, Scott?" he asked. He continued to stroke Bobby's head and leaned down. "Bobby, I need to find out what's going on with Scott. Do you just want to stay put for the moment?" Bobby nodded, not trusting himself to speak for fear he would start sobbing again.

Scott sighed wearily and ran his fingers impatiently through his light brown hair. "Well," he said tightly. "I managed to set Remy off again which indirectly led to whatever is going on here. And I just went up to Remy's room to apologize and he essentially just threw me out. I'm about at the point of thinking that I'm about as useful as a leader of the X-men as I would be as large performing ostrich." Scott sat down wearily. Bobby was unable to stop himself from grinning at his internal image of Scott as Big Bird. "Why did you call for me, sir?"

"I don't know if you're up for it, son," Charles said kindly, "and if you're not, just say so. But Bobby is finding it almost impossible to keep himself still while I give him the spanking he earned today. I need someone to help him keep himself in place. And, believe me, Scott, you aren't responsible for what Bobby has brought on himself."

Bobby raised his head from the professor's knees and looked at Scott. His face with red with embarrassment and his eyes still welled with tears, but there was a bit of a twinkle in them. "I asked for you, fearless leader and it's okay with me, too, if you want to say 'no.' And, I do like the image of you, Scotty, as Big Bird. You'd look real good with lots of bright yellow feathers."

Scott shook his head and grinned at Bobby who was seemingly irrepressible even with his pants down and his butt bare and red and obviously hurting. "I won't say 'no,'" he said. "But I would like to know what this is about. I assume it's about more than the incident in the dining room."

"Tell him, Bobby," Charles ordered.

Bobby hesitated a moment and put his face back against the professor's knees. "When Remy and I went out for groceries today, I took pot along and we got high. And I drove high."

"Oh, Jesus, Bobby," Scott groaned. "You're old enough to know better than that."

"I know," Bobby's voice was muffled.

"Well, Scott? Are you willing to help?" Charles asked.

Scott sighed deeply again. "Sure," he said. "Just tell me what you want me to do."

"Sit beside me on the couch," Charles requested, "and hold Bobby's head and upper body in your lap and keep him from rolling away."

"Do we have to do this?" Scott groaned. "From the looks of his butt, he's already been plenty punished enough."

Charles looked down at Bobby. "Why don't you answer that one, Bobby. You've had time to think about it."

Bobby hesitated, then spoke honestly, and from his heart. "Scotty, I think I been asking for this. I don't know why, but I know I blew it bad tonight. I think if I get off with what I've gotten so far, I'll push it again. I don't know what's going on with me." He paused. "I think maybe I don't see much difference between Remy and me except that I've had a much easier life than him. I don't know. I don't really understand it myself."

Scott got up and joined the professor on the couch. He put a hand on Bobby's chin raising the younger man's face to meet his. "You really think you've got this coming to you, old friend?"

Bobby's eyes were still bright with tears as he nodded. Scott nodded back and took Bobby's arm helping him to push himself up off the floor and back over the professor's knees. Scott grabbed a throw pillow from beside him on the couch and put it on his lap.

"Put your head on this," he instructed. Bobby complied and held his breath as the professor pulled his bare bottom back into position. He felt Scott's strong arms take a firm grip on his shoulders while the professor held his arm at the small of his back. Then he felt a blazing smack. He yelped as the pain shot through his sore and smarting bottom skin.

* * *

Logan continued to hold Ro tightly until her sobs subsided. As her body relaxed in his embrace, he took another sip of wine and she sat up to sip on hers. "What in hell are we goin' to do with this new piece of information about Remy's history?" he asked.

"All the others will have to know." Ro downed her glass of wine and held it up. Logan poured more. "But I don't know if Remy can bear to tell them."

"So maybe we'll have to tell them," Logan suggested. Ro rose to her feet and started to pace.

"I don't know if he could stand it, Logan," she said tautly. "I don't know if I can stand it. I don't know how to cope with this."

"Can you forgive him?" Logan asked, pouring himself another glass. He looked carefully at his lover. She frowned.

"I don't know, Logan," she said. "I can't imagine not loving Remy. He saved my life the first time we ever met. But this is. . .this is too damn much. Not only that he did it, but that he kept it a secret. Oh, hell, I don't know. I can't even begin to think clearly about any of it. I feel tied in knots inside."

Logan looked at her with sympathy and then grinned. "Maybe you need a spanking, darlin,' to help you clear your head," he proposed.

Ro stopped in the middle to the room, looked at Logan quizzically, and then shook her head, smiling. "Is that a threat or an offer, dear love?"

"Call it what you want, woman, but get your butt over here to me," Logan ordered. Storm's eyes twinkled.

"Why don't you try and catch me, you beast," she laughed, moving behind one of her plant tables. Logan rose catlike to his feet and started toward her.

* * *

Remy still sat on his bed contemplating his options. His anger had subsided and he was left with a suffocating depression. He couldn't imagine any way that the other X-men could forgive him for his role in leading the Marauders into the Morlock tunnels.

He dragged himself to his feet and started gathering his clothes and fighting gear into a duffel bag. He sat down at his computer and worked busily for about twenty minutes. Then he went to the window and looked out, drinking in the sight of the grounds that had been the only home he had known for a long time. There was a knock at his door and he started, turned and quickly thrust the duffel bag under his bed. "Who?" he asked.

"Just me." Remy heard the familiar tones of Hank's voice.

"Come on in," Remy said quietly, settling into his window seat and wincing once again as his sore butt hit the upholstery.

Hank entered and looked closely at Remy. "You're definitely not okay, kiddo," he said gently. "What's up?"

Remy swallowed hard. He was almost undone by the kindness in Hank's voice. "I'm fine, Hank," he answered, quite dishonestly.

Hank settled comfortably on his haunches and shook his head. "Nope, don't believe you, Remy. Come on and tell Uncle Hank what's up."

Remy stared out at the night sky. "Hank?" he began, "What would you do if you had done somet'ing unforgivable? If you had. . ." he paused, "if you had done somet'ing dat violated your own sense of your own self?"

Hank looked carefully at Remy and decided not to tell him that he had heard every word that had been spoken in Storm's loft. "I don't know, Remy," he said slowly. "Are you talking about real guilt about a deliberate violation of your own personal sense of ethics? Or are you talking about neurotic guilt when you take on responsibility for that which you did not plan or intend? Or are you talking about some combination of the two?"

Remy was staring at Hank with confusion. "What would be a combination of de two?" he asked.

Hank thought for a moment. "Well, I suppose I could imagine being in a situation in which I chose a course of action that seemed reasonable at the time, but later turned out to have disastrous consequences. It might at the time seem to have been the lesser of two evils and then turned out to have been the greater."


Hank stared up at the ceiling, avoiding Remy's stare. "Like if I had agreed to participate in an anti-war demonstration without knowing that violent factions of the anti-war movement planned to use the demonstration as an excuse to start a riot and get people killed. Or even worse, if I had been one of the organizers of the event."

Remy's amazed stare changed to a glare of suspicion. "You heard all dat wen' on in Stormy's loft," he said. "An' you tryin' t' make me feel better bout what I did."

"I suppose that's a possibility, Remy," Hank said. "What would I've heard if I had been listening to what was said? What did you do that I might be trying to make you feel better about?"

Remy zeroed in on what mattered to him. "So, if you had some real guilt dat mattered, what would you do, Hank?" he asked.

Hank answered swiftly, without thinking much about what he was saying or what it might mean for Remy, "I would try to make reparation. Try to make amends."

"Try for redemption?" Remy said with hope in his voice.

Hank gazed into Remy's face. "There is always hope of redemption, Remy," he said softly, "but I've been given to understand that it has to start with confession and absolution." Gambit wasn't listening. He was off on his ideas. Hank stared at him with alarm. "Remy," he said sharply. "Tell me what you're thinking right now."

Remy shook his head and stared at Hank, hastily playing back the tape he had made of the last few sentences spoken by Hank while he had been off in a world of his own. "I was t'inkin' 'bout what you said. Bout confession an' absolution. Bout how t' do dat."

His eyes didn't meet those of Hank McCoy's and he turned back to the window. He encountered there the reflected image of Hank staring at him with suspicion. Remy turned quickly and met Hank's eyes with innocent anguish and confusion, and even as he started to confuse Hank with his portrayal of upset anguish, went on to blow it.

"I really don' know how t' do dat," he said fervently and even as the words left his mouth, he knew that the performance was overdone and over-acted. He raised his hand to his mouth and bit the side of his thumb, looking chagrined. It was totally uncharacteristic of him to overact and get caught at it. He could only blame his intense state of emotional turmoil.

Hank grinned. "Good, Remy," he said equably. "I assume you now know that I'm on to your games and tricks. Shall we try to achieve a real discussion of confession, absolution, and forgiveness? Or do you want to keep on pretending that we're having a discussion while you go about trying to solve all your own problems without assistance?"

Remy put his hand up and ran it through his hair. He closed his eyes and leaned his head against the cool glass of the window in front of him. Words spilled out of him. "Dere ain't no absolution for me, Hank. I done fucked up beyon' any right I have t' ask for forgiveness. Dere ain' no hope for de like of me. I was born some kind of monster, genetic freakoid."

Hank flowed easily to his feet, strode over to the window seat, and gripped Remy hard by each side of his head. He jerked the Cajun's face around so their eyes met one another's. "Child, there might well be acts that are totally unforgivable. I don't think your behavior qualifies. Stop wallowing in guilt and self pity and tell me what you're contemplating or I'll put you over my knees this minute and blister you soundly. I'm not joking, Remy. Tell me what you're really thinking about or you'll be in deep, deep trouble."

Remy gulped, feeling a frozen terror in his gut. "I was t'inkin' 'bout Bobby," he spat out quickly.

"Bobby???" Hank was totally diverted. "Why are you thinking about Bobby?"

"Cause my Dad is blistering his butt right dis very minute," Remy said quickly.

Anything to divert Hank's attention from him. "An' Bobby is tres' upset. He cryin' hard." Hank's head went up and he listened for the sounds from the professor's sound-proofed study.

* * *

Bobby was sobbing desperately and loudly as the professor's hand smacked down on his bare bottom for what seemed the thousandth time. Scott held Bobby firmly and prevented him from rolling away from the repeated spanks that blazed against his butt.

Scott blinked back tears of his own and looked at Charles pleadingly, "Please, sir, isn't this enough?" Scott said, speaking from his heart. Bobby almost screamed aloud as the professor's hard hand smacked his bottom yet again.

"Pl. . . please. . .st. . . stop," Bobby sobbed out. "Please. . . YOW." Bobby's butt was as red as a fire engine, a tomato, an apple, and he was sobbing harder than he had ever cried in his life before.

Charles finished with ten more blazing spanks, looked down at the blistered bottom over his knees, and sighed. "Scott," he started, "would you please go get some aloe to put on Bobby's bottom?"

Bobby tightened his arms around Scott's waist where he had been hanging on for dear life. "NOOO. . ." he protested. "I d. . .don't w. . .want Sc. . .Scotty to leave." He didn't care whether he made sense or not. His bottom hurt and his feelings were hurt and he wanted all the support and caring he could get.

"I won't leave you, Bobby," Scott promised feeling acute misery. He was sure on some irrational level that the pain and grief that Bobby was experiencing was all his fault.

Charles sighed again. "Bobby, don't you want some relief from the pain you're feeling?" he asked.

Bobby shook his head. "N. . .no," he gulped out. "I de. . .deserve all of. . .it." Bobby continued to cry very hard for several moments and then his sobs began to subside slowly. He continued to hiccup out sporadic gasps of sobbing, but he was calming down. He released his arms from Scott's waist and continued to lay face down over the professor's lap with his head on Scott's knees. "I just want my pants back up," he said quietly. "Please."

Charles hesitated. "Tell me what you've learned from this spanking, Bobby," he said.

Bobby gulped and shuddered again as another convulsive sob wracked his body. "I don't know," he choked out. There was silence for a moment. Then Bobby spoke again. "That's not fair. It's not fair. It's NOT fair."

Bobby knew he sounded completely unreasonable and about eight years old, but he couldn't help himself. He felt about eight years old, soundly spanked for good reason, and asked to be mature about it all. He didn't feel mature. He felt hurt and angry and totally unreasonable. "Are you finished with me?" he demanded. "Can I, please, pull my pants back up?"

The professor looked at Scott who shrugged helplessly. "Go ahead, Bobby," Charles said gently.

Bobby reached back and pulled his underwear and pants up in a swift, jerking motion, wincing with pain and simultaneously rolling off the professor lap, landing on his knees on the floor. He stayed on his knees, folded his arms over his stomach and leaned his head against the arm of the couch, looking down. He shuddered every few minutes with a wracking sob.

"What isn't fair, Bobby?" Charles asked gently.

"It's not fair. . .to ask me. . . what. . .what I learned," Bobby choked out. "It's like you're treating my like stupid bab. . .baby. Like I have to spell it. . .out."

Bobby looked up, his eyes blazing with anger, even while tears continued to spill down his face. "Okay then, I learned not to get fucking caught driving while I'm high on pot. I learned not to lose my damn temper and throw things and. . ." His voice caught as he thought about Scott's bleeding fingers. "And I learned. . .that if I hurt. . .Sc. . . Scotty. . ." His voice caught again with a deep and shuddering sob which was followed by another and another. "I'm sorry, Scotty. .I'm really sorry. . .I didn't mean to hurt you."

Scotty slid off the couch, kneeling on the floor in front of Bobby. "It's okay, Bobby," he said. "I'm not mad at all. I feel awful that you're hurting so bad. I feel awful that Remy is hurting so bad. Hell, I just feel awful in general."

"Sucks, doesn't it?" Bobby looked up and met Scotty's eyes with a return of some humor to his. His sobbing quieted. "Well, this. . .is. . .a fine mess, Ollie," he gulped out. "I feel like shit. Remy feels like shit and you feel like shit, too. Why don't we just change our name to Fucked-up Mutants 'R us?"

Scotty looked at him askance and then his mouth twitched. "How about just Toads 'R us?"

"How 'bout Newts 'R Us?" Bobby started laughing even while tears still spilled. "Unless, like me, you got no desire to be speaker of anything."

"Let alone Speaker of the House." Scott was laughing too as he picked up immediately on Bobby's rather derailed train of thought. "Cause whoever is the speaker for this house. . ."

"Oughta just shut up for a few days, until we get our shit together." Bobby was laughing hard.

The professor looked down at them with a bemused expression. "I gather you're both feeling a little better?" he surmised.

Bobby looked up at him. "Yes, sir," he said, his laughter ceasing. "At least I am. Don't know bout Scotty."

"Me, too," Scott said. He rose to his feet and offered Bobby a hand up. Bobby took it and used to swing himself upright.

He looked down at the professor and then sat back down on the couch. "Ouch," he commented, wincing. His gaze never left the professor's eyes. "I'm sorry, sir." His voice was subdued, but he had obviously left behind him the acute anger and distress of a few moments before.

"Are you really okay, now, son?" Charles asked.

"Mostly," Bobby said. "Are you still mad at me?"

"Not at all, Bobby. You misbehaved. You've been punished. It's over," Charles decreed. "Are you still angry about it yourself?"

"No, sir," Bobby hesitated. "I got what was coming to me. Though I still don't think it's fair to ask what I learned from getting my butt whacked until I'm sobbing my guts out."

"Noted," the professor said dryly, his eyes twinkling slightly with humor. "But you think the spanking you got was fair."

"Oh, hell, sir, I don't think that's a fair question either," Bobby said wryly.

"Why would I want to admit it? Besides, I already did. Admit it, that is."

"I suppose you did," the professor acknowledged, his eyes still twinkling.

"So, is it okay with you guys if I just take off now and try to get some unwinding done before it's time to crash?" Bobby asked, wanting to escape before he was called on to answer any more disturbing questions.

"Fine by me," Scott said. The professor nodded. Bobby turned to get up, then turned back toward the professor and looked at him hesitantly. Charles held his arms out slightly and Bobby leaned toward him just long enough for a quick hug.

"Thanks," Bobby said quietly into the professor's shoulder as the strong arms closed around him. He relaxed, taking in the healing embrace, and then jumped quickly to his feet, heading for the door. "By the way," he said from the doorway, "I still think I'm perfectly capable of driving while I'm high." He was out the door and shutting it before anyone could reply.

The professor looked at Scott and shook his head. "Do you think he'll ever grow up?" Charles asked.

"I hope not," Scott answered with a grin. "Not sure I'd want a Bobby much different than what we've got. But I have to say that I'm glad he's not as young inside as Remy. Or as damaged. Sir, I'm really worried about Remy."

Charles sighed deeply. "As I am, Scott. You've no idea how worried I am about him. And if you're really feeling all right, I intend to talk to him right now."

Scott nodded. "I'm fine, sir," he said quietly, "except for being worried about Remy, myself. I'd be relieved if you talked to him."

* * *

Hank turned to Remy. "I can't hear a thing from the study," he complained. "How do you know what's going on down there?"

"Through my link with the professor," Remy said. He continued to look at Hank warily, hoping he had created a successful distraction.

"And what's going on with Bobby?"

"He's gettin' spanked, hard," Remy said miserably. "An' it's my fault."

"Jesus Christ on a pogo stick," Hank said explosively. "How in hell is it your fault that Bobby got himself in trouble? Did you make him freeze Scott's hands to his fork and throw his plate at the wall?"

"He wouldn've done it if I hadn' gotten upset bout what Scotty said t' me. An' now he's in trouble an' Scotty's miserable an' all of it's my fault."

"And you're thinking about some way to try to redeem yourself, aren't you, Remy?" Hank pushed onward. Remy flinched slightly.

"Well," he began defensively, "Isn' it normal dat I'd be t'inkin' 'bout dat?"

"And what kind of plans are you making, Remy?" Hank still stood immediately above him, looking down at him.

"Why you t'ink I makin' any plans, Hank?" Remy said evasively, while starting to panic a little. "I jus' t'inkin' bout it. Sorta generally, y'know."

"And I don't believe you for one moment," Hank crossed his arms over his chest. "Remy, are you thinking about leaving here and going off on your own on some kind of mission to redeem yourself? Like by going after Sinister?"

Remy flushed. "I not dumb, Henri," he protested. "I know better dan going after Sinister on my own. An I not stupid enough t' go after Sabretooth either."

"So what are you thinking about, Remy?" Hank pushed for an answer.

"I t'inkin' dat Bobby okay, now. He and Scott are laughing," Remy said.

Hank reached up and pulled on the blue fur on each side of his face. "What is Scott doing there? And what on earth are he and Bobby laughing about?"

Remy grinned. "The professor called Scotty t' help wit Bobby. And dey laughing bout renaming the X-men, Fucked-up Mutants 'R Us. Or Toads 'R Us. Or Newts 'R Us. Cept neit'er of dem wan' t' be Speaker of de House."

Hank laughed. "Oh, I can see Bobby as part of that conversation," he observed. "Not sure I can see Scotty participating, but by my stars and garters, you and your emotions are starting to break down Scott's defenses all over the place. Now come on, Remy, tell me what you're planning."

Remy looked down at the floor and then looked back up at Hank with a gaze of bewildered confusion. "I don' know what I planning, Hank. I don' know anyway dat I can make up for de t'ings I done." He turned on his 'charm' as strongly and subtly as he could, willing Hank leave him alone.

Hank continued to glare at him suspiciously and then was suddenly diverted by sounds from the loft above them. "What on earth?" Hank said, looking up at the ceiling.

Remy tuned in to his link with Logan and grinned. "I t'ink dat Logan is blistering Stormy's bottom," he said. "An' I t'ink dey both enjoyin' demselves."

"Yeah," Hank said as he listened for another moment before tuning it out as a private matter between Logan and Ro. "I think we've all gone nuts," he said quietly to himself.

"I been nuts forever, Henri," Remy said cheerfully, carefully hiding the fact that his cheerfulness was forced. He knew from his link with Logan that he was spanking Ro soundly to help her decompress from her deep distress about what she had found out Remy's involvement with the Marauders and the Morlocks. "An I t'ink dat Logan and Stormy involved in dere own version of foreplay which ain' none of our business."

Bobby suddenly burst into Remy's room holding his pot box and chattering "Boy, do I have a lot to tell you, Rem, and boy, but am I ready to get high, chill out, and put this day behind. . ." He stopped as he caught sight of Hank. "Oops," he said.

"Oops, indeed," Hank said with quiet dignity. He raised a blue furred eyebrow.

"I thought you were my best and oldest friend, Bobby. When do I get invitations to get high with you?" Bobby and Remy looked at one another and Bobby groped for a response.

* * *

Storm stood with a table between her and Logan. "You almost have me, love," she said. "Can I make a request?"

"Sure," Logan looked at her quizzically.

"I understand that you don't want our spanking play to be about real transgressions and faults of mine," she said with quiet dignity. "But can we pretend that you are really punishing me for real misbehavior?"

Logan grinned. "No problem, darlin,'" he agreed, cornering Storm against a wall. He pulled her out and over to the bed where he put her over his knees. "What do you think happens next, darlin'?"

"Why don't you tell me since you 'seem' to be in charge here?" Storm said.

"I 'seem' to be in charge, huh, darlin'?" Logan responded. "How about I lift this flimsy nightgown?" He put his fingers at the hem of her gown and flipped it up over her waist. She was wearing black cotton panties. "And how about I take these panties down and bare your bottom?"

Ro shivered again as she felt Logan's fingers go into the waistband of her panties. "NO," she protested. "Don't your dare take my panties down."

"Please, don't throw me in the briar patch," Logan said. "Sure, Ro, I think I know just what you're really asking. I think you need these panties downed and your bottom spanked long and hard."

* * *

Bobby looked at Hank. "You want to get high?" he asked innocently. Remy groaned and rose from the window seat. His bottom was hurting too badly to continue sitting. He curled up on his bed, holding his pillow.

Hank looked at Bobby with his head cocked slightly to one side. "Do I want to get high?" he repeated the question thoughtfully. "No, blast it, I don't want to get high," he said irately. "What I want, Robert Drake, is for you to get out of here until I can get Remy to answer my questions. If you want to come back later and get high, then the two of you can do whatever you choose and suffer whatever consequences arise. And before you even ask, NO, I have no interest in delivering any consequences to either of you."

"Well," Bobby said cautiously backing his way back toward the door. "I don't really have a problem with that, Hank. See you in a bit, Remy."

"Later, alligator," Remy said, keeping a wary eye on Hank. Bobby backed right out the door and closed it quickly behind him.

"Well?" Hank glared at Remy.

"I don' have a plan, Hank." Remy felt sick. He hated lying to Hank.

"And, I don't believe you," Hank said. Remy gulped, feeling wretched.

"You know what I did?" he asked miserably.

"Yes," Hank said easily.

"How could you forgive me?" Remy asked desperately. "I led the Marauders into the tunnels of the Morlocks. It was my fault that hundreds of mutants who had done no wrong and hurt no one died. How could anyone forgive me?"

The door to Remy's room opened. The professor glided his hover chair in. "Good question, Remy," Charles said. "How could anyone forgive you?"

Remy gulped. He turned over in his bed and hid his face in his pillow. His voice was muffled. "I don' t'ink anyone could forgive me," he choked out. "I don' deserve t' be forgiven."

The professor's voice was sharp. "Did you tell anyone that Sinister had poisoned your adopted father and several of your family members and told you that your cooperation was required for the antidote? Yes, child, I picked that up from your thoughts."

"It doesn't matter," Remy protested. "I should've found another way out."

"And what did Sinister tell you?" Xavier continued. "That he wanted genetic samples of the strongest Morlocks. You had no clue that he had ordered their deaths."

Remy twisted on his bed. "I should've known wit Sabretooth involved."

"Maybe you should've asked more questions," Charles said. "But what's done is done. The past can't be changed. What we need to talk about now is the present."

"What about de present?" Remy asked "I don't deserve t' be here. Hell, I don't even deserve t' live."

Hank sighed in profound exasperation. Charles echoed his sigh. "Remy," he said. "This is not the time to talk about the Morlock massacre. Right now we need to talk about what and who you are."

Remy raised his face and looked at the professor. "What and who I am?"

"Hank did a preliminary DNA analysis of your parentage this afternoon and evening. Do you want to know what he found out?" Remy buried his face again and nodded.

"I am your father," Charles said. "Your Y chromosome comes from me. Your other chromosomes are a mixture from Storm, Logan, Jean, and many that seem to come from Scott's father. We don't have a sample of the Corsair's DNA but you share chromosomes from Scott and Alex that indicate that you are genetically as close as a brother to them. There are no Shi'ar chromosomes although I suppose it's possible that some individual genes might have been taken from Lilandra. I don't think that the Shi'ar and humans can mate."

"So, I am just a genetic mistake?" Remy asked shakily.

"Remy, you're not a mistake," Charles said sharply. "I obviously wanted a child. And I found out more when I researched Shi'ar breeding habits."

"What?" Remy's voice was still muffled by his pillow.

Charles sighed. He desperately wanted to go to his son and comfort him, but wasn't sure how to go about it. "Remy," he said. "The Shi'ar are descended from bird-like creatures. They feed their young and protect them, but they don't bond with the intensity of human infants and their parents. They bring them food, but they don't nurse their young. Your human need to bond couldn't have been understood or met by your mother. I don't know what happened. You seemed to have bonded most deeply with Logan, Ororo, and me. I can only assume that you were brought back here and we raised you."

"So, Stormy prolly was more a mother t' me dan Lilandra?" Remy asked. Charles nodded. "An' now I done totally blown it wit her." Remy's mind was whirling. He had taken in more information that day than he could absorb.

Hank was looking thoughtfully at the professor. "So Lilandra probably couldn't handle a human's infant's needs for touch." Charles nodded. "I wonder what that was like for both of them. I imagine it was difficult."

"It was probably hell for all of us," Charles said bleakly. "The Shi'ar geneticists created a child to give to me and Lilandra and nothing worked out for any of us."

"See," Remy said desperately. "I was never anyt'ing but a mistake. I should never been born."

"Remy," Charles expostulated, moving toward him. Remy rolled away on his bed and buried his head under his pillow.

"No," he said softly. "I t'ink you should just leave me alone." Charles sighed deeply and looked at Hank.

* * *

Storm's bare bottom was a deeply red and very sore as Logan finished spanking her. She lay limply over his knees, gasping with sobs. He wondered whether to gather her into his arms to comfort her or to start making love.

Ro settled the question for him. She twisted around in his arms and raised her face to his, kissing him deeply while tears still ran down her face. She pushed him back on the bed, reaching down to unbutton and unzip his jeans.

Her mouth moved to his neck and her hands rose to unbutton his shirt. Her mouth moved lower and lower, to his nipples, to his navel. She pushed his jeans down as her mouth went to the hair at his groin which she tugged at gently with her teeth. Logan groaned with pleasure.

She kept pushing his pants down lower as her mouth moved, licking and kissing wetly the tender skin at the juncture of his thighs and torso, under his balls and down the little rim of skin between his groin and his anus.

Her tears were still falling, moistening the shaft of his hard cock which she licked wetly. Up and down the length of his penis, she teased, rising to the top which she took into her mouth. She took more, deeper and deeper into her throat, shifting her body so that her throat was open and she could take all of him into her mouth with her lips caressing the hairy skin at his groin. She sobbed again and her throat convulsed against him. Her mouth moved up slightly and then back down and another sob wracked through her, once again tightening all the muscles of her throat.

Logan moaned and his body began to thrust upwards toward her face. She paused, moving her mouth back up his length, teasing with her lips and tongue. She stopped at the head of his cock, sucking hard and then swallowed it again. She move swiftly up before he could even think about coming while still licking and nuzzling with very wet lips.

Logan grabbed her hair gently and tried to pull her away. She shrugged him off, raised her head and smiled down into his face while tears still ran down hers. "I know what I'm doing, Logan," she said. "Be still."

She grabbed her wine glass, putting it to her mouth, swallowed, then took more wine into her mouth and held it. She put her mouth back against his hardness, pulled him in, and his sensitive flesh tingled in the cold astringent wetness in her mouth. She moved her head down swiftly again and swallowed deep in her throat.

Logan started to spasm, and Ro pulled her mouth swiftly up and off. She smiled down at him and he grinned up at her, shaking his head. She moved her face back down to his groin. He grabbed her by the shoulders and stopped her.

"No," he said. He rose off the pillow and kissed her deeply and then rolled her over, face down on the bed. Her panties were down around the middle of her upper thighs and her bottom was a reddish shade of brown. He pulled her up to her knees.

Ororo arched her back and spread her legs. Logan entered her from behind and she ground her sore butt against his stomach as he thrust deeply into her. She thrust back, pushing her pelvis against him. Within moments, she was moaning with fulfillment, yet still Logan continued thrusting.

Ro took a breath and pushed back, feeling orgasm after orgasm ripple through her. Her knees started to hurt. Before she could utter a word, Logan rolled her over on the bed. He stripped off her panties, ripped off her nightgown, and entered her again as she wrapped her legs around him and rode him to multiple climaxes. Her tears had stopped, but as he began to shake with his own release, the floodgates opened again and as she started her final, all consuming orgasm, she was sobbing deeply.

Logan collapsed on her, shuddered for several long moments, and then rolled over again, holding her tightly and pulling her head down on his shoulder. She continued to cry as he held her. "I. . . love. . .you," she sobbed out.

"I love you, too, Ro," Logan said.

"And. . .my butt. . .hurts," Ro continued obliviously.

"I'll bet it does," Logan said with a chuckle in his voice. "I spanked you soundly, love. I bet your bottom is still on fire."

"B. . .burning," Ro agreed, still crying, but with her sobs subsiding. She squeezed him hard. "You really are a bastard, you know."

"Totally unredeemable," Logan agreed. "Yegods, Ro, that was good."

"Yes," she acknowledged sleepily. "I kind of enjoyed all of it myself."

"Only 'kind of'?" Logan raised his hand and blazed it again against her bottom. Ro gasped, then chuckled.

"Best sex I ever had," she said. "Very best."

"Me, too," Logan admitted. "But it kinda scares me how much I like spanking your bottom."

"Why?" Ro asked soporifically. She was exhausted and ready to sleep.

"I never thought I'd enjoy hurting someone I love," Logan said. "It drives me crazy to spank Remy."

"But I enjoy the pain, Logan," Ro said. "And you enjoy giving me pleasure, yes?"

"I guess."

"And Remy hates it," Ro continued. "So it drives you nuts. Is simple, really.

When you spank me, you're giving me what I want. When you spank Remy, you're really punishing him. Is no fun to really punish someone you love. But is delightful to make me so happy, yes?" Her voice was slowing down and her breaths were getting deeper and longer.

"Yeah, darlin,' but it also turns me on to take your pants down and have you in my control over my knees," Logan said thoughtfully. "And to watch your bottom get red and watch you squirm and writhe. . ." He looked down, realized that Ro was asleep and grinned. "Well, I guess this discussion is at a stopping point for tonight." He eased Ro off his shoulder, arranged her comfortably on the bed and covered her.

Remy, he thought. I wonder what the hell is going on with Remy? He reached out through his link to the young Cajun and realized he was with Hank and the professor. He was aware that Remy was deeply upset, but hoped that the other two could handle calming him. He thought about sleeping himself.

* * *

Hank looked back at the professor and sighed. "I think we should simply unwind him from those pillows and bed clothes and hold him until he calms down. I don't think he's capable of thinking clearly right now. This whole day has just been too damn much for him."

"I think you're right," Charles agreed. They both moved toward the bed. Remy sat up abruptly and backed away.

"No," he protested. "I'm okay. I'm really okay." He was terrified of being held, scared that he would shatter into a million pieces and never recover.

"Remy," Charles said quietly. "You aren't okay. You're nowhere near okay. You're totally overloaded and about to blow. You're broadcasting total confusion and profound upset. We're both very worried about you."

Remy's eyes darted back and forth between Hank and Charles. He looked like a trapped animal. He breathed deeply and tried to calm himself. "It's okay," he said again. "It's really okay. I don't want t' be touched. Really. Please, 'm scared I'd just fall t' pieces."

"Then, you're going to fall to pieces, because you need to fall to pieces," Charles said firmly. He pulled himself out of his hover chair and sat on Remy's bed, nodding at Hank. Hank moved over to the bed, grabbed Remy who struggled futilely and held him tightly. Remy continued to struggle for several minutes and then burst into deep and despairing sobs. Hank's arms tightened around him for awhile and then he passed the boy to his father.

"It's okay, Remy," Charles said. "It's okay."

"NO, it's not," Remy sobbed. "Not'ing is okay. I don' even wan' t' live. I done fucked up everyt'ing. An' I'm not okay an' I never will be. I was part of murderin' innocent people. I don' deserve t' live."

"Remy," Charles said gently. "You never intended to be a part of murder. You were black-mailed, lied to, and manipulated. I don't even think you deserve to be punished. Not for the Morlocks. You've got to let it go."

"I can'" Remy almost screamed. "I can.' Stormy will never forgive me. I helped kill her people. An' if Stormy can' forgive me, I don' wanna live any more. I don.' I won.' An' you can' make me." He tried to pull himself out of his father's arms, but he either wasn't quite strong enough or wasn't really trying hard enough. He collapsed sobbing. "I don' deserve t' have you be my fat'er," he gasped out. "I don' deserve t' be in de X-men. Please, let me go."

"No, Remy," Charles said gently. "I won't let you go. I love you. There is nothing you can say or do, there is no part of your past that will dissolve that love. You're my son. I love you. Nothing changes that. And I don't believe that Storm has stopped loving you. And I doubt anything would make Logan stop loving you. So, let it go. Stop being so hard on yourself."

"I can't HELP being hard on myself," Remy spat out. "I deserve t' be hard on me. I'm a fucking useless fuck-up."

Charles simply continued to hold the young Cajun. Remy's sobs deepened and grew desperate. "It was awful," he gasped out. "It was a fuckin' nightmare."

"When you took the Marauders into the tunnels?" Charles guessed.

"Essex promised me de antidote for my fam'ly, . . .I mean. . .de fam'ly. . ."

"It's okay, Remy. They were the only family you had at the time," Charles said gently. "Go on."

"An' he promised me dat dere would be no more killing. Dat all he wan'ed was de tissue samples from Callisto an' some of de ot'er strongest Morlocks." Remy shuddered. "I had explored de tunnels for him and I led dem in and as soon as we found de mutants in de tunnels, Sabretooth an' de ot'ers started t' kill an' kill an' kill. I didn' know what was happenin.' I didn' know what t' do. Dey were killin' children." He sobbed deeply. "I tried t' stop em, but no one would listen t' me. No one listened." He was sobbing so hard that he almost couldn't get the words out. Charles continued to hold him tightly and stroked his back. Hank looked down at the floor, imagining all too clearly the horror that Remy had felt.

Remy went on. "Creed was aimin' his damn claws at de throat of a littl' girl an' was about t' slash down an' I hit him wit my bo, right across de side of his damn head. He wen' down on one knee an' den he looked up at me and jus' grinned. He said, 'Too bad, boy. Sinister told me dat you t'ought you were de leader of dis litt'l expedition, but dat I would be de leader once we were in.'

An' he took me on. De litt'l girl scrambled away and Sabretooth wen' after me with all his strength." Remy's whole body tightened and shook.

"Dere was not'ing I could do." Remy's voice rose. "Creed almost took me apart. I t'ought he was goin' t' kill me. An' I wish he had."

"Remy," Charles said quietly. "What happened?"

"I fought him. I tried t' stop him. I couldn.' He was stronger dan me. He broke my shoulder and he ripped me t' pieces wit his claws. An' when I was bleedin' on de floor, he laughed an' said dat Essex had told him not t' kill me or he would have. An' dat he lived t' kill an' dat dere was not'ing I could do t' stop him."

"That's where those scars are from on your torso, yes, Remy?" Hank asked. Remy nodded. Creed had ripped deeply, but not lethally.

"Den Creed went after de litt'l girl who had run away an' I managed to pull myself t'get'er enough t' grab her an' run de hell away out a tunnel an' down anot'er one dat I hadn' told de damn Marauders about. I took her down anot'er an' anot'er until we were far away from de Marauders an' told her t' go warn de ot'ers. An' den, I just collapsed an' bled, hopin' dat I would just die."

"But you didn't," Charles said gently.

"No," Remy admitted, still shaking with sobs. "I don' know how long I was lyin' dere. When I was able t' get up, it was all over. An' I went back t' Essex and got de antidote for my people. An' I told him dat I hated him and dat I would kill him someday for what he done an' what he used me for." And then Remy was crying so hard that he could barely breathe. Charles continued to hold him tightly.

Hank rose and went to the window. He glared out at the night sky and tried to regain his composure. "Remy," he said tightly. "You were almost as much a victim of Sinister's machinations as the Morlocks."

"NO," Remy protested. "I led dem in. I was as much of a criminal as de driver

in a bank robbery. I don' deserve t' be here. I don' deserve t' be one of de X- men. I don' even deserve t' live any more."

Hank looked helplessly at the professor whose face was bleak as he listened to the wracking despair of his son. "Remy," Charles said firmly. "you're being too hard on yourself. What choice did you have? The lives of people you loved depended on you obeying that monster. And you had no idea that Sinister had sanctioned the massacre. You could have gotten yourself killed trying to stop it. What more could you have done?"

"I don' know," Remy sobbed out. "But none of it would have happened if I hadn' led dem in. None of it. De Morlock tunnels were safe for dem. It took someone like me t' penetrate dem and lead de ot'ers in. Dey wouldn've died if I hadn' done it."

"You don't know that, Remy," Hank said firmly. "You don't know that Essex wouldn't have found someone else to lead them in. You aren't the only good thief on this planet. Have you ever considered that you might be exaggerating just how important you were to the entire operation? Or that maybe part of Essex's purpose was to set you up to feel just this guilty and ashamed?"

"Why would he do dat?" Remy asked with confusion.

"Why does Sinister do anything that he does?" Hank asked impatiently. "He obviously has some intense interest in you which might well have to do with the fact that you have so much Summers DNA. Why does he have the fascination he has with Scott and Alex and Cable?"

"Good point, Hank," Charles said. "Are you willing to consider it, Remy?"

Remy nodded reluctantly, his sobs were quieting slightly. Charles continued to hold him, stroking his back. "Remy," he said gently, "cry it out and let it go for tonight. You've had a long and stressful day and you need to get some rest." Remy's sobs continued to subside and the tension in his body eased.

"And, Remy," Charles continued, "I know you're thinking about running away. No, I haven't gone into your mind to find that out, but it's very close to the surface. I know Logan has warned you that if you succeed in sneaking out and getting away, he'll track you down and blister you. If he has to do that, I'll spank you again when we get you home. You need to stay here and work this out with your family. We all need you to stay here and work it out. If you run away, it will just be waiting for you when you get back."

Remy felt a deep sinking feeling in his guts. Hank chimed in, "And I second that threat or you might have to say I third it. We can all deal with this together. And none of us have the energy or strength to deal with having to track you down."

"Den don' track me down," Remy protested. "I'm not plannin' t' go anywhere, but if I was goin' t,' why not just let me go?" His stomach sank again as he lied to his father and Hank.

"First, because we love you," Charles said. "And secondly because you're in no emotional condition to be making sensible decisions about what you're doing. I'm serious, child. You are not capable of thinking clearly right now.

You're exhausted, stressed and overwrought. Will you, please, let us make this decision for you."

"Okay, okay," Remy grumped. His tears were over and he pulled himself out of his father's arms. He sat up on the bed and looked at the professor. "I know I'm not supposed to smoke in de damn house but I t'ink I gonna die if I don' have a smoke. Do I have t' go outside."

Charles rolled his eyes toward the ceiling. "No, just this once, you don't have to go outside. Just blow it out the window, son. And don't make a habit of it."

Remy gave him a faint grin and went over to his window seat, pulling out his cigarettes. He opened the window wide, sat down, wincing, and lit up with a deep sigh of relief.

"I'm okay," he said. "I wish you'd both leave me alone an' go get some rest yourselves. It don' make me feel any better t' keep you guys awake all damn night." Charles and Hank looked at one another. Neither felt very sanguine about Remy's condition, but they weren't sure what to do.

"I could just stay here for the night," Hank offered to Charles. "And make sure he doesn't take off." Remy shuddered and drew deep on his cigarette. Not that Hank's presence would make any difference to his plans, but it would sure make carrying them out more distressing.

"No," Charles said after a moment of thought. "I think we have to trust him not to act like a damn fool." Remy shuddered again as his father's words stung him to the heart.

Charles reached for his hover chair, waving to both Remy and Hank to leave him alone to manage the transition himself. He glided toward his son. "Remy," he said full of unease and apprehension, "No matter what, you are my son and I love you. Please, I'm asking you from my heart, don't try to leave. We need you here."

Remy felt another sinking sense of despair. "I love you, too," he said, meeting his father's eyes in the reflection in the window. "An' I promise you dat I'm gonna find some way to live up t' being what you would wan' me t' be."

"And that is part of what worries me, child," Charles said heavily. "I don't think your life has prepared you to understand what I want you to be. I want you to stay here with me until you do understand."

"Maybe I understan' more dan you t'ink I do already," Remy said.

"I hope so," Charles said. "I surely hope so." He paused and realized he could think of nothing more to say. He reached out and touched his son's hair gently. Remy's hand moved up almost involuntarily and grasped his father's. Charles squeezed gently for a moment and let go as Remy did. He glided to the door with his heart full of misgivings.

Hank waited until the door shut and spoke seriously, "Remy, I think you should put yourself to bed as soon as you can manage it. And I'm going to warn you again. If you do anything foolish, you'll have Logan, your father, and me to answer to. I warn you to think carefully before you behave impulsively."

"I hear you, Henri," Remy said as lightly as he could manage. "Will you, please, stop worryin.' You more like a little old woman dan I would've t'ought possible for a big blue beast."

Hank chuckled in spite of his misgivings. "And you are more like an impetuous child than I would have thought possible for a young man of your age, Remy. Please, try not to do anything that would drive all of us insane."

"Heard and acknowledged," Remy again spoke as lightly as he could manage. "It's been a bad day, Hank. Let's let it go, okay?" He put out his cigarette and turned to grin at his furry friend.

Hank walked over to the young man and gathered him into a brief, fierce hug. "Just don't ever doubt that we all love you, Remy," he said roughly. "Including Storm, no matter how upset she was earlier. Good night, child. Sleep soon. And don't stay up all night smoking with Bobby."

"Oui," Remy acknowledged. He hugged Hank back and pulled out another cigarette. Hank winced as Remy lit up and went out the door.

Remy continued to stare out the window, smoking and feeling profoundly lost. He didn't even glance up as Bobby came back in.

"You wanna get high?" Bobby asked carefully, noticing how disturbed Remy looked.

"Sure," Remy said. Bobby pulled out a joint and lit it, dragging deep and passing it to Remy as he settled himself into the other end of the window seat.

Remy took a deep inhalation and passed it back.

Bobby chattered about what had happened since Remy left the dining room. The joint went back and forth.

Bobby noticed quickly that Remy only seemed to be half aware of what he was saying. He frowned and went on talking, "So, at that point, Scott started singing 'The Sesame Street Song.'"

"Mmhmm," Remy murmured and then after a second absently asked, "What did you just say, Bobby?"

"Good," Bobby said acidly. "Glad to know you're semi-listening to me."

Remy looked up from his contemplation of the lawn. "I'm sorry, Bobby," he said. "I'm not listenin.' An' t'anks for de pot." He rose from the window seat, walked to his bed, reached under it, pulled out the duffel bag, grabbed his staff from the corner and looked at Bobby who was staring at him.

"What're you doing, Rem?" Bobby asked feeling slightly alarmed.

"Bobby, tell de professor dat I don' t'ink I was meant t' be his son. It never did work for either of us. An' tell Stormy an' Logan dat I love em. Hell, go ahead an' tell ever'one dat I love 'em. Tell Rogue dat I said I was sorry. An' tell everyone dat I'm sorry, but different dan what I'm sorry bout wit Rogue. An' t'anks in general, Bobby. You been a good friend."

"Tell the professor. . .and Storm and Logan. . .Remy, what in hell do you think you're doing?" Bobby demanded, his apprehension increasing.

Remy twitched his mouth in something resembling a rueful grin, shrugged, and suddenly was gone. Bobby's eyes widened and he froze for a moment before jumping up and running to the com unit, "We got a problem, folks. We got a big problem," he announced.

* * *

Logan sat bolt upright in Ro's bed, even before Bobby was on the com unit. His link with Remy had been abruptly terminated. He jerked his jeans back on, grabbed his shirt and was already out the door when Bobby's voice came into the room. He heard Ro following behind him.

* * *

The professor's hover chair was at the door to Remy's room as Logan arrived, almost falling down the stairs. He looked grimly at Charles. "You, too, huh?"

Logan asked the professor. Storm was only a few seconds behind Logan, and she looked at back and forth between the men.

"My link with Remy was broken," Charles said as he pushed open the door. "I have no idea where he is or what he's doing."

Logan nodded grimly and looked at Ro. "Mine, too," she said. They followed Charles into the bedroom. All three of them fixed their eyes on Bobby who wondered how all of them had arrived before he even finished his broadcast.

"That makes all three of us," Logan said. "Bobby, what happened to Remy?"

"He just disappeared," Bobby said. "Without even a BAMF." Bobby imitated the sound made by Nightcrawler when he teleported.

Charles went to Remy's computer. His hands flew over the keys. "It seems that Remy has managed to erase himself from Cerebro's system," he said, as he accessed their mutant tracking system. "He used it to try to locate Vertigo, Arclight, Scrambler, Harpoon, Scalphunter, and Sabretooth and then it seems he temporarily disabled our ability to track them. Not that any of them have ever been very trackable."

"He's gone after the Marauders on his own," Logan said flatly. Charles nodded. "And left us no way to find them or him." Charles nodded again.

Ro closed her eyes and shook her head. "How could he do something so idiotic?" she demanded.

"He's trying to redeem himself," Hank said from the doorway. "I suspected he was up to something like this."

"Redeem himself from what?" Warren came in next Hank, deeply puzzled. Betsy, Sam, Jean, Scott, and Bishop crowded into the small room behind him.

Charles looked around at all and then looked at Logan, Storm and Hank. "Shall we go down to the study and enlighten the others about my son's role in the massacre of the Morlocks?" he asked.

"You knew?" Ro gasped.

"Yes," Charles said with a sigh. "I actually know more about it than you do, Ro. I picked up some from his mind and we discussed it here tonight."

"Is there any hope we can trace him from here?" Logan asked. Charles shook his head. "Then let's go talk about it," Logan stated. Charles nodded.

"The Morlock Massacre?" Warren gasped. "What the hell did Remy have to do with that?"

"I think we need to go the study to discuss it," Hank said to Archangel. There were nods all around and the group departed Remy's room to go downstairs.

* * *

Remy crouched in the darkness on the roof of a jewelry store in San Francisco.

He had found through Cerebro that this was the location of ArcLight, Vertigo, and Scalphunter. He assumed that they intended a burglary. They were in the alley in the back, conferring among themselves. He was waiting for them to make their move and planning to take all three out.

* * *

To be continued. . .