Subject: Family Matters, chapter 23
From: Dswdiane@aol.com
Date: Thu, 21 Jan 1999 23:23:29 EST

Family Matters, chapter 23

Logan and Storm were alone in the sitting room after everyone else had crashed. "I assume that this is too public a place to continue punishing me," Ro said quietly, looking at Logan.

"Yep," Logan replied. "We'll get on with spanking you when we get back home. Though I spose that I could take you up to the roof where Remy took Rogue to take her panties down and spank her bottom."

"Remy spanked Rogue on the roof?" Storm repeated with amazement. "Whatever for?"

Logan shrugged. "Something to do with her touching Belladonna and absorbing her memories. None of my business. But I couldn't help hearing it."

Storm continued to look at him with careful eyes. "So?" she asked. "Are you going to take me up to the roof, my dear?"

Logan shook his head. "Nope. I've never been one to copy another." He looked at Ro with laughter in his eyes. "But if you need it badly, I could be convinced."

Ro grinned like a little girl, then shook her head reluctantly. "No, love. It's late and we need our sleep."

"Makes sense, but I'm not sleepy. Ro, I have a very bad feeling about this attack on Sinister."

"Why?" Ro asked.

"I'm not sure," Logan admitted. "I think Remy's handled it fine, but I have an itch between my shoulder blades. Think something is gonna go wrong."

"I hope not, love," Ro said. "Remy would be devastated if his plan goes awry."

"Yep," Logan acknowledged. "And I hope it doesn't. And we're gonna be doing plenty of investigating tomorrow. Now, whether I'm sleepy or not, you and me should catch some z's. We'll have a long two days ahead of us." He rose and helped her unfold the couch into a bed. Storm cuddled into his arms and they tried to sleep.

* * *

The X-men were all in place Thursday morning outside of Sinister's estate. They were in Pacific Bell vans that Remy had stolen over the protests of Scott and with Storm's approval. She saw no harm in "borrowing" the vans as long as they were returned without damage.

The day before, the various members of the team had investigated Sinister's activities, schedule, and the grounds of his estate. All of what Remy had discovered had been confirmed. Little new information had been uncovered. They were going ahead with the plan Remy had made though both Scott and Logan had serious reservations.

The vans were out of sight of the driveway and road leading up to Sinister's estate until Essex was seen leaving in his car. Remy climbed a telephone pole, again disabled the phone systems, came back to his van and waited. In half an hour, his cell phone rang. Remy caught it before the ring had ended.

"Oui," he said briefly.

Yoshi's voice was on the other end. "He just went into class. I'm keeping watch outside."

"Merci." Remy closed the phone and looked at Scott who shook his head.

"I don't like involving your friend in this, Remy," he said for at least the tenth time. "He's not a mutant. And he could get hurt. Now or later if Sinister ever finds out about him."

Logan snorted as Remy sighed. "We been through this, Scotty," Logan said irritably. "Yoshi wanted to help and knew the risks. And better he should be far away from the action and leave us to go in on our own. Ifnie only knows what traps are in there. Now would you stop grousing and let us get on with it?"

Remy, Bobby, Bishop, and Rogue all had Pacific Bell coveralls over their battle clothes. They took their places at the front of the vans while the rest hid in the back. Bobby drove up to the gates and pushed the intercom button.

"Yeah, whaddaya want?" a voice queried.

"Got reports of phone trouble all over the island," Bobby said laconically. "Our instruments trace it here. Wanna check your phones before you let us in?"

There was a brief silence and the voice spoke again. "Yeah, damn phones are out again. C'mon in."

The gates opened. The vans were driven through.

Two guards were waiting outside the door. One stepped forward as Bobby and Remy climbed out of one van and Bishop and Rogue from the other.

"Why in hell you need so many workers?" the man asked suspiciously.

Bobby shrugged. "People on this island are rich and touchy," he said carelessly. "They want their phones bad. And Pacific Bell aims to please."

Rogue, Remy and Bishop were already headed for the door where they could see more guards waiting inside. They got in position, with Remy on the other guard outside and Rogue and Bishop already near the ones inside. Remy sent a telepathic message to all.

NOW, he ordered.

Bobby froze the head of the guard in front of him long enough to cut off his air supply, knocking him unconscious, and then quickly unfroze him and tied him up.

Remy took out the guard in front of him with a psychic knife to his mind while Bishop emitted a blast of energy that sent the guards inside flying. Rogue swept them up and all were quickly incapacitated and bound.

The other members of the team streamed out of the vans and into the house. According to the plan each member except Rogue and Jean flew, ran, glided or blasted as quickly as possible through the premises looking for guards, knocking them out, and tying them up. Rogue and Jean were flying around the grounds taking out the guards on the outside whose positions had been identified the day before. The X-men wearing Pacific Bell uniforms peeled them off as they moved.

"That was entirely too easy," Remy heard Scott grumble to Wolverine.

"May have been," Logan agreed. "But we might as well keep going."

Jean had conducted a telepathic search and identified the locations of two other guards inside control centers.

They still don't know what's happening she sent to the others with directions. Get to them quickly before they get alarmed. Gambit, with Hank backing him, and Logan, with Scot, went. Gambit and Hank were met with machine gun fire. From sounds in the distance, Remy figured that Scott and Logan had encountered the same. Remy dodged, ducked and took out the guard with a swing of his staff while Hank ran to the controls.

Unless someone is shielded, we got them all. Logan got shot, but he's healing. Jean announced to everyone. She had linked with Betsy and done another psychic sweep of the premises. I think we can use the intercom without a problem. Hank, Scott, what have you got on those control panels?

Hank was mumbling to himself as he examined the controls and computer systems. He shook his head and accessed the system.

"I'm starting downloads from these computers to our mansion," he said quietly through the intercom. "And I'm getting some locked files. Trying to break into them. Remy, go down and help Scotty."

Remy ran. Neither Logan nor Scott was very talented with computers. Wolverine was still on the floor. Remy looked at him with concern and knelt beside him, putting a hand on his shoulder. "You okay, mon ami?" Remy asked.

"I'll be fucking fine in a minute," Logan grumbled. "You go on and do what you were told, kiddo. . .I said I'd be fine, brat. Get your work done."

Remy rushed to the system controls. He started entering passwords to get to the locked files and told Scott what he was doing.

"You might try the name of his first wife and their child," Scott suggested, giving him the information. Remy did so.

"Hey," Remy said with satisfaction, "that opened a map to a whole sub-basement. And I'm going to try your birthday, Scott, since the bastard has a fixation on the Summers. Nope, nothing. Already tried Summers. Nada."

Scott gave Remy their brother's Alex's birthdate. Nothing. The birthdate of Cable, Scott's son, opened an entire screen of codes which Remy quickly printed out. Their father's name and birthdate opened another page of codes.

"What else?" Remy asked.

"Try Madeline Pryor or Mpryor or whatever variation," Scott suggested grimly, giving the name of the clone Sinister had made of Jean, a clone Scott had married when he thought Jean was dead, a clone who had given birth to Cable. The name gave them more codes.

"Anything else?" Remy asked.

"Well, kiddo." Logan was back on his feet. "You might try your own name."

Remy entered several variations of his name and another map was revealed of a secret section off the already revealed sub-basement.

"I don't see any other locked files," Hank announced over the intercom. "I say we head for the basements."

The entire team met on the first floor. "I think we should leave some folks up here to stand watch," Scott said with caution, waving at Betsy and Jean who nodded and stayed put.

The rest of the team ran down the stairs and found their way to the hidden areas where they discovered a laboratory and a huge computer network. Hank, Remy, and Bobby were quickly at the computers entering the data banks.

Remy's cell phone started ringing. He jumped, pulling it out of his pocket. It stopped ringing before he opened it. He looked over at Logan with dismay.

Simultaneously, Logan and Hank raised their heads. "I hear hissin. . ." Logan choked out. Remy sent a frantic message telepathically to Jean as he crumpled to the floor along with every other member of the team. In his last moments of consciousness, he was vaguely aware that Jean had managed to surround herself with a telekinetic bubble with oxygen inside as she fell to the floor.

* * *

Gambit felt consciousness returning. He opened his eyes and raised his head. The rest of his body wouldn't move. Sinister loomed above him, dressed in black as usual and chuckling. The red diamond on Sinister's forehead was pulsing. Remy blinked, but the diamond continued to throb. He decided to ignore it and tried mightily to send a psychic knife or charge a card. Nothing happened.

Sinister continued to chuckle as he approached Gambit. "Sorry, child, but I doubt you'll find that any of your powers work for a while," he said. "This gas is quite effective against mutants. Now, let's see exactly what can I do to convince you that you made a huge mistake when you chose to work with the X-men?" Sinister hummed quietly and the red diamond continued to pulse.

Remy's gaze was drawn, helplessly, to the diamond. He couldn't look away and he certainly couldn't ignore it. He was horror stricken, aware of all the still bodies around him. He watched as Sinister injected Logan with a hypodermic needle.

"This one I think I'll kill," Sinister said conversationally. "I do have his DNA in storage and he's very difficult. Better to destroy him while he's unconscious, don't you think, child?" Remy flinched. "Finding it hard to move or use your powers, Gambit? Another effect of the gas. I only gave you a partial antidote."

Remy struggled in vain as he watched Sinister inject Logan several times.

"That should stop his heart rather quickly," Essex said. "And now what? Why don't I kill the one you think you love? The one who calls herself Rogue." Sinister waved his hand and blasted Rogue with a half a dozen power surges. Rogue's body spasmed again and again and then lay deathly still.

Remy's mouth went dry and he gulped in air. This was a nightmare from which he wasn't likely to waken. He struggled but could barely move. The red diamond on Sinister's forehead continued to pulse in front of his eyes and as if it were throbbing behind his eyes.

"Who else shall I destroy to teach you a lesson, boy?" Sinister chuckled yet again. He walked around the bodies. Remy tried hard to look nonchalant as Sinister stood over Storm.

"Good performance, child," Sinister said indulgently. "But, I know this one is important to you. As a favor to you, I'll kill her quickly." Again he called up his power and blasted Storm until she vanished, seemingly blasted out of existence.

Remy closed his eyes and swallowed hard. He was trembling. Sinister went back to Logan's body, injected it again, and blasted it. Then turned and blasted Rogue's lifeless body.

The red diamond pulsed in front of and somehow behind Remy's eyes.

"You may be able to save one of these two with CPR. Choose the right one and you might save them. Choose badly and both are lost." Sinister said.

"Oh," Essex continued, "thank you for alerting me to this attack. I watched the surveillance tapes from a couple of days ago when you and your little non-mutant friend came here disguised as repairmen. I recognized you, child. And, by the way, your human friend is quite dead. I destroyed him when I noticed him outside my classroom watching me and dismissed class early. Pity his phone call didn't get through. Now, if you want try to save these two, I'll give you more of the antidote. Just think carefully about whom you choose to save. Choose wrong and both will be as dead as that lovely weather witch."

Remy nodded at Essex who approached, diamond still pulsing on his forehead.

Sinister injected the Cajun again and Remy found he could move, though barely.

"Choose, carefully," Sinister instructed again, chuckling.

Remy thought frantically, Logan. Rogue. Logan. Rogue. He wanted to wail with frustration but there was no time.

Logan has a healing factor, he thought desperately. Rogue's the one who might not make it. He crawled to Rogue and began to push against her chest and breathe into her mouth. Over and over and over. She was lifeless and inert.

"Too bad," Sinister chuckled. "You chose badly." He grabbed Remy by the scruff of his neck and casually threw him away from Rogue's still body.

"If you had chosen Wolverine, he'd have revived quickly and been able to kiss your little girlfriend and pass his healing factor to her," Essex said casually. "And both would be living now. But it wouldn't have been for long. Sorry, LeBeau, but I think it's time to say good-bye to all your X-friends."

The diamond was pulsing in time with Remy's heart as he stared at it despairingly. A voice stabbed through his brain.

Remy! Stop looking at Sinister. Stop! Drag your eyes away. Jean had pulled herself into functioning consciousness and was linked with Gambit. He felt her willing him to look away from the throbbing red diamond.

Remy shuddered and gave himself totally to the link with Jean. Remember you're a Summers, she directed grimly. And blast him with all you've got and all I can give you.

Remy reached out to Jean and through her linked with the professor who captured the link with satisfaction. Both of them poured their powers into Remy who blasted Sinister with the mental powers of all three. Sinister staggered and fell to one knee.

"NO!" he yelled trying desperately to stagger to his feet. The red diamond flashed compellingly and Remy felt his eyes being drawn to it.

No, son. Look away, the professor's voice said gently in Remy's mind. Another surge of energy entered Gambit's head and he felt Cable joining forces with Jean and his father. He threw another blast at Sinister and the black-clothed mutant howled and abruptly disappeared, dropping the bag from which he had been pulling needles.

Remy rolled quickly over to where Sinister had been standing and grabbed the bag. He looked inside, noting that there were two compartments containing hypodermics, half with blue plastic plungers, half with red.

Jean, he sent quickly. I'm going to inject myself with one of the needles with a blue plunger. He pushed a needle into the top of his thigh.

REMY! NO! Remy was dimly aware of Jean rolling her way toward the stairs, still unable to get to her feet. But he had already pushed the plunger.

It's okay. Remy rose, strength flooding back into him, and ran across the room, pulling out the blue topped needles. He injected Logan, then Rogue, forced himself to turn away from them and ran to inject Hank and several others.

Within seconds, Hank was on his feet, then Bobby and they were helping with injections of the antidote. Remy was back to Rogue, performing CPR.

Hank, let Bobby give the shots, Remy demanded telepathically, not pausing from his desperate breathing into Rogue's mouth. Give Logan CPR. Please.

Hank immediately did as he was asked. Bobby finished the injections.

"What the fuck happened here?" Bobby asked plaintively as he ran over to help Remy by pushing on Rogue's chest.

I think Sinister killed Rogue, Remy's voice was bleak and weary in the minds of all the awakening X-men. And Logan. And Storm.

Scott took over from Hank as Remy filled them all in on what had happened. Hank was rummaging through the room for the medical equipment that had been catalogued in the data banks.

Try the left closet, Remy directed, transmitting information he had gotten from Sinister's mind. Over there. Hank pulled out a portable crash cart which he powered up as quickly as he could. He dragged it over to Rogue as Remy stripped off her upper garments.

"Clear," Hank ordered as he placed the paddles on Rogue's chest. Her body bucked and went lifeless again. "Clear," Hank said again, repeating the procedure.

Remy was frozen. The red diamond was still throbbing inside his brain. The room started to gray around the edges of Remy's vision. Dimly, he saw Hank step back from Rogue and start to move the cart to Logan.

Remy had clearly seen Hank shake his head over Rogue's body. He had heard him mutter bleakly that it seemed hopeless. He started to feel cold all over. And he went even colder as he saw Hank try futilely to revive Wolverine.

Remy was dimly aware of Jean staggering down the stairs and into the room. She was yelling something. But all he saw was Rogue's and Logan's lifeless bodies and the space on the floor where Storm had been lying. He felt colder and colder and the diamond continued to pulse inside his brain. It seemed as if it were speaking to him, saying, "Your fault, your fault, your fault." He threw his arm up and teleported himself out of this never-ending nightmare.

* * *

Remy fell to his knees in the little room at Carol's house where he had stayed in Seattle. He shook for several minutes and then dragged himself to his feet.

Remy deliberately cut the links to Jean and his father. No point in staying in touch given the circumstances. He wasn't quite sure what he planned to do, but he was quite sure he didn't want to listen to their platitudes while being all too acutely aware of their grief. He was also intensely not interested in listening to them try to find some way to relieve him of his guilt when he was sure they knew as well as he that he was responsible for the disaster that had just happened.

Remy staggered down the stairs as drunken from grief, guilt, and horror as he had ever been from booze. Carol was in the living room, alone with a bag of brown powder, a box half full of disposable needles, a couple of bent spoons, a candle and a cup of water. She was cooking a dose of the powder in one of the spoons.

"Hi, baby," she said, her voice only slurring slightly. "Wanna get high? Or you still being Mr. Goody Two Shoes, who's too straight to shoot up with a friend?"

Remy looked at her carefully and sat down on the floor beside her between the sofa and the coffee table, trying to control his shaking. He looked at the drug and thought briefly about what Logan had threatened to do to him if he ever again fooled around with any white powders.

Incredibly, Remy found himself starting to giggle. "It's a brown powder," he choked out, almost hysterically. "And, I guess, at dis point it don't matter a damn what Logan would do." He continued to giggle as Carol gaped at him and fell over almost screaming with laughter at the expression on her face. On some level he was aware that at any moment his laughter could and would turn into gut- wrenching sobs and he stopped himself, breathing deeply. It seemed that pulsing red diamond had become a permanent part of his mental apparatus.

Remy sat up again. "Okay, cher," he forced himself to say casually, "I'll try your poison." He jerked off his gloves and started to roll up one sleeve.

"What in hell are you wearing, Remy?" Carol's voice continued to slur. "You been to a costume party or something?"

Remy looked down and noted that he was still in uniform. He shrugged. "Yeah, I just been t' one hell of a party, p'tite," he said quietly. "Don' t'ink you would've liked it." He took a belt off the table, tied off his upper arm, and reached out for the hypodermic that Carol had filled with the solution in the spoon.

She brushed his hand aside. "I'll do you, sweetie," she giggled. "And you gonna love this stuff. Called China brown." She found a vein, quickly slid the needle in, and pushed the plunger.

Dimly and from a far distance, a part of Remy stood apart and told him coldly, I'd t'ink dat you done had enough of needles for one night, boy. You gonna regret dis. You gonna wish. . .

Remy stopped listening, jerked the belt off his arm and shuddered intensely as the rushes started through his body. It felt something like intense multiple orgasms with a sickly after-taste. He gasped and gasped and then laughed loudly.

"Oh, fuck, dat feels good," he collapsed back against the sofa and felt his entire body relax. The diamond retreated. The grief, guilt and horror receded and for about five seconds he felt nothing but total peace and pure pleasure pouring through him.

Then the nausea hit. Wave after wave. He frantically started crawling toward the bathroom, feeling sick and very tired and very close to losing consciousness. Time seemed to warp around him and the next thing he knew he was retching into the toilet. Retching and vomiting until nothing was left in his stomach but bile and after it came up, still retching even though nothing was left.

Carol stood in the doorway. "It'll pass after a while," she said. She helped him raise his head and washed his face with a wash cloth. He took a single swallow of cold water directly from the faucet and the nausea started again.

"You t'ink dis is fun, cher?" Remy choked out.

Carol giggled. "You don't see me throwing up, baby," she said. "It passes. In a moment you gonna feel real good."

"I feel a little better already," Remy said carefully. At least the grief, guilt and horror seemed far away. He felt very sleepy and still sick to his stomach. But he looked up at Carol and smiled. It was such a relief to escape from himself.

Carol smiled back and led him back to the living room where she put Jane's Addiction on the stereo.

* * *

Jean staggered into the basement room. Warren had run upstairs with injections of the antidote for her and Betsy. She was still linked with Remy and for a moment of roaring confusion, she could not reconcile what she experienced through Remy's mind with what she perceived with her senses.

"REMY!!!!" She yelled, trying to reach him telepathically and resorting to her voice when she realized she couldn't psychically get through the pulsing red diamond that was blocking his mind from hers. Everyone in the room stared at her as she rushed toward Remy. "NO, Remy, what you see isn't. . ."

It was too late. Remy simply disappeared.

Bobby's mouth dropped open. Hank blinked in surprise, but put the paddles against Logan's chest for a second time.

"Clear," Hank ordered. Logan's body jerked and then he was breathing on his own.

Hank looked at Jean. "You have any idea where Ro is?" he asked calmly. "And what just happened with you and Remy? Where did he go?"

"I think Ro is two rooms that way," Jean said, pointing. Bishop ran immediately, closely followed by Hank and the crash cart. Storm was on the floor and breathing shallowly. The cart wasn't needed.

Hank and Bishop carefully brought Ro back to the room where the rest were watching over Rogue and Logan. Betsy and Warren had made it down the stairs. Logan's eyes had opened and he was glaring at everyone.

Jean sighed and sank down to the floor between Rogue and Logan. "As I came in, I could hear and see that Rogue was breathing and Hank had said that she had a faint heart beat," she said. "He was already working on Logan. But Remy had seen Hank shake his head and say that reviving Rogue was hopeless. He then saw Hank repeatedly try to revive Logan and fail. What he saw and what was really happening were totally different scenarios. I felt like I was in some weird episode of the Twilight Zone."

Scott took a deep exasperated breath. "How?" he asked grimly. Logan sat up, obviously having to try hard to do so. Both men looked at Jean intently.

"Sinister hypnotized him," Jean said. "That's overly simplistic. But it's essentially what happened. Remy thinks Rogue and Logan are dead. Storm, too. I don't know where he went. The mechanism Essex used to hypnotize him is blocking him from any telepathic communication. And, damn," she said taking a deep breath, "he just cut the link, himself."

"How's Rogue?" Logan asked weakly.

"Badly injured," Hank said. "Her heart and pulse are still weak. Her breathing is shallow. Sinister hurt her badly."

Logan nodded grimly and started to crawl toward Rogue. "Storm?" he asked.

"Not as bad as Rogue," Hank admitted. "She'll live. Logan, I know what you're thinking of doing, but you're too weak. It could kill you to give Rogue your healing factor. And she might live without it."

"She'll definitely live with it," Logan said, continuing to crawl toward Rogue. Hank moved to block him.

"Logan, it could kill you," he said again. "I won't allow it. And you're too weak to get past me."

"Get outta my way, Hank," Logan spat out. "I can't let Rogue die. Remy couldn't handle it."

"And you think he could handle it if you manage to kill yourself saving her?" Hank demanded.

"I'm not planning to kill myself," Logan said, moving still closer to Rogue.

"Logan, you've absorbed more damage than even your healing factor can deal with. . ." Hank started.

Logan's eyes widened as he jerked away from Hank and stared at the opposite corner of the room. "TAKE COVER!" he yelled.

The entire team whirled in the direction in which Logan was staring, expecting new enemies to fight.

Logan brushed past Hank quickly and put his mouth on Rogue's.

"Oldest damn trick in the book," Hank grumbled, whirling back around to grab Logan and pull him away from Rogue. Logan was unconscious, his heart barely beating. But color returned to Rogue's face and she began to breathe normally.

Jean started to laugh, almost on the edge of hysteria. "But it worked, didn't it?" she said.

Hank shook his head as he knelt beside Logan's almost lifeless body. "Yes, it worked," he said grimly. "And if the little bastard lives, I'm going to kill him."

Jean continued laughing. Scott put an arm around her and the laughter turned to sobs.

Bobby glared at no one and everyone. "We got our asses kicked," he said. "And where the hell is Remy?"

"Have no idea where Remy is," Hank said, pulling Logan's head onto his thigh and stroking his hair. "And I'm worried as hell about this willful, disobedient brat as well as the one we've lost. We need to get these three home to med lab."

Scott took a deep breath and started issuing orders. "Betsy, Jean, can you access the controls on the blackbird and get it to take off and land here?" Both women nodded. "Bobby, Bishop, while we're waiting for the blackbird, keep downloading from the computers. We'll salvage something from this snafu."

Logan stirred and his eyes opened slowly. He looked up at Hank and grinned. "Gotcha," he murmured. Hank resisted an urge to shake him.

"Yes, you got me," he admitted. "And sometime, later when you're better I'm going to get you."

Logan grinned again. "How's Rogue?" he asked.

"Heart rate and breathing normal now," Hank conceded. Logan nodded with satisfaction and closed his eyes again.

After several minutes, Logan's eyes flew open again. He struggled to sit up, not quite breaking free of Hank's arms. "I know where Remy is," he said with determination. "I'm still linked to him. And I've got to get him. NOW."

Hank strengthened his grip. "No," he said quietly. "You're too badly injured. Tell us where he is and we'll send someone."

Logan took a deep breath and thought. "Okay," he said. "He's at the house where he was staying here. He's about to shoot up heroin. For the second time. It could be a lethal dose. Send someone, now."

Hank's eyes snapped wide open and he stared at Scott who looked at the team members around him.

"Jean," Scott said. "How quickly can you fly there?"

"No idea. Logan, can you send me directions?" Logan nodded, sent them and Jean gathered herself together and flew out the door.

"Blackbird's here," Betsy announced.

"Good," Scott said. "Hank, get Rogue, Storm, and Logan onto the bird. Bobby, Bishop, finish what you're doing and get ready to go."

Logan lay quietly on the floor and waited for Hank to busy himself with getting Rogue and Storm on the ship. Then, he rolled to his feet and grabbed Bobby.

"You and me are out of here and after Remy," Logan said quietly.

Bobby goggled. "But. . .Jean. . ." he sputtered.

Logan gripped him firmly by the arm. "I trust Jeannie with my life," he said. "But I don't trust her to find Remy in time. Let's go, sport, before someone stops us. NOW."

Bobby goggled for another second and then rushed out with Logan. They ran quickly to the Pacific Bell vans. Bobby thought they would drive one of the vans away. Instead, he watched with amazement as Logan pulled his Harley from the back of one of the vans.

"This'll get us there quicker," Logan said. "Get on, boy. And if anyone asks later, you drove. I rode."

Bobby nodded and hopped on behind Wolverine who revved up the bike and took off like a bat out of hell.

If asked later, Bobby could never have told how long the journey took. Once they left a police car behind them with lights flashing and siren blowing. It seemed like only moments before Logan wheeled the bike to a halt in front of a house, dumped it on the ground and rushed in breaking the door off its hinges. Bobby followed, sliding on his ice glide and watched as Logan grabbed Remy's body off the floor and started to give him CPR.

Bobby watched for only a second and then rushed to a phone and called for an ambulance. Jean flew in a couple of minutes after he dialed and settled to the ground, watching Logan try to revive Remy, who was in respiratory failure.

* * *

Remy and Carol had listened to the music for only about ten minutes when he started to feel the distant grief and horror moving closer to his consciousness. He still felt very sleepy and very nauseated, but it didn't matter.

"I wan' some more of dat stuff, cher," he said.

Carol shook her head. "I don't know if that's a good idea, Remy," she said. "It's strong shit. And I gave you a big dose already. You're not used to it."

"I don' care," Remy said carefully, sitting himself down again in front of the coffee table. He brushed Carol away and took a pinch of powder from the baggie. He giggled again at the thought of explaining to Logan that it was brown powder, not white and started to tremble as he thought of Logan. He took out another pinch and another. Carol frowned.

"That's way too much, Remy," she said, her voice slurring more than before.

"An' I tell you dat I don' care, p'tite," Remy grinned at her reassuringly and started to stir the powder into the water in the spoon bent over the candle. It dissolved slowly as if there were too much powder for the water to absorb. Remy added more water and stirred carefully. He let the spoon rest on its bent handle, opened one of the disposable syringes, drew most of the solution into the bulb, pulled his sleeve back up, used the belt to tie off his arm, slid the needle into a vein, and pushed the plunger. The rushes started again, but he was distinctly aware that something was wrong.

Not only did he feel even sicker than the last time, but he was having trouble breathing. He gasped. A far distant part of him was deeply afraid, but at least the guilt and grief receded far away. He gasped for breath again and saw the room go red around the edges as a roaring started in his head. He was suddenly quite sure that he didn't want to die, and he struggled hard to breathe. The redness closed in on him and blackness followed. His ears continued to roar, and suddenly the blackness didn't seem very peaceful or welcoming as he fell into it without being able to do a thing to stop it.

* * *

Remy was amazed to find that his eyes seemed to want to open. He was sure he had managed to kill himself. He was even more startled and dumbfounded to find Logan's face in front of him. He blinked, but the image stayed put.

"Logan?" he said, hesitantly. He was in a hospital bed, hooked up to several machines which beeped and hummed busily and had multiple I.V.'s running from his arms. He couldn't take his eyes from Logan's face.

"What I'm usually called, kiddo," Logan said shortly.

"You're dead," Remy said bleakly. He was sure he was hallucinating.

"I got better," Logan replied. Remy revised his opinion. No hallucination would sound so irritated. "And for your information, Storm and Rogue are alive, too."

Remy took a deep breath. "Oh, t'ank God," he said. "How are dey?"

"Rogue is sleeping it off but fine," Logan said. "Ro is still recovering. She couldn't absorb my healing factor like Rogue did."

Remy took three deep breaths and started to shake. "How?" he gasped out.

Logan explained. Remy's heart soared with joy and relief as he realized just how mistaken he had been about what had happened and that his loved ones were okay. And his stomach sank as he thought about what he had done at Carol's house.

"I guess I'm in big trouble," Remy said quietly. Logan nodded, glaring at him.

"Remy, I'm so fucking mad at you that I can't think straight," he said. "I know you were convinced that me and Rogue and Ro were dead. But how the hell does that justify you deciding to overdose yourself on fucking smack of all things?"

Remy felt ice in his guts. "I got no excuse," he said shakily. "But I'm awfully damn glad you're okay."

Logan shook his head. "You think you're really gonna be glad I'm still alive when I start the punishment you've got coming to you?"

"Logan, if you beat me senseless, I still just gonna be happy dat you're alive," Remy said, still shaking. "You don' know how bad I felt when I t'ought dat you an' Stormy an' Rogue had done been killed an' dat it was all my fault."

Logan sighed. "Rem," he said. "As you may or may not remember, I'm linked to you. I know exactly how bad you felt. How upset and how desolate and how needlessly guilty. None of which is any excuse for you O.D.ing on smack. How in hell did you expect your father to feel about that or Bobby or Hank or anyone else who loves you? And you know damn well that I wouldn't even think about beating you senseless. I'm going to spank your bottom, soundly and thoroughly."

Remy kept shaking as the icy feeling in his guts escalated. "Don' spose it matters dat I'm sorry as hell. . . or that I didn' really mean t,'" he ventured.

"Remy, what exactly did I tell you would happen to you if you ever fooled around with any white powders again?" Logan asked coldly.

Remy couldn't help himself. He started laughing. "It. . .wasn'. . .white," he choked out. "It was. . .brown. . .I'm sorry, Logan. . .I jus'. . . When I was about to shoot up, I t'ought bout what you said bout white powders. . .an' all I could t'ink. . .was dat dis one was brown. . ."

Logan snorted in spite of himself. "Oh, kiddo," he said in a much less irate voice. "I can't tell you how glad I am that you at least thought about what I'd said." His mouth almost twitched in a grin and he reached out to touch the boy's hair. Remy's laughter caught on a sob and he reached up to grab Logan's hand gratefully. Logan squeezed it gently and held on as Remy continued to cry.

"I know dat it don' matter dat. . .it was brown instead of white," Remy sobbed out.

"No," Logan said. "So what did I tell you, kiddo?"

Remy shook his head, unable to answer as he sobbed. Logan sighed and let go of Remy's hand which Remy immediately put to his forehead, partially covering his eyes. Logan spoke again, his voice stern and firm.

"I told you that you'd spend at least half the day with your pants down and your bottom bare either being spanked or waiting in the corner to be spanked again. And I think this stunt qualifies for a whole day of it." Remy nodded still sobbing with icy butterflies fluttering in his stomach. Logan shook his head and scowled in the direction of a window. "How long do you have to be in this hospital, anyway?"

Remy was more upset by the anger in Logan's voice than by the punishment that had been threatened, but he wasn't very happy about any of it. "I don' know, Logan," he said, his voice shaking again. "I just woke up." Tears kept flowing down his face.

"Well, let's find out," Logan suggested. "I wanna get you home. I think your Dad and Hank might just have a few words to say to you, too."

The stern and angry coldness in Logan's voice and face was too much for Remy. Icy waves of bleak despair rushed through him.

Logan glared at him. "Damn it, Remy," he said roughly. "I'm still linked to you. I know what you're thinking and you're not thinking. Do you think I'd be this mad if I didn't love you? And you're way over-exaggerating how much you fucked up. It was not your fault that Sinister was on to us. It was a freak event that he looked at those surveillance cameras and recognized you. Stop blaming yourself for every goddam unfortunate accident that happens in this universe. It's silly and damn grandiose."

All Remy could hear was the irritation. His stomach hurt and waves of nausea swept through him as tears rolled down his face.

A middle-aged nurse with a no nonsense air, came into the cubicle, looked at the scene in front of her and put her hands on her hips. "What's going on in here?" she demanded. "I don't need my patient so upset that he makes himself sicker. Am I going to have to ask you to leave?"

"NO," Remy protested, his voice raising in what was close to a wail. "I need Logan here even if he is mad at me. I deserve him t' be mad at me." The nurse looked at both of them quizzically.

Logan tried to smile at her reassuringly. "Do you know why this boy is here in your hospital?" he asked.

"Overdose of heroin," the nurse said succinctly as she started to check Remy's vital signs. Logan moved out of the way.

"Well," Logan said, "can you understand why I might be upset with him?"

"If he was my boy, he'd be in a world of trouble," she admitted.

"He is in a world of trouble," Logan said. "And I'd like to get him home. How soon can we get him released?"

"I'll send his doctor in to talk to you." The nurse noted his vital signs on his chart and left the room. Logan shook his head as he picked up the chart and read it.

"Dammit, Remy," he said explosively. "Do you have any clue how close you came to dying?"

Remy nodded miserably. "I wasn' tryin' t' kill myself," he mumbled. "Just wan'ed t' escape."

Logan nodded grimly. "You think about that, kiddo and you think about the fact that you're going to spend the first full 24 hours out of here with your pants down and your bottom bare and red from continuous spankings. You just think about what you intended to do and what you did do."

Remy gulped and started shaking again. His bottom was tingling in anticipation and he felt sick at the very thought of his bottom being bare and red for 24 solid hours. He hated having his pants down and his bottom bare for punishment. He hated being spanked. But even more he hated Logan's sounding so angry at him. Tears continued flowing down his face.

"Logan," he protested, "I thought you were dead. I thought Rogue was dead and Stormy. An' Yoshi. . ." His voice caught. "Don't I get any. . ."

"No," Logan said briefly. "You don't get cut any slack, kiddo."

Remy continued to shake. "Where am I, anyway?"

"In intensive care," Logan said briefly. "It's where they usually put people who're DOA." His voice continued to sound tight, strained and very irritated. Remy looked at him with stricken eyes, still shaking hard, and Logan sighed deeply.

"It's okay, kidlet," he said, trying to reduce the ire in his voice. "I may be mad as hell, but I'll get over it. And you have some visitors waiting outside who I think you'd really want to see. They only let in one at a time. And believe me, kiddo, I wasn't letting anyone else in until you woke up. No matter how mad I am, I wanted to be here when you woke up. But I think it's time for you to see some of the others."

Remy nodded, still shaking. Logan sighed again and walked over to Remy's bed. He stroked his hair gently and, once again, Remy reached up a hand to grab his. Logan squeezed it quickly without looking at the Cajun in the bed. He continued to glower off into the distance as he let go of Remy's hand and stalked out. Remy's stomach sank as he took several deep breaths and stopped the leaking tears.

Several seconds passed and Yoshi walked in, grinning widely.

"Yoshi?" Remy's heart soared. "Oh, mon ami, dat bastard, Sinister, done told me dat he killed you."

"I bet he would have," Yoshi said. "But when I saw him dismiss his class, I ran like hell. Tried to call you, but he blasted the phone outta my hand. I just kept running and he disappeared, like POOF, man, all gone. Hey, I brought you some magazines and some of your things from Carol's house. Figured you might want to get out of that silly hospital gown and put on some real clothes."

Remy took the package from Yoshi and looked up at his non-mutant friend with grateful appreciation. "I was scared as hell dat you been killed," he admitted.

Well, I'm fine, my friend," Yoshi said. "But what on earth inspired you to try to kill yourself? I wouldn't have thought you were the smack type, Remy."

Remy shook his head. "Yoshi, it's a long story. I don' plan t' ever do it again."

Yoshi nodded. "These folks only want us here in intensive care for a minute or two. I'll catch you later, pal."

Yoshi walked out. And within moments, Bobby cruised in.

"Hey, Remy," Bobby greeted him cheerfully. "I figured we'd given Logan more than enough time to rake you over the coals."

"Hey, Bobby." Remy grinned at him weakly. "Logan wasn't too bad."

"Oh, yeah, and winters in Alaska are a tropical paradise," Bobby said wryly. "If it's any consolation to you, I think Hank is ready to smack Logan hard enough to blast him into next week."

"Yeah?" Remy grinned widely. "Tell me more."

"Uh, not now." Bobby saw a nurse looking at him. "Think my time is up. They're letting Logan stay as much as he wants because he told them he was your father."

"He's close." Remy started shaking again. "Bobby, Logan's really mad at me."

Bobby reached out and grasped Remy's shoulder. "Hey, 'mon ami,' Logan loves you. He risked his life to save you, guy."

"He did what?" Remy was startled.

Bobby looked back at the nurse who was staring at him. "I'll tell you more later, Rem. Jean is outside. You wanna see her?"

"Please," Remy said. Bobby shook his shoulder gently and walked out.

The door opened again and Jean appeared. She looked perplexed for a minute. "Sweetie, I'm so glad you're alive and okay," she said. "And I want to give you a hug, but I can't figure out any way to get my arms around you with all these tubes and monitors."

Remy choked up again. "T'ank you, Jeannie," he choked out. "I'm sorry I fucked up so bad." Jean sat down carefully on the edge of the bed and took his face in her hands.

"Remy, I was in your head," Jean said gently. "I know what you saw and how you felt. I'm not upset with you."

Tears gathered in Remy's eyes. "Logan's really mad at me," he said shakily.

"Sweetie, you scared Logan out of his mind. Give him some time," Jean patted his cheek gently and drew back. "And now, I have to get out of here. I'll see you later, Remy." Jean walked out.

For a few moments, Remy was left on his own and then Logan reappeared. He looked carefully at the Cajun who had tears running down his face and sighed yet again. He approached the bed and looked down at Remy. "It'll be okay, kiddo," he said roughly.

Tears spilled out of Remy's eyes, but he couldn't think of a word to say.

Remy's doctor, a young woman in a white coat, stepped in. "My patient seems to be upset," she said mildly. "Is there a reason that he needs to be upset while he's recovering?" She looked quizzically at Logan who looked back at her calmly.

"Your patient is in this hospital because he overdosed on heroin," Logan said evenly. "Is there any reason that those of us who love him should be happy?"

The young woman's eyes twinkled slightly. "I guess not," she admitted. "But I'm not sure that this is the best time to read him the riot act. You could at least wait until he's out of intensive care."

"Point taken and considered, Dr. . .?"

"Dr. McIntyre."

"Thank you, Dr. McIntyre," Logan nodded. "I'm Logan. Can you tell me when this boy can be taken home?"

"He seems to be stabilized," the doctor said. "We'll keep him here in intensive care for a few more hours and if he continues to be stable, we'll move him to a regular floor for overnight observation. If he continues to do well, we'll release him tomorrow. From what I can tell from his toxicology screens, he's not a regular user and not an addict. I doubt he's going into withdrawal. But, the question still remains whether or not he deliberately tried to kill himself. It's possible that he should be transferred to a psych unit."

"He might need psych treatment," Logan agreed. "But we can arrange that from home."

"I didn' try t' kill myself," Remy said honestly. "It was an accident. I didn' know what I was doin wit dat stuff."

The doctor looked at Remy and seemed to be considering what he'd said. "Do you want to go home, young man?" she asked. "Do you want to be released to this man who says he's your father? If you like I can ask him to go while we discuss it."

"No, I don't want him t' go," Remy said intently. "An' I wanna go home, please, ma'am. I want t' leave wit him. Really."

Dr. McIntyre looked at Logan who nodded and walked out. She looked at Remy.

"I wanna go home," he said quietly.

"Your dad seems a bit upset with you," she said. "And you seem quite upset, yourself. As a matter of fact, you look scared."

Remy shut his eyes and tried to stop the shaking that threatened to overwhelm him again. "I fucked up," he said shakily and then paused. "Sorry bout de language."

The doctor chuckled. "I've heard worse. Go ahead."

"I fucked up," Remy said again. "An' my whole family's upset wit me. An' I am upset, but I wanna go home and deal wit it."

"Do you think you might hurt yourself again?" Dr. McIntyre asked carefully.

"Dey won' let me," Remy said honestly. "Dey love me, Doctor. An I deserve dem t' be mad at me. It'll be okay."

"What's going to happen if I release you to their care, Remy?" she asked. "I need to know why you look so scared. I'm not releasing you until I know."

Remy shuddered and started to shake again. The doctor looked highly concerned. Remy hesitated and then decided to tell her the truth as deeply as it embarrassed him. "I gonna be punished," he said. "For shooting up de damn heroin."

Dr. McIntyre took a deep breath. "How will you be punished, Remy?"

"I probably be grounded," Remy said, evading her eyes. "And yelled at."

"And?" she asked. "I can't quite believe that would leave you white and shaking."

Remy took a deep, miserable breath and blurted out the truth. "I gonna get my butt blistered." He blushed deeply and looked away.

The doctor stared at him for a minute. "Remy, what exactly do you mean?"

Remy blushed again furiously. "I mean dat I'm gonna go face down over Logan's knees and he's gonna whack my bottom over and over."

"You're going to get a spanking," Dr. McIntyre said, looking and sounding nonplussed. "I assume Logan is what you call your Dad."

Remy nodded and tears welled again in his eyes.

Dr. McIntyre paused and thought for a moment. "Well," she said thoughtfully. "I can't say that you don't deserve it, Remy. Overdosing on heroin is not the smartest activity you could have indulged in. Hang on here, sport. I want to go talk to your father." She put a gentle hand on his shoulder and walked out.

Remy rolled over in his bed as far as the I.V's and monitors would let him. He buried his burning face in a pillow. It seemed as if Logan was gone for an interminable length of time. Tears continued to well in his eyes and spill out into the pillow. He kept hearing Logan's voice asking him if he knew how close he came to dying, seeing Logan's face as it looked when Logan told him what punishment to expect. His bottom tingled as he thought about the punishment that had been promised and he felt sick in his heart and sicker in his stomach.

He wondered what the doctor was saying to Logan and what Logan might be saying to her. He again saw Logan's angry face in his mind and he started sobbing again, his tears soaking the pillow under his face.

* * *

He heard Logan's familiar footsteps approaching his bed and he tried hard to stop crying. He heard Logan sigh again and after a few moments felt Logan's hand on his head.

"That took some courage, kiddo," he said quietly. "Telling your doctor why you're so upset. I'm proud of you."

"I t'ink I had t' tell her," Remy said shakily. "What did she want from you?"

"She wanted to make sure you got some psychiatric help," Logan said. "And I think she had some doubts about the wisdom of spanking you."

"Why?" Remy sobbed out. He had never in his life been more sure that he deserved a spanking.

Logan snorted. "I caught that thought through our link, kiddo. And you're right. This is one spanking you've earned. But I think the doctor thought you were a little too big and too old to get much benefit from a spanking."

"I don' feel very old right now. I feel really young and stupid," Remy sobbed. "You gonna listen t' her?"

"What do you think, kiddo?" Remy shook his head. "Well, then you know me well," Logan informed him.

"You gonna be here, now?" Remy asked, still sobbing into his pillow.

"All night, all day and all the time until you get released, kidlet," Logan said.

Remy tried to calm himself, but he couldn't stop crying. Logan continued to stroke his hair for a moment, then sighing deeply, sat down carefully on the edge of the bed and started to rub Remy's back.

"It's going to be okay, kiddo," Logan said gently. "You're gonna be okay."

"I'm sorry, Logan," Remy sobbed out. "I'm so sorry." He tried to swallow his sobs again.

"It's okay, Rem," Logan said. "And don't try to make yourself stop crying. Just go ahead and cry it out. I ain't goin' anywhere. I'll be right here for you as long as you need me. Just cry it out, kiddo. Hell, I'd hold you if there was any way to manage it with all these damn tubes and wires."

Remy managed a weak chuckle. "Dat's what Jeannie said," he murmured. He did as Logan said and stopped fighting his tears, and within moments the sobs started subsiding on their own. He rolled back over and looked at Logan who took a handful of tissues and started wiping the mess off Remy's face.

"I really am sorry," Remy said shakily. As soon as he said it, tears started welling again.

Logan sighed again. "Stop saying you're sorry, kiddo. And blow. Good. Blow again. Look, Remy, right now you're in an intensive care unit after you almost died. Earlier today you thought you saw three of the people you love most in the world die and you heard that a good friend had been killed, too. Now, you're dealing with the fact that in addition to all that, you're in deep trouble and facing a long hard spanking. I think you need some time to get all that sorted out. So, stop saying you're sorry. What's the point?"

"I can' stand you bein' so mad at me," Remy said brokenly.

"Well, right this minute I'm not mad at you," Logan said reasonably.

"You're not?" Remy stared at him. Logan chuckled at the incredulous look on Remy's face.

"No, kiddo," he said gently. "I'm too worried about you to be mad. And you've cried long enough and hard enough to touch even my hardened old heart. It's time to calm down, kidlet." Both of them were silent for a moment. And then Remy started to laugh.

"What, kiddo?" Logan asked.

"It really was a brown powder, Logan," Remy said.

"Yeah, and it really was just a little tree." Logan chuckled, too, as Remy laughed even harder.

"Speakin' of little trees," Remy started, "Bobby said dat Hank was mad at you. Is he? What happened?"

Logan got off the bed and sat in the chair next to the bed. "I think that Hank is about ready to smack my ears off. If I'm lucky," he said with a twinkle in his eyes as he started to explain everything that had happened at Sinister's estate after Remy vanished.

* * *

A couple of hours later, when Dr. McIntyre came back, Logan and Remy were arguing comfortably about what had happened in the raid at Sinister's and what could have been done differently. Logan had carefully and skillfully guided Remy away from blaming himself for all that had gone wrong and tried to make him understand that they had all simply been outfoxed by Sinister. Remy was sitting straight up in the bed with a notepad drawing diagrams and explaining how they could have countered the gas.

The doctor put her hands on her hips and hid a grin. "I'd really prefer to see my patient resting," she said with mock severity.

"Yes, ma'am," Logan chuckled and took the notepad away from the young Cajun.

Dr. McIntyre started to examine Remy while checking his chart. "Your vitals are looking good, young man," she said. "And have been for several hours. I think it's time to move you to a regular ward."

"T'ank God," Remy said.

"I'm going to send a nurse and some attendants in to unhook you," the doctor advised him. "It's going to hurt a little when they take the catheter out. I'm going to talk to your Dad while they work on you."

Remy nodded and several folks in blue scrubs came in and started un-wiring and de-tubing him. It hurt a bit more than just a little when the catheter was taken out. And Logan was gone long enough that Remy began to feel anxious. He relaxed when Logan walked back in grinning. His nurse was still removing I.V.'s.

"What she wan dis time?" Remy asked.

"She figured out who we are," Logan said quietly. Remy's eyes widened. "It's okay, Rem. She likes us. And she wanted to make sure I take good care of you. I told her it was one of my missions in life to take care of you, kiddo. Even if you do make it damn hard." His grin took most of the sting out of the final words. And the next to last sentence made Remy feel a lot better.

"I'm sorry I make it so hard," he said shakily.

"I do not want to hear again about how sorry you are for at least another hour," Logan said firmly, cuffing Remy lightly on the side of the head. Remy's nurse smiled at both of them.

"Is he still in a world of trouble?" she asked lightly.

"Oh, yeah." Both answered simultaneously. She laughed with them as she finished removing Remy's I.V.'s.

* * *

Remy was soon in a bed on a med ward. He changed to a sweatshirt and pants.

Logan had called the mansion while Remy was changing. Remy lay in his bed. His face was white and he was shaking hard as he anticipated talking to his family back home.

Jean, Bobby, and Yoshi came in together. Jean noted that Remy was white and shaking, went to the bed and put an arm around him. Bobby patted Remy on the back and Yoshi squeezed his shoulder.

Logan snorted. "I'll be grateful as hell when someone notifies me that this little love fest is over," he said acerbically, with his hand over the phone receiver.

Remy's stomach tightened and Jean raised her head to glare at Logan.

"You practicing being a self-righteous grump, Logan?" she asked. "Or are you pretending that you're some paragon of virtue who never disobeys orders? I'd be happy to tell Hank how virtuous you seem to think you are."

Logan flushed and then glowered at her. "We need to get Remy home," he said irately. Remy's stomach sank as he heard the anger in Logan's voice.

Jean continued to glare at Logan. "Just how miserable do you want this kid to be?" she asked. "And what on earth is taking so long with the phone?"

"Miserable enough to regret what he did," Logan said firmly. Remy felt icy butterflies in his guts. "And Sam answered the phone. I think he's trying to transfer the call to med lab so I can talk to Hank. And, hell, we just got cut off." Logan hung the phone up and dialed again. "You wanna report to Hank as soon as I get him on the phone, Jeannie?" She shook her head, smiling.

Bobby grinned widely. "Hey, Logan, you wanna know what Hank called you and Remy while you were unconscious after you kissed Rogue?"

"I'm sure you'll tell me," Logan said gruffly. "Sam, look, kid, don't try to transfer the damn call. Just put down the receiver, go to med lab, ask Hank to pick up, then go back upstairs or wherever the hell you are and hang the phone up again. Do you think you could manage that without disconnecting us again?. . .Great."

"He said you were a willful, disobedient brat," Bobby said cheerfully.

."Wonderful," Logan said. "Then I may yet achieve one of my life's ambitions."

"Which is?" Jean asked.

"To be the world's oldest willful, disobedient brat. . .Hank, hi, how's Ro? And Rogue? Yeah, yeah, I know I don't deserve to know. You told me that the last time I called. . . "

"I think that may be one ambition already achieved," Jean said quietly to no one in particular. Logan snorted as Bobby and Remy giggled.

"Okay, good. Is Ro getting any better at all. . .Thank Ifnie. Okay. I think Remy'd like to speak to Rogue if possible. . .Okay, I'll tell him. . .Yes, he's fine. . . No, no sign at all of any brain damage, but he'll need a neuro battery. . . Hank, the doctor here was great. And I've hardly left his side. . . No, dammit, I haven't eaten. I'm not hungry. . .Will you stop fussing over me like a little old lady?. . . YOW! dammit, Hank, you know I can hear you. You don't have to yell. . .Okay, okay, so you weren't yelling. . .I wasn't, dammit to hell, hurt that bad. . .Okay, okay, okay, so I was hurt a little. . . Hank if you yell at me again, I'm hanging up. . . Okay, OKAY! You're weren't yelling. Jesus. . .Jeannie, would you please talk to this bad tempered blue Beast?" Logan thrust the phone at Jean and walked over to glare out the window.

Bobby was sitting on the edge of Remy's bed with his hand stuffed stifling his laughter. Remy's was laughing quietly and even Yoshi was grinning.

"Storm is still unconscious, but her vital signs are good. Rogue woke up, demanded food, and went right back to sleep. Hank doesn't want to wake her to talk to you, Remy. He told her you were still here and fine. The professor is worried as hell about you, Rem," Logan reported as Jean talked quietly to Hank. He looked at Remy. "Have you bothered to restore your link to your dad?"

Remy shook his head, feeling sick and disturbed. "Should I?" he asked. Jean and Logan both stared at him and he flushed. "Yeah. Guess I should."

Remy reached out on the psychic plane and reconnected with his father who sighed with relief.

Hi, Remy, Charles sent.

Hi, Dad. Remy shuddered as he connected with his father's deep feelings of worry, concern, and anger. I'm sorry. Tears sprang up again in Remy's eyes.

Remy could feel his dad sigh deeply through the link. Remy, you can worry about being sorry later. I'm just happier than you could know that you're okay. Let Logan take care of you. I'll see you when you get home.

Are you gonna. . .are you gonna. . .? Remy couldn't finish the question.

Am I going to punish you, child? Charles anticipated the rest of the question. He paused. This isn't the time for you to worry about being punished. For right now, all you need to think about is that I'm glad you're alive and that I love you. He poured reassuring love through the link.

Remy gulped hard. He knew very well that his father's evasion of an answer meant that Charles indeed planned to punish him. I'm sorry. Remy's mental voice was close to a wail of despair. Tears welled in his eyes.

Remy, the professor's voice was warm and loving. I know you're sorry. Calm down, get well, come home and all will be well.

I don' know if anyt'ing will ever be okay again. Remy sent back stubbornly. Charles sent nothing back for a moment and Remy's heart froze.

Remy gulped again and tears started to pour down his face. Charles sent another barrage of loving concern. Child, stop it. Calm down.

I can' Remy started to sob.

By this time, Jean had the professor on the phone. "He doesn't need this, sir," she said quietly. "He's really upset."

The professor sighed. Remy, calm down. Please, son. I love you deeply.

Remy simply continued crying. Jean handed the phone to Logan and went to Remy's bed to hold him. Logan spoke into the phone. "It's okay, Chuck," he said. "I'll take care of our problem child."

Remy, again, I love you. Don't worry about punishment right now. Let Logan take care of you.

Yes, sir. Remy was sobbing hard. Charles sighed and signed off.

"Do you want to speak to him on the phone, Charlie?" Logan asked. "Okay, fine. He's supposed to be released in the morning. I'll call back before we leave. And tell Hank to please tell Ro I love her if she wakes up."

Logan turned to the bed, motioned Jean away and grabbed Remy by the shoulders. "Go ahead and cry, kiddo," he said quietly. "Let it out."

Remy nodded and sobbed. Logan gathered him into his arms, stroking his back. Within minutes Remy had finished sobbing. Logan nodded with satisfaction.

"Jeannie, did Hank or Charlie have anything else to say that we need to know about?" Logan asked.

Jean grinned. "Hank told me to tell you that if you thought he was yelling at you on the phone, you should wait till you get home. He said. . ."

"Yeah, yeah, yeah," Logan interrupted her. "Hank's pissed. He plans to have my hide for a new throw rug."

"Logan," Bobby cut in. "I'm not sure there's enough of you for more than a bath mat." His eyes were dancing.

"I may not be that tall, boy," Logan said severely. "But I'm plenty wide enough for at least a rug."

"The world's oldest, willful, disobedient brat," Jean repeated, chuckling.

Logan shook his head and pushed Remy out of his arms, still holding him by the shoulders. "You okay now, fellow brat?" he asked gruffly. Remy nodded shakily. "Then say goodnight to Jean and Bobby and Yoshi," Logan demanded.

Yoshi was staring with horrified concern. He'd never seen his confident friend so shatteringly upset. And he had never even imagined Remy sobbing.

Remy nodded and did as he was told. "Yoshi," he said quietly. "I know you don' understand any of dis shit. It's okay, mon ami. Dis be my family. Dey love me. An I'm in big trouble wit dem. An' I deserve t' be."

"You sure, pal?" Yoshi asked hesitantly. He looked around at the others, obviously wondering if Remy was saying what he thought they wanted to hear.

Remy grinned at him shakily. "Yosh," he said. "Dey my family. I love dem and dey love me. Bobby, do you t'ink maybe you could explain t' Yoshi what all dis is about?"

"You got it, pal," Bobby agreed. "Maybe over a beer or two or three or four." He grinned at Yoshi who grinned back uncertainly. He leaned over toward Yoshi and said very quietly. "And I have some killer pot we could share."

Logan raised his eyebrows and looked at Jean. She smiled. "Maybe over a beer or two," she said. "I could use a Manhattan, myself. Yoshi, do you know a bar we could visit that doesn't charge the outrageous prices that our hotel does."

Yoshi nodded, gave Remy a low five, and headed for the door. Bobby grinned at Remy and punched him gently on the shoulder.

"Bye, guy," Bobby said. "If Logan keeps acting like the guardian of morality, why don't you remind him of the little tree?" Remy snorted with suppressed laughter and motioned Bobby closer.

"You don' have t' tell Yoshi every damn t'ing," he said quietly. Bobby nodded.

"I read you loud and clear, kemo sabi," Bobby said. He waved goodbye and followed Yoshi.

Jean looked carefully at Logan. "Are you sure I can't bring you something to eat, Logan? You haven't eaten all day."

"Hank put you up to that, darlin'?" Logan asked. She shook her head. "I'm really not hungry, Jeannie. But thanks."

Jean nodded in acceptance. "Take good care of this kid," she said gently.

"Jeannie, in case you haven't noticed, I love this kid," Logan said quietly. Jean nodded and closed the door on the way out.

Logan stalked over to the window and glared out. He avoided Remy's eyes.

The young Cajun looked carefully at his godfather who was obviously seething. "I don' understand, Logan," he said, his voice trembling badly. "I t'ought dat you stopped bein' mad at me."

Logan shook his head. "Rem," he said carefully. "I love you. I'm trying hard not to be mad at you. But you scared me witless tonight. I thought you'd managed to kill yourself." Logan sighed deeply. "I'm still trying hard not to be mad at you. But it keeps coming back at me." He still didn't look at Remy.

Tears welled and spilled from Remy's eyes. "I didn' mean t'," he choked out. "I t'ought you were dead. I t'ought Rogue an' Stormy an' Yoshi were dead. I just want'd t' run away. An' why can' I talk t' Rogue?"

"Because she's sleeping," Logan said patiently. "I told Hank to tell her that you wanted to talk to her. He will. But she was hurt bad, Rem. She needs her recovery time. And you need recovery time."

"So, you just been pretending not t' be mad at me," Remy said. "T' help me recover. You really still mad as hell." Tears streamed down his face.

Logan went to the bed, grabbed Remy by the shoulders, and shook him. "NO," he growled. "Remy, goddammit, I told you that you had cried long enough and hard enough to touch even my hardened old heart. I meant it. Stop wallowing in self- pity. Stop wallowing right now."

Remy stared up at Logan with incredulous dismay on his face. He jerked himself out of Logan's grip on his shoulders, turned over on the bed, and started sobbing into the pillow, crying so hard that his whole body shook.

Logan walked over to the nearest wall, put his arms up to brace himself, and started to bang his head against it. "I cannot stand this," he muttered. "I cannot cope." He banged his head repeatedly and so hard that his ears started ringing.

And then he was startled to realize that Remy was sitting straight up in his bed, half out of it, and screaming. "Stop it, Logan. Stop it." Remy was shaking like a leaf in the wind and crying hysterically.

Logan shook himself and stopped it. He took three deep breaths and went back to Remy. "Kidlet," he managed to make himself say gently. "I'm not mad at you. I'm just crazy. I need you to stop crying, kiddo, cause you're pushing all my buttons. I'm sorry I was out of control." It wasn't working. Remy was sobbing intensely. Logan shook himself again and gathered Remy into his arms.

The door opened and a nurse popped in. Logan waved her away. "It's okay, ma'am. The boy's upset. I'm gonna calm him down." She looked dubious, but left. Logan turned his attention back to Remy.

"I'm okay, now," he said calmly. "I'm okay. Go ahead and cry, kiddo. Get it out. But I'm okay."

Remy put his head against Logan's shoulder and cried hard, until his sobs subsided. "I'm sorry," he gasped out again and again.

"Remy," Logan said carefully. "I know you're sorry. Let it go."

Remy nodded and gradually stopped sobbing. He relaxed in Logan's arms and raised his head. "Are you really okay?" he asked warily, looking down at Logan's hands as if he expected the claws to pop out and for Logan to slash himself in the face again as he had that night on the roof.

"I'm really okay," Logan said evenly. "And my claws are in for the night unless we get attacked. I promise I won't lose it again. It's just been a rough day."

"An you're here wit me when you prolly wanna be wit Stormy," Remy guessed miserably. "An you were hurt bad an you haven' eaten at all. An all cause I fucked up everyt'ing."

Logan rolled his eyes toward the ceiling and shook Remy gently. "I'm where I wanna be, kiddo. Ro is unconscious and doesn't know I'm not there. I wasn't hurt that damn badly. Oh, fucking hell, I might as well be honest with someone. I was hurt worse than I can remember since Magneto fucked me up, but I'm healing. I'm still weaker than I want to be and it's getting on my nerves. And I'm not fucking hungry. I'm never hungry when my healing factor's in overdrive. But I'm gonna be fine. And again, I'm right where I wanna be."

"What's it like for you, Logan? T' be hurt so bad?" Remy asked shakily.

Logan thought for a moment and answered honestly, "Probably like what it's like for you, kiddo. I try not to think about it, but I'm shaken up inside and not quite right. I get surges of anxiety and anger that seem to come out of nowhere. And I keep trying to push all the feelings away. If I manage to sleep tonight I'll probably have nightmares. It's all out of the book."

"What book?" Remy asked, his voice still trembling, yet somehow curiously relieved to hear Logan describe symptoms so similar to his own.

"Any fucking book on post-traumatic stress disorder," Logan said calmly. "I've read a bunch of them. And that's why both of us probably need to be in therapy. We both have it bad."

"An part of it is not wantin' t' t'ink bout it at all an pretend it's not dere?" Remy asked. Logan nodded. "Den let's stop t'inkin' bout it an pretend it's not dere."

Logan chuckled and hugged the young Cajun. "You got it, kiddo. I sure as hell don't want to think about any of it. Including how scared I was that I'd lost you."

For once, Remy was able to hear that without guilt. "Jus' like I don' wanna t'ink bout how I felt when I t'ought you were dead," he said.

"Yep," Logan agreed. "So what should we do instead?"

Remy hesitated for a moment. Logan looked at him curiously. "When I was little," Remy said, "you an me used t' play computer games t'gether. Like when I played "Wolfenstein," you downloaded maps of de whole castle off de net an I'd run de controls while you told me which way t' go an what t' do."


"Well, Yoshi brought me my lap top an I know I've got Wolfenstein on it," Remy said. "I know we don't got de maps, but could we play t'gether?"

Logan chuckled, flowed easily to his feet and started to rummage through Remy's stuff. "Hell," he said, "we can hook into the net through the phone line in this room. I'll get the damn maps and even if we can't print em out, I'll remember a lot. We'll blast through that game."

Two hours later, Logan was still directing Remy through the game. Remy had been brought dinner, eaten a little of the wretched hospital food and Logan, without thinking, had devoured the rest. The nurse who picked up the tray noticed it had been demolished, and without disturbing the game the two were playing, had brought another, which Remy picked at again and Logan inhaled.

"Okay, Rem," Logan said excitedly, "with this big guy at the end you have to blast him with all you've got until your life is almost gone. Then run like hell back to the secret room and get more life and more ammo. He'll come after you and you just blast him again and again. Then you're outta there. Do it. Go. Yes, blast him. Blast him again. Now run. There's life, get it. Ammo, get it. Here he comes. Blast him. Blast him again. Now get more life and get out."

Remy laughed as his computer character ran out of the castle full of Nazis and into freedom. "We did it," he crowed.

"We did it."

A nurse was in the room looking over their shoulder. "I'd say you did it," she said. "And it's late. I'd like to give this boy a sedative and I'd say both of you need some sleep. Sir," she looked at Logan. "I can order another bed brought in here for you."

"Don't need it," Logan said. "I'll be fine."

Remy took his pills and looked up at Logan. "Dat was fun, Logan," he said. The nurse left.

"Yeah, it was." Logan sighed with pleasure. "What other games did we play when you were little, kiddo?"

"De one I remember best was Zelda, de Ocarina of Time, Logan. It was for Nintendo," Remy said sleepily. "You got on de net an' spent hours gettin' us a walk-through. An den you helped me beat de game. It was wonderful. An I was always far ahead of my friends. An I never told dem how much you were helpin' me." Remy sighed, putting his head down on his pillow.

"Tell me about Zelda, kiddo," Logan suggested gently.

"Well, you start out as dis kid named Link. . ." Remy started. He started to go through the story, explaining it to Logan and drifted off to sleep long before he finished.

Logan sat in a chair. His stomach hurt badly. He was more worried about Remy than he could even admit to himself.

"I'm sorry, Logan," Remy blurted out again, more than half asleep.

Logan shook his head. "Rem, I thought we agreed that you need to stop worrying about being sorry for now. Just calm down and sleep, kiddo."

Remy nodded. His eyes closed. Logan settled into his chair, hoping he would be able to nap, and fell into a light slumber. Hours later, he was awakened by Remy's restless stirring. Logan sat up and realized that Remy was protesting and making a sound that could only be described as whimpering. He accessed his link to Remy and went into his head.

The nightmare Logan entered was horrific. The last big, nasty Nazi from "Wolfenstein" had Remy prisoner along with all the X-men. Storm, Rogue, and most of the others were dead and Remy was naked and hanging from a wall in shackles. Sinister's voice echoed from the ceiling.

"Your fault," it called mockingly. "Your fault. All dead because of you."

Logan jerked himself out of his chair, and rushed to Remy. He gathered the Cajun into his arms and held him tightly, waking him from the dream.

"Hush, kidlet," he said gently. "It's okay. No one's dead. No one."

Remy pulled back, stared into Logan's face, and trembled. He grabbed Logan's forearms, clutching desperately.

"It's okay, kidlet," Logan said gently. "I'm here. You're okay. No one died. You're okay."

Remy shuddered again. "I'm not okay." he gulped out. "I'm bad. I'm really bad. I make people die. I make everyone die." His voice was distant and eerie.

"No, kiddo, you're not bad," Logan said firmly. "And no one is dead."

"Then why do you have t' spank me?" Tears started welling and Remy's voice was still distant and spooked. "It's cause I'm bad."

"No, kiddo, you're going to be spanked because you misbehaved," Logan said evenly. "Even good people misbehave sometimes."

"NO, I'm bad," Remy protested. "I'm poison. I make everyone die. I make everyone die." His voice still sounded, even to himself, as if he were far away. He felt as unclean and poisonous as a scorpion. He made a fist and tried to hit himself in the face. Logan caught his arm and stopped him.

"Remy, stop it. You're not bad," Logan said firmly. Remy struggled and tried to hit himself again with his other fist. Logan stopped it before it connected. "Remy, if you don't stop, you're going to get a spanking right now."

Remy looked up at Logan desperately, jerked his right arm out of Logan's grip and tried to throw another fist against his face which Logan again blocked and held. Logan took a deep breath, held Remy tightly by both arms and spoke firmly.

"Remy, you were having a nightmare. Calm down and stop trying to hit yourself. I really don't want to spank you."

None of what was happening felt real to Remy. He simply felt trapped and horrified and full of self hatred. Remy twisted away, raised his fist and tried to slam himself in the face again. Logan caught his arm again, sighed deeply, turned Remy in his arms and put the Cajun over his knees.

"I said if you kept this up, I'd spank you now," Logan said firmly. "Are you gonna make me do it?"

Remy shuddered, face down over Logan's knees and then balled up his fist and once more tried to throw it at his face. Logan caught his arm, held it at his back, and pulled Remy's sweat pants down to his thighs. Remy jerked in startled surprise. He was suddenly and acutely aware of the reality of Logan's hard thighs under his belly and the tightness of the waist band of his sweat pants at the middle of his thighs.

"Logan, please don.'" Remy said frantically. "I'll stop. I promise."

Logan sighed. "Too late, now, kiddo," he said firmly. "You tried to hit yourself too many times" Logan took down Remy's underpants.

Remy gasped as he felt the reality of the cool air in the room on his suddenly bare bottom. He cringed with embarrassment and struggled.

"No, Logan, please," he begged.

"I didn't want to spank you, kiddo," Logan said unhappily. "But you didn't give me any choice."

Remy felt a solid and uncompromising spank land in the middle of his bottom. He yelped with pain and before the yelp was out of his mouth another had landed and then another. His face burned with humiliation and he stuck his free hand into his mouth to try to stifle his yelps as Logan found a rhythm and began spanking him soundly.

Remy tried desperately to wiggle away, kicking frantically. Logan trapped his legs by putting a strong leg across them and continued spanking, smacking his strong right hand down one side of Remy's bare bottom cheeks, up the middle, down the other side and up the middle again.

Remy thought he could feel his bottom reddening as it burned with pain. Each spank landed, stinging as Logan snapped his hand just before smacking his palm down on Remy's bare behind. Remy yelped again and again and then started sobbing helplessly as he struggled frantically and futilely, trying to squirm his bottom away from the stinging smacks.

"I've had it with this, kiddo," he heard Logan say sternly. "You're not bad. You are not fucking poisonous. And you are gonna be spanked again tomorrow. But not because you're bad. You're gonna be spanked long and hard cause you shot up heroin and almost killed yourself. You knew better than that."

"I'm sorry," Remy wailed, still trying desperately to squirm away from the palm of Logan's hard hand that kept spanking down on his flaming bottom.

"I do NOT, fucking, want to hear again about how damn sorry you are, kiddo," Logan said furiously. He smacked his hand down hard twice in the very middle of Remy's bare butt. Remy sobbed loudly.

Please. . .please, stop," Remy begged. Logan paused.

"Are you ready to cry yourself out and stop being so full of self- hatred and fucking angst?" Logan asked sternly.

"Yes," Remy wailed out. "Yes." Logan landed ten more hard spanks on Remy's bottom and stopped. Remy lay face down, sobbing desperately. Logan let go of the hand at his waist and Remy put both hands over his face for a moment, sobbing into them, and then reached back to rub his stinging butt. He didn't think he could stand to have his pants pulled up and was grateful that Logan just let him lay for several minutes as some of the pain started to subside.

Remy felt Logan's hand on his back, stroking it gently as the young Cajun continued to shake with heartrending sobs. Remy gradually became aware again of the hardness of Logan's thighs under his bare belly and he flushed with chagrin as he thought about how he must look with his bottom bare and red over Logan's knees. He heard Logan sigh deeply and then felt his underpants coming back up. Both underpants and sweat pants were soon back up at his waist.

He felt Logan grab him by the shoulders and didn't resist at all as Logan turned him, gathered him into his arms and held him tightly against his massive chest. Remy put his head gratefully into Logan's shoulder and sobbed hard.

"Shhh, Rem," Logan murmured. "It's okay. You've been spanked, but only because you were trying hard to hurt yourself. And I love you too much to let you hurt yourself. Cry yourself out and go to sleep. No more bad dreams."

Remy sobbed. He thought about the punishment that had been promised to him and felt ice in his stomach. That spanking would make the one he just had seem mild. "L. . .Logan," he choked out. "Pl. . .please, don't spank me tomorrow. Not for a whole day. Please." He was so scared he was shaking.

Logan took a breath. "Remy," he said. "I told you that if you ever again played around with hard drugs, you would have your pants down and your bottom bare for a long, hard, continuous spanking for at least half a day. And after what you did this time, I think a whole day is only right. I have no choice. You risked your life with drugs. You're gonna be spanked or in a corner for a whole long day. I'm sorry, kiddo, but you made the choice."

Remy made an inarticulate sound of despair. "I t'ought you were dead," he protested.

"Did you think your father wouldn't paddle you if I had been?" Logan asked sternly. "Do you think Hank would have hesitated to blister your bottom? Remy, there's no way to tell yourself you don't deserve the spanking you're going to get when you get released from this hospital."

"I want'd t' die," Remy tried to explain, still sobbing hard. "But when I t'ought I had succeeded in killing me, I didn' wanna die. I learned better. I know I was wrong. I know I deserve t' be spanked. I jus' don' want' t' be spanked again. Please, don' spank me any more."

"It's not your call, kiddo," Logan said firmly. "You do deserve to be spanked and you're gonna be spanked long and hard. So give it up, Rem. Stop trying to talk your way out of it." Logan held Remy tightly and stroked his back. "Hey, kiddo, I love you. Your dad loves you. We all, damn it to hell, love you. You're going to be spanked because we love you. Calm down, and go to sleep. I ain't goin' anywhere. I'll be here holding you until you manage to sleep. Hell, I'll keep holding you while you sleep. With no more bad dreams, kiddo. No more bad dreams."

Remy shuddered, sobbed, and then relaxed into Logan's arms. It was clear to him that he was going to get the longest, hardest spanking of his life and that nothing could be said or done to stop it. He shuddered with fear, sobbed hard and long, and gradually cried himself to sleep.

Logan held him tightly and drifted into sleep himself.

* * *

Jean opened the door to Remy's room the next morning and chuckled to herself. Bobby was standing right behind her.

"Look," she said. Bobby stared past her shoulder.

Logan was half sitting up, asleep on Remy's bed. Remy was curled up in his arms, sleeping soundly and holding on to Logan as if his life depended on it. His head was on Logan's shoulder and his face was streaked with the tracks of tears. His arms encircled Logan's massive chest and Logan held him tightly.

"Do you doubt that Logan loves this boy?" Jean asked.

"I never doubted it," Bobby said. "Remy's the one who doubts."

Both of them paused, looking at the two inside the room. Bobby's breath caught. "I'm not sure anyone's loved me like Logan loves Remy," he said shakily. "I wish someone. . ." He stopped and Jean put an arm around his shoulders.

"Sweetie, you're loved as much as Remy by all of us," she said gently.

"Maybe," Bobby said doubtfully. He looked dubiously at Jean, quite sure that no one had ever loved him the way Logan loved Remy. He took a deep breath and blurted out what was on his mind. "Maybe I should fuck up as bad as he has and find out."

Jean thrust him out to arm's length and looked at him intently. "Don't you dare even think about that, Bobby," she said firmly. "Unless you just happen to hunger for the very painful spanking Remy's about to get."

Without thinking Bobby blurted out again, "Maybe it'd be worth it if I felt like I was cared about when it was over." He paused, and said rapidly. "No, I didn't mean that. I don't want to be spanked that long and hard."

He thought a moment. "Is Remy really gonna be spanked that long and hard?" he asked uncertainly.

Jean nodded. "Yes, Bobby. Remy is really going to get the longest, hardest spanking of his young life." She looked at him intently. "Bobby, Remy is going to spend an entire day of his life with his bottom bare, either in a corner waiting for his next spanking or over someone's knees getting the next spanking. You think you'd want that?"

Bobby flushed and shook his head. "But," he said stubbornly, "sure seems like everyone must love him a lot to go to that much trouble."

Jean shook her head. "Of course, we love him a lot to go to that much trouble," she said patiently. "But Bobby, he's going to be miserable while he's going through it."

Bobby shrugged. "Still think it might be worth it," he muttered under his breath. Jean looked at him with deep worry in her eyes. Bobby caught her stare, shook himself and shrugged again. "Hey, I was just thinking out loud, Jeannie. Don't look at me like you expect me to go running off and get myself in the kind of trouble Remy's in. I'm may be stupid but I'm not dumb. You couldn't pay me enough to make it worth it."

Jean continued to look at him doubtfully.

Bobby grinned. "Gotcha," he said triumphantly, punching Jean lightly on the arm. She relaxed a little and grinned back at him.

"Yes, you got me," she admitted. "Bobby, for a minute there, I was really worried that you were actually jealous of the attention Remy gets for getting himself in trouble." Her voice was still concerned.

"I got myself in plenty of trouble when I was younger than Rem," Bobby said lightly. "I don't need any more of it."

"Well, I, for one, am fucking glad to hear it," Logan said softly, opening his eyes. "Would you guys either come in and shut the door or go away and come back in a few hours? Neither of us got much sleep."

Jean and Bobby came in and shut the door. "Did you hear all that?" Bobby asked, grimacing.

"I have ears, ice cube," Logan said shortly and still very quietly. "And I wouldn't be alive these days if I was a sound sleeper."

"Oh. . .yeah," Bobby conceded. His face was flushed as he thought about what Logan had heard.

"And for your information, Bobby," Logan said in low tones as Remy continued sleeping in his arms, "as far as you're concerned, I think of you as family as much as Remy or Jean or Sam or anyone. Don't you dare get yourself in trouble just to find out how much you're loved."

"Don't get your panties in a knot, Logan," Bobby said, grinning. "All I wanna do right now is to get Remy home, same as you."

Logan and Jean looked at him dubiously. Bobby shrugged it off and plopped himself down in a chair. "How long do we have to wait till the Cajun wakes up and gets released?"

The door re-opened and the breakfast cart was wheeled in. Remy's eyes flew open and he started, half rising out of Logan's arms and then settling back down as he saw the cause of the noise.

"I'm not hungry," he mumbled.

"Good," Logan said cheerfully. "I am." Jean sighed with relief.

Logan sat up and looked down at Remy. "You okay, now, kiddo?" he asked gently.

Remy shrugged. "No," he said irritably, with his eyes still shut. Then he opened them reluctantly. "I been better. Do I have to wake up?"

"No," Logan said. "But, I doubt you'll be able to sleep much longer." As soon as the words were out of his mouth, a nurse came in to take Remy's vitals.

"I t'ink I see what you mean," Remy said as Logan rolled out of bed and started uncovering the breakfast trays. He offered them to Remy who took a couple of pieces of toast.

"You really don't want the rest of this, kidlet?" Logan asked. Remy shook his head. Logan shrugged and started devouring the hash browns and eggs.

"Logan," Jean protested. "He might be hungry in a minute."

"I'm leaving him the cereal." Logan's voice was muffled by the food in his mouth. "And if he's still hungry after that we can buy him more food."

There were several moments of bustle and clatter as the nurse recorded her data and the breakfast attendant came back for the tray. Bobby got up and looked around casually.

"Now, I'm hungry," Bobby said. "I'll be back in a bit. I'm gonna scout for food."

Logan nodded and Bobby walked out. Bobby went out into the hall, walked down it for several paces, found a waiting room, went in, and sat. He stared at the wall and brooded, thinking about what he and Remy's Japanese friend, Yoshi had talked about the night before.

* * *

The night before, he, Jean, and Yoshi had indeed found a bar where he and Yoshi downed several beers while Jean drank two Manhattans and then pleaded extreme sleepiness. Bobby and Yoshi had taken her back to the hotel where she went straight to bed.

Bobby had pulled out his pot and he and Yoshi got very high. "Let me get this straight," Yoshi had said.

Bobby giggled. "We too high to be straight, my friend," he protested. Yoshi giggled with him.

"I just want to understand," Yoshi choked out while laughing hard.

"If you can understand it, than you're a better man than I am, 'Gunga Din'," Bobby laughed.

"Y'know, Bobby," Yoshi said semi-solemnly. "My people consider Rudyard Kipling a racist bastard."

"And what the hell do your people know? Kipling was a fucking racist bastard,"

Bobby said. "Show's what you know."

Yoshi fell over laughing and then sat up and looked at Bobby intently. "Come on," he said. "You're telling me that Remy fucked up bad. That the plan against Sinister didn't work out, but that Remy had been hypnotized or something, and that he thought that Logan and Ororo and Rogue had been killed."

"Yeah," Bobby said comfortably.

"So, Remy bugged out, went to Carol's house, shot up smack, shot up more smack, and almost killed himself?'

"Yeah," Bobby said again.

"And he's now upset as all hell, because his Dad and Logan and most of your family are fucking furious with him," Yoshi concluded.


"So what would Logan or Jean or any of them do if they thought that the people they loved most had died?" Yoshi asked.

Bobby shrugged. "I don't know," he said. He thought for a moment. "Logan would probably go off and try to get himself killed fighting with the Hulk or something. Scottie would get depressed and work all the rest of us into exhaustion with training exercises. Jean. . .hell. . . I don't know what Jean would do. She'd probably take on the evilest entity in the universe and defeat it. Hank, well, that's easy. He'd throw himself into his work and forget to eat and sleep. You fucking want me to go through the whole roster?"

"And would anyone be mad as hell at them?" Yoshi asked.

"It's not the same, man," Bobby said, looking at Yoshi quizzically.

"Why?" Yoshi asked. "You're telling me that Logan would likely get himself hurt, Jean would risk her life, Scott would drive everyone crazy, and so on."

"Yeah." Bobby started thinking.

"So, why does Remy get to have everyone mad at him while everyone else has similar stress reactions without anyone being mad at them? Why does he have to be scared out of his mind about how much trouble he's in?"

"Because he shot up heroin, Yoshi," Bobby said. "It's not the same." Yoshi just looked at him. Bobby rolled his eyes at the ceiling and went on. "Okay, okay, I get what you're saying. Logan might get drunk out of his mind and fall off a sky scraper. If something like that happened to Warren, he might go up against Apocalypse on his own and get himself killed unless he was rescued. Betsy might get high and wreck her car. And what you're asking is if any of them would be scared witless about how mad the family would be with them? Would any of them get punished?"

Yoshi nodded. Bobby groaned. "Why you have to ask me such hard questions?" he demanded. Yoshi grinned.

"Cause I want to know the answers," Yoshi said equably. "I really want to know what makes Remy different. Why's he so scared? Why does he deserve to be punished?

Bobby sighed. His head started hurting. "Yoshi," he grumbled. "This is not the conversation I wanna be having while I'm high. . . Okay, okay, let me think." Bobby held his head in his hands for several moments, then looked up.

"Look," he said, "Logan and Scott and Jean and all the rest of them, well, they're grown. They are who they are. They're gonna do whatever they do. It's not like that with Remy. He still doesn't know who he is. Hell, I'm not sure who I am, either."

"You think people figure out who they are when they get older?" Yoshi asked.

Bobby shook his head and groaned again. "Hell, I don't know," he said, grinning. "I hope so." His thoughts suddenly cleared. "What I do know is that Logan and Jean and Scott don't want or need anyone else to take care of them. They're sure as hell that they're all grown up. They don't want or need anyone to be a parent to them. Remy does. He wants and needs parents. And he's got them, poor guy." Bobby laughed and took another hit off the pipe that was rapidly running out of anything but ashes.

Bobby offered the pipe to Yoshi who shook his head. Bobby picked up the lighter and started to take another hit.

"What about you, Bobby?" Yoshi asked. "Do you still want parents? And would they be parents to you if you wanted them to be?"

Bobby choked on the smoke and started coughing. He kept coughing and kept coughing, until he rose to his feet and staggered out of the room to the sink area where he fumbled with cups, ice, water and a bottle of Scotch. He finally managed to stumble back into the sitting area with a drink.

"Sorry, Yosh," he gasped out, gulping the liquid. "I breathed the wrong way."

Yoshi nodded, rising to his feet. "I understand," he said. "And it's time for me to head home. I have classes in a few hours. Would you ask Remy to call me before he leaves? I'd like a chance to say good-bye to my old friend."

Bobby had flopped down the couch after Yoshi left, flipping through TV channels without paying any attention to what was on any of them, and drinking scotch. After awhile he turned the TV off and simply stared at the wall, refilling his drink occasionally and brooding. He didn't sleep until close to dawn and Jean had awakened him almost as soon as he got his eyes closed.

* * *

Bobby glared at the wall in the waiting room as he finished thinking about the conversation he'd had with Yoshi the night before, the recent conversation with Jean and Logan and shook his head. He rose to his feet, and stalked back down the hall to Remy's room. He took a deep breath before he entered.

"Hey," he announced, breezing in, "I found food, but I don't have any money. You guys have any spare change?"

Remy's face was buried in a pillow. He looked like he was still trying to sleep. Jean and Logan were chatting by the window. Jean reached into her bag as Logan started to go through his pockets.

Both thrust money at him while he was still shuffling from foot to foot trying to think up some excuse for waking Remy. Nothing occurred to him.

He took the bills from them and hesitated. "Ummm," he said, "would you guys help me remember that Remy's friend, Yoshi, wants him to call before we leave? I'm scared I'll forget."

"No problem, Bobby," Jean said. "And would you bring something back for me?"

"Like what?" Bobby asked, taking a deep breath.

"A croissant," Jean suggested. "Some fruit. Some cereal. You know what I like for breakfast, Bobby. Just bring me something to eat."

"And coffee," Logan said shortly. "Lots of coffee."

Bobby nodded and fled. He didn't plan to be back in time for breakfast, but there were many reasons and more that he didn't want either Logan or Jean to know that.

Bobby left Remy's hospital room and headed straight for Carol's house. He'd never tried heroin and he wondered if he really wanted to know how it felt.

To be continued. . .