School and Home
Disclaimer: Characters and Premise are borrowed from the Marvel, I'm not making any money.
Remy wandered into the mansion's kitchen, yawning and rubbing sleep out of his eyes. Moving on autopilot he lurched toward the coffee.
"Nightmares still bothering you?" Jean asked, glancing up from the paper she was reading, looking disgustingly wide-awake.
"None of your business spook," Remy snapped.
"I didn't read your mind brat," Jean responded. "Scott was worried about you."
"What's new?" Remy muttered. "Why ain't Logan here?"
"He and Peter are still on their op with the police. We're expecting them back any day now," Jean answered. "You better hurry up and get dressed unless you want to go to the airport in your pj's."
"Why am I going to de airport dis time?" Remy asked.
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Remy waited impatiently with Jean at the airport. "Why I have to come?" he complained for what Jean estimated was the hundredth time.
"They're your family," Jean replied, feeling like a broken record.
"Mais meeting' dem here, it's like saying' I want dem," Remy argued. "I don' care 'bout dem. I don' want dem in m' life. I want rien to do wid dem."
"Yeah but you can recognize them and I'd feel stupid holding one of those silly cardboard signs," Jean replied.
A tall man with long, reddish brown hair, pulled back into a ponytail and the face of a good-natured pirate emerged from the plane. He paused, quickly scanning the room then walked directly toward Jean and Remy.
Remy noticed the man and started looking around for Josette, but the man appeared to be alone.
The man stopped in front of Remy and stared at him intently. "So you be callin' yo'self Remy Lebeau now," he said and it wasn't a question.
"Who de hell are yo'?" Remy demanded feeling like he was being judged.
"I got a right to de name too," Remy said angrily. "Josette's man say she mus' of laid wid de devil to get a chile like me, and he don' have no family name s'far as I know, mais Josette can't say I ain't hers. No mattah how much she wants to."
"I t'ink it suits yo' petite," Jean-Luc said mildly.
Remy stood there, speechless, as his hostility toward the man faltered.
"Where's Remy's mom?" Jean asked suspiciously. "I thought she was coming too."
"So did I chere," Jean-Luc said with a sigh. "Mais we both be wrong, it jus' be me."
Jean reached out to scan the man and was surprised to find his thoughts as untouchable as Remy's.
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Xavier waited for Jean-Luc to settle himself it one of the office's chairs then said. "Mr. Lebeau, I must be honest with you, I'm not comfortable simply turning Remy over to a long lost relative he doesn't even recognize. Also I am quite aware that you are a man with secrets."
"Den we have something in common, neh?" Jean-Luc replied. "Did some checkin' into dis school's financers an' I didn' get too many answers, but dose dat I did get… I t'ink it best if we both jus' respect dat de other's secrets ain't gonna harm de chilen, d'accord?"
"Why didn't Remy's mother come with you?" Xavier asked changing tactics.
Jean-Luc's lips thinned. "Yo' should understand dat Josette be m' baby soeur an' I'll a'ways love her, but jus' now I ain't too proud of her," he said.
"She refused to acknowledge a mutant child," Xavier extrapolated.
"Yo' could say dat, but yo'd be ignoring de real problems," Jean-Luc said. "Truth is if Remy hadn' of been a mutant, t would have been somet'ing else. Josette was only 16; she married Armand on de sly when our pa'ent tol' her dey didn' want her seein' him no more. She kept it quiet till an annulment be out of de question, de family's traditional 'bout t'ings like dat, so dey let her try, even dought Armand be too ole' for her and jus' no damn good. Kept an eye on dat husband of hers as much as I could, but when Remy be four dey moved up to Baton Rouge."
Xavier caught a few flashes from Jean-Luc's mind that told him that this was far from the whole story; something about hiding both the marriage and child from a benefactress, but Jean-Luc's shields, so like Remy's, prevented him from casual prying.
"We lost touch, didn' know what be happenin' till dat connard beat Josette half to death. De police contacted de family. Remy be gone for more dan a year by de time we know anyt'ing 'bout it. I managed to trace him to N'Orleans, but dere he disappeared. After all dat Josette's still de same spoilt little girl. She blames Remy for her marriage goin' bad even dough her whole family try to tell her dat her husband be trouble."
"I hardly think it will benefit Remy to force the boy back into that situation," Xavier said.
"Josette be living wid me an' mon fils," Jean-Luc said. "An' Armand not be an issue any more. When Josette turn stubborn 'bout makin' dis trip I told her to either do her duty by her fils or to give responsibility for de boy to me. Yo' can see which she chose; I'm legally Remy's guardian an' I ain't totally opposed to him attendin' your school here, but de boy should know he's got a family to call his own, non?"
"What are you getting at?" Xavier said.
"Be takin' Remy home wid me. Want him to spend some time wid us. Give everyone de chance to get to know one another. Den, if I t'ink it be a good t'ing I send him back here, but dis be a school, not a replacement for a family."
Jean-Luc was surprised to see Xavier bristle at his comment. "I don't believe Remy would be comfortable being drug off to live with a group of strangers, even if they are related to him," Xavier said.
"I chose to meet Remy here 'stead of simply havin' him sent home for jus' dat reason," Jean-Luc replied. "Lets de boy meet me wid his friends 'round."
"And if he isn't willing to leave with you?" Xavier challenged.
"I nevah believe in borrowin' trouble," Jean-Luc said. "No reason to worry 'bout somet'ing dat probably won' happen, neh?"
"If that's how you feel about it," Xavier said with a small, secretive smile.
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Jean-Luc and Remy wandered the mansion's grounds as they talked.
"... I t'ought for sure we'd los' yo' when I found out 'bout yo' meetin' up wid Richard Lambert," Jean-Luc said. "De man t'ink he was some sort of modern day witch hunter, I didn' t'ink yo' had a chance 'gainst him."
"Yo' really looked for me?" Remy asked wonderingly.
"I nevah quit," Jean-Luc said quietly. "Los' hope, but I didn' give yo' up."
"Why?" Remy asked.
Jean-Luc smiled sadly. "Yo're m' family an' I know yo' don' 'member me, but I was more dan a bit fond of yo' when yo' were a little t'ing."
"Den why yo' let Josette take me 'way from N'Orleans?" Remy asked. "Don' 'member much back den, but I a'ways knew I was happy 'fore we moved. Dat be why I headed back dere when I ran 'way."
"I wish I'd known, but dere was a time when N'Orleans wasn' safe for yo' petite," Jean-Luc said. "Armand found a job he liked an' movin' jus' seemed like de smart t'ing to do. Jus' 'bout de same time yo' Grandpere was in an accident. I ended up takin' on a lot of new 'sponsibilities an' when Josette tell me everyt'ing be fine it didn' occur to me to doubt her."
"Josette a'ways be sayin' dat," Remy said accusingly. " 'Everyt'ing be fine.' 'Oui, Remy broke his arm, but rien be wrong.' ' Oui, dat be a bruise, yo' all know how clumsy I be.' Everyt'ing a'ways fine, rien evah wrong. Leas' not in public, when we 'lone, everyt'ing be wrong an' it all be m' fault."
"Je desole Remy," Jean-Luc sighed. "I know it ain't a good 'nough 'xscuse, but I didn' know what was happenin'. I would have done somet'ing much sooner if I had."
"Mais, yo' didn't an' yo' can't change t'ings now," Remy said.
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Flames licked at the edges of Remy's dreams, something ancient and terrifying straining at it's bonds. Despondency pressed down on him, born of isolation and insecurity, it torn at the foundations of self-esteem and bred desperation. The external pressure set ghosts both old and new free to tear at his mind.
Vines wrapped themselves around Remy's legs, binding him in place. "You let me die," Kevin accused.
"Rien I could do. Scott said so," Remy protested.
"You couldn't help me either," a tall dark haired girl said. "Of course I didn't need help near as badly before I met you."
"Maren, je desole, 'm so sorry. If I'd known, I nevah would of sent yo' to him. I only wanted to help," Remy apologized.
"You really aren't much good at helping," Mia said, scowling at him. "You promised to bring my mommy back, you lied."
"Little One, I couldn', I jus' couldn'," Remy pled. "I did what I could."
"And it's never enough," a tall blond man with broken wings dragging behind him said. "Too little, too late and all that's left is ashes."
****** ****** ******
Restlessly Remy wandered the darkened mansion. Morning was hours away, but he didn't even want to look at his bed.
He didn't know why his nightmares had chosen now to return with such a vengeance. Kevin's was hardly the first rotting corpse he'd seen. He felt awful for Rachael and Mark, that could explain maybe one night's guilty dreams, but rationally he knew that the boy's death was in no way his fault. His subconscious just didn't seem to care about what was rational.
Remy noticed light seeping out from under the door to Hank's room. He was torn between wanting company to drive away the lingering shadows in his mind and having yet another person know that he was bothered by something as childish as bad dreams.
"Henri got so many problems of his own, he won' have time to fuss 'bout yours," Remy decided, quietly opening the door and slipping in.
Hank was so absorbed in his computer he didn't even notice that he had company.
"Companionship widout any costs," Remy thought happily settling himself in.
Fifteen minutes later Remy slipped back out again, a disgruntled frown on his face. "Sometimes being an empat' jus' sucked," he thought.
Remy paused for a moment outside of Logan's empty room. If the older mutant had been home he probably would have been on one of his nightly prowls of the grounds. Remy suspected that the Canadian's mutation included a leaning toward being nocturnal, either that or his friend had an even harder time getting a solid night's sleep than he did.
With a small sigh Remy moved on, leaving the empty room behind. Passing a window he caught a glimpse of a dark form moving through the shadows. "What de hell he be up to?" Remy said to himself, running silently downstairs.
Even with his unnaturally keen night vision, it took Remy a few moments to pick-out Jean-Luc's form again, the older man had a knack for blending with the shadows.
Without a second though Remy followed him.
Scaling the outer wall Remy just caught a glimpse of Jean-Luc as he grabbed a ride on the back of a semi-truck.
A few seconds later Remy was balancing precariously on the ledge of his own truck, hands scrabbling for purchase, cursing under his breath and wondering exactly what it was that his oncle did for a living.
Jean-Luc ditched his ride once they reached town, where he had a dark, non-descript car waiting for him.
Remy thanked his lucky stars that the car had been left in the parking lot outside a bar. It only took him a few seconds to hotwire a motorcycle and continue the chase. From Westchester into New York, they flew down the road.
Jean-Luc left the car in a parking garage near an upper class section of the city. A few minutes later Remy swore as the older man looked directly at the shadow he was hiding in then grinned, inviting Remy to keep up, if he could.
A mad scramble followed. Up a fire escape, across rooftops, through a skylight, through the elevator shaft, out an apartment balcony, across to the next building's fire escape and then Jean-Luc just disappeared.
After fifteen frustrating minutes of backtracking and scouting around Remy gave up in disgust and headed back to the parking garage.
Twenty minutes later Jean-Luc returned to find Remy leaning back against the hood of his car, arm crossed over his chest, scowling. "Yo' care to 'xplain t'night," he said.
Jean-Luc tossed him a folded square of paper. Remy scanned the contents. "It be a lis' of names, so what?"
"It be a lis' of likely backers for your Professor's school," Jean-Luc elaborated. "I did a little snoopin' back at de school, found a few of de puzzle pieces I be missin' lookin' from de outside. De picture dey form lead me here or rather to a trey posh nightclub several blocks from here. Dat be a lis' of de club's members. Havin' someone do de background check'll take sometime, but ain't yo' curious as to who wants to fund an elite, mutant vigilante group? 'Specially seein' as how yo're wid dat group?"
"Oui," Remy said taking a second, more appreciative look at the list in his hand.
"Yo' want to return your bike or ride wid me?" Jean-Luc asked.
" 'M sure de police will 'ventually figure out where it belongs," Remy said opening the passenger door. "How yo' vanish like dat?"
****** ****** ******
Jean peeked through the doors as she walked past the den for the third time since discovering Jean-Luc and Remy talking there. She frowned noticing that sometime in the past few days Remy had lost the determinedly sullen body language that had characterized the drive home from the airport and was now listening to Jean-Luc with open curiosity.
"How's the family reunion going," Hank asked as she joined him in the kitchen.
"I can't believe that Remy, of all people is falling for this guy's act!" Jean exclaimed. "The idiot's gonna get hurt again."
"There is a certain moth to the fire attraction occurring," Hank said. "But I can see where Remy's coming from. To have you're family suddenly show us and say it's all a mistake, that they want you after all. I've got nearly five years on Remy and I'd be tempted to buy what Jean-Luc is selling."
"That charm thing of Remy's probably runs in the family too, like the shields," Jean said. "I just don't trust the guy."
"Jean, you don't even like Remy," Hank pointed out.
"Yeah, but I'm not letting someone waltz in off the street and entice him into who knows what kind of trouble."
****** ****** ******
A terrified wail broke the stillness of the night, bringing the mansion's inhabitants running.
They found Remy, eyes wide and unfocused, striking out at phantom enemies, his room lit by the flickering glow of his powers. Hank noticed that instead of flowing over his entire body as they had during other times they'd seen Remy panicked the glow stuck to his hands, fading out about half way up his arms.
"Remy wake-up!" Jean yelled both verbally and with her mind. Remy responded by throwing a charged pillow at her. Jean telekinetically contained the resultant explosion.
Jean-Luc pushed past the others, speaking softly to Remy in a mis-mash of French, Creole and English.
After a few minutes the glow of Remy's powers died and he threw himself into Jean-Luc's arms. "Oncle Luc," Remy cried in a voice that sounded much younger than the boy's sixteen years.
Jean-Luc smoothed Remy's hair gently. "Shh, it's a'right now petite. I got yo', I got yo'."
Gradually Remy returned to fully to the here and now. Blushing he pulled away from Jean-Luc.
"You can't just keep ignoring those nightmare," Jean said gesturing to the remains of the pillow, once she was sure Remy was listening. "With you're powers this is dangerous. You should let the Professor help you."
"Dat be your own fault, girl," Remy argued. "How many times I tell yo' to stay out of m' head?"
Seeing Xavier arriving, Hank decided that the excitement was over and retreated back to his room.
"Jean has a point," Xavier said. "It would be a simple thing for me to deal with."
"Non!" Remy yelled sparks dancing around his fingers.
"We will discuss this again in the morning, when you've calmed down," Xavier said frowning.
Jean-Luc watched the other two leave then waited until Remy appeared somewhat collected. "Mebbe yo' 'member me a bit," he said.
Remy's blush renewed itself as he thought back to his reaction to Jean-Luc's voice cutting through his nightmares. "I couldn't say J's," he said slowly. "Yo' told me jus' to call yo' Luc."
Jean-Luc nodded grinning warmly. "Mattie used to watch yo' while Josette took her classes, yo' a'ways liked playin' in m' office best."
"Yo' had green carpet," Remy said, his expression distant and thoughtful. "An' yo' kept lemon drops in de bottom draw of your desk."
"Used to be licorice when Henri was younger," Jean-Luc said. "But yo' didn' like de licorice. Yo' nevah had much of a sweet-tooth, I had to do some lookin' to fin' somet'ing yo' t'ought was wort' de trouble of snatchin'."
****** ****** ******
Xavier was surprised when Remy appeared in his office the next morning without prompting. "So you've decided to allow me to help with your nightmares?" he asked.
"Non," Remy said. "Jus' t'ought yo' should know 'm gonna visit wid m' family for a few months. Jean-Luc got a call las' night an' we're leavin' dis afternoon."
"What about Sinister?" Xavier asked. "You won't be protected."
Remy shrugged, unconcerned. "Took him a'most two years to fin' me las' time. Probably would have been longer if I hadn' gotten in de fight wid Silvermane's people. I'll be dere an' back 'fore Essex knows what be up."
"I can't approve of this," Xavier said. "You will be placing everyone near you in danger."
"An' I wasn' when I stayed wid de Denaras?" Remy asked sarcastically. " 'Sides, I didn' ask your permission, jus' told yo' what 'm doin'. Told Jean-Luc 'bout Essex, he t'ink I be worth de risk an' mebbe he more capable of dealin' wid t'ings like dat den yo' givin' him credit for."
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