Disclaimer: This is a work of fan fiction. I do not seek to profit from this story in any way. All creative rights to the characters and original storylines belong to Marvel.
Author's Note (05/20/2010): This story was originally published on this site in 2003. In an attempt to try and continue after a four year hiatus, I have gone back and started re-editing the original chapters. The content is exactly the same; I am simply trying to reword a couple of areas so that it feels less disjointed with my current writing style.
By: Dark Elf
He could feel it in his veins. The beat of the city thrived within him, dangerous and uncontrollable. Nothing could calm it; and he did not seek to find its cure. He felt alive as his heart quickened with the pace of the imaginary drumbeat of the night. The palpitations heightening his senses, arousing his interest in the world, making him feel newborn. He was the devil incarnate, and this night many would fall for him. They would whisper his name in dreams of passion; they would love him.
They would want him.
How he longed for their company. For a soft look, for a lustful glance; anything that would remind him of the feelings he no longer had. Anything that would allow him to lose himself in blissful ignorance for one more night. No worries. No reason to remember the past or look to the future for new regrets. For now he could just nod his head slightly, back and forth, lost in the invisible music that he heard.
It may have been hours, he had stopped keeping track of time a while ago. Instead, he immersed himself in the lives of the souls around him. The pain from one dark alley, mixing with the joy coming from a party down the street. He reveled in it; the sweet sadness, the acid agony. And a malicious grin graced his lips to think that they weren't his for once, but those of others. All made right suddenly when combined with the moans of pleasure that filled the twilight elsewhere. If he concentrated enough he could filter out the pain. He could be washed in happiness and delight. Even better, he could end the pain of whomever it belonged to, numbing their senses with a thought. He could pick up the role of savior that he had put down when they handed him his cross. And yet… he would leave that to someone else. For he was not a man tonight, obligated by the bonds of brotherhood to help those in need. Tonight he would close his eyes and ears to the whispered pleas of humanity that always tried to lure him out of his apathetic position. He would truly feel tonight. He would take the bad with the good. Mixing the pain with the pleasure, just so, if only for a minute, he could breathe from the same air of life as others. So that he could have what others foolishly took for granted.
And it didn't matter if it was all a trick.
He could ignore that part too, as easily as he could the heartbreaking screams originating from a victim found in the predatory streets of this city. He would let fate run its course uninterrupted if only, in return, it would leave him in peace for a while.
He didn't owe them anything. He did not owe the dying female a block away from him anything. She had chosen the wrong path- she had tempted fate- and fate had struck her down with its unforgiving hand. Guilt? Why? He hadn't hurt her. He didn't kill her. So did it matter that he didn't help her? He was an observer. Nothing more. And in a sensual way he had enjoyed it. Feeling her struggle, her anger, her fear. It was all part of the city. All part of the silent thrumming rhythm that stole its way into his body every night. It was the weak part of him that craved for such extreme feelings of suffering and rapture. It was an addiction he couldn't cure, and didn't care to cure. Tonight was his; one evening to indulge in guiltless sin. He was a thief, so why care that all he had was stolen? The world was out there for his taking.
But then a soft sound. A pitter-patter. A new beat added to the streets below him.
And it was coming harder now. Soon it would fall in torrents- washing away the uncleanness of some parts and hiding the blood spilled in others. The same rain that would revive the dead would make sure some things stayed in their graves. But he remained, perched high on a building in the middle of New York. He had driven here in a haze, following the anguish and ecstasy that roughly shoved him to and fro, from country to country, from state to state, from city to city. Feelings that would never let him rest... feelings that always taunted him, tempted him...and that he gladly followed time and again into hell. They had led him, lured him, to this area. He hadn't wanted to come back, not after all the pain and hurt... and betrayal. His memory protested... it screamed- it wanted to run away desperately from this place. But those feelings tied themselves around him, tied an irremovable noose around his neck, and dragged him back to this god-forsaken city.
A city he loved.
Ever the outsider, here he rested, the light, glittery, jovial New York on his left; the dirty, evil, violated part on his right. It was a balance only achieved in some places. Perfection rarely found. Stuck in between, he was left looking in from the outside. But what did that matter? It was more than he usually had. It was more than he could ask for.
Damn them all.
They could hate him; they could God well despise him with all their hearts! He didn't give a shit.
So they had abandoned him... left him to die, his flesh slowly freezing, cracking beneath the pressure of the atmosphere. He had a right to live! He would not apologize for that selfishness. Who were they...who was she... to condemn him? As if life hadn't already judged him a hundred times before. He would have his revenge too!
But... was he taking it too hard? Was he not forgetting how truly guilty he was?
But... they had no right. No right.
But – he deserved it.
And that was that. He, the unholy martyr, would accept their punishment. He had accepted it, apologizing for things he knew couldn't be forgiven. With his head held high, lips curled into a smile, he had tried to believe that starving, freezing, and dying could be redemptive. Life disagreed, placing their punishment permanently in his beating heart where the other constant pain and sufferings of his soul resided.
So night after night he allowed himself to be submerged fully in the pain bestowed upon him. Later he would be the professional, suave and confident in an Armani suite. Dealing with the Devil as if he had been born to do it. But at this time he could let himself feel the joy and the glory, the pain and the hate, to its full extent. Let the anger soothe him. Let him find a reason to continue.
There was no longer a distinction between wanting and needing. He needed to find a way to stay grounded in this world. He wanted to find a way to escape the world he did know. And who was to hold his hand and tell him it was all right? Who could open their arms and rock him back and forth, expelling hatred from sadness? Friends? Family? Who existed for him now? The harder question- who would exist for him if given the choice? He had only himself to depend on. He would be his own comfort.
The prostitute down the street- the pimp in the corner- they were all parts of his experience. The animal lust and the dirty anger. The forced pleasure and the choking disgust. He enjoyed it- food to a starving man. He gorged himself on it, eating and eating, trying to store up something that he knew he might have to go without for another few years. The sultry heat coming from fervent love being consummated in an apartment- the joy of a little kid opening his birthday present- it filled his drained soul. He was tired. So he would sit here until it all went away- or until he was pulled out of the flood of feelings around him.
And time passed. As it had always done. But he didn't feel it. It didn't weigh into his very marrow as it once had- ripping him apart from the inside out- aging him a hundred times faster than anyone else. Forcing a little boy to become a man the day he opened his eyes and someone screamed. Everything was lost in a blur- there was no beginning- no end.
And a shaky laugh erupted from his lips as the cold of the rain finally penetrated his skin. His eyes glowed a fiery crimson- he was back. It was over. He was back to the real world. And he knew how foolish he had just been. Lost in himself for hours on the brittle rooftop of an abandoned building. His legs cramped- his side pinched. And it didn't matter how many times he told himself he could avoid this, could avoid taking the feelings of all those around him just so he could pretend that they were his own. No... time and again-... he wanted it. He needed it.
Then he remembered.
How could he have ignored her? More blood on his hands. Didn't matter that it was indirectly- his fault again- no longer someone else's. So he picked himself up and made to turn toward the alley that had been bathed in pain moments ago. He would play the honorable part now. He would bury her- as he had buried so many others...and then...
And then he'd head out...back to his home of many years... if it was still that... his home...
He kissed the chilled air with his dried lips and, waving his hand in a flippant gesture of arrogance, whispered his greeting into the silent night.
"Didn' t'ink Remy'd forget y', neh?"
Author's Note: Sorry for the long drawn-out Remy angst! I'm hoping to make Remy less weak and confused than he normally comes across in other post-Antarctica fics, but am not sure necessarily where the story is leading. As you may have noticed, I do plan to focus in somewhat on his supposed charm (or empathic abilities), but hopefully he'll still retain that swagger we know and love so well. We'll see what happens. Hope you review. And feel free to read my other story too!