A/N: If anyone can believe it, here's an update. I don't really have an excuse for it taking so long, other than maybe I wasn't all that happy with my writing. But I like this chapter, and I hope you guys do to. As always, please let me know either way.
The visit from the shape-shifter had the opposite effect on Remy than what his captors had planned. Instead of making him lose hope, and pushing him even further towards his breaking point, the plagiarism of his loved ones countenances only angered him. And an angry Remy was a force to be reckoned with.
He took their abuse with his chin held high, and a smile forced onto his gaunt features. He used every vile and underhanded insult he knew, and he used them often. He cursed the guards, their mothers, their grandmothers, their great grandmothers, their aunts and uncles, and nearly any other relation he could think of. He laughed in the face of their attempts to break him.
On the outside, he was every bit the defiant captive, resistant to all their methods of torture. On the inside, however, he was running out of strength.
"Dat was fun today, hommes," Remy said, blinking past the spots that still clouded his vision. The guards supporting him on either side said nothing, and not one to take a hint, Remy continued.
"De acid burns, dat was art. DaVinci himself would be put t'shame."
He was being dragged back to his cell after another enlightening session in the Playhouse, during which his captors once again failed to gain any useful information. This time, however, was an anomaly. After being freed from the chair, the guards had simply hefted the barely conscious Remy between them, and without blindfolding him, taken him back to his cell. Unfortunately, the view during the short trip wasn't anything Remy couldn't have seen in his cell, without the pain, torture, and attempts at humiliation.
"Should I expect you back at de same time tomorrow?" Remy asked, as they arrived at the now familiar steel door. He had never seen the door from this side, but he nonetheless knew with strange conviction what lay on the other side.
The guard on his right swiped a key card on the control pad next to the door, and while the guard on his left blocked Remy's vision, the first guard entered the four-digit pass code. The door slid open, and the hotheaded thief was tossed unceremoniously onto his mattress.
As the door closed behind them, Remy winced as he rolled over onto his back. The movement pulled on days old injuries still healing, and the blackness waiting at the edges of his vision began encroaching.
He fought the approaching darkness, and struggled up into a sitting position. Something was different. His mind, befuddled and confused by the agony his body had been put through, took several minutes to put it together. When it did, the pain that had become a permanent fixture was suddenly forgotten. He leaned slowly forward, red on black eyes as wide as saucers, transfixed by what they saw.
A man lay prone in the middle of the concrete floor, wrists and ankles bound tightly enough to create a loss of circulation. A burlap sack was pulled down over his head, obscuring his features from view. He was dressed similarly to Remy, although the new prisoner's clothes were in much better shape.
An inner voice told Remy he should be careful, that it would not be unlike these people to try to fool him once more. He had been burned before by a practised shape-shifter, and he would be wise to be wary this time.
So he remained on his cot, watching the man begin to wake up, and struggle against the restraints, with a mixture of pity, and anger on his face. On one hand, he felt bad that another soul was in the same position as he was, and had been for the past two weeks. On the other hand, if it proved to be a fake, he was angry they had the gall to try again, and to think he would be fooled.
"Is anybody there?" A deep, raw voice spoke out from underneath the burlap. The man pulled against the zip ties binding his wrists together, but all his efforts were in vain. The plastic restraints were not giving.
The undercurrents of fear and desperateness pulled at Remy's heartstrings, until he remembered how broken and hopeless he had felt when Rogue turned out not to be Rogue after all. He said nothing.
"I can hear someone breathing. I know you're there. Help me out of these damn things."
The commanding tone, in addition to the fact that he had not said please, jostled something in Remy's mind, touched on fuzzy memories he had kept hidden these past days. He knew he should recognize the voice from somewhere, but again, his addled mind was having difficulties making the connections. He shook his head in frustration.
Apparently having worked through whatever drug cocktail had kept him down, the man now started struggling in earnest, both pulling at the zip ties, and moving his head back and forth rapidly, in an effort to dislodge the sack.
He eventually succeeded, by rolling over onto his knees and shaking it off with the assistance of gravity.
Remy sat back a little. The man was facing the opposite direction, and from where he sat, Remy could see nothing but brown hair in an absolutely hideous crew cut. The sight of that hair provoked something in him, an intensely strong urge to disobey anything even remotely resembling an order. He blinked in surprise at the feelings that rose up within his chest, though not all were bad.
The man pivoted on his knees, still bound at wrists and ankles, and lifted his eyes to see who exactly it was that had not come to his aid, but had instead watched his struggles from afar. Wide blue eyes widened even further.
Remy snorted. He wasn't sure whether he should laugh at his captor's under-estimation of his intelligence, or if he should feel insulted that they think he was that stupid.
"What the hell are you doing here?"
"Why don' you tell me, homme. You be de reason I'm here, enh?" He scooted back further on the cot, until his back hit the wall. With his knees tucked under his chin, and his arms wrapped around his shins, he looked every inch the young boy he never got a chance to be.
"What is that supposed to mean?" Wannabe Scott Summers looked a little miffed, but Remy found he couldn't care less. If this Scott was any bit as good as Storm and Rogue had been, he was likely to get even more miffed. "Would you help me out of these damn things?"
Remy laughed brokenly. "Don't t'ink so. Gambit like dis view a lot better. Dem t'ings ain't very comfortable, are dey?"
"What the hell is the matter with you? Of course they aren't comfortable. They're cutting of my fucking circulation." He glared at Remy as if he could somehow summon the real Scott Summers mutant powers, and blast Remy's head clean off his shoulders.
The Cajun smirked. "What, you getting' pissed Gambit don' believe ya dis time? Fool me once, and all dat crap."
Scott-Substitute paused for a minute, his gaze narrowed as he studied his cellmate. "Did they drug you or something? I know you like to piss me off, but this is going a little far, don't you think?"
He crawled over on his knees, and bent down, trying to peer up and into Remy's eyes. In doing so, he gave Remy an unobstructed view of the back of the neck. The back of his neck with a small, rectangular distortion, stained with dried blood. Surely the shape shifter wouldn't have injected a microchip into his own neck, just for effect. And even if he had, it would've left him unable to control his mutant powers. So that would have to mean… Remy promptly froze, and the colour drained from his face as he realized the implications.
"Fearless?" He asked, unable to keep the incredulity out of his voice.
Scott looked at him as if he was growing another head. He sat back on his heels, and said, "Of course it's me. Who else would it be?"
Remy thought quickly. Luckily, as a thief, he had a lot of practise. "Prove it. Jean has a birthmark shaped like a moon. Where is it?"
Scott blinked in surprise. "Why do you want…" His blue eyes narrowed into slits once more, and he rose up on his knees. "How the hell do you know about her birthmark?"
"Never mind dat, Fearless. Answer de damn question."
Scott frowned, and looked as if he might start something, but then he sighed. "It's right below her hipbone. You can't even see it when she wears that yellow bikini. So I'll ask again. How do you know about her birthmark?"
Remy silently cursed his seemingly genius proof of identity. "Dere was…an incident." He glanced up at Scott's face, then said with a sigh, "She was in de locker room showers. I t'ought she was Rogue."
He waited until he was sure Scott wasn't going to go at him before lowering himself to the concrete and helping his cellmate out of the bindings. Scott remained on the floor, rubbing at his ankles with both hands to restore blood flow, but Remy returned to the cot.
"Why did you need proof it was me? What the hell is going on?"
"You prolly know as much as me, mon ami." When it appeared as if Scott has nothing to add to conversation but a whole lot of glaring, Remy continued. "Whoever is holding us here has a shape-shifter workin' for dem. He already tried to work me."
"What do they want?" Scott rose gracefully to his feet, despite having been shackled moments before, and standing at the door, ran his hands along the seams, much like Remy had done his first day.
"Damned if I know," Remy replied with a snarl. "Dey seem intent on tryin' to break me. I don' know if dat's just how dey get deir kicks, or if dey need somet'in', y'know?"
Scott paused in his examination of the door, turned to face Remy. His eyes narrowed for the third time in what seemed as many minutes, and Remy grew faintly uncomfortable as his gaze roamed all over.
"You look like shit," he said finally, and when he took a step closer, Remy scooted back further, until his back hit the concrete wall behind him.
Scott noticed the defensiveness, and quickly grew alarmed. "Jesus, Remy, I'm not going to hurt you. You don't think that, do you?"
In embarrassed response, Remy ducked his head until his chin rested on his chest. "No, Fearless, I don' t'ink dat. It's jes'…it's hard, y'know?"
There was a long silence as Scott seemed to become acquainted with the situation. He paced the area of the cell in front of Remy, cracking his knuckles in nervous agitation. Every few steps, he would pause suddenly, and turn to regard his teammate, still sitting on the cot, staring down at his hands in his lap.
After what seemed like an eternity of pacing, pausing and staring, at least to Remy, Scott finally appeared to decide on a course of action. He took a careful step towards the younger man, and when he witnessed no negative response, he closed the rest of the distance and sat gently on the edge of the cot. He waited briefly for Remy to look up at him, but then realized he could grow old and grey while waiting.
"We need to get you out of here."
Remy snorted sarcastic laughter, the ultimate anti-climactic moment given the emotional undertones of the cell. He lifted his chin to stare at Scott incredulously.
"Dat's your idea? De great Fearless Leader came up wit' somet'ing I knew de first day heah? Why don' y'start pacin' again? Mebbe y'can come up wit' somet'ing better."
Scott wisely chose to ignore the dripping sarcasm. "This doesn't make sense. Why you? If these people know as much about us as they seem to, then why don't they know I'm the leader of the team? Why would they torture you for information when they have me?"
"Hey, I'd be more dan willin' to change places wit' you, but I don't t'ink dey'll go fer dat. Some people jes' have de special t'ing, y'know? Some nameless quality dat makes people want to torture dem."
"Goddammit, Remy! Can't you take any of this seriously!" Scott launched himself to his feet, and renewed with vigour his empathic pacing. "You're so infuriating! Do you not understand what kind of situation we're in right now?"
Remy didn't move from the cot, but his gaze turned so cold Scott wondered if he could give Bobby Drake a run for his money. He shivered with the intensity of the glare. "I know de situation, homme. In case you've forgotten, I be de one wit' de acid burns, de cigarette burns, de fuckin' broken ribs! Mebbe I didn' go t'Harvard like you and yours, but I know a bad situation. I reckon I been in more den you durin' m'lifetime, so why don' y'shut your fuckin' mout', and lemme get some rest? De guards will be back fo' me soon 'nough, so you can plan yo' escape wit'out m'sarcasm in y'way, enh?"
With a stifled grimace, Remy carefully turned over on the cot, and settled into a position that was as comfortable as he could get while taking the pressure off his injuries. He waited a brief minute for Scott to say something further, but when he could hear nothing but silence, he squeezed his eyes shut, and forced himself to sleep.
Remy startled awake sometime later, sitting up with a wince and unsure of exactly what had woken him. He blinked the sleep from his eyes, tested the stiffness of his muscles, and looked around the cell he had rapidly come to think of as home.
Scott was sitting crossed legged in the middle of the floor, looking expectantly as his Cajun cellmate. A metal tray sat in front of him, a plate of something that looked lumpy and greyish was sitting next to a plastic spoon on top of it. There was no water.
Remy groaned, and started to turn over again. He had already sampled the cuisine provided by his captors, and could honestly say that at this point, he would rather go hungry. Calling that stuff gruel would not only be a drastic overstatement, but an insult to gruel as well.
"Remy, you have to eat something."
Even after sleeping off the anger he had felt earlier, Scott's voice still grated on Remy's nerves. "I don' hafta do anyt'ing, homme. B'sides, 'm not hungry. Y'can have it. Bon appetit."
"You need to keep your strength up. Even if the food does look like some radiological by-product."
Remy heaved a sigh, winced when it pushed against sore ribs, and turned back over. It was clear to him that Scott was in one of his more annoying 'den mother' moods, which meant he wouldn't let him sleep until Remy gave him some pretty damn good reasons why he shouldn't eat that gruel that might even be sentient.
"And if it's drugged? What if dey put some ketamine in dere? I eat a spoonful, and 'm out like a light. Den dey can do whatevah dey want? I don' t'ink so."
He started to turn over for a second time, but Scott's words gave him pause. "I'll keep watch."
When Remy didn't immediately turn down the idea, Scott continued. "You can't afford to keep missing meals, Remy. Just eat it. If it is drugged, and you go down, I'll make sure no one touches you, all right?"
Remy eyed Scott, and the plate of mysterious food with equal parts suspicion. Intellectually, he knew that his lack of hunger pains didn't necessarily mean his body didn't need nourishment. It was more likely that his system was working overtime trying to fix all his injuries. It just wouldn't have any energy to spare to sound out the hunger alarms. And Scott did make a good proposition. Of course, it all came down to trust. Did Remy trust the Fearless Leader to keep him safe? Did he really believe that Scott would lay himself on the line to keep his teammate from getting injured any further? Remy studied the man who was still watching him with an expectant look on his face. His personal likes or dislikes aside, he had never seen Scott be anything but selfless when it came to another member of the team. And as he peered into Scott's uncovered blue eyes, he saw strong conviction there, and Remy knew that no harm would come to him, should he fall unconscious.
He nodded slowly, and got up from his laying position as carefully as possible. Scott grabbed the metal tray and stood, mindful not to spill any. Remy muttered a quiet thanks when his cellmate set the tray down on the cot beside him.
Sadly, the gruel was everything that Remy expected it to be. Lucky for him, it had very little taste, although there was a grainy quality that made his stomach turn even as he was eating it. He despised not being in control, and eating something when he didn't know anything about it definitely fell under that category.
But he did notice something astounding while he ate. True to his promise, Scott sat in the same position he had been in when Remy had first woken, watching him swallow the pseudo-food with a grimace on his face. To be honest, he wasn't sure if Scott was watching him to keep his promise, or simply to make sure he ate every last ounce what was on his plate.
When he finally finished, and set the plate back down, he felt sleepy and a little awkward. But he reckoned that was more of a side effect of finally getting some food in him, than any sign that a drug had been planted.
Scott eyes him warily. "How do you feel?"
Remy took a moment to consider the question. "Okay, I guess. Little tired, but not violated." He paused, thought about what he just said, than amended, "At least, not chemically."
Scott's resulting smile was at complete odds with the situation. "Good. You look a little better. More colour in your cheeks."
Remy raised a hand to stroke his fingers across the hollows of his cheeks, and supposed Scott was trying to make him feel better about eating than actually expressing his belief.
"So, what's y'plan fo' getting' outta dis hellhole?" Remy asked, partly because he was curious as to what Scott had done while he was sleeping, and partly to take the attention of himself.
It worked better than he had hoped.
"I don't have one yet," Scott replied truthfully, rising to his feet slowly. He collected the tray and dirty plate, and set it down by the cell door. "I thought it would be easier to plan on together. Who better to engineer an escape than a master thief?"
Remy rolled his eyes at the blatant praise. Scott was clearly trying to make right whatever had happened between them before Remy had fallen asleep. The last time he had complimented Remy on his career choice had been…Come to think of it, Remy didn't think it had ever happened before.
"If I could find a way outta heah, d'ya really t'ink I'd be sittin' on dis god awful cot, eatin' dat po' excuse fo' low protein gruel?"
"I'm willing to secede your point, I'm going to ignore the sarcasm." He rubbed his hands roughly on his thighs, and looked carefully around the room. "We need some kind of weapon." His eyes fell on the silver bucket in the corner.
Again, Remy snorted laughter. "What, you plan on dumping urine on deir heads? I don' t'ink dat'll stand up against de tasers."
Scott sent Remy his own brand of glare. "Well, I don't see you contributing any to the brainstorming."
Remy smiled faintly, and shook his head slowly. "Why don' I try to grab somet'in' when dey take me away? Mebbe dey'll turn deir backs, and I can grab a fire poker, or somet'in?"
The lines on Scott's face quickly grew angry, and Remy knew he was wrong to mention the torture. Most people didn't do well when confronted with proof of the horrible things people could do to one another. But just as suddenly as it appeared, the sharp lines melted away. He leapt to his feet, and tried to peer out the tiny window.
"Do you hear that? Someone's coming!"
'Well, guess dey're early today,' Remy thought to himself, but wisely did not voice it out loud. If he gave himself the opportunity to think about it, it would surprise him a great deal how quickly he had grown accustomed to their treatment, and to their schedule. While Scott paced the cell like an ADD suffering squirrel, Remy simply rolled over onto his stomach and clasped his hands behind his back. With a cellmate to keep him company, to lend him strength, he knew it would be that much easier to resist their methods of torture. And that much easier for him to find the resources to escape. But to let his captors know how much having Scott with him helped him would be to play his hand too soon. They had to think he was just as beaten, and just as witless as he had been before. Otherwise they might separate them, and as much as Remy had hated Scott up until this point, he wasn't sure he could take being alone again.
A/N: Did anyone see that coming? I love the idea of Scott and Remy, two people who couldn't possibly be more different, stuck in a situation like that. Anyways, there are more chapters coming. Just bear with me!