Title: Exodus

Author: Tirya King

Category: Angst/General

Rating: PG

Warning: Child abuse

Feedback: Mais oui!

Archive: Tell me where it's going and it's yours!

Timeframe: Back when Remy was a wee lil one. Around 7 years old.

Summary: Driven from his home and labeled a devil, Remy has no choice but to make his life on the streets. With only a backpack and a few cherished memories, he exists day to day, wondering when the end will be.

Disclaimer: Remy's eyes are red, Kurt's skin is blue. I don't own X-Men, so please don't sue! The song 'Exodus' belongs to Evanescence.

A/N: This will be a two-shot. I had the idea while watching Saiyuki and seeing my favorite character, Gojyo, learn how to live with the hate that comes just by being oneself. Also, I am going with the understanding that Remy was born with his eyes, but developed his other powers when he was older. Kind of like Kurt in that sense.

Exodus

Part One: Le Diable

The rain pounded against the windows mercilessly. Thunder and lightning filled the house, shaking some loose items from their shelves. Dust was shaken off the tops of cabinets and shelve, making the room even more stuffy in the summer heat. This was one of the worst storms New Orleans had seen in years. And it didn't look like it would be stopping any time soon.

Most children would be frightened out of their minds to see such a storm. They would be cuddled up to mom and dad, shivering with the fright only the young possessed. Most children would not even think of taking solace in such chaos, knowing the monsters reveled in such weather. Most children were not mutants with the eyes of the very Devil Himself.

Said child was huddled beneath his window, wrapped in a comforter so tightly, one would only be able to make out his cursed eyes, the sources of all his trouble.

He was glad for the storm for many reasons. The loud thunder and rain drowned out the sounds of his mother raging downstairs. In her drunken stupor, the woman tore through the house, searching for her demon-spawn child.

And the pounding of the rain hid the sound of him crying.

It had been like this for as long as he could remember. Ever since his father left his wife and child for another woman. Ever since the neighbors started to whisper about the Devil child.

The 7-year old barely understood why he was viewed with such fear. All he knew was that he was a bad bad boy. What good boy makes their mommy cry?

And as the cursed child cried, he curled up into the corner further, as though to hide from the world that shunned him so. From the woman whose tears equaled his own. Usually, the fear was not so bad as it was now. Usually, he could curl up in his little cot near the window and fall into a deep sleep where even she could not touch him. Usually, his crying, a rare occurrence, was silent from all ears.

Ever since his mother found solace in her bourbon, he knew not to make a sound. He didn't speak unless spoken to and any disturbance was punished harshly. Others said it was just not natural for a boy his age to be so quiet. Was the boy mute or just plain… special?

Special was one word for it.

Tonight, he could not keep the tears inside. It hurt too much. His eyes hurt too much.

He sniffled piteously, reaching a small chubby hand to touch his face gingerly. He flinched at the sudden pain that flared through him. The scratches around his eyes were deep this time, still solely oozing blood. His salty tears only irritated the wounds. She had really wanted them gone this time.

And he, frozen with fear and shame, had been ready to let her take them. Would have let her do anything. So long as she stopped crying. He wanted his mommy back. His vibrant, beautiful mommy who always smiled and laughed.

Then she had stopped unexpectedly. Fingernails red with blood, she covered her own face and wept bitterly. Cursing him, the Devil, her poor ugly baby. He crept away then, no longer frozen in his horrified daze. Limped up to his room and beneath his soft baby blanket.

A sudden thumping sound alerted him to his mother. Freezing like a hunted rabbit, the boy watched with wide, scarlet eyes as she stumbled in, stale alcohol and sorrow following her like a cloud. He watched her as she made it to her own bed across from his and collapsed onto it. She was asleep before she even hit the pillow.

For 20 minutes, he was frozen like that, afraid of even breathing too hard lest she wake. Her sleep was uneasy and light; the smallest thing could disturb her. And he didn't feel up to another repeat of that evening.

The more he watched her, heard her cry even in her sleep, the more he wanted to rip his own eyes out. If it would make his beautiful mother smile again, he would die. But, his small ruby eyes teared up, he was too scared. Some part of him would not let him die. He still wanted to live, despite the pain he wrought.

Assured that his mother was in as deep asleep as possible, the child slowly unwrapped himself from his blanket and reached under his cot. Pulling out his black backpack, he put in the few toys he owned and a picture of he and his parents still intact on his mother's nightstand. If all he did was make her cry and he was too much of a coward to rid himself of his damned eyes, then he would leave. Both of them could finally be free.

"Des'le, maman (sorry, mommy)," he whispered to her when his bag was packed. He smoothed down her wavy auburn hair so like his own. "Ah wanted t' be a garcon bon (good boy). Mais, pas l'inquietude, (but, don't worry) yeh don' have t' see me no mo'. Des'le, maman, an' je t'aime. (I'm sorry, mommy, and I love you.)"

He kissed her worried forehead, already starting to get wrinkles despite her very young age. Then he picked up his baby blanket and backpack and tip-toed out of the door into the kitchen.

On the top of the small table still lay his mother's set of keys and wallet that she had thrown down after work.

The wallet sat there innocently, calling him to take from it. He was still very young, but he knew that he wouldn't last very long without any money. He chewed on his lower lip in indecision. He needed the money, but he didn't want to steal. It was wrong, and his mother always told him what was right and what was wrong. Her job at the local supermarket barely made enough money to take care of the small family of two. And now he wanted to steal from her too? He was a bad boy after all.

But… he still needed the money.

In the end, he took only a twenty-dollar bill. Since she didn't have to pay for extra food or clothes for him anymore, surely she wouldn't miss it so much.

Packing the rest of his bag with leftovers from that night, the child was ready to go. All he needed now was… ah, there they were! He never went anywhere without his sunglasses. Too many people hated him as it was. No need to get his poor mother in any more trouble.

Another crash of thunder shook the windows, making him jump, startled by the sudden noise. Apparently the storm was nowhere near done. Perhaps a coat wasn't a bad idea either. Now unable to take any more with him, the young mutant finally opened the door and shut it silently behind him, leaving his home once and for all.

Outside, the storm was fiercer than it seemed from inside. Throwing his hood on, the child ran for an alley. They were quite prominent in New Orleans, especially the poor section. The two buildings on either side would offer enough shelter for the night. In the morning, he could decide where to go from there.

Pulling his baby blanket out, he wrapped it around his tiny frame, shivering in the cold autumn rain. Part of him regretted this rash decision, wished he could go back to his warm cot and go to sleep.

No, he refused himself. He wouldn't make his mommy cry anymore. He had to think of others beside himself.

He stuck his thumb in his mouth like he always did when he was upset and scooted further into the pile of cardboard he was pressed against. Finally, exhausted both mentally and physically, the young boy drifted off into an uneasy sleep.

Morning broke with the large sun shining overhead. The moisture that still hung in the air promised a humid day despite it being late September. The tiny bundle curled up in the cardboard and trash stirred from his slumber.

He opened his eyes to his first morning of freedom. And immediately shut them in pain. His eyes hurt more than last night if possible. Carefully he touched one of the scabbed wounds. It was warm to the touch and slightly raised. What did that mean? Why did it hurt so much?

Whatever the reason, he couldn't stay there all day. He was still too close to home and he couldn't risk being seen by someone who knew him, least of all his mother. It would only bring further shame upon her. No, it was better that he was never seen again.

He dug through the soaked backpack, looking for some of the food he had stuffed in before he left. Most of it was still in their Tupperware containers, and therefore relatively unaffected by the rain. So with a meager breakfast of cold pork and a banana in his stomach, the child cautiously moved further into the alley away from his home street. He knew there were bad people here. His mommy had been sure to point these people, telling him that if it wasn't for her kindness, he would be one of them. Now, it seemed, he was one of them despite her kindness. Luckily for him, most of these people were still asleep. Those who weren't were too occupied with finding their own breakfast than the little boy tip-toeing by.

Entering into the main street, he stared around stupidly. Now what? How far away did he intend on going? And what would he do with himself? Eventually the food and money would run out. Unless he planned on stealing for a living, he needed a solution.

So with sunglasses on and head ducked, no one noticed the little runaway who seemed to walk without direction or intention.

It wasn't until nearly dinnertime that the small mutant had an idea of where he was. French words were being infused more and more with the thick bayou accents. It was a strange but exotic place as he'd never been to the French Quarter before. Unless absolutely necessary, his mother left him at home, the threat of his abnormality too risky.

He looked up at a street corner with a puzzled expression. He had to crane his neck all the way just to see the sign. The alphabet was well known to the bright lad, but reading was still a new subject to him.

"Bo… bo-uu… boo…" he sighed in frustration. He couldn't do it! There was a crowd around him waiting to cross the street. Maybe one of them could help him. Tugging on a sleeve close to him, he asked absently. "Excuse-moi, Monsieur. What does dat say?" He pointed to the sign that caused him trouble.

"De sign? It says Bourbon Street. Yeh los', petite? Lookin' fo' yo' maman?" the man asked kindly.

"Non, not los'. Merci, Monsieur!" He walked in the opposite direction of the moving crowd eager to be on his way.

"Pas de problem," was the man's reply as he crossed the street. The boy's smudged face already forgotten by the time he made it home from work.

Bourbon… he was on Bourbon Street. It was a large road lined with shops and restaurants, the smell reminding him of the cold food weighing down his backpack. Every couple of buildings, he would pass a band jamming to the delight of tourists and locals alike.

He decided he rather liked it here. So here was where he would stay. The people here seemed to be nice and it was certainly far enough away from his mother that he would never be discovered.

Stomach growling from the exotic smells, the child made his way into the nearest alley not already occupied. He felt some semblance of security when away from the sight of others. The ground was still soggy from the rain the night before. He lifted his shirt from where it stuck to his jeans. He was rather soggy too, and it was starting to get a little chilly as the sun descended below the horizon.

He dug into his backpack and finished off some pieces of ham, a slice of hard bread and a juicebox. He didn't feel very good and the scratches around his eyes oozed a bad smelling something. But there was nothing to be done for it. He had to take care of himself now.

So wrapping his large fluffy blanket around himself, the tiny devil child fell into his second uneasy sleep on the ground.

The weeks went on like this. Food, however, did not endure as the child did. It eventually ran out, leaving him little choice but to find it another way. At first he tried to dig through the trash of restaurants like he'd seen others without homes do. But small as he was, the 7 year old never got first pickings. He had to wait until the others were done. This led to him getting the worst of it, and often he could not keep it in his stomach very long.

He had no option now but to spend what little money he took from his mother. Somewhere deep in his mind, the boy wanted to go back someday and return what he took. But he finally relented, knowing that if he did not survive, there would never be a someday.

Waking up, he washed his face with some water leaking out a pipe nearby. He wanted to look less like a street rat when he went out in public. That way, his money wouldn't be so questionable.

The child nearly cried as he scrubbed at his face. The scratches had swelled terribly as time went on. They were nearly untouchable so badly did they burn. Between them and the constant fear plaguing him, life had turned little better than a walking Hell.

Sunglasses secured firmly on his face, the child made his way onto the main part of Bourbon Street, the 20 dollar bill clenched tightly in his small fist. Thoughts of a big red shiny apple entertained his mind, and he imagined what it would be to sink his teeth into it, sucking up the juices that ran down his chin…

A jolt knocked him from his fantasy. Large hands grabbed at him, making him stumble to his knees painfully. Someone tried to get the money from him, but the child instinctively curled into a ball to hide the money and himself.

"Gimme de money!" shouted his attacker, another child about 10 years old. There were others too, more children grabbing at his backpack for anything useful.

"Non!" the young victim yelled back. "Go 'way!"

Then came the fists.

They came from everywhere at once, hitting all the places that hurt the most. It was quick work before the gang of boys wrestled the 20 dollar bill form his hands and the backpack from his shoulders.

"What yeh got here, boy?" the leader of the little band of troublemakers demanded as he pilfered through the tattered bag.

"Gimme mah t'ings back!" the abused young mutant ordered, still fearless after the sound beating.

The boy sneered at him, knocking his head to the side. "An' what are yeh goin' t' do 'bout it, petite?" he mocked. "Is de wee bebe gonna cry?"

The child looked back up at him with the closest he'd ever felt to hatred burning in his eyes. And as he stared at his attackers, he watched their expressions go from mocking to confusion to curiosity to downright fear.

"Diable," the leader whispered, scrambling to his feet.

The young boy reached a hand to his face, suddenly realizing that his ugly and horrible eyes were now free in broad daylight. The sunglasses had fallen off with the blow to the head.

"Julian," another boy whispered as they stared at the freakish boy, "Julian, it's le Diable. Je veux aller." (Let's go) He tugged on the leader's jacket, never moving his gaze from the mutant's terrible eyes. If he looked away for an instant, the tiny demon may choose to attack.

The boy, wanting to be gone as well from the scared gang, reached out his hand for the backpack. "Non!" he cried, not wanting them to go till they returned his things.

At his sudden movement, the four boys were off like hunted deer. The money, bag, and blanket went with them. Everything he had left but for the broken glasses at his feet, the clothes he wore, and the picture of his family tucked into his jacket's pocket. The child sniffled and wiped his nose as he stared after the fleeing boys. Even if he had a chance of fighting back his belongings, his short legs would never be able to catch them. Not when they were running life the Devil was on their heels. Like he was on their heels.

There was nothing to be done for it and he slowly made his way back to the alley on Bourbon Street. One of the painful scratches on his face ruptured during a punch and bled down his cheeks life red tears from red eyes. Red like the juicy red apple he could still taste but never have.

That night he dreamt of a bowl of apples and a warm bed and soft arms holding him tight.

End Part One

A/N: Yes, I know this was going to be a one-shot, but dear petite Remy just wants to keep on going . The next and final chapter is not as depressing as this one. Also, my story Dream of Guanyin will eventually make reference to this and the end of the next chapter will make reference to Dream of Guanyin. Don't worry if you don't know what it is, you don't need to. Just as you don't need to read this in order to understand DoG.

Trivia Time!

This one should be easy! Who is Pearl Forrester and what does she have to do with Mike Nelson?