Title: Trials Unending
Author: Faceted Mind
Summary: After his return from Antarctica, Remy's trials are far from over.
Warnings: For this chapter… nada (save a little medical info-blast which despite researching may or may not be accurate, forgive me anyone who reads it and shakes their heads in annoyance, I am no medic) oh, and a little British spelling, which I'm sure you can forgive me for.
This is AU, for how Remy gets back to the Mansion and in what state.
No glowy green ladies here. :D Also unbetaed, as I have yet to get
hold of an x-men beta. So all mistakes my own.
Added Note: I have only recently noticed the stunning similarities between this story and the LOTR story "An Orc's Tale". I'm going to put to you that this was completely accidental, and the similarities shouldn't persist for too long.
Pairing: Future Logan/Remy, but not just yet ;)
"Hello?" The voice on the telephone seemed distant and distorted in Hank's ear as he returned the greeting with his customary verboseness.
"Good afternoon, Sir. This is the Xavier Institute for Gifted Children. My name is Dr. Henry McCoy. How may I help you on this fine day?"
"Umm… I was hoping to speak to Professor Xavier himself, is that possible?"
"I'm afraid not. Could I enquire as to the nature of your call? I may be able to help you."
"My name is Dr. Stuart Patrick. I work at the McMurdo Base hospital in Antarctica…" Hank's breath caught, waiting for what he would say next. "We have a young man here with rather extraordinary eyes…"
"A group of animal biologists were flying over the area and thought him untagged local wildlife. Needless to say as soon as they realised he was human they brought him back here. He's suffering from deep-skin frostbite in his hands and, to a lesser extent his feet, ears and nose. Serious pneumonia, though no longer life threatening - goodness knows what he was doing out there with no shirt on, he has yet to find consciousness long enough to tell us himself. He also seems to have a form of very severe snow-blindness. His rather unique eyes – the reason I contacted you, you see – seem to be very susceptible to such damage. They are obviously specialised for night-vision, I suspect even standard lighting is painfully bright to him. The glare from the snow has… well, possibly 'burnt' is the best adjective… it has burnt his cornea, or what passes for his cornea. My god, how to describe his eye-structure without inventing a whole new vocabulary…? He seems to have some form of external retina – the black scleral part of his eye. This has suffered extensive UVB damage, which I have treated as best as I can without knowing the precise nature of his optical physiology. As for the wonderful red glow… I can't even determine if that is damaged, let alone try to treat it." Hank would have liked to reassure the doctor that even with the man nearby for three years (give or take), he had still not been able to determine the nature of his red pupil. But he was talking too fast to get a word in edgeways. "He's on anti-inflammatories and pain medication for the frostbite. We put his hands and feet through the thawing process as soon as he arrived here, but the bite on his hands is severe enough to warrant daily debridement, which we have been following through with. At the moment he's resting, the affected areas are elevated with his hands splinted in the 'safe position' to restrict movement between the treatments."
"The safe position?" He finally managed to get in as the other man took a breath.
"The wrist is placed in 25° of dorsiflexion, the metacarpophalangeal joints in 75° of flexion, the interphalangeal joints are at neutral and the thumb is midway between radial and palmar abduction."
"Ah, thank you."
"This is necessary to avoid contractures of the joints that would lead to loss of mobility in the long term, you understand."
"Yes, of course. What is the risk of loss of the affected digits?"
"For now I will reserve judgement. In these cases no such extreme action is undertaken in the affected areas unless infection sets in. Amputation decisions should be left until at least four weeks, preferably two months after the incident to avoid damaging tissue that may recover in the long run or leaving behind tissue that would then have to be removed in further surgery."
They turned a corner and Hanks mind stalled, Dr. Patrick's voice drowned out by a sudden rush of blood to his brain. Remy LeBeau lay on white sheets - his own skin barely half a shade darker. His red hair lay lip about his head and a breathing tube masked most of his face. The ugly looking splints bound obviously damaged hands that were elevated on short platforms, and a heated blanket lay over his whole body. He looked… unreasonably small.
"The airway is a precaution, nothing more at this point. He hasn't regained full consciousness and with such damaging pneumonia we didn't want to take the risk of removing it." Hank's attention was drawn back to the other doctor, and he dragged his eyes from his friend's battered body.
"I understand. Has he shown any signs of consciousness?"
"He has been shifting about and at one point he spoke aloud, though he did not respond to external stimulus."
"May I ask what he said?" Hank pushed, half-fearing the answer.
"Dr. McCoy…" He hesitated. "I feel obliged at this point to ask what you know of the circumstances surrounding Remy's trip to Antarctica."
"A group of us were brought here against our wishes." Hank began hesitantly. He wanted to tell as much of the truth as he could, but knew that the exact nature of the event would not be taken well. "An as-yet-unidentified enemy held us until such time as we were able to attempt an escape. Remy was the only one to fail to make it back to our base of operations. Until you contacted me we had all thought him dead."
"He speaks of abandonment, in his restless sleep."
"I fear that was the case. One of our team said that she had seen him fall, we did not think to doubt her and time was of the essence. We had wounded." Dr. Patrick sighed, nodding.
"I understand. I had… feared that you might have left him intentionally, and that you had returned to make sure he said nothing of this to us. But there is too much pain in your eyes for me to accept that. He will need another week before he is fit to be transported. Then you may take him to your medical facility." He left Hank in the room with Remy, and a cold hard stone in his stomach.
Remy woke slowly and the first thing he was aware of was the antiseptic smell. Waking in a lab was never a good sign, but a brief check in with his body told him that he was in no state to put up a fight. Pushing his body's complaints aside until he knew exactly how much trouble he was in, he reached out with his kinetic sense. There was a fan or some kind of ventilation system behind him that disturbed the air to his senses much as heat does the eyes and the slow audible chug was distracting. He pushed them both to the back of his mind. It was the work of a moment to determine that there was nothing alive in his immediate vicinity. Nothing to suggest anything… sinister to him. No pun intended. He turned his attention to the room itself. It was small – that in itself was reassuring. The baddies tended to like big open spaces for their torture. Determining he was safe for the time being, he focused on his own condition.
The first matter that caught his attention was the tight blindfold that stopped him from using the usual senses to scope out the room. He moved both arms upwards slowly. A sharp pain in his left inner elbow stopped him and he lowered that arm back to the bed, cataloguing the IV in his mind. Continuing to his face with the other hand he found its progress stopped short as something soft touched his face but his hand did not. Consciously going through the motions of checking on his hands he found that his wrists, tight and aching, were fixed in place with some form of splint and about half way across his palm all sensation stopped, his fingers and thumb completely numb within the bulky bandages. Pushing that discovery to one side he slid his arm across his face until his inner arm was rested against his face. Not as sensitive as his hands, but it would have to do. As his arm rested across his eyes it became obvious that what he thought had been a blindfold was in fact a bandage covering a wound as an intense pain shot through his head, intent on nailing his head to the pillow via his eyes. His automatic response was to rub at his eyes to get whatever was causing the pain out. Two large hands closed around his arms, pulling them away from his face even as he did so. He heard himself whimper and clamped down on his bottom lip with his teeth, breathing heavily to try and push away the pain. He slowly became aware of the voice talking to him as the all-encompassing pain started to subdue slightly.
"…restrain you. Really, I'm amazed you were able to avoid…"
"Henri?" He interrupted. There was a startled pause, which Remy proceeded to fill, coughing heavily as the liquid in his lungs fought for escape up his throat. He felt like he was being suffocated as the mucus shifted up and down his windpipe. A mask settled over his nose and mouth and the feeling eased a little as he breathed in the warm air deeply and brought the coughing under control.
"Remy?" The Beast's soft voice. He nodded, not trusting himself to speak further without coughing again. "My goodness, I had my doubts. You are the most mobile sleeper I have ever had the dubious pleasure of monitoring. Now that you are awake, I expect you to listen to my ramblings. You should not be touching your eyes right now. Every time you rub your eyes you make the tear ducts raw. They are bleeding again, I can see it through the bandages. I am going to have to change them, I will give you a sedative…"
"Non." The word was almost a cough its self, Remy's control over his rebelling lungs tenuous.
"Remy, I don't think you are aware how painful this will be. Your eyes were badly damaged. Any light at all is going to be agony, and I cannot change your bandages in the dark."
"Pas de stupéfiant."
"My friend. If you cannot talk to me in English I will be forced to take you as mentally altered and I will administer the sedative anyway." It was harsh, he knew, but he needed to know that Remy knew what he was asking.
"No drugs, Henri." The request was clear though it was followed by a heavy bout of coughing.
"Alright then. I will turn the lights as low as I can and still work. You would be well advised to keep your eyes shut during the procedure, but do not screw them up, as this will cause irritation. I have no idea how I am going to administer the eye drops without hurting you further." With those brief instructions in place, Hank continued with the hateful task of causing a friend immense pain.