Remy woke shaking and hyperventilating, a face imprinted on his mind. Every time it was the same face, some emotion seen there calming him from his panic, only to strike him down in the darkness. Take him, struggling and crying, until he hadn't the strength for either any more. Scanning the shadows again and again for some lost icon. Someone to take him home.
Struggling to bring his breathing back under control, Remy wished he could look into all the corners of his room to make sure they were empty. He knew they were, his kinetic sense told him as much, but somehow it wasn't as reassuring as looking.
He couldn't restraina shout as a hand touched his back, becoming a figure that rose out of nothing so very close - too close. The hand was withdrawn almost immediately - but he was across the room with a charged card in his hand before he could think, and only the voice stopped his throw.
"Remy, stop!" Logan. It was Logan. In his bed because he'd asked him to stay the night. He'd held him, his embrace gentle in a way he'd never imagined for a man who was outwardly so coarse. He tossed the card and let the charge dissipate, dropping to his knees as the adrenaline seeped out of him. Logan dropped back onto the bed and Remy watched as his warmth disappeared in the camouflage of the body-warmed sheets.
"I din' see y'. 'M sorry."
"Ya had a nightmare?"
Remy snorted, almost feeling guilty that his thoughts weren't for his injured team mate. Not that he was part of that team anymore, he reminded himself. "Non."
"Should I just shut up?" Logan asked, the hint of a smile in his words. Remy came and sat back down on the bed, feeling a little stupid kneeling by the far wall. "Or should I leave?" The sound of his smile… and what a strange thought that was… the sound of his smile was gone from his words when Remy didn't reply.
"Non…" he denied quickly, "please. I'm sorry. Jus' gettin' m' head back t'gether."
"No worries." Remy tugged at his T-shirt, damp from sweat and clinging to his back. He never usually wore clothes to bed, but tonight he had made an exception, and he was beginning to regret it.
After the mayhem of the mission that evening, Remy had thought he'd never be able to sleep - his body pulsing with adrenaline and the knowledge of what he'd accomplished. Becoming a useful and active member of the team, if only for that one night. But as soon as he'd reached his room all of the adrenaline had seeped out of him and he'd barely been able to make it to his bed. He'd been quite happy sitting there watching the dance of movement and heat as Logan had undressed, knowing what was being revealed and fighting down his own rising heat, but as soon as he'd reached the bed Remy had become a little ball of tension; barely able to lie still, let alone sleep. Logan had reached out to touch him and he'd flown from the bed so quickly he'd tripped over a chair and spent a minute on the floor working through a couple of the richer shades of embarrassed while he apologised profusely. Logan's suggestion had worked and, clothed, he'd been comfortable enough to fall asleep in Logan's arms, feeling warm and totally protected. And now he'd jumped out of bed again, this time to threaten Logan with a card.
"Merde," he muttered to himself.
"What?" Logan pushed.
"I'm hopeless, y'know. Can' even spend th' night wit' y' wit'out…" He gestured vaguely.
"Ya had a nightmare. 'S nothin' big. Live through some of mine, then I think we'll be more than even." Remy laughed lightly and crawled back into Logan's arms, kissing his hands as they closed around him.
"T'ank y'," he sighed contentedly. "T'ank y' so much."
Remy woke feeling completely refreshed despite the night's trials, sure that it was heinously late in the afternoon and everyone would be up and out already. Logan was already up, the warmth of his body long since faded. But Remy hadn't woken feeling so relaxed in a very long time and he savoured it for a while before forcing himself out of bed and into the real world.
The day that had started so well quickly turned sour as, forgetting that he was at the mansion now and not in Leadenhall, he got out of bed on the wrong side - literally - and stubbed his toe on the desk. Swearing, and trying not to hop around, knowing that was asking for morepain when he was still trying to reorient himself, he put both feet on the ground and found the edge of the desk with his hand.
He knew he had to check in with Hank at some point since his return to the mansion, but he wasn't sure the big doctor would welcome him if he was busy with another patient. It was an excuse he thought he might be able to milk for a good long while if he put some effort into it.
Sitting back down on the bed he considered going back to sleep and trying to find that serenity he'd had earlier. He was now terrifyingly aware that to get breakfast he'd have to go through whoever else happened to be downstairs, and probably be subjected to their curiosity. Any slip he made today would seal their judgements of him.
"So, fuck 'em," he muttered to himself, with bravado he felt none of. Forcing himself up and out of bed he went to search out the clothes he had unpacked whilst half-asleepafter the troubling events of the night before.
The curiosity around him spiked as he wandered into the kitchen. He could see Scott by the sink - his face obscured by the energy that radiated from his eyes and stopped short when it reached his glasses. There was someone sitting on the sofa in the other room, and he knew he was visible to them through the big open doorway between the two - it was either Betsy or Jean, with long hair moving below her shoulders - and Bobby, half a shade 'darker' than the others in his sight, was in the armchair watching the TV.
"Any news on Ange?" he asked, feeling the tension that had been present even before he'd walked in.
"He's pulling through," Bobbyanswered quietly, unusually subdued.
"Hank decided against surgery last night. He's going to wait until he knows more, do some scans when Warren's had a chance to recover a little." Remy almost jumped at Betsy's voice - he'd assumed that she would be down there with Warren, and Jean would be closer to her husband. Betsy sounded tired.
Remy nodded and wandered the rest of the way into the kitchen, hesitating for a minute.
"Not'in' moved while I bin gone?" he asked Scott quietly, feeling foolish but unwilling to make an even bigger fool of himself.
"No. You should find everything where you expect to."
"Except your concealed packs of cigarettes," Jean growled from the doorway behind him. Remy turned and flashed her an apologetic grin. "Did I tell you I found four packs? And in the kitchen of all places. I dread to think how many more there are around the house." Only four? Remy pondered, reaching into the cabinet for a mug and trying to subtly check his hiding places for the remaining pack.
"Hank wanted to see you, by the way," Scott added. "He was a little annoyed at me for roping you into last night's mission before your checkup." Remy's fingers brushed across the pack of cigarettes in the sauce jug - rather delicate and rarely used in this household - that Jean had missed and discretely dropped them into a pocket, enjoying the knowledge that he still had one or two tricks up his sleeve. Carefully pouring himself a cup of coffee he dropped into an empty seat at the kitchen table, scowling at the foiling of his plan to avoid Hank.
"D'y' t'ink he'd notice if I didn' turn up?" Betsy snorted from the other room.
"You're such a pansy when it comes to checkups," she said, coming to join them at the table.
"Just go, Gambit. Get it over and done with," Scott pushed. Remy sighed.
"So, d' we hear from th' professor?" Gambit asked, aware that no one seemed to be planning the big rescue mission.
"His plane was delayed. He was going to contact Jean psychically last night, but realised she was in the middle of something. He left a message and Storm and Logan went to pick him up. You just missed them."
"'S a relief." Remy swirled the last dregs of his coffee around the cup, trying to draw it out.
"Yes it is," Scott sighed. "Now don't think I've not noticed you're delaying. Hank, now." With a melodramatic sigh and an overemphasised slouch, Remy shuffled out of the kitchen and headed down towards the lab.
Wandering into the lab, Remy found Warren in the bed closest to Hank's office, surrounded by humming monitors and machinery. Remy stayed quiet, not sure if he was awake or asleep.
"If you're looking for Hank he's in his office," Warren provided tiredly, lifting up on one elbow. Awake then.
"T'anks, I'll wait," heanswered, finding a seat in the corner to hide in. Logically, he knew that if he just went and talked to Hank it would all be over before he knew it, and he could minimise the time he would have to spend in the lab with Warren, but he was going to have to work up some courage if he was going to willingly approach the doctor. Usually the Doctor found him before he found the courage to take that step. It had taken enough to get him through the door.
"You know… sometimes I think you're being brave." Remylooked up as Warren spoke again. "And then I realise it's not in your nature, so I guess you're just stupid." His insults were a little more desperate than usual, grasping at some sense of normality as his world failed.
"Guess so," Remy replied amiably. "Should I be afraid?"
"I'm too stupid t' be brave? Neh? So is dere somet'in' 'm s'pposed t' be 'fraid of?"
"Are you not afraid? Not at all? Your life is… ruined, and by someone you loved. Are you not scared that there's nothing after this? Nothing but… living?"
"Livin' not 'nough f' you, Wings?"
"You know what I mean. No more superheroing, rescues, thieving… No more falling in love, one night stands. Just days and days of working to get from one minute to another?"
"Fallin' in love's easy if y' let it happen, Warren. Y' have Betsy…"
"As if she's going to stick around if I can't… be myself anymore." Remy shook his head, exasperated.
"Betsy ain' in love wit' y' image, Warren. She actu'lly loves you, t'ough god knows why, dere ain' much 'bout you dat's lovable."
"We were talking about you, not me." Warren's reply was almost a growl.
"Right," Remy replied wryly.
"How can you talk about love like that when Rogue's…"
"I still love her," Remyanswered abruptly, still not comfortable with any of the words that might have followed in Warren's tirade, despite the truth in them, "but I had help makin' peace wit' dat."
Remy laughed. "Maybe dat's true." He grinned even wider. "M'be madness is what's gon' get me t'rough dis. Or maybe it's love."
Logan stretched as he got out of the car, feeling as though he'd been driving all day. It had taken them almost two hours to get through the heaving traffic around the airport causedby the sudden arrival of several delayed planes. The professor had been on thelast of the lot, meaning they'd had to wait an extra hour for him to land and be processed. It didn't help that the protocol was that he had to wait until everyone else was off the plane before they could carry him off to his chair.
Now Logan was grumpy from having spent the whole day doing nothing, with Storm grinning at some private joke and asking him uncomfortable questions, and to top it off they'd hit rush hour traffic on the way back. He was just about ready to tear a hole in something. He looked up at the mansion's front door in the hopes of seeing Scott there demanding they joined the team for a training session, but no such luck. Movement caught his eye through the glass door leading into the kitchen and a smirk caught as he recognised the man sitting at the table.
Maybe that would do.
"Hey Punk." Scott looked up sharply, but Logan's gaze was on Remy and no one else. The object of his attentions looked up slowly, one eyebrow raised and a grin growing.
"What?" he snapped in mock-irritation. Storm came up beside Logan, looking fairly ruffled herself in Scott's eyes, but Remy ignored her. She asked a silent question of Scott, who only shrugged and returned to his paper, keeping half an eye on the antics around the table. Storm smiled and left silently, leaving Remy with an empathic kiss – a brush of love across his shields. Remy acknowledged it and turned his full attention back to Logan.
"Ya wanna play?" The question was half-threat, accompanied by the sound of blades extending. Remy's grin widened.
"Bring it on, Runt." Standing quickly, Remy knocked his chair over and was across the table in seconds, colliding with Logan's chest before he could react.
"HEY!" Jean's voice called from the doorway to the sitting room, having turned the corner just in time to witness the stunt. "No jumping on tables!" She was ignored as Remy and Logan went rolling out of the door into the hall.
Scott looked up as she took a seat at the table. "Should we stop them?" Jean looked around from where she had been trying to watch through the still-open door.
"Have we ever before?"
"No, but…" Jean frowned as Scott hesitated. "Logan might hurt him," Scott finished weakly.
"You don't really believe that, do you?" Scott opened his mouth and then closed it with a short laugh.
"No, I guess not." Jean smiled.
"So we let them play."
There was a ceramic sounding crash from the hall.
"NO FIGHTING IN THE HOUSE!" Jean shouted, bolting from her seat into the hall. "GET OUT!" Scott sighed and smiled, going back to his paper. Everything was right in the world.
(There should be a sequel at some point, I have lots of material that didn't make it into this fic that I'd still like to use. We'll see. Oli)