Home For A Second
By: Nicole Wagner: The Deadly Gambit
Rated: PG-13 for content, slight language
Summary: The sequel to "Insanity". Remy's mental illness seems to be getting worse, and leads towards a cruel experiment. All he just wants is his family, and to go home, even for a second.
I find myself smiling, tonight. I'm surrounded by my family at the dinner table, at our home in New Orleans, Louisiana. The room smells of Cajun home cooking, dirty rice, gumbo... even some southern food as well. I'm sitting next to my older brother Henri, who is scooping some green beans onto his plate, while talking about his day with my father. Everyone has a smile on their face, and the food smells so good. It's been so long since we've had a family dinner like this, since we took the time to sit together and just talk and joke about. But as soon as I look into my glass of water, I realize something is very wrong.
The glass of water, is no longer clear... it's red like blood. The once delicious looking food that was around me has changed, as well. It's transformed into a bunch of rotten food, covered in flies and maggots, the room quickly filling with a horrible stench. I cover my nose and mouth, slapping my plate away, and hearing it break on the floor.
"Remy? Chile? What's wrong?" Henri asks me, his gaze turning to me. He's changed, as well. He's nothing more than a rotting corpse, an arrow sticking out of his chest, right where his heart is.
Henri's appearance frightens me enough to make me jump out of my chair, and begin to back into a corner. The room smells horrible... death, I smell it all around me. My eyes soon turn back to my father, desperate for help... but he is just as bad as Henri.
Jean Luc stands up from his chair, walking towards me. His skin has rotted off, his eyes are gone, and I can see worms and bugs crawling all about him. His clothing seems to have deteriorated, and was barely there. His jaw is moving, as if asking me a question, but no sound comes out. I cannot look at them anymore! Suddenly, I can feel hands moving to grab my arms, one grabbing my shoulder. All that I could do was just scream, and scream...
My eyes bolted open, finding myself in a white bed, dressed in a pair of pale, green hospital scrubs. My wrists and ankles are tied down to the bed, and the room I am in, it's just white, and empty. No windows, and the only light in the room was a flickering ceiling light, the kind you find in jails or schools. My body is shaking, and I can feel a bead of sweat rolling down my face. It was just a dream... sort of. My brother was still dead... and Jean Luc? I have not heard from him in five years... five years since...
A small laugh began to escape my lips. I remembered, now. Five years ago, I was sent to an asylum, after some of the X-Men tortured me in the Danger Room for some time. Five years of being considered completely insane, with no real hope of a recovery. just thrown away, like some unwanted toy. A toy... that's what I was to the X-Men. Once I was no longer useful or needed, I was just thrown away. I find myself laughing even harder, so hard, tears escape my eyes. I don't know why I laugh... I just do.
The door to the room opens up, and two men in white clothing walk in, one of them rolling his eyes as he looks at me.
"Oh great! He's started, again!" the man says, walking over towards my bed and pulling down the waist band to my scrubs, slightly, just enough so that part of my hip was showing. He took out a needle and quickly pushed it into my flesh, injecting some type of liquid into my veins. It fells rather cold, and the man takes the needle out of my side, fixing my scrubs. "There we go, Mister LeBeau. You're gonna feel real good, soon."
My laughter starts to come to a slow stop, as the two men are looking at me. The other man was taking my blood pressure, while the one who stuck me with a needle seemed to be trying to talk to me, still. I turn my head to one of them, a large, goofy smile across my face as I speak.
"I was home... jus' fer a minute... I was home. Wit' mah Papa an' my broder..." I spoke happily, while the other man started to check my pulse, and the man who was talking to me looked down a me with a sad smile.
"Yeah? You were with your family, Mister LeBeau? It must have been real nice." He brushes a strand of hair from my face, as I continue to smile. My hair must be sweaty.. the strands in front of my eyes look rather wet. "Mister LeBeau, we're going to take you for another CAT scan, today. Only this time, you're going to take a very long nap while you get the scan."
I already feel sleepy, as the two men start to take my bed and wheel it out of the room. I can barely keep my eyes open, watching the ceiling lights pass by as I am wheeled into another room. That's funny... this doesn't look like the room with the CAT scanner... it looks like an operating room. A man in green scrubs like mine, only wearing a matching hat and mask walks up to me, looking into my eyes.
"Don't worry, Mister LeBeau. Everything is going to be better soon. All those bad voices, all those bad dreams will go away soon enough. Just close your eyes and go to sleep."
I can hear a slight buzzing noise, like an electric razor, but before I can look to see what is going on, my eyes close, and I'm surrounded by darkness. I can no longer hear the people in white or the ones in scrubs speaking, nor can I see them. I do not feel the restraints on my body. Instead I feel something else.
Ever swim in a pool, or any body of water, and you just float on your back? You feel weightless, comfortable, and calm. It's a wonderful feeling, to feel like nothing is holding you down, and that you can go anywhere, do anything. It's like being invincible.
Soon, the floaty feeling is gone, and replaced with a numbness. I don't feel anything, emotionally that is. I don't feel happiness, I don't feel sadness. I feel no fear, and I feel no anger. There's nothing... I know I felt something before... the floaty feeling... what was it? I don't remember... what happened to me?
I finally feel something... it's not emotional, it's painful. My head... it hurts, alot. I can't open my eyes... they feel so heavy. What's wrong with me? Why do I feel so sick. I can feel hands under my armpits, helping me to sit up, as I start to throw up, emptying all the contents of my stomach into something... because it's not falling on me, I don't feel it. Once I am finishing heaving and coughing, I am laid back down.
"He seems to be doing alright. His symptoms are the same as if a regular human went through this!" Someone says. "Maybe he's conscious, Doctor! try asking him a question! Let's see if the procedure worked!"
"Mister LeBeau? Can you hear me?" A voice asks me. My eyes feel so heavy... I wanna open them, but I can't. Instead, I manage to open my mouth once more, and speak.
My speech sounds so slow... was it always so slow? Why does it take so much effort to speak?
"Okay, Mister LeBeau... who's the current President of the United States of America?" The voice asks me another question. I think I know the answer... right? Is this a simple question? Who is the President... I must know this if he is asking me! But... I... I don't know...
"Okay... that's fine, Mister LeBeau. That's not important right now. Maybe you'll remember in a few hours. Right now, I just want you to rest in your bed. Just take a nap."
"Sir... his speech is rather slow... he seems to have some memory probl- "
"That's enough! He just needs some rest! He's a mutant, his mind is different than humans! If this is a success, then perhaps we've found a way to make mutants human!"
The voices I hear seem to be arguing... I don't know what about, exactly. I can't understand some of what they are saying... it sounds like babbling. I think I am falling asleep, because everything is so silent, now... everything is pitch black. My body feels floaty, again... only I don't know how I feel about that. I don't know what I am feeling, anymore. I just feel so... numb.
I can hear something... it sounds like birds singing. My eye lids don't feel so heavy, so I manage to open them a little. My room is different. There is a window in here... and some birds nesting outside on the window sill. There is sunshine outside, and hardly any cloud in the sky. It's so peaceful outside...
My eyes soon travel away from the window, and I look down at myself. I'm no longer strapped to my bed. In fact, it's a whole different bed. Not a hospital bed on wheels and with bars on the side, but a regular, twin sized bed. The blankets are pulled up to my chest, and are a light blue in color... made of some soft material, because it feels nice against my skin.
My skin... I'm in a different outfit. Instead of the green hospital scrubs I was wearing earlier, I'm in a white hospital gown, with a white terry cloth robe over it. My skin feels clean, someone must have washed me while I was asleep. But something is off... my hair... where is my hair? All I can feel alot of bandages on my head, but I cannot feel my hair. It used to go down to my waist... but where did it go?
My thoughts are soon interrupted, as the door to my room opens, and a man in a white coat walks in. He's older than me, with a pair of glasses, and a small smile on his face. He walks over to my bed and takes a seat on a chair that is by it. He's probably a doctor at this hospital. Only the doctors wear the white coats.
"How do you feel today, Mister LeBeau?" The doctor reaches his hand out to touch my forearm, which is hidden under the blankets of the bed. "You've been asleep for awhile, young man."
"I... feel... fine." I answer him. My speech still sounds so slow, unlike the doctor's. It doesn't seem normal... but which is normal? Mine, or his? "Head... hurt..."
"Yes... it's going to hurt for awhile, Mister LeBeau." The doctor smiled again, running his hand over my cheek, as if checking my temperature. "You just had major surgery... it was done to relieve you of the voices in your head, as well as your mutant powers, which I believed to be the source of your problems."
My powers... gone? Without the inhibitor collar? That's right, I don't feel that bulky piece of metal around my neck anymore. What did they do to me? What happened to me?
"Mister LeBeau?" The doctor looks down at me, he looks worried. "How does it feel not to have your powers anymore, Mister LeBeau? Are you upset? Happy? It's okay if you feel angry... they were a part of you, so I would understand if you were angry."
"I... feel..." How do I feel? I don't know how I feel, all I feel is a numbness inside of me. I swallow hard, before giving this doctor the answer he seems to so desperately want. "Nothing."
"Nothing?" The doctor looks at me more carefully. "What do you mean Mister LeBeau?"
"I... don't feel... anything... but... numb." It felt like it took me forever to talk. The doctor soon looks away from me and begins writing in some chart he brought in. My eyes peer over at a metal pitcher, filled with water. I can see my reflection in it... and it haunts me.
I have two black eyes, and my head is heavily bandaged up. I don't see any hair peeking out from the bandages, so I guess it's gone... that they shaved it all off. Did I get into a fight? Is that why my head aches so badly, and why my eyes are nearly swollen shut? Didn't he say something about giving me surgery? Did the surgery do this to me? Why am I so confused?
Suddenly the doctor places his hand on my shoulder. I guess he notices my confusion, or found out I looked at my own reflection. I own my mouth to speak to him, but he cuts me short.
"Why don't you get some rest, Mister LeBeau. I'll come back and check on you in an hour or so. If you need any help, there is a button by your bed. Push it and a nurse will come and assist you."
The doctor leaves the room, taking the clipboard with him. I frankly don't care if he stayed or left. I just don't seem to care about anything, honestly. I feel nothing... I don't care about anything. All I can do is just look out the window, watching the birds make their nest, and sing so happily.
The sky soon changes, what was once a clear, perfect day... soon changes to a cloudy day, and eventually, rain. The rain starts to pound against the window of my room. The birds that were once nesting are gone, the rain seems to have destroyed the nest they were working so hard on. The sky is so grey... and I can see trees being blown in all sorts of directions. I guess there is a storm outside... Storm... that name... sounds familiar.
I start to sit up in my bed. As I sat up, my head started to feel heavy, as if the bandages that covered it were weighing me down. It takes some effort for me to push the covers off of my body, but I manage to do so. I move my legs to the side of the bed, and lower my feet to the floor. They make a loud slapping sound, on the slick looking floor. The floor is cold... but I could care less, I just want to look outside the window.
I walk towards the window, my legs feeling so stiff as I move. I concentrate hard as I finally make it to the window, and look outside of it. The rain just continues to pour down, as if it will never stop. From the window I can see the grounds of the hospital... why don't I remember them? I can see a few cars in a parking lot, but that was almost out of the view of the window I was looking at.
There are so many trees outside... they seem to move in the direction that the wind blows, as if they do not have a choice. It just fascinates me, how something you can't see, but it's there... and you need something visible to see it. I reach my hand up, touching the glass of the window. It's cold... and kind of wet... how can that be? It's dry inside... and the glass keeps the rain out, right?
The doctor runs back into my room, slamming the door open, and grabbing me by the shoulders. He looks panicked, as he asks an orderly to come over to assist him. He begins to take the bandages off my head, looking carefully at something. Once the bandages are off, I can see a few strands of my hair fall into my eyes. I guess they didn't cut it all off, after-all.
"Shit! Xavier is coming for a visit, and the wounds still have not healed completely! He'll know what we did to him!" The doctor is in a panic, yelling at the orderly. Xavier... sounds familiar. Wonder why someone is coming to see me, anyway. "We have to get rid of him! I'll tell Xavier he just escaped... you, you just make sure he goes away!"
Go away? Why do I have to go away? The orderly just nods to the doctor, taking a wheelchair that was in my room, and getting me to sit in it. He wheels me out of the room, and down the hall. I don't remember seeing so many rooms... so many people... He's wheeling me so quickly down the hall, that everything is a blur. Soon, we are outside... I can feel the rain pounding down on my body, my clothing is starting to feel heavy, and the orderly is wheeling me closer to the forest, the one I saw, near the parking lot. The trees are so big...
"Okay, Mister LeBeau..." His voice sounds so sad... why is his voice sad? "You see those woods? Your... your family is on the other side of them. Why don't you go back to them, I bet they are all waiting for you."
"Pere..." My family... Pere... Henri... They are on the other side of these woods. I have to go find them. I managed to start walking, it feels like it takes so much effort to walk, but I am doing it. I walk and stumble for what seems like forever, but I do not see them... it's cold. The woods are so dark... and the rain keeps pouring down. It's like a never-ending darkness... so cold... I have to lay down... I'm so cold...
I lay down in what looks like a patch of brown ground... but it's wet, like water. I don't care... I'm too tired... I have to lay down. My knees collapse beneath me, and I manage to lay on my side, watching the rain hit the ground bellow me. It makes such a gentle tapping noise, like it did on the window of my room. It felt like I was laying in water... but it wasn't water... I forgot what it was called...
My eyes start to close, maybe a nap will make me feel better? I just can't stay awake any longer. After my eyes close, I start to hear something... a voice.
That voice... sounds familiar... Pere...
"Remy... c'mon, Chile! Get up, it's time ta go home!"
"He's such a lazy boy! Can' believe he's my lil' broder, sometimes!"
Pere... Henri... they found me. I slowly open my eyes. I don't feel so confused, anymore. I'm not cold, either, and it's no longer raining. In fact, everything around me is white. Did they carry me away? I'm shaking... I'm not cold, just frightened. If Henri is here... then that means... Pere... They're... gone.
"Am I... dead?" I ask, my voice showing my fear, my sadness, my soul. "Pere... are you?"
"Oui, chile. I died before you went into dat hospital." Jean Luc kneels down next to me, and I quickly wrap my arms around him. I cannot stop the tears from escaping my eyes as we just hug. His hand rubbing my back, trying to calm me. "De X-men were contacted about my death, but the Guild... dey refused to let you at my funeral, even come near N'aw Orleans. You was so sick, you wouldn't have understood. But dat don' matter, no more... we together again. We a family, once more!"
My eyes look up at Jean Luc, and then over to Henri. I'm dead... they're dead... "I... I don' wanna be dead..."
"Remy, broder..." Henri kneels down next to my father, looking at me. His eyes look so sad. "Chile... if you go back to de livin' , you won' be able to care fer yerself no more. You'll be like a small boy, again. Need help wit' de simplest o' t'ings... an' from what I've seen, de X-Men will probably just put you away, again."
"Henri is right, chile." My father pulls away a little, so I can see his face, more. "Dey put you in dat institution. I know dey had yer best interests at heart, but you were just abandoned, an' dat quack doctor poked yah in de brain wit' his scalpel! Goin' back to de livin' ... you won' 'ave any independence, not like you used to." A sad smile comes across Jean Luc's face, as he runs his hands through my hair, like he used to when I was a child. "Remy, all I ever wanted in life, was fer you to be happy. You 'ad such a harsh life growin' up de way you did. But... I ain' gonna force you to come wit' me an' yer big broder. If you wanna go back to de livin' , you can."
I have a choice, now. I can stay with my pere and older brother, crossing over to the afterlife, and be as I was. Or, I can go back to the living, in a broken and abused body, with an uncertain future. I could end up in another facility, with no one who loves me, no one who gives a damn... I could be turned into an experiment, all over again. I'm honestly scared. I've always been fearful of death, even if my brother and father are the ones guiding me to it. I think it's a natural fear in all beings.
Taking a deep breath, I move past my fears, and I think hard about what I really want. I'm only twenty eight years old... I'm too young to die, and if I let myself go, wouldn't I be running away from all my problems? Ever since I was a child, if there was a problem, I'd run from it... I'd run away from my past, from what happened to the Morlocks. I can't do it, anymore. Even if my body is broken, if I stayed alive, I would no longer be running away from everything.
"I have to go back, Pere..." I nearly choke on my words. As much as I want to stay with them, I cannot. "I can't run away from my problems forever. It ain' my time, not yet. M'sorry... I wanna stay wit' you an' Henri... but..."
"I understand, chile." Jean Luc gave me another hug, kissing the side of my head. "It's very honorable o' you to go back, knowin' what yer facin' . Jus' remember, Remy... we still love you, always will. An' when you're time comes, we'll be here waitin' fer you, wit' open arms."
Henri and Jean Luc hug me each, one last time, and they disappear, everything turning white. It's so bright... did I die, or did I return? I start to feel confused, like I did before. A groan escapes my throat, and my vision finally returns.
At first, it's very blurry, but then everything seems to clear up. I can see the tops of trees and hear the rain pounding down on the ground, where I lay. There is a face right above my own, looking at me with such concern. A hand is wrapped around my waist, helping me to sit up, while another is resting on the side of my face.
"God, kid, ya gave me a scare!"
That voice... it's rough, yet so worried about me. I end up coughing a little bit, before finally being able to speak. "Logan..."
"You look like Hell, Cajun! What happened to you?" His hand moves from the side of my face, to my head. I let out a hissing sound. It hurts when he touches my head, for some reason. Logan moves his hand back to my cheek, just resting it there. "Sorry, didn't mean to hurt you... God, what did they do to you?"
"Don' know... m'tired..." I still felt so exhausted. I didn't even have the strength to move! My body feels like it's being weighed down with rocks... or boulders. I just want to go back into my bed. "Home... was... was... home... fer... a second."
"I know, kid, I know." Logan moves his hand from my face one more, and lifts me off of the ground. he begins to carry me out of the woods, my head resting against his chest. I feel so small... but I'm not. I'm taller than Logan... so this must look strange. "C'mon, Remy... we're going home. Ain' no one going to hurt you ever again. I swear it!"
I'm going home... but where is home? Is it the hospital? Is it New Orleans? With the X-Men? I don't know, anymore... I'm too tired to care. I just want to lay down and go to sleep some more. As we walk out of the forest, I can see a large, blue, fuzzy beast. He's standing next to a bald man in a wheelchair, and they both look so worried about something. Are they worried about me?
"My God..." The man in the wheelchair looks so worried, even shocked. I remember him... Professor Xavier. He... he was trying to help me get better, wasn't he? "Hank, we have to get Remy back to the mansion for treatment! If he ends up with an infection, it could be fatal! Logan, I want you to follow Hank to the mansion and help take care of Remy. I will follow, shortly. There is someone I need to speak to about this."
I cannot stay awake any longer. I just close my eyes once more, and allow myself to drift off, again. There is no light like last time, so I know I am not dying. What seems like only a few, short seconds, there is darkness.
It's almost as if I had blinked... but instead of being in Logan's arms, I am in a warm, soft bed, with lots of extra blankets. The sun is shinning into the room, and there are no bars on the window... Hell, there is a window! I'm not in the hospital... this room... a normal bedroom.
I blink a few times, my eyesight feels blurry. I no longer feel as confused as I did that rainy day at the hospital. I put my hand on my chest, looking about the room. As soon as I turned my head to the left, I saw Logan sitting in a chair next to my bed. He realizes that I was awake, and quickly moves to my side, touching my hand with the utmost care.
"Hey kid... about time you woke up." He smiles down at me. I can tell he's smiling, yet he looks a little blurry, like most of the world. I'm so used to him looking at me with a straight face, or one that was always so serious. His hand rests on mine, holding it. "We were worried about ya. You were asleep fer a few days, guess you needed it, huh?"
"Yeah..." My voice sounds a bit hoarse, probably because it was dry from not having a drink of water in a long time. I guess I've been getting fluids from an IV. It's funny, when you've had an IV in you for awhile, you don't feel it anymore. My face twitches into a small smile, looking up at Logan. "I'm... home..."
"Yeah kid... yer home." Logan moved his hand from mine, and started brushing a few, short strands of hair from my face. "And it ain' fer a second, yer home fer good, Cajun."