Logan had somehow managed to get stuck on monitor duty. He didn't really mind is so much because it usually gave him a bit of peace and quiet from all the kids. He was currently watching Bobby lug bucket after bucket full of ice into Storm's room, presumably filling her bath tub with the stuff. She used to laugh good naturedly at his pranks, now she either ignored them entirely or yelled at him to grow up, how she wasn't in the mood. Very un-'ro-like. Bobby never stopped trying though, to make her laugh. For two years it had been this way. For two years Gumbo had been dead, left in Antarctica.
Storm never forgave them or herself for the way they had all behaved. Rogue seemed genuinely remorseful but Logan felt no pity for her. She had made this bed. Warren no longer seemed full rage, just more resigned and ready to move away from it. Storm's moods kept reminding them though. She wasn't going to let them, or herself, forget that easily.
The phone rang and Logan picked up the phone, eyes still watching Bobby on the screen. "Xavier School for the Gifted." He grunted into the receiver.
"Hello," A woman's voice answered him hesitantly. "Is your school also known as 'The Mansion'?" She seemed to realize that she sounded completely ridiculous, asking a perfect stranger a question like this. But Logan leaned forward, interested, all his attention of this phone call. It was obvious that she was repeating something she had heard. He decided to not be an asshole to her and tell her something along the lines of 'fuck off'.
"Yeah, people who live here call it that. Where did you hear it?"
She seemed both relieved and hesitant before deciding to speak. "I'm a social worker at the New York State Hospital and I have a patient here who has mentioned 'The Mansion' several times now, so I decided to call around and see if there was any such place is the area he had said it would be." Logan rolled his eyes. So some mental patient had heard one of the kids talking about the school. He'd have to speak to them about that. More like yell.
"Look lady," He said, speaking candidly. "I think it's really nice that you're trying to help find somebody their home, but this is a place for mutants, understand?"
Her voice grew excited. "But he is a mutant. He was brought in about a month ago after being found in an out of the way cabin in the woods, almost starved to death and most certainly sadistically abused. They assumed he was mentally unstable because of the way he behaved, but I'm not so sure. It may have been brought on by trauma. I've only just been able to piece together so his life because he refuses to speak to anybody. But every once in a while he'll whisper something about 'The Mansion' and this address that I found your phone number under."
Logan again grew interested. But one thought stopped him. "I can't think of anybody we're missing or haven't had contact with. Do you know his name?"
"No. He refers to himself as several derogatory names, but he doesn't appear to know his own name."
"What does he look like?"
Logan almost dropped the receiver and died when he heard her response.
"Auburn hair, red and black eyes."
Hank had nearly the same response when Logan told him the reason why they had to drive to the State Hospital. But then he asked Logan a question he hadn't thought of in his relief to find out that the Cajun was still alive.
"What kind of trauma was she talking about. He's been gone for two years and they've only had him for a month. What happened in that time that would have caused this. Was it us? Did we do this to him?" He seemed genuinely worried that they may have been the cause of this. He knew the fragility of the mind in even the strongest people.
They drove to the State Hospital, somber, but with an electric excited air about them. They were finally going to see Gambit, see if he was really alive, if this was really him. It was too much to hope.
The Social worker Logan had spoken to on the phone came down the meet them. She was pretty, a little heavy with long brown hair tied up into a clip on her head.
She seemed unsure if she had made the right decision when she saw the two large men, one gruff and unwelcoming, the other...looked nice, but was still an awfully big man.
She explained to them that she didn't know how the man would react to them since he seemed unable to tell the real world from fantasies he had created in his head. She told them that she had taken him away from the other patients and he was in her office at the moment.
She entered the room first and a female nurse left the office. The social worker beckoned them inside.
The office was nice and professional, but the sight that met their eyes made Logan want to kill somebody, and he was sure Hank felt the same way. It had been too much to hope.
Oh, it was Remy all right, but it also wasn't. Anyone could see that. He looked at them with startled red on black eyes before turning to face the window, tapping at the pane of glass nervously. He wore jeans and a sweatshirt that were much to big for him. Just looking at the hollow cheekbones of his face they could tell that he was emaciated. He held himself so stiff that Logan was surprised that he didn't hear the creaking of bones. The social worker walked to him. She stood a safe distance away from him but he still leaned away from her.
"Are you seeing your people?" Remy gave a jerk nod of his head before pausing a moment and then shaking his head.
"How many are there this time?" She asked him, keeping her voice gentle. He rapped his knuckled against the glass twice.
"Do you recognize them both?" A shake of the head.
"How many do you recognize?" One rap this time. Hank realized that is was because of his image inducer.
"May I shut this door?" He asked her softly. Remy's head jerked and he rested his forehead against the wall, hugging himself with one arm, his other fist pressed against his mouth, eyes clenched. Logan thought he looked as though he was having some kind of breakdown.
Hank closed the door quietly before turning his image inducer off. The social worker gasped and took a step back. Of course she knew that they were mutants, but this was indeed very strange for her. Remy looked up at her gasp and saw Hank and Logan standing there. A soft keening emerged from behind clenched teeth. He slammed his head against the wall, trying to drive the images out of his mind. He didn't want them here.
Logan grabbed him roughly in his haste to make him stop only to let go when Remy screamed, sliding against the wall until he was in the corner on his knees, pressing himself as far into the corner as he could get. It felt like Him when He used to grab him. How He could still grab him if he was ever found.
Logan stood there, hands still in the air, completely torn and emotionally devastated. They weren't just going to be able to pick up where they left of with a few sorrys and hugs. One look at Hank told Logan that he realized this as well, but the look on his face was pure determination. They were not going to leave him here, they were going to take him home, where hopefully he would recover given time.
"Are we going to be allowed to take him home?" Hank whispered to the woman. She thought for a moment. "I believe you should. He's made no improvements here, maybe if he were home and felt safe.... I think I should tell you my suspicions first." Both Logan and Hank came closer. "When he is under high stress he sees people. He sees you two and a few others. I believe he created these fantasies of you being near him to make him feel protected when he had nothing to protect him from...whoever caused this. May I ask how you did not know he was missing?" She looked at them accusingly.
Logan came up with a quick response. "He got left somewhere by mistake and the girl who was with him told us he had wanted to stay there so we didn't question it. We figured he had gotten tired of us." It wasn't the answer she looked like she wanted, but she'd take it.
"Okay. Also He doesn't speak. He'll make noises of upset and he'll sometimes use hand motions, but he will not speak, he whispers to himself when he believes no one is listening. He calls himself Bitch and Whore and he believes these are his names. He also seems to have an aversion to food for some reason. I can only assume that someone had used it as punishment or manipulation. People upset him and he seems terrified all the time. Was he like this before?"
Logan shook his head sadly. "We have no idea how this happened." He admitted.
"When they first found him they did a physical on him. He had several healed breaks, most of which looked relatively new. His body was almost entirely covered with cuts that looked purposefully done. And it looked as though he had been....raped, brutally and many times." She seemed upset by this information and neither of the men could blame her. The urge to either throw up or completely go homicidal was a hard on push away. They'd deal with that later though. First came first.
Logan walked to Remy, kneeling down in front of him. Remy pushed further away from him. Logan didn't try to touch him. Touch would be a long time coming, he knew. "Would you like to go home?" He asked in a low voice. He was trying not to let the anger at finding the boy in this condition show.
He looked at him from the corner of his eye but made no indication. The social worker repeated the question but Remy just seemed to grow confused. Hank asked him a question, sadly, already expecting the answer. "Do you have a home?" Logan's heart broke when the boy shook his head and turned his face away from them.
They took him anyway, whether he thought the mansion was his home or not, be belonged there, with people who would help him. And hopefully not make anything worse.