Chapter 24 (Lori)
Bobby was exhausted by the time they reached the women's wing. All of the day's events and the huge drain on his mutant power seemed to settle on him all at once, dragging him down. He opened the door of the first unoccupied room and ushered Diedre inside.
Diedre looked around, a slightly puzzled expression on her face. "Is this... my room?"
Bobby nodded and settled gratefully on the edge of the bed. He felt like his mind was shutting down. He knew it was reaction to Scott, and to the deaths of those people, but he simply didn't have the energy to think about anything.
After a moment, Diedre sat down next to him and laced her fingers together in her lap. "I guess I thought... you might want me to stay with you."
Bobby turned abruptly red as the meaning of her words sank in. "I-- no-- I--well, yes, but--" He floundered briefly, feeling the blood rise in his cheeks. "I thought you might need some... time."
Her blue eyes flicked to his before she lowered them. A slow smile spread across her lips. "I suppose I do." The next glance she gave him was warm and vaguely flirtatious. "I keep forgetting what a gentleman you are."
Bobby reached over and gathered her hands in his. "We can take all the time we need. Nothing can keep us apart now," he told her softly.
Diedre raised her eyes to his and tightened her fingers around his. "Nothing," she agreed.
Quietly, Bobby slipped down the stairs and across the living room, headed for the elevators to the lower levels.
"Goin' somewhere, bub?"
Startled, he looked up to see Wolverine standing in the corner, leaning against the wall. He looked at the younger man intently, with the same gaze that before had made him feel that he knew everything he was hiding. To his own surprise, Bobby found that Logan didn't frighten or enrage him anymore. He wasn't incautious around him, but the younger man could read his intentions enough to know that he didn't intend anything, and if he did, Bobby knew he could defend himself. There was respect there instead, for the inner strength of the Canadian that he'd never appreciated before.
"Does it matter?" he asked wearily. He didn't want a confrontation.
"Does if you're planning on visitin' the Cajun."
Bobby's eyes narrowed. "Do you honestly think I'd do anything to disturb his healing?"
"Didn't say you were, but Beast said he was off limits ta visitors."
The young thief shook his head. "I won't disturb him, but I have an obligation to tell him I'm sorry for what happened."
For a long moment, the other X-Man was silent, then he moved towards him. "You've changed, boy," he said softly, respect in his voice. It was a tone Bobby had never heard him use before in reference to him. "Cajun did something to you. What really happened out there?"
"It's nothing you have to worry about, Logan," he assured him. "It's like that Japanese word you keep telling us about. Giri? I've got a duty to him." Bobby turned and made his way across the living room, half expecting the grip on his arm to stop him that never came, but would have only a few days before.
"And Logan?" He looked back at him, tired. "After everything, I think I'd like it if occasionally you didn't call me boy."
He wasn't sure, but the glint in the older man's eye almost seemed to agree.
Remy slept, his chest wrapped in bandages and with a dozen sensors sprouting out of his body like living things, attaching him to the Sh'iar equipment that surrounded him. They were the finest medical machines in the galaxy and there was no sign of Hank, a sure sign that Remy wasn't in immediate danger.
Careful not to disturb him, Bobby went into the darkened room and over to the bed, his face still feeling pink and raw from the thorough scrubbing he'd given himself outside, his clothes replaced by sterilized scrubs. Looking at his master, he winced at the extent of the injuries, from the bandaged chest and the elevated leg, but Gambit was still breathing, and Hank had cautious hopes he would recover.
Bobby sat in a chair beside the bed. "Thank you, master," he whispered. "Remy. You saved us both. I can't ever repay you for that sacrifice."
Remy's breath caught, then his eyes opened, turning slowly to look at him. "...why did you betray me?" he whispered. There was such a hurt look in his eyes, violated and confused.
"I had to," he whispered. "Only Jean could save you."
"...she could have seen everything."
He nodded sadly. "I know. You trusted my word. Please trust hers. She'll keep silent."
"All dose people." He closed his eyes, then reopened them, looking sad. "If Scott find out." He snorted. "He do so much damage tryin' t' do good."
Bobby reached out to take his hand, holding it warmly. "She won't tell. I swear to you. I've known her since I was a teenager, she was trained by the Professor. She won't tell anymore than he would."
The Cajun sighed. "Gonna have t' be happy wit' dat, I guess."
Bobby swallowed. "Do you forgive me?"
Remy looked at him for a long time, then around the room at the beeping machines and deep shadows, gaze resting for a while on the deepest shadows on the far side of the room. "Best a intentions. Gotta f'give y' Bobby. Ev'one make mistakes, an' I didn' wan' t' die anyway. T'ank you f' dat, anyway."
Bobby nodded, feeling the tension just release out of him in a wave. The idea that Gambit would hate him now had been like a physical force, choking him. "Thanks."
"Y' welcome." Remy closed his eyes, snorting a laugh that obviously hurt as he winced. "...Didi.?"
Bobby smiled. "Alive and well, thanks to you."
"...If I'd known... you were boffin'... the boss' wife... wouldna been. so quick. t' help."
He knew that. "I know. But I had to. And I wasn't boffing' her."
He shook his head. "Never touched her."
Remy started to laugh, silently. "...See? ...Tol' you it could work."
Surprised, Bobby looked up to see the woman who'd been standing in shadows until then, unnoticed even by him. "Maybe, sugah," she said. "Maybe."
Bobby, may I see you in my office, please?
Bobby stiffened at the voice in his head. Here it was.
"What's wrong?" Diedre asked sleepily, cuddled up with him on the couch.
He kissed her shoulder. "Nothing. I just have to go for a bit. I'll be back." Slipping out from under her embrace, he handed her the remote for the television and went to the Professor's office.
Xavier waited patiently for him, his hands folded on his desk. Trying to look nonchalant, and working every mind-blocking trick Remy had taught him, Bobby went over and sat down before him. "You wanted to see me?"
Xavier nodded. "How is Diedre feeling? She is welcome to stay here for as long as she likes."
Bobby nodded cautiously, regretting in a way the necessity of not fully trusting a man who'd been a mentor. "Thank you. I appreciate that, sir. And she's doing as well as can be expected. It'll take time."
The telepath nodded, gesturing to the coffee pot on the side table against the wall. "Feel free to pour yourself a cup." Bobby stood to get them both one. "Have you read the paper this morning?"
Filled with stories about the mutant battle in the middle of New York and rumours of mutant conspiracies. "I have."
"Yes. Remy's altercation has stirred up a lot of trouble. I'm going to be addressing the city on the subject the day after tomorrow. They've called a meeting to decide what to do in response."
Bobby brought his coffee to him. "Do you know what they plan to do?" he asked politely as he retook his seat.
"Unfortunately, no. The council house has psychic dampers in it. I've been given almost no time to prepare a defense while I suspect there are people on the council who have been readying themselves for an incident such as this for a long time." He sipped his own coffee, his face impassive and calm as ever.
Bobby winced, even as he tried to guess Xavier's mood and failed miserably. He knew enough about politics now to know that the Professor would have to be very lucky not to be torn apart by the more vicious of them. "There are a lot of mutants in New York who could be hurt by any laws they pass." My fault, he thought miserably and clamped down on the thought.
"Yes," Xavier agreed, though whether it was to his words or his thoughts, Bobby wasn't sure. His face was just so unreadable. In a way, Xavier was a master at the art of hiding thoughts and emotions that Remy has spent so much time teaching to Bobby. "I'm sure they've prepared extensive notes on what they plan to do. They must be interesting reading."
Bobby panicked, wondering if the professor was asking him what he thought. Desperately, he fought the instinctive fear down, trying desperately to think and to sound calm, as well as not to project his urge to bolt from the room and not stop running until he was back in Diedre's arms. "Anyone who read them would be able to catch up," he managed, guessing. "Maybe stop a lot of stupidity."
Bobby stared into his coffee, heart pounding, then placed it on the desk. "It's been an interesting conversation, Professor. Thanks for the coffee."
"You're welcome." The man's face still hadn't changed.
He stood, trying not to tremble. "I have to go now, though. I forgot about something I need to take care of."
"Very well. Have a good evening, Bobby."
Bobby returned to his room, sweating. Once there, he changed and packed his gear, Diedre watching him curiously from the couch. "What's going on?"
He kissed her gently, reveling in it and how just her presence calmed his doubts. "Just going out for a bit. I'll be back before morning."
Used to Michael's excursions, she smiled and kissed him back. "Okay."
Bobby went out the door. A few of the X-Men were still up and they nodded to him as he went past and out the front door. For a moment, he leaned on it, steadying himself.
Master, he thought, directing them towards the medical unit below the ground. Thanks, and wish me luck.
Then, flipping up his collar, he stepped away from the mansion and vanished into the night.