She doesn't love Remy, and she knows she isn't misguided in this belief—and yet she'd rather be dead than see that hurt look she only notices come over his face.

And now, when he's laying in her arms and when he's bleeding his life onto her pale hands and swollen belly— she can't cry.

"If you make it through this…"

She's challenging God, perhaps. Almost saying: 'Let him live and I'll stop fighting fate. I'll be his.'

Marie is laying next to Bobby. His arms are wrapped around her and his fingers are curled into her hair. He's taken to laying with her like this since the accident—as if a specter from the past could somehow wisp her away if he doesn't hold on extra tight.

Maybe there's resentment there for his constant clinging—but then again maybe there's a little bit of need too. She's taken so much; it feels nice to give, to be needed, to be fulfilling.

She moves her hand and rubs it against the other to try and create some warmth. The wool of her sweater, though comforting when it chaffs against her skin, is not enough tonight—or any night—with him. He's ice incarnate. Frigid.

Balmy: it's how she feels when he touches her and looks at her like only he can do. It isn't necessarily pleasant, more like the itch from a sunburn than arousal—but she isn't sure. In fact, she hasn't been sure what to think of Remy since the day he decided to crawl from whatever rock he'd been staying under and call in a favor to Ororo for a place to stay and three square meals.

They both knew, maybe simultaneously, that there was something about their chemistry. Something that wasn't lust or love or even friendship. Just…something.

Lungs shouldn't rattle. She tells him this and when he laughs he wheezes and his teeth are red with blood.

"I better get a firstborn named after me or somethin' after dis bullshit."

She's the only one that sees the terror and regret beneath the masks.

He tries kissing her once.

They're in the kitchen and Bobby's ring is twinkling on her finger; he always wants what he isn't supposed to have. He's a cad, a horrible person. It's no surprise that he starts the seduction with a compliment.

"I'll give 'um dis," his hand on hers. Fire: feels nice but hurts too. Husky little demons fill up the timbre of his voice and it sounds nice. "De Iceboy knows his ice."

A compliment about her engagement ring of all things.

She lets him.

And when they break apart some dizzying time later, they look at each other—because the kiss doesn't feel right or wrong, good or bad. But it does feel like a shadow of something that's happened before, maybe in another lifetime.

It feels like getting lost in something that makes pain go away. And they've both always been the running and hiding type.

It's a white wedding in the summer. More perfect than she ever expected. There were no impromptu visits from super villains and the world wasn't on the verge of ending at least.

Bobby delicately slips a chunk of cake in her mouth and kisses her before it has time to melt on her tongue. She's happier than she thought she'd be.

Bobby's the one she should be with: she'll be content with him, safe. She can trust him not to fuck someone the minute she turns her back, she can trust him to stay with her—to cling.

Bobby's perfect. Perfectly, boringly, mundanely right for her.

She sneaks to the infirmary in the middle of the night. She's supposed to be getting some rest, but despite spending every waking minute by his side she still can't come up with the exhaustion to sleep at night unless she knows he's alive.

"Remy," she whispers against the glass.

It's just like before—she's helpless.

He chooses the very end to show the others that there are scraps of bravery and goodness left within him yet. He shows them by fighting just as hard as Logan, healing factor or no.

And as the bullet spirals towards her she holds her belly and wants to scream because she's never wanted something so badly as she wants the baby growing within her. Not just because she can; even with poison skin she'd known since childhood that she's meant for motherhood, but because it's something that's hers—Bobby's sperm be damned.

She loves her baby unconditionally and she's never even met it.

They play a game often. 'What could have been' they call it.

"If I were younger—"

"If Ah met you before Bobby—"

"If I could be de homme y' deserve—"

"If Ah didn't have trust issues—"

"If I could keep it in my pants—"



"If I wasn't so scared."

"If I wasn't so scared."

The game always ends at this point. Then things speed up and they go back to being whatever they are (Acquaintances? Friends? Would-be lovers?) like nothing ever happened. They're both good at playing at pretend too.

Up until this moment she's only referred to him as 'the baby,' but now he's tangible, not just an inconvenience making problems in her gut. He's too early and much too small, he'll have to stay in the infirmary for weeks, but he's a person and he's here and he's real.

And he's hers. And she loves him.

Remy looks at her funny when she begins to show. There isn't jealousy or sadness in his eyes, because you'd have to be in love with someone to feel emotions like those, but he does know that something has come between them both physically and figuratively. He knows that things have changed, and like always they don't know what to do with one another.

He steps in front of her and she screams when he falls. That bullet rips more than just his flesh away.

They've never made love but she knows his sides are ticklish and that he likes the feeling of warm whispers in his ear.

"We're meant to be together."

He's holding her and they're swaying. It isn't like a romantic, gushy movie, but that's okay because she's always preferred reality to the surreal. A woman with talking psyches in her mind clings to the sane in life.

"Ah know."

"If you'd let me I'd—"

She gasps and so does he. When she grins and brings his hand to the place on her belly where movement happened she sees that he looks terrified.

"Mon dieu…" He brings her closer.

Life blooms in between them. She knows he wishes that the baby was his, but she couldn't care less. The baby's hers, no one else's. Bobby's never-ending enthusiasm doesn't impress her, either does Logan's codling or Ororo's uncharacteristic kindness.

She doesn't want any help.

He dies and it isn't like a movie at all. It's much slower and more graphic than that.

That horrible rattle in his chest ceases.

None of them truly understand why she named her son after him. Some think she'd been in love with Remy and that she did it to keep his memory alive. Bobby just assumes it's because of the obvious: the man died saving her and the baby's life—it's the least they could do.

But she did it because he asked her to. And that's just how she and Remy were: ask and you shall receive.

"If y'—" rattle. "Woulda jus' lemme—" rattle. Desperation suddenly, he doesn't want this to be over until he finishes what he's never finished with any other woman. "I love y'."

Remy is strong enough to leave six days later. She decides to have him fluent in French by ten; an expert poker player by thirteen.

She holds him close to where her heart beats, and she's happy that with this Remy: things didn't turn out differently.

Just a little somethin' somethin' to get the gears a little oiled up. Chapter 9 TIAD is in the editing room as we speak folks. I have not given up quite yet ;]