What Dreams Are Made Of

God it's been so long since one of these, eh?  *grins*  What makes me so happy is that I've actually had emailed requests for the next part.  You guys love me!!  Okay, enough of that dramatic stuff.  I need to get a few things across.  As you all know, this is my screwed up Evolution timeline.  Remy has been in it since the very beginning, which was over a year and a half ago.  He has shoulder length copper brown hair, wears a brown duster at all known times since it's the very cliché thing to do, and he has red-on-black eyes.  He's also devastatingly handsome.  In other words, he's nothing like the guy who appeared on the show.

Another thing… I know I try to mix the real verse in with mine so it can kind of flow… I really can't do that anymore, so, forget everything you know after Beast joins the team. (Ah, what the hell, I'll give in Amanda too just for Kurt)  That includes all of "Day of Reckoning" because I seriously can't fit in all that stuff and it just screws me up.  Though I'm thinking of doing a Rogue torture fic… those are always fun.  Kidding! (So Tabitha is still with the B-Hood, there's no Wanda, etc, though I will find some way to fit her in later.)

So, as per usual, this follows the last fic… though by a couple months, since this is in summer and the last one was placed with "Adrift" and that was early winter by my guesses.  "Twisted Christmas" by me and Lilith will also be referred to a couple times.  I think that's mainly why there is such a large time gap, since that story is NOWHERE near completion.  *stares at Lil* Kidding again.

Enough of this.  I ramble too much.  I really, really hope you guys enjoy this one.

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She tossed and turned over and over as the nightmare raced through her slumber.  She recognized it from nights before, but she could never tell the dream when she woke up.  It was like it was wiped from her mind until the next night when she would have to live it again. 

Suddenly, she sat up abruptly and screamed "No!"  It was over as quickly as it started.  The images faded into nothing as she was surrounded by black.

"Rogue? Chere?"

She blinked, trying to get her eyes adjusted to the dark.  She saw a shadow sitting by her sheet-tangled limbs on her bed, red eyes blinking back at her.  "Remy?"

"Y' had dat dream again."

She laughed bitterly.  "How could ya tell?" She asked sarcastically.

Carefully, he helped her out of the tiny trap she'd caught herself in with her sheets.  He climbed up on the bed next to her and wrapped a blanket-covered arm around her shoulders carefully.  It was summer and she'd taken to wearing a simple sports bra and shorts to bed, so this was necessary.  She snuggled into his touch, feeding off of it for her comfort.  She glanced across the room to Kitty, who was sitting up, blinking as well.  "What's going on?" She asked groggily.

"Ah had that dream again."

"Again?  You should really tell the Prof about it."

"He doesn't need ta know anythin'.  It's just a dream.  Everyone has nightmares an' they don't need ta be instantly psychoanalyzed," she spat.

Kitty nodded.  "I guess you're right.  I'm sorry."

"It's okay.  Just try ta get back ta sleep.  Me an' Remy'll leave ya be so ya can."  Remy took that cue and stood up, extending a hand to help Rogue up as well.  She smiled as he swooped her up, blanket and all.  Kitty watched them leave by the window, assuming that they were going to the roof as they always did.  It did bring a smile to her face as she lay back down.

Outside, Rogue easily lifted herself and Remy into the air and landed daintily on the roof.  She wrapped the blanket around her tightly and allowed Remy to pull her onto his lap. 

"Now, y' need t' tell me 'bout dis dream."

"How can Ah tell ya it if Ah don't remember it mahself.  It's nothin'.  Really," she insisted.

He eyed her intensely before nodding.  "Fine.  Y' need t' get a good night's sleep dough.  Dis has been bot'erin' y' all week."

Longer than that.  "How do you know?" She asked accusingly.

"Y' act like y' don' know dat I sneak in at night."

"An' here Ah thought it was ta watch Kitty and get Lance jealous for fun."

"Well, dat too, but I check up on y' once in awhile t' make sure y' don't catch me ooglin' her."  He surprisingly kept his lips from twitching into a smirk, but his eyes betrayed him.  She could only shake her head.

"What am Ah ta do with ya…" she said, not really speaking to him, nor expecting an answer.

But it was him, so of course he had to give one.  "If I had a nickel f'r ev'rytime y' said dat…"

"You could buy a house bigger than the institute," she instantly replied.

"An' a horse f'r you."

Her eyebrows furrowed in confusion.  "A horse?"

"Ev'ry li'l girl wishes for a horse."

"A pony, Remy," she corrected him.  "Ah actually wanted a unicorn.  What are ya gonna do about that?"

"Umm… would y' settle f'r a really, really big stuffed one?"

She playfully shoved her shoulder into his chest.  "Ah guess," she sighed dramatically.  "But when Ah'm older an' Ah need psychiatric help, all mah problems are gonna be yoah fault just because you couldn't find me a unicorn."  She laughed quietly.  "Ah act like Ah don't have problems now."

Remy watched her mood turn somber once again.  "We better go find y' dat unicorn den.  Or!  How 'bout dis.  We go sneak in t' Wolvie's room, roll up a piece of paper into a cone, an' put it on his forehead," he said erratically. 

"All without him sensin' us there.  Sure." She rolled her eyes, but smiled despite herself.

"O' course…  Y' can knock him out first, how's dat?"

"Sounds like a plan ta me."  She laughed for real this time.  Remy joined in laughing with her.  Rogue's fit of giggles actually brought pain to her sides.  Once it all subsided, she looked at Remy sincerely.  "Thank you."

He hugged her tightly.  "Anytime."  She molded into his body and relaxed, hoping to find herself on the roof the next morning still in his arms as she had many times before.  In the back of her mind, however, she felt the tiny twinge of fear and pain that guaranteed once she closed her eyes that damn nightmare would be back.  So instead of fully relaxing and enjoying Remy's warm, she sat, eyes wide towards the starry sky.  "I'm guessin' y' not gon' fall 'sleep, eh?"

"Ah swear, you're half-telepathic."

"Neh, I be an empath, chere.  We been over dis."

"Still the same ta me."

"Sure.  Now, if I were a telepath, I would get in dat pretty li'l head o' yours an' find out what de hell is keepin' y' up at night."

She sighed.  "Do ya think Ah should go see Xavier about it?"

"It's up t' you.  I t'ink seein' him is better dan Jean, dough."

She laughed briefly.  "Very true.  Ah wanna see if Ah can get this on mah own though.  Ya know how Ah just love help from others."

"Oui.  Y' just called y'self stubborn in y' own way, I hope y' realize dat."

"Ah know.  Quiet."  She grinned and poked at his stomach.  She settled down again into the curve of his body.  "Ah'm so awake now."

"What're y' gon' do about it?" He asked, in a way hinting at other things.  She could tell by the way his head suddenly sat on her shoulder, the way his breath tickled her ear more than usual.  She melted at the feeling, but wasn't completely in that sort of mood.

"Not what ya think we're gonna do."

"Damn, an' t' t'ink I t'ought I was gon' get some out o' dis late night rendezvous."

"You can be such a horn dog sometimes," she scoffed, only half disgusted.

"An' y' act like y' don't like it when I am," he laughed, tickling her sides.

He had her pinned now as he attacked her playfully.  She went along with it and allowed herself to be tickled and didn't instantly break out of his squirming hands with her super strength.  When she had long run out of breath from laughing, she pulled out of his reach, suspending herself in the air.  "Ah think a flight'll do me good," she said, twirling in the air so get a feel for the night.

"If y' say so," he smiled, standing up.  "Should I wait up f'r y'?"

"Ah dunno how Ah'm gonna be.  Might take me a while ta wear out."

"Y' know I'll be up anyway," he smirked.

"That is if ya don't follow me, which is quite the usual occurrence by you."

"Merde, am I gettin' dat predictable?"  He snapped his fingers in mock-disappointment.

She lowered herself down to his eye level.  "Ah didn't say Ah didn't enjoy it."  She kissed his forehead through his shaggy long bangs.  "Ah'll see ya in a bit, wherever we'll be."

"'Course, cherie."  He lifted her hand to his lips in a fluid movement and planted a kiss on her knuckles.

"Ah'll nevah get sick of that," she whispered.

"Don' t'ink I do it f'r your sake," he chuckled.  He stepped to the edge of the roof.  "Till later."  Then he did a deft back flip off, blanket and all.  Rogue was used to this sort of dramatic exit by him, so all she could do was shake her head and leap off the roof herself, catching her body from falling by flying with a power that was not originally hers.  She usually didn't think of Carol too much since she was locked within the inner depths of her mind, but maybe she was breaking out and causing her reoccurring nightmare?  The thought scared Rogue and her mind leaned more towards letting the Professor know about it.  Remy did happen to mention she was stubborn, so of course she was thinking of other plausible reasons for the nightmare just so she wouldn't need to have her mind prodded at.

She flew blindly for a bit, too much into thought to think about where she was flying.  She actually almost flew into a tall tree, just brushing against the outermost branches.  It snapped her back into reality.  She then realized where she had ended up.  A slight smirk came to her face as she landed right on the shabby welcome mat.  Her second home up in Bayville – the Brotherhood Manor.

Rogue didn't know why she tried knocking.  Before her and Remy went to the roof she'd seen it was almost two in the morning.  She reflexively did it, since it wasn't her actual home anymore, so she wasn't privileged to waltz right in.  It surprised the hell out of her was that someone actually answered the door.  What shocked her even more was who answered.  "Mystique!?"

Her mother stood before her in her natural form, hair slightly ruffled from sleeping, dressed in a simple tank top and pajama bottoms.  "Rogue?  What are you doing here?"  She eyed her daughter in her otherwise skimpy shorts and sports bra.  She's dressed a little dangerously to just go anywhere.

"Ah could ask the same of you," she said more harshly than wanted.

"Imagine my manners.  Come in."  She smiled warmly and stepped aside so Rogue had room to walk in.  It took her a second to do so, as she was completely appalled by this whole thing.  Once inside, she took a second to glance around, noticing the place was just as she left it, though she was all but certain Mystique had taken the opportunity to clean when she returned.  The boys were never ones to keep the house tidy.  The living room was dimly lit, and a steaming cup of tea was sitting on the coffee table with a few scattered newspapers.  Rogue turned to face Mystique.  "Couldn't sleep?"

She shook her head.  "You?"

"What was yoah first clue?" She laughed bitterly.  "You didn't answer mah first question yet though."

"Neither did you.  And I think I did ask first."  She passed Rogue and took a seat on the slightly battered couch.  Rogue followed suit and took a seat on the opposite end.  She wasn't sure how to answer her mother.

On the other end of town at the institute, Remy had back flipped onto Rogue's balcony by accident.  He thought to himself for a minute and realized he should have gone to the opposite side of the roof… "Screw it," he muttered to himself, brushing a lock of hair from his eyes.  He let himself back into Rogue's room and glided through it as if he feet were made of liquid, because he was just that damn smooth.  He made a quick stop at Rogue's bed to drop off her blanket and then continued across the room.  He shut the door behind him quietly, but alas, the young Kitty had not fully fallen asleep in the first place.  She waited a few moments for Rogue to follow him in, confused as why she hadn't come in with him.  Remy's the type of suave, debonair guy that would tuck his girl into bed and make sure she was fast asleep before leaving.

After a full minute of nothing, Kitty lifted herself out of bed just as smooth as Remy walked across the room.  She also walked through the door with ease.  She glanced to each side of the hallway, not sure which way the Cajun had gone.

She quickly remembered his style… he would most likely go after Rogue.  It was common knowledge.  Then she noted his apparel – he was in no shape to go after his girlfriend in the middle of the night.  Kitty smiled at her own deductions and figured he headed to his room.  There was no way she was going to fall asleep any time soon thanks to the two of them, so she might as well play the game and follow, too.  She headed in the direction of the boys' wing, deciding she would need a partner in crime.  And if there was anyone up for a last-minute adventure, it was Kurt.

"Ah was just flyin' around an' found mahself here.  Honestly.  Yoah turn."

"That's hardly an answer."

"C'mon.  Don't make me beg you ta let me know where you were all this time.  After that time down in Caldecott you just disappeared."

Mystique avoided Rogue's penetrating gaze for a moment.  "You do remember that talk, right?"

Every word.  "Yeah."

"You remember how I said something about getting away from Magneto?"

"Yeah…"

"Well, that's exactly what I did."

Rogue just stared at her for a moment.  "But you just left… Ah talked ta Lance a while ago an' he said after all the Asteroid M mess you were gone.  The boys were left with no one… an' ya didn't even bother ta tell me or Kurt.  Ah'm not sure about him, but Ah was sorta worried," she admitted.  This is turnin' inta the heart-ta-heart Ah wasn't expectin' foh a lifetime, she sighed inwardly.

Mystique hid her smile.  "If I told anyone, Magneto surely would have found out.  Especially with that mouth on Pietro," she glared up towards the ceiling as if she could see him sleeping through it for effect.  "I did keep an eye on everyone though."

"How?"

She shrugged.  "Nothing too effective," she answered, though Rogue could sense the deception in her voice.  There's no way I can tell her about Risty, Mystique thought hastily.  "Does that answer your question?"

"Ah guess.  It's not like you're gonna say anythin' else."  Mystique felt a stab from her words, but kept her feelings hidden.  Time 'away' had made her nastier, more sneaky and deceitful, but she still felt her otherwise ignored obligations as a mother.

"So… tell me something new and exciting that'll make me feel like my bad case of insomnia is worth it."

"Umm… Life's been pretty normal - no new baddies, got a buncha new teammates - "

"You still with the Cajun?"  Mystique knew the answer already much to her disgrace, but she mustn't give up her cover.

Rogue smiled.  "Goin' strong.  Did you really expect any other answer?"

"Unfortunately, no."

"Well, now, wait a minute.  He told me you got along great with me not there one time," Rogue said, defending Remy.

"We did - but he also implied that you have had… relations."

"Oh, Gawd.  You're gone this long an' you're actin' like the mother that you're not -" Rogue shut her mouth the instant those words passed by her lips.  Mystique sat quietly, staring at nothing but her hands folded in her lap as if they were the most interesting things in the world.  "Ah… Ah'm sorry."

"Don't be."  She stared coldly at her hands, wishing she could morph into an animal and disappear again by flying away or escape through a hole on the wall like mice portrayed in cartoons.  But she knew she had to face Rogue - and Kurt - now.  "Remy is a good boy," she whispered, hoping to go back to the original subject under discussion.  "But something about him just seems…"

Rogue snickered knowingly.  "Ah know what you're trying ta say, because Ah know that feelin'.  'Tainted' is the word you're lookin' foh."

"Sounds like you've found out some 'fun' info and done some things that I don't know about."  A smirk played at her lips.

Rogue inwardly groaned.  She's baitin' me… but Ah see no reason not ta tell her.  It'll be fun ta see that damn smile wiped clear off her face.  "You know how it can be… growin' up in the Thieves Guild, bein' in an arranged marriage at the age of 16, killin' yoah soon-ta-be brother in law, an' bein' genetically altered by a mad scientist -- oh, you knew 'bout that part already, though."  She smiled sweetly.  Mystique did her best to keep her jaw from hanging open.

"Excuse me?"

Rogue sighed dramatically.  "Do Ah really need ta say it all again?  It's quite a mouthful if ya think about it."  She rummaged around on the coffee table as if she were looking for something.  "Maybe Ah should write it down?" She suggested when she found a pen.

"No, no, that's fine.  Okay, after all of this, have you found some way to have… God, this is embarrassing… intercourse with him?"  Saying that word was like stepping on her little toe with a stiletto heel.  That friggin' painful.  It came out as a harsh whisper, but the word was all but clearly annunciated for Rogue.

The younger girl bit her lip to bite back her laughter.  Before long it was just too much and she burst out laughing.  "I'm glad this is so amusing for you."

"Why are you so damn curious of whether we've done it or not?  Ah swear, you're as bad as everyone else at the institute."

"With good reason.  You're teenagers with raging hormones."

"Okay, just because he comes off as an incredible ladies' man, doesn't mean he'll jump inta bed with anythin' with somethin' missin' between their legs."

"So you haven't," she answered.

"No.  Mainly because we're happy with what we already do."  An' the fact that doin' it through a hole in a sheet is just too creepy, not that Remy hasn't brought it up…  A blush crept up her cheeks.

"And what is it that you already do?"

Rogue threw her hands up in the air.  "Ah can't talk about this anymore with you.  It's just too damn weird for my likin'."

Mystique laughed.  "Can't blame me for being curious."  When she would talk to Rogue as Risty in school and all, they would talk about these things all the time.  But for the time being, 'Risty was spending time with her grandmother in England for the summer', so Mystique's gossip was cut short.  She'd eventually become addicted to it as if she were an actual teenager again.  Being Rogue's best friend made her wish that she actually had a friend like her when she was growing up.  It was impossible though, so she lived for the present and remained Rogue's friend for her benefit in requiring information and also, to feel human again.

Remy was well aware of the tiny audience he'd gathered.  He felt Kitty sit up the second he stepped into the hallway.  He figured it would be interesting to see how far along she came with him as far as following Rogue went.  And as he was getting some extra clothing on in his room, he had peeked out his door to see Kitty go into Kurt's room.  So she's gettin' Blue Boy t' help out.  Even better.

Soon he was down in the garage, slinking about in his Remy way.  His motorcycle was parked next to Logan's, as they had been polishing and discussing them in a civil manner earlier that day.  Rogue had been astonished they didn't find some way to piss each other off.  But as for now, the bike was clean and he still had his head on his shoulders, so that was the last thing on his mind.  Rogue's nightmare, on the other hand, had him thinking.  He knew Rogue unconsciously had to know what was going on in her dreams, but she was too proud to admit that it was worse than she said.

Remy was being truthful when he said he's been watching her.  He still had a dream or two of his own that would leave him too shaky to sleep.  So of course, he would check up on her.  It was that or plan some sort of prank on the other sleeping students.  The former would get him in less trouble, if any at all.   

He would usually watch her from the foot of her bed, since when she did dream badly, she thrashed her torso more than her legs.  In the winter, he would actually get into bed with her since they would both be covered with more clothes.  They had both found out in Caldecott that each other's warmth and comfort kept away anything bad.  But Remy just watched her this week, listened to her mumble incoherently except for the few words he could make out (consisting mainly of 'no' and 'why' and 'don't').  Sometimes the mood would glisten against the thin sheen of sweat that would form on her skin.

He could only observe her.  If she wasn't tossing and turning too much, he sometimes dared himself to delicately peel a sweat-soaked lock of white hair from across her face.  One time, two nights before, he tried that and accidentally brushed his fingertip against her forehead.  She let out a moan and a shiver with the sudden invasion of her mind, but it calmed her down enough that she slept through the rest of the night.  Ever since then, he was sure he had the magic touch to take her marred dreams away.  He did enjoy the ego boost.

While he was doing all this thinking, he'd begun walking his bike out to the main gate.  Before leaving the house, he'd taken the liberty of turning off the security for five minutes by this separate control remote he'd setup with help from Kitty.  He could only help that she and Kurt made it out before everything turned back on.

He reached the gate and checked his stopwatch.  A minute-thirty to spare.  He opened the gate and wished Kurt and Kitty luck on finding him once he took off.  He smirked as he mounted his bike and was gone.

Once Kitty had awoken Kurt, he insisted they tell Evan what was going on incase they needed someone to cover them if they were caught.  Evan reluctantly agreed to find some way to take the heat off them if necessary.  The moment Kurt teleported himself and Kitty out of the skater's room, Evan promptly put his head back on his pillow and fell asleep. 

They landed in the garage where Remy had exited half a minute before.  Kurt pulled the key for the van off the wall and jiggled it in front of Kitty's face.  "Van sounds good?"

"Yeah.  I'm figuring Remy is using the security scrambler I designed for him, but it's only good for five minutes."

"Any telling on how long ago he activated it?"

She shook her head.  "No worried though.  All this stuff is motion detected."

"And zat is going to help us… how?"

"God, Elf.  If I make the car intangible… do I have to explain everything?"

 "Duh, of course.  Let's get going."  He teleported in the van on the driver's side.  Kitty quickly ran into the passenger side.

"Okay, I need you to drive fast when I say because this takes a lot out of me."  Kurt nodded in completely understanding.  While he started the car, she placed both her hands on the dashboard and loosened her body up by rolling her shoulders.  She closed her eyes and relaxed herself into an intangible state, along with the car.  "Okay… go!"

Kurt wasted no time in flooring the car.  He was slightly worried about the unopened garage door they were about to run into, but he trusted Kitty and her powers to guide them right through.

They passed through the door like a fish in water.  As instructed, Kurt kept up the speed and saw the main gates in a matter of seconds.  He didn't say a word, just kept driving, hoping that they would phase through it like the garage door.  A second later they were on the other side.  "Stop the van," Kitty whispered, leaning back in her seat, one hand rubbing her temple.

Kurt slowed the van down and pulled off to the side of the roar.  "Are you okay?"

"I'm fine," she smiled.  "Just need to ease back into the whole tangible thing, ya know?"

He nodded, his hand resting on the back of her seat.  "Now that everything is calmed down again, tell me vhy ve're following Remy?"  She hadn't given him much of an explanation.

"Because he's following your sister.  I'm curious as to what they actually do with no one around to supervise."

"She doesn't tell you much of anyzing either, eh?"

Kitty looked at him, concern in her eyes.  "Why do I, like, detect a hint of sadness in that otherwise happy-go-lucky voice of yours?"

"With Rogue… you need to all but beg her to let you in, let alone talk to her.  I thought actually knowing my sister vould be great… but it hurts all the more since she's so far away."

"Aww, Kurt.  I really had no clue that you felt like that.  You've known about the whole Mystique/Rogue thing for so long now… why didn't you bring it up with her?"

He shrugged.  "I didn't know if it hurt her as much as it does me."

"Well," she smiled.  "When we find that girl, we're making sure you get some quality sibling talks in."

He shared her smile.  "Thanks, Kitty."  She gave him a hug.  "I knew you vould handle zis better than Evan would."

"That's what girls are for."

"Amanda said the same zing," he grinned.

"Now I know that girl's a keeper."  She laughed.  "Let's get going again, okay?  The sooner we find Remy, the sooner we find Rogue."

"You make it sound like she's in grave danger," he snickered.

"Please, we both know that 'trouble' and 'Rogue' are always in the same sentence."

"So, Sinister hasn't kidnapped you again yet?"

"Are you plannin' on it?"

"I am merely anticipating it."

Rogue was silent for a moment.  "Remy's petrified of him, Mystique.  He honestly has at least one nightmare a week 'bout what happened ta him before or what could have happened to us."

Mystique sighed.  "It's nice to see you concerned."

"Of course Ah am.  Ah get so worried 'bout Remy that Ah can't think 'bout anythin' or anyone else."

"What about Kurt?"

"What about him?"

"Do you worry about him?"

"… not as much as Ah should."  Rogue realized that she hadn't really spent time with her brother, let alone talked to him in a fairly decent amount of time.  "Ah find it hard ta talk ta him though."

"Why?"

"Because of you."

Mystique was stunned for a moment, but then it made sense.  She wanted to hear it from Rogue though.  "Me?" She played.  "Why?"

"You've cause so much damage ta both our lives, believe it or not," she answered haughtily.  "Lookin' at him reminds me of you -"

"Didn't us talking set all that straight?"

"It did, until I started flyin' or lifted up the car on the way home since we had a flat an' no jack.  You're mah mother, yes, an' Ah'll always feel some sort of urge ta just fohgive you, but Ah killed someone because you couldn't say no.  Somethin' happened in that castle ta Kurt because you couldn't say no.  Its just too much pain that neither of us have gotten over enough ta be real siblings."

"Even after all this time?"

Rogue shook her head slightly, avoiding Mystique's stare.

"Would you believe me if I told you that I left so things could be set right again?"

Rogue shrugged, still not meeting her mother's eyes.  "Ya told me ya left because of Magneto."

"I can leave for more than one reason."

"An' how do Ah know you're not sayin' that ta make me feel better?  You're a very manipulative woman, Mystique.  That's somethin' ya'll always be.  You can't just leave foh months an' expect ta come back changed."

"Why do you think I left?  Just so I could come back the exact same heartless bitch that I was when I left?"  Her voice rose with each word.  "I need some air."  Without another word, she stood up and walked in the direction of the kitchen, where Rogue assumed she would go out the backdoor.  Rogue sat on the couch, breathing shakily through her nose.  Ya just can't let her in, can you?

If I were Roguey, where would I go…  Remy darted down the streets of Bayville, occasionally looking up.  He never did see a black dot up there.  Times like these he wished for some extra senses like Logan, but there was no way he was going to ask for his help in this.  It was just a friendly game of cat and mouse for Rogue and Remy, as it usually was.  And Remy did make a wonderful cat.  He grinned the metaphor.  No need to involve a huge search party, even though he had Kurt and Kitty on his tail as well.

He heard a motor behind him and rolled his eyes.  "Dey got me already," he muttered to himself.  Ignoring them for the moment, he remembered the task at hand.  Figuring they had his trail, he raced ahead.

"That wasn't too hard to find him."  Kitty pointed him out about 2000 feet ahead.

"Maybe he knew ve vere coming?"  Kurt suggested.

Kitty shrugged.  "Just keep on him.  If he knew we were coming then he wouldn't mind us to keep following."  It was then that Remy picked up his speed.  "Great.  He's going to wake someone up with the noise of that thing."

It was Kurt's turn to shrug.  "Who cares?  I'll keep on him."

Silence permeated through the van until a small giggle was heard.  Kurt and Kitty looked at each other at the same time.  "What was that," Kitty mouthed to him.  Kurt could only shake his head.  Kitty phased herself and slowly slid through her seat, and extended her arm towards the back seat.  She felt a shirt and pulled it forward.  "Hey!" yelped a voice, too small to be any one of the original recruits.

"Jamie?!"

He grinned and waved.  "Hi.  I heard you guys moving around and wanted to see what's up."

"How did you get in here without us noticing?" Kitty asked. 

"Now, if I'm going to be a spy, I can't tell you all my secrets, can I?"

"Mein Gott…" Kurt mumbled through gritted teeth.

"So what's the mission?"

"Mission?"  Kitty asked, as gently as possible.  Not that she didn't love the little guy, but seeing him and being responsible for him at this early in the morning was dragging the fun out of whatever they were supposed to be doing.

"Yeah!  You didn't leave the mansion this early to just go for a drive."

"Ze kid has a point, Kit."

"Quiet."

"Well?" Jamie pushed.

"Why don't you handle this one, Kurt?"

"Because I'm still hazy on vhy ve're even bothering to do zis."

Kitty cursed, in Hebrew so neither Kurt nor Jamie would understand her.  They assumed she said a tiny prayer for patience.  Sure, she thought.  "Okay, Jamie, imagine it like this.  An evil spirit has possessed Rogue, and Remy is her valiant knight off to rescue her.  We are… umm, not her servants, but her watchers, yeah!  And we have to make sure they both come back in one piece."

Jamie looked at her flatly.  "I'm twelve, Kitty, not six.  Fairy tales were so ten years ago."

Kitty glared at him.  "Fine.  Secret agents kidnapped Rogue by implanting experimental equipment in her head to cause her to go insane.  Remy, as always, is worried sick about her and plans to take out all the agents by himself.  Not that we don't trust Remy to handle all of them by himself, we're going along to make sure they don't get hurt."

"Now, couldn't you have just said that in the first place?"  Jamie smiled sweetly.

"No.  It's top secret.  I could be killed because I told you.  I hope you're proud of yourself."  Kitty said each word without an ounce of emotion.

His eyes filled with horror.  "Kitty… I-I didn't mean to!"

Despite her annoyance, she couldn't help but smile.  "That'll be your job, okay?  Making sure I don't get killed on account of you.  Can you handle that?"

"Of course!  I won't be responsible for something like that!"

"Good kid."

"I'm twelve, meaning I'm practically grown up.  If we're on a secret mission, I can't be addressed as 'kid'.  The enemy will see that as a weakness."

"Zis is going to be a long night," Kurt mumbled as he kept his eyes on the road.  Kitty heard him loud and clear and suppressed a groan.

Rogue sat in the Brotherhood living room for several minutes before becoming restless.  She glanced to the kitchen area at least five times before realizing that Mystique wouldn't be back any time soon.  She was not surprised in the least, as Mystique was always weak when it came to these sorts of matters.  She stood up, stretching out her sore muscles.  Maybe Ah should be gettin' home…  She walked to the kitchen entrance and didn't see Mystique in sight.  "Of course," Rogue mumbled.

She started to walk in the opposite direction, but froze.  Ah can't keep doin' this.  Befoh she left, Ah really thought we'd had a 'breakthrough' but then she was gone an' Ah just wanted a family again.  She never took the time ta talk ta Kurt, an' he needs it more than me at this point.  She chuckled.  It would be very convenient if he an' his blue butt showed up here.

Remy stopped down the road from the Brotherhood manor.  He checked the park already, since Rogue likes to sit by the pond.  He also did a quick check of the trees.  Next on his mental list was her former home.  After Christmas, the seven of them had all grown a lot closer, so Remy figured her stopping off there, regardless if anyone was up, wasn't too out of the cards. 

He walked his motorcycle next to a bush, hiding it quite well in the shadows.  He glanced behind him, the van only a block away.  He figured he should just wait for them.  What was the point of making them follow them to the house, only to give away his position?  In his mind, they wouldn't be the best at slinking about. 

They pulled up next to him and turned the lights out.  Kitty rolled down her window.  "What made y' come out t' play?"

She shrugged.  "I couldn't sleep thanks to you two.  Thought I would see what you were up to." 

"Remy!"  Jamie bounced from the backseat.  "You're okay!  Where are the evil spies at?"

Remy's eyebrows furrowed.  "Care t' explain," he looked at Kitty and then Kurt, who could only roll his eyes.

Kitty looked at Jamie.  "You know that was just a way of shutting you up, right?"

Jamie stopped bouncing.  "Yeah… I know." 

"Jamie, c'mere.  Kitty's jus' makin' merde up."  Jamie opened the backdoor and climbed out.  "Now, tell me what Kitty tol' y'."  Jamie told him exactly what Kitty said.  "I see…"  He glanced to Kitty with a mere flicker of his red eyes.  She caught it and smiled weakly.  "In dat case, we better go save m'cherie, eh?"

Jamie looked up in the direction of the Brotherhood house.  "That doesn't look like a spy hideout."

"It's not.  It's where de Brotherhood lives.  If she's dere, dey must've intercepted de spies an' are holdin' her f'r us."  Jamie nodded.

"Let's go then!"  He started off ahead of them, but Remy caught the back of his nightshirt.

He put a finger up to his lips.  "Shh… dey can' know we're here… dey, umm," he looked to Kitty for some help.

Kurt spoke up instead.  "If ve just show up, ze spies are sure to know ve're here."

"Dat's right."

"You guys are really going through a lot of thinking to make this fun for me, but you really don't need to."

Remy smirked.  "It's better dis way.  Wait'll Rogue hears it.  Now, mon ami, we mus' get t' de house undetected."

Jamie didn't want them to play the game for the sake of him so he just stood there straight faced, a small pout forming.  "Seriously.  Don't act all kiddy because of me."

"Jamie," Remy knelt down so he could more or less look him in the eye.  "Y' know how long it's been since I could act dis way?  Y' not gon' ruin it f'r me, whet'er y' play or not.  I'm goin' in dere t' rescue m'cherie, but I could use y' help."

The younger boy began to smile.  "What kind of spy would I be to let another one endanger himself?"

"Dat's de spirit, c'mon."  He waved to Kurt and Kitty, and they each exited the car by way of their powers, of course. 

"We're gonna have to be quiet, right?" Jamie asked.

"'Course."  Remy started moving ahead towards the house.  Jamie tried mimicking the movements he made, but without the necessary experience, he looked really funny.  Kitty held in a giggle as she simply strolled along, Kurt right behind her.

Rogue stepped lightly into the backyard and saw her mother sitting on a very shambled bench.  The wood was rotted by weather and gray even in the moonlight.  A half burned cigarette was poised between Mystique's fingers as she took another drag.  "Ah didn't know you smoked," Rogue said, startling her blue mother momentarily.

"Only when I'm stressed."  She laughed bitterly.  "I should have lung cancer by now, then."  She offered her pack to Rogue.  "Help yourself."

"No, thanks.  Never got into it."

"Good for you then."

"Yeah…"  The familiar awkward silence hung in the air again as thick as the humidity.  Rogue strolled to the bench so she could get a better look at Mystique.  "Ah was thinkin'… maybe Ah should go back to the institute an' get Kurt… Ah mean, a talk is long overdue for all of us."

Mystique put the cigarette out on the bench and looked up at Rogue, a sour smirk on her face.  "You really think talks are going to fix everything, my dear?  If it were that easy I would've shown up on Xavier's doorstep myself to put all this away.  It's facing the both of you at the same time that is so hard for me."

"If you saw us separately?"

"Seeing you doesn't seem to be all that difficult.  Kurt… I've probably associated with him 7 months total of his life.  He doesn't want to see me, regardless of the connection."

Rogue smiled faintly.  "Ah did get ta live with ya a bit, so that explains that.  From when Ah do talk ta Kurt, Ah really get the impression that he wishes things could have been different.  No one has told him about the testin' yet, but he knows somethin' is wrong.  If you two weren't interrupted that time, you could've told him all about it an' let him know where he comes from."

"I'm not his mother, though.  His mother lives with his father over in Germany.  They were everything I'll never be and more."  She sighed, pulling another cigarette out of the box.

"Ah never figured you ta be one ta beat herself up."

"I have my moments."  She lit it and took a nice long drag, savoring the nicotine running through her system.

"Ah got Remy ta quit smokin', Ah'll get you ta stop, too."

"What makes you think you'll see me often enough to have an effect?"  Mystique let the cig hang limply from her dark blue lips.

"You're leavin' again?  You were barely here!"

"I've always been here, Rogue.  It's just a matter of finding me."  She stood up and dropped the hardly burned cigarette, snuffing it out under her bare foot.  It burned against her skin, but she swallowed her pain and walked away from her daughter back into the house. 

"Where are you goin' now?" Rogue demanded.

"I don't even know anymore," Mystique said quietly without looking back.

Moments before, Remy had reached the side of the house, along with the others.  "What now?" Jamie asked in a very low whisper.

"I'm gon' go in an' get her."

"Maybe two of us should go in," Kurt suggested.

"That might not be the best plan," Kitty warned.  "Remy has better relations with them than we do.  Well, than you do anyway.  You go in, Rem, we'll stay here with Jamie while you go get her."

"Go in through a window!" Jamie exclaimed in a loud whisper.  "That'll make it more fun."

Remy rolled his eyes, but smiled anyway.  "Fine.  Which one, den?  I don' know who's in each one so it'll be completely random."

Jamie pointed to one on the second floor.  Remy sighed inwardly but began trekking his way up.  He grabbed a hold of the gutter and pulled himself up.  He easily pushed up the window and slid in.  "Oh merde," he instantly mumbled.

"What the hell are you doing here?" Pietro growled, not happy in the least to see the Cajun X-Man.

"It's nice t' see y' too.  Roguey came in dis direction.  Jus' checkin' t' see if she's here."

"So you decided to check my bedroom.  I knew you were jealous of whatever flirtations me and her have shared, but this is just ridiculous."

"Don' get so uppity 'bout it.  Jamie picked out dis window."

"You brought the squirt?"

"He brought himself.  So did de Elf an' Kit."

"Christ, Remy, just bringing the whole institute with you."

"Dey followed me, homme.  I made dem wait outside.  Kitty had t' agree since I apparently have bett'r connections wit' y'."

"Which was before you appeared in my wonderful room."

"Oui, dat would be it."

"Lucky me."

"Lucky us.  Y' haven't seen her, dough?"

"She hasn't been up here.  I did hear Mystique talking to someone though."

"Mystique?!"  Remy's jaw just about hit the ground.  "Since when is she back?"

"Don't act like you're the only surprised one.  She showed up here earlier today unannounced."

"An' Rogue may have been talkin' t' her.  Bloody marvelous."

"… That's not something you would usually say."

Remy thought for a moment.  "Umm… lack of sleep?"  He could only shrug.  Where the hell had he heard that phrase?  He decided to let it go, since it really wasn't all that important.

"So why is it so bad if Rogue talks to Mystique?  She should talk to her mother.  It's about time."

"I couldn' agree wit' y' more, but when dey talk, it's dard t' tell if de conversation'll go bad or good."

"I never took you for a pessimist, LeBeau."

"Y' jus' lean not t' hope f'r too much at dis point."

"Funny," Pietro laughed, standing up.  "I have to agree with you on that one."  He grabbed a T-shirt from the floor and threw it on.   "Should we go check on her?"

"Oui, but not too quickly.  Maybe dey'er actually bein' civil."

"Doubt it, but fine, I can see what you mean.  No need to jump in on them and interrupt something that could potentially never happen again."  Pietro walked to the door, Remy following closely behind.

Kurt, Kitty and Jamie were standing below Pietro's window (remember, they didn't know it was his), not knowing a single thing that was going on.  "Maybe I should go in," suggested Jamie.

"Ohhh, no," Kurt said.  "I'll be ze next one going in."

"Aww, why?  I never get to do any of the fun stuff."  He pouted audibly.

"She's my sister.  It's only fair zat I get ze next try."  Kurt grinned, teeth flashing bright white against the dark blue of his fur in the moonlight.  "Which vay should I go in?"

Jamie remained pouting.  "I don't care.  Go in through the front door, it makes no difference now."

Kurt glanced to Kitty, who nodded sympathetically.  "Jamie," she said, laying a hand on his shoulder.  "Kurt can go through one side, and you and I will cover another."  She pointed to the window next to Pietro's.  "Let's try that one."

"I'll still go in ze front," Kurt joked.

Jamie smirked.  "I dare you."

"You're on," and with that, Kurt teleported away.

Kitty grabbed Jamie's hand, "C'mon."  She pulled him to the tree that stretched up to the window of their desires.  "You can climb, right?"

He nodded.  He punched himself in the arm, two duplicates falling out of his body.  "We can help," they said together.  Kitty smiled and shrugged.  While she began to climb the tree, the extra Jamies climbed on top of each other, and boosted one another up.

"Didn't I get you name tags for Christmas?" Kitty whispered, giggling.  They had stumbled a few times so there were twice as many Jamies as when they first started.  The Jamie highest on the tree grinned sheepishly.  "Forgot to put them in my pocket."

Kurt landed in the Brotherhood living room, practically on top of a person he thought he'd never see again – nor wanted to on his worst days.  "Mother?"

"Kurt?!  What are you doing here?"

"Who cares about vhy I'm here, vhat about you?!"

She smiled.  "Your sister didn't want to answer that either."

"So Rogue is here.  Good," he sighed with relief.

"I didn't know you would be following her here."

"Kitty's idea," he said simply, the awkwardness of the situation finally hitting him.  Mystique fell silent as well, not sure what to say.

"I've missed you," she did manage to choke out.

Kurt wanted to retort something sarcastic as Rogue would have to these words, but his true emotions spilt over.  This was what he wanted – for her to show some true emotion herself and not just hide herself because her status as his enemy.  He couldn't just say he missed her back though.  He wasn't one to say all his feelings right away.  "Really?"  Nice job, Furball.

Mystique's smile turned warmer.  "I did.  I don't think I got around to telling Rogue that."

"Vhere is she at?"

"Out back… if she's still there."

Rogue leaned against the kitchen wall next to the doorway, not actually as surprised as she thought she would have been to hear Kurt's voice.  She had floated in from the backyard so Mystique wouldn't have known she was there.  She listened to Kurt and Mystique, their reunion long overdue.

"… if she's still there," she heard Mystique say.  If that's not a cue ta show mahself, Ah don't know what is.

"Ah'm raht here," she said, right as she landed on the ground and walked out of the kitchen.  "Are you ready foh that talk now?"

"You say that as if I have a choice."

Rogue smirked.  "At least ya can pick up that clue."  She looked past her mother and waved to Kurt.  "Hey," she smiled.  "Ah didn't know Remy required help in findin' me these days."

"I'll explain later," he grinned.  Bother seemed to look at Mystique the same time after their greetings, expecting her to take lead on where their long awaited talk should begin.

"Well, should we sit down or remain gawking at each other?" Mystique took a seat on the armed chair.  Rogue sat down on the couch, and Kurt did the same on the opposite end.

They sat there, glancing at each other, all completely oblivious on where to begin.  Rogue suddenly giggled; not in a girlish way, mind you, but there was no other way to describe the noise that erupted from her laugh.  "Ah'm sorry," she said, out of breath.  The giggle had last quite a bit.  It was ironic that she'd been awake because of a simple (in her words) nightmare, but had found it in herself to laugh as much as she did that night.  "Ah've wanted us ta do this foh months an' all we can do is gape at each other."

Kurt smiled.  "I don't see you attempting any sort of healing conversation, Roguey Roo."

Rogue froze.  She hated that nickname.  She glared at Kurt, which only made his smile wider.  "Give me one good reason Ah shouldn't knock you out."  Her hand twitched, reminding Kurt exactly how much clothing she wasn't wearing and how much skin was exposed.

"You vouldn't dare," he countered.

She glared at him straight in the eyes for a long ten second before bursting out laughing.  "Ah know."

Mystique watched her children interact and couldn't help but smile.  She'd dreamed of this day for so long.  She was weary of being cold blooded and heartless.  She just wanted to be with them and let them know that through it all, she loved them.

Rogue caught Mystique smiling in the corner of her eye.  She stopped laughing and looked at her.  "Ah don't think Ah'll ever get used to that smile."

"I smile all the time," she defended.

"Not like that though.  You look happy, not evil."  Rogue smiled.  Kurt watched Rogue talk to her and felt a twinge of envy.  He knew that his sister had talks with Mystique before.  He felt left out that Mystique had approached her first instead of him, that she knew before him that Mystique was her mother.  It made him think that Rogue was the favorite.  I'm being really foolish about this.  The woman barely knows eizer of us and I'm pretended that ve sit down together every night.

"They sound like they're okay," Pietro whispered from the top of the steps.

"Oui.  Kurt let himself in de house, too.  One big happy family."

Pietro laughed.  "Now if only they knew who the dad was, they'd be good."

"Yeah, Rogue tol' me 'bout dat."  Remy shook his head.  "Damn Mystique."

"I always had the feeling she wasn't the most conservative person."

"Guess she's jus' got dat vibe 'bout her," Remy chuckled.  "We should leave dem be."

Pietro nodded.  "I guess you really have no reason to be here then.  You should get going."

"Why de big hurry?  I wanna see my buddies," Remy smirked.  "Besides, y' ain' gettin' rid of me dat easily."

"I knew I had the most rotten luck in the world."

"I still don' understand why y' pissed off at me.  I mean, it can' be de whole Rogue t'ing anymore, c'n it?"

Pietro simply shrugged, walking away from the top of the staircase.  "We've been over this before, Cajun.  No need to pick at old scabs."

"Fair enough.  Don' need t' be fightin' wit' y' when dis is deir moment."

"Couldn't agree with you more."

"We gotta stop dis agreein' t'ing.  It's weird havin' t'ings in common wit' y'."

"It definitely is."

Kitty climbed in the window with ease, thanks to her powers.  She pulled a single Jamie in, since he had collected himself back together.  She glanced around, trying to figure out who's room they were in exactly.  A smile came to her face.  Perfect.

"It's Lance!" Jamie exclaimed joyfully.  "I missed him!"

"Huh, what?"  The aforementioned Brotherhood member woke up groggily and blinked around his room.  "Kitty?  Jamie?  What the hell are you two doing here?"

"And to think I thought you would've been happier to see me."  Kitty pouted.  She walked over to his bed and sat down.  Jamie turned away as she gave Lance a tiny peck on the cheek. 

"Ewww…"

Lance shushed him.  "Seriously, though.  What're you doing here?"  He glanced to the clock.

"We followed Remy here with Kurt because he was following Rogue."

"Ah, as always."

"See?  Everyone should know this by now."

"I told them before they couldn't be separated."

"I think it's sweet."

"You would."

"What's that supposed to mean?" She asked, offended.

"Well… I, umm…" he tried thinking of something to say.  "I know you're a sucker for the sweet stuff.  If I could get past the security system at Xavier's I would show up at your window, too."

Kitty smiled again.  "And even if you got by the system, there's still a matter of Rogue answering the window."

"Yeah, that, too.  But I think she's pretty understanding now so she would let me up."

She giggled.  "Sure.  If you say so."

"Hel-lo?  I'm still in the room here!"  Jamie stomped his foot, demanding attention.

"Why don't you go see Tabby?  She's missed you for a little bit."

"Ooh! Okay!  Where's her room?"

"Down the hall, last one on the left.  Don't mention to her how small it is.  After Mysti came back, she got the boot for one of the smallest rooms."  Jamie left, the comment not affecting him at all.

"Mystique's back?" Kitty all but shrieked.  "Since when?"

"Earlier today.  She's different, obviously.  I can't tell whether it's bad or good."

"Oh, God, what if Rogue talked to her?"  Kitty started to get up from the bed, but Lance gently grabbed her wrist.  She didn't struggle against it like she had done so many times before. 

"They need it.  And besides, Remy and Kurt can go look for her, right?" He said slyly.

Kitty bit her lip.  "I suppose…" she giggled.

Jamie walked down the hall, counting the doors.  He really wasn't watching where he was going, and neither was Pietro.  Before either could react, Jamie was on the floor from the impact with Pietro, seven of him tumbling down the hallway in separate directions.  Three of the Jamies fell into three different doors, two fell down the steps, and the main Jamie and the last two were tangled with Pietro.  "Ouch…" all of the mumbled simultaneously.

"You can say that again."

Remy barely avoided being knocked down the steps.  He jumped up and held himself up above the ground by extending his limber legs on either side of the wall and keeping them locked.  The two Jamies rolled on down the steps, creating three more.

"What the hell?" Rogue and Mystique said at the same time, hearing the noise from the living room.  Rogue got up from the couch first, followed by her brother then mother.  "Jamie?!  What're you doin' here?!"

All five Jamies were quite dazed.  "We fell and went boom," said the Jamie on the lowest step. 

Rogue smiled and knelt down near the one that talk.  Carefully, she ruffled his hair.  "Ya gonna be okay, sugah?"

They all nodded.  "Yes, Roguey."

"Good, boys."  She glanced up the stairs.  "Remy!  Ah wished Ah coulda clocked how long it took ya ta find me this time, but Ah fohgot mah stopwatch."  She motioned to her naked wrist.

He showed her his wrist.  "Brought mine.  I could do bett'r."

"Ya mean ya still haven't beaten yoah record of ten minutes an' 13 seconds?"

"Non.  I will one of dese days, dough."   He got down from the wall and stepped over the jumbled Jamies cautiously.  "I brought y' some stuff."  He reached inside his duster and pulled out a long sleeved t-shirt and a pair of gloves.

"Ooh," Rogue grinned as she quickly put them on.  "Jus' what Ah needed."  She gave him a hug.  "Ya always know what Ah need."

"'Course."  He glanced beyond Rogue to Kurt and Mystique.  "I didn' really expect y' t' be havin' a family moment t'night when all o' dis happened…"

"Maybe the nightmare's a blessin', heh."

"Nightmare?" Mystique quipped.  She looked to Kurt for some sort of explanation, but he could only shrug.

Rogue bit her lip.  "Oops, didn't wanna mention that."  She turned to Remy.  "Do ya mind helpin' him up an' gettin' back upstairs?"

Remy smiled.  "Not at all.  Jamie?" He called up the steps to the original.  "Pull y'self t'gether, homme." 

After a weak 'okay' was heard, the Jamie heap on the steps dissolved.  A few doors could be heard opening upstairs.  "What happened out here, yo?  Someone knocked an' woke me up."

"You heard that, too?" Fred yawned.  "Whoa, what's the kid doing here?"

"I am not a kid!" Jamie said vehemently.  He stomped his foot for effect, which of course, brought on more duplicates.

"I t'ink I'll go upstairs…" Remy said, running up and leaving Rogue and what could be considered by standards her family alone once again.  Tabitha could then be heard squealing with happiness when she saw Jamie.

"Rogue, come sit down again," Mystique said, leading her and Kurt back into the living room in an attempt to faze out the voices upstairs.  "What nightmare were you talking about?"  Kurt looked intrigued as well.

"Ah don't know how ta explain it, really.  Ah fohget it every time Ah wake up."

"You don't remember a single thing?"

Rogue shook her head.  "Notta thing."

Mystique looked away, thinking on her own.  "Was it something like when you were having that reoccurring nightmare with me?"

"Ah.don't.know!  How many times do Ah hafta say that Ah don't remember it!"

"Or," Kurt suggested quietly.  "You don't vant to remember it."

"What's that supposed ta mean?"

"Maybe your mind is replaying something for you, and you're not villing to admit vhat's going on, or somezing, I don't know." He shrugged.

"No, you're onto something, Kurt," Mystique said.

Rogue glared at the two of them.  "What could possibly be goin' on in mah head that Ah wouldn't wanna let mahself know?"

"I might know something…" Mystique whispered.

"Oh, great.  Lemme guess… Was Ah genetically tested on, too?  Ah'm jus' bettin' ya'll say that!"

"In a matter of terms, you weren't…"

"What is that s'posed ta mean?"  Rogue cradled her head in her hands.  "It just runs in the family, doesn't it?"

"It's not what you think."

"Really?  Enlighten me, then," Rogue spat.

"You know why I'm scared of Sinister?"

"What does this hafta do with him?"

"That time that you were captured by him with Remy, it wasn't your first confrontation with him."

"What!?"  At this point, everyone was standing at the top of the steps, Remy keeping a firm arm across Jamie in order to keep him from falling down the steps.  Todd, Fred, Tabitha, Pietro and the two X-Men stood with their ears perked.

"Sinister?" Tabitha whispered lightly.

Remy's eyes could only burn red.

"When was Ah with him befoh?" Rogue tried to keep her voice from showing any emotion, but everyone could clearly hear the slight shaking in her voice.  She didn't want to hear what Mystique was about to tell her, but she knew she had to.

Mystique swallowed loudly.  "He abducted you one time, when you lived with Irene.  She had called me about a vision she had had involving you and a man.  I usually listen carefully to her visions, but this time I thought nothing of it…"  She took a deep breath.

"How old was Ah?" Rogue asked in a small voice.

"Seven."

"What happened ta me?  What did he do ta me?"

"He took you in the middle of the night… one of his people did.  The others kept Irene out of commission until they brought you back before dawn."

"What the hell are you talkin' about?"  Rogue shouted standing up.  "What did he do ta me?"

"I wish I knew.  That man is a monster."

"No, shit."  She sat back down feeling as if her knees would come out from under her.  She slumped onto the couch in a dazed heap.  Kurt instinctively pulled her into a hug, careful always of her skin.

"Irene initially couldn't remember the incident.  They drugged her somehow.  But then she foresaw you and Remy getting captured but knew the outcome was positive, so she never mentioned it to me until after you left Caldecott that time.  She told me about you being kidnapped when you were younger then too."

"How could she not tell me?" Rogue sobbed.

"Tell you?  She didn't want you to be like this… and she didn't foresee nightmares."

"So now we're going to assume mah nightmare relates back ta this?  That's a bit of a jump if ya ask me."

"What else could it be?"  Kurt asked.  "Godzilla sized rabbits?" He harshly joked.  No one laughed.  Rogue just pulled herself more to Kurt's nightshirt.

"Ah need ta know what's goin' on."  She got up suddenly and headed for the door.

"Where are you going?"

"The institute.  Ah'm gettin' this solved."

Everyone on the steps silently gasped at every ounce of information they heard.  Remy, though, couldn't decide whether he wanted to scream or cry.  His Rogue… in the clutches of that maniac, defenseless.  He felt her get up and head for the door.  Without thinking, he went down the stairs.  "Chere, wait."  She kept walking, tears stinging in her eyes.  He found a burst of energy in him and caught up to her before she dared to fly.  "Wait!"  His hand clamped down on her covered wrist.

She wrenched out of his grasp, surprisingly not hurting him with her strength.  She finally met his eyes and couldn't decide who was hurting more, him or her.  The pain literally oozed out his eyes in the form of red flame.  Her slim body was wracked with shivers, salty trails of tears running down her face.  "Oh, Remy," she breathed, lips trembling.

He opened his arms and she graciously walked into them.  The look on her face before she buried her head into Remy's chest would be one he would never forget.  She looked lost, confused, angry, and afraid all in one.

"Why, Remy?"

"I dunno, chere," he murmured, feeling empty as he said it.  He started walking her in the direction of his motorcycle.  "We'll get t'rough dis."

"What could he have done ta me?"

Remy was silent for a moment.  He thought of one answer, and it wouldn't be something she would like hearing, but he said it anyway.  "I couldn' even begin t' tell y' what he could've done."

Rogue nodded, her face contorted with anguish.  "Ah need ta know," she repeated.

"De prof'll know what t' do."  Rogue nodded again, unable to speak again without sobbing abruptly.  They reached his bike in a few achingly slow moving minutes.  Remy sat on first, pushing himself back a bit.  He was afraid that Rogue would be too weak to hold on to him.  Not that she would hurt herself if she fell off, but Remy feared for her nonetheless.  She crawled onto the bike, bracing her arms low on the handlebars.  Remy quickly started the motorcycle and took off.  This was one night of Cat and Mouse they would never forget.

TBC…