"Mon Dieu, this feels good." Remy let the warm water cascade over his beaten flesh. Even though the water stung his scratches and wounds, it felt cleansing. He sat in the corner stool of the shower and let the water fall over his head and back. Logan agreed to help him wash his hair and body after some convincing. He could tell his lover was reluctant, and at first he was hurt. Thinking that Logan didn't want him anymore, but he knew better.
The help he received before was still there in his head. He didn't know if he should be upset or happy that this had happened so many times it didn't seem to faze him. He was still a little jumpy, and of course, depressed about it all, but not a mental case like the times before. He knew he couldn't handle making love with Logan at that moment, that would be too much. But having him close, having his touch, his caress, that he wouldn't mind. He wasn't sure that was a good thing. Had he finally been broken down to the point that things like this were considered normal in his screwed up mind? He wasn't sure what to think, but as long as he had Logan he knew he would be fine. Getting worried about his lover he cracked the shower stall door. He shivered when the cooler air hit his slender body. "Logan?"
"I'm coming Darlin'!" Logan rounded the corner with towels and a robe in hand. He hung the robe on the nearby hook and sat the towels on the counter. When he reached the door he heard Remy sigh loudly. "What?"
"Logan, really, you can get in the shower naked, take off the boxers." Remy rolled his eyes.
"Are ya sure? I don't want ya to be uncomfortable." Logan shook his head slightly. He wasn't sure what to think of Remy's mood swings the last couple days. One minute he would be so upset that he wouldn't let even Logan touch him, then the next he would act like nothing happened. He had asked Hank about the obvious changes in mood and the doctor assured him it was a normal state of trauma. Remy was in denial, trying to act like nothing bothered him, but truly it did hurt him.
"Logan, please. I know you're not going to hurt me. Just because y' are naked in a shower with me doesn't mean you're going to jump me. It's just silly for y' to get in the shower with y' clothes on. I don't want y' being so careful around me, like I'm going to freak out at every little thing! I'm alright, I'm a big boy now, I can handle this!"
Anger. Another thing Hank told Logan to watch out for. For sake of argument he dropped his boxers to the floor. He watched Remy look away from him. Alright my ass, your scared to look at me. I know this is bothering ya. "Remy.."
Remy didn't turn his gaze to Logan, he just stared at the corner of the cabin wall. "Please, Logan, I just want your help on taking a shower. I just want to feel clean and I can't even stand long enough on my own to do that. I swear I can still smell him on me, I just want it to go away." Remy couldn't hold back the tears any longer. What was wrong with him, he was an emotional wreck. Just minutes ago he was fine.
Logan grabbed one of the towels and pulled it around his waist, tucking it into place. He walked into the shower stall, kneeling down in front of Remy. He fought his urge to pull the young man to him. He wanted to give Remy the control. "Darlin', let me help ya. I know you're trying to act strong, like none of this bothers ya. We'll work through this. Just give you're self time, there's no hurry. I'll always be here for ya, no matter how long it takes." He was relieved when Remy wrapped his thin arms around his neck and pulled him towards him. Logan covered the distance and held Remy while he sobbed onto his shoulder. He waited until the crying lessened and the tremors in his lovers body ceased before breaking the hold. He stood up and offered his hand to Remy. "Lets get ya cleaned up."
Remy nodded his head and managed a small smile for his lover. He couldn't believe how patient Logan was being with him, how supportive. He took Logan's hand and was pulled up into his arms.
Logan thoroughly, but gently, cleaned Remy's chest, arms, and legs. He kept one arm around his lovers waist to help him stand. Though Remy was strong enough to stand on his own, he was wobbly. Logan feared he would fall if he didn't have some support. Finishing with the front he threw the washcloth onto the stool and wrapped his other arm around his lover's waist and giving him a quick kiss. He knew the next part would be the tricky. He didn't want Remy to have flashbacks, and he was afraid standing behind him would trigger them. "Remy, ya want me to wash your hair and scrub your back?" Remy nodded. "Alright, can ya lean against the shower wall there? I will need both hand to do ya hair."
He slowly washed Remy's hair and rinsed it clean while watching for any sign that Remy was uncomfortable. He was happy to catch the small content moans from Remy as he massaged his scalp with his fingertips. Maybe everything would be alright. He soaped up the washcloth again and started washing his lover's shoulders in small circles, avoiding any of the deeper cuts. As he slowly worked his way down his back, he caught a shutter. He began to talk, knowing it would ease the tension. "So, now that none of the delicate ears of the ladies are around, ya going to tell me what ya were smiling about earlier?" He knew the conversation seemed to lighten the mood before, he hoped it would do so again. Hearing Remy laugh he knew he had made the right choice. Logan couldn't help but chuckle too, hearing the young man's laugh was contagious. He continued to soap Remy's back, but stopped suddenly. He stepped back slightly and took his first good at his lover's body. The once decorative 'L' on his lover was now unrecognizable due to 5 large claw marks running long-ways across it. "That bastard." He whispered before he could stop himself.
Remy heard the quiet curse and stopped laughing immediately. He turned his head, catching the angry look in his lover's eyes. "Logan? What's wrong?" He felt Logan's rough fingers slowly drag down his cheek, over the scarred tattoo. Remy tensed knowing what Logan was upset about. Fear took over his mind. Rational thought was taken over by irrational. He couldn't bare to look at Logan anymore. He stumbled through the shower stall door, barely able to keep himself upright. When he hit the wet tile floor he found he lacked his normal feline grace and slid, almost tumbling to the floor. He was caught by strong arms with his nose just inches from the floor. He struggled, trying to get away from Logan, but was held tightly. "Please Logan, don't be mad, I tried to stop him! I told him he could do anything he wanted, just leave the tattoo alone. He did for awhile, but then he came in one night and ripped through it! I begged him not to, I swear!" Remy buried his face into the crook of Logan's neck and plead with him. He couldn't loose Logan, it's all he had. It's the only reason he wanted to live in that month of hell. He couldn't let go now.
Logan wrapped his arms around Remy and rocked slowly. God, he wasn't angry with Remy, he was angry with that bastard for what he did. Once he knew Remy was alright he was going the hunt that bastard down to the ends of the earth and gut him. There was nothing that son of a bitch could say to stop him for ripping him open this time. "Darlin', I'm not mad at ya. I'm mad at Creed. That bastard deserves to die ten times over for what he did. I love ya, and I'm glad I have ya back, tattoo or not. We'll get it fixed when you're feeling better."
Remy rolled his head, laying his cheek flat against Logan's broad shoulder. "I want to get it fixed before.."
Logan reached over to the counter and grabbed the towel, wrapping it around Remy's shivering body. "Before what, Darlin'?
Remy took a deep breath trying to control the tears that poured from his eyes. "Before I die. I want to be buried with it."
Logan pulled Remy away from him, holding him firmly by his thin shoulders, ignoring the startled look in Remy's eyes. "Ya listen to me, you're not going to die! Hank is going to figure this thing out and ya will be back to normal before ya know it. You're going to outlive us all remember? You won't, and can't, die!" Logan pulled Remy back to his chest and held him tightly. "Ya can't die on me Remy. If this virus kills ya, it'll kill me too. I can't exist in this world without ya anymore, I don't know how I did before. So no more of this dying stuff, you're a fighter, you'll make it through this. No. We will make it through this, together."
"Scott, please, stop that." Jean grabbed her husband's knee and stilled it.
Scott realized that he had been tapping his foot under the table, again. He gave his wife a small sigh and smile. "I'm sorry Honey, just tired."
Jean nodded her head and kissed Scott on the head as she walked back into the kitchen area. She returned with the last of dinner. She sat the large bowl of salad on the table with a huff. "Where is everyone! It's ten after six. And here I thought I was running late! Figured they would be pounding their forks on the table by now."
"They will be down soon. The smell of food will draw them out." Before the sentence was finished the door to the kitchen popped open, ushering in what seemed to be the X-men's permanent guest. "See, told you."
Jubilee stopped in her tracks. "What?" She snapped with a little more venom then she meant. She rolled her eyes and dropped into her seat when only getting a questioning look from Scott and no answer. She propped her feet up on the seat next to her and popped her gum.
Jean moved the young girl's feet off the chair and handed her a napkin for the gum. "Alright, I'll bite. What is wrong?"
Jubilee spit out her gum and gave Jean a look of denial. "I don't know what you're talking about. There is nothing wrong with me. You need to check your head, your reading signals wrong."
Jean stood in front of the table with her hands on her hips. "Jubilee, I have known you since you were a small child. I can read you like an open book. There is something wrong and you want to complain about it. You are just trying to get someone to ask you. So spill."
"Fine! I wasn't going to say anything, but since YOU want to talk about it. I'm just mad because I have to lie to Jean Luc. I was just on the phone with him and he seems so sad about Remy being gone. I want to cheer him up, but I can't. There, happy?"
Scott shrugged. "Why don't you just tell him that Remy is here. I thought that would be one of the first things that Remy or Logan would have done. I was not aware his own father had not been informed."
Jubilee let out a dramatic cry. "Geez! For you all living under the same roof you're not well informed. Remy doesn't want anyone telling his father that he's alive, until Hank cures him of this virus, which he will. Remy has this idea that he's not going to live and figures there's no reason for his father to go through his death again. I told him he's full of shit....sorry....but you know how Remy is. All gloom and doom." Jubilee fiddled with her napkin. "I know Blue will cure him, he has to."
"Just give Remy time to realize that. He has a right to be pessimistic for awhile. Just be supportive. If you don't feel right about lying to Jean Luc, then don't. Sometimes you just have to do what you feel is right." Sensing the others coming she patted Jubilee on the shoulder and took her seat.
"Evening! Sorry were late. We were in the Danger Room and we ran overtime. Figured you wouldn't want us coming in all covered in sweat."
"Gross Bobby!" Jubilee gave him a look of 'ewww'.
Bobby took his seat with Bishop and Betsy following. Shortly they were joined by Ororo who had lost track of time souring the skies. They continued there small banterings and conversations trying to forget the hard times they had been through lately. Thinking that Hank, Logan, and Remy would be in the MedLab they decided to start filling there plates. Suddenly everything came to a halt. All went silent and they stared at the door as it opened.
"Everyone alright?" Logan asked while picking up a plate from the edge of the table and taking it to his seat.
Ororo spoke up, breaking the trance that everyone seemed to be in. She asked the question that everyone had on the tip of their tongues. "Logan, why are you not in the MedLab?"
Logan chuckled. "Well, Remy told me if I didn't come up here and eat dinner with ya he would never talk to me again. Knowing him, he would do it."
"Looks like we can call you hen pecked now." Scott laughed.
Logan released one claw and stole the steak from Scott's plate. "Guess I can join your club now, huh?"
"Oh man Slim! You left yourself open for that one!" Bobby held his sides as he laughed.
Jean smiled as she ate her salad. It was almost like old times. Almost. She turned to the door when she felt something touch her mind. It wasn't another telepath. She concentrated on the touch and found it to be one of the many open links she had with the other X-men. Hank to be exact. Continuing to eat her salad casually, not to attract attention, she linked to Hank fully. ~Hank, is there something wrong?~
~Wonderful, it worked. I did not know if the link was still operational. If you could, I need you to come to the lab. I have something I need to speak to you about, but you cannot tell Logan. I do not want to get his hopes up.~
~I will be down there as soon as I can.~ Jean closed off the connection and finished her salad as if nothing happened. The conversations around the table had continued and she knew this may be the only chance she would get. She grabbed an empty plate from the table and began filling it with food. "I am going to go take this to Hank. I am sure he is so busy he will forget to eat if we let him." She smiled when no one thought to question her and continued there talking.
Jean slipped into the MedLab quietly, not wanting to disturb Remy's sleep. She was startled when Hank broke the silence.
"It is alright, I gave him a sedative before Logan left. He will be out for several hours. A bomb could go off in the lab and not disturb his slumber." He looked at the plate in Jean's hand and smiled. "For me?"
Jean handed the doctor the plate. "I figured you would be hungry."
"Come, we can talk in here while I eat this most delicious looking dinner. You must have cooked tonight." Hank licked his lips. He couldn't remember when he had eaten last, he had been too busy.
Jean laughed as they walked into the office lab. "What gave you the idea it was me? Was it that you can tell what the food is, or that there are no Twinkies involved?" Jean stopped in her tracks when she looked at the large computer screen in the lab. There sat two DNA charts side by side. One marked 'Remy Lebeau' the other 'Jean Grey'. "What's going on Hank?"
Hank looked from Jean to the screen. He swallowed the food in his mouth and wiped his chin before explaining. "Well, that is what I wanted to speak to you about. It seems that your blood reacts to the virus." Hank saw the worried look in Jean's eye and waved his paw to dismiss it. "Don't worry, you cannot contract the virus..well actually you can, but your body fights it. Something Remy's body does not do. I was comparing your DNA to try and find what caused the effect in your blood. As you can see, you are Remy are very similar. Of course there is enough difference that I would not say you are immidiate family. It is quite odd your unique sequences are this similar though."
"What happens when the virus is introduced into my blood? Is it something I should be concerned about?" Jean was getting a very uneasy feeling in her stomach.
"When I injected the virus into the blood sample it spread and attacked, exactly like it does in Remy. The diffrence is in your body it was quickly destroyed before causing any damage. As if the virus believed you were of Remy's bloodline, but because you are not, it cannot completely infect you. This virus is really like nothing I have ever seen, I don't know how Sinister created it. If it were not killing one of my teammates I would be fascinated by it all. But in all respects you are safe. You have probably already contracted the virus and destroyed it many times since Remy has come home." Hank looked after his explanation to see Jean staring at the screen and playing with a lock of hair. A nervous reaction he knew she had broke a long time ago. He chuckled lightly. "Jean, I promise, you are safe, you have no need to be nervous. You will not become ill."
"I know Hank, that is not what I am scared of." Jean almost whispered. She never took her eyes from the screen.
"What is it Jean?" Hank looked back up to the screen thinking maybe he was missing something.
"Hank, do you have the DNA information on Madelyne?" Jean hoped she was wrong.
"WHAT? Jean you can't be seriously thinking...My Stars and Garters. You may be right. But no, I do not have her information, it was destroyed with the computers during Zero Tolerance."
"But it is possible, that Remy.." She couldn't finish. God would that monster ever stop his experiments.
"Remy is a clone? No. I do not think that is possible. Clones normally have telltale signs of the genetic engineering. And for Remy to be of this age it would have required Sinister to rush the growth process, resulting in lack of memories or false ones. We know that Remy has neither, he remembers his entire life and has people and scars to prove every one of them. I would have to reject the theory of Mr. Lebeau being a clone, but a relative of Madelyne Pryor is not something I am willing to drop. I will check with Muir Island and see if maybe her information is still on file there. If she is his mother....."
"Mother? You could not possibly think she is his mother! Though he is young, he is not that young. She could not be his mother!" Jean shook her head. It was not possible. Was it?
"We are not aware of when Madelyne was created. We know your mind was transferred to her when you were killed, but we do not know how long she existed before that. It is possible she was created a short time after he collected your DNA, which was in your childhood. I don't know why I did not think about the connection earlier. It would explain the similarities and your reaction to the virus."
Jean turned and looked out the office window to the sleeping form on the medical bed. "Hank, I don't want you to say anything to Remy about this."
"Jean? I think it would be best that he knows."
Jean spun around. "No! I don't want you telling Remy anything. Not until you are sure. The last thing Remy needs is to think of himself as one of Sinisters little projects. I know how that feels. If Madelyne is his mother then I have as much right to him as she."
Hank stared wide-eyed at his friend. It was not often that Jean got so upset. Hank stood and pulled Jean into a hug. "I understand how this must feel. I will not tell him until I am sure, but then I feel it is his right to know. I do think that Logan should be told. Why don't we inform him of the theory and he can make the decision of when to tell Remy. For what it is worth, I am sorry."
Jean buried her face into Hank's shoulder and began to cry. "When is that monster going to stop? Hasn't he done enough? I can live with what he has done to me, but he has no right to hurt Remy like this." Jean pulled away and tried to compose herself. She gave Hank a sad smile. "I guess I can't complain. I keep gaining children and I don't have to go through the pains of labor."
Hank chuckled and wiped a tear from Jean's eye. "Yes, you are one lucky woman, Jeannie."