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Chapter 1

Alchemy Arc: Blind-Sided - REVIEW THIS STORY

Written by Dandelion
Last updated: 07/18/2007 10:28:45 PM

Chapter 1

It was surprising enough when Rachel announced that she was going to visit Remy in New Orleans and left immediately. To say it was unusual was an understatement. I hadn’t been aware they were close enough to warrant her going to visit him in the first place much less to leave as suddenly as she did.

When she returned she was blissfully happy and that made my skin crawl.

I asked her about it but she wouldn’t really answer me. I also asked her why he called her and why she left so quickly. She explained that he needed her help with something and she was really the only one for the job. It wasn’t something I really bought. New Orleans was going through a significant rebuild after the hurricanes and it was conceivable that Rachel could help. Hell, we all could help but Remy hadn’t asked for it from anyone.

So why did he focus on Rachel?

And why was she so giddy about it?

“Maybe there’s something else going on,” Emma suggested.

Not what I wanted to hear.

“Perhaps Remy has developed a taste for telepathic red-heads,” she teased.

I know that Remy and Jean had a relationship while I was gone. It wasn’t something I thought about, in all honesty. They parted ways when Jean discovered there was a chance I was still alive and by the time she managed to find me and separate me from En Sabah Nur they were very much a thing of the past. Jean was with me and Remy took up with Rogue again. All was as it should be.

Except that it really wasn’t. Jean tapped into powers that unnerved me. I struggled with putting a life back together after my possession and then I turned to Emma.

Jean was killed. Then she was back. Then she was gone again.

When Rachel returned to find me with Emma and her mother dead, again, she was not best pleased and to say that things have been tense would be putting it lightly. Rachel and Emma came to some sort of understanding though I’d never call them friends. Rachel and I have even further to go. For that reason, I’ve found it very difficult to broach the subject of her visit to New Orleans with her.

I may be her father in an alternate future but I’m still her father.

So, I played the part.

When I found her, she was on the phone in one of the rec rooms. She had a corner to herself and she was speaking in a low voice but her eyes were bright and the smile on her face was beatific.

She looked so like her mother.

“So how soon before you get here? … Really? That soon? … Are you kidding me? I can’t wait to see you again. … It feels like forever. … No no, don’t worry. … No, me neither. … Okay, I’ll see you soon. … Bye.”

There was a knot in my gut that wouldn’t go away. “Rachel… who was that?”

She looked up at me and smiled. “Oh. That was Remy.”

The knot tightened. “Really?”

“Yes,” she stood up and her smile was like the sun. “He’s coming here for a visit. He’ll be here tomorrow.”

I felt ill. “Oh.”

She cocked her head as she looked at me. “Is something wrong?”

Well, there it was. The opening I was looking for. Why was I hesitating to take it? I’ve faced down some of the most frightening, threatening beings that ever existed. I willfully allowed myself to be possessed by an immortal being of darkness and misery. I am the leader of the X-Men, for Chrissakes. Why was it so daunting to have a talk with my daughter about men?

I’m really no good at this.

I sat down with her and gave her what I hoped was a reassuring smile. “Listen, um, I know I probably don’t have a lot of room to talk but I am your father in another time line so I feel I should really say something about this.” God, I was rambling. It was pathetic. I should be better at this by now. I’ve been teaching the kids at this school for how long now?

None of them were my daughter from an alternate universe.

That I knew of.

Rachel raised her eyebrows at me. “Say something about what?”

“Your visit to New Orleans.”

Her face remained very passive. “What about it?”

“Wasn’t it kind of sudden?”

“Remy needed me.”

“See,” I pointed at her. “That’s the thing. That’s the very thing that concerns me.”

“Which one?” Rachel asked. “Remy needing anyone? Or just me in particular?”

“You in particular.”

She rolled her eyes at me.

“Rachel, I’m serious,” I told her sternly. “Remy’s a bit older than you, you know.”

She raised an eyebrow at me. “Are you really certain you want to play that card?”

Fair point. Emma had a few years on me, after all. “The age difference between Emma and me isn’t quite the same.”

“Because you’re older than me, right?”

Rachel was toying with me. That much was evident. “Maybe it doesn’t make much sense to you but…”

“You don’t like him much, do you?”

That stopped me. My closest friends were Hank, Warren and Bobby. We were the ones who had been through everything together. We were the first. Alex was my brother and we had lots of problems but we were family and that was important. Logan, Ororo, Kurt and Piotr had my utmost respect and they knew me pretty well, too. I suppose I’ve had my moments with most of the people who have been a part of this team. I did bond with Remy briefly but I never really worked that closely with him and he always kept his cards close to the vest.

I was never a part of his inner circle. He was never a part of mine.

Did I dislike him? There were things about him I didn’t like, certainly. Our personalities didn’t really mesh and he never made any apologies for it. We didn’t have to be best friends to work together or even close friends. And we weren’t.

I didn’t hate him or anything but I would hesitate to ever call us friends.

“It’s not about that.”

“You sure?”


She studied me for a moment before seeming to come to some sort of conclusion. “Okay, I hear what you’re trying to say. At least I’m pretty sure I am. Maybe this is all kind of sudden but that’s something we’re used to in our world. At any rate, I think it might be a good idea to put this conversation on hold for a little bit.”

“Why’s that?”

“Remy’s coming here tomorrow, remember?”

Oh, did I.

“Maybe we can wait until he arrives to talk about any concerns you might have? Does that sound reasonable?”

There was a part of me that wanted to bar the gates and set the security on high before Gambit ever got to our front door but Rachel made a good point. I did have concerns and it would be much better to voice them to him as well. Maybe facing him down wouldn’t be as daunting as trying to have this conversation alone with Rachel. At the very least, I could probably get away with being a dick to him if I felt like it.

“All right. Tomorrow.”

“Good,” Rachel stood up, that blissful smile back on her face. “I’m going to get one of the guest rooms ready and spread the word.” She was off before I could say another word and I was left sitting on the couch wondering what the hell was wrong with me.

Spread the word? God, I’m really not prepared for this shit.

“What is it you’re really afraid of here?” Emma asked me later that evening. “Let’s get down to it, shall we?”

I looked at her stoically. “More therapy?”

She smiled knowingly and my heart jumped the way it always seemed to do around her. “You’ve got a limited amount of time to get yourself into a place where you can confront this without blowing Remy out of the window and across the lawn.”

The idea had some appeal, I had to admit.

“So, what is it?” Emma sat down next to me and patted my leg. “Is it Remy?”

“He’s not exactly the kind of guy you’d want dating your daughter.”

“Perhaps not,” she mused. “But he’s exactly the kind of guy most daughters would want to date.”

“Is that supposed to help?”

“For as long as he and Rogue were together he remained completely and steadfastly loyal to her. He certainly had his moments of weakness but he never acted on them,” Emma shrugged her shoulders delicately. “He may give off the appearance of being careless with women’s hearts but his actions, particularly with a relationship as difficult as the one he shared with Rogue, suggest otherwise. I imagine he’s made his share of mistakes in his life but I think most of us can say the same.”

“Are you defending him?”

“I’m merely pointing out the facts, Scott,” Emma’s smile widened. “It’s an interesting thing, really. Most of the men here don’t like Remy much at all. He likes watching football, playing pool, playing poker and working on his motorcycle... all things that men typically like to do. Most of the women, however, find him utterly charming and enjoyable to be around and some of them, Ororo most especially, are deeply loyal to him. I wonder why that is?”

“All the girls think he’s hot.”

Emma rolled her eyes and stood up to walk across the room before whirling around to face me again. “Do you think we’re really that shallow?” She asked. “And are all the men, including you, so threatened by a beautiful face and a charming demeanor that you hold it against him until the end of time?”


She smiled winningly. “I think anyone who looked at him would see it, Scott dear. He has one of the most beautiful faces that I’ve ever seen. And, if I may say so, I’ve seen quite a few. So is that it? Is that what bothers you about this situation?”


She cocked an eyebrow looking very skeptical.

“What do you want me to say, Emma?” I asked. “Do you want me to say that Remy intimidates me? Look, I’m sorry, but he doesn’t. I grew up around Warren Worthington III, I know what it’s like to go through your awkward teen years with Angel as your best friend. The only thing that Remy’s got that Warren doesn’t is that dangerous side that attracts the girls like flies to honey. I don’t like the idea of Remy being involved with Rachel for a lot of reasons but the fact that it’s because he’s Remy is lower on the list than you seem to think.”

“Then what is it?”

“It’s about Rachel... and Jean.”

I saw Emma’s lips tighten the way they always did when Jean got brought up. She covered it quickly and shifted her stance to one that was a bit less rigid.

“While I was gone,” I explained, “when they thought I was dead, Remy and Jean had a relationship. They ended it when Jean discovered that I was still around in some capacity and she came looking for me. No one really talks about it. Jean told me about it but she didn’t talk about it further than that and I never asked her. It was serious, though.”

“How do you know?”

“I know Jean,” I sighed. “She played it cool but there was a way she said his name. The way they stayed away from each other afterwards gave me a clue, too. There was still something there but they refused to even let it out into the daylight. It wasn’t like they were still carrying on or anything but the way it all went down it was like they insisted on everything being status quo when it really wasn’t. I don’t know, it’s hard to explain.

“But Rachel... Rachel identifies with her mother so much. She wants so hard to live up to Jean and her memory. They have the same powers and Rachel takes on her codename. If Jean were still here then maybe Rachel wouldn’t feel this need to take her place.”

“But Jean’s not here.”

“No. And I’m really worried that this thing with Remy is some reaction of Rachel’s to continue to try to take her mother’s place... to fill that hole.”

“What about Remy?”

“I think that maybe, on some level, he’s doing the same thing... using Rachel to replace Jean.”

Emma looked at the floor for a moment then walked across the room again to sit next to me. “Well,” she took my hand, lacing her fingers with mine, “this is serious then, isn’t it?”

“Yeah.” I leaned against her. “It’s serious.”

Word had, indeed, spread about Remy’s return and despite our best efforts to keep things normal there seemed to be a lot of students loitering about the front lawn and the foyer hoping to catch a glimpse of the fireworks. His old students were particularly hard to deter. There were also a lot of rumors flying about, the most popular one being one I wished hadn’t gotten around at all. Whispers were that Remy and Rachel were, in fact, a couple and he was coming here to do anything from steal her away and whisk her back to New Orleans or ask for her hand in marriage.

I did my best not to think about it.

Rachel was soaring about looking like she was about ready to jump out of her own skin which made not thinking about the rumors particularly difficult.

The whole thing set my teeth on edge. I considered again locking the front gates and turning the security on high. I even caught myself heading towards the War Room at one moment with that very intention before pulling myself together. I had to remind myself of a few things.

First, Rachel wouldn’t wing off with no warning. She just wouldn’t. She had a distinct sense of responsibility even if she masked it under that red-headed wild streak that she inherited from her mother. She still had a healthy dose of me in there, too.

Second, this was Remy. When it came down to it he did right by all of us. His dark days were long in the past and he had been working his ass off for the past number of years trying to atone for his sins. He may dance over the line every now and again but when it came down to it, Remy was an X-man. He actually did give a damn about all of us and had suffered right along side us as well. He even led this team for awhile when I was gone. He had earned Nathan and Hank’s respect and that counted for a lot with me.

So I waited. I tuned out the whispers and I waited.

We were alerted to the vehicle entering school grounds by the security we usually have set so when it arrived at the school proper there was a group of us waiting on the front steps. Rachel was there, of course, bouncing on her toes with the biggest grin I’d seen on her in ages. Emma was with me, Logan came out to see what was going on and, of course, the myriad students who had ‘nothing better to do’ than hang around and play spectator.

A limo came through the gates. That was the first surprise. I think everyone assumed that Remy would show up on his beloved Harley. And even if he didn’t drive all the way up from New Orleans, I would have thought he’d rent a car for the duration of his stay.

Remy got out of the limo on the side facing away from the school. He turned to look over the roof of the car and raised one arm in greeting.

Logan grunted in surprise and I heard him mutter under his breath. “No...”

A loud thwap tore my attention away from Remy as he came around the back of the limo. I saw that Rachel had given Logan a firm backhand on the chest and was shushing him sternly. Then her eyes lifted from him and met mine.

Suddenly I knew that what I thought was going on wasn’t what I thought was going on. Before I even had the time to let the ideas form in my head, Remy had reached the other door of the limo.

He was opening the door.

He was reaching in to help someone out.

The collective gasp that washed over those who had congregated seemed to disappear into nothingness because all I saw was her.

The mane of flaming red hair was always the first to gain attention. As if anyone could ignore those luxurious waves of fire. My life with this woman flashed before my eyes and I wondered how on earth it was possible for her to be back without my knowing about it.

And then I remembered... our psychic rapport was gone. I had moved on. She had died and when Phoenix tried to resurrect her too soon she took that force back into herself and went away to find all of her pieces and put herself back together. Now she was back and she looked beautiful and alive and amazing.

I saw her hand slip into Remy’s. I saw their fingers intertwine. Like a tidal wave, the silence I had enveloped myself in crashed down and the buzzing and murmurs of everyone present threatened to deafen me.

Rachel let out a delighted laugh and ran across the driveway to meet them. She flung herself at Jean, who wrapped her arms around her laughing joyfully in return. Remy stood beside them with a smile on his face. When Rachel and Jean separated, he reached over and mussed Rachel’s hair affectionately. “‘Lo Rachie.”

Oh God, how could I have thought Remy and Rachel were romantically involved? His behavior towards her was almost brotherly. There was no part of me that would ever look at them and thing the word ‘fatherly.’ Issues I may have with my own relationship with Rachel but it is still my relationship with her.

“I have a guest room set up for you two,” Rachel told them, practically singing as she spoke. She looked at the limo driver who had taken their bags out of the trunk. “We’ll take them from here, thank you so much!”

Remy turned and paid the driver who departed quickly and silently. As he looked at the bags, Eugene, Winston and Quills, three boys Remy had dubiously mentored for a brief period, scampered across the driveway to them and eagerly offered to take the suitcases to their room. Remy laughed at their offer and shrugged his shoulders. They gazed up at him and Jean through three pairs of saucer eyes. Remy nodded and pointed a finger at each one in turn. “Don’t you boys go and try nothin’ now, here? I may not teach here now but I sure remember what y’all are capable of.”

The boys snickered and swore they weren’t up to anything before making off with the bags.

“Will we ever see them again?” Jean’s voice, low and rich, asked laughingly.

“You’re the telepath, cherie.”

She snorted at him and then they looked up at the rest of us. There we all stood. No one knowing what to say. Beside me, Emma finally spoke up.

“Is it safe?” She asked me in a low tone. I knew she was remembering her last tussle with the Phoenix none too fondly. “Is she safe?”

It was Logan’s turn to snort. “It’s Jeannie, if that’s what you’re asking.” He jumped down the steps and strode to Jean, gathering her into his arms in a tight embrace, lifting her off the ground as he did. Releasing her, he leaned over and slapped Remy on the arm. “Never let it be said you ain’t got balls, Cajun.” He shook his head then turned to look at the mass of students.

“Show’s over,” he barked. Then he stood, arms folded across his chest, giving everyone the eye until they all dispersed. Once the kids were on their way, Logan turned and reached for Rachel’s arm. “Come on,” he told her. “This isn’t our show.”

“But... Logan...” Rachel didn’t want to go, that much was obvious.

“We’ll have our time later, kid,” he said. “Now? It’s between them.”

And then there were four.

I wondered what Emma and I looked like on the steps of the school. I hoped we looked strong and capable. I hoped we looked like a united front. I hoped we looked like we were a team... together... for and about each other. It wasn’t something that ever crossed my mind before but it was certainly an image I wanted to project as I stood there facing my wife and her... boyfriend?

Was Jean still my wife? What kind of legal precedence was there for this sort of thing?

They stood there, Jean and Remy, half turned towards each other and looking up at Emma and I. A silence stretched between us that seemed like it went into eternity.

“You’re surprised,” Jean finally spoke.

“Rachel didn’t say anything about you,” I replied. “She didn’t say anything at all.”

Jean nodded slightly. “I asked her not to.”

She did? “Why?”

“I needed time.”

“Time for what?”

“I think,” Emma interrupted, touching my arm softly, “that we should take this inside. There are still many eyes upon us. To the study, then?”

Jean stepped forward and Remy followed close behind her. She ascended the steps to the front door and walked between Emma and I, not looking at either of us. Remy was right after her and as he came up the steps his eyes met mine and held them as he passed me by.

It’s a strange phenomenon to know something and then be faced with it. When there’s nothing in front of you, you can tell yourself that you accept it and you’re fine with it. It’s a very different story when you find yourself with tangible proof of that thing you accepted but never thought you’d ever have to actually see.

I studied them on our way up to the study. I watched how they moved and how they reacted to each other. There was definitely an intimate familiarity about them. They weren’t overt. There wasn’t any move to claim her in front of me on Remy’s part. There wasn’t any show of ‘I’ve got a man, too’ for Emma’s sake from Jean. They didn’t say anything... not with words anyway.

Emma joined me and slipped her hand around my arm. *Not what we were expecting, was it?*


*Are you reeling, darling?*

*A bit.*

*What hits more? That Jean has returned or that you weren’t the first to know?*

*There are a lot of hits to take here, Em. One doesn’t take precedence over another at the moment. All I want to do is talk to them. Ask a few questions. Try to deal with it all.*

*We’ll deal with it. One way or the other, we’ll deal with it.*

Emma’s devotion to our relation was a continual source of amazement to me. I was lucky to have her on my side.

When we got to the study, Remy pulled up short and turned to look at me. “Seems to me there’s too many people for this conversation.”

Rather stupidly, I replied with a “Huh?”

“You and Jeanne, you the ones that need to talk first,” Remy offered a crooked smile.

I found myself wondering what that little twist he added to Jean’s name was.


I felt my jaw tighten just hearing his name on her lips. Slowly, I forced myself to relax. This was all just knee-jerk reactions and they were fairly easy to keep a lid on.

Remy smoothed Jean’s hair with his hands and kissed her on the forehead. “You and Scott have some t’ings to talk about that are just between you two. It’s only right. I think it’s time, don’t you?”

She looked up at him and sighed. “It is time.”

“While you two catch up, I think I need to wander around and be a bad influence. Catch up on lost time,” he winked at her then looked to Emma. “Emma? Care to follow me around and disapprove?”

Emma scowled at him and shifted her eyes to me.

*Go ahead, Em. Jean and I do need to talk.*

Her eyes narrowed. “Very well. Jean, be a dear and try not to die on him too soon.” She turned on her heel and swept out.

As Remy shut the door behind the both of them I heard him admonishing her. “Très gauche, diamant carrompu. You ain’t got no manners at all.”

And then it was just Jean and me.

She looked at me then turned and moved to the window and looked out. “This place is so strange to me anymore. So much of our life together is wrapped up here that it just feels like an alien landscape when we’re not together.”

I cleared my throat, not liking the way this conversation was starting. “Listen, Jean... about us...”

“Don’t misunderstand, Scott,” she turned her head to look at me. “I’m not fishing. I’m just stating a fact. When I thought you were gone it was painful to be here then, too. It’s just the way I feel. This place, to me, represents us.”


“I guess you’ve had more time to get used to being here without me,” Jean crossed the room, not coming any closer to me, to brush her fingers against the bookshelves. “I’ve died how many times? Twice? Three times?”

“Who keeps count?”

She smiled and came across the room again to stand in front of me. “So.”


“Nothing, Scott? Nothing at all?” She cocked her head. “Not a ‘welcome back?’ Not a ‘glad you’re not dead still?’ Nothing at all?”

“I’m not sure if I’m glad to see you again yet, Jean,” I said truthfully. “I think you know why.”

“Afraid of Dark Phoenix, are you?” She looked up at the ceiling and laughed. “Or is it just Phoenix that bothers you? I put my pieces back together, Scott. I’m Jean. Jean Grey. That’s who I am. I’m also Phoenix. The two go hand in hand. If that bothers you... I can’t really help that.”

“How on earth did Remy find you?”

She smiled and the light in her eyes sparkled madly. “Remy didn’t find me, Scott. I went to him.”

I felt that knot in my stomach. “You went to him?”

“I put myself back together and I felt lost,” she had a faraway look in her eyes. “So lost. I didn’t know where to go or what to do. There’s only one other time I felt so lost and that was after I thought you had died, Scott. When I was more lost than I’ve ever been Remy found me and put me on my feet again.

I was lost again. So I went back to the man who found me. And he helped me find my way home.”

“So you’re back?” I asked. “Here? For good?”

Color touched her cheeks. “No, Scott, you misunderstand. I don’t mean here. This isn’t my home anymore. Remy talked me down from the edge before and he did it this time, too. He helped me settle into myself again. He helped me find myself in myself. That’s what I mean by home.” She bit her lip. “Maybe I’m not describing it right.”

I don’t think there was ever a time that Jean and I couldn’t communicate. Now we were standing in front of each other tripping over words and unable to really express ourselves to one another. We weren’t Jean and Scott forever anymore. I was Scott. She was Jean. We were just two regular people who had to figure out how to talk to each other the way that people who weren’t connected on some deep, spiritual, psychic lever talked to each other.

“It’s okay, Jean,” I moved towards her until we were arm’s length apart. “You’re doing fine. It’s just not the same between us anymore.”

“No, it’s not.”

I reached over and laid a hand on her shoulder, giving it a squeeze. “Look, we don’t have to have The Talk right now. How long are you and Remy here for?”

“A few days.”

“We’ve got some time then. Let’s just take the pressure off, huh?”

She smiled wistfully. “I like that idea.”

“It’s settled then.” I looked at her for a long time. “And Red?”

Her eyes flickered up to meet mine questioningly.

“It’s good to see you again.”


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