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Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6

Ghosts in Westchester - REVIEW THIS STORY

Written by Dandelion
Last updated: 07/18/2007 10:21:38 PM

Chapter 1


The first time I came to this mansion in Westchester I was ten years old. I thought it was the biggest, grandest, finest house I had ever seen in my life.

The second time I came to this mansion I was sixteen and still thought it was a pretty terrific place. Though, I admit most of my attention was drawn immediately to the young men who were suddenly my schoolmates.

I can't count the number of times I've left Westchester only to come back and feel that thrill of coming home. There were times I walked away and truly believed that I would never consider it home again.

It was never true until returning from Moscow.

I wasn't as though I suddenly came to consider *Moscow* my home. No, it was more a sort of purgatory. Even that's a harsh term. I went to Moscow as one person and came out another. I went in a widow and came out a woman again. That city helped me live again, really live.

There was a sort of sick sensation in my gut as we pulled onto Graymalkin Lane. A feeling of 'I don't want to be here anymore, this place hurts too much.'

And I wasn't the only one feeling it.

I could see similar expressions of varying intensity on the faces of my teammates. I'm sure that we all questioned the wisdom of coming back even though we all knew that it was time we did.

The timing *was* pretty bad, an unusual thing for Remy, but I don't know if there ever would have been a good time for this.

It was the middle of December and Westchester had that barren, grim, old snow look about it. Not only that but there was that feeling of Christmas in the air that was almost taunting. 'Merry Christmas! Remember all the ones you love that *aren't here*! Suckers!'

Then Remy, the man I chose to live again with, promptly decided to start killing himself with work the moment we got back. Remy was as comfortable with leadership as a person could be in Moscow. Even Nathan had finally admitted that he was doing a good job and was accepting his ideas without immediately ripping them to shreds.

Remy and I started a relationship in Moscow. I wasn't really sure what to call it. I had the sneaking suspicion that it was starting to grow into something more than either of us was expecting. We were just sleeping together, that was all. It was just... well, I *liked* being with him. He could make me laugh and for a long time I didn't think I'd ever be capable of that again.

He made me *feel* again. It wasn't just feelings of desire or lust, although there was plenty of that. But also, happiness, joy, and any myriad of emotions that I had locked up because feeling one would make me feel others and I didn't want that after I accepted that Scott was really gone.

With Remy, it was okay to feel things again. And after about seven months of talking with him and training with him and eating and drinking and walking with him he knew me well enough to see that I was ready to start letting those feelings out.

That release was cathartic, how could it not be? And didn't it make sense that after such a release I would reach out to this man who made it possible and hold onto him with everything I had? Wouldn't it make sense that I would want to feel *everything* with him?

One night became two. Two became three. Three continued on and before either of us knew it we were *involved*. Instead of looking to him for release I looked to him for other reasons. A soft touch in the night, a whisper of greeting in the morning, a gentle kiss by the riverbank, all of these moments wrapped together and becoming a relationship. He was my friend, a person I could talk to, rage at, laugh with. He was someone I could love when the stars came out. He was all of these things to me in Moscow.

He stopped when we came back to Westchester.

The minute we drove through the gates he seemed to be trying to turn himself into the ultimate leader. He was working with Hank, or Nate, or Forge or Rogue or he was in New Orleans handling Guild responsibilities. It was disconcerting to say the least. I had become used to the way Remy ran things in Moscow, which was in a very hands off kind of manner. Since returning to Salem Center he was involved with so many things that I barely had the chance to talk to him. Our conversations went something like:

"Remy, can I talk to you?"

"Uh, can it wait? I'm due somewhere else."

And he was gone before I could answer. The man can move fast when he wants to.

Now, I would be lying if I said I wasn't feeling neglected but that was not the main problem I had. He *was* avoiding me but not because he wasn't interested anymore. He sent enough of those clandestine sultry looks my way to pretty much nip that thought in the bud. The main problem was that I could see him working himself into the ground. He wasn't eating and he didn't look like he was sleeping that much either. He looked horrible. And Remy does not wear horrible well.

So, obviously, it was up to me to smack some sense into him.

The trick was *finding* him. Remy's bio-kinetic signature makes him difficult to read so I really have to look for him. However, if he's not in the best condition it makes things a little easier for me. A little bit of subtly clever mind wandering and I found him in the woods.

There is a little clearing in the woods that we fixed up with some benches a few years ago. It's a favorite trysting place even though everyone pretends otherwise. Remy was seated on one of the benches dozing with a cigarette clamped firmly between his lips. He must have come because it was a little out of the way and he believed he wouldn't be bothered. It was mid-day and trysting didn't normally happen until sunset. Not that there seemed to be all that much of it going on right


I sat next to him and removed the cigarette waking him in the process. I took a long drag from it and looked around the clearing. It was a typical mid-December in that the snow was thick everywhere. It was the intangibles that had changed. I knew he felt it, too. I glanced at him as I put the cigarette out.

"'Sup, Jeanne?"

I don't know what kind of spin he puts on my name that makes it sounds a million times more exotic than it is but I do like it. I smiled at him. "I was kind of wondering that myself, Remy. I've scarcely seen you since we got back."

He grunted softly. "Yeah... it's been hectic."

I shifted on the bench so I could look at him pushing his hair out of his eyes. "Hectic, nothing. You haven't stopped since you got here and I'm getting worried about you."

"Lots to do," he shrugged, not meeting my eyes.

"Delegate," I told him firmly. "You look awful. You can't miss Moscow *that* much."

It was an attempt at humor but the truth was we *did* miss Moscow. We missed that old city a lot. Westchester was still painful.

"I do miss it, Green-Eyes," he murmured, fingers brushing against my back. "Not so many ghosts there, neh?"

I leaned against him, tucking my head in the crook of his neck and slipping my arms around his waist, squeezing him tight. "It's just a matter of getting used to it."

I heard him sigh deeply. "Oui," he agreed half-heartedly.

"Listen," I pulled away. "You're just pessimistic because you're over-worked and stressed out. Come on," I stood up, tugging on his arm to get him to follow. "You're coming with me and I'm making you breakfast."

"Woman, you're trying to kill me." I could hear the hint of humor in his voice.

"Fine, I'll pour you a bowl of Cheerios. And then you're going to sleep," I clapped my hands around his face as he started to protest. "You are going to sleep if I have to crack you over the head with a pot, you got me?"

Remy didn't put up much of a fight and as we entered the mansion I could hear his stomach growl.

I sat him down in a chair and started raiding the cupboards. "What are you doing, Remy? What's the point of this schedule you're keeping?"

He yawned loudly behind me. "Trying to prove something, Jeanne, can't you tell?"

"Right." Like I couldn't figure that out. The question was *what* was he trying to prove? I set the bowl in front of him. "Eat."

He did so. I sat across the table from him and leaned my cheek on my fist. "You have to start delegating again, Remy," I told him again. He looked so frazzled I couldn't be sure if he was even processing what I said. "You did it in Moscow."

"Dat was Moscow."

I sighed. "So? It was working. Just because we're back in Westchester doesn't mean that things have to change from how they were in Moscow."

He looked me dead in the eye. "Don't they?"

I felt myself stiffen at that. Was he trying to gently dump me? I hadn't thought so previously but that remark made me uncertain. "What's that supposed to mean?"

"Nothing," he rubbed his eyes. "Jus' tired, I guess."

I believed he was tired. He looked it. But I didn't believe that his comment was just nothing. "Finish eating, then I'm taking you to bed."

He couldn't hide the playful smirk at that and the gleam in his eye was one I knew well. "Dat's only gonna make me more tired, Jeanne."

Okay, so maybe he *wasn't* trying to dump me. "To sleep, you cretin."

"Right, right," he slouched over his bowl and kept eating.

I stood up and went to the fridge, rooting around for something to drink. He was being difficult but he wasn't acting like what was going on between us was something he wanted to stop. I briefly marveled at how relieved I felt about that but filed it away to deal with later. For right now, Remy needed my attention. He just seemed off and I wanted to get to the root of it.

A loud clatter startled me out of my thoughts and I whirled to find Remy blinking at the table. The cereal bowl was upended like it had been knocked over. There was a bit of a mess on the table.

"What happened?"

"I dozed off."

"All right," I shut the fridge and pulled him out of his chair. "You're going to bed. This is past stupid." I looped his arm over my shoulders and wrapped my arm around his waist. "Honestly, Remy, I don't like playing a mother hen. When you're back in your right mind I'm going to ream you for this."

"Sure thing, chere," he sighed. "'Course, dat might take a while." His steps stuttered as we past the stairs and headed outside. "Exactly where are you taking me to sleep?"

"The boathouse."

He pulled away from me then, shaking his head. "No, that's too far away. I'll just go upstairs."

I frowned at him. "It being far away is exactly why I want you there. No one can bother you. Now, come on."

He stepped out of my reach. "No, really, it's okay. Actually, I'm not really dat tired."

*What the hell is he doing?* I looked at him. He was exhausted and I couldn't think of one reason why he'd be so stubborn about sleeping in the boathouse... except for the most obvious. *Shit, I should have seen this before, how obtuse can I be?* My voice dropped to a low tone. "Remy, come with me, please. I want you to rest and then we need to talk." I tried to tell him with my eyes how serious I was.

His gaze wavered. "Dere *is* a lot of talking dat needs to be done."

"I know. Come with me to the boathouse. Get some rest and we'll get things straightened out, okay?"

He sighed. I looked in his eyes and held them. I didn't think about how much I wanted to put off the serious talks. I didn't think about his eyes, or his hands, or the way he... I bit off the thought before it went any further.

He sighed heavily and relented. "All right, Jeanne. I'll come with you." He put his arm around my shoulders again and we walked out.

The boathouse was sparse. I had packed up most of Scott's things as well as the things we had shared and shipped them to Alaska. I had meant to go up there and deal with all of it alone when I was able. Unfortunately, I hadn't been ready by the time Remy called me to Venice and since then... well, I would have to make time soon. I had a few things to deal with now that I hadn't considered a year ago. The kitchen I had purposely left under-stocked so I'd have an excuse to go back up

to the mansion.

Now, it wasn't so lonely. Remy was there and even though I wasn't thinking about making love to him, his presence alone made that house a little less lonely, a little less haunted. He shed his coat and kicked off his shoes eyeing the couch as though he were preparing to flop down on it. I shoved him towards the bedroom.

"A real bed, Remy," I said firmly.

He scowled at me. I knew I was being somewhat heartless. I could see he was uncomfortable being here for the same reason that I was uncomfortable being alone here. But we had to face this, both of us, and I preferred to do it together.

I saw him pull his shirt off over his head in the bedroom and drape it on the footboard. I felt my heart speed up at the sight of those long, lean muscles rippling under his skin. He still bore scratches on his back from the last time we'd made love. That was three weeks ago.

He stood in the middle of the bedroom, staring at the bed. It looked to me like he was uncertain what to do next. He shook his head and began to undo his pants. He was wearing boxer shorts that I bought him. I had found a horribly tacky makeshift kiosk near Red Square and bought a pair of boxer shorts with little St. Basil's Cathedrals stamped all over them.

Remy had loved them. He'd laughed as I pulled them out of the bag and waved them proudly in the air. He modeled them for me, striking campy poses and wiggling his butt at me. He was adorable.

"Nice shorts, hotshot," I offered playfully.

"Jesus!!" Remy very nearly jumped right out of said shorts. He whirled around to glare at me. "What are you trying to do, woman, scare me to death?"

"Quit bitching and get in bed," I tossed back. "It's not going to bite you." *But I might.* Remy looked too delicious standing there is so little. I shook my head slightly to get the thoughts out of them. Now was not the time for it. He needed to be coherent before we pursued what was going on between us.

He scowled at me then jerked the covers back and clamored in. I went and pulled the covers over him.

"Why do you have to be so stubborn?" I whispered.

He shrugged, blinking at me. The bed was already casting its spell over him. His eyes drooped and finally shut and he sighed deeply, settling into the pillows. In a matter of minutes his breaths were deep and even.

Watching him sleep I felt my own tension drain out of me. I pulled a chair away from my vanity and set it next to the bed. I sat there and watched him for a long time. I didn't think about anything, I didn't reason with myself, I just watched him.

It was wonderful.

I gently brushed some wayward strands of hair away from his eyes and took his hand in mine. I studied his hand. How many tears had these hands dried from my eyes in these last nine months? These hands had shown me how to fight. These hands had nursed wounds and massaged stressed out muscles. These hands left trails of fire on my skin.

Remy sighed softly and I felt a strange burning in my eyes. I had walked into Venice feeling little for this man other than a vague mistrust and a healthy dose of uncertainty then somewhere along the line he became the person I could confide in. He became someone who meant something to me.

I had missed seeing him in my bed. I had missed talking to him. I was angry at him for avoiding me these past few weeks after returning to Westchester.

I rubbed my eyes and went into the other room. I figured I'd just keep busy until he woke up. There was no use getting maudlin over how confusing things were. I rearranged my medicine cabinet and found an old pack of cigarettes there. I chuckled softly as I noted that two were left.

Remy had made the boathouse his home after he came back from Antarctica and Scott and I were in Alaska. I had found this pack in the cupboard over the stove. I guessed it was the emergency pack but I smoked almost all of it right after Scott died. Then I saved them for a rainy day.

I looked out the window. It wasn't raining but I sure could use a cigarette. I breezed through the bedroom and into the living room digging out matches along the way. I looked out the window at the snow on the ground. Christmas was coming up. My second without Scott. I don't even remember last Christmas. I was so filled with anger and grief and misery I could barely function.

I had no idea how to even prepare for this one. Would I be spending it with Remy? Would I stay here? Go home to my parents? I hadn't a clue where I should even begin. I lit the cigarette and inhaled deeply staring out the window some more. It's not like I wasn't used to coping with weirdness in my life. Hardly. The constants had just changed and that was what was throwing me off. I could always count on Scott and Charles and they were both gone, neither was likely to return. Now, I

had the team I had become so close to in Moscow. It wasn't as though they were strangers to me before but spending nine months in Moscow developed deeper bonds between us. I had two of my oldest friends in Hank and Ororo, I had my son Nathan, and my new lover, Remy.

But was Remy just a lover? He was a friend, too. He had become a friend *first*. A friend I felt affection for before I had taken him to my bed that night. I rearranged my books in alphabetical order and considered making an index but decided I didn't want to be anal. I went and alphabetized my spice rack instead.

I was just finishing up with that task when Remy came shuffling out of the bedroom. He blinked at me a couple of times then fished out some juice from the fridge. He didn't even bother with a glass and I considered yelling at him for it but decided that one of our mock fights wasn't what I really wanted right then. "Nice nap?"

He nodded and put the juice back. He hadn't gotten dressed yet, he was just puttering around in his underwear and looking utterly desirable.

"You haven't kissed me in three weeks."

He blinked at me again.

"I want to know why."

He ran his fingers through his hair and shook his head.

I smacked him on the arm.


"So he can talk!" I was getting angry. Why was he acting this way?!

"Yeah, I can fuckin' talk!"

"Then start doing it," I responded. "Ever since we got back to the States you're more a stranger to me than you were before Venice. I thought we could talk to each other. I thought, if nothing else, we could count on that."

"Well, it's the 'if nothing else' that's got me a little confused right now."

"Tell me about it."

He looked at me for a long time with those red eyes. Those eyes that smoldered and burned and hid all sorts of complexities in their depths. I would look at those eyes and want to make things as simple as I could for him. Everything else was so puzzling; I just wanted us to be simple. We were rapidly approaching complicated ourselves, though, and I wasn't entirely sure I wanted to stop it.

"It's being back here, Jeanne, you know," he began doubtfully.

"Pretend I don't," I said. "You told me that your power makes telepathy difficult. You said that we'd have to communicate like normal people. So start communicating. Talk to me, Remy LeBeau."

"Dis ain't Moscow," he told me. "It ain't so easy to pretend like everyt'ings fine here. There aren't any excuses here, Jeanne. We can't say it was a battle, or springtime, or the vodka, or even Moscow itself. And there are ghosts here. They hover around and peek at you from everywhere. I think about you all the time and I feel those ghosts frowning at me like I was committing some mortal sin."

I felt my shoulders sag a little. "I know," I put one hand to my forehead. "I know. But... dammit I don't *want* excuses, Remy. It wasn't a battle or springtime or vodka or Moscow. It was us. We bumped into each other and held on for dear life and I'm not sorry. I'm not sorry at all."


A warm, tingling sensation bubbled up somewhere deep inside of me. Remy had been trying to give me an out. He was standing there still offering it to me. Some of that uncertainty that I had been carrying around about us faded. He was willing to let go if that's what I wanted but I could see in his eyes that it wasn't what he would choose to do. I had to make sure that he knew that I didn't want to end this thing between us, either. "There *is* no but. We're not holding on for dear life anymore. I *like* being with you. You've given me something that I didn't think I'd have again. I'm not ashamed of it and I know that these ghosts would approve."

"You must not be seeing the same ghosts as me."

I laughed. "Don't be silly, Remy. I see ghosts everywhere. This place is full of them. It's throwing me off, too. Mainly because I used to get so much comfort from just being here and it isn't working this time. My comfort isn't here in this place it's with you and Hank and Ororo and Nathan. And you've been avoiding me since we got here and it's driving me crazy!"

He looked chagrined. "I figured you wanted time to sort everything out."

"You wanted time to do it yourself."

He sighed. "You're right. But I thought you needed it, too."

"Well, I did," I conceded. "But, next time will you tell me when you're trying to be thoughtful by withholding yourself from me so I can tell you to stuff it?"

He snorted.

"Kiss me, Remy."

One of his eyebrows lifted but a smile started to tug at the corner of his mouth.

"Kiss me, dammit, I'm tired of this."

He leaned towards me, reaching out with both hands to smooth my hair, then bent his head to mine. His lips playfully nipped at mine before pressing against and then opening them.

I heard the blood pounding in my ears. My pulse quickened and my temperature rose. His tongue slid into my mouth and I met it with mine shifting my arms around his waist, and slipping my hands under the waistband of his shorts to caress the curves of his cheeks.

His soft groan indicated his pleasure at that as well as the reaction I felt against my hip.

God, I missed this. I missed his touch and smoky kisses. I pulled away and took his hand, leading him back to the bedroom. I turned away at the door, removing my sweater and jeans as I moved towards the bed. I perched on the edge of the mattress wearing as little as he. He hovered in the doorway, that uncertainty back on his face.

"Jeanne, you sure 'bout dis?" He wore that haunted look again.

I nodded, holding his eyes with my own. "Remy, you belong here."

He came to me swiftly then, pressing me back onto the bed. It had been three weeks since we had been together and we reacquainted ourselves with each other's bodies. I rejoiced in the feel of him, his breath, his touch, the very scent of him. I spiraled down into him remembering again the connection we shared in the Muscovian nights. I savored it all and

the haunted loneliness that had settled in since returning here to Westchester dissipated like a mist in sunlight. We were real. The solace and the friendship we shared was what mattered. Everything else melted into the golden fire we created between us.

After we had spent ourselves I rested my head on his chest. "I don't want to hide this anymore, Remy."


I looked up at him. "We should have told the others when we realized this was more than just a couple of nights."

"You're probably right," he agreed, gently brushing a stray lock of hair from my eyes. "I guess we weren't really recognizing it was more than dat. We just took what we had."

"You look tired, again," I said, kissing him.

"You wear me out, woman," he grinned. "But yeah, I am still tired. I's too busy feeling all tense about us. Now that I know where we're at it's all catching up again."

"So go to sleep," I got out of bed and began to dress. "I'm going to go talk to Nathan."

Remy groaned and covered his face with his hands. "Give me some warning when he's on his way to kill me, hm?"

"He's not going to kill you, Remy," I swatted his leg.

"Not if you warn me he won't."

"Go to sleep, you big baby."


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