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Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7


Written by Madeleine Villerot-Taylor
Last updated: 01/02/2007 02:01:11 AM

Chapter 3

Later, many of the X Men gathered in the outer room of the mansion's infirmary. Jean had gone in with Beast to help with Celestine, who apparently couldn't speak with her mouth, only with her mind. Bishop was out patrolling the grounds to ensure Sinister couldn't infiltrate and kidnap Gambit again. Scott sat stiffly, trying to read a magazine he'd found on a table but having no luck. Ororo had gone in to be with Remy, she'd been calm enough that Hank wanted her help whereas Rogue had needed to be restrained and even now was pacing once again, a mass of nervous energy. Logan watched her, his heart hurting for the two of them.

No one had ever seen the Cajun in such a bad state. After a cursory exam onboard the Blackbird, Hank had told them that Remy's mouth would have to be wired shut since it been broken, one eye may have been permanently damaged, he had multiple broken bones including some ribs, plus numerous contusions and lacerations, a few of which had been stitched closed. So far, there did not seem to be a threat of infection but he was malnourished and anemic from loss of blood.

They'd just sat in stunned silence, stomachs turning at the violence of his injuries. The only comment heard was Wolverine's low growl, "I wish Sinister and his asshole Marauders had been there so I could've killed them."

For once, Scott hadn't reminded him that X Men didn't kill. He had been too horrified.

Now they awaited further word, nerves fraying.

Beast stepped out, wiping his hands on a towel. Everyone stood, gathering closer. "Remy is in very bad shape. His anemia isn't just from loss of blood through his wounds but there are needle marks indicating Sinister was harvesting blood from him, most likely DNA."

Scott paled a bit behind his ruby quartz visor. Sinister had done the same to him and Jean before. Why Remy?

"But I have high hopes. While it appears Remy was kept in this state to ensure his continued captivity, he was helped to heal somewhat. I have been able to repair his eye but his jaw will be wired shut for about six weeks. He is severely undernourished. I put him on an IV drip and blood trasnfusion. I don't think he could utilize his mutant ability if he needed to." Beast ended with a sigh.

"Can I see him?" Rogue asked anxiously.

"Only for a moment. He needs uninterrupted rest. He's not in a coma but he hasn't woken since we picked him up."

"What about the girl?" Logan asked as Rogue headed into the infirmary.

"Her name is Celestine and she is a remarkable little lady. She's apparently had her empathic and telepathic abilities almost since birth. Perhaps something happened in utero that caused her scarring. She's never been able to speak. Otherwise she's relatively healthy though undernourished and there are signs of physical abuse though nothing recent. She's still in shock so I haven't questioned her closely. We're lucky she chose to help Remy, otherwise…."

The implications hung in the air like a heavy thundercloud ready to burst but everyone was relieved the prognosis was hopeful.

Celestine sensed someone enter the room, someone with an abundance of conflicting emotions and a load of worry and self disgust. She opened her eyes and saw a stunningly beautiful woman with long brown hair and a streak of white down the middle part. The one called Ororo moved away from Remy's bed as the lady approached, her emerald green eyes never leaving Remy's face. Sorrow emanated from her like a beacon.

#You will hurt Remy if he feels you like this!#

"What?" Rogue said, startled, turning to the little girl.

#Even unconscious, he can feel what you feel and the sorrow and hate are too hard. It was awful when he was in Mr. Sinister's lab and all he could feel was selfishness, greed, nasty things.#

"He would have been too weak to withstand it, just as he is now." Jean agreed.

Rogue's head whirled. "But I just needed to see him. Make sure he was all right. I really - " she sobbed. Ororo came over and put her arm around her.

"You just need to relax. Believe that he will be all right and you can help him heal by believing."

Rogue stroked Remy's hair once and then twirled about to stalk out, fuming at herself once again.

Celestine gasped and ran to Remy's side to grab his hand.

#It's okay, Mr. Remy. You're gonna be fine. You're home now and everything is gonna be all right.#



"Would you like to come and get something to eat with me?"

"I will stay with Remy," Storm offered.

Celestine looked closely at the Windrider, as if to size her up, and nodded. #That would be okay. You can control your emotions and all I feel from you is concern and something … # Her small face was scrunched up in an effort to remember, making her scarring that much more white than her pale skin. #I know! Love! Love….# She trailed off in disbelief.

"Come on, Celestine, you must be famished. I know I am." Jean gently took her hand and led her, dazed, upstairs.

Storm shook her head and gathered up Remy's hand. "My friend, you seem to have stolen another heart.

"Please come back to us soon, in spirit, now that you are back with us in body."

Celestine knew her mouth was hanging open. She couldn't help it. It was such a warm house. And so big! And there was so much stuff. She'd only known the sterile quarters of Sinister's various lairs. This place was acting like a balm she hadn't realized she needed. A healing began and she relaxed like she'd never done before.

Jean smiled at her, feeling what Celestine was feeling, trying to curb her curiosity. How did such a child end up with Sinister?

The little girl raised an eyebrow at her. #I'd prefer not to talk about it right now, if you don't mind?#

Jean blushed. "I'm sorry, Celestine. Let's get some dinner."

#Are we safe from Mr. Sinister here? Can he come and get at us? He'll be so furious that Mr. Remy is gone!# She shuddered.

Jean told her that Mr. Sinister would be prevented from hurting her or Remy ever. The girl heard the steel in her voice and relaxed again. They went to the kitchen, her eyes widening once more as they entered.

Slowly, feeling returned, consciousness with it, and pain continuing to rub his nerve endings raw. Remy LeBeau didn't want to leave the warm place but there was something he needed to do, someone -

One eye wouldn't open but with the other one - he focused and saw Ororo! He must have made some noise because she lifted her head and her smile was like the sun coming from behind dark clouds. What was better, though, was the love that washed over him.

"Oh, Remy! Thank the Goddess! You are home - " How he liked the sound of that. " - and you are safe."

#Stormy.# he croaked in her mind and he noticed her surprise before she reached for a glass of water with a bendy straw for him to sip from. It tasted like the nectar of the gods must have. #Celestine?#

"She is upstairs with Jean. She seems a lovely girl and so brave."

He tried to smile but his face was too swollen. He was already tiring.

"Listen, my friend, you need rest. I am just going to sit here and you go back to sleep. You have nothing to worry about."

#Celestine!# he whispered more demandingly.

"Remy!" she chastened him, "Jean will bring her back as soon as they have some dinner. You want her to be taken care of, don't you? Now, please, get some rest." She smoothed his soft hair back from his pale face, gently murmuring reassurances. He slowly relaxed again and fell asleep, some of the lines of worry evaporating.

One by one, each of the X Men came by to see him with their own eyes, even Bishop who still had trouble coming to grips with the fact that Gambit was not the traitor he had believed him to be. Logan relieved Ororo for a while and spoke to Remy as if he were awake.

"Gumbo, you and me been through some times together and I know you ain't ever been hurtin' like now, even when you were in a coma after that kiss with Rogue in Israel. But you're a survivor, just like me, and I know you're gonna make it through all right. We got us some brewskis to down!"

Just then, Jean and Celestine came back. The girl glanced shyly at Logan but went straight to Remy's side. She held his hand in her two small ones and just stared at his face.

Logan smiled at Jean. "Everything okay, Jeanie?"

"Yes, Logan - "

#Celestine?# they heard in their minds and everyone turned to Remy, lying on the bed, still pale as death but with his one unbandaged eye fastened on Celestine's face. #Petite? Merci.# He smiled at her, sending his gratitude in an intense wave of feeling that surrounded her. She smiled widely, almost glowing, tears springing to her eyes.

Logan and Jean smiled also, feeling the overflow. Jean spared a thought about Remy's ability to do this kind of communicating; he'd never shown signs of it before but now he didn't seem concerned about hiding it. Had this brush with death been so close? For a man who seemed to court death so frequently, it was hard to reconcile.

#Jean, chere, it's just no use hidin' it no more since Celestine wit' us and she need me and we show her dat honesty de best policy, non?#

Jean's green eyes opened wide in amazement. Logan chuckled, "Ya never cease to amaze, Cajun."

Celestine giggled. #Mr. Remy, he knows best.#

#Petite, for you, de name is just Remy. Only for my close friends, non?# The little girl blushed and Gambit squeezed her hand gently. #Besides, how else Remy talk now that Monsieur Bete done wired my mouth shut?#

Logan chuckled again. "You look a lot better already, Gumbo. You prefer Hank's care to Essex's eh?"

A wave of cold dread washed over the room, emanating from both the girl and the man in bed.

"Sorry, Remy, but we need to know."

Celestine looked at Remy, who had closed his eyes and sighed in resignation. #I think the morning would be better.#

#Oui, petite, you are wise beyond your years. You go wit' Jeanie, she'll bed you down somewhere nice for the night, non?#

Jean nodded enthusiastically. "You can stay in Jubilee's old room. C'mon."

#Remy, can't I stay here with you?# Celestine asked, almost panicking.

#I dunno.# Remy turned his red black eye towards Jean.

"I think a room upstairs would be better. Hank still needs to monitor Remy pretty closely and that'd wake you up - "

#Oh, I never sleep all night anyway. It's harder to shut it all out when I'm trying to go to sleep or just waking up. So I try not to sleep very often.#

She said it so matter-of-factly that it took a moment to register in Jean's brain. What kind of a life - Jean stopped the thought before it went further. "Well, tonight, you can sleep as much and as deeply as you want. How'd that be?"

Celestine looked skeptical but decided. #Okay. My life is starting new, anyway, right?#

"Ah, the resilience of youth," Logan remarked.

A warm wave of reassurance overtook them all. Remy smiled as they turned towards him. #Tres bon. Now, g'way. Remy tired.#


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