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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 5

Celestine woke screaming and since she spoke with her mind, the residents were rather rudely awakened. It might have been echoed by a more masculine one but everyone was awake now. Hank rushed to Celestine's bedside and grabbed the little girl's shoulders, gasping when her eyes flashed open and he glimpsed the thorough terror trapped within them. "Celestine," he called and he felt Jean beside him, calling her name mentally. Logan stood at the end of her bed, his shaggy hair a bit mussed. He saw Remy lever himself up off the bed and went over to give him a hand, knowing his destination. Logan knew that the Cajun really hadn't gotten any more sleep last night and was way too weak; he looked awful.

#Celestine!# Remy called as he sat down at the edge of bed, taking her hands in his. Beast was heartened to see a flicker of recognition in the little girl's eyes. #You okay, petite.#

She looked at him, her face pale. #I think so. I'm still scared, Remy.#

#Me, too, petite chere, me too.#

Jean had overheard their exchange and gazed at Remy from across the bed. There was no cocky grin, no sparkle in his eyes - he meant it. Jean smiled at him. #Don't you worry, either, young man, I'll help you both.# She thought she saw an answering smile, just a small one, before he closed his eyes again.

"I don't know if we should be alarmed or not but it's the first time I've ever witnessed this phenomenon. I haven't heard of it, have you?"

Hank and Jean were talking in his office next to the infirmary.

"No. I wish the Professor were here."

"Can we contact him?"

"No. They had to go pretty deep undercover to meet his contact."

"We need to decide if this poses any danger."

"Gambit's power is potentially lethal. If he can't control it…." Jean let the statement hang for a moment.

Beast agreed. "But the intriguing thing is the fact that Remy's and Celestine's alpha waves match. It may be the reason why their nightmares entwined so readily. But why did it affect some of us more than others?"

"It may be due to the level of psychic receptivity each of us has," Jean surmised. "Maybe we should ask Remy?"

"He is in a lot of emotional turmoil. The torture he survived…."

"But it's never good to keep anything from anyone and he might be able to provide some insight," Jean insisted.

"Yes, you're correct. Let's go speak with him."

Remy was tired of being tired. And he longed to be away from the infirmary. Maybe he should try convincing Hank to paint the white walls a different color….

He knew he was healing well but he still had a bit of a ways to go. More than a bit, he thought with frustration. He saw Celestine looking at him with concern. He smiled for her but realized she knew the truth and the train of his thoughts. They were connected somehow, the two of them. And it was forcing Remy to be the most honest he'd ever been in his entire life. It was very difficult for him. But he found himself wanting to be the man Celestine saw him as.

Jean and Beast emerged from his office and he braced himself.

"Hello you two. How are you both doing?" Hank asked.

The patients exchanged glances and Celestine replied, #I'm fine.# Remy echoed the sentiment.

"Well, I may have to be more specific next time, eh?" Hank checked under the bandage covering the Cajun's eye. He removed it entirely and said, "You needn't wear that one anymore, sir. Your eye has finally healed splendidly. Good news from your friendly neighborhood doctor."

Remy smiled sincerely. #Very good, mon ami. Merci.#

"All in a day's work for this humble doctor." Then Hank became serious. He informed them of his discovery of their matching alpha waves and how unique that was. He was waiting for an answer or a question or a remark or something.

Gambit sighed. #I not sure what be happening but Remy's power is increasing. He's never been able to speak so well telepathically before Celestine came into his life.#

#And I've never been so aware of everything around me, so accepting. I've always had to guard every thought but now I can control it more easily,# Celestine offered.

"I wonder if some 'bonding' has occurred?"

"Bonding? Like you and Scott?" Hank queried.

"Well, similar only in that two people can share thoughts or emotions easily without being conscious of it. But, Scott and my brain waves have never matched and we don't share dreams or project them to others," she concluded, running her fingers through her hair absently.

"Yesss, about those dreams…." Hank began.

#Oui? I can barely recall them.#

#Remy! That's not true!# Celestine protested. #They haunt you just as they haunt me.#

#I'm sorry. I guess I just wish it were so. How much did you and de other's experience?# he asked guardedly.

Jean cleared her throat and Beast looked uncomfortable when she spoke. "It was a little difficult to tell the two dreams apart but we know they were about the Marauders. Both of you were hurt terribly. Remy - I recall some reference to the Morlock Massacre…." Jean trailed off uncertainly as she felt Gambit try to slam his usually impenetrable shields into place but he was unable to complete them and his shame and horror and self-hatred spilled out into the room. Celestine looked as though she'd been physically assaulted, Jean cringed, even Beast gasped.

Remy shrank into his pillows, his face a mask, his best poker face on which fooled none of them. Celestine rose and sat on the edge of his bed. He turned his face from her but she grabbed his hand and clasped it tight. #You can't hide from me, Remy LeBeau. You know that, don't you?#

#Oui! And I don't like it! Gambit, he a loner! Need no one, want no one. His past is his to live wit'. Can't share it - the guilt is all his own. I supposed to be alone!# With that declaration, he tried again to snap his shields into place.

Celestine cried out, clutching her head in pain, almost collapsing to the floor. Beast caught her, cradling her in his arms.

Remy sat up, his eyes wide and Jean felt another wave of guilt wash over him. #I did dat? Veuillez me pardonner. #

Jean nodded but added quickly, "But you had no way of knowing that it would hurt her like it did! Listen to me, Remy," and she pulled his face in her hands to look at her, green eyes staring forcefully into red on black ones. "You are NOT a monster! You stopped as soon as you saw her pain. A real demon would have done it anyway. You are not a monster. I refuse to let you think that way!" Jean was almost shouting.

#But I am a monster!# Remy yelled in her mind. # I led the Marauders right to the Morlock's front door - they wouldn't have been murdered, massacred, if I hadn't done what I done for Sinister!# Adrenaline pumped through Remy's body. He didn't notice Celestine watching him carefully, her face mirroring his own, tears falling down her face.

"Remy!" Jean shouted. "I heard those - creatures - say they were paying you back for not doing as Sinister wanted you to. Why was that? What had you done?"

Remy answered, heat in his voice, #I tried to stop them! I fought Sabretooth and he gutted me, he hurt me bad but he didn't kill me. None of them did. I helped one - one - little girl escape. Her name was Sarah. But dey had found me; I blocked the way so Sarah could get away and den dey took me - # he faltered but then rushed on. #Dey took me t' one of his labs. I found out later dat it was under a theater in Seattle. Sinister let them beat on me, abuse me, torture me - he didn't care so long as he got de 'samples' he wanted and dat dey stopped short of killing me. And dey relished every sick moment.# Remy's voice had faded to a mere whisper. #I was so beaten, I couldn't bring my powers to bear even though I wasn't in any kind of energy restraints. But I was unconscious so often.# He stopped, unaware of the sobs racking his torso.

"Please, Remy, tell us," Jean coaxed, caressing his face. He trembled, breathing shallowly. No one moved, afraid to stop the flow of words that needed to be said.

#I'm not sure 'xactly what happened dat night. Harpoon had come in alone. He was being particularly vicious, taking advantage of - - he - - I lost control. Something snapped within me. De next thing I remember is de ceiling exploding outward and m' shackles disintegrating, brick and stone was flying ever'where. I fell to de floor, gagging, nothing in my stomach to vomit. My head was whirling, I could barely see but dere was Harpoon lying on de ground, blood streaming from his nose and ears.

# I started to crawl. I heard shouting and sirens and people running. Somehow I made my way up and, I realized later, into de backstage of the theater. Dere had been a play going on but dey'd felt the explosion and t'inking it was an earthquake, dey'd started evacuating.# He faltered again and then spoke in a faint whisper. #Every time I felt someone close, my power would automatically respond. At least, I think dat's what happened. I hurt so many people dat night! I MUST have killed some of them! I had assumed dey were Sinister and his stooges.

#Why did Sinister have a lab under a city theater?# he muttered absently, getting lost in his memories. #I found a door dat led outside. I just kept crawling, feeling dat itch between de shoulder blades, waiting for a shot at any time. I made it to a nearby beach and a hobo found me, took pity on me. By dat time, I was so spent, I was almost unconscious.

#Essex never found me. I don't know how not!

#The hobo nursed me back to health and I stayed wit' him until one day he never came back from a foraging trip. I waited a few days but den I got up and left on my way, looking over my shoulder since then. Though it did little good, huh?

#Dis blackness has stayed wit' me always, dis evil, knowing I've been condemned t' hell.# Remy trailed off, his confession still ringing in their stunned minds. His head was bowed. Jean's hand still rested on his shoulder.

Celestine motioned for Hank to set her down and she crawled up next to the Cajun and snuggled in under his slack arm. He still wouldn't look at her so she smiled and sent wave after wave of love and support and understanding towards him. He tried not to let himself feel it. He strove to hold onto the awful truth that had plagued his life.

#Celestine. Why, petite chere?#

#Why do I forgive ya? Because ya a good man, Remy LeBeau. I know. I can see inta ya soul. I can feel the good in ya.#

#Non! All those people died because of me! I should have never - #

#But you didn't know, did you?# Jean insisted. #Admit the truth, Remy. You didn't know.#

#If ya had known, ya wouldn't have helped or ya would have tipped someone off to come help. And, at the theater, ya were defending yaself. Ya didn't know.#

Remy seemed to be in shock. #I dunno. Would I - #

Celestine wrapped her small arms around him as well as she could, careful not to hurt him. #I believe in ya, Remy LeBeau,# she said simply.

Jean echoed the sentiment. #You may be a thief and a flirt but you have honor and a good heart. If you were evil, you wouldn't care or feel any remorse over what happened.

#Besides, think about it! How could Ororo love a monster? Could Rogue? I know Logan cares for you. So do I!

#You are part of the X Men, part of our family. Do you hear me - you stubborn man? Let this go. This is eating you up. You can't hide anymore. You'd hurt Celestine if you tried.

#We can forgive you, right, Hank?# He nodded empathetically. #But what about you?#

Remy was struggling. His guilt and shame had shaped him, defined him. Who would he be without it?

#Ya'll be an even better man than before!# Celestine insisted.

#I just can't seem to wrap my mind around it.#

#You're thinking too much,# Jean told him. #Just feel. Feel it all….#

So Remy LeBeau opened himself up.

Remy'd always guarded himself so closely, never letting anyone close to the real Remy, his walls were usually incredibly formidable. But not now. At the moment they were near translucently thin. He pushed and they released and then the flood began. Sensations washed over him, waves of emotions from everyone in the mansion.

He knew Celestine's acceptance of him.

He felt Jean's sympathy.

There was no judgment there.

He was warmed by their support of him, even their love. Not the passionate love between a man and a woman but the love people share who are there to depend on each other.

Had he ever realized how much he depended on them?

He'd always prided himself on his independence. His carefully crafted self deception as a loner shattered and he admitted how in the past he had allowed people close to him in some kind of instinctual need to be part of something but he had always ended up pushing them away before he could get hurt. But he did hurt, didn't he?

He could feel Logan somewhere on the grounds, his heightened senses providing a rich mosaic to be sensed about their surroundings - the trees, dirt, everything. He perceived the fierce loyalty and protectiveness Wolverine felt toward all he cared about. Did that include Remy? Would forgiveness be offered?

Bishop was stalking the grounds, his mind all business, concentrating on being aware of everything surrounding him but Remy could sense some worry - worry about Gambit? Remy moved his awareness on before he could think too much about that.

Then Remy knew he was feeling Rogue's persona. There was the most contradictory mix of fear and longing, of trust and mistrust, of strength and weakness but always there was passion! The kind of passion that always drew him to a woman - a passion for living which he craved since his own passion appeared to be one for cheating death - closely. He'd been drawn to her from the start and he was drawn to her now. He felt her anger at her inability to help him along with her willingness to do what was needed, needed to let them be able to love each other. He knew her frustration at the barrier her powers put between them. But most of all, he felt her love for him, swelling her heart, warming her. And, in turn, it warmed him and nourished his starved soul. The old stanza about love conquering all didn't seem so trite after all.


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