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Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4

Somebody’s Hero - REVIEW THIS STORY

Written by NicoPony
Last updated: 01/02/2007 02:01:11 AM

Chapter 4

Night fell on the Indian Ocean. Remy was floating, leaning back and holding Belle to his chest. Moonlight glinted on the black ocean surface. Despite the warmness of the water, their teeth were chattering. If they weren't rescued soon, they would both die of hypothermia.

"Wait," Belle said suddenly, the sound of her voice breaking the sound of the ocean waves. "What's that?"

A black form loomed on the horizon, its squat shape the only disturbance in the monotonous flatness of the ocean. "I think it's land," Remy said. "An island."

"Was it always there?" Belle asked.

"I think there's a current. It must have swept us closer to the island. Hold on to my back," he told her.

Despite both of them being strong swimmers, progress was very slow and excruciating. During their swim, another morning greeted them. The sunlight dazzled Remy's eyes as it reflected off the water's surface. The sun rose to blaze down on them. Remy's arms burned with the effort of swimming. His thoughts wandered, putting the pain out of his mind. He was startled to consciousness when a wave swept over his head. He resurfaced. Belle still clung to his back. Another wave pulled him under and he kicked weakly against it. His leg and foot hit something hard and painful. He had struck a rocky shelf of coral. A stronger wave bowled the couple over, separating them from one another. Exhausted, he allowed himself to be swept to shore by the waves. His feet found the sandy beach and he pulled himself free from the push and pull of the current. Remy heard Belle's coughing nearby and saw her struggle up the beach. They both collapsed on the shore, the waves lapping at their toes.

He was unsure of how long he had lain on the beach, but he was awakened when Belle began pulling on his arm.

"We have to get out of the sun," she said, her voice rough and quiet.

They crawled up the beach toward a stand of palm trees. Remy promptly fell asleep in the shade.

The pilot of the Navy helicopter flew over the crash site. There did not seem to be any signs of life from the wreckage, but then, seeing anyone from this distance would be like trying to find a needle in a haystack. The wind from the blades whipped up the ocean water as he pulled back. He turned the craft to return to the carrier.

The captain's voice echoed through the headset in his helmet. "Donaldson, do you copy?"

"Copy, sir," Donaldson replied. "The SHIELD helicopter is down. There's no sign of any life. I don't see---"

Just then, his co-pilot cried out in alarm. An enormous---something---was plastered to the windshield of the helicopter.

"What the---" he exclaimed as the glass shattered.

The captain called out through the radio: "Donaldson! What's going on out there!"

Donaldson made out huge wings, fangs, glaring eyes. The monster flew from his view. "Where did it go!" Donaldson exclaimed, struggling to see through the shattered glass. The co-pilot was gaping in disbelief and the radio blared in their ears.

The side door made a horrible rending noise. "Oh my God!" cried the co-pilot.

The door was slid forcefully aside revealing the monster once more. It pulled itself into the chopper. Donaldson struggled to regain control of his craft while keeping his eyes glued to the creature. Strangely, it began to take a different shape.

"Ride's over, boys," the creature said and raised a silver pistol. Blood splattered on the window of the cockpit and the two pilots slumped in their seats. The radio continued to whine.

"Donaldson! Donaldson! Answer me!"

"I read you, sir," the woman said in her own voice as she took her true form. "Loud and clear."

"Who---? No, it can't be!"

"Ah, so you know. I suppose they let you in on that little secret, didn't they, cap? Well, you can let them know that the weapon is out of their reach now. It's over." With that she smashed the butt of her gun into the radio and ripped the headsets from out of their plugs. The helicopter turned and flew away, heading toward a new destination.

The sound of the crashing waves against the beach awakened him. Slivers of sunlight danced through the leaves of the waving palm trees. He moved slowly, and all his muscles screamed in protest. Belle was sleeping nearby, her cheek pillowed on the orange life-preserver. Her face and arms were badly sunburned and she had welts on her exposed skin from jellyfish stings. Remy assumed he looked much the same. He looked down at his leg. A long gash ran down his calf and across the top of his foot. It slowly seeped blood through the sand caked in the wound. Bracing himself against the trunk of a palm, he pulled himself to his feet and limped across the beach.

"Yalena!" he called, weakly, at first. "Yalena!" he cried, as his voice grew stronger. He walked a short way down the beach calling her name. There was no sign of the woman.

He came across a stream running to the sea. He walked upstream to where the water would not be tainted by the salt of the sea and washed his wounds. He wrapped his leg in half of his torn shirt. Soaking the other half of his shirt in the water, he wandered back to where Belle lay. When he touched the cool, wet cloth to her face, her eyes opened.

"You didn't find her?" she asked.

"No, there's no sign of her," he replied. "But I didn't make it all the way down the beach. I'll have to try again when I can walk easier. I think that---"

"Remy," she said, interrupting his rambling.

He sighed. "I just can't believe that we've made it through so much...just to have her...die."

"You can't save everyone," she said softly. Remy sat and leaned his forehead against his knees. She was the second person in as many days to remind him that he wasn't a hero.

They were silent for the remainder of the day.

They built a fire when night fell. Remy walked up the beach, but could only go so far until the sharp black rocks that made up the island barred his way. There was no sign of Yalena.

They found little food on the island. There were some coconuts and some smallish bananas. They ate the unripe, sour bananas and chewed the dry fruit from the coconuts. Belle and Remy walked back to the stream to drink. Remy watched as Belle rinsed her hair free of saltwater and sand. Her short hair, which had been standing up in stiff salty clumps, was slicked back and dark with the dampness. She rolled up the pantlegs of her cargo pants and waded in the cool water for awhile. Her fair skin had freckled in the sun, but Remy didn't mention it. He knew freckles bothered her, but he liked them. They reminded him of the girl he once knew.

Remy eventually got bored and found a dead jellyfish on the beach. He picked up a stick and poked it for awhile. Belle approached him and he chased her around the beach with the dead jellyfish stuck on the end of his stick. She shrieked and laughed as she ran from him.

They both got tired and reclined against a pair of palm trees. When one of them was not looking, they took turns pinching each other's sunburns. Belle removed a photograph from a pocket in her pants. Peering over her shoulder, Remy realized it was the photo of his father and Nick Fury. It was ragged and creased.

"Whatever happened to the hand grenade?" she asked, pointing to the little-boy-Remy. The boy in the photo gripped the grenade to his chest.

"Nick said I threw like a girl," he replied.

Bella Donna laughed.

The following day, they both stared out at the sun dancing on the restless ocean. It was bright and hot, the heat rose off the sand in waves. In the distance, a flicker of color caught Remy's attention. He pointed.

Slowly, the little shape came closer. They watched as a slim canoe-like boat slid up onto their beach. Remy and Belle sat motionless as three people got out of the boat. They were dark skinned and dressed simply. Natives of some nearby island, perhaps. One of the figures separated itself from the group and began walking up the beach toward them. In the brightdazzle of the sun, the figure seemed to waver in shape. Remy slowly stood.

"Yalena!" he exclaimed. She seemed different again. Fresher, maybe. The rings around her eyes were gone and she looked less gaunt.

"Hey, Robinsons Crusoe," she said, as she approached. "Vacation's over."

One month later

Washington, D.C.

The Pentagon

She found him sitting at his desk, pouring over a doodle of a helicopter crashing into the ocean. She cleared her throat and he looked up.

"Mrs. Pierce," Nick Fury said. "I thought everyone knew not to bother me during my secret-battle-planning---"

"Shut up, Fury," said the person-who-was-not-Mrs. Pierce.

Nick Fury blinked as the short, round secretary transformed into a lithe, attractive, and blue-skinnedwoman.

"Oh, it's you, Mystique," he waved his hand dismissively at her and went back to his drawing. She smiled, because few people would ever act so blazé in the company of a known terrorist.

"I brought you something," she said.

"Well, leave it with Mrs. Pierce," he replied. "She'll know where to file it."

She approached him and her smile grew when she realized his shoulders had tensed. He wasn't so brave as he pretended to be. She casually dropped several diskettes onto his desk.

"What's this?" he asked, finally looking up at her.

"Detailed information on new breed of Sentinel. Courtesy of the island nation of Genosha," she said. "I figured you could do better with it than me."

Fury was stumped. Mystique, being helpful? "Are you feeling well, Raven?"

"Don't question me, you sack of crap!" she responded hotly.

Fury realized she was feeling fine, after all.

New Orleans, Louisiana

They were lying in his bed, tucked under the mosquito netting which softly billowed in the breeze from the ceiling fan. Belle was gently nursing her freckled skin. Remy was fiddling with the files left to him by the two CIA agents they had met, seemingly, eons ago.

"Will you stop playing with that stuff?" she said. Curiosity got the better of her and she looked over his shoulder. He had several photographs torn in front of him. He had collaged the pieces back together to create a new face. The eyes were hard, and gold in color, set into a blue face. The nose was taken from a photo of a man named Victor Creed. It was narrow and slightly hooked at the end. The last piece was a mouth; she recognized the full small lips as Remy's X-Men teammate, Rogue. Put together, it was an odd combination. She squinted at the collage.

"That's Yalena," she said.

Remy nodded, then removed the nose and mouth to reveal the photograph of a blue-skinned woman beneath. "Mystique," he said.

"Who?" Belle questioned.

"A not-so-friendly mutant I know...or thought I knew. A shapeshifter and international terrorist. Did the government know who she was when they sent her to Genosha?"

"Maybe the CIA promised her the same things they promised you?"

"Absolution from past crimes?" Remy asked. "Maybe her freedom? Who knows. I wondered why the face seemed so familiar," he said, mostly to himself. "Now I know. But what I don't know is why she went to all the trouble to save us."

"Maybe she felt she owed you one," Belle said. "You did help rescue her."

"Maybe, but we only got off the island because of you."

"And I didn't drown because you swam me to shore. So I guess that makes you my hero."

"Some hero," Remy scoffed.

"I think there was something heroic in all three of us," Belle said, and leaned forward. She kissed him briefly.

"A package came in the mail this morning," Belle continued, changing the subject. Remy pushed the files from the bed, and let them scatter across the floor.

"From who?" he asked.

Belle parted the mosquito netting and left the bed, returning with a package. "It says it's from Nick Fury."

They put the box on the bed between them and peeled back the packing tape. White styrofoam peanuts spilled across the bedspread. Remy picked a card off the top of a gaily wrapped gift.

"`Congratulations on your wedding day, from Uncle Furry'," he read.

"`Uncle Furry'?"

"A nickname. I had trouble saying `Fury' when I was little," Remy replied and removed the present from the box. "So, a very-belated wedding gift?"

Belle took it from him and shook it gently.

"So open it all ready!" Remy cried.

Belle peeled back the paper as slowly and neatly as possible, just to watch Remy squirm. "Oh!" she said happily, pulling the present from the paper.

"What is it...a knife block?" Remy said incredulously.

"Not just any knives," Bella Donna said. "Henkles! Oh, look at the pairing knife! It's so cute!"

"Now, just so we're clear, those knives are for cookin', Belle," Remy said, then for emphasis: "Cooking."

Bella Donna nodded and smiled at him mischievously.

Seeing her freckled face smile, her blonde locks framing her pretty features while she clutched the crumpled wrapping paper to her chest, Remy realized why he had missed her so badly. He loved her, of course.


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