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Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 8
Chapter 9
Chapter 10
Chapter 11
Chapter 12
Chapter 13
Chapter 14
Chapter 15
Chapter 16
Chapter 17
Chapter 18
Chapter 19
Chapter 20
Chapter 21
Chapter 22
Chapter 23
Chapter 24
Chapter 25
Chapter 26
Chapter 27
Chapter 28
Chapter 29
Chapter 30
Chapter 31
Chapter 32
Chapter 33
Chapter 34
Chapter 35
Chapter 36
Chapter 37
Chapter 38
Chapter 39
Chapter 40
Chapter 41
Chapter 42
Chapter 43
Chapter 44
Chapter 45
Chapter 46
Chapter 47
Chapter 48
Chapter 49
Chapter 50
Chapter 51
Chapter 52
Chapter 53
Chapter 54
Chapter 55
Chapter 56
Chapter 57
Chapter 58
Chapter 59
Chapter 60
Chapter 61
Chapter 62
Chapter 63
Chapter 64


Written by Valerie Jones
Last updated: 05/10/2010 11:31:24 PM

Chapter 57

Remy sighed and leaned his head back against the inclined back of the hospital bed. The ice packed around his ankle had temporarily numbed that pain to a dull throb, making him more aware of the aches that filled the rest of his body. Hank had finished digging out the random bits of shrapnel he’d acquired and stitching, gluing or bandanging the collection of lacerations that went with them. Now Remy was simply resting, waiting for the painkillers to kick in, and acquainting himself with idea that he wasn’t likely to die before the day was out.

"Sugah, ya don’t look half bad for a man who’s had a buildin’ dropped on his head."

Remy opened his eyes to find Rogue standing in the doorway, a pile of what he assumed were fresh clothes in her arms. She’d left while Hank was still working on him to fetch something to replace his ruined uniform. She cocked her head, her voice warm, and Remy could imagine her smile.

He summoned a grin. "I’ll take dat as a compliment." She had endured the day’s events surprisingly well. He’d expected either a tirade or another bout of cold silence once they finally managed to make their way back into Guild territory. Instead she’d hugged him hard enough to hurt and kissed him soundly, then let him lean his weight on her shoulders as they made their way toward the med center.

He honestly had no idea what to make of it, but if there was a thunderstorm brewing somewhere behind his wife’s bright demeanor, it was still a long way off.

Rogue chuckled and shoved off the door frame with her shoulder. "Ah brought ya some sweats an’ a t-shirt." She raised the pile in her arms, then turned and set the clothes down in the single chair tucked into the corner of the room.

Tucking a lock of long hair behind her ear, she crossed to his side and reached down to take his hand. "How are ya feelin’?"

"Like I’ve had a building dropped on m’ head." He saw her heat signature spike, but the colors remained mild. He went on, his tone souring. "Actually, we got out o’ Four Freedoms okay. It was those tanks OZT sent."

She nodded, sobering. "We saw it on the news, sugah." Her grip on his hand tightened and a tiny quaver came into her voice. "It was really somethin’, though. Ah think some o’ the people in the news room were cheerin’ as hard as we were once the smoke cleared an’ we could see ya were all right." She gave a little sniff and her voice firmed.

"They’re puttin’ the casualty count at about three hundred right now, mostly in the area where the tanks were shootin’. Ya should’ve seen it, Remy. The pundits were all yellin’ at each other about whose fault it was that so many people were dyin’, an’ one of ’em jumped up an’ said that he wished the X-Men had their powers back because y’all would have at least tried ta protect the people in those buildings." She paused. "The whole set went dead quiet. Ah don’t know if they were all waitin’ for Bastion ta blow them ta bits for sayin’ somethin’ like that, or if it was just such a new idea that everybody needed time ta take it in, but ah’d swear nobody said anythin’ for at least a solid minute."

"Wow." Remy stared absently at the far wall as his thoughts turned. This was why Scott Summers was the right man to lead the X-Men. Because he, of all of them, understood that the team’s primary purpose was to demonstrate to humanity how mutant powers could be used for the greater good. He understood the cultural power of symbols, and had used the situation with OZT to turn the X-Men into a symbol of hope and of courage for the rest of the world to rally around.

Remy could never have put that kind of public face on the X-Men. It wasn’t the way he worked or thought. He was a survivor, with all of the ugly necessity that entailed. Scott, on the other hand, was a dreamer. The kind of man who, in the right time and circumstances, could change the world.

Wincing, Remy sat forward.

"Ya ready ta get out of here?" Rogue asked.

He nodded and reached down to remove the rapidly melting ice packs from his ankle. He flexed his foot gingerly and then swung his legs over the side of the bed. Rogue stepped in to brace him with an arm around his waist as he slid off the edge of the bed. The fabric of her sweater was soft against the skin of his back and her fingers warm on his ribs.

With her help he limped over to the chair to dress. Rogue waited quietly for him, hands clasped in front of her.

On impulse, Remy pulled her into his arms. He buried his face in her hair, breathing in the scent of her. "I’m sorry y’ had t’ go through dis again," he said quietly.

She snuggled deeper into his arms. "Not your fault, sugah."

He bit his lip. The last time hadn’t been entirely his fault, either. There had been some Assassins in there somewhere, too.

He pushed those thoughts away. "I know, chere. Doesn’ mean y’ weren’t scared."

She pulled back just far enough to look into his face. "It helped ta have Jean an’ Diedre there." She moved around to his injured side so he could lean on her again. "Ah ain’t never been much of a... girly girl, but ah ended up sittin’ on the couch with the two o’ them an’ ’Ro an’ Andrea, holdin’ hands an’ watchin’ the news coverage." She brushed her bangs away from her face. "An’ it helped ta know ah wasn’t alone."

They moved slowly out into the hall. A few doors down, familiar voices rose and fell in quiet conversation. Scott and Jean. Their daughter had announced her arrival to the world not long after the three X-Men hit the med center.

Rogue paused at the open doorway to peer inside. Scott had pulled a chair up next to Jean’s bedside and sat slouched comfortably down in it with the baby tucked up against his chest. Remy could see her tiny heartbeat pattering next to Scott’s.

Rogue didn’t seem inclined to go inside or otherwise interrupt the couple. Instead she stayed out in the hall and watched, hunching her shoulders and wrapping her free arm around herself. He could read a sense of longing in her body language, mixed with uncertainty.

"Ah always dreamed of havin’ a little girl of mah own," Rogue finally said. Her voice was small, and it reminded Remy forcibly of just how fragile a thing her hope was. She’d come such a long way from the woman who didn’t believe anyone could ever love her-touch her-and yet the spectre of her powers still loomed large over them, bathing the future in shadow.

He summoned a smile and dropped a kiss in her hair. "A lil’ girl’d be nice, cherie. I know I’d have fun terrorizin’ all de potential boyfriends."

She laughed, sounding startled, and the faintly despondent air surrounding her dissipated. With a light nudge, Remy was able to turn her away from the scene inside the room and together they made their way toward the waiting area

To his surprise, all of the X-Men-including Warren and Betsy-were gathered there along with much of his council and a few other thieves. The room was quiet, weighted down with an unspoken sense of defeat.

Remy carefully schooled his expression. He felt it, too-the gnawing fear that no matter how much they accomplished, Bastion would always be another step ahead of them. But he wasn’t about to let that uncertainty show.

"Warren, ’Lizabeth." Releasing Rogue, he put on a smile and crossed the room to shake Warren’s hand. "Glad t’ see y’ made it back in. Any trouble?"

Betsy snorted in dark amusement, evoking an answering ripple in Warren’s heat signature.

"My Benz is at the bottom of the Hudson now, but other than that, no," Warren told him. "OZT was too busy chasing you guys to give us much attention."

"What’s the status wit’ de building?" Remy found himself a seat in a nearby waiting room chair and stretched out his bad leg. His thigh ached fiercely. He would have been limping even without the twisted ankle.

Warren heaved a frustrated sigh. "We’re expecting Bastion to bring it down like he did Four Freedoms just as soon as the satellite’s back in range." Remy saw him check his watch. "Which should be in about three hours, if the news is correct. At least we got everything critical transferred to other locations."

Remy nodded his understanding and the room fell silent again. He dug his thumbs into the aching muscles of this thigh.

Eventually, Logan cleared his throat. "So, what’s the plan now, Gumbo?"

Remy paused and looked up at him. "Why y’ askin’ me?"

"Because Cyke’s distracted, so that means yer it." Logan crossed his arms over his chest as, around the room, heads nodded in agreement.

The reaction startled Remy, though he supposed it probably shouldn’t have. He distinctly remembered telling Scott he wasn’t going to take any kind of leadership position in the X-Men, but it hadn’t occurred to him that the X-Men might have their own opinion about that. And with Scott temporarily wrapped up in family matters, the X-Men were looking squarely at him.

Jus’ when did y’ go and get respectable, LeBeau? he asked himself wryly.

Gathering himself, Remy straightened. "De plan hasn’ changed, Logan," he told the other man in an eminently reasonable tone. "We need a new way into space, true, but dat’s all. We c’n start wit’ Dr. Reyes an’ their contacts at NASA, an’ since SHIELD is still cozy wit’ de government, we’ll hit dem up as well. De Air Force is primarily responsible f’ military space programs, so they’d be de ones t’ look at."

As he’d hoped, his words produced a stir of interest. After a moment, Ororo stepped forward.

"I will speak to Colonel Fury," she said in her stately, deliberate way. "The Chicago Guild is facilitating our communication with SHIELD using X-Force as the blind, so we should not have any trouble coordinating such an inquiry."

Remy acknowledged her with a smile and turned to Warren. "Lookin’ into civilian space launch development’ll be yours, eh? As much money as there is t’ be made wit’ private launch capability, I wouldn’ be surprised if there ain’ a few projects secretly in development out there somewhere."

Warren tipped his head to the side, his body language thoughtful. "I hosted a banquet honoring Burt Rutan a couple of years ago," he finally said, nodding. "I think I know where to start, at least."

Remy echoed his nod. "Bien." Then he turned his attention to the rest of the room. "In de meantime, we still got plenty o’ work t’ do figurin’ out how we’re gon’ take Bastion’s station away from him once we get there, an’ wit’ de government lookin’ t’ take de lead in fightin’ OZT here on de ground, we need t’ decide if we should keep doin’ what we’ve been doin’ or if we can cause more trouble some ot’er way. X-Force an’ Excalibur are gon’ be lookin’ t’ us f’ direction, too, an’ we’re gon’ need t’ know which way t’ point them."

He looked around. A few murmurs of conversation had already sprung up as people added their own details to what he’d said and discussed how they needed to proceed. As he watched, the tenor in the room shifted; fear giving way to renewed determination. All they’d needed was a little push.

Satisfied, Remy levered himself to his feet. Logan crossed the short distance that separated them, his body language casual as always.

"Not bad, Gumbo."

Remy snorted. "What? I get a critique now?"

Logan chuckled, sounding amused. "I just call ’em like I see ’em." He clapped Remy on the shoulder. "Regular mornin’ meetin’ tomorrow?"

Remy nodded. They would all end up in his office in the morning, anyway, to continue hammering out some method for wresting control of Bastion’s space station from OZT, so he might as well make it official.

Logan nodded, and with a wave to the room in general, made his way toward the exit. As if that were their cue the rest of the group began to disperse as well.

Wrapping an arm around Rogue’s shoulders, Remy followed them out.

Scott stifled a yawn as he let himself into the Guildmaster’s office. His head ached from a combination of stress and lack of sleep, neither of which was likely to get better for a while. He’d forgotten how demanding newborns were, and waking up every two hours at night on top of everything else was beginning to take its toll on him. At least Remy was sure to have coffee going.

The Think Tank-his personal nickname for the group of people currently gathered around Remy’s desk-was in full swing when he arrived. Logan, Bishop, Mystique, Chess and Marcus, along with Remy and himself, formed the core of the group, with others coming and going as needed.

Unfortunately, this morning Scott was only going to add yet another problem to the pile.

"You look like crap," Logan observed as Scott stepped up beside him.

Scott rolled his eyes. "Good morning to you, too."

Remy cracked a grin at their exchange. "What’s de word from NASA?" he asked. The reason Scott was running late was because he’d been in the Guild’s communication center, on the phone with one of Dr. Reyes’ people and a bevy of scientists from Goddard who’d been helping them with the specs on OZT’s space station.

Scott ran a hand through his hair, familiar frustration rising up from his gut. "Nothing good, I’m afraid."

He got a round of expectant looks at that and shook his head. "I need some coffee first. Then I’ll see if I can explain." He walked over to the wet bar as the conversation picked up behind him again.

Artur entered the office while he was still pouring his coffee. He carried a couple of sheets of paper that he handed off to Chess as he came to a stop.

"Guildmaster, the Bogota Cartel is officially under new management," Artur told Remy while Chess quickly scanned the pages. "The DEA just sent out a memo to the highest ranking members of its Colombian task force."

Remy sat forward, his expression sharpening. "It’s about time. Who’s de new jefe?"

"His name is Montoya. Enrique Montoya." Artur rested the knuckles of one hand lightly on the desktop, the casual stance at odds with his tone. "By all reports, he’s young, ambitious and brutal. No one’s pointing fingers, but the bomb that killed Villaverde yesterday afternoon went off during his grandson’s birthday party. About twenty people died, among them Villaverde’s son and his two children, which cleared the way for Montoya to step in."

Remy cursed at that and leaned back in his chair. Scott mentally shook his head. He was no longer certain how to feel about such things. Part of him still wanted to assess blame-Remy had set in motion the events that had just cost innocent children their lives-but it wasn’t that simple. As much as he wanted to believe there had to be a better way, he had yet to figure out what that way might have been. And selfish as it was, he was grateful it had been Remy’s call to make rather than his own. He wasn’t sure he could have lived with the weight of those choices.

Eventually, Remy nodded. "All right. Let’s extend an invitation t’ Monsier Montoya t’ visit New York. I’m sure he promised his new organization dat he’d solve their-" His tone turned sardonic, "-distribution problems."

Logan glanced at Remy from under his brows. "What are ya gonna do if he don’t want ta play ball with the Guild?"

Remy shrugged, but his expression was hard. "Let’s hope he’s willin’ t’ be reasonable, eh?"

Artur rapped his knuckles lightly on the ancient, polished wood. "I’ll make the arrangements, Guildmaster."

Artur turned to leave and Remy shifted his attention to Scott. "So what’s de bad news from NASA?"

Scott pinched the bridge of his nose as he refocused his thoughts. "Right." Grabbing an open chair, he sank into it and braced his elbows on the arm rests. "Here’s the deal. We already knew that the space station has its own power suppression system. It has to because the bulk of it sits beyond the suppression field emitters and outside the field that covers Earth."

"We’re pretty sure we’ve figured out how to shut the system down, though." Marcus gestured toward the scattered drawings covering the desk.

Scott nodded. "Yeah. The problem isn’t the station’s suppression system, it’s the big one."

Around him, eyebrows rose in silent question. Scott smiled humorlessly. "If I understand the scientists right, the suppression field that blankets Earth isn’t perfectly round or smooth. Because of the way the fields given off by the individual emitters interact, the surface of the big field-its edge-has lumps and spikes in it. And it’s almost guaranteed that a few of those spikes will overlap the space station."

He watched with interest as the people around him digested the information. Not surprisingly, Remy was the first to deduce where the problem lay.

"Wait, does dat mean we’re gon’ be subjected t’ random loss of our powers while we’re up there?" Remy’s expression shaded toward alarm.

"That’s exactly what it means."

Scott waited for the various exclamations of dismay to die down.

"These dead zones." Bishop leaned forward, his gaze fixed on the station drawings. "They’ll be constantly moving in relation to the space station, correct?"

Scott nodded. "The field emitters aren’t in geosynchronous orbit, so yes. Something to do with how the Earth’s magnetic field affects the suppression field as the Earth rotates."

Bishop looked up at him. "Then can we predict where they’ll be at a given time?"

It was a good question, and one Scott had asked as well. He shrugged. "They said they’d try," he repeated the scientists’ less-than-satisfactory answer.

"Try?" Chess shot him an aggrieved look.

Scott spread his hands. "It sounded like the math involved was enough to boggle even them, so they didn’t want to make promises."

Chess shook his head unhappily but didn’t comment further. Scott had gotten the impression he’d finally given up complaining about the risks, though whether that was because Remy kept ignoring him or because he’d finally become convinced of the necessity of what they were doing, Scott couldn’t guess.

"So we’re gonna have ta be able ta pull this off without powers," Logan said.

Scott gave an equivocal shrug. "We’re going to need two strategies-one with our powers and one without-and be able to switch between them as needed." Which was only going to make the job that much harder.

Remy sighed and tipped his head back to stare at the ceiling. "Okay." After a long moment he straightened and focused his attention on Chess and Marcus. "We’re gon’ have t’ start over, gentlemen."

Remy couldn’t sleep. Vague, restless dreams plagued him, fragmented images of desolation where he was always trapped, alone. Exhaustion dragged at him but every time he started to slip away into the darkness, the dreams came back and he would wake, chest tight and his eyes aching. He had a decision to make, one whose implications for the future frightened him, honestly, but he wasn’t sure yet who-if anyone-he wanted to discuss it with.

He glanced over at the woman sleeping beside him. Rogue lay curled up on her side, her ribs rising and falling in the slow rhythm of deep sleep. He envied her peace. Sometimes, it was enough just to slide up next to her, to wrap his arms around her and let her warmth lull him back to sleep.

Sighing, he sat up. Not tonight, though. He felt too restless.

Careful not to disturb Rogue, he slipped out of bed. He grabbed a pair of jeans and a t-shirt and then headed out into the Guild complex. Physical activity was usually a good way to clear his head.

He tentatively pegged the time at around 4:00AM, judging from the relative lack of activity. It had to be late enough that most of the thieves had gone to bed, but early enough that no one else was up and around.

Not surprisingly, there were a couple of people working out in the gym, but they were widely scattered, intent on their own tasks. Noise in the huge room was muted, the sounds echoing oddly in the stillness.

Remy carefully navigated his way toward the balance beams. He could tell the difference between the cement floor of the gym and the mats, which registered a little bit warmer, so avoiding the equipment generally wasn’t a problem, but he never knew when someone might have left a gym bag or some other gear sitting where he could trip on it. The need to test each step before he took it made for slow progress, particularly since he had to make sure he didn’t look like he was testing his steps.

He was more than a little surprised to find Bishop up on one of the beams when he got there. The big man moved with surprising grace, his steps sure. Remy halted before the other man could notice him, watching with interest as Bishop worked his way through one of the standard balance drills all apprentices had to learn.

The realization sent a little shiver of apprehension through him. Chances were good this was something Bishop had learned as a kid. He continually demonstrated an understanding of Guild ways that Remy was certain pre-dated the X-Men’s alliance.

Forcing himself forward, Remy slipped off his shoes and then vaulted barefoot onto the beam beside Bishop’s. He wasn’t sure if it was serendipity or just plain coincidence, but Bishop was probably the most appropriate person to talk to about the choice he found himself faced with.

"LeBeau." Bishop acknowledged him with a nod. The violent anger and resentment that used to color Bishop’s signature any time they interacted had given way to less ugly hues, but the patterns were so confused Remy had yet to figure out exactly what emotions might be driving them.

Remy returned the nod. "Evenin’, Bishop. Can’t sleep either, eh?" He fell into step with the other man, picking up in the middle of the drill. It had been years since he’d done any of these, but his body remembered the rhythm.

Bishop shrugged. "I like the quiet."

Remy made a generic sound of acknowledgment and for a while they worked in silence. Remy continued to follow Bishop’s lead-he seemed to be going through the drills in order of increasing difficulty which suited Remy fine.

Eventually, though, Remy cleared his throat and forced himself to broach the topic that had driven him out of bed this night.

"Y’ mind if I ask y’ opinion o’ somet’ing, Bishop?"

Bishop paused, the tiniest hitch in his otherwise fluid movements. "Go ahead."

Remy took a deep, bracing breath. "I got a prospectus from Dyson recently f’ a company dat would be an excellent investment f’ New York. It’s a Japanese company wit’ strong manufacturing capability an’ established product lines in a wide range o’ industries." He glanced over at Bishop. "It’s a fantastic opportunity. De chance t’ purchase controlling interest in a Japanese company don’ come along all dat often."

The next step in this particular drill called for the apprentice to stand on one leg with the other raised to the perpendicular, and then to hold the pose for as long as he could. Bishop did so, and Remy couldn’t help but note just how solid the other’s balance was; no twitches, no bobbles, just perfect, smooth motion.

Bishop, he thought with an odd twinge of regret, would have made an excellent thief.

He mimicked Bishop’s pose as the other man looked over at him. "If it’s that good an investment, what’s the problem?"

Remy smiled humorlessly. "De company’s name."

Bishop’s heat signature flickered with curiosity. "Why? What is it?"


Bishop jerked in surprise and nearly fell off the beam. He recovered with quick windmill of his arms and then turned to stare at Remy, his heartbeat hammering an angry rhythm.

"Stark-Fujikawa was the Witness’s company," he said after a moment.

Remy went on to the next step in the drill as if nothing had happened. The discipline of keeping his body under control helped him keep his emotions under control too. "Y’ can see why it gave me pause."

Bishop didn’t move for several seconds, but then stepped up beside Remy and resumed the drill with him in silence.

Remy briefly closed his eyes as his many doubts surged. "All dis time I’ve been wonderin’ if we were doin’ enough t’ put de future on a different path. But de longer t’ings go on, de more convinced I get dat dis is de path dat leads t’ de place y’ come from-everyt’ing we’re doin’ here."

Bishop stopped again. He sank into a crouch and braced his elbows on his thighs, his heat signature flaring wildly. He tucked his chin as if he couldn’t bear to look up at Remy. "That can’t be true."

Remy shrugged and abandoned the balance drills for tumbling, which took a lot more concentration. He did a couple of back handsprings and then paused to answer Bishop.

"I can’ say whether it’s true or not. But t’ink about it. In your time, de X-Men are heroes, right? Martyrs."

Bishop nodded without turning to look at him.

Remy went on. "But here de X-Men have always been hated by jus’ about everybody. De government hunts us, regular people call us freaks. Even de ot’er teams t’ink we’re too extreme sometimes. But now look at what’s happenin’." He gestured upward to indicate the larger world beyond the complex. "Suddenly de X-Men are de rallyin’ cry f’ de entire world. What happens if we actually win?"

Bishop scrubbed his face with his hands, obviously disturbed. "We can’t let Bastion stay in power."

"Oui." Remy took out his frustration about that on the beam in a hard-hitting series of flips that made the narrow surface vibrate with each landing. "I know dat. But now I got dis prospectus f’ Fujikawa sittin’ on my desk an’ it’s really got me wonderin’ about where we’re headed."

"So don’t buy it." Bishop looked up at him. "That would be an obvious break from the known history. Something different from my time."

"Is dat really de answer?" Remy returned. "De Stark in Stark-Fujikawa almost has t’ be Tony Stark’s company, so what happens t’ de Avengers? An’ de Fantastic Four? What if dat monster conglomerate is an alliance like dis one wit’ de X-Men, an’ de best hope mutants have f’ overcomin’ de circumstances dey in durin’ y’ time?"

Bishop rose to his feet. "Tony Stark has always favored mutant control measures. He was intimately involved in the development of the mutant registration laws of my time."

The big man drew a deep breath and let it out slowly. "I don’t think it was an alliance. I was just a child but I think the Witness took over Stark Industries by force, maybe in an attempt to take away his power base." He shrugged helplessly. "But it was too late."

Remy digested the information, feeling cold. How was he supposed to know what to do?

Bishop’s signature wavered, betraying a sense of uncertainty. "Have you said anything to Scott about this?" he finally asked.

Remy made a vague gesture. "Don’ know if I should. Scott does better when he’s sure what he’s doin’ is right, non?"

Bishop shook his head sharply though Remy wasn’t entirely sure what he was trying to convey.

"Y’ t’ink I should tell him?" Remy finally asked.

"No." Bishop made a ninety degree turn on the beam and resumed the balance drill at the point he’d left off. "It wouldn’t change what we have to do now."

Remy watched him, his thoughts churning.

"Growing up, I hated you," Bishop said abruptly though he didn’t pause as he moved through the end of the drill and into the beginning of the next one. He didn’t look at Remy.

Remy blinked in surprise. "I kinda figured dat, given y’ decided t’ go into law enforcement," he finally answered, letting a note of wry amusement creep into his voice. "Lot o’ sons o’ thieves choose not t’ become t’ieves themselves, but to become a cop... dat’s a statement."

Bishop snorted. "Yeah."

"Guess I prob’ly gave y’ reason," Remy hazarded.

Bishop paused to look at him, but quickly turned away. "Any more, I don’t know." His heat signature rose and fell, violent upheavals of emotion in a wide range of colors. "In retrospect, I think the Witness was just so old and bitter... He didn’t have anything left but the war."

A tight lump lodged in Remy’s chest, making it hard to breathe. This was the future he had to look forward to.

Bishop paused one more time and turned to face him across the short space between the beams. "I don’t know how this works-if my presence here influences the future or if the future is fixed and this is just a part of how things have always been-but if nothing else, perhaps you can take forward the knowledge that I did eventually understand." His voice dimmed to a near whisper. "Father."

Then, as if he couldn’t face Remy’s reaction, Bishop leapt lightly down from the beam and strode away, leaving Remy to stare after him.


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