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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


Written by Valerie Jones
Last updated: 03/23/2007 01:26:56 AM

Chapter 6

Remi stared at Hank McCoy in equal parts surprise and curiosity. Hank returned the favor, and they ended up staring at each other in silence for several long moments.

"Is something wrong?" Hank asked finally.

"Uh, no." Remiís eyes continued to be drawn to the streak of gray fur that crossed the bridge of Hankís nose and ran just under the right eye. From the odd droop of the eyelid on that side, Remi had to guess that the gray fur marked a scar. That was what had him so unnerved. What he could see of Hankís fur beneath the open lab coat was a nearly even mottling of blue and gray.

"I take it Iím not quite the same as the Hank McCoy you know."

Remi shook his head. "Not quite." Quickly he sought after a new topic. It really wasnít any of his business. "Why did you want to see me?"

Remi was perched on a stool in the corner of a fairly normal-looking exam room. The water stains on the wall and the lack of that ever- present paper cover on the examination table were the only real indications that this room was in the middle of a war zone. It seemed well equipped, though it was all earth technology.

Hank slid his glasses further up on his nose. "Actually, Iíd like to examine all four of you. You just happen to be at the top of my list." His smile was the same toothy grin Remi was used to, and he found himself relaxing a little.

Hank turned away for a moment, and when he turned back, he was holding a familiar needle and several glass tubes. "If you donít mind, Iíd like to draw some blood."

Remi stifled a protest-- he hated needles-- and instead asked, "What for?"

Hank began the process of pushing the sleeve of Remiís uniform out of the way and tying a piece of rubber tightly around his biceps. "Well, my number one priority is to check for Legacy antigens."

"Legacy? I had the shot when I was a kid. I should be immune."

Hank paused and looked up at Remi, his expression unreadable. "Then there is a cure." It wasnít a question.

A cold pit formed in Remiís stomach. "What... happened here?"

Hankís demeanor became professionally busy as he fiddled with the needle. Remi looked away as the point neared his arm, and felt the hot stab.

Almost diffident, Hank said, "We lost about a third of the mutant population. Maybe fifteen percent of the humans." He traded the filled tube for a new one and Remi winced as the action jiggled the needle buried in his arm. "The disease has pretty much burned itself out, now. The survivors have antibodies. But we havenít been able to develop an inoculation, so each new generation will be at risk." Hank finished the procedure and studied the two tubes of thick red fluid thoughtfully.

"You do know Iím half-Shiíar?" Remi asked after a moment. "If you want to look at human antibodies, youíre going to have to use Rachelís blood."

Hank glanced over at him. "Only her? Ah, then the other two are half- Shiíar as well. The family resemblance is rather obvious."

Remi sighed. "I might as well warn you." This was always so complicated to explain. "Cody and Renee are only quarter-Shiíar. When you run your tests, youíll get results that indicate that Iím their father."

Hankís eyebrow rose. "Indeed." Remi had the sudden, distinct impression that he was forcibly suppressing a sarcastic response. And that, oddly enough, made Remi feel better. Hankís friendly teasing was something he could deal with. He grinned. He had a rare opportunity to pull one over on the good doctor.

"And that Rogue is their mother." Remi tried not to laugh as Hankís expression went several contortions before settling into something approaching neutrality.

After a moment of silence, Hank asked, "Do I dare inquire as to the... circumstances... uh--" He broke off as he apparently realized that he was talking to a fairly young teenager.

Remi managed not to blush. He wasnít exactly the lothario Gambit had been, but he had had a great deal more education in the matter than most kids his age. Well, formal education, anyway. After a moment of watching Hank fidget, he said,

"In the future I come from, there was another version of me. He was married to Rogue."

Hank recovered his composure, blinking behind his glasses. "I see. Fascinating." He turned and set the tubes of blood into a wire rack. "Then there were two of you in the same time?" He glanced over his shoulder and Remi nodded. "And there werenít any problems from the overlap?"

"No." Remi paused. "Well, there was a paradox."

"Really?" Hankís expression was as excited as a little boy at Christmas. He settled himself in the roomís only real chair. "Iíd love to hear more about this. Theories about the nature of time are inherently unprovable. Except, of course, for extraordinary circumstances like yours." He sighed, deflating slightly. "But, Iím afraid we really ought to continue the examination."

Remi shrugged. "O.k."

Hank pulled out a battered notebook and dug a pen out of his coat pocket. He scribbled a quick line at the top of a page, and then looked at Remi. "I assume you are in good health? No infections, viruses, conditions, et cetera that I should know about?"

Remi shook his head.

"How old are you?"


He nodded, scribbled. "Any serious illnesses in the past?"


"Serious injuries?"

"Serious? Not really. I broke my leg in four places once, but Renee healed that."

Hank paused, pen upraised. "Ah, yes. Forge told me about her powers. Iím anxious to talk to her."

"Does that mean sheís next on your list?" Hank was doing a poor job of hiding his excitement.

Hank chuckled appreciatively. "Dear boy, I believe you have me at a disadvantage. You seem to know me entirely too well."

He bent back over his notebook. "Now thenódo you have any special requirements to maintain your mutant power?"

"Special requirements?"

"Yes. Any special nutritional needs? Sunlight? Moonlight? Radiation? Electrical current? Sonic vibration? Magnetic fields?"

Remi was almost laughing at the bizarre list, mostly because it was so true. Heíd spent most of his life around people who had strange needs. "Uh, no. I do metabolize energy, but I donít know the source."

"Fair enough. And this black disk of yoursódo you know what kind of energy it uses or what it is made of?"

Remi was suddenly struck by the realization that this man really didnít know anything about him.

"Hank, itís a time portal. Everything else is just the side effects."

Hank slowly reached up and pulled off his glasses. "Slicing Sentinels in half is just the side effects?" He set the glasses down on the table beside him. He was completely stunned. "You can travel in time." He looked up at Remi. "To any time?"

Remi shrugged. "Theoretically. In a single jump, I can go forward and backward to any point inside my timeline-- my permutation. Actually, since this is 2007, this is about the time that my permutation began..." He trailed off as pieces of the puzzle began to come together in his head. "Hank, what is todayís date?"

"August sixth. Why?"

Remiís mind began to whirl. It was all beginning to make sense. August fifth was the day the X-Men were betrayed. The day Gambit disappeared forever. It was the first day of the permutation Remi had grown up in. But somehow, when theyíd gone back in time, they hadnít stopped at the beginning of their timeline. Somehow, theyíd ended up in a different permutationóone where Gambit never existed. And yet, Cody and Renee were still there, so they were somehow also no longer governed by paradox law.

Remi wasnít sure why, but he had a feeling deep in his gut that he was getting close to the real reason the Gamemaster had wanted them to travel back in time.


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