The X-Men belong to Marvel. The Gargoyles belong to Buena Vista Television and Disney. Highlander
belongs to Panzer/Davis & Rysher. Vampire: the Masquerade belong to World of Darkness. I am in no way part of these
companies nor am I making a profit from these scribblings, although if any of the aforementioned would want to pay me,
please email and I'll tell you where to send the cheque. This is purely for entertainment, usually mine.
However: Darcfyr, Stiletto, Yntenz, Edge, the Aerie, the Underground and anyone else unrecognizable probably belong to me.
I won't sue you if you want to borrow them or my reality but I'd really like it if you asked permission first. They are,
after all, my closest friends and I'd feel awfully lonely without them.
Lost and Found Department: First Floor
I kissed Jean good night as I started to slip out of bed.
She didn't stir; she probably didn't even sense me moving; those
painkillers would have bulldozed an elephant. For a long time,
I crouched at her side, just looking at her face. Then I got
up, tugged the blanket higher around her shoulders and left the
I passed by Remy's suite on the way to the kitchen. It's funny
but when I look back on our reunion, I didn't really expect him
to accept me arms wide-open and sobbing relief. Hell, it took
him a couple of days to even believe I was who I said I was.
I had to remind him about stupid things like his needing to sneak
into my cot or the palming tricks I showed him. Even then, I
suspect it was only the promise of a bed and food that got him
to my motel room.
He'd been a total wreck. He stank and looked as if an entire
pro-football team had turns practicing their tackles on him.
After he inhaled the burger and fries that I'd gotten in the
drive-through, I told him who I was and about Xavier's. He just
kept nodding and swallowing, pretending interest for the sake
of the food, a comfortable night's rest or-- shit, it could have
even been for sheer politeness.
The next morning, I gave him my business card (he laughed)
and a plane ticket to JFK Airport. And even though I was hoping
he would come, it was still a surprise when he showed up at the
terminal with a backpack slung over his shoulder. He smelled
a little better and he'd changed his clothes but the female flight
attendant still looked at him askance. Well, at least until he
opened his mouth. He charmed his way through the entire flight
and all he had to do was drawl. Damn, I wish I had a drawl ...
it would have made things easier in high school, that's for sure.
The stairs creaked as I climbed down them and headed for the
kitchen. I was in serious need of a midnight meal. Or, more specifically,
a midnight beer. I wasn't wallowing my sorrows in liquor ... not
really. I just needed something to help me sleep dreamless. I
flipped the rec-room light on and headed straight for the bar-fridge.
God, today's mission had been a total washout. It was all
I could do to pull out of there with the skin on my ass intact.
Every spare second I had, I remembered the smell of burning flesh,
the sound of the building collapsing and the screams ... Damn,
those screams are tattooed in my eardrums. Half a dozen cops
and over thirty mutants burning alive in that warehouse and I
had to pull out and I kept wondering if I could have gotten
there sooner or acted faster than maybe, just maybe, they wouldn't
have had to--
"The smell gettin' t'you too, hein?"
I jerked up, narrowly missing hitting my head of hardwood.
Remy was leaning against the opposite side of the counter, a
smouldering cigarette on his lips, as always.
I nodded and continued my search for beer. I think he was
surprised when I didn't recite any non-smoking rules. Honestly,
I couldn't have cared less at that moment. He wouldn't have listened
anyway. In the mere thirty-three days that he'd been here, he
had broken our no-smoking rule, our no-drinking rule and blown
our lights-out rule clear into orbit. The kids were starting
to look at him like some cross between a bad-boy teen idol and
a deity that answered to no one. Half the boys wanted to be just
like him and all the girls wanted to go out with him. I saw Jubilee
doodling "Jubilation LeBeau" with little hearts and
stars in her math notebook. I almost choked.
Remy, of course, kept milking attention like a starved calf.
He probably knows it ticks me off. I don't know why he keeps
doing it. I would have thought he was a little too old to get
kicks out of thumbing his nose at regulations.
On the other hand ... One night, I was getting ready to tear
my head off with all the tests that I had to mark. He came into
the room and, without a word, took half the stack and my answer
key and proceeded to correct fifty pages of algebra. He blew
smoke rings in my face while he was doing it, of course. Little
does he know ... I'm strict about the no-smoking rule because
it was the only way I could keep myself from grabbing one of
those cancer sticks and puffing away like crazy.
Apparently, he also plays the violin. Storm heard the music
coming from his room one night. At first she thought it was a
CD. She was about to come in and ask for the name of the player
but as soon as she knocked, the violin stopped on a sour note.
He violently denies even owning a violin and we haven't heard
anything from that day onward.
I found the beer and some frozen pizza that someone had stashed
for emergencies. Deciding that this could be counted as such,
I grabbed that, too. "Want some?" I asked Remy who
was now lounging on the couch in front of the blank TV.
My, this was cozy. I nuked the pizza and threw him a can which
he caught without even having to look. I guess I shouldn't have
expected much conversation coming from him either. He'd been
in the mission, too, at the Professor's behest. I had
been surprised at that but not displeased. Remy didn't really
have a formal place in the school; he came and went. I expected
him to leave as soon as he healed from his injuries. Call it
jock-mentality but I wanted him to feel like a part of the team,
of the family. For all his popularity, he always struck me as
Christ, now I'm getting too maudlin ... and I haven't even
had a beer yet.
"You should shower," I told him.
He grinned. "You sayin' I stink?"
He had changed since the mission of course but he hadn't removed
his jacket. He was inordinately attached to that jacket and the
damned thing absorbed odours like black holes absorbed light.
The microwave beeped. I took out the pizza, swearing when
the plate burnt my fingers. He gave me a nod of appreciation
as I plonked it on the coffee table. Unable to resist it any
longer, I reached into his shirt pocket and shook out a stick
from the crumpled pack that he kept there. He was smirking, I
swear to God he was, even as he charged the tip for me. The first
drag made me cough; it had been five years, two months and seventeen
days since my last one.
He inhaled his first two slices of pizza then started to slow
down on the third. He ate like the boys. With a start, I realized
that I didn't even know how old he was. He must have been about
six or seven when he ran away from juvie; he definitely hadn't
been any older than nine.
I knew next to nothing about this guy. When I really thought
about it, I had taken a complete stranger home, revealing more
than was wise about the school, exposing the kids to danger...
But, dammit, what was I supposed to do? Sure he'd cleaned
up a bit when he showed up in the airport but his arm was swollen
to basketball proportions. Jean had told me later that it had
been dislocated, likely for a couple days for it to get that
bad. She also told me that he'd been adamant about having her,
not Hank, as his physician. She described, more telepathically
than verbally, the number of small, circular scars inside his
arms that could only have been made by needles as well as the
bullet wound on his right shoulder and the five scars that wound
around his torso. She "showed" me how quiet and still
he'd been, how so unlike the Remy we knew now.
Within minutes, we devoured the entire pizza and half the
six pack in relative silence with only the moist sounds of chewing
and swallowing and the thunk of cans hitting wood to interrupt
the crickets until Remy spoke up.
"If'n you soak inna hot shower some time, it'll go 'way
'ventually. Remy, he know from experience."
I absorbed that. "What were you doing there anyway?"
I asked and he realised that I wasn't talking about Virginia
He shrugged. "Mais y'know that besides havin' devil's
eyes, I got devil's fire, too."
"You charged the entire hotel?" I hadn't thought
he was that powerful.
Again, his only reply was an all-encompassing shrug. "What
were you doin' in Seattle?"
I took a sip of my beer. "I've always wondered what happened
to you," I answered honestly.
"Lived on de streets a while," he said after a contemplative
drag on his stub of a cigarette, "Stole a bit, tricked a
bit, begged a bit." He sighed, staring at the smouldering
cylinder in his hand. "That ... that man who came t'de orphanage,
he found me ... took me back to N'Awlins."
I was aghast. For some reason, I'd always envisioned that
somewhere down the line, his life had paralleled mine: a good
set of foster parents for a few years and an excruciatingly boring
high school life before something had forced back on the streets.
"I didn't know."
"Well, now you know." He shook the ash from his
smoke into an empty. "I don't fit in too good wit' the rest
of your gifted youngsters, neh?"
I snorted. "Oh, please. You're not fooling anyone with
your redneck routine."
"What redneck routine?"
"You know the one." I hunched my shoulders, pushed
my head down and faked an over-bite. "Ah don' know whys
y'alls so hot an' boh-thered by alla dem book-learnin'. Me, Ah'm
jus' a Cay-shun lookin' foh les bon temps in N'Yawk Citeh."
He groaned and rolled his eyes. "You crazy, homme. I
don' do that."
"Hyuck, hyuck, hyuck," I added for good measure
before coming out of the Quasimodo impression.
We were both done with our cigarettes -- well, he was done
with his second one. I dropped mine in my empty beer can while
he shook out another and offered it to me. I declined it and
he popped it in his mouth but didn't light it.
"So, when you gettin' married?"
"I..." What I meant to say -- what I was supposed
to say was, "Soon," but what came out was "I don't
He raised his brows inquisitively. "You not gettin'
"Yes ... no! ... I..." This topic called for
another cigarette. "Look, if I'm going to answer that question,
you'd better tell me what you were doing in Seattle in the first
Thankfully, the threat worked. He just handed me another cigarette,
this one lit, and stuck his hand in his jacket. Out came a battered
old flask, the kind that could be bought in flea markets under
hand-painted signs proclaiming "Genuine Antiques."
"Boom-boom?" he offered.
I had no idea what boom-boom was. Whether it was the lateness
of the hour, the post-traumatic-stress of the mission or the
fact that I've never drank too much anyway, I accepted the flask.
As soon as I took a sip I regretted it.
Boom-boom, apparently, is Cajun French for "cayenne-flavoured
paint thinner mixed with swamp water and lightly misted with
I opened my mouth to breath but found that my oesophagus had
seized in protest.
Remy grinned. "Ca c'est bon, non?"
"NO!" my stomach squealed.
"Here, chase it wit' beer."
The shock of the cold liquid was the only thing that made
me swallow. After my lungs remembered to take in oxygen, I managed
to gasp, "What the fuck was that shit you
"Boom-boom." He was snorting, trying to muffle his
"You chicken-fucking swamp hick!" I could feel my
liver burning away. "Oh, man, I have a class to teach tomorrow!
I'm going to kick your ass, you ... you..."
Complete Neural Meltdown Immanent.
"You ... you..."
Remy took a sip of the vile stuff, still grinning like a deranged
He took another, managing to look as if he was enjoying
I couldn't very well let the child out drink me could I? I
grabbed the flask and took another scorching sip.
Complete Neural Meltdown Achieved.
"Don' t'ink..." Great, now I was starting to sound
like him. I cleared my throat. "Don't think you'll get away
with changing the subject like that."
He groaned and dropped his head in his hands, dragging his
fingers through his hair. "Dieu, can't y'drop that
chorus, homme? Whatsit matter now?"
"Well, damn, Remy, just 'cause I've been looking for
you for almost ten years, brought you to my home and welcomed
you into my family, it doesn't mean I care or anything."
I think my dry sarcasm was laid on just thick enough to be noticeable
through four beer.
He glared at me; very effective when one has red-and-black
eyes. "Fuck you. I di'in ask f'r you t'look f'r me."
"Then the next fucking time I find you beaten up in the
basement of the smoking crater that was once a two-block-wide
hotel, I'll wave and be on my way." I snorted in disbelief.
"You've got a real problem with reality, you know that?"
"Up yours, Summers."
"After you, LeBeau. I'm sure you've got more experience
at it that I do anyway."
I couldn't believe I said that. Remy didn't either; he was
frozen in the classic deer-caught-in-headlights fashion, his
beer dropping on the tabletop with a heavy clunk. I'm not even
sure the beer was to blame. The subject had been on my mind
ever since I realised that Remy only flirted with the older boys
to scare them into a comfortable distance. The girls, he kept
around him like a shield. I was no innocent; I'd been on the
streets even before my powers kicked in. My subconscious must've
had a field day with the implication that Remy was wary of anything
with a dick.
Shit, shit, shit, shit, shit! Would you like ketchup
or mustard on your foot, Summers?
He cut me off with a chuckle. It didn't sound quite right.
"Score one f'r de man in de red shades."
"I'm sorry," I blurted out, "That was unbelievably
"No worries, Summers."
"--and unthinking of me--"
"Just fuckin' forget it, homme."
"--and I shouldn't have said it," I continued while
I was on a roll. "I can't believe--"
"Scott." To my surprise, he grabbed my hand and
gave it a quick squeeze before letting go. "It's okay. You
ain't said nothin' dat ain't true, hein?"
I was getting away too easy. I knew that but hung on to it
like the lifesaver that it was. "I don't think it's the
right time for marriage right now," I found myself saying,
"Not with the current socio-political flavour concerning
He nodded and I kept blabbering.
"And besides, we're already much too busy with the kids.
Heck," I grinned shakily, "I'm a father of fifty-one
at the age of twenty-eight. That's got to be a record somewhere,
Again, he nodded. I think I preferred the shrugs.
"It's not that I don't ... y'know, about Jean. I ... I
"Love?" he put in helpfully.
"Yeah, I do. Her, I mean. Love her. Immensely. I just..."
I just needed another beer. To my horrified shock, I saw that
it was all gone. My fingers tapped restlessly on my knee.
He grinned and this time, it was less plastic. "Good
t'ing Red be telepathic, non? Y'know Oprah says y'gotta learn
t'voice emotions properly f'r a relationship t'work."
I gave him my own glare. I'd bet it was a good one too if
only it hadn't been hidden by my glasses. "You are a braying,
"Learned de art from a master."
"Hey, I have a girlfriend. Unlike some
people," I added archly, "who prefer to woo in kindergarten
fashion by tormenting the object of their affection. Not that
I'm naming any names."
He was silent for a few very gratifying seconds. Then, after
a whispered "Merde," he pushed a familiar battered
flask in my face. "Boom-boom?"
I decided to take a day-off tomorrow.
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