No, I'm not dead. I'm busy. I hope there
aren't any spelling errors, html tags or cruddy wrapping left.
For that matter, I hope it don't screw up during posting.
If you can't remember what the heck this fic is about and
would like to, the link is at the bottom.
The Bauers, Isabel Mendez, Emilio Suarez, I-Ping Soong and
Tham Kriengchayapruk belong to me. Jason Auspach technically
belongs to Marvel, but I supplied the surname. All other characters
belong to Marvel. I'm not profiting by this.
Some language, graphic violence and mature topics in various
places. Also, there is a scene "in French". It's actually
in English, since it's rude to switch languages mid-narrative.
Play along and please don't tell me the syntax is incorrect.
I know where it is. Also, there is a scene composed mainly
of technobabble, but it is entertaining.
Comments go to firstname.lastname@example.org
Flames will be blithely ignored.
"I'm fine, Hank." Jean waved away the gadget he held near
her ear. There were no physical injuries because she had held
Rogue away telekinetically. In fact, Hank might have been
better off examining the other woman's cardiovascular tract
because as a last resort, Jean was prepared to induce a heart
attack or stroke in an assailant. She had done so to Rogue.
Granted, she didn't seem to notice, but it was affecting
her actions and reflexes. It did not matter if her heart
was able to withstand the fury of Storm's lightning. Betsy
would say I was crazy, but Rogue was just following the dictates
of her mind, the dark part that lashed out at mine. Not that
I'd be able to kill one of my teammates without a damn good
"Be that as it may, Mrs. Grey-Summers, I'd like to discern
it for myself. Now, please hold still. Your behavior is en
par with Jubilee's." He pushed her hand out of the way and
continued hurrumphing to himself over the wavy lines scrolling
on the screen of the gadget. After a lengthy study he compared
it to her record on the main computer.
"Really, I'm fine. She didn't even get a hold of me and I
know my mind better than you do." She slid off the table in
exasperation. Scott and his worries were ready to pepper her
with questions. He's concerned for me, and even more concerned
for the team, which means helping, not abandoning her, whether
she wants help or not. I need to make him understand that
their confrontation and the position it left me in looked
worse than it was. I can't have her flying off right when
I'm getting somewhere.
Hank muttered something under his breath before readjusting
his glasses. "Your Polygraph is normal and as there are no
"Great, I'll be going then."
He planted himself between her and the door, crossing massive
arms and glowering behind his spectacles. "What exactly is
the rush? Is there anything else I should know? I will
be the one held responsible for a misdiagnosis."
"Hank, I don't want to be rude and I realize this is your
job, but Scott is outside that door gathering more ammunition
as we speak. I need to convince him to lay off Rogue before
"Yes, I gathered from your distracted expression." Pursing
his lips against a knuckle, he asked, "What are you treating
She quirked her lip, "Sorry, con-"
"-fidential," he finished for her. "Never hurts to ask, especially
among friends. Do you believe she would act so rashly as to
"Well, with her, you never know. She thinks what happened
is more her fault than it really is." Rogue was emotional
but her behavior, like any other person's, usually had rationale.
Taking a moment out, Jean searched for Rogue's location and
mood. "She may or may not jump. Right now she's in her room
beating herself up. As for my mental state, everything seems
fine, so Hank, please get out of my way before Scott has a
Hank sniffed audibly. "Surely he would not think me so ignoble
as to seduce his own, and may I add, charming, wife?"
She sniffed back at his non sequitur. "Buttering me up won't
"Very well. You are more experienced in dealing with mental
trauma than I, but I don't recommend telekinetic juggling
for the next couple of hours. If you are truly determined
to 'treat' Rogue, you have my support and assistance." His
forehead wrinkled and his glasses slipped down his nose as
he looked at some cables stapled to the wall. When his oblique
query brought no response, he hurrumphed again for good measure
and stepped aside.
Jean rolled her eyes at her old friend, but he did have a
point. The matter at hand was hardly confidential anymore.
Scott would demand to know what was going on. Hank would need
to know if something went wrong and Betsy knew in order to
act as back up. That was when it occurred to her that Remy
might need to know as well for his personal safety. I don't
know if I'm seeing things where there aren't any, but even
if he's not a psi, his powers extend to his mind in some way.
I can just imagine "Gambit Fricassee". Should have never let
her get away with that last night but what was I supposed
to do? Yell at her like her mother?
She glanced back at her longime friend. All this secrecy
was foolish. They were a team even when a matter did not concern
the team. It was unfair of her to treat him like an ignorant
villain and she knew it. Let's be honest. Half the reason
I'm tiptoeing on egg shells is because I'm not sure how much
of what I saw in her mind was psionic and how much was a mirage
caused by other facets of her power and I don't want to look
stupid. She knew from experience that not everything she
saw on the astral plane was automatically psionic in nature.
Everything from purer forms of energy to random thoughts of
normal humans could be seen or felt.
Hank beamed at her. "Yes?"
"We were talking about her past, her power, so on. While
I did want to know those things to pinpoint an exact traumatic
incident that might have caused her to willfully or subconsciously
'lose control' of her power, I was using that as cover to
do a psychic examination and pull the proverbial fast one
on her. What I didn't count on was that rather than simply
being turned 'on' her power might be running on auto. Next
thing I know Shadow King's little sister pulls the rug out
from under me." She shook her head. "Stupid mistake.
I guess we're all entitled to some of them."
"And that excuses her?" His tone was not accusatory so much
as curious. When he crossed his arms, the sleeves of his lab
coat pulled taut and bunched at his elbows.
"It does for me. I acted in a way, for whatever reason --
which is what I'm more interested in -- she found deeply threatening
and reacted instinctively to nullify." Now, how the hell
did she know I was touching her mind? She could not think
of another case where Rogue had made that type of preemptive
strike. Various telepaths had contacted her to no ill effect.
In fact, some had even controlled her power externally. But
were they manipulating her power or her desires? She suspected
the latter. The Professor's case file listed no telepathic,
telekinetic or empathic abilities. The precognitive power
was not only weak, but acquired. Still, there was something
present in her psychic self. And Mystique also implied
that Rogue never liked telepaths. Might be worth a try to
ask her some more questions along that route.
Questions. She absorbs people, becomes them, yet a telepath
can commandeer her body. But if she is them, how can they
control her? Unless she mimics or copies. If so, why would
a portion of her own mind turn on itself unless her problems
are far worse than I thought? How does she put it? 'For all
intents and purposes'. Some part of Rogue's power had
to go into reining in and storing her victim's psyche. It's
not just genetics or electrical information because the psionic
self is also transferred. There's more to a mind than just
neurons and bio-electric waves. That same part that enabled
Rogue's mind to create boundaries between her memories from
someone else's, which she could and did do, had to be sensitive
to a person's psi-self. Otherwise, not only would she be
a complete nut case by now, but there would be no way she
could so consistently absorb the 'essence of a person'.
The Professor mentioned no such thing.
"This may be none of my concern, but is there anything with
which I can help you?"
"No, no, I'm just upset and a little bit disappointed in
someone." Jean bit her mental tongue. Seeing her as an
aggressor won't help and that might be my problem. I view
contact as an attack. She tried again to think of some
mention of a psionic facet of Rogue's power and came up with
nothing. There's no way the Professor could have missed
"No, I'm afraid not. The Professor."
"It's not fair to blame him for the obvious. Charles was
a busy man. They both did their parts and, apparently, failed."
He kept his gaze slightly downcast as he slipped the EEG in
his lab coat pocket.
Lacing her fingers together, Jean shook her head in denial.
"I'm not." The Professor had a long history of benign deception
with Onslaught only being the most dramatic example. He
knew she was blocking her ability and proceeded to compound
that problem in the name of 'giving her time'. I suppose it
made sense. She was in a psychologically fragile state, there
was no established trust between them and how could he foresee
his own travels? But what did he find? Did he discover whatever
it is that she wouldn't talk about? Something about her childhood?
Not that everything boils down to horrible traumatic events
but it's true a lot of the time.
"I'm not blaming him, I'm just remembering that he had a
habit of doing what he believed was best for someone. I'm
not faulting him for not fixing Rogue's power, if you want
to look at it that way. It's certainly not his job to fix
powers like they're illnesses or something. Especially since,
though we're a school, he gathered us to fight for his Dream.
It's just that.... It looks like he left something out. I
guess I feel a bit guilty. I don't know how she conducted
herself before I rejoined the team. Maybe she was so passive
that the Professor thought she was all right. But I do know
he bent over backwards to help me overcome my own traumas
and insecurities. He taught me like a daughter."
Hank did not say anything but his thoughts were clear as
he rested his jaw in a loosely curled fist.
"I know. Maybe it was just the fact that she'd been raised
by two very knowledgeable mutants and didn't need certain
basic training. Maybe, somehow, she had basic psychic training
already but I just can't shake the idea...."
"That perhaps his actions were deliberate; that he may have
witnessed something in her mind that caused him to 'give her
time'? There is also the matter of a questionable upbringing."
"Hank, I'm surprised you'd take that side."
He raised his eyebrows dryly. "Someone had to say it. Our
resident marauder certainly dotes on her foster mother, but
nevertheless, that woman is not only a terrorist but is possessing
of an unreliable psychological state."
His eyebrows rose so high his glasses slipped down. "Statistically
speaking, yes, there is a chance she is sound and sane."
"Oh, come on, Hank. Most people are a little bit crazy but
they only live sixty to eighty years. Think about it. Instead
of a young woman, like she presents herself, imagine, excuse
the expression, an old biddy. I'm willing to bet half of it
is just an act."
Hank tipped his head up and scratched the underside of his
jaw in contemplation. "An eighty year old crazy grandma. I'm
quite positive that Ms. Darkholme would not appreciate that
erudite extrapolation. Furthermore, no one knows her age."
Jean grinned, tsking in agreement. "I won't tell if
you won't tell."
Politely forgetting their minor argument, he grinned toothily.
"Now, gathering by your commentary on simultaneous neural
patterns, I believe you would appreciate access to any EEGs
checking for any distinct abnormalities?"
"You wouldn't happen to have one?" Chewing on her lip for
minute while waiting for him to rummage through the older
records, she answered, "I was thinking about something she
told me about Carol." The information she wanted to know was
important in some way she could not pinpoint. The professor
wrote, 'two diametrically opposed thought patterns'. Two,
not one. It's definitely not meant to be a merge. Even in
such an extreme case her mind, or power, did a pretty good
job of keeping their minds separate which backs up my earlier
theory. There was a way for the exact safety mechanism
meant to keep her in control of her own self to be turned
against her if she lost subconscious control. That's it.
The ability to compartmentalize -- for the preservation of
identity -- is also what allows her mind to slip into the
schizophrenic and MPD states.
His lip compressed so that only the bottom canines poked
up. "What exactly do you need to know?"
"In the Professor's initial report, he says she had two distinct
neural patterns but that was a psychic perception. In reality-"
"In reality, it is quite possible that she in fact possessed
one neural pattern and the Professor's perception was purely
telepathic in nature. I understand."
"She keeps saying that she could accidentally absorb my mind
and destroy both of us. She's obviously scared that she actually
becomes another person. I thought that excuse was just a habit
but, working with her, I don't know anymore. She really believes
it. I need to convince her that it's safe to let me into her
mind because the more keyed up she is, the more difficult
it is for me to do anything. So, is that a valid assumption
on her part?"
"Do you have a theory?"
"Not quite yet. Notions, if you will. I was studying the
RNA fragments that, er, float about in her cellular structure.
Which remain and which fade seems to have no relation to when
they were 'absorbed'. If I had to guess, I'd say that they
were the results of a biologically selective permanent process."
"Sounds more like notions to me, but you won't spill the
beans? Not even if I ask nicely?"
He shook his head. "Not until I'm sure. A malformed theory
can be a destructive thing."
He trusted Jean but first and foremost he was a scientist.
That meant waiting to present his ideas when he had properly
researched them. The Professor is absent, no drug regime
I have given Rogue works and any existing technological means
merely suppress the effects of her X-factor in a rather crude
fashion eventually causing permanent genetic damage. The
majority of records on their various members were public but
others were encoded to entrusted to only him or the Professor.
Even Scott is under-informed at times. Jean was not
a clinical psychologist but she did have a degree in the field
besides being a veteran telepath.
With a bound, he sailed over a large computer console and
delicately tapped at a keyboard with clawed fingertips.
The data he recovered was incomplete. Some had been destroyed
over time by successive attacks on the mansion, most by Sinister
and then Phalanx. More had never been collected. She's
nearly as stubborn as LeBeau and Logan when it comes to finding
a way to avoiding anything official. He smiled. Her temporary
blindness had been a near blessing in giving him the opportunity
to collect tissue samples and take various scans to update
her record, although he suspected that she had known exactly
what he was doing. The downside was that "Rogue" as a biological,
genetic and political individual did not exist. He had to
credit Mystique for that.
"I have extremely sketchy data here. The psi-scans you mentioned,
how many are there?"
"Not only that, but most of them are useless. Two of them,"
she jabbed two fingers in the air, "two, tell me something
useful. The rest are just random dreams, images the Professor
saw or theories he had. They aren't supported, there's virtually
no reference to her early history beyond him mentioning something
he doesn't want her to know, there's nothing I can verify
and circumstances have changed. I'm sure it all made sense
to him but it doesn't help me." She rested her chin in her
palm, curling her fingers over one eye, then shrugged. "Personal
"Fascinating," he commented dryly. "While she may be a charming
individual, she seems to share a distaste for laboratory settings
with several other members of our esteemed group. My apologies."
"Great. So you can't help?"
"I didn't say I couldn't help. I said her record is spotty."
He continued scrolling hopefully until encountering, barely
marked, an electroencephalograph reading collected by Kurt
shortly after Rogue joined the team. The chart meeting his
gaze was an ugly mass of careening peaks and valleys. If he
had a control reading or any type that could be considered
normal for her, there might be a way to analyze it. I don't.
This could be normal or bizarre in the extreme. "I'm sorry.
All I have, to put it succinctly, is a mess. The Shi'ar enhanced
polygraph might be able to help, but I fear the record is
outdated. All I could possibly do is theorize."
"A mess as in two separate patterns running interference
with each other?"
"I truly can't say. It might be. It might not. I'm sorry."
"What about Cerebro?"
Opening his mouth to dispute, he smiled. "Possibly, it does
do an automatic EEG doesn't it?" He tugged on his lapels.
"Cerebro, bring up recent polygraphs of designate Rogue."
##"Unable to comply."##
##"Requested records have been locked."##
Jean raised an eyebrow in query.
He rearranged some pens in his front pocket and raised his
eyebrows at Jean. Hank did not buy her insinuations. The Professor
had no motivation to hide data on Rogue's power and this only
proved that it was Rogue herself who was withholding information.
"I do have the authority to override the restriction to ensure
"No. I'm already reading her mind. It would be kind of unethical
to do that too."
"Mm." Hank decided Jean was reacting more on emotions than
logic but he did not feel like spurring a debate on ethics.
"He had the time to teach me, Elisabeth and Cable. I want
to believe you with all my heart, but like everyone else,
she always has a reason."
"In her mind."
"I don't want to argue about it, Hank." She switched topics
suddenly. "How about her genetic data? One DNA pattern, fragments
of a second, one successively altered? Anything at all?"
"Perhaps, although, as I mentioned, I hesitate to make any
judgments." He punched up another window with a brief overview
of her genetic coding. It was nothing too complex and only
pinpointed certain flagged mutations. Unlike Cerebro, the
genetic bank was his domain. Out of habit, he reviewed the
mind-boggling assortment of mutations Rogue possessed. Like
all mutants, she had one gene so mutated it was termed X-Factor.
Unlike most mutants, many other of her other genes had also
acquired minor abnormalities as a result of her power. An
entire group of these, Kree in origin, were responsible for
Carol Danver's abilities. She even bordered on possessing
extra chromosomes, which he found mildly disturbing.
"Yoo hoo, earth to Dr. McCoy."
"Er, my apologies." He leaned with one arm braced on top
of the console and sighed, debating how much he could reveal.
"She changes in small ways that are occasionally cumulative
in effect. Extrapolating on current data, it's possible that
at some point she will cease being herself, figuratively speaking.
Many of these acquired mutations survived Siege Perilous.
Others are more recent. The majority of them fade with time.
Nevertheless, I am forced to admit that her genetic code is
"No offense, but that's not what I wanted to hear. On the
upside, it sounds like Carol really was a freak accident because
if Siege Perilous split the other persona off then it probably
wasn't supposed to be where it was."
"That's pure specul-"
Jean moved suddenly to face him with narrowed eyes. "You're
not telling me something."
"I am not telling you a great many things." He smiled faintly.
Jean shrugged gamefully. "So I see. Thanks anyway. I have
to get going."
"My pleasure." Privately, he tapped his lower lip with a
pen. There was no precedence for Rogue's mutation. He hoped
he had not misled Jean.
Mystique planted herself directly in Remy's path back to
Rogue's room and they played that game in which one person
attempted to dodge past the other person while trying to avoid
bodily injury. She kept blocking him and his eyes must have
flared because she raised a mocking eyebrow.
"Get out of my way, madam."
"Oh, so formal." She stayed in his way moving quickly and
easily, not giving any ground.
He did not believe in hitting out of temper but he was close.
He wanted to know what had happened to Rogue, why Jean was
hurt and agitated and what Scott was doing bouncing from one
foot to the other in front of the MedLab. Rogue could get
angry at him for offering sympathy or support because that
implied weakness but that was no excuse for him not to try.
Especially since that anger would dissolve as soon as she
overcame her inhibitions. He feinted past Mystique but her
arm slunk into a tentacle and twisted him back around. Even
as he snapped out his bo he realized how ridiculous this confrontation
"What exactly are you going to save her from, LeBeau? Three-eyes?
He's just doing his job. Me? I'm her mother. You can't save
her from me. Besides," she bared the tips of her teeth, "do
you really want to throw down right now, right here?" She
let go of his arm.
They both remained in combat stance.
He was faster. He was aware of motion beyond the visual.
He had spent his childhood on the streets trained to survive
a guild war and that was not counting his chief power. Mystique
had triumphed over half a century through true war, cold war,
espionage, terrorism, assassination and more enemies than
he could shake a stick at, literally. He might be faster but
she was more skilled and experienced and she had a power too.
Perhaps even a direct bio-kinetic charge would not kill her.
He flipped his bo behind his shoulder, snapping it down and
putting it back up his sleeve.
"Grab a coat."
She led them outside in silence.
It was ironic. People called him a devil because of his eyes
but at least he had eyes, not glowing slits. Mystique could
be looking at anything: the knoll, the forest edge, the tarp
covered pool, the tiny specks that were crows or her own feet.
She was probably watching him but made no movement, not the
slightest twitch or quiver.
She moved, a smooth crane of her head, like a security camera.
"Dat's where she get it from, isn' it?"
She ignored his question. "Would you prefer French?"
"My French is bad."
"Your English is worse."
"Yes," he obligingly replied in French.
She acknowledged him then, a direct look of approval that
told him more about Rogue than their entire conversation had.
It told him why Rogue never complained when he accidentally
hurt her with an offhand comment or even an intentional one
to see if he could get a rise out of her. She simply turned
away from him. Except once, when she had been blind, weary
of his presence as her guide. That was a long time ago as
far as moments of honesty went. Even in Seattle she had opted
for an exit.
"You're talking about Rogue, I assume?"
"Yes. The way she controls her emotions and becomes infuriated
when she loses control." The way she lashes out at those
she cares about, unsure of how to trust, how to open up. I
can see you embarrassing her for that, shaming her. "You
probably never lose control."
Mystique smiled faintly. "Trouble in paradise?"
"You think that's funny? That you handicapped her? That all
she knows to do when she feels something is hurt someone,
"That sounded like a criticism."
"Just making an observation."
"Yes? Let me make one for you. What good would it serve her?
What good is wanting something you cannot have? She cannot
touch and no matter how idealistic you are, that does not
change. Before you go making any more five minute assumptions,
I did the best I could for her." She huffed in amusement and
flipped her hand. "Oh, I know that sounds implausible coming
from me, but if there is one thing I know more than how to
get what I want, it's how to deal with being apart." Her lips
parted as if she would say more, then, catching herself, she
looked with great fascination at nothing at all.
While his suspicion increased, his residual anger drained
away into curiosity. Though never face to face, he had seen
this woman once on Muir Island. When he first saw Mystique
in the hall today, he assumed, from what he knew of her terrorizing
background and the few stories Rogue had told, that she would
rage and threaten him. He thought that by goading her he might
catch her off guard but she had answered his question. Out
of all the things he expected, frank honesty was not among
them. Perhaps the honest truth disturbed him more than her
response in itself. How did someone desensitize a person to
"Why can't she touch?"
"One lump or two?" She shook her head. "Will wonders never
cease. Do you really think I know why?"
"I was not being literal and yes I do think you know because
if you did not you would have told me instead of avoiding
"Naturally. You think that is what she wants?"
"I know it is."
He ground his teeth silently. "Then what does she need?"
"Talk is the only way she has of touching other people safely.
It is the only way that makes her comfortable. You have to
get her to talk which, as you have likely discovered, is no
easy task. Could you make that sacrifice?" She curled her
lip, a shock on her impassive face. "Oh, I know. You think
you are making a huge sacrifice by committing to her, to staying
celibate. But there is a way out for you. There is no way
out for her -- I've tried, Xavier has tried -- or would you
ask her to wear a collar like an animal just for sex?"
"Lady, I do not know what kind of man you think I am, nor
do I care, but I love her. You were doing what was best for
her? To keep her from getting hurt? So am I. I am no animal,
but you on the other hand...." He clenched his jaw, maintaining
his composure to match hers. That was the way to keep her
respect. Control freak. "I've talked to her until my
face turned blue and it came to nothing. She is a human being.
She needs to have the same basic things everyone else does."
"She's a mutant like the rest of us."
"A human being and has feelings. You cannot amputate them.
Not her, not you, not anyone. Whatever you taught her, it
was something wrong."
"A romantic pig, to answer your question. You think love
can save the world? Solve her problems? If it could, she would
not have any problems." She crossed her arms. "I would have
seen to it."
She brought up that point with pride, this mothering dictator.
She was not like his father who had made few attempts to rein
in his wild behavior, his schedules, and his friends. Jean-Luc
was permissive but watchful. Mystique was not watchful so
much as knowing so that she gave the impression of not caring.
I always knew my father cared and that made me care when
I was disobeying. He knew without asking that Mystique
had come down on Rogue like a ton of bricks at the slightest
infraction, parental indifference followed by strict reprimand.
Consistently unpredictable. Mystique's technique would
have forced Rogue to use habitual self-control. And to
be suspicious of people who care, like me. If Jean-Luc
had done that to him he would have rebelled and gone back
to his pseudo-family on the streets. But Rogue had no one
to go back to or maybe she did but didn't want to. He
recalled her tale of Cody. Or they wouldn't let her come
Who else? She mentions now and then the woman Destiny
who lived with them. She doesn't say grandmother or aunt or
nana, just the name. He intuited that there had been a
relationship between Destiny and Mystique but the thought
was strange for several reasons. First, he had difficulty
believing that Mystique could love anyone enough to commit
her life to him or her. Second, he felt ashamed to admit the
idea made him uncomfortable which was very strange. He could
not help it. While he had been raised in such a male dominated
society and then imparted the Clan's Catholic values, the
Church was corrupt and the Clan members were hypocrites. He
had rejected that religion as much as any Catholic could.
The values remained, intruding on his common sense and tendency
to accept most anything after the nature of his childhood,
or lack thereof.
He was puzzled by this unexpected hangp. He had encountered
so many types of families and sexual relationships that one
more was nothing. So why were his morals suddenly giving a
twinge? Because Mystique and Destiny weren't any couple; they
were Rogue's parents and that made it personal. What a strange
realization that, suddenly, something that he believed was
irrelevant mattered when it became personal. The only other
woman's family he had cared about was Belladonna's. Now he
cared about this other family, this pragmatic to the point
of immorality mother, the saintly pirate of a foster brother
and an elderly precognitive that had died shortly before his
arrival. That was when it occurred to him that Destiny was
dead and he was disappointed to have never met her. Maybe
she was the missing half the puzzle, the counterweight to
"So did you ever pretend to be the father, too?"
He had not spoken in so long that Mystique started violently,
craning her head to stare at him. He thought she would kill
him or at the minimum rip his spleen out through his nose.
Fortunately, she did neither. She blinked a few times in quick
succession and started to shake in silent laughter, then broke
Giving one last snort, she smiled widely. "Do you realize
that no one has ever asked me that?"
"So did you?"
"Ask Rogue." Her answer effectively sobered their mood.
"I'm asking you. You know she won't tell me."
"Oh, come now. She never tells you anything? Have you ever
tried a direct question?"
"I've tried many questions. Will she get hurt?" He knew she
would understand he was referencing her interaction with Rogue
"Are you going to save her?"
"I would do anything for her."
"And I repeat: Are you going to try and save her?"
"Is this the part where you threaten to kill me if I hurt
her or get in the way of your plans?"
Mystique struck a pose and stroked her chin in consideration.
"No, I think we shall skip that part. As my daughter likes
to insist, she is a grown woman and can take care of herself.
As much as I care, she has a brain. If you are using her and
she cannot see that...." She shrugged laconically. "Any beating
that needs to be done will be administered by her."
"So if you do not care about love, if you do not care if
she makes a mistake, why are you here? Why are you wasting
my time with insults?"
"Look, boy. I do not like you. I do not like your frivolous
attitude. I do not like your political and social ties. I
do not like your manners. I do not like your clothes. I do
not like your grooming habits. I'm not impressed by your charming
charisma or your thin attempts at suavity. In short, I do
not trust you. Unfortunately, Rogue does. Furthermore, I know
that despite your reputation, you are good to your word. Foremost,
as the last remaining successor to the primary family of the
LeBeau Clan, you must be aware that you are in a relationship
with my heir."
"In other words, this is an acceptance speech."
"LeBeau, on the chance that you might be listening, I am
not angry at you; I'm angry at that nincompoop that calls
herself my daughter, but do not push your luck. Now answer
my question. I am not that easy to distract."
"Am I going to save her? I would do anything for her...if
she asked. What are we avoiding the issue? You obviously want
me to do, or not do, something, so let us make a deal."
She frowned for a millisecond glancing down and he had the
disturbing vision of a cigarette materializing from her hand.
She lifted it in the air and raised an eyebrow. "Light?"
He eyed it. "Won't that hurt?"
"What would hurt?"
"Lighting it." He gestured at her arm. "Or is it real?"
"Oh that's disgusting. Of course it is. Do you have a -"
He touched his fingertip to the end of the cigarette, lighting
it with a small charge. "You're welcome."
"Thank you." She exhaled in contentment. "Now, what were
"And why exactly should I make a deal with you?"
He waited a moment, mimicking her nonchalance by rubbing
a knuckle along his jaw.
Mystique let her eyelids droop and tapped her cigarette once.
"When I saw you on Muir Island, I did not know you were Rogue's
mother, nor did I care. But, after a while, I thought it would
be prudent to...familiarize myself with your history. No offense."
"I learned many things. In reverse order: I know that you
were caught by X-Factor because Onslaught -- the Professor
-- considered you a threat," he raised an eyebrow before continuing,
"and I know most of what you did with them because it is official
record if not public. And I know that you led Freedom Force,
which was the Brotherhood by a different name for a different
cause, but likely for the same profit. And that you have at
least two acknowledged children. That you were a spy during
World War Two and several of the wars afterwards. Official
records end before the forties but there are rumors and those
who remember. Among the guild we have long lives. You have
managed to keep your secrets well. To be honest, I was worried
that you had employed me at some time."
"I prefer to keep it that way. My personal life is of no
concern to anyone except myself. As for you, I did consider
it. If you were not paired with my daughter, I may have at
"But that is precisely what I meant."
"I know. Rogue is perfectly content to allow me to puppet
her in fifty directions but she made it perfectly clear that
she will not tolerate interference in private life. I respect
that. You, this team and its dream are...her hobbies."
He could not stop his brows from shooting up and his violently
surprised reaction. "Hobbies? This is her life!"
"No, this is a pleasant illusion. She cannot fully believe
Xavier's ambitions any more than you can stop being a professional
thief. Like it or not, I instilled my values in her at a very
early age. No matter how hard she fights it," she slit her
eyes until they were nothing more than yellow lines, "she
cannot help but return to center. Nor will I lose another
person I love to someone else's cause."
"Just your own?"
"I have only one cause, LeBeau. It is survival."
"Then survive this. I was not done talking. It came to me
that certain military products, derived from 'secret' government
technology, were being mass produced and sold on the streets.
When I investigated, some of the items seemed familiar and
I recognized them from...certain databases."
"Spying on X-Factor were you? How noble and chivalrous of
you. I am sure it was for their own benefit. Carry on."
"I saw that certain records had been accessed at a certain
time by remote system." He lifted one shoulder giving a falsely
baffled frown. "Of course, that is not proof in a court of
law, but I am sure you would agree that under those circumstances
there was only one person who had the access and motive."
"Theoretically speaking. Yes." She looked less smug than
she had a few minutes ago though not enough to please anyone
with more than an ounce of pride. "Very well."
"Good. What is this all about?" He waved in the direction
of the house.
"You mean her surly temper?" At his nod, "She is balking
over attending current consequences of past actions. Normally
I would take care of it. I have drawn the line. She is a big
girl now. She will do it herself or she will die."
He caught his breath with instinctive alarm, thinking at
first that her words were a direct threat before realizing
that she was referring to consequences catching up with Rogue.
It seemed that his entire ribcage squeezed in on itself and
he found himself attempting to loom over Mystique. He knew,
though, that no matter how convenient it would be to blame
here even if the past events were her machinations, the current
situation was perversely well-intended. He forcibly uncurled
the fingers of his hands. "And you want me to avoid interfering?"
"I expect it, from one professional to another."
"Yes, but she is not a professional."
He could see the agreeing displeasure on her face. "Unfortunately
true. She has become lazy. But the foundation remains. She
will rebuild quickly or...." For the first time, Mystique
had no words. Her face went flat.
"Or you will let her die," he muttered in contempt.
"I will be disappointed."
It was said with so little cockiness or facetious humor that
he understood that what she was telling him had nothing to
do with his suggestion of extortion. It was an offering. One
professional to another... Could it be that Mystique,
someone he had heard stories about as a teen, was willing
to respect him? Possible, but I'd better use enough humility
to stay on her good side. "Disappointed, eh? Is she not
old for a rite of passage?"
"Yes, she is. She ran away at about the time I was going
to test her for the last time. Now, perhaps, she is too old
to view my actions with equanimity. Regardless," She crossed
her arms, another gesture he recognized. "I have been alive
longer than I expected and I do not feel like dying soon.
I have been through my share of partners but only cared a
few times. I have had two children that I lacked the instinct
to or interest in raising. One grew up to be a madman and
is dead. The other was recruited by Xavier. I doubt that was
accidental. I made one last attempt with Rogue. Unless a miracle
occurs and I change my mind.... Sometimes I am tired." Her
shoulders dropped. "If she truly fits my current assessment,
she is not fit to be my heir. Therefore, I hope I am wrong
but I tend to be correct."
"Heir to blood money?"
"And your money is clean also?"
Was she acting, crying crocodile tears? She could be attempting
a subtle manipulation to hook his sense of sympathy or justify
her behavior or it could all be honest. The fact that she
was unveiling information in the face of an admittedly weak
threat suggested that her motive was benign. Still, he had
a hard time accepting that Mystique would be truthful and
blunt. It seemed so real but no, it had to be a trick. Except,
her logic made sense.
"You would just disown her?"
She sneered, a derisive vicious thing. "Of course it means
nothing to you. You would need to have children first to understand."
"I bet Rogue would like children."
"Perhaps. Speaking of sex-"
"I was not going to proposition you. For all you know, you
have already slept with me."
"What would Rogue think of that?"
"My dear daughter probably assumes you have and with most
of the female population as well. Of course, she forgets you
"I was Catholic once when dinosaurs roamed the earth. It
is nothing to be ashamed of. But...it can cause certain complications."
"Meaning?" He resisted the urge to chuckle and her not so
"Meaning I have not changed the subject I started a few minutes
"Ah, I see. You think I might see some sort of ideal in her
and that causes me to treat her less like a woman and more
like a lady on a pedestal?" Just because he had grown up underprivileged
did not mean he had not been educated; it did not take a rocket
scientist to understand social psychology. As another bit
of common wisdom stated, the stupid crooks died young and
he was not dead yet.
"Exactly. From what I heard, you two are accepted as a couple.
Yet, at breakfast, I noticed my daughter was ready to bolt.
You talked circles around her and all she did was squirm.
It was pathetic. I have not been that disappointed in her
for...for at least a month."
"Maybe it was just you."
"Oh, that never stopped her before."
His eyebrows rose marginally. "I cannot imagine her being
"Mm. She has become less so over time." Raven regarded him
with consideration. "There were times when she was younger,
I had to scold or restrain her." She sniffed primly. "Not
that she could have done too much damage."
Remy chuckled in agreement.
"Oh? Gracious. Are you being uncreative? Or is it that you
do, as I suspect, see her as a conveniently untouchable woman?"
He crossed his arms loosely in irritation. "What is that?
A trick question? First you tell me she does not need to consider
love, hope and a future. Then you want to know if I desire
Of course he did. If he let his imagination wander ... When
she moved or stretched he wanted to slide his hands all over
her body. He wanted to cup her breasts in his palms, to feel
the soft resiliency, to see how sensitive they were, if he
could make her shake, to feel her stomach tremble, to touch
and stroke and what kind of noises she would make when he
curled his hands around her hips gliding smooth until she
begged. Would she beg? Would she be able to fight if he cupped
her mons, so sensitive to pressure, curled fingers to slide
against hot flesh, wet? His hand itched at the thoughts.
"Oh, for God's sake." Mystique threw up her hands. "Do you
think you could stop fantasizing long enough to answer my
"I am not-"
"Oh yes you are." She made no effort to hide her sly amusement
and nodded towards his erection, visible through his jeans.
"Very unsubtle of you."
"Yes, very unfortunate how that betrays me." He cleared his
throat. "You were asking?"
She smiled blandly. "Specifically if you have acted on it."
"Should I have?"
"Are you trying to ask me what Rogue's sexual habits and
quirks are?" She waggled her eyebrows at him.
"You are. That is understandable. She must have done something
to pique your curiosity. Certainly took long enough though,
which is very strange, all things considered. You have not
gone impotent, have you?"
"No!" He started to yell, then closed his eyes, raising his
hands palm out, briefly. He chuckled at himself. "No. What
happened was, in the beginning, she was very skittish. I saw
that she was uncomfortable with sexuality. I thought maybe
... I do not know what I thought. But I decided to be a gentleman
and when she saw that, she did what she does best."
"And now you are trapped in that dance. I see. Back to the
subject at hand, you are curious?"
"Mm. Last night she was drunk."
"And she jumped you."
"You are not surprised by that."
"No, of course not. If you were a sexually active but repressed
twenty-two year old who became intoxicated, would you not
"True. Either that or slip into a bitter depression."
She pressed her chin against her collarbones and sighed low.
"Does she drink often?"
"No. Very rarely."
"Why.....why why why. You know what?"
"If you have survived this long as a Guild thief, I know
you are a mature adult. I will trust you to have common sense."
Mystique threw down the stub of her cigarette and ground it
into the snow. "Her biological mother was an alcoholic. Perhaps
that was isolated. It is often inherited. Rogue herself has
addictive tendencies I found very useful when she was a child.
When I say addictive, I mean she attached easily to behaviors,
routines and even substances. All I had to do was put her
into a pattern of behavior and she would continue it willfully
on her own. The negative aspect was that I had to watch her.
I had to watch what she attempted to smoke or eat. And I had
to watch how she used her power."
He could not help the instant dislike he had towards Mystique
for admitting the plain truth that they both knew: that she
had openly used Rogue. He understood that those actions were
in the past, that Raven was apologizing in her own way, but
to admit to such a thing was more taboo than to do it. That
Rogue was weak in such a way was news to him. He knew she
was slightly hedonistic, but who was not? Idealistically,
denial lead to spiritual purity. In reality, denial tended
to breed avarice. The greatest surprise was that her power
might somehow be addictive. As far as he knew, Rogue hated
using her power, did not like the active effects of it and
tended to apologize for using it. But if she knows that
she is, then that makes sense. But she could just be scared
of losing control. That's what she always complains about
losing control... He halted, darting a quick look of confirmation
She smiled thinly. "Not so pleasant a thought, is it?"
"She is stronger than that."
"No she is not."
"No. I was paraphrasing Irene's own words."
"I thought you did not believe in fate?"
"Did I ever mention Irene was a fatalistic anarchist?
A more complex way of saying, things will go as wrong as possible
"And that they are meant to go wrong."
"Yes, entropy, but enough philosophizing. I suppose you want
to know about Rogue's power?"
"I know what it is."
"You know her version of what it is. Would you like to hear
"Go ahead." In truth, he was intensely curious.
"She is like me but instead of copying only what she sees,
she can copy everything with which she merges. Anything that
is living information. Cells, genes, molecules, bio-electric
currents. Whatever she wants so long as it is alive in some
fashion. You need to imagine a highly evolved amoebae. But
first, she does not know what she wants. Second, she is cowardly.
Her power will not kill her but her own fear can."
He frowned sharply, rolling his shoulders. "Her power motivates
her in some way, yes, to cause this implied addiction?"
"Naturally. If you do not eat, not only does your stomach
hurt, you feel a desire to eat. If you do not breathe, you
experience pain and fear. If you never run, your muscles grow
weak and stress your skeletal structure and then you cannot
run when you need to run. Like so. I imagine it is a strain
for her not to use her power."
Remy nodded his head, content for now to play along. "Then
it becomes a greater strain to control it when she does?"
"But you have not answered my question."
"Ah, forgive me but you should be able to-"
He nodded soberly. Her power sates her in some way that
she may even be aware of. That ignorance is dangerous. But
what could any of us do about that? Ororo and Scott are tied
officially. And Rogue. If Destiny's right, she can't aim to
the side or pull back the claws a bit. She's a predator like
a cobra, not a wolf. The only compromise she can give is to
hold still, but that's not fair to her. His prioritizing
amused him but it was true. His friends and loved ones mattered
more to him than team ideals.
"I could help her."
Mystique smiled softly and tipped her head away from him.
He had the impression she was as pleased as she looked. This,
after she had specifically claimed to avoid his interference.
She was a funny woman. "After I convince her that she will
not hurt me."
"Good. Oh, and to make this official, if you hurt her I'll
"No thank you but I appreciate the offer and give my most
profound and humble thanks for your loving welcome to your
Raven sighed low in her throat, nearly a growl of warning.
"Do me a favor and cooperate, boy, but do not call me your
Rogue sighed and sat down, tapping her fingers together.
The last few minutes of her conversation with Jean were a
blur. She remembered falling, hearing Jean step closer and
an invasive burn, as if her skin had been dipped in acid.
It had felt physical in force, although it probably had not
been. But I wasn't touching her. Jean Grey had been
in mental contact, no more, no less. The telepath had assured
her that she would never scan her thoughts without her permission,
but she had been. And Betsy was here. She said something
about spying on me.
She chewed on the inside of her cheek while reviewing the
next unclear memory.
Jean's eyes were dilated with stifled fear, maybe for a moment,
then narrowed in determination. A viselike telekinetic grip
pulled at her own arms, wrapped around her body like a noose,
crushing. The back of her mind was aware of those details
but in the foreground was anticipation. Something she wanted
badly was out of reach behind the psionic wall she could not
see. She could feel the resistance created by the wall but
it was nothing. It was like gelatin. It took a second or two
longer to reach through that weak barrier. It felt like
I reached out with my hand and tried to grab something.
That realization flickered through Jean's face just as Rogue
felt her heart stop, quite literally. It was right then that
the most bizarre sensation had hit her: Indignation, the thought
that how dare anyone stop her. Then, something else hit her
and she flew into the wall.
The simplest answer was that Jean was right; that her power
had a distinct psionic component that had been activated by
the telepathic contact. Upon triggering, it had spun wildly
out of control due to disuse. The concept was mentally numbing.
If it's true, then I'm completely out of control. The last
of it's gone. I'd worked so hard. So hard for that control.
I'd fought it every day and now? Now, nothing.
Rogue had always been satisfied with the self-initiated test
and observation system concerning her power. Longer I hold
on, more I get. Simple. It did not explain why she absorbed
certain memories from one person, nothing from the next, information
from another and emotion when she least wanted it. It did
not explain Carol, what she had chalked up to be a freak accident.
Course, some folks say there's no such thing. Is it an
accident to try and murder someone but change your mind at
the last second? Does it count? Not even the Professor
had questioned her methods or conclusions. Not to my face.
Probably suited his purpose not to spend too much energy on
my problems. She immediately chided herself. They were
her problems, after all.
But I don't understand what happened. I felt the same
things I do when absorbing someone's mind. She corrected
herself. Her body had not changed in any way, nor, for that
matter, had she actually taken memories or emotions. No,
this was like...like...right before. Except, why was I so
angry? She pulled a hand through her hand and brought
it down on her desk with a thump. But I don't feel anything
before touching. Nothing. My power don't work until there's
tactile contact. I don't sense anything at all.
She could not feel other's minds like a telepath or even
Remy did. The only extrasensory ability she had was the mild
precognitive ability which was not hers. It was difficult
to comprehend. She had spent her whole life trying. Maybe
she's right. Maybe I should compromise a bit. It wouldn't
be that humiliating to use an inhibitor. Bobby put up with
it and Cyke still does. She found herself staring at the
small piece of metal and plastic Jean had dropped on the floor
and she reached down to pick it up.
Her head jerked in the direction of Remy's voice as her hand
reflexively curled around the inhibitor. She sent a weak smile
at him as he padded over.
"What y'got dere?"
Well, at least he's being to the point. "Inhibitor."
He took her hand and she obligingly uncurled her fingers.
He tried to meet her eyes and she ducked away. His hands
settled on her shoulders. "You wan' talk?"
"No." Absently, she shrugged his hands off and twisted and
turned the inhibitor between her thumb and palm.
"Ya sure?" His voice did not condemn but the gentle prodding
"'Bout what?" Uncomfortable with his proximity and worried
that her power, or whatever, would attack him, she got up,
putting the chair between them. Obstinately, he followed her.
"Anyt'in'." When she remained silent, "Ya gon' be okay?"
"Ah'm fine." She held the inhibitor as gently as she would
cradle a piece of crystal and studied the distance between
them. For every step he took, she took one back until he stopped.
She saw his puzzlement, his hurt. It was disconcerting to
realize she could and had hurt him with a gesture. It was
frightening that she cared after using her power so deliberately
on him the previous night.
Remy abruptly smiled and pushed the chair out of the way
with the side of his leg.
While she was not as adept a con artist as him, she had lived
with a shape-shifter for many years. Even the slightest changes
in behavior and manner could be telling. Remy was obviously
up to something. She cocked her head slightly, sidling. "How's
He shrugged, idly advancing until she backed around the corner
of the bed. "Hank chased me out of the MedLab."
"Don' spare me the truth. Ah've had quite 'nough of that
lately." She saw the reluctance on his face before he spoke.
"She's a bit woozy but okay. Talkin' up a storm wit' Scott
last I heard." He made a shifting approach, almost stalking
her. "So what y'gon' do now?"
She felt her eyebrow twitch, an involuntary mannerism. Despite
herself, her pulse accelerated and she almost smiled. He was
not asking what her plans for the day were. He wanted to know
how close she would allow him to come. The question did bring
her mind back to task, though. Shadows were lengthening. The
sky becoming amber. Funny, she did not remember talking that
long to Jean. Between the moment she looked away and looked
back, Remy got within three inches of her. He was entirely
"Ah have t'go out." She tried to edge around him but he moved
to intercept. This was extremely frustrating. Frustrating
because she wanted him close, she wanted him to touch her,
to touch him back, to play without words, but his timing could
have been better.
"No," he scolded gently, catching her hand as she tried to
shove him away from her. "Come back here." He cupped the back
of her hand in his palm and held her wrist with the other
and she felt the warmth of the touch but soon it became oppressive,
painful. "Gon' go out f't'ree months?"
"No!" She lifted into the air and, shaking her hand free,
she put greater distance between them. She did not want what
had happened to Jean to happen to him. "No. Ah meant for tonight,
maybe tomorrow. Ah, well, as you would say, have business
t'attend to. It's not that Ah di'n' want t'tell you, but this
is somethin' Ah have t'do on my own, an' Ah mean it, so don'
y'go followin' me. Seein' how Ah don' follow you...." Hysterics
were just below the surface. She needed to focus and stop
gibbering. There were too many conflicting emotions occurring
Remy tipped his head obliquely studying her.
"What're you lookin' at?"
"Uh." Now she knew without guessing that he had a card up
his sleeve. "That's, uh, nice. Have you been talkin' to Mystique?"
She was torn between leaving now to avoid any misunderstandings,
flirtation and possible power accidents as well as her own
persistent curiosity to see what he would do next, if she
allowed him. While she was worried, this was the first instance
in a long time that he had started to flirt with her. But
that was kind of my fault. She ducked her head, smiling
sheepishly. "Interestin' conversation, Ah take it?"
Still grinning, he knee walked across the bed and she almost
laughed, backing away. "Ya just dyin' t'know, aren't ya?"
"Well, Ah reckon she said some pretty crazy shit. Want t'know
what Ah have to offset is all."
"Like ya say, she told me some very interestin' things. I'm
t'inking about them." Reaching into his front pocket as if
to remove a cigarette, he murmured, "If it matter dat much
t'ya, I won't bother ya."
"You're botherin' me right now, hon."
"Am I?" he lilted back, simultaneously, deliberately, grazing
his fingertips from her knee to hip.
She dropped rather loudly and ungracefully onto the floor,
stumbled back. "Keep your hands to y'self, dangit."
"No. Ya heard me. From now on, if I can cop a feel, I will."
The look on his face dared her to challenge that statement
She repeated his phrasing back to him, doubtfully.
"Hey, that was your phrasin', not mine, chere, but I don'
t'ink ya really mind, 'cause if ya did, ya wouldn' gi' me
so many opp'tunities."
I never said that, did I? When did I ever say that?
"So you're tryin' t'blame me?" As she snipped back, he pushed
off the bed, neatly placing a leg between hers. She hastily
stepped back further. "What the hell did she tell you?"
"Only a lil' bit. I'm doin' dis because I'm tired of dis
business of almos' but not quite 'cause 'I wan' to but I can't'.
I'm sayin' dat you can an' I don' mind."
She opened her mouth to say something, anything, but felt
herself blushing instead. "Uh.... Tha's a li'l' bit direct,
"Way I hear it, ya used t'be pretty direct y'self."
She looked at him sidewise. "When Ah was a kid, yes. Ah grew
out of it." Oh man, what did she tell him? How far back
did she go? She turned in a circle, pacing uneasily, and
wished for more common sense. When her power had first manifested,
she had been insanely frightened by it. With Mystique's coaching,
she had learned to prize it. Then she had learned to enjoy
it. One mental mutant power, one young teenage girl, add
hormones and blend. When Mystique was the one to reprimand
excessive sexuality, a person knew they were overboard. Rogue
"Ya were, weren' ya? I bet you were as bad as me. Difference
was, ya couldn' do anyt'ing 'bout it." He brushed beside her,
leaning over her shoulder, and ended up facing her.
"Geez, y'don' have to rub in it, okay?" He may as well have
shoved her. She jerked back, shaking her arm, rattled by more
than his words. It was happening again. This time, the raw
electric frission was tangling with arousal and what scared
her was that she could barely tell the difference. She danced
away from him, watching his face.
A series of thoughts flickered across it, ending in a slight
half-smile. He cocked his head so his hair fell over his eyes.
"I won' hurt ya dis time. She tol' me the t'ings ya never
did. She tol' me 'bout ya power, what it is. An' I'm tellin'
ya, it's okay. It's okay for ya t'touch me inside."
She was too shocked to anything but stare.
"Ya wan' me to?"
"Ah wan' you t'jus' stop!" Flustered, she fussed with her
hair, walked behind the fauteuil and stopped short of opening
the closet door. "Lord, Ah can't deal with this. Can't an'
not right now. Can you please..." Lord, have some guts
girl. Momma would laugh her fool head off if she saw this.
She squared her shoulder and faced him but closed her eyes.
After a minute, she looked at him. "Remy, right now I need
t'do my own thing an' Ah don' know if y'un'erstan' what you're
sayin'. 'Cause if you did..." She shook her head.
"But will ya let me?"
She held her face in the L between her fingers and thumb,
sliding two fingers down to graze her lips. She made her choice
before she could panic. "Yes. Ah will. But you make sure you
tell Jean an' Scott. Ah don' wan' them getting all reactionary
"Bien. An' I'll hold ya to dat." Adeptly, he changed the
subject as it became distinctly uncomfortable. "Ya sure ya
don' need any help. I got friends dat could pull some stops
She doubted he was aware of his skeptical tone or the slight
superior rise of his brows that attempted to hide his pain.
I hurt him. She wanted to tell him everything about
the Bauers, Mystique and a past mission gone wrong. She wanted
to have faith in him but she could not afford to let him care.
The irony did not escape her. She almost told him that he
better not follow her but he might construe that as a challenge.
"Ah'll tell Logan where Ah'm goin'." She had absolutely no
intention of telling Logan anything.
"So, what? Ya trust him but not me? Ya think I get in y'way?"
"Ah know y'would," she said softly.
"Prob'ly." He remained there, blocking the way between the
bureau and bed, trying to silently discourage her.
"Look, gi'me an hour. Ah'll talk t'Logan and get my stuff
together, an' then...we'll work somethin' out." She was painfully
aware of the space between them as she clenched the inhibitor
in her hand, careful not to crush it. "All right?"
Remy looked down at the cigarette he was rolling between
his fingers, a troubled frown, a questioning look up and another
frown. He nodded slightly before throwing the cigarette into
the waste bin. "Dat's fine."
Continued in Chapter
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