He wakes to the sound of dying. Harsh, ragged breathing rattles
through coarse lungs. Instantly, Remy fumbles for the light.
The sudden glare reveals Tseidel's gray skin and dusky lips
as she draws another labored breath. Remy vainly tries to
carry her from the bed to the infirmary only a few yards away,
but limbs weak from abuse collapse beneath him, sending both
to the floor.
His voice cracks in a rough whisper. Tseidel's hand flutters
to her throat. Another gasp. Again, he gathers Tseidel in
his arms and staggers to his feet. Again he falters, then
falls. Remy lifts her body onto his, letting her head fall
back against his shoulder as he slips an arm to her waist.
He grunts against the effort of dragging both their bodies
across the floor. He hears the welcome sound of bare feet
padding on linoleum. He whispers comfortingly against Tseidel's
"...hold on, p'tite..."
The room explodes in a flurry of activity as first Eric,
then Kurt and Storm rush into the room. Effortlessly, Eric
takes Tseidel from Remy's arms and hands her to Kurt. With
a nod of understanding, Kurt teleports, leaving a bewildered
Remy grasping empty air.
He bats away Storm's attempts to help him stand, pushing
past her to the infirmary. He staggers inside in time to see
Rogue preparing a syringe, unaware of Tseidel's growing terror.
He stumbles against a tray of surgical instruments and grabs
on for balance. Quicker than thought, Remy's body surges with
energy, charging the metal beneath his fingertips. Scalpels
and suture needles explode towards Rogue with deadly force.
Rogue's eyes widen in surprised shock at the lethal volley
directed towards her. She feels the tip of an adamantium scalpel
prick her throat, then stop. She looks over to see Eric exercising
his magnetic abilities to hold the metal instruments in check.
With a flick of his hand, the items return to the tray.
Henry "Hank" McCoy steps from behind Rogue to survey
the scene. He kneels beside Tseidel, quickly examines her,
then glances at Remy. Remy forces himself to turn away from
Rogue and focus only on Tseidel. Still, he can't help being
puzzled by seeing Rogue in an examination gown. He smothers
a fleeting thought of concern for her well-being.
"She need blood."
"She a vampire."
"Ya didn't think ya should've let us in on that little
bit o' information before now?! Ain't ya got a lick o' sense,
Cajun? Holdin' back on somethin' like that nearly got her
"Sometime trustin' de wrong person be jus' as fatal.
T'ink you be understandin' dat better den most. N'est-ce pas?"
Remy's words cut quick and deep, causing Rogue to redden
at his none-too-subtle reference to being left behind. Hank
clears his throat loudly, diffusing the heightened tension.
"A--mutant--vampire, I presume?"
Remy nods. Hank raises an eyebrow, intrigued.
He continues to pat Tseidel's arm reassuringly as he raises
the sleeve of her gown. He draws an examining light closer.
Thick scar tissue from hundreds of old needle marks run the
length of her bared skin.
"Oh mah lord..."
Rogue sets the syringe down, well away from Tseidel's eyes.
She glances over to Remy. She's touched by the deep concern
etching his face. And filled with hope that even after all
he's been through, he hasn't shut himself off completely.
He's still willing to feel. He's still capable of caring.
Ororo gathers units of blood for Tseidel and with Kurt's
help, prepares them for consumption. As Hank lifts the first
unit to her lips, Tseidel turns her head away. Remy's voice
softly encourages her to take what she needs. Tseidel shakes
Rogue observes her unexpected behavior, puzzled. A flash
of insight. Rogue considers the situation, then realizes that
if it were her, she wouldn't particularly care to have an
audience of strangers watching her drink blood. With that,
Rogue manages to usher the others out of the room. Before
she leaves, she kneels by Tseidel to brush the hair from her
"We're gonna take good care o' ya, sugah."
Tseidel nods, then sips the offered blood. Immediately, her
breathing eases. Tseidel offers a weak, grateful smile. Rogue
stands to leave, then hesitates. Remy doesn't look up. Rogue
chews her lip thoughtfully, then walks out without another
word, leaving Remy and Hank to tend to Tseidel.
As she leaves, she hears Remy gently coaxing Tseidel to take
more blood. For a moment, she can almost pretend that his
softly spoken words are meant for her. Then reality sets in
and Rogue forces her thoughts to other, equally pressing concerns.
Continued in Chapter 11.
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