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Warnings: Mature themes throughout the story, dealing with rape, torture and the psychological traumas of imprisonment in a concentration camp. Sexually explicit scene in Chapter 23.

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
Author's Notes



His footsteps are slow and heavy down the corridor leading to the medical facilities and Hank's labs. He hesitates. Rogue's muffled voice sounds from behind a closed door, followed by the dull thud of something being thrown against the wall. The knot in Remy's shoulders eases. Rogue might not be well, but she was far from throwing in the towel.

The other side of the corridor leads to Hank's labs. Before he's conscious of his decision, Remy finds himself inside the main lab, standing before yet another door that leads to the specially designed decontamination chamber. Which leads to Hank McCoy's stock of genetic tissue samples. Mutant DNA. Along with the necessary equipment to perform precise analyses. Remy leans his forehead against the glass pane.

Am I s'posed t'be here or not?

More than once since his disturbing find in Seattle, that question has haunted him. More than once it seems, the answer has been a chilling "no". He closes his eyes tight against faces from the past. Faces as familiar to him as his own, because for all purposes, they are his own.

He sees them again, row after row in the dusty theater seats, all of the men that he might have become. All of the paths that his life might have taken. Face to face with the results of every choice he ever could have made. Clones. Every one. Worse, clones who firmly believed that they were originals. Every one. And to a man, each marked by Sinister's twisted obsession with genetic manipulation.

Does it matter now who started it all? Was it a flick of that Remy's wrist or a touch from this Gambit's fingers that sparked the first flame? The end game was the same: survival of the fittest. After the smoke cleared, and the dust settled, only he remained. As it should be, he had thought, convinced that he was the one, true, RemyLeBeau.

Until he had seen Sinister's face. Caught the unmistakable smirk of someone who knows so much more what the end game is really about. From that moment on Remy has been haunted by the fear that the life he lived would never, could never, be his own. Knowing what he knows now, he has to wonder if Rogue would have been better off with one of the other LeBeaus. Or none of them.

He turns his back on the room that may hold the key to who--or what--Remy Etienne LeBeau is. And walks instead down the hall to the room that holds the key to who he may yet become. Even from the doorway, he can see the stubborn set of Rogue's jaw. He's surprised to see the same stubbornness just as clearly etched on Kurt's face.

Under Mystique's watchful eye, Tseidel assists Hank in changing Rogue's i.v. In moments, she's fast asleep. Storm takes a crumpled letter from Rogue's limp hand, refolds it and carefully returns it to a waiting envelope. If Remy was paying closer attention, he would recognize the significance of that piece of paper. As it is, his focus is drawn from Rogue to his own thoughts. Storm glances up to see the concern tightening his face. As he quietly leaves, she makes a mental note to check up on him.

The rumble in his stomach draws him half-heartedly to the kitchen, where he again finds Eric. He draws comfort from the quiet strength of this man's presence. Wordlessly, Remy pulls a stool up to the counter. He watches Eric crack an egg into a bowl, winces as several chunks of shell also fall in. He grabs an egg, expertly cracks it with one hand, and drops the yolk into another bowl.


"I'm impressed."

"Don' take much t'impress you den, homme. Y'makin' omelets or scrambled eggs."

"Does it matter?"

"One edible dey other ain't."

Eric chuckles.

"C'n I ask you somet'in'?"


"When y'saved Rogue in de Savage Land--'stead a Carol-- how did y'know she was de one?"

"The one--?"

"De one who s'posed t'live?"

Eric arches an eyebrow. Once again the young man before him has caught him off guard by directing the conversation in a completely new direction.

Or is it such a different direction? Can it be that Remy is also experiencing guilt over having survived the camps when others did not?

Eric glances away.

When others who were certainly more deserving should have survived in my stead.

"She was trying to become a better person than she had been."

Remy considers.

"Carol was de hero."


Remy shakes his head, clearly confused.

"Carol grew up with advantages and opportunities Rogue never had. A stable, loving family. The respect and support of her peers. Public admiration. Her accomplishments came as a result of her background whereas Rogue's achievements came about in spite of her background. I respected Rogue's determination."

"Y'ever t'ink maybe y'made de wrong decision?"

"Are you complaining?"

"Non...jus' t'inkin'..."

Eric sighs. He methodically continues to cube bits of cheese for the eggs even as he considers his response.

"If we are meant to be, then we will be. If we are not meant to be, then we will not. Or so Ororo often reminds me."

Remy snatches a bit of cheese and pops it into his mouth.

"Simple as dat, eh?"

Eric shrugs his shoulders.

"We are alive, Remy, when others are not."

Remy's smile fades into sadness.

"...mais oui..."


Continued in Chapter 28.


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