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.
"Don' take much t'impress you den, homme. Y'makin' omelets
or scrambled eggs."
"Does it matter?"
"One edible dey other ain't."
"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?"
"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
"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
"Y'ever t'ink maybe y'made de wrong decision?"
"Are you complaining?"
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.
Continued in Chapter
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