"Can you make it?"
Something in Scott's voice conveys a deeper concern than
whether or not Remy can navigate the final steps to the waiting
U.N. transport. Remy responds with a quick nod. He accepts
Scott's hand, allowing the strength of the older X-man's grip
to help him board.
"Storm, Wolverine, we're ready to leave now."
Remy glances over in surprise.
"Dey stay behind too?"
He follows Scott's gaze to the rear of the plane, where Storm
and Logan are securing a small metal box. It only takes a
moment for Remy to recognize it: his child's casket. He slides
a hand across the cold metal.
Logan snorts, betraying gruff annoyance.
"Got Rogue ta thank fer that. Gal nearly blistered my
head cussin' me out until 'Roro an' me promised to bring the
kid back. Damn psychic links."
The Canadian's voice quiets. His hand rests possessively
on one corner of the casket as his eyes meet Remy's squarely.
"We bury our own, Cajun."
He feels the weight go out from under him, and suddenly he's
falling to his knees, cradling the casket as if it were a
lifeline. Ororo's fingers stroke his hair slowly, her voice
soothes his soul. Her hand guides his cheek to her breast
and he allows himself to be comforted in her embrace.
He sleeps fast in Ororo's arms. When he stirs, she's there
with soft assurances and gentle touches, quietly chiding him
to close his eyes and go back to sleep. He sighs. Wearily,
he wonders if the fleeting impression of her lips against
his brow is real or imagined. Ororo's hand smooths the last
wrinkles of tension from his forehead as he again succumbs
When the transport touches down in Madrid for refueling,
Ororo moves from Remy's side to join Scott and Logan in the
front of the plane.
"How is Rogue?"
"Moira found a tumor. Malignant. Apparently Sinister
was trying to remove the right ovary when he cut into the
growth instead. Hank said she could've bled to death if Logan
hadn't been there."
"I was an' she didn't. End of story."
"She is undergoing surgery, then?"
Logan's eyes darken, but Scott answers for them both.
"Jean said that Mystique and Kurt agreed to the hysterectomy."
Ororo arches an eyebrow.
"Did Rogue agree?"
Scott nervously clears his throat. His eyes flinch from Ororo's
cool gaze. This time, Logan responds.
"Darlin', ya know she wasn't thinkin' straight when
they took her outta here."
Ororo lowers her eyes.
"She will be devastated."
"She'll be alive."
Remy wakes to the jostling of the transport touching down.
He rubs the grit from his eyes, scratches at the bristly shadow
on his jaw and chin. A quick glance out the window reveals
their destination. Muir Isle. Ororo comes to his side. The
warmth of her smile doesn't clear the shadow of worry from
her eyes. He staggers to his feet, then looks questioningly
from the opening cargo door to the casket. Scott and Logan
"We'll take care of it, Remy."
Remy swallows, struggling with an uncomfortable feeling of
gratitude for a man he is more often than not at odds with.
He follows Ororo as she leaves the plane and strides quickly
across the landing strip to Moira's complex.
Mystique lets out an exasperated sigh. She turns sharply
from Rogue's bedside, letting the staccato click of her heels
against the tile floor convey her frustration. She stops suddenly
and turns to make another point. She's momentarily taken aback
by the cold fury settling into Rogue's eyes.
"If you ask me--"
"--ah didn't ask ya did ah?"
"Don't get smart with me, girl."
Moira physically intercedes between the two.
"Take yuir bloody ass elsewhere, woman."
"Mystique, I have warned you about upsetting Rogue."
Hank doesn't even try to keep the subtle growl from emphasizing
his words. Mystique stands fast.
"You're damn lucky, Rogue. Someday you'll come to your
senses and appreciate your situation. Why would you want
a brat underfoot?"
"Is that what ah was to ya, 'momma'? Underfoot?"
"Of course not. You proved quite useful."
With a half-choked cry, Rogue rolls onto her side.
"Oh God almighty..."
From the corner of her eye, she sees Kurt reaching for her
hand, and pulls back.
"All o' ya--just leave me alone!"
Remy walks slowly down the long corridor, squinting against
the flourescent lights. Absently, he brushes a stray hair
from his eyes. He hurts. Not the sharp, twisting pain he felt
when Rogue was in immdeiate danger, but the deep, dull ache
of loss. Of grief. He stops just outside the door, staying
She's probably sedated. She'll never know he's here. Still,
he needs to check on her. The noise brings a tightness to
his chest. It isn't much. A single, choking sob that could
have gone unheard. He watches Rogue's fingers clench and unclench
the sheets. Notes with increasing concern the tears falling
onto her cheeks and then to the pillows.
Their eyes meet. It is a moment of hesitation, of indecision.
Remy walks slowly to her side, acutely aware of Rogue's eyes
following every step. He places gloved hands over hers. She
weaves her fingers through his. It becomes a moment of reconciliation
as his tears join with hers.
Continued in Chapter
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