"This is bullshit, Charles," Remy stated. Professor Charles Xavier raised his brows. He steepled his fingers and pressed the tips of his index fingers to his lips. The younger man didn't take the invitation to continue. He sat sullenly on the end of the couch. Even in his pouting his body thrummed with suppressed energy.
"If you don't feel comfortable talking to me, I can put you in contact with a sympathetic therapist in Westchester or the city."
Remy LeBeau, master thief, and genuinely troubled young man, studied him with red and black eyes made more exotic by the dark rings that surrounded them. At first Xavier had taken them to be a Danger Room injury. Remy often sported fading bruises from his sparring with Logan. It had been Scott's increasingly strident demands that he "do something" that had forced him to reassess his assumptions.
"Almos' believe y' tellin' the truth." Remy shook his head. "Don't do me no good t' be tellin' tales outside of school."
"And yet you need to talk to someone about the nightmares."
"Why? They botherin' someone else? Logan ain't been bitchin' so I ain't been wakin' him up." Remy gave a careless shrug. His eyes darted around the room for a moment before landing back on the professor. "Don' see no one else here t' yell at me 'bout them."
It was a fair recovery from his heightened situational awareness, Charles acknowledged to himself. "You haven't been waking anyone, but several of your teammates have mentioned their worries to me."
Remy snorted. "What? Stormy give y' puppy-dog eyes?"
Charles shook his head. "Hank mentioned that he's been worried about you losing weight again." Charles had seen Remy lose and gain weight during especially tumultuous relations with Rogue, but it hadn't been a long period. There was no obvious emotional turmoil between the couple right now. "Scott's been worried about the circles under your eyes." And Jean was worried about the lack of flirting. Storm was worried that she hadn't seen him on the roof. And Rogue had mentioned that she hadn't had to shoo him away from her window in the evening for a week. She hadn't been terribly upset about that.
"Henri I believe. Scott? Non."
That got him a suspicious look, but also an answer, as difficult as it might be to hear. "Henri takes his doctorin' mighty serious. But Scotty don't pay attention t' m' that way."
"How does Scott pay attention to you?" Charles asked just as softly.
That stymied the young man for a moment. "If'n I been hurt an' Henri rats on m', he side-lines m'. Argues wit' me 'bout security. Damned fool. Don't know the first t'ing about real security systems. Whoever done taught him ain't got no right t' call hisself a t'ief." A delaying tactic, though obviously true enough in its own right. "Only way he'd know anyt'ing 'bout Remy's personal life'd be if'n he got a lecture from his femme."
Remy's fingers twitched when a bird bounced off the window. "Are you expecting an attack? Something of which the team should be aware?"
"Non." He didn't calm though. "Wouldn't be the first time, hehn? When I came dis place was rubble." His accent was thickening. Charles kept his face calm.
"When was the last night you slept all the way through?"
The young man's attention was once again fully focussed on Charles' face. The glare seemed to flay off his masks and look right into his soul. Remy was no telepath, but he was a child of the streets. "Mais, t'ree weeks back? Don't rightly know."
"After the altercation with the FOH?"
"This is more than battle nerves now, Remy. One or two nights of nightmares are understandable. But nightly for three weeks tells me there's something going on that we need to get to the bottom of."
"Jus' dreams. Dey'll fade."
"Does Hank have a sedative he gives you when you're in the infirmary." Remy's hate of the lab was well-known.
"I'm going to ask him to give you something tonight."
"Won't do no good. Drunk half a bottle of rum last night. Jus' made it harder to wake up." The Cajun's laughter was sharp, harsh, and bitter like the report of a gun.
"Remy, may I take your pulse?"
The offered wrist was thin. The bones starting to look sharp beneath the skin. If he wanted to Charles could snap it too quickly for the thief to stop him. "Your pulse is very quick. Will you breath with me to try to slow it?"
Remy's eyes were wild as he shook his head. "None of dose tricks, Charles. Y' hear?"
Charles blinked. "I am not attempting hypnosis. Any psychologist who would do so without permission is quite simply a quack. Let's just sit quietly. May I keep my fingers on your pulse."
"O-oui." Remy slumped a little bit, seeming to accept that there was something wrong.
The tick-tock of the grandfather clock and the whirr of the fan in Charles' computer seemed to fill the space. Though it seemed longer than the ten minutes it actually took, Remy's heart slowed. He seemed to have stilled completely, only the occasional eye-blink to betray his continuing life. Charles was loathe to break the silence.
"We done here?"
"Will you come spend an hour with me tomorrow?"
Remy's eyes flitted around the room, coming to rest on the crystal chessboard. "We make a game of it. Y' win two out of t'ree, I got t' keep seein' y' in a 'professional capacity'. Remy wins y' stop fussin'."
"And you'll continued to come for chess matches instead?" Charles countered.
"Oui. getting' rusty me." Remy quirked a half-smile at the professor. "What wit' Scotty only ever runnin' headfirst int' battles."
Charles, you old fool. Xavier chuckled. "I've been laboring under a misapprehension."
"I've been thinking you chose Gambit in the sense of reckless and dangerous actions. That's wrong. You're a chess master."
"Oui. Even ranked me." Remy pushed himself to his feet. He paused at the door. "Used t' play wit' mon pere. Miss dat me."
"You could challenge him to a mail based game. I still challenge my old partner on occasion."
Remy looked over his shoulder. "Mebbe."
The door closed with a quiet click. "Your move, Gambit," Charles said softly.