"Damn it, Logan, I ain't a chile. I ain't somet'in' that needs coddlin'."
"Then maybe ya should start actin' like an adult."
Gambit scowled and tried to pull out of the firm grip around his wrists.
"I ain't lettin' go, kid, so just sit yer ass down and listen."
The Cajun's jaw tensed and he snarled as he settled on the back steps of the mansion. Wolverine held his wrists firmly and settled next to him. His grip forced the younger man to face him.
"I ain't gonna sit her an watch ya self-destruct, Gumbo. That ain't my style."
"I ain't doin' not'in' wrong."
"Ya go out every god damned night and get yerself fucked up. I don't know if ya do more than drink and fuck, but yer treadin' on dangerous ground. Yer bleedin' inside and I don't know why. Yer wrists have rope-burn and yer bruised up pretty bad. Ya may be able to get the rest of 'em to believe ya been workin' out too hard, but I know better. Someone held ya down and beat ya, Cajun. I wannna know who."
"Fuck y', Logan. Let go."
"Might be, who knows." Gambit pulled hard and felt the bones in his wrist grinding together. Logan just held firm and let him tire himself out. Eventually, the red eyes dropped. The moon peered from behind her cloud and the light made the young man's skin nearly glow. In the pale light, Logan could see traces of bruising on the side of Gambit's face. "Who hit ya, Cajun?"
A single, glittering tear ran down the thief's face. It was a lie and Logan could smell it.
"Tell me, Remy," he said firmly. The thief shuddered in his grip.
"Just a guy."
"Some guy I met the other day. T'ought ole Remy too pretty t' let go. Fucked m' and beat m' and y' know what, Logan? Remy's gonna go find hisself another one t'night."
"No, he ain't. I ain't gonna watch ya commit suicide, Gumbo."
"Then y' kill m' proper?"
The hopeful tone made Logan's heart tear. He couldn't take it. He pulled the young man into a bear hug. "No, I'm gonna make ya tell me what the fuck is wrong with ya. Then, if yer a good boy, maybe I'll let ya have a drink or four."
"Encule du mere," Gambit muttered into the flannel covered shoulder.
"Watch yer mouth, kid. I'll wash it out with soap. Ask Jubes. Inside, boy." Logan marched the young man to his room. He shut the door and locked it. Then, without hesitation, he pushed him to a seat on the bed. He settled across the room on the floor. "Talk."
"I'm just fucked up." Remy pulled at his earring. It was a nervous gesture that Logan rarely saw. The red marks on his wrists were far too obvious for the Canadian. He was shocked that no one else had called him on them.
"Why ya goin' out tonight?"
"Cuz I can't stay here!"
"I'm goin' crazy here."
"Why ya goin' crazy?"
Gambit didn't respond for a long moment, just wrapped his arms around his middle. "There ain't no reason f' m' t' stay. It's so cold."
Logan's ears pricked up. "Cold?"
"No one here cares if'n I live or die, Logan. I can't stay here no more. I just can't leave neither."
"Ya callin' me a liar, kid?"
"Non," Remy said quickly.
"Tell me what's goin' on here, Gumbo. I'm fightin' blind."
"Don' want t'."
"I don't give a fuck. Talk."
"It's dark an' cold an' I can' find m' way t' anyt'in' warmer." Logan stepped forward as the words started to tumble from soft lips. "It like bein' in the middle of a maze that ain't got no beginin' or endin'. And ain't no one there t' support y'. Ain't no one answerin' when y' callin'. And it just goes on an' on. And all y' can hear is y'self callin' back. An' it bounces off the walls and fills y' head til y' so confused y' can't hardly t'ink. An' when y' see a light an' y' go f' it, it ain't not'in' but a mirror dat's reflectin' de moon. An' when de moon disappears, dere ain' not'in' left but cool silver 'neath y' fingers an' it be dark again. An' it seem t' get colder every time y' get lost 'round another turn.
"Dat's when y' fall down t' de next level below. An' if'n y' dought it be cold an' dark b'fore y' was just foolin' wit' y'self. It be so much worse. An' de cold feel like daggers drough y' body. An' y' can feel y' soul bein' torn in two. An' de blood it falls down y' fingers an' it fills up y' nose wit' tang. An' y' can almost taste it over y' tears, but not enough t' make a difference. But de pain, at least y' know it be real, dough y' ain't sure anyt'in' else be real. An' y' screamin' in y' head, but y' can't force y' mout' t' open cuz y' so hungry f' anyt'in' warm dat y' can't make y'self fight it. An' de flames come an' y' stick y' hand right inside, cuz no matter how dark y' skin turns y' still can' feel not'in'.
"An' y' start t' wither inside. An' dere ain't not'in' left cuz y' soul done bled out when y' weren't lookin'. An' y ain't not'in' better'n a zombie, cuz y' ain't got no soul but y' body keeps movin' an' doin' it's chores. An' y' scream f' release. An' y' want t' take back what been stolt, but y' can'. Dere's no where t' run. An' no one t' help. An' no way t' reach out an' gather up y' soul. Dere's no way t' bind up de wounds in y' mind. An' no way t' stop de blood from flowin'." Logan pulled the young man into his lap and sat on the bed. He did nothing but hold him until the words ran out and there was nothing left to say. Then, slowly, he started to rock.
Remy melted against him, curling into his arms like the child he swore he wasn't. Logan held him there, stroking his hair. Remy shivered. He fought out of the grip. "Stop it."
"Why should I?"
"Cuz it's a lie. Ain't no one here cares! Not even y'!"
Logan accepted the rebuke for a moment, not loosening his hands. He'd never shown the boy any different. "Remy, look at me." The red eyes rose reluctantly to meet Logan's gaze. They looked at each other, just looked for a very long time. "Do ya trust me, Cajun?"
"Oui," Remy whispered.
"I'm gonna help ya, but yer gonna have to do what I tell ya fer right now. It ain't gonna feel like things're changin'. Might feel even worse."
Logan smiled. "Can ya trust me that much?"
Remy shrugged, but settled into Logan's hold.
"Can ya trust me that much?"
Remy nodded slowly.
"Okay, first off, ya ain't gonna go out without me no more."
"Unless Cyke or Wheels comes up with somethin', ya don't go out without me."
"Ya start thinkin' about hurtin' yerself ya tell me. Immediately. I ain't gonna get mad, but yer gonna think I am. I can tell ya that right now. Cuz I ain't gonna let ya do it."
"I seen the scars on yer leg, kid. Ya used to cut when ya were a teen didn't ya?"
"Mais, sometimes. Mostly just get Belle t' do it."
"So ya tell me. Yer gonna talk to someone. Ain't sure who, but I got a couple calls to make on that front."
"Can't Logan. Got too many t'ings I can't tell no one."
"It'll be one of us, but I wanna get a better handle on what's goin' on with ya first."
"Wolvie, sil vous plait, let it go."
"No way, kid. I told ya that."
"I ain't worth it!"
"That ain't yer voice tellin' me that." Remy shivered.
"What y' mean?" he whispered.
"Someone told ya that. Probably more'n once. It ain't true kid. It ain't true. Yer worth a lot more'n I can offer ya."
Remy looked away.
"And right now we're gonna go see Hank."
"Remy, trust me. Ya ain't gotta do nothin' but trust me. I ain't gonna let no one hurt ya, okay?"
"Because I care, kiddo. I do. Come on, Remy."
"Can't let him see m' like dis."
"Yes, ya can. Ya ain't gonna lie to Hank. I'm gonna be with ya. I can smell if ya lie, Rems."
"Remy knows dis."
"He better remember it too."
It wasn't until they were approaching the lab that Remy slid his hand into Logan's grip. Logan squeezed reassuringly. It was late, but Hank didn't keep bankers' hours. "Hey, Blue? Ya here?"
"I'm here," Hank said from over their heads. He dropped down. "And what can I do for you on this fine evening, gentlemen?" Logan heard the Cajun slip the bolt on the door. Remy's heart rate spiked at the same time.
"Rems, come here. Show Hank yer wrists."
"Don't whine. Do it." Remy slunk across the floor, past Logan and towards the desk lamp. He let Hank examine the rope burns. The blue doctor didn't comment.
"Up on the table, Remy."
"M. Bete, Remy don' need. . ."
"What Remy needs is to have that cleaned out before it becomes infected. I will put it more simply for you if I must. Get your ass on the fucking table, Gambit."
Remy and Logan both stared. Hank did not curse. It simply never happened. Slowly, the Cajun complied, stomach clawing up his throat. He wrapped his arms around his stomach. He was going to be sick. Logan kicked the trashcan towards him just in case. Remy smiled tightly and climbed onto the table.
"Take off your shirt, Remy," Hank said more gently once his patient had complied with his first order. Logan sucked in a breath. The kid was beat to Hell and back. Why hadn't he noticed the smell of blood. Hank's hands were gentle, but it didn't matter. Remy's heart was beating fast enough to make his head swim. He was breathing more heavily than he would after a work out. Hank lifted Remy's eyes to meet his. "I will not hurt you, Remy," he said clearly. He held the Cajun's gaze until the crimson eyes dropped. Hank was exceedingly delicate as he cleaned and bandaged the thief's wrists. "Will you tell me what happened?"
"Remy, are you in trouble?"
"I haven't seen you this beaten since the Kingpin found you in his library."
"Dat weren't Gambit's fault. Someone gave him de wrong info."
"I know." Hank smiled. "But I am curious as to the circumstances under which these bruises were acquired."
"Bete, I ain't in trouble."
"Just a guy I ran int'."
"Hooked up wit'."
"You allowed this to happen?"
"Oui. Went lookin' f' it." Remy blushed bright red and looked at his feet. "Needed somet'in' t' make m' feel again. Even when they beat on m', they like m'."
Logan looked to the floor. He should have guessed. Remy kicked at the table with his heel.
"Ain't like I got t' look hard. Just go on down t' the bar an' there's someone who wants Remy, even if just f' the night. An' they don' ask neither, just take." Remy shivered as Hank cleaned out the cuts and teeth marks. "An' it burns nice an' hot, but it don' warm m' f' long, so I got t' find it again."
Logan's ears pricked. "Yer addicted?"
"T' the passion?" Remy nodded. "Feels so bon when it's happenin', but den it's all cold when it's done."
"Will you let me try something, my friend?" Hank asked quietly. Remy looked up at him, the distrust obvious in his face.
"I'm going to take down my mental shields for a moment. I want you to tell me what you feel."
Remy blinked a few times. He dropped his chin. "Oui, Henri." He gasped, head snapping up and eyes going wide. The young man swallowed a few times. "Merde. Y' burn so bright, cher. But it ain't hot, just warm, like a blanket." He reached out. "Non, please."
"I have to put my shields back up, Remy. It's a courtesy to our telepaths." Hank stroked Remy's hair. "Let me finish taking care of you. Then we'll talk more fully."
Remy winced, pulling away from Hank's touch. "I'm fine. I been bruised up like this b'fore. Didn't no one care."
"You didn't come to see me." The doctor's voice was soft and calm. "Did you?"
"Then you simply assumed that I wouldn't care.