"Logan, talk t' me. Come on, cher." Remy didn't touch his lover. They were in public, otherwise known as the den. While it was common knowledge, neither man flaunted their relationship. That way Scott could pretend it wasn't an issue and Rogue could still flirt with her ex.
Logan closed out the pained voice and continued to stare out the window. He could feel the heat of Remy's body against his back. "Logan, I can't help if I don't know what's wrong."
He turned, a feral snarl marring his face. "I don't need yer help, Cajun."
Remy didn't flinch, though he could feel his back spasming from the act of will that kept him still. He held his palms out to the side. "Y' can talk now or talk later. I'm still gonna be here."
"Bullshit, boy. Now get outta my face."
The slap rocked Logan back a pace, too shocked to react. The room stopped dead. The cue ball came to a slow stop, CNN continued to report as the team held a collective breath. "I take a lot of shit from y', Logan, but don' ever, ever, insult my honor." Remy turned. "When y' figure out what y' need, come find m'." He left the room.
Logan growled low in his throat. He slammed into the kitchen, then out the back door. Time started in the den again. "Your shot, Rogue," Scott said. His voice was over-loud in the room.
Remy roughed in the shape of Logan's face from memory. He was on his fourth picture and was finally calmed down. His pencils no longer drew glowing lines across the page. This one wouldn’t explode if he threw it.
"Remy, do you need to talk?"
"Jeannie, y' ain't involved. Let's keep it that way."
"I’m worried about you two."
"Why? Scott getting jealous again?"
"No, he's dealt with that." Jean settled down next to him on the bed. She was the only person beside Storm who dared. The Wolverine could be a possessive bastard. "Remy, has he hurt you?"
"Yes an' no. He don't beat on me if that's what y' mean, but he won't let m' in. I'll get t'rough, don' y' worry. I got reserved of stubborn I ain't tapped yet."
"Well, I'm the one who broke up your last fight, so I'm justified. He was feral and you were bleeding. The professor says your behavior's become more erratic when you're off the grounds."
"Told him not t' spy. Connard."
"Remy, don't lie to me."
"Okay, he hit m' last night. I hit him back. Problem is he don't bruise so y'all always assume he been beatin' on m' when we just been sparrin'. Y' can check the Danger Room tapes. Ain't a mark. . . well one, but that ain't the kind of bruise I mind."
Jean reflected the sappy smile back at him. "I've got a couple of those myself. What's the problem. You confronted him in public. You two *never* discuss private matters around us."
"There's a reason. Y'all are busy-bodies."
"Says the king of gossip."
"Just a by-product of m' job, chere."
"I just want to help you the way you helped me and Scott."
"Chere, I'm just a cryin' shoulder. I don't never do the cryin'."
Jean kissed his temple. "Just call if you need me."
Logan stalked through the woods. The animals scattered, sensing a predator. "Damned kid. Interfering, irritating, hot-headed, pushy brat." He punched a tree. He nursed his bloody knuckles, watching them heal. He licked away the blood.
Remy picked at his dinner. Logan had not returned from the woods. "What's your problem, Gambit? I thought you'd enjoy having a night without Logan cramping your style."
"I thought you'd be out on the town."
Remy rolled his eyes and didn't respond to that. Charles would only chide him for interrupting dinner even if he hadn't started it. He heard the screen door shut and put down his fork, almost hoping Logan would start an argument. The thief sat quietly, counting footfalls. Logan never even paused before going to his room. The pain of that sliced deep into Remy's gut. They'd been sharing Remy's room for a month now.
But it did prove that Remy knew his man.
Logan stopped dead at the sight before him. Portraits of himself stared back at him from the wall, the dresser, the bathroom door, the window and even the bed. The bed itself held three pictures: one of him asleep, one making love, and one meditating. His anger fled between heartbeats as he looked down at the graphite and paper that captured the essence of his soul. "Fucking kid." Logan blinked rapidly. If he started to cry, he'd never finish.
Remy cleared the table. Warren put a hand on the thief's shoulder. "Gambit, you okay?"
"I'm fine, Ange. Just got one more load."
"I meant other than with carrying. Bets said you had another fight."
"Why the fuck do y' care? I ain't nothin' t' y' except joke-fodder. Just the team slut. Well, here's a special report just f' y'r pretty blue ears. Remy ain't no slut. He part, he play, but he don't never stray. Not even on Belle." Remy didn't give Warren a chance to reply. He simply finished clearing up and headed for his room. Logan'd have to come to him, but there was no reason to make it harder than it had to be.
Logan sighed and put down the picture. He'd smelled Remy pass his door, even if he hadn't heard him. That meant the thief had gone to their room. He better try to make things right.
"This is y'r room too, cher. Y' can come and go as y' like," Remy said. He didn't look up from his paper when the door opened. Logan settled on the bed next to his lover.
"You bedding Jean now?" he growled.
Remy snorted. "She's so married it hurts. T'inks she's m' big sister. Or mebbe my mom."
"Well, ya got her hair."
"Cher, hers comes from a bottle. Remy's all natural."
"Don't smell fake."
Remy grinned. "It ain't actually. Just been teasin' her 'bout goin' grey worryin' on things that ain't her concern. Y' ready t' talk yet?"
"Kid, it's my problem."
"Means it's mine too, cher."
"Why can't ya let it be?"
"It hurts m' t' see y' hurtin' like this, Logan. When y' have nightmare I don't sleep neither. Merde. What hurts *you* hurts m'. I love y'. That's why I can't let it go."
"Means ya accepted me with my flaws."
"Don't mean I leave a wound t' fester."
"You can't understand."
"Only because y' won't tell me not'in'. Let m' guess then? All y' got t' do is confirm it."
"What ya guessin' about?"
"What y' been dreamin'."
"No, kiddo. I'm not playin'. I ain't talkin' about it to anyone."
"Fine. Y'r choice. Don't mean I ain't gonna punish y' f' it, mind. The team already t'inks I'm a martyr. Warren was askin' about my health."
"What you plannin', boy?"
"I could get any one of dem t' believe y're abusin' m'. How y' t'ink Scotty'll react t' that?"
"He'll make m' life Hell. If he does I ain't got no reason not to give ya proof of those claims."
"Y' sure y' ain't just usin' m' f' sex, Logan. Y' really want t' commit t' me?"
"Damn straight. I love ya, kiddo. 'Til death do us part. All that sappy shit."
"Well, in those vows y' ain't said t' me yet, there's a better an' worse clause."
"Love, honor, cherish and *obey*."
Remy snorted. "Omitted those when I got married the first time. Safe bet I'm gonna do it again."
"Don't push me this week."
"Fine. Y' got one week t' deal wit' it y'r way. If it don't work, y' do it my way. And don' make m' call down de Phoenix on y'r ass."
Logan ruffled the Cajun's bangs. "Thanks, Darlin'." He slid his hand down to rest on Remy's shoulder.
"You're moving kind of slow today, Gambit. Out too late last night?" Cyclops asked. Remy shook his head.
Scott frowned. "You need an ear?"
"Anytime. That's why I'm here."
"Y' too young t' be mon pere."
"How about big brother? Could you live with that?"
"Oui. Suppose so." Scott gave the thief's shoulder a squeeze. Remy winced. He shifted Scott's hand over about an inch.
"You know I have to ask."
"My lover bites. Thought y' knew that."
Scott felt the blush spread across his cheeks. "Well, only the once. I've only ever seen him in long-distance relationships. Hell, I wasn't even there when Mariko died." Scott shook his head.
Remy smiled sadly. "He don't blame y' none. Time t' stop blamin' y'self y' t'ink. Don't do the team no good t' have y' second guessin' y'self. Besides, y're passport don't got the right visas."
"Oh?" Scott crossed his arms over his chest.
"Oui. I checked."
"You're sure Logan hasn't hurt you? Jean's worried."
"Which means *you* worry? Remy's fine, mon ami. He controllin' this relationship f' now."
"Remy needs a shrink." Scott rolled his eyes. "Your dissociative nature is the most irritating aspect of your speech patterns."
"Stop lettin' Charles talk through y', boy."
Scott shrugged. "Sorry."
Logan tried to meditate. He honestly did, but his mind just ran in circles. He'd close his eyes and see nothing but the demons that haunted his nights. There was no solution he could see and the kid would only give him two more days to resolve things. Remy had bruises from a couple of mistimed blows in the Danger Room. Logan growled. That meant the groundwork was laid.
"One day, cher. I ain't seen any progress. The nightmares be gettin' worse."
"Don't push this, Rems. Please just let it go."
"I been lettin' it go f' a month now. Y're gettin' worse. Y' got t' decide now, cher. What's mo' shameful, tellin' y'r boy what happened or havin' the team t'ink y're abusive?"
"That ain't a fair choice."
"If'n y'r so dead set against talkin' t' me, I got a shrink. Y' can talk t' him. If y' don't like him, he'll refer y' t' someone else."
"Ya can't understand it, boy! Let it alone."
"What don't I understand, cher? Pride? Honor? Shame? Loathin'? Hatred? Fear? Pain? Loneliness? Rape? Experiments?"
Logan pushed his lover into the wall. "What would you know about loneliness, boy? Yer always with someone. Or bein' an experiment? Or bein' held down and forced. . ." Logan dropped his hands as he saw the tears in Remy's eyes.
"That it, cher? Y' t'ink y'r the only man ever been raped? Y' t'ink 'cause I let y' fuck m' I ain't never been force? Y' t'ink that I don't get flashbacks of dirty old men strokin' my cock when y' touch me? Y' t'ink I ain't never suddenly been in Sabretooth's arms wit' his cock tearin' me up when y' stroke m' scars? Y' t'ink because I ain't afraid t' love I ain't been hurt?
"Y' t'ink I don't know 'bout bein' alone? M' wife's dead, cher. Y' won't talk t' me. I'm alone in *every* crowd. Don't nobody know me. Not ever you." Remy tossed his head, flipping his bangs out of his eyes. "Y' t'ink I don't know what it's like t' be at the mercy of a madman who got y' strapped down so tight y' can't hardly breath while he cuts y' open t' investigate how y' work before fixin' y' up? F'get it, cher. Y' t'ink I'm an innocent. You ain't never gonna love Remy." Remy tossed a business card onto the bed. "That's m' shrink. He's got an appointment f' y' tomorrow, if y' call and confirm it."
The door slammed behind the Cajun. Logan looked down at the rumpled sheets on their bed. He picked up the rectangle of card stock and stared at it.
Jean looked around the library. She knew Remy was there. She could feel him somewhere in the room. She peered behind the curtains on the windowseat and behind the loveseat. Then, her eyes fell on the old table in the corner. No one used it anymore. She crawled under it.
Remy was curled up in the corner, forehead to his knees, rocking. She wrapped her arms around him and rocked with him. Their resident thief needed touch like he needed to breath. His mind felt like a wisp of smoke. Jean tried to catch hold of it, but his shields were too tight. She murmured softly to him, trying to reassure him, but mostly to just confirm her presence. After what seemed like years, he turned into her grip and tucked himself into her shoulder. She stroked his hair. Eventually, the tears ended. Remy didn't pull away. Jean's sweater was as soft as any security blanket.
"What happened, Remy?"
"I got mad wit' Logan and said some t'ings that weren't wrong exactly, but I didn't meant 't tell him. He won't never accept m' now. Should've kept m' damn fool mouth shut. Remy ain't never had the sense God gave a horse." He scrubbed at his check with the heel of his hand. "Don't tell nobody 'bout dis. Please, chere? I hate havin' t' eat crow in front of folks."
"Don't worry. You're safe. I won't tell. Logan's going to smell the truth, but. . ." she trailed off with a shrug. Remy gave her a watery smile.
"Merde. I probably look a mess."
Logan wasn't in the garage, his room, or their room. In fact, according to Cerebro, Logan wasn't anywhere eon the grounds. There was no note and Remy felt as if he'd been punched hard in the chest. Logan *always* left a note. "He ain't left. His stuff's still dere," Remy soothed himself. "And y're an idiot, LeBeau. He got enough troubles of his own and y' have t' go addin' y'rs t' his. What were y' t'inkin'? Cul! He ain't got the patience t' play y'r damn games, y' idiot. Y' should of told him when y' got t'gether or never! Y're an idiot."
"Stop it!" Logan snapped. Remy winced and turned his face towards the door. "I been listenin' and yer spouting a load of crap. The only true thing ya said is that I ain't left. I ain't gonna listen to ya puttin' yerself down."
"Remy's sorry. Didn't mean t' yell at y', cher. Won't push y' no more. Promise, cher."
Logan closed the door. "I called and confirmed. I'm goin' in tomorrow."
Logan sat down on the edge of the bed. "You been cryin' over this?"
"I know. I'm just bein' over-emotional." Remy shrugged. "It happens."
"Never seen ya cry," Logan said. "I ain't good with emotional shit."
"I don't like cryin'. Makes m' head hurt. Got a flash-point temper me. Shouldn't have yelled at y'. Y'r already hurtin'."
"Don't ever stop getting' mad at me, kiddo. I wouldn't know who ya are."
"Cher, some days I don't know who I am. This ain't gonna get better quickly. I got some serious baggage, Logan. And y'r gonna end up getting blasted with it some."
"For better or worse. To love, honor, and obey. I love ya, Rems. I want to make this work."
"For better or worse. To love, honor. . . and obey," Remy said after a moment of thought. "Love you too, Logan." Remy pressed a gentle kiss to Logan's mouth, only to be met hungrily by Logan's passion. After a long, sweep moment, Remy pulled back. "I better tell Jeannie we don't need a marriage counselor. She's been itchin' t' pay m' back f' makin' her and Scott work t'ings out."
"Is that why ya locked them in the basement?"
"Oui. Wit' a psi-damper on de room. Jeannie gets lazy and the two of 'em stopped talkin'. And Scott *needs* talkin' like I need touchin'."
"I don't talk."
"I noticed. Promise me somet'in', Logan. When it gets hard, when y' hate the idea of saying anything t' Mike, promise y'll keep goin'? Took me a couple of years t' understand that I weren't in control of the world."
"Only stubborn old men wit' claws."
"Tell me you were kiddin' about Creed."
"Non, cher, I weren't lyin' about none of it. Just. . . I was tryin' t' hurt y'. I ain't as strong. In a fight I ain't necessarily gonna win wit'out cheatin'. Words are my best weapon."
"And I scared ya." Logan stroked the young man's cheek. "Stubborn brat."
"We a matched set then."
"There's a game on in five. Let's go steal the remote."
Jean looked into the den. Remy and Logan were curled up on the couch. Remy was heckling Logan's favorite team. She smiled. //You two okay?// she asked Remy.
//We'll make it. Don't worry unless we *stop* arguin'. The silence is what'll kill us.//
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