A/N: Hey guys, sorry for the long wait. School has been insane, and writer’s block decided to rear its ugly head, but I finally got this one done (also happens to be the longest chapter yet). Read and enjoy (tons of Romyness this chap)!
Chapter 9: Revelations
“What do you think this is about?” Piotr whispered to Rogue across the table of the conference room.
Rogue shrugged, looking across the room at the rest of the X-men. “Maybe the Professor's got a mission for us.” She whispered back, glancing to where Xavier sat quietly at the head of the table.
Everyone quieted when the door to the conference room began to open. “Professor? Y'said you wanted to see me down here 'bout......” Remy began as he pulled the door open. He stopped, surprised to see everyone inside the room. “Oh, sorry. Didn' realize y'were busy.” Remy said, beginning to back out of the doorway.
Xavier smiled. “No, come in Gambit. This is actually why I wanted to see you.”
Remy reluctantly entered the room and sat down in one of the nearest open chairs. He looked warily at Scott, who was staring intently at the table. He glanced over to Rogue and she flashed him a smile, causing him to smile back.
“Okay,” Charles said, “I've asked all of you here because of an offer Ororo and I have extended to Gambit. Because he is staying here, I've invited him to join the X-men, and I would just like you to give me your thoughts, and as usual we will put this up to a vote.”
Bobby almost immediately spoke up. “You're making him an X-man? We hardly even know him, and we've never even seen what he can or can't do. We should at least get to fight against him, find out strengths and weaknesses and all that. Why does he get a free ride onto the team just because he's got connections with Storm?”
“Bobby!” Ororo exclaimed. Rogue just shook her head and looked away from Bobby.
Remy raised a hand. “/Non/, it's fine. Iceboy has a point – it wouldn't be very fair if I just got plopped onto the team when him an' de others had t'work to get onto it. I'm up for anyt'ing you guys wanna come up with t'see if I'm de sort of material you want on y'team.” Remy said, looking to Xavier at the head of the table.
Xavier looked across the table among the other X-men, trying to gauge their opinions from the emotions their minds projected into the room. He finally looked back at Remy and smiled. “I think that may be a good idea – I admit I did not think through how others might feel about you joining without have proved yourself to them. I will set up an exercise in the Danger Room you can run through tomorrow and we'll see where to go from there.”
Xavier smiled slightly. “Perhaps then you'll have lived up to Mr. Drake's standards,” Xavier said dryly.
Bobby blushed, realizing he was being reprimanded indirectly for his outburst, and he looked down at the table.
Xavier dismissed the meeting shortly afterward. Bobby drifted closer to Rogue, a hopeful look on his face, but she ignored him, turning to Remy. She looked at him apologetically. “Sorry about that,” she whispered, leaning her head toward his. “Ah was hopin’ Bobby wouldn’ cause any trouble, but so much for that. He’s…. jealous,” she said, a hint of pink in her cheeks, “he doesn’t like me spending time with you.”
Remy shrugged. “S’alright. Jus’ don’ let him control who you spend time with,” he murmured back with a smile, his voice low, barely audible over the other conversations of the room, especially a loud one between Jubilee and Kitty – being probationary members of the team, Jubilee, Kitty, Dani, and Sam had attended the meeting with everyone else.
She looked at him, glad he hadn’t tried distancing himself from her when he heard about Bobby’s grudge and his demand of her. “Ah don’t care what he thinks ‘bout it – Ah like spendin’ time with you.”
Remy’s eyes flicked over to Bobby, who was across the room, looking back at them with a scowl on his face. Remy deliberately leaned closer to Rogue, his body inches from hers, and casually threw an arm over her shoulder, shooting a smirk at Bobby, who stalked out of the room, frustration clearly evident. “I’m glad, ‘cuz I like spendin’ time with you too. Wouldn’t have wanted t’hafta turn into some creepy stalker t’hang around with you.” He said, shooting her a grin.
She elbowed him in the gut. “Ah wouldn’t dismiss the creepy part that soon, Cajun.” She said with her own grin.
He laughed, and held the door open for her – they were the last ones to leave the room. They walked to the elevator and waited for it to come back to their floor after depositing the others throughout the mansion.
The door finally slid open, and they stepped in. Remy jabbed the button to the third floor, and Rogue moved forward, pressing the button for the first subbasement. At Remy’s raised eyebrow, she said, “Ah’m goin’ ta the infirmary. Annie wanted me ta help her set up some new x-ray equipment she ordered a few weeks ago.”
The elevator stopped on the subbasement floor, and Rogue stepped out. Remy reached out, stopping the doors from closing. “You two want any help?”
Rogue smiled back at him and shook her head. “No, that’s alright Remy. Ah think we’ve got it.”
Remy shrugged. “Okay. I’m gonna make some supper. When you two’re done, come on up – tell Annie I’ll make extra for you two.”
Rogue smiled widely. “That’d be great. Ah’ll tell Annie – but would it be alright if you made it for four? Annie usually makes dinner for herself an’ her son, Carter.”
Remy removed his hand from the door, and let it begin to slide shut. “Alright – it’ll be waitin’ for you three when y’get done.”
Remy's eyes snapped open to the glow of a television, and he realized he'd fallen asleep reclining in the living room. His eyes focused on the screen and he saw smoke rising from the entrance to the Cold War tunnels. The reporter on screen stood in front of the caved in entrance and body bag after body bag was dragged out across the screen behind him as dozens of rescue workers passed them along as if they were in a flood brigade, passing along sandbags.
Remy closed his eyes as he saw several small ones being pulled out, and wondered if they contained the kids he’d seen lying in the tunnels with an older woman. “Damn it,” he whispered silently, “why do they keep showin’ dis? I’m havin’ hard enough time workin’ up the courage to tell Stormy.”
He heard a cold voice behind him, and he spun around. “Tell me what? That you murdered those mutants? Killed your own kind because you were greedy for a few bucks? Get out of my sight.” Storm said, looking at him with hate in her eyes.
“Stormy, I didn’t – I didn’t want dis to happen, I didn’t realize they were gonna kill dem.”
Storm shook her head in disgust. “Bullshit, Gambit. You killed them. Just like you killed us.” She said, flinging open the living room door to reveal the mansion in shambles: doors torn off their hinges, enormous holes in the walls, burnt ceiling lying on the ground.
“Non.” Remy whispered, and rushed out after her, but she seemed to disappear once she’d left his sight
Bodies of students littered the floor, some riddled with bullets, others maimed beyond recognition. Remy felt his heart drop below his feet when he saw a shock of white hair further down the hall.
He rushed down the hall, only to sink to his knees in front of the bodies of Ororo, Rogue, and Sarah. He pulled Rogue’s head into his lap, ignoring the hole in her chest; and leaned down, resting his head on Sarah’s forehead, ignoring the lifeless eyes that stared up at him.
“Non!” He shouted, leaping from his bed with a brightly glowing pack of playing cards in his hand.
He looked around the room wildly, breathing heavily. “Shit,” he whispered.
He threw open his door and nearly cried with relief when he saw the pristine hallways of the third floor, with no sign of destruction. He closed the door and sank to his knees, resting his forehead against the door.
“/Dieu Merci/!” he whispered to himself. ‘/It was just a dream/,’ he thought as he tried to slow his breathing. He ran a hand across his forehead as he sat back on his heels, and it came away drenched in sweat.
‘/Professor is right, I’ve got to tell Stormy before these dreams drive me crazy/.’ He thought to himself.
Rogue stared up at her ceiling as she heard the soft ‘clump-clump’ of footsteps on the roof above her. ‘/Who the heck is walking around on the roof/?’ She wondered to herself.
She listened to the footsteps move away from her and finally stop. She lay in bed, wondering what, if anything, she should do. She’d woke up several minutes earlier, but she hadn’t been able to tell what it was that woke her, and had been just about to drift off to sleep when she heard someone on the roof.
She sighed, knowing she’d never get to sleep now, and threw her covers off to the foot of the bed. She was fairly certain it was someone from the mansion, because she couldn’t think of a reason someone outside would climb four stories to walk around on the roof. ‘/Could it be Logan/?’ She wondered to herself as she put on a pair of slip-on sneakers, and slid on a light coat to cover her arms which were left bare by her sleeveless nightgown and black gloves that reached only halfway up her forearms.
Rogue slid the door of her balcony open and stepped out. The night sky was clear of clouds and she could see thousands of stars sparkling in the sky above her.
She placed a hand against the wall to brace herself and carefully climbed up to balance on the balcony railing. She gritted her teeth and forced herself to not look at the ground far below her. Rogue reached above her head slightly and began pulling herself up onto the roof. She grunted and swung one leg up, and then flailed for a moment, trying to pull herself up the rest of the way.
She finally got both legs onto the roof, and pushed herself to her knees. Remy was lying back on the roof close to a dozen feet away, a lit cigarette dangling from his lips. He was watching her with obvious amusement on his face. “Havin’ fun?” He asked her with a grin.
Rogue moved up into a crouch and carefully made her way along the roof, finally settling down next to him with a sigh of relief. She then proceeded to swat him in the side. “Jerk. You didn’t even try to help me.”
Remy shrugged innocently. “You looked like you had it under control. Gotta say, dat was de most int’restin’ way I’ve seen someone climb onto a roof.”
Rogue blushed. “Ah probably looked like a beached whale tryin’ t’get back out to sea, didn’t Ah?” She said ruefully.
Remy chuckled. “I t’ink dat might be a good description.”
Rogue gasped and swatted him again. “Yah’re not supposed ta agree with me!”
He smiled and pulled his cigarette from his mouth, blowing the smoke out the corner of his mouth.
Rogue crinkled her nose automatically as it wafted toward her, but she looked at him in surprise when it reached her. “Never smelled a cigarette that smells like cinnamon.” She said.
Remy nodded, and held the black-papered cigarette up in the moonlight. “Dis is a Djarum. Indonesian. Dey put cloves an' other stuff in wit' de tobacco, an' it makes a damn good cigarette.”
Rogue leaned back against the roof next to Remy. “Things'll still kill ya.”
“I know,” Remy said. “Probably would quit 'cept my lungs heal right up, jus' like my shoulder an' stomach did.”
Rogue rolled her eyes and stared upward at the night sky – Logan had told her much the same thing when she commented on his cigar smoking.
As Remy stubbed out his cigarette, Rogue let her head loll to the side to look at him. “So what're you doin' out on the roof this time of night?”
His smile vanished, and he laid his head back on the shingles. “Couldn't sleep. Bad dreams. Decided t'get some air.” He looked over to her. “What 'bout you?”
She shrugged. “Ah woke up an' then Ah heard yah walkin' around up here. Ah decided t'see who was up here.”
He looked at her sheepishly. “Sorry, didn' t'ink anyone would be up.”
“It's alright. It's sure a beautiful night t'be out up here.”
Remy nodded and remained silent, staring into the night sky.
“So what's a professional thief dream 'bout that wakes him up durin' the night? Stealin’ from a bank an' realizin' you're only wearin' your underwear?” She asked, grinning over at him.
Her smile faded when he didn't answer, or even crack a smile. She saw the muscles of his jaw clench and his eyes close tightly.
“Remy? What's wrong?” She asked, reaching over to touch his shoulder.
He opened his eyes, and it seemed like they were giving off a slight glow in the dim light. She found her breath hitching in her chest when she saw the raw pain that was displayed in the red-on-black eyes.
“Death.” He whispered. “I dream 'bout death.”
She her hand was gripping his shoulder, and she couldn't speak.
“Rogue, I done a lot of bad things in my life, an' now whenever I try t'sleep dey haunt me.”
“Remy..... what.....?” She whispered, looking at him in concern. The jumble of disjointed images that had assaulted her each time she absorbed Remy flashed through her mind again, this time somewhat clearer to her.
“De tunnels in New York, Rogue. I caused dat.” He said hoarsely, the story finally pouring out of him. “I killed all those people.”
Rogue felt like she'd been punched in the stomach, and she closed her eyes as the flood of images filled her mind, triggered by his words.
She tore her eyes open and stared into his eyes, breathing heavily. “No you didn't. You – Ah can see you – Ah see you tryin' t'stop them, and – all those bodies; you didn't get there in time.” She said, feeling overwhelmed by the images and the emotions tied to those images. “Remy, you didn't do it – Ah've got your memories, up here,” she said, tapping her forehead, “Ah can see what happened, or at least make out most of it.”
He slumped back against the roof. “I gave dem de map. I thought they were gonna rob a bank. I told dem where de mutants were so dey could avoid ‘em, an' ended up tellin' dem right where t'start killin'.”
She gripped his shoulder tighter. “Ah know, Remy. It wasn't your fault. You tried t'stop them when you found out.”
He slammed a fist into the shingles. “But I couldn't! An' now I see them every time I fall asleep. Sometimes they're just laying there, dead; other times they're talking, blamin' me, askin' me why I killed dem. Tonight it was even worse – dis time I was at de mansion, an' it was evr'yone here dat was dead. You, an' Stormy, an’..... Sarah.”
Rogue felt a tendril of jealousy creep into her, but she suppressed it. “Sarah?” She asked.
Remy nodded. “She's a little girl I found in de tunnels. De only one I could save.”
A brief image of a trembling, pink-haired young girl flashed in her mind, and she felt the jealousy disappear. “Remy...” she whispered, loosening her grip and rubbing her hand back and forth across his shoulder.
He looked at her with pain in his eyes. “Why don't you hate me? I hate me.”
Rogue pushed herself up into a sitting position and looked down at him. “Ah don't hate you because you didn't do this. You didn't kill them. Ah can see what happened, an' Ah can feel how much it hurts you in ev'ry memory Ah've absorbed. Yah can't let this eat you up, Remy.”
He closed his eyes. “Can't help it.”
She placed her hand on his chest. “Ah /know/, Remy. An' that's what makes you diff'rent from them. You care, an' every person that died affects you. They don't care about the people they killed – they probably even enjoyed doin' it.”
Remy remained silent, and Rogue eventually sighed and began to move back from him. Remy opened his eyes and reached up to stop her, clasping his hand around the one she rested on his chest. “Thanks, Rogue. I needed dat. Someone t'talk some sense into me.”
Rogue stopped moving away, relieved she had gotten through to him. “Remy, if yah ever need anyone ta knock sense inta yah, all ya hafta do is ask an' Ah'll be glad t'do it.” She said, smiling when she got a grin out of him.
Rogue settled back down on the roof, laying on her side facing Remy with her head propped up by her free hand. She didn't pull her other hand from Remy's, feeling…. comfortable with his grip on her hand.
“So, what happened to Sarah?” She asked him hesitantly, now feeling embarrassed at her earlier flash of jealousy.
“I took her out of dere wit' me. Brought her back home to Louisiana. She's at my frère’s place right now – she's de person I was talkin' to dis mornin' on de phone.” He said, and then smiled slightly. “She's de whole reason I came to dis place – de friend I came to check dis school out for. Never thought I'd end up wantin' t'stay here myself.” He said, shaking his head.
His eyes met hers. “Xavier said she could stay here, an' I guess he's getting' a room set up for her dis weekend, an' I'm gonna head off t'go get her sometime dis week.”
Rogue smiled at him – she could tell just from the way he talked that he cared for the pink-haired girl. “That'll be nice. Ah'd like t'meet her.”
“I think you'll like her.” He said.
Remy sat up, releasing her hand. He'd seen an involuntary shiver run down her body, and he realized the wind had picked up, chilling the air slightly.
He took his trenchcoat off, and pulled Rogue upright so he could drape it over her shoulders.
“Remy-” Rogue began to protest, but he shook his head.
“You're gonna catch somet'ing dressed like dat when it's dis cool out.” He said, and she realized he'd noticed her shivering. “Don' worry 'bout me – I only wear dat 'cuz I like it – my powers keep me plenty warm enough if I need dem to.”
Rogue finally nodded, and slid her arms through the sleeves of the trenchcoat. She laid back down, cinching it around her waist. She sighed at its warmth, and smiled her thanks to Remy.
As she pulled it tighter around her, she inhaled a scent that she could only describe as uniquely Remy – a mixture of cinnamon and cloves and some sort of aftershave she'd smelled on him during their ride in the forest.
She closed her eyes, feeling a warm contentment as she breathed in his scent in the warmth of his trenchcoat; it made her feel like all her worries – over Bobby and the feelings she'd begun to develop for another man, over Remy’s unwitting involvement in the New York killings, over her powers and her talk with Xavier – were gone.
Remy looked down when he realized Rogue had not spoken for several minutes. He chuckled silently when he realized she'd fallen asleep wrapped up in his trenchcoat like a cocoon.
He gently tugged at the bottom of his coat so it covered her bare legs completely, and then settled down on the roof next to her. “Thanks for understandin',” he whispered. “I don' think I could handle you hatin' me for what I did. Only hope Stormy'll understand too.”
Remy stirred from his sleep, feeling the rays of the morning sun begin to land on his face. He began to sit up, but froze when he realized he had a warm, soft weight draped over his chest.
His eyes snapped open and he looked down to see Rogue, still wearing his trenchcoat. During the night she’d rolled over onto her side and thrown an arm across his chest, and turned his shoulder into a pillow.
Rogue stirred slightly, her arm tightening her grip on his chest, her head moving slightly to another spot on his shoulder.
As he listened to her soft, slow breathing and looked down at her peaceful, upturned face, his stomach felt like it did a sudden loop as a thought invaded his mind: ‘/I’d do anything just to always see her like this – to wake up like this/.’ He felt his heartbeat pick up speed and everything seemed to come together in his head, clicking into place.
‘Dieu,’ he thought to himself, ‘/I’m really falling in love with her – this ain’t just a crush on a cute girl – this is like it was with Bella only… more…’/.
He brought his free hand up and gently brushed a lock of hair from her face. ‘/What are you going to do, Cajun/?’ He wondered to himself. The last time he’d fallen in love, it had ended up with someone dead and the girl he loved running off with the man she’d been cheating on him with.
But that was Bella. This was Rogue. She was different – almost the polar opposite of Bella. Where Bella was brash, cocky, completely aware of her beauty and how she could use it to her advantage, Rogue was soft, unsure of herself and at least for the most part unaware of her attractiveness.
Rogue had a low level of self-confidence – it seemed to Remy it had been shattered both by her experiences with her mutant abilities and with the behaviors of other people toward her when they learned of her abilities – but she still had a spark in her, something mostly buried that Remy had seen shine through several times since he met her.
Did he want to even consider making himself that vulnerable again – giving his heart to another woman, giving her the chance to break it like Bella had?
As Rogue made a sound similar to a half snore-half sigh, warm breath expelling from her lips in a short burst onto his cheek, he closed his eyes and clenched his jaw in firm resolve. ‘/Yes/,’ was his only thought. He’d take that risk if she felt the same way for him as he did for her.
Bobby was a complication, but not a large problem in his opinion – he hadn’t seen Rogue give Bobby anything more than a glare in the past day and a half since she’d had her picnic with him. The biggest problem would be having the guts to keep his resolve and not back off in fear that Rogue would hurt him, would destroy his spirit, like Bella had.
Remy opened his eyes and looked fondly down at Rogue, the soft pretty features of the left side of her face mashed up against his shoulder. He felt somewhere deep in his heart and in his gut that she didn’t have it in her nature to deliberately hurt him like that, and he prayed his instincts were right.
Remy reached out a hand and gently touched her cheek, stroking it with his thumb until he began to feel the familiar pull of her power. He reluctantly pulled back. This was the other complication. He could hardly touch her, skin to skin, for more than a minute-fifteen as of their third attempt shortly after supper the previous night.
It didn’t bother him, when she absorbed him – she could take his breath away, literally, and it didn’t bother him in the slightest. But it bothered her – he would have been completely willing to accept just those minute-long contacts if that was all he could ever get, but he could tell it crushed her not being able to touch someone without worrying about sucking in bits of their memories and their minds.
He wasn’t extremely worried about her learning to control her abilities – as far as he could tell, she was suffering from the same problems he had struggled with. Something traumatic had occurred with her power and she’d been unable to control it since. He didn’t foresee it taking any longer for her to master than it had for him – not much matched the traumatic experience of killing dozens in an enormous explosion. He realized he’d never asked her exactly what had happened, and decided to the next time they worked with her power.
It could still take as long as a year before she started to see improvement, and he knew that just by itself it would have an impact on her not seeing any progress or hope that she would gain control. ‘/Maybe I can meet her halfway somehow/,’ he mused to himself.
He mulled several ideas over in his mind, wondering if there was something he could do on his own besides help her control her power. Something to give her hope.
His eyes lit up as an idea came to him. ‘/My powers/,’ he thought. Perhaps he could figure out some way to use his kinetic abilities to negate her powers. A sort of microscopic barrier of charged air around his skin. He did something similar days before under the river to convince the assassin that he was dead – focused all his will on causing his powers to create a barrier for his lungs, literally keeping the water out and allowing dissolved oxygen in – something completely in the heat of the moment, something he’d have a hard time easily duplicating without being in the same situation or practicing it for weeks.
It would take work – practice like he’d done back when getting control of his abilities – to get such a fine-tuning of his powers to charge only a thin layer of air and nothing else around it. It would probably take most of his concentration just to keep that barrier up once he got it. But it was an idea, and would be relatively quick – something he might master in days or weeks.
He broke from his thoughts as Rogue began to stir from her sleep. She let out a sleepy groan and arched her back, stretching. He felt her freeze suddenly, and her eyes snapped open.
Rogue drifted out of a pleasant sleep, comfortably warm and wrapped up in her blankets. She groaned and began to stretch the sleep from her body, wondering why her pillow seemed so lumpy. When she pressed into a warm, firm body, and she realized she was laying on hard shingles, she froze her movements and snapped her eyes open.
She blinked rapidly several times in the rising sun. Her eyes focused, and she found herself staring at a chest covered by a black t-shirt. Her eyes darted upward and she found herself looking at Remy’s smiling face.
Her face flushed slightly as it sunk into her still-groggy mind where she was and what her pillow had been. She rolled onto her back, pulling her arm from across Remy’s chest and removing her cheek from his shoulder.
Remy shifted, rolling his shoulder to restore some of the blood flow that had been limited moments before. He glanced over to her. “G’mornin’. You sleep well?”
Rogue nodded, color still in her cheeks. “Yeah. Thanks for your coat,” she said, “an’ for, um, bein’ mah pillow.”
Remy laughed and sat up, stretching his arms above his head. He placed a hand on his shoulder, and looked up at her in amusement. “Y’welcome. I got t’learn somethin’ else ‘bout you – y’drool in your sleep.” He said, gesturing to a slightly visible damp spot on his shirt, a grin on his face.
Rogue’s jaw dropped, and her expression was one of mortification, and she covered her face with her hands with a groan. “Oh Gawd, Ah’m sorry, Remy.” She mumbled into her hands.
He chuckled and laid a hand on her back. “Don’ worry ‘bout it. Ain’t nothin’ dat never happened t'me before.”
Rogue finally pulled her hands from her face, and looked up at Remy, and tried to move the subject from her embarrassment. “Didn’t think Ah’d fall asleep out here.”
Remy grinned. “Y’were out like a light after y’got warm, an’ I didn’t wanna wake you up again so I stayed up here with you.”
Rogue smiled. “Thanks,” she said. She looked up at him with worry in her eyes when she remembered why Remy had been up. “Did – did yah have any more dreams, Remy?” She asked him hesitantly.
Remy shook his head, and his expression dimmed for a moment. “/Non/, actually, didn’ have any more last night.”
Rogue smiled. “Good.” She said. “You know, Remy, Ah meant what Ah told you last night – don’t let this eat you up. If you ever need t’talk more ‘bout what happened, Ah’ll listen.” She said, placing a hand on his shoulder.
He flashed her a tentative smile. “Thanks, /Chère/.”
Rogue raised an eyebrow. “Chère?” She asked him with a wry tone.
Remy nodded. “Well, either I call y’dat, or we can go wit’ Roguey.”
Rogue’s eyes widened, her nose wrinkling, and she raised a hand. “Let’s stick with the first one, alright?”
Remy laughed, and stood up on the roof. “Alright. I should get back down t’my room – Sarah’s gonna be callin’ me soon.”
Rogue took the hand he offered, and used it to help her pull herself upright, standing unsteadily on the tilted surface of the roof.
Remy walked toward the edge of the roof and simply stepped off, causing Rogue’s breath to catch in her chest. She rushed to the side and saw him landed in a crouch on her balcony.
He stood up and grinned at her, causing her to scowl back. “Not funny.” She ground out, causing his grin to disappear and be replaced with a look full of innocence.
He looked up at her. “Need some help down?”
Rogue nodded and within a moment he was standing balanced on the railing of her balcony. She sat on the edge of the roof and began to lower herself down over the edge. Remy’s hands found her waist lifting her down onto the railing with him.
Rogue swayed and gripped his arms tightly with her hands, feeling her heartbeat speed up at the physical contact with him. Remy gripped her tighter as she swayed, keeping her from teetering toward the outside of the balcony. He lifted her easily and helped her find her footing on the firm concrete of her balcony floor, before hopping from the railing to land next to her.
“Thanks,” Rogue said breathlessly – both from the moment she’d thought she was going to tumble over the balcony and from her reaction to Remy and his closeness to her.
“Y’welcome, /Chère/.” Remy said, reaching up tentatively to brush back a lock of hair behind her ear from where it had fallen over her left eye. Rogue felt her legs tremble slightly, and she gripped the railing. He definitely wasn’t helping her catch her breath.
He looked down at her face, a serious look on his own. “Thanks, Rogue. For last night…. for not…. hatin’ me.” He said.
Rogue’s eyes softened, and she nodded, not knowing what to say. She touched his arm for a moment, and then backed away, reaching backward to slide her balcony door open. She turned and stepped inside.
She stood there for several moments, and Remy realized she was waiting for him to come inside. He smiled and shook his head. “I’ll get back t’my room out here. People might get de wrong idea if I left through y’room,” he said with a smile.
Rogue blushed. “Good point. See yah down at breakfast, Remy.” She said.
As he began to turn, she said “Wait, almost forgot.” She shrugged off the large trenchcoat, and handed it to him.
He took it and slid it over his shoulders in one smooth, expert motion, and flashed her a grin. She watched as his knees bent slightly before he leapt effortlessly onto the railing and again onto the roof, making it all appear to be in one fluid action. She heard his footsteps move across the roof and she walked over to her own bed, collapsing on it with a great sigh, a silly smile spreading across her face.
She could easily imagine what Jubilee would be saying to her at that moment – mostly because she had her in her head along with everyone else she’d absorbed – “Damn girl, you’ve got it bad!”
She couldn’t exactly disagree with Psyche-Jubilee. She realized she hadn’t felt her heart race, her breath disappear, her entire body react like that, for months. She’d felt much the same way with Cody, and when she’d first met Bobby and he’d made his first, awkward advances toward her. But now, experiencing it again, she realized she’d not felt it for a long time with Bobby. It made her begin to doubt even more that her relationship with Bobby would even have a chance of working out.
Rogue’s knuckles turned white as she gripped the edge of her chair tightly, watching as a series of bullets sprayed just inches from Remy’s face as he danced out of the line of fire. She watched him dive into a mixture of a side-roll and a somersault, coming out of the movement with his boot flying hard into the face of the man who’d shot at him.
She felt a nudge to her side, and tore her eyes away to look over at Dani, who sat with her in the Control Room of the Danger Room, along with Xavier, Ororo, Kitty, and Jubilee. Dani leaned over with a grin, and whispered in her ear. “Relax, girl. You look more stressed than you would be if it was you in there. Don’t have a heart attack.”
Rogue took a deep breath and relaxed her death grip on the chair, trying to relax. She smiled at Dani and looked back through the viewing glass as Remy walked warily down a maze of hallways. She’d been tense, worried about Remy, ever since Logan had tossed him into a Level 9 training scenario. Typically the only person who ran solo in a scenario like this and completed it was Logan himself – everyone else did it with at least a partner if not the whole team. As it turned out, her worry for Remy had not been needed – he had barely a scratch from his encounters thus far.
She felt more than a little pissed that it seemed Logan had decided to pile on top of the Level 9 sequence, inserting others into the scenario – the reason Scott, Bobby, and presumably himself were not in the viewing room with them.
Remy had already been ambushed once, but it seemed he’d expected something of the sort – he’d moved so quickly Scott had been laid out on his back in moments, knocked out with a single blow of Remy’s bo staff. So far Logan and Bobby hadn’t popped up, but she knew that Bobby would not be kept from volunteering.
‘/Speak of the devil/,’ she thought, as Bobby popped up from behind a dumpster as Remy walked past it. He launched a thin beam of ice from his hands at Remy, but it seemed he’d been too noisy in his ambush, as Remy was already ducking well below the beam before it reached him.
Remy attempted to close the distance, bringing his fist toward Bobby’s head, but Bobby backpedaled and swung his beam downward, trying to catch Remy’s feet. Remy was nimble enough to leap over it, but hadn’t had enough momentum to clear the area it had frozen on the ground beneath him.
His feet skidded out from underneath him, and he caught himself just before he landed on his backside. Bobby didn’t hesitate, and thrust both hands forward, the moisture in the air around them crystallizing. In moments, Remy’s entire body was encased in a thick layer of ice.
Rogue felt a knot of fear in her stomach for Remy, and she saw Bobby chuckle and turn away, walking toward the exit of the Danger Room. She was about to whirl on the Professor and get him to have Bobby de-ice Remy before he was hurt seriously by a lack of oxygen or bitter cold ice covering him, when she caught Ororo’s expression. She was grinning as if she knew something the others didn’t.
Rogue looked back in time to see the ice disappear in a blinding magenta flash.
Remy cursed his luck as his feet slipped from beneath him. He’d hoped to coldcock Bobby on his swing, but he’d been able to just barely avoid it. Remy reached out, catching himself from his slip on the ice, only to be greeted by a freezing blast of ice from Bobby. It quickly coated his entire body with a thick layer of ice.
He quelled his natural response of panic at being encased in a cold, airless space, and focused his energy. Through the ice, slightly muffled, he heard Bobby laugh, and say, “Loser. Couldn’t even put up a decent fight.”
Remy felt cold anger boil up in him, and used it to help him focus. Finally, having gathered the energy, he released it all in one blast across his body. The ice vaporized completely, leaving his entire body without even a speck of moisture from the melting – it had changed to gas phase too quickly. Steam rose across his body as he bounced to his feet, watching Bobby turn around, startled by the sudden blast.
“What?” Bobby exclaimed, backing away quickly, a hint of uncertainty and fear now in his eyes.
Remy reached into the inner pocket of his trenchcoat, casually removing a deck of cards. He shuffled them in the air, back and forth from hand to hand, a smirk on his face. “I was gonna go easy on you Iceboy, but I don’ much ‘preciate getting’ frozen.”
And then the deck began to glow magenta, casting wide shadows along the darkened street.
It was over very soon after. Rogue, elated to see Remy was more than fine, watched as he divided the glowing deck between both hands, and then swept his arms outward, hurling the cards at Bobby.
They swept out in an arc on either side of Bobby, and erupted in a chain of concussive explosions that briefly caused the screen to polarize to near black to protect the eyes of those in the viewing room. As the glass cleared, she saw Bobby, hurled backwards by the blast, slam into the dumpster he’d hidden behind, and slump to the ground, unconscious.
Remy nudged him with his boot and knelt down to check his pulse. He tossed a thumbs up to the general direction of the viewing room, and continued down the narrow street of the Danger Room. It twisted and turned, leading him into two more military ambushes, the first of which left him favoring his left leg after twisting his ankle in the fight.
Rogue saw it first – Logan crouched on the roof of a building, clad in black, about twenty feet above Remy. His adamantium claws were already protruding from his knuckles, and the gleamed as he tensed his legs and leapt downward.
Her eyes flashed back to Remy, and in a blur of motion, he had his bo staff extended. Sparks flew as staff met claw, and Remy was hammered back and down almost into a crouch by the force of Logan’s attack. Remy twisted and used Logan’s remaining momentum to throw him over his shoulder. Logan landed lightly on his feet several yards away, and wasted no time attacking.
The insanely quick thrust and parry of Logan’s claws and Remy’s staff that she had seen before in Ororo’s room dominated everyone’s attention. This time, however, it seemed even more an even match, with Remy healed from his gunshot wounds and without having lost blood. His limp was there, hindering his retreats from Logan’s attacks, and Logan pressed for an advantage.
Remy suddenly lunged forward, pushing off on the leg he had been favoring, and slammed his staff into a surprised Logan’s face, knocking him back several feet. Remy stepped back, and it was then that Rogue realized the last two fights, all the limping, had been a show to fake a weakness that he knew Logan would try to take advantage of.
Logan caught his balance and began to move forward, but Remy, his staff suddenly glowing, reared back and slammed one end of the staff into the ground at Logan’s feet. An enormous explosion shook the glass to the observation room, and behind the tinting, Rogue saw Logan hurled nearly twenty feet into a wall. Remy was suddenly there, appearing out of the smoke that rose from his explosion.
He placed the tip of his glowing bo staff on Logan’s throat, and his voice drifted up toward the speakers. “For th’record, jus’ to make it official, BANG…. You dead.” He said. The glow disappeared from his staff, and he slid it into his trenchcoat. He extended a hand to Logan, who retracted his claws and used it to help bring himself back to his feet.
Rogue saw a smile of amusement on Logan’s face. As he made it to his feet, he slapped Remy heartily on the back. “Nice moves, Cajun. Not bad at all. Didn’t realize y’could blow shit up with that big of a blast.”
He led Remy to the edge of the street, and reached into the holographic projection of a payphone and pressed something, and the image of the city streets disappeared, leaving only the gleaming walls of the Danger Room. Logan looked at the prone bodies of Scott and Bobby on the floor, and waved his hand. “We’ll let them sleep it off for a bit.” He said, opening the door that led to stairs up to the observation room.
As they climbed the stairs, Logan smirked over at him. “Just so y’know, even if you’d blasted my face off when I was down, I’dve been up and healed in fifteen minutes.”
Remy grinned back and nodded. “Figured as much. Dat’s why I would’ve charged your adamantium. Woulda taken y’a lot longer t’fix dat. An’ in a real fight I woulda been long gone by den.”
Logan winced, and laughed.
As they opened the door to the observation room, Rogue was there in an instant, looking worriedly at Remy. “Are you alright, Remy?” She asked him glancing at the cuts and scrapes on his arms, and the split lower lip he’d received from Logan.
Remy smiled, though it twinged as his lips moved. “Yeah, I’m alright, Chère. Jus’ a few scrapes an’ bruises. Nothin’ serious, /ma infirmière/.”
She reached into her pocket and pulled out some disinfecting wipes and opened them up. She reached out and used it to gently clean several oozing cuts on his arm. She nodded in satisfaction at seeing they were shallow and wouldn’t need stitches.
“Hey, what about me?” Logan protested, mock sadness in his voice. “Don’t ask me if I’m alright or anything.”
Rogue released Remy’s arm, realizing they were in front of so many people. She swatted at Logan’s arm with a grin on her face. “Oh quit it. Yah’ve already almost healed.”
Logan tousled her hair affectionately, and turned to Remy, extending a hand. Remy shook it firmly, and Logan said, “Welcome to the X-men, Cajun.”
Remy leaned forward on the couch to grab the remote, several muscles screaming their protest at being used so soon again after the Danger Room fight. He collapsed back with a sigh and flicked on the television, scrolling through until he reached CNN. The last month or so, the media had been wild with election year fever, displaying the candidate debates for each party, and basically turning it into an almost 24/7 coverage.
They were showing the end of a speech by one of the main contenders for the Democratic ticket, and he settled in – nothing helped him fall asleep better than smarmy politicians and their speeches.
Just as his eyes started to droop, the coverage switched over to a Republican candidate’s speech at a rally in Virginia. Banners hung all over the town hall, proclaiming “Change We Need”. Remy snorted sleepily at the lame slogan.
It wasn’t the switch, or the candidate that caused Remy to jerk upright, his muscles tensing. It was the face of the man introducing the candidate – the caption beneath him stating: ‘Ron Maldrone – Chief Campaign Coordinator’.
The man raised his hands to silence the crowd. “Thank you for your patience. Now I’d like to present the next President of the United States, Graydon Creed!”
The crowd erupted into applause as a handsome brown-haired man, barely in his forties, walked onto the stage. But Remy’s eyes remained on the Campaign Coordinator as he drifted back into the background. His fists clenched tightly, looking at the horn-rimmed glasses and smarmy grin he’d come to hate. Maldrone, the man who’d directed the slaughter of the tunnel mutants, was strutting about in broad daylight, managing the campaign of a /presidential candidate/.
“Fuck,” Remy breathed, watching Creed wait for the crowd to quiet down. He’d paid little attention to the candidates, so he knew next to nothing about Creed, so he tried to calm himself and listen to the speech.
After about a dozen “thank yous” to the cheering crowd, the noise quieted, and Creed began to speak in a rich baritone voice. “Thank you all. We stand here only miles from the first English Colony on the continent of North America, in one of the first states to enter into the Union of the United States, when our ancestors stood up and fought for their unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
He paused as a smattering of applause erupted. “We stand mere minutes from some of the largest battles ever fought during the Civil War when our ancestors again fought for what they believed to be right.”
“In these recent years, we have faced something we have never before seen – something that threatens those very rights that our ancestors fought for. A new branch on our family tree has sprouted – mutants. We are called Homo Sapiens. They call themselves Homo Sapiens Superior. They have the power to bend metal, annihilate mountains, walk through solid walls, and can read our very thoughts.”
“There are some who consider them to be the next step in human evolution. Others believe they are an entirely new species, as different from us as our Cro-Magnon ancestors were to the Neanderthals.”
“I know that this has brought fear into the hearts of my fellow Americans. I know it has brought fear into my own heart, that a just a handful of mutants could easily lay waste to this great country. Not long ago we lived in great fear of nuclear annihilation. Now we fear our very selves.”
“If I am elected to be the President of this great nation, I pledge to you – I promise you – that I will do all I can to prevent this from happening. My opponents claim that mutants are harmless. That there is no reason for the Mutant Registration Act to be passed. But let me ask you this. If mutants are so harmless, why would they fear registering themselves with our government?”
“Anyone who purchases a gun has to wait weeks for a background check, and often cannot even carry it for their protection into dangerous areas. If we must register and be subject to such restrictions for something as simple as a handgun to protect ourselves and our families, why are mutants – whose powers are far more dangerous than a gun – allowed to walk about freely without a single restriction while our citizens remain in fear, never knowing if the people they see have the powers to destroy cities?”
“My first act if elected President will be to push our lawmakers to follow the wishes of their constituents and pass the Registration Act. We need to change the way our government works. We need to tear down the Good Old Boys network in Washington, and have our lawmakers start listening to the good people of this nation who elected them to serve their interests!”
Remy turned off the TV, his stomach roiling. The man who’d hired him – the man who’d sent in the mercenary teams to murder the mutants in New York – was the chief staff member of a man running on a strong anti-mutant platform. Remy was no fool – it was no coincidence, and only an idiot wouldn’t see that Creed had been involved in some way.
He stood from his seat. He had to tell Storm – tell her everything.
Graydon Creed finished shaking hands with the last people near the area cordoned off for his car, and then stepped past them, ducking his head to slide smoothly into the back seat of his limo, giving a final wave for the cameras before the door was shut for him by the driver.
He sighed and relaxed back into his seat, smoothing his hair back on his head. He looked across to his campaign manager, who sat in the seat across from him. He smiled tiredly at him. “How did we do, Ron?”
The man smiled and pushed his horn-rimmed glasses further up the bridge of his nose. “Very good, Gray. You didn’t come on too strong on the mutie issue, and you painted just the right picture to speak to people’s feelings over it. I think a few more strong speeches like this and you’ll come a few points up in the next debate.”
Graydon nodded, and relaxed – Ron knew his stuff: if he said they’d be going up, they were going to go up. “I just can’t wait until this is over. Just think – still eight more months before Election Day.” He shook his head wearily. “My senatorial campaigns were nowhere near this.”
Ron nodded. “Well, you’re running for the most important office in the world. It’s supposed to be difficult.”
Graydon nodded. “Just exhausted by the end of the day.”
Graydon leaned forward and retrieved a device from a small compartment beneath the seat. He switched it on and swept it around the interior of the car, finally grunting with satisfaction before switching it off. “We’re safe.”
Ron finally relaxed. “I’ve heard some whispers in the organizations that something big is coming in the next few days. Something that might help us out with the mutant part of our platform.”
Graydon looked up with interest. Ron was his intermediary in several less than savory anti-mutant groups, and they used those groups to reach their objectives. “Any idea what it is?”
Ron shook his head. “No, no one seems to know other than that they’ve heard it will be big. Some hints about a billionaire and his biotechnology firm.”
Graydon frowned in thought, and then shook his head – no use pondering vague rumors. “Everything’s been paid and taken care of on our recent venture?”
Ron nodded. “The mercs won’t be talking. We’ve either got dirt on their families, or are offering them more than enough money to keep their mouths shut. Other than them, it was only the Louisiana thief, and Boudreaux, and they won’t be a problem.”
Graydon smiled, and pulled open a minifridge where a bottle of champagne sat cooling. He popped the cork and poured out two drinks offering one to Ron, who accepted it.
“To your Presidency,” Ron said, raising his glass in a toast.
Remy caught Ororo coming out of her room. He stopped her with a hand to her shoulder. “Ororo, we need to talk.”
Her eyes snapped to his – he rarely called her anything but “Stormy”. He looked back at her, his face a mix of emotions from seriousness to apprehension. Her smile at seeing him faltered slightly and she opened her door back up, ushering him inside.
She sat down on her bed and he pulled a chair from her desk and sat on it opposite her. “What’s wrong, Remy?” She asked him.
“I’ve got some information dat you an’ Xavier need t’know. De man dat planned de killings of de mutants in New York – he’s the campaign manager for Graydon Creed.”
“Creed? The anti-mutant candidate? But…”
Remy nodded. “Dat probably means Creed’s in on it too.”
“But, how do you know this is the man who planned it – you’d…..” She trailed off, her face paling. She spoke quietly. “The explosion – the one that collapsed the tunnels – that was you, wasn’t it?”
Remy looked down, his expression pained, and he swallowed thickly. “Yeah,” he said hoarsely.
“God, Remy,” she whispered. “How did they pull you into this?” She asked, almost to herself. She looked down at him. “Damnit Remy, this is why I’ve wanted you to get out of all this, so you couldn’t get used by someone like this. They had you guide them down there, didn’t they?”
He looked at her in shock. “How – what – you don’ think I killed dem?” He managed.
She flashed him a wan smile. “No, Remy. I know you. You’re not capable of something like that. You don’t have it in you to murder people in cold blood.” She raised a hand as he opened his mouth. “And don’t even think about bringing up the theater – we both know you couldn’t have controlled your powers. I’m talking about standing in front of a kid or a defenseless mutant and putting a bullet in them. You could never do that.”
Remy sagged back into the chair and ran a hand blearily over his face. She knew him too well. He sighed, and looked up hesitantly into her eyes. “Y’right. Dey got me t’make a map, an dey used dat t’get around in de tunnels. I found out an’ tried t’stop it. Couldn’. I been puttin’ off tellin’ you – didn’ know how you’d react.”
Ororo moved forward, and pulled him into a soft hug. “Remy, you can tell me anything.”
Remy swallowed and nodded into her hair. He pulled back. “I jus’ saw a rally in Virginia for dis Graydon Creed character, an’ de slimy bastard dat hired me was on dere, introducin’ him. Dey said he was de campaign organizer.”
“You’re sure it was him?”
“/Oui/. I’ll never forget dat salaud’s face.”
“How could he be so cocky, going on national television having done this? Someone who knew could blackmail him for all he’s worth.” Ororo mused.
“He t’inks he killed de only man dat met him an’ knows what he did. I’d bet de mercs got hired through a middleman who conveniently wound up dead in de past two weeks. Bet de coward dat took a shot at me got taken out too. He doesn’ t’ink anyone is even around to know who he really is.”
Ororo nodded, mulling over Remy’s statement. She finally looked over to him and placed a hand on his arm. “Remy, please get out of the Guild - thieving. People will keep using you like this, and I can tell you feel like crap about what happened. Don’t let someone do it again.”
He gave her a reassuring smile. “I won’t. Dis is de perfect time t’get out – everyone t’inks I’m dead, an’ I can start a new life. An’ now I got a lot of t’ings t’live for b’sides the next heist, the next safecracking.”
Ororo grinned at him. “And would one of those things be Rogue?”
Remy blushed and looked away. “Don’ know what you’re talkin’ ‘bout Stormy.”
Ororo laughed. “Give me a break Remy. You’ve got the hots for her. I’m not blind.”
Remy sighed and raised his eyes back to her. “Ain’t just dat. I’m fallin’ for her.”
Ororo looked at him, surprised, and then her expression grew concerned and she squeezed his arm. “Really, Remy? It’s that serious?”
Remy nodded with a weak smile. “Yeah, it is.”
Ororo was silent for a moment. “Remy, I know after what happened……” She trailed off, not sure if she wanted to bring up that painful subject.
Remy sighed. “It’s alright, Stormy. I was thinkin’ ‘bout it dis mornin’. Rogue’s nothin’ like Bella. She’s not gonna rip my heart out an’ feed it to de gators like Bella did. ‘Sides, I knew I’d hafta take some sorta risks at some time, ‘less I want t’live m’life as a bachelor havin’ flings with a new person ev’ry week.”
Ororo rubbed her hand comfortingly on his arm, glad he was finally pulling out of the disillusioned state he’d been left in after Bella – his only relationships, if you could call them that, being one night stands and weekend-long flings.
“And Bobby?” She asked him.
Remy snorted in disgust. “She ain’t interested in him anymore s’far as I c’n tell. ‘Sides, I saw him plenty de last few days – might as well be slobberin’ de way he looks at Kitty. Dey’re not gonna last long.”
Ororo smiled. “I’ve noticed that too.” She said. “Remy – I’m happy for you. I’m glad you’re getting over what Bella did to you. And I don’t think you could have fallen for a better person than a girl like Rogue. But – the whole touching thing….”
“Don’ worry. We’re gonna be workin’ on dat. She’s got de same problems I told you I had back den – she just ain’ had someone dat’s gone through it before t’help her out. We’ve already got it to more than a minute of contact b’fore it gets too tough to handle for me. An’ I’ve got a few ideas dat might work out wit’ my own powers too.”
Ororo nodded, looking satisfied. “Just wanted to make sure you were thinking everything through. I hope you can help her. She deserves so much more than what she’s had to go through.”
Ororo moved her hand back into her lap and looked at Remy with a sly expression. “So is Rogue the only thing you’ve found here to live for?”
He shook his head, not catching her expression. “/Non/,” he said, “Dere’s you of course, /ma soeur/, an’ den dere’s dis place – I really like it here.”
“I see,” she said, “and what about a young girl named Sarah?”
Remy’s jaw dropped, and he simply stared at her for a moment. “How?” Was about all that made it out of his mouth as his mind spun.
Ororo laughed at his expression and patted his hand with hers. “I got the most interesting call this morning from a very worried little girl named Sarah. Imagine my surprise when she put her Uncle Henri on who, once I introduced myself, asked where his hopelessly lazy brother Remy was.”
Remy groaned. Sarah had been worried when he’d missed several of her calls that morning while on the roof with Rogue, but she hadn’t said she’d called the main number and talked to anyone.
“I found her down in de tunnels,” he said tightly. “De leader of de mercs was gonna kill her. I pretty much vaporized him, an’ escaped with her. She was de only one I could save. I’m…. I’ve gotten attached to her. I’m gonna leave in a few days an’ bring her here to de school, ‘cuz she’s got problems wit’ her powers.”
Ororo looked at him, her eyes twinkling. “I look forward to meeting her.”
Remy nodded. “Xavier’s gettin’ a room ready for her. She should be here by de middle of de week.”
“Does the Professor know about the tunnels….” Ororo began.
“/Oui/, I tol’ him when you brought me to his office. Figured it wouldn’ be too smart lyin’ to someone who can read minds. I’m…. sorry I didn’ tell you sooner. I been havin’ dese dreams, an’ I just got scared dat you’d hate me for bein’ involved.”
Ororo stood and pulled him into a firm hug. “I understand. But I could never hate you – you know that, right?”
Remy nodded. “Yeah, guess I do.”
Ororo grabbed his arm and pulled him to his feed. “Good. Now come on – we’ve got to let Charles know about this. See what he wants to do about this. This could be very bad – a candidate with such extreme antimutant connections. I don’t know if you’ve been paying attention to the primaries, but right now Creed is the favorite for the Republican nomination, and with the climate negative toward mutants like it is now, I think he might have a decent chance of being elected.” She said, grimly, pulling Remy into the hall after her.
A/N: Hope you enjoyed it. Creed’s speech didn’t come out quite the way I hoped, but I ended up settling for the best I could get – got the basic rhetoric and structure from one of Kelly’s speeches in the comics I ran across last week. Hope you guys enjoyed the Romyness – not much longer till the big Breakup. I’m not too confident/good at writing action scenes so hope the Danger Room scene was decent.
Headed out to see X-men Origins: Wolverine tonight – looking forward to seeing our favorite Cajun (and see Deadpool although I’m a bit more leery of his casting – Ryan Reynolds, not so sure about for the part, but we’ll see).
Again, sorry for the long wait. I had writer’s block for about three weeks (the horrible kind where you know exactly what you want to write but your brain decides it’s time to rebel and you just sit there with a blinking cursor and blank page). Finally started getting away from it, but then the last two have been hell at school with a few million things to do. Things’ve finally cooled down – after two more finals next week, all I have going on is a 40 hour workweek for the rest of the summer.
I’ve been reading The Dresden Files (Jim Butcher) ravenously after a friend recommended them a month ago, trying to get out of my writer’s block funk, and I’m starting to toy with a Harry Potter/Dresden Files crossover, but we’ll see what comes to fruition with that.
Anyway, please leave feedback – hopefully I won’t leave you hanging for more than two weeks for the next chap.