by Rose


Cyclops frowned, "Gambit..."

The other man cocked his head in way of apology and started walking down the single street. His movements were fluid, efficient, in contradiction to the man himself, and Cyclops was forced to double-time it to keep up. "Dis looks like Logan's type of place."

Cyclops nodded and swung open the heavy, gummy door to the town's single bar. The people inside didn't stare, but managed to give off an air of hostility nonetheless. Remy walked arrogantly up to the bar and Scott saw a few of the men visibly bristle at this incursion by another alpha male. 'Welcome to the club, guys.'

Not that the cocky Cajun didn't have his uses. He broke through the tired looking barmaid's defenses within two minutes and five minutes later they were standing outside.

"Into the desert?"

Remy shrugged, "Dat's what she said. 'e bought some water an' den walked straight int' de desert. South."

Cyclops sighed and rubbed a tired hand through his hair. Today was supposed to be his day off, dammit. He should be lying next to Jean right now, his hand in her soft hair, instead of his own rough mop. 'That's probably his plan, curse him.'

"Well, we better find him."

Remy flew, his gentle but firm control of the 'bird making Scott annoyed in some distant part of his mind. They found Logan on an outcropping of boulders. Remy landed the plane, featherlight, a quarter mile away.

Logan looked like hell. The water and his healing factor were doing little more than sustaining his body, and Scott saw the frightening leanness in the body before them. His ragged clothes hung limply on his body, his eyes were closed.

Damn Kitty and her foolish rebellion. Though, he knew well that it was no child's defiance. He had called Genosha to tell her about Logan's...diffiulty with her situation. Beneath the cool fanaticism, he had detected something personal in her passion. Jean had been right, Kitty had been standing awfully close to Magneto...


The words brought him back to the moment and he glanced up. Gambit had already climbed up the boulders with a cat's silent grace. He stood on the boulder next to Logan's, still a good three feet below him. His expression was guarded.

Logan didn't respond to him, keeping his eyes fixed forward. Remy stared for another moment, before turning and making his way towards Scott.

"Don' think he's ready t' go."

Cyclops frowned, "Well, we can't just leave him here...look at him."

Remy nodded, thoughtful, "Guess we gon' have t' stay an' keep an eye on him."

Cyclops tried to think of another alternative but came up short. Gambit had apparently taken his silence for agreement and had already moved back up to the boulder next to Logan's.


Cyclops stretched, irritated at the kinks in his body. He chided himself as he remembered that Remy and Logan had spent the night outside on rocks. He had come in last night to get some supplies to weather the deserts frozen nights, but otherwise took the night watch without complaint.

He walked up towards the boulders and frowned. Remy was up on the boulder with Logan. He had covered Logan with one of the blankets and as the day already started to become unbearable he slipped it off and carefully folded it.

Cyclops walked up to the closest boulder and saw Remy whisper something in Logan's ear before turning and hopping off the boulder.


"Good morning, Gambit. How is he?"

He shrugged, "De same. How are we on supplies?"

Cyclops held out the box he had brought along, "Fine. It's not gourmet but I think we can manage to scrape by. Fortunately, someone stocked the fridge before we left."

"Lucky us. Dieu, coffee, yes."

They fixed the meal in silence. As they lay it out, Remy craned his neck, "Logan! Hey, Logan, Y' wan' some breakfast?! How ' bout y' blink once for yes and two for no?!"

There was no answer, so Remy shrugged, and they ate, Scott thinking that he ought to say something, but the combination of it being Gambit and the dying man above them left him struggling.

"So...Jean tells me you¡Še an orphan."

Scott choked on his coffee, his laughter only making it worse. Remy didn't help simply regarded him quietly and Scott once again thought of a cat, watching it's master die and then eating them with predatory indifference.

"Uh..." Scott said with his usual eloquence.

Remy shrugged, "Didn' mean t' pry. It was Jean's idea."

Scott crooked an eyebrow over his glasses, "What was?" Damn the woman and her meddling.

Remy tilted his head back a tiny bit and said in a slightly nasally voice he realized was supposed to be Jean, "'Both of you lost your parents at a young age, you should talk about it. You should bond.'"

Scott chuckled in a slightly horrified way, enjoying the way he sneered at the word 'bond'. "So, what's she got on you?"

He smiled slightly, "Threatened t' poison me." Scott's brows furrowed in confusion and he continued, "Said she'd put strawberries in my food. Not that I'd ever eat any of her food..."

Scott laughed again, "The gall of that woman. I think the bonding thing was a cover-up, she just wants to get back at you for making fun of her cooking."

They laughed. Scott cleaned up as Remy went to check on Logan. He stood and stared for a moment as Remy fed him water. He gently parted parched, cracked lips and tilted the canteen over his knuckles, dribbling water into Logan's mouth. He found his heart pounding, waiting for Logan to kill him for his intrusion. But he only swallowed convulsively. Remy shrugged off his shirt and soaked one of the tails in water. He slowly moved the wet cloth over Logan's face. Ice blue eyes shut as the cloth cleaned the thick buildup in the corner. Finished, he gathered up his shirt and canteen and gave Logan a quick kiss on his forehead before moving.

Scott turned away, embarrassed by the show of devotion. He had never guessed that they were so close. He had yet to go up to see the other man, feeling slightly out of place. He and Logan had always had an adversarial relationship at best. Hadn't he felt a slight feeling of relief when he saw Logan haggard up there. 'Would Jean love him as much now?' A small voice had whispered in the back of his mind.

Remy yawned right behind him and he started. "Easy, mon capitan. I'm gonna get some sleep."

Scott felt a moment of panic, "What should I do about...?"

Remy turned to follow Scott's line of sight. He smiled wanly, a crop of shadows around his eyes, suddenly aging him. "Jus' keep an eye on him. Talk t' him if y' want."

He turned and walked away, leaving Scott alone with a ghost.

He didn't want to go up there. He wasn't ready to see what was left in those eyes,eyes didn't have the words to fill in that emptiness. So he sat at the bottom of Logan's boulder, west, and waited for the sun to come.


He awoke and frowned into the twilight. Looking over his shoulder he couldn't see the Blackbird. He climbed up the boulder, trying to get to Logan, it seemed to take hours. Finally he got to the top and came around to see that there was only a blanched skeleton where Logan was.


"Ha! Shit!" He came awake with a start, heart thrashing wildly in his chest. Remy's hands gripped his shoulders like vises and he calmed down after a moment.

He straightened and coughed awkwardly. Ignoring Remy he walked over to the furthest boulder and relieved himself. He tried to lick his lips but only succeeded in rubbing his dry tingue over his drier lips.

He came back and Remy held out the canteen, seemingly reading his mind. Not that it was such a stretch to know a man in the desert wanted water. 'He's highly resistant to telepathy', 'he talked them out of it', these old comments rattled about in his mind, reviving the unsettling feeling of not knowing your own team's powers.

"Y'...all right?" It was very hesitant, he must look like shit.

"Yeah, I'm fine."

Remy watched him coolly, 'liar' spelled out clearly on his face. He didn't say it though, for which Scott was grateful. He constructed an awkward fire using some charcoal, two tumbleweeds and Bobby's secret porn stash. 'Why was that on the 'bird?' Was the fleeting thought before he settled down. Remy produced hot-dogs and they roasted wieners.

When he finished he went back up to The Boulder to cover Logan up and feed him some more water. Curiosity nagged at Scott as Remy came down.

Remy noticed his look, "What?"

Scott shrugged, "Never saw you as the...nurturing type."

Remy gave him a strange look, "Y' have t' take care f your family."

Scott looked away, "Didn't know you two were so close."

"I'd do the same thing f'r y', Scott."

He looked up at that, seeing he was still skewered by that strange look, "Why?"

Remy looked up over Scott's shoulder for a moment, "It's out job as de young an' de livin' t' take care of dose who've taken care of us."

The recitation unerved Scott, "The thieves taught you that?"

Remy looked back down at him and nodded.

"What..." He realized he was treading on dangerous ground, "Forget it."

"What was it like t' have a family?" Remy plucked the question from Scott's mind and his skin crawled. He nodded weakly.

He shrugged, "It was wonderful, a dream. I owe everything to Jean-Luc, everything. I remember when he took me to Austria. The snow, the planes, all of that, I was in awe, total fucking awe."

Scott traced patterns in the sand, "Didn't you feel...used."

"Dunno. I was adopted 'cause I was a natural thief, I never fought against that. I never thought about becoming a doctor or a lawyer. Not that I think Jean-Luc would a cared, but I felt like I owed them."

The fire crackled between them, "Did you feel used?"

Scott's head jerked up, "What?"

Remy stared at him with seeming disinterest, "By Xavier, didn't you...don't you ever feel used?"

Scott felt a slight nauseating sensation come over him, he feigned ignorance, "I still don't...?"

Remy sighed, and Scott felt a stab of guilt. For once Remy had been honest, and Scott was holding back, "Xavier took y' in, but he never gave y' any real skills. What would y' do if y' ever left the X-men? Y' sure as hell wouldn't live in no mansion, dat's for sure. How would y' make money, take care of yourself. Y've spent y'r life in an institution."

They heard a scrape of fabric against rock and Scott was now aware of two audiences waiting for his answer.

"Fuck you."


Scott was alone in the desert. He spent his days in the hot sands, growing delusional. He spent his nights watching the cool metal walls of the Blackbird close in on him, Remy's scent on the pillows.

Remy had stopped talking to him, as penance or punishment, he couldn't tell. It was disconcerting, the man who was always chattering away, not saying a word for days (he actually did talk, all night, to Logan, Scott had found out.) The silence made his eyes horribly disconcerting, Scott had the distinct impression of being looked through, of being a ghost. Red irises and black sclera made it impossible to tell if Remy saw him, if Remy saw anything.

On the third day, he broke down. Remy was crouched down, waiting for him so he could get some rest. As Scott sat, he straightened and started to walk away.

Scott reached up and clutched Remy's long dry hand with his own, "Wait."

Remy cocked his head and waited, lips set in a tight line.

"I'm sorry."

Remy's eyes flickered across his face and for the first time in days, he felt like he was actually there. He nodded.

"He's starting t' get in a bad way." Scott looked up and frowned. They both heard the raspy breathing up there.

"Let's go get some coffee." Scott was loathe to leave Logan, he also didn't want to hear whatever Remy wouldn't say in his presence.

Scott fixed the coffee as Remy reclined in the pilot's chair, "He's going to die soon."

Scott's hand froze in mid-stir. Of course he had known that Logan wasn't going to live forever up there, but it seemed so timeless here...

"How long?"

"Three, four days maybe."

"We have to drag him down from there. He's too weak to put up much of a fight."

Remy shook his head, "I won't help you."

Scott whirled around, "Why the hell not?"

Remy leaned forward, "He's old, Scott, he's never going to die naturally." He spat out the word, "If he decides it's time, it's time."

Scott crossed his arms, "I won't allow it. He's got too much to live for."

Remy slapped his hand on the armrest, his eyes bright suddenly, "So tell 'im dat, Scott!"

Scott looked away. Remy stood and placed a hand on his shoulder, "What's wrong?"

Scott shook his head, "I can't go up there. I can't face him."

The hand moved reassuringly to his back, smoothing a comforting circle, "Oh, Scott. I'm sorry."

Scott seized the moment to distance himself, "Why aren't you ever like this at the mansion?"

Remy stood still, fixing him with that strange look, "We aren't friends at de mansion."

Scott nodded, he wouldn't deny their closeness out here, "And when we get back to the mansion?"

Remy cocked his head, "We'll see, Scott."

That look and the placating tone resurrected Scott's need to know how old Remy was. As if seeing the question in Scott's mind, he cut him off before he got a chance to ask.

"Y' better get back out dere. I'm goin' t' sleep. I'll see y' tonight."

Scott shifted, "What if he...dies."

Remy tossed him a blanket, "Cover 'im up an' wake me."


He clambered up the last boulder and stood up next to Logan. He had an arm curled around his waist and the other keeping him propped up. His wet breaths filled the stagnant air.

"Hey, old man."

He paced for a second before sitting down next to him. Logan kept his eyes forward. He he was dying. Froth was building at the corner of his mouth and his nostrils flared. His eyes were bloodshot and his skin sallow despite it's deep brown coloring.

"You must be pretty pissed, having to put up with the two of us these last few days. I wonder if Jean or 'Roro would've had any luck talking you down from here." He hadn't called them, wanting to spare them. "Look, Logan, I..."

He paused, what to say? "Once, before you joined the team, this creature attacked us. It was covered in slime and once we defeated it, it exploded in this cloud of slime. Jean and Hank were the closest and they were absolutely saturated in slime. Jean was livid, bright red under all that slime. She kept clutching her long red hair and shrieking curses. She can curse like a sailor when she wants."

To his surprise, Logan made a sound that might have been classified as a laugh.


"So Kitty's wearing Marvel Girls old costume and Jubilee's wearing Psylocke's bikini thing and they're pretending to make out. Jean turned bright red. Betsy actually looked kind of intrigued by the idea."

"I'm kinda intrigued by de idea myself."

Scott jerked and looked down, "Gambit!"

"Sorry, homme, come on down, I've got dinner."

They ate, Remy demanding to hear the entire drunken Jubilee/Kitty story. Afterwards, they both went back up to the enormous boulder, Scott reclaiming his position on the left and Remy on the right.

He gently lifted Logan's arm and Logan slumped against him, rasping. They sat in silence for a minute until Remy shot him a look. He lifted a hand and placed it on Logan's shoulder,

"Logan. Listen Logan, you can't die up here."

"What is this going to do to Jubilee? You made her a promise, you promised to take care of her!"

He felt the shoulder tense and he continued, "And Kitty? Sure, she made a dumb mistake, but do you really want to punish her like this? Do you really hate her that much?"

"And Jean..."

"And Ororo...."


"Remy..." A smile.

"The Professor...."

"And what about me? How dare you fucking leave me, damn you. I haven't had the time..." His voice broke and he swallowed convulsively, "I haven't had time to get to know you, Logan, to be your friend. I haven't learned what you know. I'm sorry."

He looked away, blinking tears away. A leathery hand settled on his, "It's all right, Scott. I always considered you a good man. A good friend."

He turned toward Remy, "Remy, you take care of these yahoos, all right." A nod. "I, shit, don't cry for me."

Scott forced himself to look forward, to allow them their moment. Remy's quiet sobbing was strangely brief.


Scott kept his eyes forward, "Yeah." He said gruffly.

"Scott, where did you put that blanket?"

He turned, "No! I'm going to go get the paddles. Start CPR, dammit!"

He stood awkwardly. Remy let the body settle back and stood hands up, "Let it go, Scott."

"Fuck!" He swung at Remy, who easily stepped out of the way. He darted in and grabbed Scott by the face.


"I..." His voice broke and he leaned forward, sobbing against the younger (older?) man's chest. His tears shuddered out of him and his lungs felt like they were on fire. He pulled back and wiped his nose clumsily. Remy left him there to go get something, he wasn't really listening to him.

He dropped to his knees next to the body. It was still so warm, surely if he just did CPR...He didn't. Instead he carefully crossed Logan's arms.

"Goodbye, old friend."