TITLE: Coming Home
AUTHOR: Scorpio
ARCHIVE: Want. Take. Have.
CATEGORY: Darkfic, angst, AU
PAIRING: Bobby/Remy implied
RATING: R (for adult subjects and violence)
WARNING: Violence, OOC Bobby and mean Rogue
DISCLAIMER: Marvel Comics and Stan Lee own these boys, not me.
SUMMARY: After being "Missing In Action" for five long years, Bobby comes home a changed man.

Coming Home
by Scorpio

In a blinding flash of white light that somehow managed to suggest all of the many swirling colors of the rainbow, an interdemensional portal snapped into being in the sky over the X-Mansion. Radio signals for miles around became instant static. Radar devises began to show nothing but a distorted echo and the doppler effect collapsed in on itself. Everyone in the tri-county area was suddenly plagued with severe electro static cling.

Adrenaline pumping through their veins and hair getting frizzier by the moment, the combined might of the X-Men rushed from their home to defend themselves against whatever horror should pour forth from this, obviously mechanically constructed, rip in the very fabric of reality.

Imagine their surprise when after over five long years of being classified as MIA, Robert "Iceman" Drake slid through the pulsing glowing portal on a crackling ice slide.

Hank frowned thoughtfully at the door that Robert had just left his med-lab through. His frown wasn't because his long lost dear friend wasn't healthy, in fact, Hank couldn't ever remember a time in the past when Robert had ever been in such tip top shape. Even if he had practically tripled the number of scars on his body.

However, it wasn't his friend's physical condition that worried him. It was more a concern about his emotional state.

Not that Robert hadn't expressed a sense of happiness at being home, for he had. They hadn't fought, instead, Robert had seemed to be glad to see him. He had been polite, friendly, and eager to hear all about Hank's many adventures while he had been away. While there had been a few awkward moments between them, there hadn't been any nervousness or anxiety on either of their parts.

On the surface of it, Hank had to admit that it sounded like an excellent time of reunion and bonding. However, there had been something missing. A certain something that just made Robert ... well, Bobby.

A spark. A flare. A finely honed sense of humor combined with an utter disregard for authority.

It was missing in this older, newly returned, Robert Drake.

His friend had disappeared a boy and been returned to him a man. A man with a deep sadness in his eyes and an almost regretful expression that would occasionally flash across his face. Robert was quiet now. Reticent. Almost brooding and solemn.

Gnawing on his bottom lip, Hank wondered what had happened to make the most joyous and innocent of them all into such a reserved and ... stoic person. It was at that point that Hank realized that Robert had divulged almost no information about what he had been doing while he was ... away. Their entire conversation had consisted of Hank updating Robert on the goings-on of the X-Men.

Excited and more than a little curious, Jean reached out with her mind to reestablish the old mental link that she had long shared with Bobby ... and slammed up against mental shields that rivaled Gambit's. Frowning in both surprise and mild annoyance, Jean pressed a little harder to get inside of the mind that had never shut her out before.

Bobby's eyes slid away from Jubilee and locked onto hers. He didn't say anything, nor did his expression change in anyway, but Jean got the feeling that he was not pleased with her mental intrusion. His shields didn't come down. Then, as easily as he had captured her attention, Bobby dismissed her by sliding his gaze back to Jubilee.

Jean blushed in mild embarrassment. She had intruded in a place she hadn't been invited. She had merely assumed that he wouldn't mind. She hadn't asked and he hadn't offered. And yet, even though he hadn't said a word to her, she felt as if she had been reprimanded. And that wasn't like Bobby at all.

She watched him, using her eyes instead of her mind. Jean wasn't that pleased with what she saw. Something was wrong. With Bobby. She wasn't sure what it was, but he wasn't acting like himself. For as long as she had known him, Bobby's mind practically bubbled with effervescent mirth and a real sense of joy. Granted, he also was filled with self-doubt and a bit of a shaky ego, but that was just part of the Bobby Drake charm.

This Bobby didn't seem bubbly or lacking in confidence, although it was difficult to tell since she couldn't peek into his head. He was actually sort of ... quiet. He was letting Jubilee hold up both ends of the conversation with just a few interspersed comments and encouragement. That was not how their conversations sounded like in the past. Before Bobby had disappeared, he too would talk at an indecipherable rate of speed, often at the same time as Jubilee as they argued happily back and forth over some pop culture thing or another.

Suddenly, Bobby tensed up and his eyes tracked to the kitchen door. A few seconds later, Bishop walked through and headed directly for the coffee pot. Bobby visibly relaxed, even though Jean could tell he was keeping his eye on the time-traveler. Jean's frown deepened and she touched the link to her husband.


//Yes, love.//

A faint tilting up of her lips gave her the appearance of a slight smirk.

//I think something might have happened to Bobby while he was missing.//

//What do you mean? Did he say something to you about it, because I haven't sat down and talked to him yet.//

Jean's smile faded and became a frown once more.

//I think that you should. And soon. Bobby didn't tell me anything and well ... he's got mental shields blocking telepathic access. He won't let me in.//

There was a pause. Jean could taste the flavor of his internal thoughts while he considered what she said.

//Couldn't you push past them?//

//Easily. It would destroy his mind in the process, but I could do it.//

Scott sighed and Jean could almost feel it like a flutter across her consciousness.

//I'll talk to him, but he could be keeping you out because he doesn't want to upset you if he saw or heard something bad. Don't take it too personally.//

//Okay. That does make sense and is a Bobby thing to do. Although, I doubt that he could have seen anything that could shock me. After all, I've seen quite a bit in my own time.//

//True. Too true.//

Logan wandered into the living room to watch the game and was surprised to see Drake standing by the window gazing out into the night, a glass of scotch in his hands. Sniffing deeply to identify the brand, Logan amended his thought. Drake was drinking his scotch by the window. He growled in irritation, but Drake didn't turn around.

"Hello Logan. Join me in a drink?"

Logan narrowed his eyes and popped a cigar in his mouth as he walked over to the sideboard to pour himself one.

"Why not, it's mine, after all."

Drake glanced down at the rocks glass in his hand, raised up an eyebrow and nodded. Then he lifted the glass in salute and tipped it back in one swallow. He grimaced slightly and sighed.

"You've got excellent taste."

Logan grunted in response and watched as Drake sauntered over to the sideboard to refresh his glass. He scowled at the younger man.

"I should gut you for getting into my stash. You didn't even ask."

To be honest, Logan didn't expect Drake's reaction at all. A surge of fear and mild panic followed by intense babbling interspersed with some crazy threats to freeze things while backing away would have been more in character. What he got however was a faintly amused glance and a snort. Then Drake took a deep drink of his scotch.

"Don't worry. I was planning on replacing it."

Logan scowled some more.    

"What? Not gonna threaten ta freeze my gym shorts, Icecube?"

Drake's lips twisted into an odd sort of smirk. It was much more sad and regretful than amused.

"God, Logan. It's been so long since I've done that, or something like it, to anyone."

Another half amused snort. Logan bit off the end of his cigar and lit it up to cover his shock. He couldn't really imagine the Iceman not running around freezing people's underclothes and coffee mugs. It had been such a common occurrence in his life, that Logan actually sort of missed it when Drake disappeared. Not that he'd ever admit it.

"What is the last thing you froze, then?"

A flash of pain-regret-horror flickered across the younger man's face, but it was banished quickly. And when he spoke his voice was a whisper.

"I haven't froze anything since I got here."

Logan frowned. The kid had been home three days and he hadn't frozen anything? That was definitely not the Iceman he had known and barely tolerated.

"So. What was the last thing you froze then? Over ... there. In the alternate universe you were trapped in."

Drake got very still for a long moment and Logan could practically see the mental and emotional barriers going up inside the kid's mind. Then Drake slammed the rest of his drink and put down the glass. When he turned to look at Logan, he realized in an instant that Robert Drake wasn't the same innocent kid he used to be. Eyes, once filled with so much mirth and enthusiasm were hollow and shuttered.

"The last thing I froze over there? That's a simple question with a simple answer."

Drake caught Logan's eyes and held them. It was like looking in a mirror in many respects.


Logan blinked and broke the connection between them out of pure confusion and shock.


Drake shrugged, but it was far from a simple gesture. It was filled with so many things, all of them dark and painful.

"The People's Republic of China. I buried it under a glacier roughly 50 feet thick."

Logan just gaped at him. Drake smirked slightly in a self-depreciating way. It was filled with self-loathing and agony.

"I was lauded as a hero for it too. Ain't that the best? That one action was what officially ended the war. We won."

Drake started to walk out of the room and for the life of him, Logan couldn't think of a damn thing to say. He was a soldier, a warrior, and occasionally, an assassin. He killed. Easily and fairly often. Yet, he could think of nothing to ease the obvious sorrow and regret that rolled off of the kid. No, the man that was walking away from him. Then, Drake paused at the doorway.

"Hey Logan. Do you have any clue how many people live in China?"

Logan's voice was a rough whisper.

"Over a billion, easy."

Drake nodded his head once in silence and then he was gone, leaving Logan alone with his thoughts and his own demons.

Rogue glared with a mix of hatred and disgust burning in her green eyes at the emotionally broken man standing before her with guilt and pain written across his own face. Hands planted on her hips, she leaned over him, pressing her psychological advantage.

"Ah don't know why ya'll insist on returnin' here, Remy. Ya ain't wanted an' ya ain't needed. Ya were left in Antarctica an' ya crawled on back. Fine. We let ya rest an' recuperate. Ah weren't too thrilled about that, but there was nothin' Ah could do. But then ya'll left an' things were fine again."

Remy winced in front of her and Rogue bit back a triumphant grin.

"Then, ya'll came crawlin' back again an' we took ya in. Thankfully ya didn't stay long. Now here ya'll are again, like a bad penny. Don't ya know that ya just ain't wanted around here no mo'?"

A throat cleared behind Rogue and she flinched. Then she mentally cursed herself for her show of weakness, but she never thought that she'd get caught ripping into Gambit. It was awkward since no one but her felt that way and everyone always felt guilty about him never staying long, especially after the Antarctica fiasco.

Glancing over her shoulder she realized it was just the prodigal son, Bobby. And he didn't know how the other's felt, so she was still in the clear.

"Bobby, shugah, it ain't polite ta sneak up on a body like that."

Bobby just glared at her for a moment and Rogue frowned slightly.

"Don't worry about Remy, he's here for me."

Rogue was too busy being surprised by this revalation to notice Remy's startlement and the tiny flicker of relief across his handsome face.

"What do ya'll mean, Bobby? What evah could ya want with Gambit here?"

Rogue jerked her thumb in the direction of the man she had very nearly destroyed.

"When he heard I was back he contacted me. I told him that I was going off to visit some people I needed to see and since he was heading that way, he offered to travel with me. That way I won't be alone after being gone so long."

Rogue frowned. She hadn't been aware that Bobby had planned to leave, nor did she know that they had been close friends before Bobby disappeared, but then again, she didn't pay much attention to Bobby then, so it was possible.


That's when Rogue realized that Bobby was glaring at her. It was a mean look, a cruel look, a look that she would have expected to be on Wolverine's face, but not the Iceman's. Her frown deepened in irritation.

"Don't be lookin' at me that way, shugah. It ain't nice an' I ain't afraid of ya or ya tempah."

A flicker of some brief emotion washed over Bobby, but it was gone too quickly for Rogue to figure it out. She did, however, hear his whispered response.

"You should be, I am."

Then, she watched as Bobby's glance flickered over to Remy.

"Come on Gambit. I need to finish packing."

Slinking passed her, Remy meekly trailed along behind Bobby. Rogue was left standing at the door vaguely feeling like she missed something, but she wasn't sure what.

Remy stood silently and leaned against the door as he watched Bobby quickly and methodically sort through his things and pack them away into a duffel bag or toss them onto his bed. His ex-teammate's intense emotions battered at his empathic shields, but you would never be able to tell by the completely neutral and composed look on his face. Remy knew then and there that Bobby was changed from the boy he remembered.

The change in demeanor and the appearance of a "poker face" combined with the painfully obvious signs that Bobby's "trip" was a spur of the moment decision bothered Remy a bit. Not that he wasn't grateful for the excuse it had given him to Rogue. After all, he only came to the X-Mansion when he needed a bit of "down time" and he generally tried to avoid his ex-girlfriend. Running into her at the door had been plain bad luck.

Looking at Bobby's silent packing, Remy figured it was up to him to start the conversation.

"So ... where we be headin', homme?"

Bobby shrugged.

"Don't know. Don't care. Just ... away from here."

Remy's frown deepened and he pulled his sunglasses off of his nose and tucked them up on top of his head to hold his hair out of his face.

"Um ... why?"

Bobby stopped what he was doing and straightened up. Glancing over at Remy, a haunted look seeped into his eyes and Remy felt his heart squeeze up in sympathy. But instead of answering Remy's question, he asked one of his own.

"I take it from Rogue's charming little speech that the X-Men still haven't forgiven you for the ... uh, what was it again...?"

Remy swallowed and looked down in shame.

"De Morlock Massacre. Oui, de X-Men let Gambit crash here when der isn't anywhere else t' go, but dey don't want him, eh?"

Bobby simply nodded and began to pack again.

"Right. Well, if they haven't gotten over that, then I'd probably end up on their 'kill on sight' list.

Remy was a bit startled, not only by Bobby's words, but by the venom and bitterness within them.

"Where were y'? Wha' y' do t' t'ink dat?"

Bobby grew still for a brief second and an intense wave of regret washed over Remy's empathic shields strongly enough to make him sway on his feet.

"Spent the last five years in an alternate reality similar to ours. Only real difference was that in that reality the war between the mutants and the rest of mankind was official and bloody. As for what I did, I ended it."

Remy frowned in mild confusion as he tried to process that information.

"An' dat's a bad t'ing?"

Bobby finally zipped up his bag and slung it over his shoulder. He took one last look around and then headed towards the door. With a slight step to the side, Remy moved away from the door so that Bobby could open it, but before he did he turned to look Remy directly in the eyes.

"Not when there's no one left alive to fight."

And with that haunting admission rolling around in his mind, Gambit watched as Bobby yanked open the door and stalked down the hallway.

Riding double on Remy's motorcycle for the rest of the day and a good portion of the night saw them to the city of Erie Pennsylvania right on the shore of Lake Erie. Dwarfed by the larger cities further east, it had little to offer in the way of culture or entertainment. Remy was distinctly unimpressed with the place in that respect. However, it did have something that more than made up for it.

Plenty of all night diners and inexpensive motels.

Pulling into the parking lot of a well lit all night truck stop, Remy turned off his bike and waited for Bobby to climb off. Both of them indulged in the pleasure of stretching out cramped muscles and then wandered into the haven that was promising cheap coffee and hot filling food.

It was only a matter of moments before they were seated at a booth with steaming mugs of coffee in front of each of them, the waitress walking off to put their order in to the kitchen. Taking a small sip of his drink to try to keep from burning his tongue, Remy studied Bobby.

The man in front of him was quiet and brooding. He carried an almost palpable aura of danger around him that Bobby never had before. His entire carriage and bearing conflicted with the mental image of the "Iceman" that Remy carried around in his mind and it made him intensely curious to find out why. However, Remy also understood about secrets and keeping painful memories close. He figured that there would be time to draw out the truth later. For now they should concentrate on more immediate issues.

"So, homme? Wha' next? Y' figure out where y' wan' go or wha' y' wan' do?"

Bobby was quiet for a long moment and Remy watched, partly in amusement and partly in astonishment, as his ex-teammate cum traveling companion swept the place with his eyes. He'd done it himself many times in the past, so he knew what it looked like. The only other X-Men he'd ever caught "casing a joint" was Logan and Stormy. It was a trained response in a thief, and Logan was perpetually paranoid, so that made sense. The rest of the team had always relied on Logan, Remy or the telepaths to warn them of oncoming danger. Now here was Bobby, doing the paranoid thing. It was ... disconcerting in a way.

"Not that piggybacking on your bike isn't cozy, but I think in the morning we should figure something else out. For speed and mobility if for nothing else. Either a car to share or another bike for me."

Again, a thought he would never have paired up with the Iceman. At least, not for those reasons. However, it did make sense. It also brought up a different question.

"True, mon ami. Es'pensive, doah. How y' plannin' t' pay fo it?"

Bobby frowned in thought for a long minute, his eyes boring into Remy's face as if he could see right into his soul. Once again, Bobby answered the question with a question.

"You got accessible funds? Cash? Credit?"

Remy frowned.


"Enough to cover the cost of another vehicle?"

Remy's frown deepened.

"Oui. Mais wha' good dat' gonna do you, homme? Gambit's money is Gambit's."

Instead of answering him, Bobby turned to his pack and unzipped a pocket. He stuck his hand in and rummaged around for a bit before pulling it back out. He held a flat, palm sized black box and skidded it across the table's surface towards Remy. On reflex, Remy's hand snapped up and caught it.

"Would that be enough to reimburse you? It's a one of a kind."

Curious as a cat faced with a brown paper shopping bag, Remy turned the box around to face him and lifted the lid on it's hinge. And gasped. Inside, nestled on a green velvet background was a stunning necklace made of what appeared to be adamantium. It was encrusted with diamonds and emeralds.

"Oui, mon ami. An' den some. Gambit'd have t' empty a bank account or two t' cover de price a dis beauty."

Clinking the lid shut and gesturing towards it with one hand, he glanced at Bobby questioningly.

"One, where'd y' get dis? And two, are y' sure y' wanna sell it?"

Bobby grimaced and his eyes became shuttered.

"Got in on the other reality as part of my payment slash reward for being a war hero. I stopped that war, remember? As for keeping it? I don't want to keep any of it."

Remy nodded his head silently. Tucking the box into an inner pocket of his jacket, his thoughts were interrupted by the waitress bringing their food. He smiled up at her and she giggled at him, but Bobby didn't respond to her with anything more than a suspicious and hostile stare. She glanced at the Iceman and hurried away.

"Non scarin' de femmes, homme."

Silently, Bobby's eyes slid over to him, but he didn't comment. Remy couldn't help but shiver. Distracting himself by taking a bite of the food, he waved his fork at Bobby.

"First t'ing when we wake up in de mornin' Remy'll take y' t' find a bike, mon ami."

The alarm clock never had a chance to go off and wake them. Remy was yanked from his dreams by a heart wrenching scream of anguish only to find himself inside of one of his own nightmares.

Bobby had frozen the motel room into a miniature version of Antarctica.

Three weeks later found them in Los Vegas.

Remy wasn't sure what to make of his traveling companion. Bobby was completely different than he had been before his journey into the alternate reality. It was as if he had a whole new personality and Remy didn't know which Robert Drake he liked better.

The old one had been open, laughing and full of mischievous joy. He was also a bit immature and childish and Remy had a lot of trouble relating to the shinning untarnished innocence that he had practically radiated. The new Bobby was silent, brooding and dangerous. He was also protective, nonjudgmental and oddly sexy. The new Bobby didn't look down on his skills and lifestyle as a thief the way the other X-Men did. Instead, he saw it as a valuable and usable resource. The old Bobby had been dependent on others. Firstly for them to tell him what to do and then afterwards for them to tell him that he did good. The new Bobby gave orders and considered suggestions, but he didn't need, nor want, anyone else to think for him.

And every night he woke up screaming.

Sometimes he froze everything solid with the exception of Remy himself, which was a huge relief to the Cajun. Sometimes he had tears streaming down his cheeks as he curled up around a pillow whispering over and over again about how he should be "collared". Without even asking, Remy somehow was certain that Bobby meant a Genoshian Inhibiting Collar.

Bobby had gone from being afraid of not being strong enough to be a "real" X-Man to being afraid of nothing but his own powers.

It was a startling and incredible change. Remy just didn't know how it had come about and something told him that he wouldn't like the answers. That those answers would give him nightmares as well. However, it had gotten to the point where he needed to know. For several reasons.

Firstly, because Bobby needed to get whatever was eating him up inside out. It was obvious that the man was slowly going insane over it. Guilt and anger and self-hate gnawed at his mind almost continuously, and Remy knew from first hand experience that it would help Bobby to purge himself of these feelings.

Secondly, it was dangerous sharing a room with the guy. They had traveled across the country together and they usually got to a motel and passed out from exhaustion. They would get a double room to save money and to have less space to defend. Watch each other's backs, so to speak. But Bobby icing things up every other night was a danger to Remy. So far the Iceman hadn't frozen him in his troubled sleep, but one night he might. 

Thirdly, Remy was slowly but surely falling for Bobby. He'd always been attracted to danger and beauty. Bobby was an alluring combination of both those things. He also was mysterious and a challenge. Two other things that was guaranteed to catch Remy's eye. Lately, he'd found himself fantasizing about Bobby taking him into his bed and gently dominating him, claiming him.

Like he did verbally back in one of those flat farm-type states they'd traveled through.

At one of their frequent stops, a man in faded denim and warn flannel had rudely accosted Remy and slammed him painfully up against a brick wall, the cry of "mutant freak" on his lips. Remy wasn't sure whether to try and "charm" his way out of it or just knee the man in his groin to get free when Bobby had stood up and walked over to them, a crowd of angry people growing behind him.

"Yeah, my boy Gambit there is a mutant. Powerful one, too. In fact, some might say that Gambit is a walking bomb factory, what with his talent for blowing things to kingdom come with nothing more than a simple touch. So ... now that you're aware of that fact, why don't you let him go?"

That hadn't been the tact Remy would have chosen. He didn't know whether to snarl at Bobby for telling his secret, giggle at the man's expression when he heard what Bobby had said, or roll his eyes at yet another display of anti-mutant prejudice.

"Oui. Listen t' mon ami over dere. Y' don' wan' no trouble an' neither do we."

The man shook Remy again. Hard.

"And just why should I be letting a dangerous mutant go? You freaks are out numbered here and I say we kick your asses."

That's when Bobby smiled. It was the meanest, nastiest smile Remy had ever seen on a face that wasn't Wolverine's.

"Sure, buddy. Whatever you want. Just think about what it truly is that you do want for a moment, 'cause you only got three choices here. One, you let my boy go calmly and everyone lives. Two, I let my boy blow your head off of your shoulders. Or three. I go fuckin' apeshit on this entire town and no one but me and my boy lives to tell the tale."

Remy's head had snapped over to look at Bobby and he'd been shocked to realize that the other man was serious about what he said. He would kill. For Remy. Sick as that was, Remy found that almost as much of a turn on as being called "my boy".

The man paused a moment, unsure what to do. Remy grinned at him, hoping he wasn't shaking noticeably.

"It's y'r choice, homme. I suggest y' just let go an' walk away. Y' don' wan' t' see dat one angry."

The man had let Remy go and they had quickly left. On their way through the parking lot towards their bikes, Bobby had frozen every single vehicle engine solid without comment. Several of them cracked loudly in the night. They weren't followed.

That night, Remy had had his first erotic dream about Bobby. They still plagued him when he tried to sleep, but he wouldn't even consider taking that step until Bobby let him inside of his head. Sometime soon, he would have to get Bobby to talk about what had happened in the alternate reality.

They had just finished lunch and were back in their room. Remy knew that Bobby wanted to stay just a few more days before they hit the road again. He watched as the other man leaned back on his bed, the tv remote in his hand. He knew that this was the perfect time to try and get some things out in the open and if he didn't do it now, he'd never try. So, screwing up his courage, Remy sat down on the opposite bed and tried to appear nonchalant.



"Y' ready t' talk about it yet, mon ami?"

There was a long silent pause and Remy felt his stomach tighten up. He didn't think Bobby would answer, but then he did, his voice seemingly tired and resigned.

"What do you want to know, Gambit?"

Remy winced internally. Gambit. He knew all about the different ways to distance ones self, and by using Remy's old codename, Bobby was making this seem ... less personal. That hurt in a way, but it was understandable.

"Everyt'ing y' need t' say. Y' changed, homme. Y' ain't de boy Remy used t' know. Mostly, dat's good. We all need t' grow up, but y' got hard, mon ami. Meaner den Logan an' wit' more angst den Scott. Wha' happened? Wit' de war."

Bobby sighed and ran one hand down his face. He looked tired. Tired and worn out. A man on the edge.

"The war ... Mutant against flatscan. The normal human's outnumbered us 5000 to 1 when I got there. There were concentration camps, battle zones, food and medicine embargoes, nuclear hot zones and homeless refuges all over the globe. There wasn't a single country that hadn't been drawn into it. No neutral zones at all. The flatscans wouldn't allow it with their, "you're either with us or against us" attitudes. It was not a friendly place and people were dying by the thousands every day."

Remy shifted on the bed until he could look more squarely at Bobby, his own mind trying to conjure up images that went with his friend's words. Once he did, he tried to banish them almost immediately.

"Dat sounds ... uh, horrible. Absolutely horrible."

Bobby nodded, his eyes getting a far away look to them as he slid further into his memories.

"It was. Truly. I can't begin to explain what a shock it was to me, to see the world in such a state. Chaos and hatred were everywhere I turned and no place was safe. It was an ugly, cruel and evil place. I called it home for five years."

An odd curiosity hit Remy then and he thought of something that hadn't occurred to him before.

"Did y' meet anyone over dere dat y' know here?"

A flicker of pain washed over Bobby's face and he grimaced.

"Yeah. You, for one."

Remy blinked, surprised.


Bobby grinned at him, but there was no humor in it.

"Yeah, Gumbo, you."

Remy grinned back, hoping this subject would lighten the mood a bit.

"An' how did y' meet dis cunnin' an' sexy Cajun, mon ami."

The flicker of sadness appeared again.

"Depends on your point of view, I guess. That Remy, your double, first met my double in a concentration camp. Remy had allowed himself to get captured in order to bust someone out. Someone that the Mutant Resistance Fighters needed. Someone that was scheduled for execution."

Despite himself, Remy felt his curiosity getting away from him. This was fascinating.


A brief pause.

"A man named Eric Lenscher."

That was a surprise, but when he thought about it, Remy had to admit that it made sense. The man was an excellent fighter in this reality, why not the other one as well.


Bobby nodded.

"Yeah. I was, or rather, my double was Eric's cellmate along with four other men. When you busted him free, my double sacrificed his own life to ensure your escape. Needless to say, when I showed up out of the blue, both your double and Eric's were more than a little shocked. Well, freaked out was more like it. It took a while to figure out what happened and the two of you recruited me to the cause."

Remy smiled a little sadly. It was a lot of information to take in all at once and he knew that he'd be "processing" it for a long time to come, but it was interesting in an odd way. It was neat to hear about his double doing at daring jail break, but the thought of Bobby dying during the escape was a rough thing to take.

"Did we become friends? De double of Remy, an' y'?"

Bobby smiled sadly and nodded.

"Yeah, Rem. We were friends. The best of friends, actually. We became partners and were practically inseparable. We went on raids together, fought together, defended the stronghold side by side. We sabotaged the enemy's supply lines together, ate together and were basically joined at the hip. For a while, despite the war and the killing and the deaths, things were pretty good. I bounced from scared to angry to sad to frustrated like everyone else, but under it all, I was happy. In fact, if the X-Men had found a way to bring me home, I'm not sure if I would have gone."

Remy blinked at that. It was great to hear that his double and Bobby had been close. In that kind of situation, with the war, they both probably needed a good friend and he was glad that they had each other. But Bobby had admitted to being happy and not wanting to leave. Yet, here he was and he was not a happy person. Something had happened to change that, and he was almost afraid to know what it was. However, he needed to know.

"Den wha' happened? W'y y' come back if y' were happy?"

Bobby turned his head to look at him for the first time since he began speaking. His face was twisted into such a look of longing and sadness that it almost broke Remy's heart.

"Humans killed my lover."

Remy gasped in shock at what Bobby was implying, even as his chest constricted at the pain his friend was suffering. Bobby turned away again and continued his narrative in the same flat tone he'd began in.

"I guess I went sort of mad after that. My memories are still a bit vague in spots. All I know for sure is that Eric and I went on a rampage over his death. By the time we were through there wasn't a human installation on the planet that wasn't either torn to shreds by magnetic fields or buried under several tons of ice. In under a year, Eric and I brought the war to an end by killing off almost all of the humans on the planet. There aren't enough of them left to be a threat to anyone anymore. After it was over, my only request was to go home."

Remy was stunned. Beyond stunned. He had no way to even begin to understand what Bobby had been through or had done. The enormity of it was staggering and incomprehensible. Bobby had practically admitted to bringing about a new ice age over the death of his lover. He was horrified. The only thing was, he didn't know what was worse. What Bobby had done in his madness, or the guilt and anguish he felt now that he was back in his right mind.

Not thinking, but acting on instinct, Remy slid off of his bed and onto Bobby's. Reaching out, he wrapped his arms around his friend and pulled him close in order to offer comfort and acceptance. Not understanding. Remy knew the guilt of killing, but not by the millions ... or even worse, by the billions. But comfort nonetheless. Bobby stiffened up in his arms at first, but then in a shuddering sigh he melted against Remy and began to sob broken heartedly.

It had taken over three hours of crying and moaning and sobbing, but finally Bobby had worked the worst of his guilt and agony out. Remy didn't have any illusions that this was the end of it, more like it was just the beginning, but it was an important first step on the road to healing.

They were lying on Bobby's bed, tangled together with a blanket pulled up around Bobby's shoulders. His head was cushioned on Remy's wet shoulder and his eyes were puffy and sore. However, he was no longer crying.



Remy paused, not sure if his guess was correct, but pretty sure it was.

"Your lover? Was he my double?"

Bobby stiffened up slightly for just a second, but his emotional exhaustion soon had him relaxing again.

"Yeah, Rem. We were together for almost four years before he died."

"Je suis desole, Bobby. Je suis desole, mais he was a lucky man."

Bobby gave Remy a quick squeeze around the middle in response. Then, he slowly fell asleep.

continued in "Doubts and Worries" >>

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